• Cured Salmon

    Cured Salmon

  • Minestrone Soup

    Minestrone with Pistou

  • Lentils-2

    Lentil Salad

  • Chocolate Soufflé

    Chocolate Soufflé

  • Parisian Potatoes

    Parisian Potatoes

  • Photo by Caroline West

    Carrot & Orange Soup

  • Photo by Caroline West

    Apple Turnovers


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Cured Salmon
Photo by Denise Marchessault

Cured Salmon

I first cured salmon at culinary school where I learned to scale, gut and fillet whole fish.  If you’ve ever peeled fish scales from your cheeks or plucked them from your hair, you’ll know that scaling fish is a messy job. Fortunately, fresh salmon is readily available scaled and filleted, making the curing process simple [...]

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Minestrone Soup
Photo by Denise Marchessault

Minestrone with Pistou

I love Minestrone soup but ordering it in a restaurant is dicey. Often the broth is too weak or tomato-y for my taste and if pasta is added, it’s soggy and bloated beyond recognition. I prefer a robust broth made from tomatoes and roasted chicken stock. I’ve infused mine with Kielbasa sausage and a generous [...]

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Lentils-2
Photo by Denise Marchessault

Lentil Salad

If you’re looking for a quick side dish or light lunch, you’ll want to try lentils dressed with a tart Dijon mustard vinaigrette. Toasted walnuts add a nutty crunch and freshly chopped cilantro, or parsley if you prefer, add a light, refreshing note. If I have it on hand, I’ll add a dollop of crème [...]

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A message to the reluctant cook,

Sometimes you’ll scorch the rice, burn the sugar or overwork the dough.  You might under-cook, over-salt or overcrowd the pan.

I’ve made all these mistakes and plenty more.

But with every blunder, a new lesson unfolds. Knowing what NOT to do is as important as knowing what to do. If your cooking history is, um, colourful, consider yourself ahead of the curve.

With practice, you’ll learn to trust your senses:

Touch your food.  You’ll feel when the dough is ready or when the meat is perfectly cooked.

Smell  your food. Your nose knows if the fish is fresh or funky — or when the garlic’s about to burn.

Listen to the sizzle and the sputter.  It’s telling you if your pan’s the right (or wrong) temperature.

Watch your food. It’s always perfect — just before it burns.

Taste as  you cook.  You’ll know if the soup needs a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy the pleasures of the kitchen. And have a glass of wine while you’re at it.

Just don’t toss in the apron!


Denise Marchessault