November 26, 2010


Waking up to a good layer of snow on the ground this morning signalled that winter is finally here. Even though winter doesn’t officially arrive until December 21st, many experience it much earlier than that. Exactly a month ago we drove home from Toronto and encountered the first snowfall almost as soon as we drove onto the 416 ramp. Today winter seems to have arrived as it is now past noon and the layer is still there and every once in a while I see a light snowfall.

While I have been retreating more and more inside as the weather gets cooler and cooler, I have been turning to foods that are simple, easy, and warm you up inside. While this is far from world-class nosh, it makes me happy. It uses ingredients that one has on hand. Pop it in the open, then it’s ready.

Salmon done simply is how it should be. No crazy sauces or reductions, and leave off the butter and cream. Lemon, herbs, or something little to add a little flavour is all that is needed. Fish shouldn’t be complex and I find it one of the easiest things to do. I began eating fish when I found out about my wheat allergy a decade ago and find it light, healthy, and rewarding to cook. You don’t have to do much to it and the flavours come out.

I often do the same with my vegetables. No heavy and overpowering sauces. I like vegetables and I want to taste them. There are a few exceptions, but more often than not I simply use some olive oil, some vinegar, some herbs, and a little salt and pepper. You can’t go wrong.

This week I chopped up some broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes, and spread them on a baking sheet. I drizzled over some olive oil, red wine vinegar, and herbs de Provence. You can use whatever kind of oil, vinegar, and herbs you like. The combinations are endless. I also laid down some salmon and topped it with some curry paste that was in the fridge. I don’t spread it on too thick, just enough so the flavours can seep into the fish. Salmon and curries are both flavourful on their own and together they are a nice balance. Again, use whatever you like for your fish and experiment with the kind of fish too. Sometimes I drizzle maple syrup, layer on some pesto, use lemon and dill, or serve with cranberry sauce on the side.

There are so many options that are naturally gluten-free. If there is something you miss from a jar or can that contains a gluten product, do an online search or check out a cookbook. You may be surprised to find a recipe for it and in its ‘natural form’ it may be gluten-free (if not, for the amount you could substitute a gluten-free flour or remove it altogether).


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