salad dressing

A friend’s fiancé is a chef.  He is also one of the most humble chefs I have ever met.  At gatherings he always brings something delicious, and yet every time he is able to compliment others and their creations.  I admire that.

One of the things he has served a few times is a warm spinach or arugula salad – and they are always delicious.  Most recently he served one with pancetta and bocconcini.   I wasn’t really paying attention to what was in it, just that it was super tasty and a little different: rich and yet still a great depth to it.  This salad is inspired from his…certainly not a duplication, I could never do it justice.  So thank you to him, and as always I will always look forward to a lovely meal with them.

spinach salad


4 slices pancetta

1/2 small red onion, sliced paper thin
1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half, or even quartered if large enough
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup bocconcini, chopped
4-6 cups clean and dried spinach and arugula leaves


  1. In a skillet, over medium-high heat, fry up prosciutto, once browned, remove and cool on a paper towel – they will crisp up.
  2. Add one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to skillet, once warmed add onions, cook until softened.
  3. Add finely chopped garlic and tomatoes – cook up for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add balsamic and sugar – allow to thicken.
  5. Stir in mustard.
  6. Add remaining olive oil, emulsify (whisk)
  7. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the spinach, arugula, crumbled up prosciutto and chopped bocconcini.
  8. Once the dressing has thickened, you may want to season with fresh cracked pepper.
  9. Dress the spinach and bocconcini with the hot dressing.  Mix until leaves begin to wilt.

Serves 4 – a great side!


Couscous, barley, quinoa…and wheat berries. All good for you grains.  Barley was fairly common in our home when we were kids, but other than that we didn’t venture much past wild or brown rice.

Today, really I should say this afternoon, felt like a wonderful spring day.  It was breezy, but sunny.  I took the dog for a walk along the Stanley Park Seawall when I got home from work and felt like a light summer-esque meal.  I have wanted to try wheat berries for a while now and kind of threw this together based on what we had in the house.

I actually really liked it.  If you haven’t had wheat berries before they are a little chewy and take a considerable amount of time to cook…these took 2 hours, though I had read anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours – maybe I didn’t have the temp high enough.  And really, you could add whatever you have in your fridge.  Bean sprouts, sugar peas or carrots would be nice too.



1 cup raw soft wheat berries
2 1/2 cups veggie broth

1 cucumber, cubed
1 large tomato
1 orange pepper
2 green onions
2 cups fresh spinach

3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced

steak, pan fried and then thinly sliced (but anyway you cook it would be good)


  1. Combine wheat berries and stock in a pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer.  Allow to cook until the stock has all been absorbed. (anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2 hrs).  Once done cooking, allow to cool.  This may mean spreading them out on a baking sheet and placing in the fridge.
  2. Combine veggies in a salad bowl.
  3. Combine dressing ingredients together and emulsify.
  4. Mix wheat berries, veggies and dressing together – if you want you can combine everything except the spinach and let sit together for the flavours to intensify.
  5. Once steak is cooked and allowed rest, slice thinly and top salad with it.

Serves 3-4

I had this moment the other day where I couldn’t remember how to make this vinaigrette…not that it would be the end of anything, but I enjoy it on a mixed green salad with crumbled feta, sliced green apples and thinly sliced red onions. Add a grilled chicken breast to the mix and it makes a tasty tasty meal.

3-4 slices bacon
2 tablespoons minced shallots or sweet yellow onion
1 clove garlic finely minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar


  1. Fry bacon in a non-stick skillet
  2. Once bacon is cooked down, remove from skillet with slotted spoon, let drain on plate with paper towel.
  3. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat
  4. Saute onions and garlic in fat – careful not to burn it
  5. Once onions and garlic are softened, add dijon mustard and mix into fat.
  6. Add vinegar and sugar allow sugar to dissolve, remove from heat and serve over salad. Can be served warm.

This isn’t meant to be kept in the fridge for much more than a day or two!