Wednesday, November 18, 2009

smoked salmon perfect for sandwich, pizza - or class - recipe: smoked salmon tartare on crisp potato rounds

Last week I had the pleasure of teaching an appetizer cooking class at Household China. The class was named “Shortt Bites” and I had quite a BLAST teaching it!

Several years ago, while a student at George Brown Chef School in Toronto, I assisted chefs who gave cooking classes at Upstairs at Loblaws and Dish Cooking Studio. It was a fabulous way to network, pick up a lot of handy tips and tricks, and of course, eat! It was a perfect job for a starving student like me. Well, allow me to rephrase that – perfect for a broke student who was determined to still eat well!

As an assistant in Toronto, I had to shop for the grocery items, prep the food, assist the chef during the class and don’t forget take care of all of those dishes! So what a pleasant surprise last Thursday evening when I arrived at Household China to find the grocery items purchased, the food prepped (perfect mise en place, Thanks Donna-Marie!), two accomplished assistants and one friendly dishwasher ready to help me all evening!

The class went off without a hitch – we worked our way through five recipes: warm cheese olive bites (recipe can be found on my website: ); coconut shrimp with ginger tamarind dipping sauce (recipe also on my website); date rumaki (medjool dates stuffed with chèvre and almonds and wrapped in hickory bacon); savoury French toast with baked brie and red pepper jelly; and smoked salmon tartare on crisp potato rounds.

This smoked salmon recipe is easy and elegant and can be used in other applications (try some spread on a flatbread or pizza shell topped with goat cheese, in a wrap, folded into an omelet, or used as a gourmet sandwich filling)

smoked salmon tartare on crisp potato rounds

note: recipe can be halved

yield: about seven dozen hors d’oeuvres


  • eighteen ounces smoked salmon, diced
  • one-quarter cup capers, rinsed and chopped
  • one shallot, peeled and minced
  • two to three tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
  • one teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • zest of a lemon
  • the juice of half a fresh lemon (may need more)
  • good-quality olive-oil (one or two drizzles)
  • herb potato crisps (two to three bags)
  • full fat sour cream, crème fraîche or Devon cream, for garnish


  • Combine all of the ingredients and toss gently.
  • Check the seasoning, add more pepper or lemon juice, if necessary.
  • Place a small dollop (about 1 teaspoon) of smoked salmon mixture on top of each potato round.
  • Top salmon mixture with a small dollop of sour cream, crème fraîche or Devon cream and a sprig of fresh dill.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

celebrating an anniversary with lamb meatballs - recipe: moroccan lamb meatballs (or burgers)

Hard to believe, but I’m celebrating my baby’s fifth birthday this week.

No, not Johnny’s b-day (my son, who’s not yet two) but my shop’s birthday.

The shop was born (OK, opened) in 2004.

I jokingly refer to it as my first baby, because starting a new business is very demanding, requiring constant time and attention (much like an actual baby).

And accordingly, nurturing a new business provides an amazing sense of accomplishment.

It’s incredible to see what’s possible with hard work, care, attention. . . and help from a supportive family, friends and great employees.

This week’s recipe is an item from our original full-service catering menu.

Five years later, it’s one of the few items that still remain on our current menu — a testament to just how popular an appetizer it is.

These Moroccan lamb meatballs are great to pass around at a party — and I know from my years in catering that meatballs and shrimp are always the first appetizers “to go”, no matter how undemanding or sophisticated the crowd.

Note: an easy summer substitute is Moroccan lamb burgers.

Please join us on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7 for our customer appreciation anniversary sale, happening at my shop on 55 Erb St. E. in Waterloo.

Thank you so much to the DSG team and to our loyal customers who have become friends.

moroccan lamb meatballs (or burgers)

makes about 40-50 small meatballs (or 12 burgers)


  • 5 pounds lean ground lamb
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound cooking onions, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

method (meatballs and burgers)

  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and sauté onions until soft and light golden in colour, about 7–9 minutes.
  • Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about two minutes.
  • Add salt, allspice, cumin, and cinnamon and cook for another two minutes, stirring well. Cool.
  • Place lamb in large bowl. Add cooled onion mixture, currants, mint, eggs and breadcrumbs.

method for meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Form lamb mixture into small meatballs.
  • Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake in oven until cooked throughout, about 18-25 minutes (time will vary, depending on the size of the meatballs and your oven) Serve with a spiced yogurt sauce, if desired.

method for burgers

  • Shape lamb mixture into roughly seven-ounce patties.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill for about seven to nine minutes on each side or until a thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

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