Posts Tagged ‘Salad’

Cooking With Sin Goes Lite – The Ultimate Garden-of-Eden Salad

Posted on: November 23rd, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Carla Johnson author Cooking With SinLike so many ventures into healthier eating, mine has had its fits and starts, but it keeps moving forward. Recently I had the true pleasure of sharing a kitchen demo at Word on the Street with Christine Gingerich, the author and visionary of the book “Optimal You.” Christine is driven by a sincere passion to help people live vibrant, healthier lives and she shares her recipes and advice with a gentle, personal approach.

Excited by her project, I asked Christine if she would be willing to share one of her recipes here on CWS. No surprise here, none of her recipes have booze in them, but her most-requested salad is made with red wine vinegar, so I decided it worked for me. :) And her salad is called Garden-of-Eden, the location of the “original sin.” Coincidence? I think not! 😉

The Ultimate Garden-Of-Eden Salad

by Christine Gingerich

Christine Gingerich Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

For many years, I have been known as The Salad Girl. For holidays, parties, and potlucks, I always seem to be asked to bring the salad. This recipe has been my most popular salad creation with the most tallied “oohs” and “aahs.” It contains lots of brain-nourishing healthy fats and antioxidants to help fight disease. Serve it as a healthy addition to a light lunch or as a starter with a main entrée.

1 large bowl organic mixed greens, about 8 cups (spring mix is our favourite)
1 ripe avocado, chopped
1½ cups tomato, chopped
⅓ cup carrot, finely shredded
1 cup red pepper, seeded and chopped into chunks
¼ cup red onion or shallots, thinly sliced
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup black olives, sliced or ½ cup whole
1 cup Homemade Croutons

Dressing: Garden-of-Eden Salad Dressing – see below

Clean the lettuce well. Add avocado, tomato, carrot, red pepper, onion, feta, and olives. Top with homemade croutons. Coat salad well with desired amount of dressing. Toss and serve immediately.

Note: An avocado is ripe when it changes from bright green to dark green (not completely black). It should be just barely soft when pressed with the thumb.

Yield: 6 servings          Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Garden-of-Eden Salad Dressing

This is, by far, our favourite salad dressing, and it’s especially perfect on The Ultimate Garden-of-Eden Salad. It contains anti-microbial garlic and fresh lemon to cleanse the liver. This dressing is easy to make, very nourishing and great tasting. The recipe makes a large batch that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four weeks. It’s also a delicious marinade for chicken or steak.

3 cups extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar or dark balsamic vinegar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (less if less-tart dressing is desired)
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp garlic cloves, minced (or 2 large cloves)
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
3 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper

Mix all ingredients, and store in a labelled glass bottle in the refrigerator. For easy pouring, remove dressing from fridge 10 minutes prior to pouring, and shake well. This dressing is best if allowed to marinate overnight before serving.

Yield: 4½ cups             Prep Time: 10 minutes

Check out all the great features Christine’s book “Optimal You” has to offer. It is available online or at our local Waterloo Region book stores.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

The cover of “Optimal You” by Christine Gingerich

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


Tipsy Goddess Ambrosia Salad

Posted on: October 6th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Rum, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers.”
~ Ambrose Bierce

For almost 20 years, Julie Broad’s parents ran a bed & breakfast on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada. They loved hosting travelers who came from all over the world to explore the stunning landscape of the island. Breakfast was the only meal they offered, so they made sure to serve dishes that were fresh and especially memorable.

Julie’s parents both grew up in homes that nurtured a love of excellent food. Her dad’s grandfather was a master baker and her mother’s mom was a home economics teacher. Together, they raised their family with beautiful, healthy food in their home. A few years ago, Julie collected all of her parents’ Bed & Breakfast recipes and wrote a cook book called “Breakfast with the Broads.”

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Julie and her dad

Julie’s mom has a knack for playing with traditional recipes and classing them up a little. She is also lactose intolerant, so her recipes tend to avoid creams. As a result, her dishes are often focused on fresh ingredients and natural flavours.

