Samantha Potter » Vancouver Food Blog

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This year the world lost someone special.  Someone whose smile lit up everyone’s hearts, whose positivity spread to those around her, whose passion for nature was immense, and who has continued to teach us all to follow our hearts and do what we love. Thank you, Zoe, for all that you have given and continue to give us.

When my friend Blaise approached me to help organize and cook for a community long table event I was insanely intimidated and was completely unsure as to how I could possibly take something like that on.  So many thoughts were running through my head but at the top of the list had to be “I have no formal training, nor have I ever worked in a restaurant… Do I even know how to cook for 44 people?”  Before my final decision was made, the thought of Zoe popped into my head and I realized it could be an event that embodied so much of what she stood for; community, nature, local ingredients, and great company.  I had a number of motivations and reasons to help take on this event, however, the top of the list was to do it for Zoe and bring a sense of community into our city.

With that I decided to do it and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people helping Blaise and I.  We had 44 (almost all) strangers to our event and the night was filled with laughter, meeting new friends, and sharing good food. For our first event the menu was West Coast inspired. Given it is summer I also wanted to keep the menu simple and fresh. I mean, who wants to spend hours inside cooking a meal when it’s so nice out?! That is what winter is for! So today I will share a few of the dishes Ginene from OliveCoconut and I made. The photos you see were taken by the very talented MaryBeth Lafferty Photography.

Zoe, I know you helped our night go smoothly and that you were there enjoying our meal with us.  You truly continue to teach us and inspire us daily.  We will never forget to keep our heads up and hearts strong.

 Thank you so much to everyone who attended, you guys made the night as special as it was!  If you’re in Vancouver on August 30th and want to attend the next event you can purchase tickets here.

Caprese Salad with a Twist
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  2. 1/2 cup bocconcini
  3. 2 avocados
  4. 1/2 cup fresh basil
  5. 1 tablespoon balsamic reduction
Instructions
  1. Cut cherry tomatoes in half length-wise and place on your serving dish.
  2. Add bocconicini and avocados on top of the tomatoes.
  3. Roughly chop your fresh basil and sprinkle it over the bocconicini, avocados, and tomatoes.
  4. When you're ready to serve add your balsamic reduction.
Notes
  1. This can be prepared ahead of time - just add your balsamic reduction right before serving.
  2. I am obsessed with Nonna Pie's Balsamic Reduction made in Whistler if you're not up for making it.
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/

BBQ Sockeye Salmon
Serves 6
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 900g sockeye salmon (preferably a whole half)
  2. 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  3. 1-2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
  4. 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1/2 a lemon
  6. 1/2 cup fresh dill weed
Instructions
  1. Heat your BBQ to medium-high.
  2. Evenly coat your entire salmon with garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Once your BBQ is heated, cover the racks in tin foil and place a bit of olive oil onto the tin foil.
  4. Place the salmon on top of the tin foil and drizzle the top with a bit of olive oil. Cook for ten minutes.
  5. While your salmon is cooking thinly slice your lemons and after ten minutes is up add the lemon slices on top of the salmon and cook for another ~10 minutes.
  6. When your entire salmon has changed colour , check the centre to make sure that it is fully cooked and if it is, remove from heat.
  7. Cut into even filets, garnish with fresh dill weed, and serve.
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/

Two and a half weeks ago I found myself exploring one of my favourite cities, New York.  Maybe it’s because of where I am in my life – constantly on the go, definitely hustling, and really really food focused (can you tell?!) – that I am completely obsessed with NYC. I think it’s mostly the fact that the city really does never sleep and that there is always something exciting happening.

When I told my friends I was going there everyone had amazing suggestions, which naturally all revolved around eating and drinking (I clearly hangout with the right people!). The amount of delicious food I consumed is still overwhelming to think about. One of the healthier food choices I made while I was there was a salad from Hudson Clearwater – a quaint restaurant in West Village with no sign in front and was what seemed like a hot spot for locals.

As we know, I am not a salad person but the salad I ate at Hudson Clearwater was arguably just on the cusp of being a salad; I would almost even call it a quinoa bowl as there is much more quinoa than there are greens. It can also be eaten as a full meal (I usually struggle justifying having a salad for dinner so that is big of me to say!).  So I had to recreate this healthy dish.  The greens and the quinoa compliment each other so well and the addition of the pear confit adds a sweet touch to this dish.  I am totally a texture person so the crunch the almonds add help complete the salad. 

I guess until I move there I’ll have to live with bringing the littlest bit of NYC into my kitchen, I suggest you do the same!

Pear Confit and Red Quinoa Salad with a Poached Egg
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1.5 cups red quinoa
  2. 3 cups vegetable stock
  3. 1.5 cups swiss chard
  4. 1.5 cups kale
  5. 1/2 cup almond silvers
  6. 2 or 3 large anjou pears, sliced thinly
  7. 2 tablespoons oil
  8. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  9. Desired amount of asiago cheese
  10. 4-6 eggs (depending on how many dishes you're making)
  11. 1/2 cup vinegar
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook red quiona as per package instructions (usually 1:2 quinoa to liquid ratio) in a pot. I usually use a stock instead of water for more flavor (hence the veggie stock in the ingredient list).
  2. In a medium pan, heat oil, sugar, and pears over low heat for 10-15 minutes (until pears are soft and shrunken). Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Cut swiss chard and kale into bite sized strips.
  4. Once your quinoa is done cooking, add in pears, almonds, swiss chard, and kale. Mix well.
  5. Poach your eggs the way you like or if you don't have a specific method use this: bring water and vinegar in a large pot to a slow boil and stir the water in a circular motion. Crack one egg into a small dish or spoon and gently place it into the water, repeat per egg. Remove after 2-4 minutes (depending on desired done-ness).
  6. Plate your quinoa, add your poached egg and cheese.
Notes
  1. Can serve 4-6 depending on your portion sizes.
  2. I like to use the egg yolk as my "dressing" but if you wanted you could use the remaining oil and sugar sauce from your pear confit.
Adapted from Hudson Clearwater - NYC
Adapted from Hudson Clearwater - NYC
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/

