Crunchy Apple-Pear Salad with Pomegranate, Pine Nuts & Yogurt

My garden has been dormant for only a few weeks yet I already miss the crunchy, sweet carrots, bundles of kale and bouquets of fragrant herbs.

Salad planning has to much more intentional now that winter is here, and I have to load up on even more vegetables on market days if I want to have fresh salads throughout the week.

Last week, when I was all out of leafy greens, I  found inspiration in a case of jumbled assorted apples and pears that we had in our cold room. I know I’m forever adding apples to salads around here, but this one is extra special, believe me.

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Autumn Apple and Kale Salad with Parmesan and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I know, I know, another kale recipe. It might seem as though my recent posts are all part of a calculated recipe flow that balances cheesecake brownies and maple-glazed pork chops with nourishing soups and salads, but there is no way I am that organized.

In truth, kale and herbs are the only greens thriving in my garden right now and the kale recipes are an honest example of how we are eating in November – simple, seasonal and featuring ingredients we have on hand.

This salad was born in the garden, on a sunny late morning last week…but wait, we have the photos to tell the story.

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Grilled Zucchini Salad with Hazelnuts, Feta and Yogurt Mint Dressing

Today my children go back to school, and I return to my desk as well to assume responsibility of my work life, both online and off.

As a closing note to the end of our carefree summer days – which were really and truly relaxing – I threw together a laid-back dinner on the weekend. My sister and brother-in-law had stopped by for a visit, so we put the baby to bed early, lit the coals on the kettle grill and opened a bottle of my favourite late-summer wine.

In a way, it was an intimate version of our harvest dinner which I host every August. My cookbook has more details and all the recipes from this annual backyard event, but essentially it is a slow dinner in the garden to celebrate the bounty of summer. It’s the one time of the year when I bring the white tablecloth and stemware outdoors –  a simple way to add elegance to a table with little effort.

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Tour a lentil farm + Bacon, Lentil & Tomato (BLT) Salad

The wide variety of food produced in this vast country has enchanted me ever since I was little. As a wee one alongside my older brother, I slung a fishing line over the side of a canoe for lake trout, and on my own I foraged for wild strawberries and morels to bring back to my mother’s kitchen.

From watching wild salmon spawn in on the West Coast to digging for clams on the far East, my culinary education continues to expand, year after year. This past week, I had the opportunity to travel to the middle of our country: a family-owned lentil farm in the heart of Saskatchewan.

Expansive fields dotted with farms were completely new territory for me. Although I knew that Canada was the world’s largest lentil producer and that Saskatchewan produced 95% of those beauties such as Black Beluga and French Green, I really had no clue how lentils were grown. It was a fantastic learning experience, under the broad blue skies of the great prairies.

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Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad for Canada Day

From coast to coast, Canadians are making plans to celebrate our national holiday on July 1st, be it by watching the Snowbirds fly over Parliament Hill, marching in a parade, or making merry while poolside with friends.

It’s also Danny’s birthday, so we party extra hard, celebrating him and our fair country all at once. We’ve been lucky enough to receive an invitation to a barbecue at Tim and Angela‘s place in Montreal, and I say lucky, because Tim is the master of the Webber.

I’m slotted to bring a salad to this gathering, which is perfect because I’ve been cooking up something very patriotic for Canada Day – a Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad. Inspired by one of our most famous cocktails, it’s light, fresh, and best of all, very simple. Oh, and if you have ice, there’s a cocktail to be enjoyed at the end of the recipe.

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