While the traditional Ambrosia Salad is based on cream, Julie’s mom also did not include the marshmallows. Her recipe makes fruit the focus and it elevates it to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

I recently shared this recipe at the Waterloo Food & Drink Expo and modified it for the event. I ended up using all canned fruit and I threw in a can of leechee fruit as a visual substitute for the traditional marshmallows. I also heated mine just slightly in a pan. Plus, her original recipe called for rum extract, but I added the real thing – of course!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla’s “Tipsy Goddess Ambrosia Salad”

Serves 6

½ cup coconut
1 large can tropical fruit, drained
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can leechee fruit, drained
1 lime, juiced and half the rind grated
½ cup white rum

1. In the bottom of a large pan, over medium heat, lightly toast the coconut by swirling it around until it is light brown on the edges.

2. Add the drained canned fruit to the pan.

3. Add the lime rind, fresh lime juice and rum. Stir gently for 3 to 5 minutes to allow the fruit to absorb the rum and lime. Warm it just slightly so it is closer to body temperature. Enjoy the lime and rum aroma.

4. Serve in bowls. It also stores well in the fridge and can be served chilled.

Here are two more pages from “Breakfast with the Broads.”

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

While Julie and I have never met face-to-face, we feel like we know each other as we both have many shared connections in real estate investment circles in Canada. She recently published a book sharing her investing expertise called “More Than Cashflow.” Learn more about her ventures at – Like the play on words? 😉

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

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“Pork Ninjas” Salad Dressing

Posted on: December 22nd, 2011 by Carla Johnson No Comments
Here’s a toast to the roast that good fellowship lends,
With the sparkle of beer and wine;
May its sentiment always be deeper, my friends,
Than the foam at the top of the stein”
~ Anonymous

Take a chef who loves pork, make him a die hard fan of the TV show Iron Chef, then give him a BBQ team with off-beat humour and an unmatched flare for the grill. What could you possibly name that BBQ team? …“Pork Ninjas!”

Jason Rees is loved by his fans for his extraordinary panache for all things culinary. His BBQ team “Pork Ninjas” competes all over the country and wows every crowd with their smokin’ grillin’ expertise. When Jason turned 30 he commemorated it with a very fine flying pig tattoo.

Pork Ninjas’ Salad Dressing

1/4 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 raw red onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup cream ale
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
pinch salt
ground white pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
splash of hot sauce

1. Loosely toss the bacon, blue cheese and onions.

2. In a separate bowl make the beer dressing by combining the rest of the ingredients, and whisk briskly until the beers flattens out.

3. Crumble the cheese-bacon-onion mixture over your favorite potato salad or cobb salad, then drizzle the beer dressing over top of the entire thing.

4. This dressing is truly rocking when served super fresh, so you don’t want to store it to use later.

*G-F Tip! Make this dressing with gluten-free beer and voila!

 Want to check out another salad dressing with beer? Try “Poverty Line” German Potato Salad

“Stuck on Reduction” Grilled Watermelon Salad with Madeira Caramel

Posted on: July 18th, 2010 by Carla Johnson 1 Comment

Carla Johnson author cooking With SinFive years before the Boston Tea Party, there was another party, the “Madeira Wine Party.” A ship smuggling Madeira wine for John Hancock was seized by the British – the same John Hancock who eventually signed the Declaration of Independence. A fight broke out. Hancock won and received his beloved, smuggled Madeira.

“He at first refus’d us peremptorily; but at dinner with his council, where there was great drinking of Madeira wine, as the custom of that place then was, he softened by degrees, and said he would lend us six. After a few more bumpers he advanc’d to ten; and at length he very good-naturedly conceded eighteen.” ~ Ben Franklin, 1744, asking Governor Clinton of NY for more cannon power in Boston.

