Veggie Skewers

Veggie skewers II

Veggie Skewers

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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When hungry people are chomping at the bit at a BBQ appetizers can buy you time and these ones are so easy and tasty that your guests may even forget about the main course.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping List:

  • 8 ounces Paneer
  • 1/2 of a Large Red Onion -thick sliced
  • 1 large Red Pepper – cut into chunks
  • 12 – 18 Grape tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 6 Bamboo/Metal skewers

Putting it all together:

  1. Cut the Paneer into small cubes and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  3. Soak the bamboo skewers for 30 minutes so they won’t burn.
  4. Starting with the Paneer thread the ingredients on the skewers, alternating, until all skewers have been used.
  5. Grill at 350° for about 10 minutes.

There you have it another “Simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time……..

                             Bon Appetit

Peanut Butter Hummus

Peanut Butter Hummus

Peanut Butter Hummus

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Had a bunch of cut up and bagged veggies to use for snacks but I didn’t have anything for a dip because we had just finished store bought Hummus and I don’t really like Ranch dressing so I decided to make my own.

Now traditional Hummus is Chickpeas and Tahini as a base and then other ingredients added to your liking. I found I was out of Tahini but I remembered a conversation with a friend who makes hers with Peanut Butter so I decided to give it a go…. and it works.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping List:

  • 1 19 ounce can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 2 Garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. Place all ingredients except the Olive Oil in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. With the machine running add the olive oil.
  3. If the mixture is to thick add some warm water until you get the consistency you like.

There you have it another “Simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time…….

                          Bon Appetit

Mojo Chicken

Mojo Chicken 2

Mojo Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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I’m an eclectic cook and love all types of food…. Italian, Chinese, Greek, Mexican and one of my all time favourites CUBAN. 

Now ever since I watched the movie Chef with Jon Favreau and John Leguizamo I’ve wanted to do Mojo Pork and use it to make a true Cuban sandwich however as time was little limited today I took their inspiration and instead did Mojo Chicken and it was outta sight.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 12 boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1/4 extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Cilantro
  • 6 Garlic cloves
  • 6 Mint leaves – rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
  • Sea Salt and Ground Pepper

Putting it all together:

  1. Place the chicken thighs in a seal-able bag and set aside.
  2. In a blender mix all the remaining ingredients and blend until just smooth.
  3. Pour the liquid ingredients over the chicken, mix well and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  4. Heat the BBQ to 375° and grill the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°.
  5. Serve right away with your favourite side.

There you have it another “Simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time…….

                            Bon Appetit

 

Pasta Salad

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Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 10 - 15
  • Difficulty: Easy
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We had a BBQ for family and friends this past weekend and along with the typical burgers, sausage and pulled pork I decided to do a side dish that I don’t normally think of doing but decided to for this occasion because although it can be found at almost every BBQ get together it is pretty much never found at mine….. Pasta Salad.

Now everybody and I do mean everybody has there own version of a pasta salad. Some like it with Farfale or Penne while others prefer a creamy dressing and still others want less veggies….. I even know someone who once put red wine in theirs.

The hardest part for me was coming up with a dressing that was suited to the other ingredients however after a little searching I managed to come up with one.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 box Tri Coloured Fusili (or your pasta of choice)
  • 1 English Cucumber – chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes – deseaded and chopped
  • 1 large Red pepper – rough chopped
  • 1 Large Yellow pepper – rough chopped
  • 4 Green onions – chopped
  • 1 bag Shredded Old cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Granulated Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Grainy Mustard
  • Fresh chopped Basil and Oregano – about 3 tablespoons each
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. In a large pot of salted water cook the pasta per the package instructions.
  2. In a non reactive container mix together the Olive oil, Red wine vinegar, Granulated garlic, Grainy mustard, herbs, salt and pepper. Seal and set aside.
  3. When the pasta has cooked and cooled add the vegetables and cheese and blend well.
  4. Shake the dressing well and pour over the salad. Mix thoroughly and top with more cheese.
  5. Enjoy.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time………

Bon Appetit 

Sole Meuniere

Sole

  • Servings: “2-4”
  • Difficulty: “easy”
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‎” I think every woman should have a blowtorch.” 

Julia Child

 

I had to pick up a few things from the grocery store the other day and while I was there I was contemplating what I would make for dinner and frankly I was stumped. I could BBQ something but it was raining and miserable so that was out and I didn’t fancy a soup or stew to counteract the weather. It was while passing the seafood counter that I swear I heard a little voice saying “Pick me. Pick me” and there right in front of me was the answer to my dinner quest……. Sole!!

