Category Archives: Appetizers

Father’s Day Last Minute Gift – Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz with Bison Carpaccio

Father’s Day Pairings – Pick Up some Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz and Whip Up Bison Carpaccio

Whether he’s a wine or scotch lover –(or, the perfect gift if he loves both!) – pick up a bottle of the new and innovative Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz and wow Dad this Father’s Day.

jacob's creek shiraz

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz is the first of its kind to undergo a unique aged scotch whiskey barrel finish. The outcome? Additional layers of complexity and smoothness, which combine beautifully with the rich plum, sweet red fruit and dark chocolate notes of Barossa Shiraz.

Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz is a full-bodied wine that offers bold, smoky flavours with an elegant finish, and pairs beautifully with meat-focused, bold BBQ dishes AND this carpaccio

Pair your gift of Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz with an equally delicious and bold dish, recipe courtesy of Vancouver’s-own Chef Dan Tigchelaar from The Bottleneck restaurant:

Bison Carpaccio
1 Bison eye of round
¼ cup coriander seed
¼ cup black peppercorn

Pickled Beet
2 Medium sized Beets
2 cups Rice Wine Vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp black peppercorn
1 Tbsp fennel seed
½ cup sugar

Truffle Aioli:
1 cup Aioli or store bought mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Truffle paste

For Garnishing Final Product
1 cup of croutons
¼ cup chiffonade Italian parsley
Pinch of smoked salt


  • Toast spices for the carpaccio and then coarsely grind
  • Roll Bison eye of round in the ground spice mix until completely covered
  • Season with salt and sear the outside of the eye of round in a very hot pan
  • After searing the outside place in the fridge and cool completely
  • After bison is chilled through wrap tightly with saran wrap and place in freezer overnight
  • While still frozen slice the bison as thin as possible and place overlapping on desired platter

For the Pickle:

  • Slice beets on a mandolin and place in container
  • Bring spices, vinegar, water and sugar to a boil and pour over the beets
  • Place in fridge and leave until completely cool
  • Once cool beets can be used to garnish carpaccio along with the truffle aioli and brioche croutons


Top Avocado Recipes for the Holidays

There will be many an avocado on our table this holiday season and we went to pinterest to get some ideas. There were some seriously odd recipes, such as Grinch Guac, but there were some serious keepers too! Here’s our Avocado Recipes for the Holidays suggestions to get those healthy Avocados From Mexico in your belly!

avocado stuffed apples

From Yummy Mummy Kitchen – Harvest Apple Salad with Avocado and Pomegranate


From Whole New Mom – Chocolate Avocado Truffles

roast trout

From Bob Vivant – Roast Potatos with Smoked Trout and Avocado

turkey waffles

From Half Baked Harvest Turkey Smashed Avocado Cranberry Waffle Melts

avocado salad

From Whats Gaby Cooking – Shredded Brussles and Avocado Salad

pom guac

From Just a Taste – Pomegranate Guac

Chef Ned Bell’s Dungeness Crab Tacos With Avocado

Chef Ned Bell is all about sustainable seafood and is devoted to spreading the word about chosing Ocean Wise products. If we want to continue having healthy seas, this really is the only choice. At Yew Restaurant + Bar the menu is heavy on the seafood and one of the items we’ve tasted and loved are these Dungeness Crab Tacos. Our friends Avocados From Mexico are also featured in this recipe, which is wonderful paired up with a glass of BC Riesling.

Ned Bell

Dungeness Crab Tacos
SERVES 2 (3 small tacos)


Juice and zest of 1 lime, divided
2 tbsp (30 mL) miso paste
2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup (may be substituted with honey)
1 cup (250 mL) canola oil
1 ripe avocado
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh cooked Dungeness crab
6 crispy wonton shells
2 radishes, thinly shaved
1/2 cup (125 mL) radish sprouts
Togarashi spice (Japanese chili powder with nori, sesame & orange zest) 


  1. Set aside 1 tsp (5 mL) of lime juice for the avocado.
  2. Mix remaining lemon juice with lime zest, miso paste, mustard, maple syrup,
  3. Canola oil in a blender to make the dressing.
  4. Mash avocado with a fork.
  5. Season with 1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Mix about 1/4 cup (60 mL) dressing into the crab meat and taste, adjusting as needed. Refrigerate the remaining dressing for up to two weeks—it is great on salads.