Photo credit of Chef Tim Wasylko

What gravy is to English cuisine, demi-glace is to French cuisine. French cuisine has a few select “Mother Sauces” that are the bases of all other sauces – Bechamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Tomato & Hollandaise. If you’ve seen the movie “The Hundred Foot Journey,” you know how beautiful the Mother Sauces look and taste.

Espagnole is the Mother Sauce for demi-glace. Demi-glace is basically beef stock reduced. The industry standard is 50% beef stock 50% sauce espagnol reduced by ½.

When Chef Tim Wasylko was in culinary school, the demi-glace classes piqued his interest. He was enthralled by what happens when liquids are reduced. As liquids evapourate, the flavours become concentrated, so he began experimenting by reducing all the liquids he encountered. He made adult snow cones from a reduction of blueberry juice and Cabernet wine. Then he made a port-wine caramel to put on ice cream.

Tim says,

“Madeira port – a fortified sweet booze like that reduces down to a wonderful caramel. Awesome on ice cream or banana tempura split. Go get a bottle of Madeira and reduce it down to a caramel. It’s life changing.”

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin


“Stuck on Reduction” Grilled Watermelon Salad with Madeira Caramel

Serves 4
½ medium sized seedless Watermelon
1 bunch mint
1 bunch basil
1 lime
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon good quality olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
12 pieces of asparagus, blanched and peeled
200g goat cheese.
1 bottle of Madeira


  1. Pour bottle of Madeira in a large pot and place over moderate heat, bring to a boil – allow to boil hard for approximately 20 minutes or until it has reduced down to slightly less than a 1/4 cup. It should coat the back of a spoon and be nice and thick. Let it cool. Once cool, pour into a plastic squeeze bottle.
  2. Cut watermelon innto 4 square shapes approximately 5 cm by 3 cm thick. Season with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lime, and chopped basil. Toss and let rest one hour. Reserve the marinade. Place the watermelon pieces on a high BBQ grill for 1 minute per side. Allow to cool.
  3. Blanch the asparagus and cut in 7 cm long pieces. They should all be the same size.
  4. Shape goats cheese in rounds or rolls 2-3 cm in diameter. Cut into medallions.
  5. Assemble: Toss the asparagus in the marinade from the watermelon. Put 6 pieces of asparagus tight together – and perfectly lined up – down the centre of a plate. Then place the grilled watermelon on top of the asparagus in the opposite direction. Place 2 slices of goats cheese on top and make a zig zag design of the Madeira caramel in the squeeze bottle over top.



Looking for more salad recipes? Try “Pork Ninjas” Salad Dressing


Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


“Poverty Line” Yukon Gold German Potato Salad

Posted on: June 26th, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments


I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.”
~ Brendan Behan

At 24 years of age, Ian Szabo was at the peak of his career. After 3 years of cooking in the finest European restaurants and representing Canada in the Culinary Olympics 3 times, he had been appointed the Executive Sous Chef of one of the top clubs in Toronto. Running an extremely well organized brigade of over 120 people in his kitchen, he served the most distinctive dishes to the city’s wealthiest & most influential people. For his own meals, someone from his brigade would bring him the finest foods: lobster, foie gras and fillets of all cuts. Everyday he prepared, served and ate the most exquisite foods in the world.

Then, in a short period of time, everything changed. It didn’t just change, it turned upside down.

New management of the club was uncomfortable with Ian’s age. They didn’t believe he was old enough to handle the responsibilities of his job, so instead of accepting a demotion, he chose to quit.

Ian-cartoonIan’s dad owned a painting company, so he decided to spend some time working with his dad. He knew it would pay some bills and help him fill his day.

One day, during his lunch break, as he sat in the back of the painting van eating his peanut butter sandwich and inhaling the aroma of varsol, it struck him that he was now below the poverty line. He had gone from eating the best of the best to living below the poverty line eating the simplest of foods.

It was at that moment he decided to start his own business and call it “PLP,” “Poverty Line Painting.”

