Wet winter nights in Vancouver call for hearty and delicious dinners.  Soups hit the spot for me, more often than not.  The flavours simmer, develop and merge.

I love that you don’t have to have an exact recipe. You can use whatever you have in your fridge, freezer and cupboard.  As long as you don’t mind sampling along the way I think you can create simple pleasures in a big pot of soup. I loved the freshness of this soup.  Truth be told, it was anything that would even come close to a “daily catch” as I had everything in the freezer, but you gotta use what you gotta use.

As this came together (before I added the seafood) I thought it needed a little “thickening” up, so I threw in about a handful and a half of rice, just to add to the body of the soup.  Be sure to make some big croutons or crusty bread to sop up all the goodness. You won’t want to leave any behind in the bowl – I guarantee it.


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
6 cups chicken broth
bay leaf
1/2 cup short grain rice
1 cup frozen calamari rings
8-10 prawns
1/2 cup small scallops
4 oz red snapper, cut into 2 cm wide strips (be sure it is deboned!)
dash hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, heat up the EVOO, once hot add the thinly sliced fennel.  Allow to soften as it begins to sweat, add garlic.
  2. Allow garlic to saute for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, this will bring out a little more the natural sweetness of them.
  4. Add broth and bay leaf – bring to simmer.
  5. Add rice, simmer for about 20-25 minutes until cooked threw.
  6. Add snapper, 2 minutes later add the rest of the seafood.
  7. Season with hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Garnish with parsley (optional)


As I mentioned a few posts before, I recently went through and purged my collection of cooking recipes, selectively cutting out (scrapbooking) those I thought I might want to make.  This recipe appealed to me because we LOVE sushi, and TB LOVES sesame seeds – so why not make it?

This weekend when we were down at Granville Island we stopped by our favourite fish n’ chips place, Go Fish.  Right in front many of the local fisherman dock their boats and sell their catch (just wait for the spotted prawn festival!), and there in massive block print was BC TUNA, so I thought why not?  I wandered down, and sure enough they had sushi grade tuna, it wasn’t yellow fin however, what the recipe called for, but it was still great!

TB really liked the dipping sauce. I liked it, but I think I may be partial to something a little more salty and full of heat… like wasabi and soy sauce.  However,  I certainly don’t feel like the recipe is a write off, rather I think it just needs some tweaking, perhaps a little more soy?  And perhaps more red pepper flakes.



For the Dipping Sauce

2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons miso paste (recipe called for white miso, but we already had regular paste in the fridge)
1/2 cup carrot juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (juice from half an orange)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced

For the Tuna
3 tablespoons white  sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 lb sushi grade tuna
1 tablespoon saflower oil


  1. Make the dipping sauce: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Whisk until miso disolves.  Sprinkle with sliced scallions.
  2. Make the tuna: combine sesame seeds in a shallow dish.
  3. Press tuna pieces into seeds, turning to coat each side.
  4. Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add tuna, and cook each side until white seeds are golden, aout 20 seconds a side.
  5. Transfer tuna to a paper towel lined plate for about 1 minute.
  6. Cut each piece into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  7. Serve with dipping sauce.

4 servings
*  *  *
per Serving:
243 calories
5 g fat
1 g fiber

So the mussels (below) were the appetizers as part of our seafood extravaganza. And the filo wrapped salmon was the entrée. It was quite possibly one of the fastest proteins I have ever prepared…with the goat cheese it was pretty rich. Tasty but rich. Next time I think I would cream together the goat cheese with a little bit of honey dijon or something like that to cut the richness just a bit. What I did love was how beautifully the filo turned out. I am always apprehensive to work with it, for fear of drying out or tearing, but then whenever I do, always a happy surprise!

(Lighting in the picture is horrible!)

2 coho salmon fillets – personalize size, de-boned and skinned
3 Tbsp crumbled herb goat cheese
1 lemon 5-10 thin garlic chives
2 Tbsp melted butter
2 sheets filo paper
salt and pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  2. Lay one sheet of filo out. Cover the other with a damp cloth/paper towel to ensure that it doesn’t dry out.
  3. Brush top half of the sheet with melted butter.
  4. Flip bottom half of sheet up onto the top, brush with butter.
  5. Pat salmon dry, season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place de-boned and skinned fillet on with 3 inches from the end of the sheet.
  7. Top salmon with half of the crumbled cheese, 1/4 of the chives – chopped up into small pieces, and some juice from half of the lemon.
  8. Fold top, bottom and short side of the filo ont the salmon, and then fold the salmon along the long side of the filo.
  9. Brush outer filo with butter.
  10. Repeat for second fillet.
  11. Place packs on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown – approximately 20 minutes.
  12. Garnish (if you would like to!) with the other half of the lemon and remaining chives

Best served with a fresh light garden salad!

Serves 2.

The husband of a good friend of mine loves to fish and loves salmon. I would say if there was one meal that is his specialty to make, it is grilled salmon. His wife (my friend) makes a tasty-tasty lemon dijon sauce to top it. She was kind enough to share her recipe, but of course I can never just leave well enough alone! So below are directions for our version of cedar plank grilled salmon based on the deliciousness of theirs!

Grilled Salmon Ingredients:
cedar plank (for grilling)

water to cover plank
1/3 cup coarse salt
1 & 1/2 lbs fillet of salmon (we like the skin on)
a drizzle of olive oil
1/3 yellow onion thinly sliced
1/2 lemon thinly sliced

1/3 cup fresh dill
salt pepper

Lemon Dijon Sauce Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons yellow onion, minced

1 & 1/2 lemons juiced
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 green onion thinly sliced
3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


  1. In a large roaster pan place cedar plank, cover with water, add coarse salt. Allow to soak for 3 hours.
  2. Once cedar is fully soaked, prepare salmon.
  3. Pre-heat grill (ours is gas) to indirect medium high (about 425 F)
  4. Rinse off salmon (if it hasn’t been done already, debone fillet)
  5. Place salmon on board, drizzle with olive oil, flavour with salt and pepper. Place dill, onion and lemon across the top of it.
  6. Place plank over indirect heat, allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temp of 134 F.
  7. While salmon is cooking, make Lemon Dijon sauce: heat butter and saute onions and garlic, don’t brown.
  8. Add Dijon mustard, lemon juice (sans seeds!) and honey. Whisk together and allow to thicken.
  9. Once the sauce is brought to a gentle simmer add green onions and dill, allow to simmer for 2-3 min
  10. Remove sauce from heat.
  11. Once salmon is done, remove from heat, serve fish right on cedar plank. Serve Lemon Dijon sauce on the side.

We served this with wild rice and a fresh salad… a great summer meal! Serves 4.