Archive for March, 2011

This is a delicious recipe for jerk marinade from my friend Ken Harper, who is a chef in the Ottawa area ( This marinade can be used for pork or chicken, which can then be grilled or roasted. You can marinate the poultry or meat for a few hours or overnight and can vary the heat to your taste. I made it recently with pork tenderloin and it was great.

The tenderloin is marinated for a few hours or overnight

To avoid additives or preservatives in this recipe, make sure none of the spices have artificial ingredients added and be sure to use freshly squeezed orange and lime juice.

Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing

I served the pork with yam frites and coleslaw.

Jerk pork tenderloin with yam frites and coleslaw


2 bunches green onions

1 tbsp allspice

1 tsp grated nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 3 inch piece of ginger root peeled and finely grated

1 scotch bonnet pepper

2 tbsp fresh  thyme leaves

juice of 1 orange

juice of 1 lime

4 garlic cloves

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp canola oil

1 1/2 tbsp sea salt

1 pork tenderloin


Place all ingredients except pork in food processor and pulse into a coarse paste. Cover pork with marinade and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Preheat over to 400 degrees. Place tenderloin, covered in marinade, on foil-lined baking sheet and roast until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, about 25 minutes. Let rest, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing.

One of my favourite cookbooks is A Matter of Taste by Lucy Waverman, who developed the recipes, and James Chatto, who suggests the wine pairings. I like this cookbook because it is organized by season and suggests full menus – from starters to dessert – as well as wine suggestions. This braised chicken dish combines inexpensive chicken thighs, dried figs and olives for a sweet and savoury dish that would be great for a casual dinner party.

Roast halved and seeded cherry tomatoes until slightly dried out

Brown skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Pour sauce over chicken and scatter figs, olives and tomatoes on top

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, make sure the dried figs do not contain sulfites and that the wine and balsamic vinegar have no sulfites added. Use an organic chicken stock, such as Imagine brand. Look for olives without preservatives, such as Pilaros brand.

Serve with vegetable-studded couscous


1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 cup dried figs, quartered

1 cup white wine

1 tbsp paprika

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp dried thyme

¼ tsp cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved

1 cup chopped onions

2 tsp chopped garlic

2 cups chicken stock

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup pitted olives, cut in half if large

2 tbsp chopped parsley


Preheat the oven to 325F.

Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet and roast for about 20-25 minutes, or until slightly dried out.

Prepare figs while tomatoes are roasting by combining figs and wine in a small pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve figs and soaking liquid separately.

Combine paprika, ginger, thyme, cayenne and salt and pepper. Season chicken with half the seasoning mix.

Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken in batches for 1-2 minutes per side, or until golden. Transfer chicken to casserole. Drain all but 1 tbsp fat from skillet.

Add onions, garlic and remaining seasoning mix to skillet and sauté for 3 minutes, or until softened. Add reserved soaking liquid, chicken stock, vinegar and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Pour sauce over chicken and scatter with figs and olives.

Cover and bake for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bake, uncovered, fro 10-15 minutes longer, or until chicken is done. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 6.

From Lucy Waverman’s A Matter of Taste

I haven’t been posting too often these days because of a work project that is keeping me out of the kitchen. Things should be back to normal in a few weeks. In the meantime, when I am able to cook, I am making recipes that get dinner on the table quickly. One of the fastest and most inexpensive meals you can make is this recipe for Mussels with Black Bean Sauce from Bonnie Stern. You can serve the mussels over pasta or rice or just have them with crusty bread.

The leeks and peppers are sautéed with the seasonings.

Leeks and peppers are sauteed with ginger and garlic

Add the mussels, bring to boil and cover.

Prior to cooking, discard any mussels that don't close when you tap them

When the mussels open they are cooked.

Once they are cooked, discard any mussels that remain closed

Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Serve over rice or pasta, or just with crusty bread

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use all-natural chili paste (I use Thai Kitchen brand), fermented black beans (I use dried fermented beans), fresh lemon juice, tamari soy sauce, organic chicken stock (try Imagine brand) and rice vinegar without preservatives or sulfites (I use Marukan brand).


4 lbs. mussels

2 tsp vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp finely chopped ginger root

3 green onions, chopped

½ tsp hot chili paste

2 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and chopped

1 tsp grated lemon peel

2 leeks or small onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 sweet peppers, thinly sliced

½ cup chicken stock, fish stock, dry white wine or water

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley


Clean mussels and discard any that have broken shells or that do not close when lightly tapped.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add green onions, ginger, garlic, chili paste, black beans and lemon peel. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, or until very fragrant.

Add leeks and red peppers and cook for 2 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly wilted.

Add stock, water, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Add mussels and return to a boil. Cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until mussels have opened and are thoroughly cooked (discard any mussels that do not open). Stir well. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serves 6-8 as a main course or 8-10 as an appetizer.

From Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart Cooking