hors d’oeuvres

Cucumber Bites

Here’s an appetizer that can be prepped in advanced, easy to fix when your guests arrive and deliciously fresh. These cucumber bites take a bit of a healthy spin and can easily be adapted to suit your tastes. Simply, find your favourite filling and fill your cucumber bowl and you’ll have one tasty bite (or maybe two). They are great filled with crab, spinach dip, and hummus; the options are limitless. I’d love to hear how you would fill yours!

My cucumber bites take on a Greek twist, with herbs, lemon, feta, olives, peppers, tomatoes and onion; combined to satisfy your taste buds. This recipe honestly doesn’t get any easier with three steps-cut, scoop, fill. I always prep my filling the night before and when it’s party time all that is left to do is cut the cucumber, scoop out the centre and fill- so easy!

Cucumber Bites (yields 20-24 bites)

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 roma tomato, chopped
  • 1/8 cup canned sliced black olives, chopped
  • 1/8 cup fresh feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 cup parsley/basil, chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon plus 1 tbsp zest OR 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to tasteCucumber Bites


In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pepper, onion, tomato, olives, feta, herbs, lemon juice and zest, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Peel the cucumbers partially, cut each cucumber into 1-inch thick slices. Scoop out the center of each slice with a melon baller, leaving a cucumber bowl.

Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the Mediterranean salad into the cucumber cups. Garnish with additional herbs and olive oil as desired and enjoy!Cucumber Bites

Eat Fresh. xx

Bruschetta Board

We had our first official summer kick-off BBQ/Housewarming at CasaDelSal and it was a lovely afternoon/evening spent with some of our favourite people. While we kept things pretty basic food-wise, with firing up the grill and accompanying salads; my friend Michelle put together a fantastic Bruschetta board that truly wow’d our guests. This was a dish that had to be shared and evidently I asked Michelle to enlighten us with her creativity behind this delectable appetizer. Please read on, share with your friends and above all else, try this one out!

Thank you again Michelle for putting together such an impressive board with a new-fashioned twist! Here’s her dish:

This past weekend I was invited to a BBQ at a friends house in Toronto.  If you know anything about our gatherings, they are mainly focused around family and friends with plenty of food and drink.

I was racking my brain trying to think of what I was going to bring for an appetizer – something fresh, colourful, easy to transport and make ahead and doesn’t require much kitchen time at the BBQ.  Huuummmm….summer…seasonal…ah-ha! I will create a bruschetta board, a non-traditional bruschetta board. I decided I would make all the mixes first thing in the morning and when I got to the BBQ all I would have to do is cut the baguettes into thin slices, toast and assemble.

Added bonus, all these incredible mixtures are nut-free and vegetarian + vegan friendly. Mixture and assembly is as follows:

Bruschetta Board Close Up

Farmers Market Cherry + Strawberry + Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1+1/2 cups fresh cherries, pits removed and chopped
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries, stems removed and chopped
  • 5-7 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (stack the leaves as evenly as you can, roll the stacks tightly so it resembles a cigar, slice the roll crosswise into very thin slices and pull apart into strips)
  • 5-7 mint leave, cut into chiffonade
  • 2-3 tbsp finely diced red onion
  • 4 tsp raspberry balsamic vinegar (regular balsamic vinegar can be used as a substitution) + extra for drizzling
  1. Wash and cut all fruit
  2. Add all ingredients into a medium size glass bowl, mix gently
  3. Cover and set aside in the fridge until ready to use

Farmers Market Tri-Colour Peppers

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large peppers – 1 x red, orange and yellow
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  1. Wash and thinly slice the peppers
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan on low heat, add peppers, season with sea salt and pepper
  3. Stir occasionally until the peppers are very soft, approx. 30 mins
  4. Add additional sea salt and pepper if required
  5. Cover and set aside in a medium glass bowl in the fridge until ready to use

Butternut Squash + Caramelized Onion + Maple Syrup

  • 4 cups of 1-inch cubes of peeled butternut squash (tip – President’s Choice offers already cut butternut squash in approx. 1-inch cubes, you can pick up a package if you’re tight for time or don’t want to fuss with cutting your own)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • A few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar + extra for drizzling
  • 7-10 mint leaves, cut into chiffonade
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Spread butternut squash into a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper
  3. Let cook for approx. 30 mins until fork tender, turning with a spatula every 10 mins, remove from oven
  4. In a large skillet heat on low approx. 2 tbsp. of olive oil, add onions, season with sea salt and cook until very soft and caramelized, approx. 20-25 mins
  5. Add maple syrup and the red pepper flakes to the onions, let cook for another minute while giving it a gentle stir
  6. In a large glass bowl combine the butternut squash, onions and balsamic vinegar, mash the mixture together (I used my Pampered Chef Potato Masher – works wonders), season to taste with additional sea salt and pepper
  7. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use

Bruschetta Board Assembly (requires 2-3 fresh baguettes)

  1. Remove toppings from the fridge and gently mix
  2. Turn oven on to the ‘hi broil’ setting
  3. Thinly slice baguettes, drizzle the one side with olive oil
  4. Place in oven, broil bread until lightly toasted, remove from oven
  5. Turn bread over and drizzle the other side with olive oil and place in the oven until lightly toasted, remove from oven
  6. Place toasted baguette sliced on a wooden bread board (I lined mine up in 3 rows to showcase each variety I made)
  7. Add toppings to the baguette slices
  8. Drizzle raspberry balsamic vinegar over the Cherry + Strawberry mixture
  9. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and sprinkle mint over the Butternut Squash + Caramelized Onion + Maple Syrup mixture

Ta-dah – your non-traditional bruschetta board is complete!

Bruschetta Board

Mangia, mangia!!

xox, Michelle

Sweet Potato Rounds

Anyone who knows me, knows that I would rather put out a spread with a ton of bite sized options, rather than host a coursed meal. For me hors d’oeuvres encourage my creativity and allow me to offer a variety of options to my guests. I love pulling together each element of detail and finishing the look when it comes to the garnish and plating. Plus, putting out a table full of goodies allows me to be a social butterfly the rest of the evening.

When I look at some of my favourite go-to recipes, many to most contain either gluten or dairy.  With more restricting diets out there, I started to look for alternative options to appease my friends with sensitive tummy’s. It is important to be cognizant of restrictions or allergens of your guests, when choosing the menu, after all we don’t want any one to starve or feel sick.

This sweet potato recipe is simple, pretty, and delicious. And who doesn’t love sweet potatoes! (see benefits here)

This dish has sweet potatoes tossed in olive oil and spices, roasted and topped with a dollop of mashed avocado and topped with tomato and cilantro. These rounds are bright, savoury, and quite filling. Not to mention they look fancy without the work – major plus!

Sweet Potato Rounds

Sweet Potato Rounds

Makes 20-24

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced into ¼ inch thick pieces
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large avocado, pitted
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • sea salt
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
  •  ¼ cup cilantro

Sweet Potato Rounds


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Toss sweet potatoes, cumin, paprika, olive oil, and sea salt in a bowl until evenly coated
  3. Spread the sweet potato slices out into a single layer on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until crispy
  4. Mash Avocado with lime juice and sea salt to taste
  5. Spread the sweet potato slices out on a serving platter or tray. Top each slice with a dollop of smashed avocado, one tomato slice, and a sprig of cilantro

Sweet Potato Rounds