Vancouverites, have you been to Ask for Luigi? If you just answered no, you’re really truly missing out on what is possibly the best restaurant in Vancouver.  Literally everything I ate was made to perfection.  Their gluten-free pasta is made in house and is beyond delicious; I could easily live off of it.  Aside from how amazingly delicious their gluten-free pasta was, I was also in love with this dish: Cauliflower Aioli.  Maybe it was because they saturated it with cheese, maybe because roasted cauliflower is one of my favourite veggies, but really I think it was because they had a perfect mixture of ingredients. Needless to say, I took it upon myself to replicate this gem of a dish and I think I’ve done it and possibly elevated it (slightly) with my favourite addition of roasted capers. 

SO, if you’re like me and super impatient, either make a reso at Ask for Luigi a month in advance (seriously do this, you’ll be eating dinner at 5:30 or not at all if you don’t) OR make this at home as often as you like!

Roasted Cauliflower and Capers
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head of cauliflower (cut into florets)
  2. 2 tablespoons of capers
  3. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  4. sea salt (desired amount, I used 1/2 teaspoon)
  5. fresh ground pepper (desired amount, I used 1-2 teaspoons)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Coat cauliflower with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
  3. Place the cauliflower onto a tin foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, flip the cauliflower and add the capers.
  5. Bake for another 20 minutes.
Notes
  1. Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main
Adapted from Ask Luigi
Adapted from Ask Luigi
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/
Aioli
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 garlic cloves, crushed into a paste
  2. 1 egg yolk
  3. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  4. 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cholula hot sauce
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  9. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  10. 1/8 cup fresh mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Whisk egg yolk, fresh lemon juice, and dijon mustard in a bowl until well mixed.
  2. While whisking, slowly add olive oil on tablespoon at a time until no more oil remains; if the mixture separates stop adding oil and whisk until mixture comes back together).
  3. Whisk in garlic paste and cholula.
  4. Place roasted cauliflower and capers onto your desired serving dish, coat with a generous amount of aioli, Parmesan, and mint.
  5. Serve warm.
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/

I am totally weird in that often times I really like (almost prefer) burnt/crispy things.  So when I saw nearly burnt beans in month’s BA Mag I knew I had to replicate them.  I haven’t got a clue what the magazine actually said to do though.  Instead of reading it I got really excited and went to picked some peas from the garden and luckily, I had grabbed some green beans from the farmers market the Sunday prior which were still in the fridge.  I was set… except for the whole (in)ability to BBQ thing… So admittedly, I initially did not make these on the BBQ but I did discover that the cast iron pan I have works wonders! Yes, yes… maybe one day I’ll BBQ.  Anyways, these little pockets of goodness are most importantly, a healthy snack and one that you can’t stop munching on.  You really can add any flavors you want, my suggestion is below. 

Charred Peas and Green Beans
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 30 green beans
  2. 30 peas (in their pods)
  3. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 - 2 tablespoons crushed chillies (depending on how spicy you want them)
  5. Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Coat peas and green beans in olive oil, half of the crushed chillies and half of the sea salt.
  2. BBQ (or using a cast iron dish over the stove) on high for 5-10 minutes flipping once, until peas and beans are charred.
  3. Remove from BBQ (or cast iron dish) and toss with remaining chillies and sea salt.
  4. Serve warm.
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine July 2014
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine July 2014
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/

 

 

I have this weird thing with ginger ale. It’s my solution every time I don’t feel well: stomach ache – for sure ginger ale, head ache – probably ought to give ginger ale a go, your knee is swollen – ginger ale? to help the swelling? worth a shot?

I also thoroughly enjoy mixing it with whiskey – try it!!!  Except I really hate all of the sugar that comes with it so I decided to solve my own problem with this drink – the sugarless  homemade ginger ale.  PS-it’s insanely delicious, like as good as the stuff you spend $4.00 on at whole foods and you get way more out of it! You can also modify as necessary – make it as gingery as you like (just add more or less of the syrup to the soda).

So fix all your ailments and make this healthy ginger ale!

Homemade Ginger Ale
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups water
  2. 1 cup fresh shreded ginger
  3. 1/2 cup agave nectar
  4. 2 tablespoons lime zest
  5. 6 oz soda water (per ginger ale you want to make; if you want to make it all at once 24oz)
Instructions
  1. In a pot heat water, ginger, agave, and lime zest for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and strain ginger syrup to remove lime and ginger pieces.
  3. Let ginger syrup cool in the fridge.
  4. Once completely cool, add 2-3 oz ginger syrup to 6 oz soda (per drink), over ice and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Leave syrup (unmixed) covered in the fridge until ready to drink (up to one week).
Samantha Potter http://samantha-potter.com/