To be honest I have never cooked sole before but I knew there were thousands of recipes on the net for cooking fish, especially sole, so I Googled it and found this recipe which it turns out is truly a “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2-4 fillets Sole (about 140g/5oz each)
  • 6 tbsp plain Flour
  • 9 ounces Butter
  • 3 tbsp light Olive oil
  • juice from one Lemon
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • 4 ounces chopped Parsley 

Putting it all together:

  1.  In a pie pan or similar sized container mix the flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the sole in the seasoned flour shaking off any excess.
  2. Heat a frying pan and add 3 ounces of butter. When the butter has melted gently place two of the filets in the pan and cook for about six minutes, turning once using a fish spatula, or until the filets are golden brown. Repeat for the remaining filets.
  3. Remove the filets and keep warm. Wipe out the pan and add the remaining 3 ounces of butter and melt. Add the lemon juice and parsley. Mix well.
  4. Plate the sole and spoon the butter parsley sauce over top.

Cooks note: To add another level of flavour add some Capers to the butter parsley sauce before spooning over the sole.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time………

                         Bon Appetit

Chicken and Orzo stew

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Chicken and Orzo stew

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe came about as a result of my daughter and grandson getting sick and asking “daddy/pops” to make something comfy cozy to eat so I went looking and found the base for this recipe at Chicken Farmers of Canada.

Now for those that don’t know me a request of “make me something comfy cozy”will not result in a batch of chicken soup even though there is absolutely nothing wrong with chicken soup. It’s just that I like to come up with tasty alternatives and this one fits that category to a “T” and both my “patients” loved it.

Here then is how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium sized boneless skinless chicken breast– cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Vidalia onion— diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
  • 14 fl oz (415 mL) diced tomatoes with juices
  • 4 cups (1 L) reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup of rough chopped Crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 cup (250 mL) Orzo
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) kosher salt, divided
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of Tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Coriander
  • freshly chopped parsley, for serving

Continue reading “Chicken and Orzo stew”

Marinara sauce

Marinara sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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When I was a neophyte (like that word eh?) to the culinary world and I heard the word Marinara it would conjure up an image of a mysterious sauce that was very difficult to make let alone master. Well over the years I have made this sauce many many times and while I won’t go so far as to say I have mastered it I have become very comfortable in making it.

This particular spin on Marinara has kind of morphed over time from what was a very simple basic sauce to the one I like to make and my family loves to devour.

I would also like to mention that this sauce freezes very well for use in future recipes.

Here’s how we do this one…………

Shopping List:

  • 1 large can San Marzano crushed tomatoes (if you can’t find San Marzano then use a good quality crushed tomato)
  • 12 to 15 medium Roma tomatoes- cored and halved
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves- finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons each dried Oregano and Basil
  • 5 fresh Basil leaves- Chiffonade the leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiana
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Putting it all together:

  1. Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place the Roma tomatoes on a sheet tray (cut side up) and drizzle with Olive oil. Dust the tomatoes with the Salt, Pepper, Oregano and Basil
  3. Pop the tomatoes in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are tender
  4. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan
  5. Add the garlic and saute until tender- about three minutes
  6. Pour in the San Marzano tomatoes and mix well
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes
  8. Add the roasted tomatoes
  9. Using an Immersion blender or regular blender * mix the sauce until smooth
  10. Incorporate the Parmigiana and the basil leaves and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  11. Serve with your favourite pasta.

* If using a regular blender, blend the sauce in batches.

There you have it…. another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”.

Until next time……….

                      Bon Apettite

 

Pork and Clams

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This is one of those dishes that you look at and think “that’s a weird combination” which is exactly what I thought the first time I saw it but the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea of mixing the noble pig with seafood and also could not help but think “is it good”?

Well I owe this one to the King of Bam, “Chef Emeril Lagasse”, for first introducing it on one of his shows and let me tell you this is simply fantastic and there is no way I could ever improve on this one and besides I would not even want to try.

So without further ado or gilding the Lilly I present to you Chef Emerils recipe for Pork and Clams

Ingredients:

For the Marinade:
2 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
For the Pork:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons bacon fat
2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup Piri Piri, recipe follows
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup tomato concasse (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
5 pounds clams
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Putting it all together:

Place the pork butt into a large resealable plastic food storage bag. In a blender, combine the garlic, salt, white wine, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, red pepper flakes and bay leaf. Blend until smooth and pour over the pork. Seal the plastic bag and set in a casserole dish and place in the refrigerator over night.

