Archive for the ‘Antipasti’ Category

Summer Fruit Salsa……. or Ceviche?…….REFRESHING! 

Summer fruit salsa

Beautiful to behold, this deliciously different fruit salsa is perfect for the warmer months. Fruit salsa goes well with grilled meats, sandwiches, burgers, pasta and vegetables.  But…it’s  most amazing asset is its nutritional value. This recipe serves four people yet it is almost CALORIE FREE!  25 calories, and .03 grams of fat per serving (if you don’t add the  raspberry vinaigrette)  Plus it is totally GLUTEN FREE, and can become a refreshing CEVICHE by just adding some chopped shrimp.

So many times during the warmer months, we get bored with the same old salads.  Why not add a different sweet and sour twist with watermelon, pineapple, plus a little jalapeno kick to boot.


                                                                               Calories            Fat       

½ cup pineapple (1/4 “ chop)                      33              .02

½ cup tomato (1/4 “ chop)                            10              .01

½ cup watermelon (1/4 “ chop)                10              .01

½ cup cucumber (1/4 “ chop)                    10              .02

¼  cup diced jalapeno pepper                    12              .02                 

½ cup  chopped green onion tops            5              .01

½  cup  red onions (diced)                           20              .01

½ cup chopped cilantro                                 0              .01

Pinch sea salt                                   Total         100            .11

Vinaigrette                                                       250-350      .00

Add 1 tsp lemon or lime juice, plus 1 TBS raspberry vinegar to bowl, whisk in 2-3 TBS olive oil until thickened.  (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar)  Don’t add the vinaigrette yet.  Refrigerate for one hour. For the freshest flavor, toss the salsa with a pinch of salt and then the vinegar just before you serve it, or you can add the vinaigrette and let it marinate before serving.

(vinaigrette adds 200 – 300 calories)

 Special Note:  CEVICHE

Try adding chopped shrimp to this salsa and it becomes ceviche, the famous South American dish dating back to the Incas.

 Needless to say, preparing and eating delicious and nutritious foods is not only fun, but really good for your health.

 About the Author:  Wellness Chef Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook, Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years, plus leading culinary tours to their villa in Tuscany. For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try  


Super simple shrimp & cucumber appetizer

Super simple shrimp & cucumber appetizer

So, how many times have you been asked to bring a “small appetizer”  (antipasta/hors d’oeuvre) to a party?  You start to panic, trying to dream up something that is quick, unique, tasty and won’t cost your last pay check for the ingredients.  Well, here’s one that will make you the hit of the party……….plus (don’t tell anyone)  it’s really simple to prepare.

Shrimp and cucumber hors d’oeuvre

24 medium raw (shell on) shrimp (31-40 size)

1 English cucumber

Spread (acts like glue to hold shrimp on cuc slices)

3 oz cream cheese (4 -5 TBS)

2 TBS mayonnaise

2 TBS melted butter

1 TBS fresh lemon juice

Pinch sea salt

Blend together, refrigerate for 15 minutes to firm up

Chopped chives for garnish

1. Cook shrimp in boiling water for 3-4 minutes, refresh in ice water

2. Remove shells, dry shrimp

3. Slice cucumber into 24 slices, dry top side

4. Arrange cucs on platter, spread scant tsp of spread on top

5. Place one shrimp on top of spread

6. Garnish with chopped chives

About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook,  Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years.

For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try 


Insalata di Farro 

Ancient grain FARRO salad with fennel, ceci, tuna, tomatoes, and basil at the Shores of Erie Wine and Food Festival in Amherstburg, Ontario Ancient grain FARRO Salad


Last weekend was the Shores of Erie Wine & Food Festival in Amherstburg, Ontario.  Right on the grounds of Fort Maldon this festival boasts over 8000 foodies all enjoying great wines and food demonstations.  

This was my fifth year back as a demo chef and we had a standing room only packed tent.  The Canadians are the BEST audience. This year, I featured a very special salad with FARRO, fennel, ceci beans, real Italian tuna, grape tomatoes, and basil.   The crowd loved it, so I thought I would include it in this blog.  

 If you are not familiar with FARRO, it is an ancient grain that was used to feed the Roman Army!  The grains are larger than barley and require a little soaking…….but provide a wonderful nuttiness and texture to this Italian salad.   With autumn upon us, this grain will become one of your favorites to also use in soups. 

Insalata di Farro (Farro,tuna,ceci,fennel salad)  

(also known as Insalata di Spelt)  

½  cup dry farro (spelt) Makes 1 cup             For Cooking farro 

2 cans tuna (5 oz in oil)                                       ½ cup celery (large chop)  

½ full cup ceci beans                                           ¼ cup onion (large chop) 

½  full cupseedless cucumber (sliced)         1 small carrot (large chop) 

¾ full cup red onion (thinly sliced)               3 cups water 

1 cup fennel (thinly sliced)                                2 TBS olive oil 

1 cup grape tomatoes (halved) about 18 

¼ cup fresh basil (torn not chopped)            DRESSING 

2 cups mixed greens or arugula                       4 TBS red wine vinegar 

 ¼ tsp sea salt                                                           3 TBS olive oil 

                                                                                        2 TBS lemon juice 

                                                                                        2 toes garlic (minced with salt) 

1. To cook farro, sauté celery, onion, carrot in olive oil for 5 minutes, 

    add farro, stir, add water, cover & simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes 

    until farro is al dente.  Drain, discard veggies, let cool.  

2. In a large bowl, combine, farro, tuna with oil, ceci, cucumber, toms, 

    onion, fennel, and basil. 

3. Wisk together oil , lemon & vinegar (add pinch of sugar) 

4. Toss salad with dressing, and then add greens, or serve over greens 

Serve with crusty bread 

About the Author  Part time chef  Doug Cordier, is a food writer, TV cook,  Certified Ergonomic Consultant and business man. Doug is the owner of Cascom Group Travel and has been teaching corporate and Italian cooking classes for twenty years. 

For more foodie thoughts and recipes, try   



This recipe is based on a very simple dish that we encountered in Montepuluciano, Italy.  The trattoria was very small and located in the basement. The combination of the salty prosciuto, capers, creamy mozzarella , and crispy bread is sublime…………plus  really easy.  In Italy, the very best ingredients are always used. The INGREDIENTS speak for themselves.  That’s why the food in Italy is so great.

Prosciutto Crostini with pinenuts & capers

Large crostini with prosciutto, mozzarella, pine nuts & caper

4 slices rustic bread (cut on long diagonal)

2 slices prosciutto (cut lengthwise)

2 TBS chopped pine nuts  

4 TBS mozzarella cubes (1/4 “)

2 drained capers

Chopped Parsley

2 TBS olive oil & paint brush

  • Lightly paint each slice of bread with olive oil
  • Place long slice of prosciutto on each crostini
  • Place on baking sheet in 375 oven for 15 minutes
  • Remove from oven, put cubes on crostini, return to oven 2-3 minutes
  • Remove from oven, sprinkle on pine nuts and capers
  •  Return sheet to oven for 2 minutes until bubbly.
  • Serve immediately , garnish with parsley

Caution:  Oven times and temperatures may vary

Bon appetitto   

Makes two servings