This lovely salad from Style at Home is perfect for a summer picnic or buffet. Roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas are mixed with red quinoa, nuts, seeds, mint and dried cranberries, and then tossed with a harissa-flavoured dressing. This would also be a great vegetarian entrée. I omitted the pomegranate seeds.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use a mustard that does not contain sulfites or sodium benzoate, such as President’s Choice grainy honey mustard. You can make your own harissa paste (see recipe below). Check the ingredients of the chickpeas and dried cranberries to make sure they are all natural.

Rinse the quinoa well before cooking

Roast the sweet potato and chickpeas

Toast the pecans

Moroccan sweet potato, red quinoa and roasted chickpea salad

Ingredients:

For the harissa paste

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

1 chipotle in adobo, minced, plus 1teaspoon adobo sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground caraway

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine ingredients.

For the dressing

¼ cup flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp honey mustard

1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tsp orange zest

2 tsp harissa paste

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp cinnamon

For the salad

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3⁄4″ cubes

1 540-ml can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

½ cup beluga black lentils

1 cup red quinoa, rinsed

2 green onions, thinly sliced

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

½ cup chopped toasted pecan halves

¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves + more for garnish

¼ cup dried cranberries

1⁄3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the honey harissa dressing.

Toss ¼ cup of the dressing with the sweet potatoes and spread out onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Toss another 2 tablespoons of the dressing with the chickpeas and spread out onto another parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.

In a small pot, bring the beluga lentils and 4 cups cold water to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain, rinse and place in a large bowl, along with the roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas.

Meanwhile, in another small pot, bring the red quinoa and 4 cups water to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes. Drain the quinoa and let dry in the sieve for 2 minutes. Add to the sweet potato mixture.

Stir in the green onions, pumpkin seeds, pecans, mint and cranberries. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and toss gently to combine. Place the warm salad on a large serving platter and garnish with the fresh pomegranate seeds and mint leaves. Serves 6.

From Style at Home magazine

Pork and sweet potatoes go well together and this recipe from the July 2014 issue of Canadian Living combines them on the grill. Steam or microwave sweet potatoes and then grill the slices. Meanwhile, grill skewers of pork and red onion, brushing with mustard-honey-garlic glaze. I added some snow peas to my kebabs. Cook’s note: Instead of steaming the potatoes, you can pierce them with a fork and microwave on high, turning once, until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Let them cool slightly, then peel, slice and grill as directed. Also, if you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water before using so they don’t burn up on the grill.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Mustard may contain sulfites or sodium benzoate. Look for an organic brand; I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon.

Thread pork and veggies on skewers and brush with glaze

Steam or microwave yam before grilling

Grill skewers and yam until cooked through and tender

Mustard-glazed pork skewers with grilled sweet potatoes

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes, (about 800 g), peeled and cut crosswise in ½ -inch (1 cm) slices

1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh thyme

1/4 tsp (1 ml) each salt and pepper

2 tbsp (30 ml) grainy mustard

1 tbsp (15 ml) hot mustard

2 tsp (10 ml) liquid honey

1 clove garlic, minced

450 g pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut in 3/4-inch (2 cm) cubes

Half red onions, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks

Preparation:

In shallow saucepan, pour enough water to come 1 inch (2.5 cm) up side of pan; bring to gentle simmer. Place sweet potato in steamer insert; set in saucepan. Cover and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer sweet potatoes to rimmed baking sheet. Brush with 2 tsp (10 ml) of the oil; sprinkle with thyme and half each of the salt and pepper. Set aside.

Meanwhile, stir together grainy mustard, hot mustard, honey and garlic; set aside.

In bowl, toss pork with onion, 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the mustard mixture and the remaining oil, salt and pepper. Alternating pork and onion, thread onto metal or soaked wooden skewers.

Place skewers and sweet potatoes on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once and brushing skewers with remaining mustard mixture, until potatoes are tender and juices run clear when pork is pierced, about 10 minutes. Serves 4.

From the July 2014 issue of Canadian Living

This recipe from Williams Sonoma Grilling would be a great summer dinner party entrée. Chicken breasts are butterflied, stuffed with fresh sage and mozzarella cheese, and grilled. The cooked chicken is topped with a sage-garlic butter. Cook’s note: Toss the extra sage-garlic butter with cooked pasta for a delicious side dish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the cheese and butter do not contain colour or any other additives. The cayenne pepper should be free of colour and anti-caking agents.

Place sage and cheese on one side of a butterflied chicken breast

Grill over medium-high heat

Turn chicken once and grill until it is just cooked through

Top with sage-garlic butter and serve

Ingredients:

For the chicken

Olive oil for coating

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

4 slices mozzarella cheese

8 fresh sage leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sage butter

½ cup (125 g) salted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh sage

2 cloves garlic

¼ tsp (1.25 ml) cayenne pepper

Preparation:

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill over medium-high heat and oil the grill rack.

Using a long, thin, sharp knife, butterfly the chicken breasts: Cut horizontally into the thickest part of each breast to within ½ inch (12 mm) of the other side. Open the breast like a book and place it between sheets of plastic wrap. Pound lightly with the flat side of a cleaver or knife to flatten and even out the thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap and lay 1 slice of cheese and 2 sage leaves on one half of the flattened breast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and fold the chicken over the cheese. Coat with oil and sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

To make the sage butter, with a fork, mix together the butter, sage, garlic and cayenne in a small bowl and blend well. Set aside or form into a log in waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Grill the chicken on one side directly over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, then turn carefully with a spatula. Grill on the second side for 3 minutes. Check for doneness by cutting into the centre of one of the breasts. There should be no pink showing. Cook longer if necessary, but be careful not to overcook them.

Top each breast with 1 tbsp (15 ml) or more of sage butter and serve. Serves 4.

From Williams Sonoma Grilling

This different take on broccoli from the June 2014 issue of Food and Wine is a great side dish or vegetarian entrée. Cut broccoli lengthwise into “steaks”, grill until charred and then toss with grilled red onion, tomatoes and a tangy dressing. The recipe calls for shaved ricotta salata as a garnish, but I used parmesan cheese instead. Cook’s note: when grilling onion slices, use a toothpick or wooden skewer to keep the rings from falling apart.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use a red wine vinegar with no sulfites, such as Eden Organic brand. Check the label on the cheese to make sure it does not contain colour or preservatives.

Cut the broccoli lengthwise into "steaks"

Grill until charred

Top the broccoli and onions with tomatoes and shaved cheese

Ingredients:

2 large, tight heads of broccoli (2 ½ pounds), cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick steaks (reserve any florets for another use)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Kosher salt

Pepper

2 medium red onions, sliced crosswise ½ inch thick

3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

Shaved ricotta salata, for serving

Preparation:

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the broccoli steaks with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and let cool.

Meanwhile, brush the red onions with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool, then cut into 3/4-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the vinegar and a generous pinch of salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the grilled onions; season with salt and pepper. Arrange the broccoli on plates or a platter and spoon the tomato-red onion salad on top. Garnish with shaved ricotta salata and serve right away. Serves 6.

From the June 2014 issue of Food and Wine

Recipes usually suggest marinating chicken before grilling, but this recipe from Martha Stewart Living suggests coating the chicken with a marinade afterwards. It’s quick, easy and tastes great. Any mixture of herbs would work well. You can also use skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice, as the concentrates contain sodium benzoate.

Place marinade ingredients in shallow dish

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper

Grill the chicken until crispy and cooked through

Toss the grilled chicken with the marinade and serve

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 cup lightly packed mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, and chervil, finely chopped

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 3/4 pounds), pounded to make even (optional)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Preheat grill to medium-high. Combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, and herbs in a baking dish.

Season chicken with salt and pepper and grill, turning frequently, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to baking dish and turn to coat with marinade. Serve immediately, or refrigerate chicken in marinade up to 1 day, turning to coat a few times. Serves 6.

From Martha Stewart Living

It’s great to be back at our house for the summer and great to be barbecuing again. One of the first things I made was this grilled potato salad with scallion vinaigrette from the June 2014 issue of Food and Wine. Parboil some small potatoes and then grill them with some scallions until lightly charred. Toss with a refreshing vinaigrette and top with slice jalapenos and red pepper. The recipe called for piment d’Espelette, a mildly spicy ground red pepper from France, but I used cayenne.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use a rice vinegar with no preservatives; I use Marukan brand. Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Parboil small round or fingerling potatoes

Grill scallions until lightly charred

Cover scallions with plastic wrap and steam for a few minutes

Grill the potatoes until lightly charred

Grilled potatoes with scallion vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds fingerling potatoes

Kosher salt

10 scallions, trimmed

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Ground black pepper

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Piment d’Espelette

1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced

Preparation:

In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly, then halve lengthwise.

Meanwhile, light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the scallions with oil and season with salt and black pepper. Grill over high heat, turning, until lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. Cut the scallions into 1-inch lengths.

Brush the potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down over high heat until lightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

In a large bowl, whisk the 1/3 cup of olive oil with the vinegar and lemon juice. Add the scallions and potatoes and toss well. Season with salt and piment d’Espelette and toss again. Scatter the jalapeño slices on top, garnish with a large pinch of piment d’Espelette and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

From the June 2014 issue of Food and Wine

These noodles from the July/August 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated are absolutely delicious. Stir curry powder and cayenne pepper in oil to “bloom” the flavours and then toss with softened rice vermicelli noodles, soy sauce and sugar. Cook shrimp, egg, and vegetables and place in a separate bowl. Add the noodles to some stock to finish cooking them and then toss them in with the shrimp, egg and vegetables. Add bean sprouts, lime juice and scallions and serve. Cutting the softened noodles into thirds makes them easier to eat.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Curry powder may contain colour, so I make my own; the recipe is below. Check the cayenne to make sure it does not contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use tamari instead of soy sauce and frozen shrimp that use only salt as a preservative. I use Imagine brand chicken stock, which is free of preservatives. Be sure to use freshly squeezed lime juice.

Warm the spices in oil to bloom their flavours

Cut the softened noodles in thirds to make them easier to eat

Toss the noodles with the curry-oil mixture

Cook the egg and shrimp

Singapore Noodles

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons curry powder (see recipe below)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

6 ounces rice vermicelli

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

12 ounces large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled, deveined, tails removed, and cut into ½ -inch pieces

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

Salt

3 garlic cloves, minced to paste

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 2-inch-long matchsticks

2 large shallots, sliced thin

2/3 cup chicken broth

4 ounces (2 cups) bean sprouts

4 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 teaspoons lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

Curry Powder

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp crushed or ground fenugreek seed

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp crushed dried dill

¼ tsp ground mace

¼ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp dried mustard

1/8 tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix ingredients together.

Preparation:

Heat 3 tablespoons oil, curry powder, and cayenne, if using, in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Bring 1 ½  quarts water to boil. Place noodles in large bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles and stir briefly. Soak noodles until flexible, but not soft, about 2 ½ minutes, stirring once halfway through soaking. Drain noodles briefly. Transfer noodles to cutting board. Using chef’s knife, cut pile of noodles roughly into thirds. Return noodles to bowl, add curry mixture, soy sauce, and sugar; using tongs, toss until well combined. Set aside.

Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp in even layer and cook without moving them until bottoms are browned, about 90 seconds. Stir and continue to cook until just cooked through, about 90 seconds longer. Push shrimp to 1 side of skillet. Add 1 teaspoon oil to cleared side of skillet. Add eggs to clearing and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Using rubber spatula, stir eggs gently until set but still wet, about 1 minute. Stir eggs into shrimp and continue to cook, breaking up large pieces of egg, until eggs are fully cooked, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer shrimp-egg mixture to second large bowl.

Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty skillet until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add bell pepper and shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shrimp.

Return skillet to medium-high heat, add broth to skillet, and bring to simmer. Add noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add noodles to bowl with shrimp and vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Add bean sprouts, scallions, and lime juice and toss to combine. Transfer to warmed platter and serve immediately, passing lime wedges separately. Serves 4 to 6.

From the July/August 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated

We love chicken wings and this recipe from the LCBO is a new favourite. Toss the wings in dried basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper and then coat them with a mixture of Parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs and lemon zest. Bake them for 30-40 minutes and serve. They are savoury, crunchy and addictive! Cook’s note – be sure to zest the lemon before squeezing it.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Check the ingredients for the dried spices to be sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Look for panko and Parmesan with no artificial ingredients. I use President’s Choice Parmesan and ShaSha brand breadcrumbs, which are similar to panko in texture but are made from spelt.

Toss the wings with basil, oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Toss with panko and Parmesan and place on baking sheet

Pesto chicken wings

Ingredients:

2 tbsp (30 ml) dried basil leaves

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

2 tsp (10 ml) garlic powder

½ tsp (2 ml) salt

½ tsp (2 ml) pepper

2 lbs (1 kg) chicken winglets and drumettes

½ cup (125 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup (80 ml) panko bread crumbs

2 tsp (10 ml) lemon zest

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick foil.

In a large bowl, whisk together basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add wings and toss well.

In a second large bowl, stir together Parmesan, bread crumbs and lemon zest. Toss wings in Parmesan mixture to coat well.

Spread wings out on baking sheet and sprinkle with any remaining Parmesan mixture. Roast, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 2-4.

From the LCBO What’s For Dinner publication

Now that the weather is warmer, I’m craving potato salads and fresh herbs. This recipe from the May 2014 issue of Canadian Living includes both. Boiled baby potatoes, roasted salmon, hard-boiled eggs, chives, dill and sliced pickles are combined with a lemon-mustard dressing. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice and a grainy mustard with no sulfites or sodium benzoate. I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon. Instead of cornichons, I used dill pickles. Strub’s Kosher Pickles contain no preservatives.

For perfect hard-boiled eggs, cover eggs with cold water, bring to boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand 18 minutes

Boil baby potatoes until tender

Roast the salmon and flake it with a fork

Add herbs and pickles

Egg and salmon potato salad

Ingredients:

4 eggs

1 pkg (680 g) baby yellow-fleshed potatoes, scrubbed

400 g skinless salmon fillets

1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper

2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice

4 tsp (18 mL) olive oil

4 tsp (18 mL) grainy mustard

2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh chives

1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh dill

8 cornichons, sliced

Preparation:

Place eggs in saucepan; pour in enough cold water to cover by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 18 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool, about 2 minutes; drain again. Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Peel off shells; cut eggs into quarters.

Meanwhile, in large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes; drain. Let cool just enough to handle; cut into quarters.

Meanwhile, place salmon on parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper. Bake in 350 F (180 C) oven until fish flakes easily when tested, 12 to 15 minutes. Flake with fork.

In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, mustard and remaining salt and pepper. Add potatoes, salmon, chives, dill and cornichons; gently toss to coat. Scrape onto serving platter; top with eggs. Serves 6.

From the May 2014 issue of Canadian Living

Skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs are among my favourite things to make for dinner, because they are inexpensive, tasty and easy to cook. In this recipe from the May 2014 issue of Bon Appetit, the thighs are marinated in a mixture of garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, honey and aniseed for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. Then just pop them in the oven. Halfway through the cooking time (about 20 minutes after putting the thighs in the oven) add asparagus and scallions. The chicken will caramelize into a lovely deep brown colour. Garnish the finished dish with cilantro and lime wedges. The recipe calls for aniseed but I used fennel seed and it worked well.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lime juice and tamari instead of soy sauce, as it is preserved with alcohol instead of sodium benzoate.

Marinate the chicken thighs

Add asparagus and scallions when chicken is partially cooked

The thighs will caramelize

Soy-glazed chicken thighs with asparagus and scallions

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons aniseed

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¼ cup fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving

¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons honey

8 chicken thighs (about 4 lb.)

1 bunch asparagus (about ¾ lb.), trimmed

2 bunches scallions, trimmed

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems

Preparation:

Toast aniseed in a small dry skillet over medium heat, tossing, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool; finely chop.

Whisk garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, and aniseed in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Let sit at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°. Transfer chicken and marinade to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, placing chicken skin side down. Roast until fat begins to render, 15–20 minutes. Turn chicken skin side up and continue to roast, basting occasionally with pan drippings, until chicken is cooked through and deeply browned, 15–20 minutes longer.

After turning chicken, toss asparagus and scallions with oil on another rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, shaking pan halfway through, until tender, 10–15 minutes (thinner stalks will cook more quickly).

Transfer chicken to a platter. Pour any pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let sit a few minutes, then spoon off fat from surface.

Spoon pan juices over chicken and serve with asparagus, scallions, cilantro, and lime wedges. Serves 4. Do ahead: Chicken can be marinated 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

From the May 2014 issue of Bon Appetit

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