To Serve:

  1. Put crab-meat mixture into the wonton shells so they are bursting with crab meat.
  2. Spoon the avocado mixture onto a plate and place assembled tacos on top.
  3. Garnish with radish slices and sprouts.
  4. Garnish with Togarashi spice

#Modifry with McCain #SuperFries

McCain Fries Deserve More Than Just Ketchup

While we love a good french fry dipped in ketchup, or even  better with a little aioli, we decided to kick it up a notch and go for a slightly more posh topping for a recent dinner party!

We featured Ocean Wise seafood in this “Seafood Poutine” and even kept our choices very local. Our McCain #SuperFries Crinkle Cut fries got a decadent topping of “gravy” made with sour cream and tuffled goat chesse, then some Dungeness crab, smoked salmon, caviar, capers and parsely.

McCain fries are made with Canadian potatoes, canola oil and sea salt, and cook up crispy in about 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

We served them up in a little Chinese take out type of container, and they were devoured in mere minutes. We’d prefer that Canada was known for this type of true Canadian poutine!

West Coast Seafood Poutine

West Coast Canadian Seafood Poutine

1 package Crinkle Cut Extra Crispy McCain #SuperFries
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Salt Spring Truffled Goat Cheese
100 g crab legs
100 g smoked salmon
1/8 cup caviar – we love sturgeon caviar (Divine Caviar from the Sunshine Coast)
1/8 cup capers
2 Tbsp chopped parsley

Bake the fries according to package instructions. Mix sour cream and goat cheese together. Cut up salmon and crab into small pieces. Divide fries into 6 portions into small containers such as the Chinese take out we used or large ramikens, top with sour cream and goat cheese mix (saving a few tbsp for final plating), then sprinkle salmon, crab, and another dollop of the sour cream mix ontop and then top with caviar. Sprinkle capers and parsley around the caviar (keeping the caviar solo). ENJOY!

Check out other Modifry™ recipes: 

mccain authorlogo


Disclosure: This post was brought to you by McCain Foods Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of McCain Foods Canada.

Wild Sockeye Salmon Ceviche with Passion Fruit Ginger Vinaigrette

This week’s Avocados From Mexico post takes us to Chicha Peruvian Restaurant for ceviche! If you haven’t been to Chicha, you are truly missing out on the best Latin food in Vancouver. Chef Shelome Bouvette excels at ceviche and this recipe has some avocado in the dressing and in the final presentation. It’s healthy and while it does take a bit of time to assemble, you’ll have dressing left over that is perfect for salads or topping some grilled veggies!


For ceviche:

1lb cleaned and deboned wild salmon cut into cubes
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
2 jalapeños deseeded and finely diced.

Passion fruit ginger dressing:

1 cup lemon ponzu ( can get in Asian section in supermarket.)
1 cup passion fruit juice
1 roasted red pepper
2 red Thai chilies
1 tablespoon ginger peeled and cut up.
1 cup of honey

Wasabi aioli:

1 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon wasabi powder or paste
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 avocado
2 teaspoons peeled and chopped.
Squeeze of one lime

Wontons and nori:

Heat small pot or fryer up with veg oil. Slice thinly 1/2 pack of wonton wrappers and fry for 1 min then put onto plate with paper towels to get rid of any extra oil. Thinly cut nori the same for garnish.


  1. chop up salmon, add red onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Chill well making dressing.

2. In blender add all ingredients. Start slow. Blend until fully blended and red in colour. Pour half 3/4 of dressing over salmon.

3. To make wasabi mayonnaise add all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Put in squeeze bottle.

To assemble:

Put 1/2lb of pea shoots or mixed greens on bottom of a serving bowl. Add 1 Avocado from Mexico fanned over top. Add last bit of dressing over. Then add your ceviche.  Top with crispy wontons and nori. Wasabi aioli around the plate and garnish with black  sesame seeds.

Images courtesy of Diane Chow Fabulously Frugal!

History Of The California Roll

Last week Meinhardt’s opened a second location and as I was roaming the aisles, I spied those darn Avocados From Mexico! This time they were making their way into sushi rolls! This got me thinking about all the rolls I’ve had topped with or filled with this wonderful fruit and wondering how avocado got to be a big part of the North American sushi menus.

