Dolmadákia

Dolma with Lemon Sauce
Photo by Caroline West

I was first introduced to dolmadákia, or dolmas, at Colossus of Rhodes, a Greek tavern in Mississauga, Ontario. My best friend and I, big-haired and single in those days, loved the place and enjoyed coaxing gossip from the bartender about the dark, handsome, and very single owner, Manny, who made us feel as if we [...]

Cured Salmon

Cured Salmon
Photo by Caroline West

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 [...]

Vol-au-vents

Volauvents
Photo by Caroline West

Vol-au-vents are light, delicate, pastries that typically hold creamy, savoury ingredients. You’ve probably seen them in the freezer section of your local grocer but if you want an extraordinary appetizer, you’ll need to handcraft your own puff pastry. If you don’t believe me, here’s what Julie Child says about vol-au-vents in Mastering the Art of [...]

Beef Carpaccio

Photo by Caroline West
Photo by Caroline West

Ever wondered how to slice raw beef so thin it practically melts on your tongue?  I considered Beef Carpaccio strictly restaurant fare until I discovered how easy it is to prepare.  All you need is a sharp knife, plastic wrap and something with weight, like the bottom of a small saucepan, to flatten the beef. [...]

Warm Olives & Chèvre

9_Olive Cheese
Photo by Caroline West

If you show up at my door unexpected, and plan to stay for a while, you’ll be served warm marinated olives. Tucked in the side compartment of the fridge, right between the mustard and pickles, you’ll find a Mason jar full of olives in flavoured oil. I’ll grab a small saucepan and tip the olives [...]

Gougères

Gourgeres Recipe
Photo by Caroline West

If I have a signature appetizer, it is gougères (pronounced goo-zhairs) — an irresistibly light French pastry, made with Gruyère cheese.  I’ve made thousands, maybe more.  I served them warm at the start of each cooking class, filling my teaching kitchen with the enticing aroma of freshly baked pastry. I’m convinced it was the warm gougères [...]