Set a large braising pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and bacon fat to the pan. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and drain, reserving the marinade. Sear the pork pieces in the hot fat in batches, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn to the other side and sear for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside on a platter while you finish searing the remainder of the pork.

Once all the pork is seared and has been removed from the pan, add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, Piri Piri, salt and reserved marinade to the pan and stir to combine. Continue to stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Return the pork to the pan and when the liquid returns to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the tomatoes and clams to the pan, stir to combine and cover. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the clams open, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid, reduce the temperature to low, and sprinkle with the parsley. Discard any clams that do not open, and serve the dish with French fries or steamed white rice.

Piri Piri:
1 tablespoon, plus 1/2 cup olive oil

5 cloves garlic, smashed

4 cayenne chile peppers, stemmed, ribs and seeds removed, and rough chopped (or substitute other hot red peppers)

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and peppers to the pan. Saute, stirring often, until the edges of the garlic start to turn brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice to the pan, and remove from the heat.

Place the contents of the saute pan in a blender and add the salt. Puree the peppers and garlic in the blender until mostly smooth. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil through the feed tube of the lid of the blender. Let cool before using, and store refrigerated in an airtight container.

So there you go another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

So until next time……….

Bon Appetite

Chicken marinade

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It seems these days that every kid and his brother ( and I am not restricting that statement to just celebrity chefs or actors) claims to have the “best marinade” for chicken,beef,lamb or whatever. Grocery stores and gourmet shops are even jumping on the bandwagon with their own brand of marinades that they have made for them and with those you take your chances on what ingredients are in them to give them a long shelf life.

While this particular marinade is mine I will not claim that it is the best you have ever tried but I will promise it to be “simple and tasty” and one where you know exactly what ingredients are in it. The simplicity of this marinade is also what makes it stand out because there are onlyingredients and they are, for the most part, ingredients you already have in your pantry so here is my take on Chicken Marinade.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves — chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped Sage — I use Pineapple Sage when I can because it adds another flavor element

Salt and Pepper to taste

Putting it together:

In a non reactive bowl mix all the ingredients together

Store in a sealed container until ready to use

So as you can see I kept my promise to keep this recipe “simple but tasty”  not to mention inexpensive to make and this particular marinade can be used on Turkey as well. The other thing to point out is that the longer you leave the marinade the better it will taste since the flavors will have a chance to marry

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

 

So until next time…………

                                                            Bon Appetit

 

Chicken A La King

Chicken A La King

When I think of classic Diner dishes I think of Meatloaf, Burgers, French Fries, Onion Rings and of course the oft ill thought of “Blue Plate Special” but there is another very simple recipe that has seen a bit of a resurgence lately and the one I am referring to is Chicken A L King.

The little bit of culinary history that I know about this dish is that it started as a way for restaurants to use up left over chicken and thus (did I really use the word THUS?) lower the wastage of food and to add more dollars to their bottom line. It doesn’t hurt that this dish is also easy to make and oh so good.

The other thing I like about this particular recipe is it is inexpensive to make. If you use generic ingredients, except for the chicken, then you can feed a family of four for around $20.00 and in today’s economy that’s not half bad. Oh and although this looks “prep heavy” it’s not really.

So here’s my take on a classic Diner dish……..

Ingredients:

         Two medium sized boneless skinless chicken breasts or six boneless skinless chicken thighs – diced

          One package extra broad egg noodles

         One package frozen peas and carrots

         2 Tins mushroom pieces

         1 ½ cups Chicken stock

         ¼ cup All Purpose flour

         3 Tablespoons butter

         1 Teaspoon granulated garlic or two chopped garlic cloves

         1 Teaspoon White pepper

         1 ½ Tablespoons Tarragon

         Pinch of salt

         3 Tablespoons Olive oil

         ¼ Cup heavy cream (35% whipping cream)

 

Method:

         Bring a large pot of water to a rolling simmer

         In a large mixing bowl place the chicken and the herbs and spices and mix well

         Add the oil to a large fry pan and add the chicken in batches removing with a slotted spoon when done

         Add the butter and when melted whisk in the flour and make a blonde roux

         Add in the Chicken stock and whisk until you get the consistency you like

         Add the frozen peas and carrots and the mushrooms and simmer for approximately four minutes

         Add the chicken and the heavy cream and bring to a boil

         Cover and turn the heat down to low

         Bring the pasta water to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions

         Drain the pasta, plate and top with the Chicken mixture

 

You can serve this dish with pasta, as I like to, or with rice and if you get really ambitious you can use fresh baked biscuits.

So there you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”

Until next time…….

Bon Appetit