California Roll Avocados From Mexico

I remember being told that Tojo had invented the California Roll in Vancouver when he moved from Japan and was trying to get Vancouverites more excited about sushi. He realized the seaweed and raw fish was a bit iffy for these newcomers to sushi, so he turned the rolls inside out to hide it the seaweed and began playing with ingredients such as cooked crab and avocado. A lot of people from California made there way to Vancouver for Tojo’s offerings and the roll was a favourite with them, hence the name.

Another explanation stems from California where Chef Ichiro Mashita was welding his sushi knife. In the 1970’s tuna was only available part of the year and as Americans liked the fatty texture of the fish he looked for something to replace it with when it wasn’t around and found avocado in the produce isle. He also turned the roll inside out as American diners found seaweed unappealing.   Of course these were Mexican avocados that had then been planted in California, so hence not really Avocados from Mexico, but due to drought California has been importing Mexican Avocados and Vancouver sushi is practically 100% Avocados From Mexico right now.


I prefer to side with our local sushi chef, but it’s just as possible that both chefs came to the tasty conclusion around the same time. These crazy rolls are now a fav across North America and have led to all sorts of non-traditional sushi rolls. Of course the best are made WITH Avocados from Mexico.


Now I’m no expert in making sushi at home (as you can see from the pictures above), so I went to the experts on youtube. I’m going to watch these a few times and try again!

This will also require sushi rice.

What else do you like to roll into your sushi rolls and where do you eat sushi in Vancouver?


Chilled Summer Seafood Plate from Chef Dino Renaerts

Summer seafood is abundant, so why not put out a plate at your next gathering. Chef Dino Renaerts, Chef, Sommelier, and owner of The Bon Vivant Hospitality Group LTD & Bon Vivant Catering LTD has this tasty seafood creation for us.

Chilled Summer Seafood Plate

Serves 4
4 oz Dungeness crab meat
8 side stripe shrimp
8 scallops
Avocado From Mexico
2 rib of celery + (1 carrot, ½ onion, 1/2c white wine for court bouillon)
1 small cucumber
½ pint heirloom gem tomatoes
1 mango
1 bunch breakfast radishes
1 Belgium Endive
1 -2 jalapeño
Picked cilantro leaves
1-2 lime / 1 lemon
1 tsp mayo
1tbsp crème fraiche
Olive oil & seasoning

Method: peel celery & cucumber and brunoise, set aside in a bowl, add crab meat, seasoning, zest of ½ lemon, 1 tsp mayo, season lightly and mix, set aside. Heat a court bouillon up and lightly blanch scallops & side stripe shrimp (30 seconds – 1min) let cool and marinate with lime juice, S&P, finely diced jalapeno and cilantro, set aside. Cut Avocado in half, remove pit & place in a food processor with, ½ lime juiced, 1-3 tsp crème fraiche, S&P, & 2-3 leaves of cilantro. Pulse until smooth, and set aside. Peel & cut mango – cutting crosswise across ½ mango to achieve slivers. On a mandolin, slice silhouettes of radishes, & Jalapeno, and cover with ice water.

To Assemble: take a rectangular plate, and 1 tsp of avocado crema – place dollop on one corner of plate and use back of the spoon to smear across the top 1/3 of the plate. Add 1 tbsp of crab salad mixture in a line across the bottom of the smeared avocado. Place marinated side stripe shrimp & scallops artfully arranged around crab salad. Slice endive & gem tomatoes, add to a bowl, add drained radishes & jalapeño, dress with oil & seasoning and garnish plate filling in empty spaces, garnish with mango spears and serve….bon appetite!

About Chef Dino Renaerts

Dino Renaerts

 Dino Renaerts has firmly established himself as one of the west coast’s culinary leaders. Born, raised, educated and trained in Vancouver, Renaerts has built a prolific career spanning over two decades that has seen him cook in a clutch of the city’s finest restaurants. Today, Renaerts applies his talent, passion and vision to his role as partner in The Bon Vivant Consulting Group, serving discerning clientele across the Lower Mainland.