Today, 7 years later, PLP Contracting has grown & expanded enormously. Ian appears on television shows, newspapers and magazines. He runs a brigade again, but this one works to renovate and upgrade properties. He has taken his brigade system from his kitchen and brought it to his home renovation team and he is happily on top (of his new game) again. No one doubts him now.


Ian absolutely loves to cook. He finds it very relaxing and fun. One of his favourite meals is a potluck supper with a big twist. He invites friends over and ask each to bring fresh vegetables, meats, fruit or flavours. When everyone arrives, Ian’s challenge is to create dishes out of the miscellaneous ingredients. His friends often try to bring obscure ingredients, but I believe he has never been stumped yet!

Modest and delicious food is was Ian prefers to cook. He comes from humble roots and he loves to prepare simple foods in an extraordinary way.


Yukon Gold German Potato Salad

6 large Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 medium Spanish onion, finely diced
2 large shallots, chopped
1 small sprig of thyme, clean off the leaves and discard the stems*
1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped
3 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons herb flavoured vinegar (Ian recommends Kressi** herb flavoured vinegar)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup German “hefeweizen” wheat beer*** (pale, but cloudy)
Fresh cracked pepper
Sea salt
Bamboo skewer
Tea towel
Butter knife
Large serving bowl that holds a small bread plate at the bottom


  1. Wash the potatoes and cook them in salt water. Start them in cold water with sea salt and cook on medium-high heat for about 20 minutes.

  2. Test the potatoes for firmness. They need to be cooked, but still firm and dense (not soft – like you would for mashing.) The best way to test is by inserting a bamboo skewer. If it comes out clean, they are ready. They can also be checked with knife or meat fork. The bamboo skewer in a potato is similar to using a toothpick to check a baking cake.

  3. Drain the water and let the potatoes cool on a baking sheet or in a colander for 10 minutes. They need to be cooler, but still be warm.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix the vinaigrette by adding the shallots, onion, chives, thyme, mustard, olive oil, vinegar and 2 teaspoons of beer. Stir together and add sea salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Peel the potatoes by holding each one in the tea towel and peel the skin with the butter knife. The peels should come off easily and cleanly.

  6. Slice each peeled potato in half, the cut into ½ inch cubes and put them in the bowl of vinaigrette.

  7. Fold the cubed potatoes and the vinaigrette gently together using a rubber spatula. Cover each potato completely with the vinaigrette, then let it sit for 20 minutes. As it sits, the warmth of the potatoes will warm the vinaigrette and lightly cook the onions & shallots and the potatoes will become infused with the flavours of the vinaigrette.

  8. After 20 minutes, test one piece of potato and add flavours to taste. For example, some will prefer it more acidic and add more vinegar, while others will prefer more flavour like pepper or salt.

  9. Serve the salad in the large serving bowl that hold the bread plate at the bottom. The juices will go under the bread plate and keep the salad from getting sloppy.

  10. Pour the remaining beer in a glass and serve with a wedge of lemon.

* To clean the leaves off a fresh sprig of thyme, lightly grasp it at the base with your finger and thumb. Pull the stem out through your fingers and the leaves will fall off. Watch the video below!

** More cool bits about Kressi flavoured vinegar:kressi-herb-vinegar

Online grocery store:

Kressi Essig Vinegar has a Facebook Group Page. They say, “Kressi essig (vinegar) is the greatest liquid known to man.” I joined!

*** Popular Weissbiers (wheat beers) are Paulaner and Ayinger Weizen-bock. German wheat beers are called “weizen,” which means “wheat.” You want to use a German wheat beer in this recipe because it is from the same kind of region that the potatoes are grown in. This is key to the flavours blending. Read more about German wheat beers:


The back of Ian’s PLP Contracting van



Looking for advice and important tips about fixing and flipping? Check out Ian’s blog, “The Renovation Bible.” Interesting name for a guy whose recipe is on “Cooking With Sin.” :)

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin