Archive for July, 2010

This new find from the July/August issue of Everyday Food starts with a rosemary-garlic oil that is brushed on both the steak and the vegetables prior to grilling.

Steak brushed with herb oil

While the cooked steak is resting you can quickly grill the vegetables and then drizzle them and the steak with a dressing made of the herb oil, balsamic vinegar and honey. I didn’t have eggplant or summer squash, so I used wedges of radicchio, halved fingerling potatoes, orange bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, red onion slices, zucchini and scallions.

Use a selection of veggies for the grill

To avoid additives in this recipe, be sure to use a brand of balsamic vinegar that contains only naturally occurring sulfites or that is labeled “no sulfites added”.

Grilled veggies tossed with dressing


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

2 sprigs rosemary

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 ¼ lbs steak

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 medium eggplant, cut into ¼-inch slices

1 zucchini, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

1 yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

½ lb cherry tomatoes on the vine, or plum tomatoes halved

1 bunch scallions

1 sweet bell pepper, any colour, cut into sixths, seeds and stem removed

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tsp honey


Heat a grill to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. In a small oven-proof pot, combine oil, rosemary and garlic and place on grill or stovetop burner. Cook until oil begins to bubble, 2 minutes. Remove herb oil from heat and set aside 3 tablespoons in a small bowl. Brush steak with herb oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, turning occasionally, until it is medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.

In batches, brush vegetables with herb oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill, turning occasionally, until tomato skins are split and vegetables are tender, 3-5 minutes total. Transfer to a serving platter. Add vinegar and honey to reserved oil and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then drizzle dressing over steak and vegetables.  Serves 4.

From the July/August issue of Everyday Food

The other night our friends Allan Stanley and Eileen Hennemann came over for an impromptu barbecue. Allan, who is a fabulous cook, brought marinated skinless boneless chicken breasts and a gorgeous reduction sauce. He reduced the sauce even further while the chicken grilled and smoked over charcoal and soaked cherry wood chips. It was unbelievably good! Eileen took these wonderful photos.

The sauce preparation is based on the reduction technique Allan learned during the course he took a few years ago at the prestigious Leiths School of Food and Wine in London, England. ( Allan explains that it is a particularly useful technique if you are unable to pan-sear your meat to produce fond – the lovely caramelized bits left on the bottom of the pan – that are typically deglazed from the pan with added liquid.



4 tbsp olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tomato chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste (Allan likes to use tomato paste that comes in a tube, as opposed to opening a can for just a small amount)

4-6 garlic cloves minced

4 green onions chopped

2 shallots chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped

1 tbsp rosemary chopped

1 tbsp tarragon chopped

1 tbsp basil chopped

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp honey

Pinch of cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste


Whisk together oil, vinegar, tomato, tomato paste and garlic until emulsified. Stir in remaining ingredients. Marinate for a few hours or overnight. Makes enough marinade for four skinless, boneless chicken breasts or four barbecue-cut pork chops.

Reduction Sauce


*Mirepoix – 1 cup coarsely chopped onions, ½ cup each carrots and celery

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 tbsp tomato paste

½ cup white wine or Madiera

4 cups stock or apple cider reduction (4 cups apple cider reduced to 1 cup)

1 sprig each of thyme and rosemary, whole but bruised

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp butter or cream

* Mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. The proportions (by weight) for making mirepoix are 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery.

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, be sure to use balsamic vinegar and wine with no sulfites added. Also be sure to check your Dijon and butter for artificial flavours or colours.


Typically, you produce fond by searing your meat, which is the ideal method, providing you don’t burn the fond. “That is nothing but carbon, and will ruin all your efforts by bringing a bitter taste to the sauce,” Allan explains.

This recipe produces fond without searing meat. Brown the mirepoix in 2 tbsp olive oil with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and in about eight minutes this will turn a lovely russet colour. Add the wine and reduce until you have about a quarter of the original amount. Add stock and herbs. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve or, preferably, a chinois, which is a very fine-meshed conical-shaped sieve made especially for straining sauces to produce a very smooth texture. Be sure to use a wooden spoon to press on the solids to extract every bit of the delicious sauce. “Lots of flavour and thickening comes from this straining process,” says Allan. The herbs can stay in the final sauce, because you will be spooning it over the chicken.

Put the gorgeous liquid into a small saucepan and reduce further until it is the consistency you want (you can do this while the chicken is grilling). Keep the sauce thin to “flood” the plate or thicker to coat the chicken. At this point you can add a little mustard (this step is optional) to the sauce and then can finish it by whisking in (off heat) a drop of cream and or butter, which makes the sauce shiny. “Be very, very careful with the salt until the very last to taste,” adds Allan. Top the delicious sauce with a garnish of chopped parsley.

There are endless variations for this sauce. “For example, you can omit the cider reduction and add a tablespoon of apricot jam to the final sauce,” says Allan. “This sauce also works well for beef; just use beef stock instead of chicken stock and don’t use the cider reduction.”

This new find from the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit is a perfect summer lunch or light dinner. Cooked pasta is tossed with a cilantro-lime pesto and shrimp sautéed in tequila.

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use fresh lime juice, as concentrates contain sodium benzoate. Buy feta cheese with no additives (I use Tre Stelle) and fresh or thawed frozen shrimp that has not been treated with sulfites or other preservatives.


1 1/4 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1/4 chopped
1/4 cut (scant) chopped green onions
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno chile
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound linguine
1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons tequila
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese


Blend 1 1/4 cups cilantro leaves and next 4 ingredients in processor until coarse puree forms. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup oil. Season generously with salt. Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until almost opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; add tequila. Return skillet to heat and stir until sauce is syrupy, about 30 seconds. Add pesto; stir to coat. Remove from heat.

Add pasta to sauce in skillet; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta and shrimp among 4 plates. Sprinkle dish with cheese, chopped cilantro, and serve. Serves 4.

From the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit, adapted from Tejas Texas Grill & Saloon

This new find from the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit is a great side dish for grilled foods and would make an excellent entrée for vegetarians. I was a little skeptical about the amount of smoked paprika, but it imparts a delicious heartiness to the salad.  If you make this, I suggest you prepare the quinoa according to the directions on the package instead of the ones below, which produced a soggy mess of quinoa porridge. When I tried again, following the directions on the package, it turned out fine.

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, be sure your Sherry vinegar has no sulfites added or substitute another type of wine vinegar. Some feta cheeses also contain artificial ingredients; I use Tre Stelle. I could not find canned chickpeas that were additive-free, so I cooked them from scratch. It’s easy to do, although it does require some advance planning. Simply soak a cup of dried chickpeas in cold water overnight, covered, in the fridge. The next day, drain the chickpeas, cover them with cold water in a saucepan and bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, uncovered, until the chickpeas are tender, 75 to 90 minutes. One cup of dried chickpeas makes two cups cooked and you can freeze any you don’t use in the salad.


1 1/2 cups quinoa (9 to 10 ounces), rinsed, drained

4 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves

2 15- to 16-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained

1 3/4 cups 1/3-inch cubes unpeeled English hothouse cucumber

1 1-pint container multicolored baby heirloom tomatoes, halved (2 1/2 cups)

1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about 7 ounces), divided

1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar

2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 cup olive oil


Place quinoa in large saucepan; add enough salted water to cover quinoa by 1 inch. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, 15 to 16 minutes. Drain. Chill until cool.

Meanwhile, combine spinach leaves, garbanzos, cubed cucumber, halved tomatoes, mint leaves, and half of feta cheese in extra-large bowl. Add cooled quinoa and toss gently to blend.

Whisk vinegar and smoked paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining feta over. Serves 6-8.

From the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit

When it’s hot, hazy and humid, I like to get dinner preparations out of the way in the morning so I can avoid the kitchen during the hottest part of the day (and lounge by the pool instead). I usually marinate meat or poultry for the grill and prepare a couple of salads to accompany it. An old favourite summer salad is marinated cucumbers with red onions and sour cream. I like it because I can make it hours in advance and because is so refreshing. It’s from the barbecue cookbook I return to time and time again – The Canadian Living Barbecue and Summer Foods Cookbook published in 1989.

The secret is layering the sliced cucumbers with salt and weighing them down with a very heavy weight so they lose liquid and become soft. Be sure to use plain white vinegar and read the label of your sour cream to avoid additives and preservatives.

It’s great with steak or sticky grilled maple-orange glazed pork ribs (see my May 21, 2010 post for the recipe).

Marinated Cucumber Salad with Red Onions and Sour Cream


2 English cucumbers, sliced (I peel them, but you don’t have to)


1 red onion, sliced

½ cup sour cream

2 tbsp packed brown sugar

2 tbsp white vinegar

¼ tsp dry mustard

Dill for garnish (optional)


In glass bowl, layer cucumbers, sprinkling each layer with salt. Cover with plate that fits inside bowl. Weigh down and let stand for at least three hours at room temperature. Drain and rinse well. Drain again and pat dry. Separate onion slices into rings and stir into cucumbers.  In small bowl, combine sour cream, sugar, vinegar and mustard. Pour over cucumber mixture and toss well. Cover and refrigerate until serving time, at least two hours. Garnish with dill, if using. Makes 8-10 servings.

From the Canadian Living Barbecue and Summer Foods Cookbook

I love bocconcini cheese, I love roasted red peppers, I love basil and I love balsamic vinegar, so you might say that this is my idea of the perfect appetizer. You can also make it ahead and it looks very pretty.

This appetizer was featured in the Holiday 2006 issue of the LCBO’s wonderful magazine Food & Drink, but it’s also perfect for summer entertaining because it gives you an opportunity to make pesto when basil is at its height.

Bocconcini are small, semi-soft, white and rindless unripened mild cheeses. They are typically sold packed in liquid and come in a variety of sizes, from a bit smaller than a golf ball, to the pearl-sized mini-bocconcini. I couldn’t find mini-bocconcini, so I just quartered the larger ones. Tre Stelle brand contains no artificial ingredients. Pilaros makes roasted red peppers with no additives or preservatives; if you can’t find them you could always grill and peel the peppers yourself.

Be sure to use balsamic vinegar with naturally occurring sulfites or that is labeled “no sulfites added”. The recipe calls for prepared pesto, but I just whipped some up in the food processor using extra-virgin olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, parmegiano-reggiano and fresh basil.


One 200 g tub mini-bocconcini
2 tbsp (25 mL) prepared pesto
Pinch pepper
2 roasted red peppers, patted dry
Aged balsamic vinegar

Drain bocconcini and pat dry; set aside. Whisk together pesto and pepper in bowl. Add bocconcini and toss to coat evenly. Slice peppers into ¼-inch-wide (5-mm) strips. Wrap each strip around 1 bocconcini and skewer onto toothpick. Repeat with remaining peppers and bocconcini. Skewer 2 bocconcini onto each toothpick, if desired. Alternatively, pierce 1 side of pepper strip through toothpick and through 1 bocconcini, then pepper and another bocconcini forming an “S” around the bocconcini. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving. Makes about 17 to 36 pieces (depending on method used).

From the Holiday 2006 issue of Food & Drink