A love of wine inspires Renaerts’s cuisine. In 1999, he was the first chef in Canada to become a Certified Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild. Renaerts’s expertise in oenology earned him the runner-up Sommelier of the Year award at the Vancouver International Playhouse Wine Festival in 2006 and 2010.

Studies at the Dubrulle French Culinary School and a three-year apprenticeship at the William Tell led to roles at Bishop’s and Le Gavroche. Renaerts cooked for celebrities and royalty at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel and Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and further honed his skills in the award-winning kitchens of Bistro Pastis and West. He later accepted executive chef positions at the Crown Plaza Hotel Georgia and the Metropolitan Hotel, home to the acclaimed Diva restaurant.

Recognition for his distinct, innovative approach to cooking has followed Renaerts throughout his career. He has garnered accolades for numerous regional and international competitions and was named ‘a culinary talent to watch’ by Vancouver and City Food magazines, and the Province newspaper. He has also earned Best Northshore Restaurant since moving across the bridge to West Vancouver.

Devoted to his province and his craft, Renaerts is actively involved in British Columbia’s culinary scene. In 2014, he showcased his talents at several high-profile events, including the David Hawksworth Culinary Adventure at the West Coast Fishing Club for the 8th year, Dish n’ Dazzle, and the Chefs’ Table Society of B.C.’s Curry Cup. Renaerts served first on the board and later as president of the BC Chef’s Association from 2004 to 2009; he continues to be an active board member with the BC Hospitality Foundation.

Global influences have helped fuel Renaerts’s passion for cuisine. He has represented Canada’s culinary excellence in Indonesia and California and has drawn inspiration from visits to Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco, New York, the Napa Valley and Portland. Renaerts counts Argentina and France’s Champagne region as his next culinary destinations.

Renaerts’s education in wine led to his most important partnership: his marriage to restaurant-industry veteran, Nessa van Bergen, whom he met during an International Sommelier Guild course at Dubrulle Culinary Arts. Today, Renaerts and van Bergen are partners in The Bon Vivant Consulting Group and have two vibrant little girls who keep life busy and bright.

Chef Victor Bongo’s Seared Scallops with Cornbread Cakes Mango Salsa, Avocado Mousse and Chipotle Aioli

Another great Avocados From Mexico recipe from our friend Chef Victor Bongo! Look forward to more chef’s recipes in our Avocados From Mexico chef’s series. AND look forward to Chef Bongo’s new cookbook, Born to Cook, out soon!
Latin-Style Seared Scallops with Cornbread Cakes Mango Salsa, Avocado Mousse and Chipotle Aioli

3 T Extra virgin olive oil
16 10/20 Scallops, thawed, cleaned and muscles removed.
TT Salt and black pepper
1 t Ground morita pepper
4 Cornbread cakes
3 T Mango salsa
6-8 T Chipotle aioli
1 cups Avocado mousse

• Preheat oven to 400⁰F.
• Make sure the cornbread, avocado mouse, chipotle and mango salsa is made and ready. Than heat large frying pan on medium-high heat and add vegetable oil. While oil is heating up, pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, and season with salt, black pepper and morita pepper.
• Pan-sear scallops for 15 seconds on one side until golden brown, only do four at a time to keep the pan hot. Once finished, transfer scallops onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, bake for an additional 3 minutes in the oven. Set aside.

Plating: Place 4 plates and ½ teaspoon dots of avocado mousse on the plate and a piece of cornbread cake on top. Place ½ teaspoon of chipotle aioli on top of the cornbread, and top each with a seared scallop. Place ½ teaspoon of mango salsa on top of each scallop, garnish with some micro greens.

Avocado Mousse

2 Avocados, ripened
½ cup Sour cream
1 T Heavy whipping cream
1 t Lime juice, freshly squeezed
TT Salt and black pepper

• Cut both avocados in half, peel and remove piths.
• Place processed avocados into food processor. Add sour cream, whipping cream, lime juice, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and store in fridge.

Cornmeal Cake
1 ½ cup Cornmeal
1 t Salt
½ cup Milk, 2%
2 Eggs, large
1 t Baking soda
½ cup Vegetable oil
½ cup Sugar, white
½ cup Frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed

• Preheat oven to 350⁰F.
• Mix all the ingredients and pour into a greased 8×8 inch baking dish, glass preferred. Bake until golden on top, test with a paring knife or tooth pick inserted into the center, approximately 20 minutes. It should come out clean, if it doesn’t, keep checking every 5-7 minutes. Once done, pull out of oven and let cool.
• Cut into round pieces using a 3-4 inch cookie cutter.

Chipotle Aioli
½ cup Mayonnaise
2 t Chipotle pepper, chopped
TT Black peppercorn, ground
In a small bowl mix 2 ingredients together and season with ground black pepper to taste.


Mango Salsa
¼ cup Red onion, diced fine
¼ cup Red bell pepper, diced fine
¼ cup Yellow bell pepper, diced fine
¼ cup Roma tomato, diced fine
1 Ripe mango, diced fine
1 t Sambal Oelek
1 T Fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T Extra virgin olive oil
1 t Fresh lime juice
TT Salt and black pepper

In a medium sized bowl mix all ingredients in and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: Serves 4

Chef Bongo Latin Scallops

Pairing: Dry, medium bodied BC Pinot Gris. Loads of ripe stone fruits like peaches and apricots, along with a great natural acidity.


Victor Bongo


Chef Victor Bongo gained his respectable reputation by challenging all culinary standards.  Chef Bongo’s culinary creations and expertise have landed him many awards.  From “Chef of the Year” four years in a row, Gold Medal as the Youngest accomplished Chef, by CCFC to an outstanding award of excellence from Chef’s Congress as one of The Top Ten Chefs in Canada.

Chef Bongo mentor is Chef Edmund Liew, a 3 star Michelin Chef is who Chef Bongo credits the foundation of his career.  His first book, “The Excellence of Chef Victor Bongo” provides readers a glimpse into the journey and path that became the creation of Chef Victor Bongo.

Chef Bongo has been recognized for his extraordinary work with children and the community.  He is dedicated to providing positive changes in the community and his home, Africa.  He is known for his work with Dr. Greg Chang of Super Chefs of the Universe, his devotion of prevention of childhood obesity and educating young children on the importance of nutrition.



Moroccan Feast – Dips

We recently hosted a Moroccan-themed dinner. A typical Moroccan meal always begins with a few dips and spreads, and we whipped up a few to ensure our guests didn’t go hungry before the main event.

A and B Rentals

I always make Hummus so I wanted to venture into the land away from the chickpeas to the fava bean, so Bessara it was. For my recipes I generally troll the internet and compare a few and then adjust (usually quite a bit) to my liking.


Took this picture – pre garnish. You are tasked with fancying it up with olive oil, spices and herbs.


1 1/2 cups dried fava beans
1/4 cup olive oil and more for garnish
6 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 onion diced
1 lemon juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon ground cumin and more for garnish
1 teaspoon sweet paprika and more for garnish
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Handful chopped parsley and more to garnish

Soak the dried fava/broad beans overnight in a big bowl of water and then peel and discard the outer skin. In large pot boil fava beans with 1/2 roughly chopped onion, 3 of the garlic cloves and then reduce the heat to medium for an hour. Drain, but reserve liquid and cool.

Add the bean mixture to a food processor (we’ve got our handy Kitchenaid) and add the rest of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, spices and a bit of reserved liquid – slowly add about 1/4 cup if beans were well drained. Process on high speed until smooth, adding additional liquid if necessary to thin.  It should be thin enough to pour or spread out on a plate. Garnish with ground cumin, paprika, paprika, olive oil, and chopped parsley and serve with pita bread on a nice looking tray. Get fancy with the olive oil for finishing and splurge on a good one.


This was the first time making this one and it’s a keeper.

2 large eggplant, peeled and chopped roasted at 350 for 30 mins
5 large tomatoes chopped
5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup parsley
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Scoop the eggplant into a large pot and add all ingredients. Simmer for about 40 mins smashing down with a potato masher occasionally. Liquid should be reduced and the zaalouk should be dip like. Serve beside the Bessara with pita, a crusty loaf or crackers.

Photo at top is from Dianne Chow of Fabulously Frugal who was a guest and a provider of an amazing boozy tiramisu. I was so damn busy cooking and trying to be a proper hostess my pics were sparse. And Dianne, the Bessara fava bean dip is particular frugal. As for Zalouk, eggplant and tomatoes can get a bit pricey in off season.