Archive for August, 2012

This beautiful salad from the July 2012 issue of Bon Appetit is a perfect way to use late-summer corn, tomatoes and basil. Grilled corn is combined with red onion, fresh tomatoes and basil, and then dressed with lime juice and thyme. The tangy lime juice with the sweet corn and tomatoes is divine! The strong flavour of the red onion is tamed by rinsing the onion slices in water. Use a chef’s knife to cut the kernels from the cobs of corn; if you stand up the corn in a rimmed baking sheet, the kernels won’t go flying across your kitchen counter!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Be sure to use fresh lime juice in this recipe, as concentrates are bitter and usually include sodium benzoate.

Rinse the onion rings in water to mellow their flavour

Grill the corn until the kernels are charred and tender

Charred corn salad with basil and tomatoes


12 ears of corn, husked

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

2 large tomatoes, chopped

1 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves, large leaves torn

1/3 cup (or more) fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper


Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Rub corn with 1 Tbsp. oil. Grill, turning frequently, until corn is charred and heated through, 10-12 minutes. Remove from grill; when cool enough to handle, cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a large bowl. Corn can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Place onion in a strainer and rinse with cold water to mellow its flavor. Drain well. Mix onion, remaining 5 Tbsp. oil, tomatoes, basil, 1/3 cup lime juice, and thyme into corn. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired. Salad can be assembled 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Serves 8.

From the July 2012 issue of Bon Appetit

If you are looking for a special meal for the Labour Day weekend, look no further than Bon Ton chicken—a recipe from the July 2000 issue of Gourmet magazine, based on the fried chicken served at the Bon Ton Mini Mart in Henderson, Kentucky. I’ve been making this recipe for 12 years, and it is, hands-down, the best fried chicken recipe I have ever tried. It’s also my most-requested recipe for special dinners! Chicken pieces are brined in a spicy mixture of water, salt, cayenne, garlic powder, white pepper, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce for 24 hours, then dredged in seasoned flour and allowed to sit for 10 minutes until they become doughy. The chicken is then fried; you can use a cast iron pot or a deep fryer. I use the latter, and fry the chicken in two batches for about 20 minutes per batch. The brining seasons the chicken all the way through and makes the meat moist and delicious. The coating is crunchy, spicy and addictive. You can serve the chicken hot or cold—it stays crisp.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients to watch for in this recipe are the spices, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Make sure the spices do not contain additives, colour or anti-caking ingredients. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, as it does not contain sodium benzoate. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce uses all-natural ingredients.

Brine the chicken pieces for 24 hours

Dredge the chicken in seasoned flour and let it stand for 10 minutes

Deep fry in a cast iron pot or deep fryer

Enjoy Bon Ton chicken hot or cold


For marinade:

1 qt. water

2 tbsp. salt

2 tsp. cayenne

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 ½ tsp. white pepper

1 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

One chicken, 3-4 lbs., cut up (cut breasts in half), with skin on.

For frying:

About 12 cups vegetable oil or prescribed amount of oil for your deep fryer.

For dredging:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. salt (or less – this amount makes the chicken quite salty)

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. white pepper


Marinate chicken

Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a large bowl

Add chicken, making sure it is covered with marinade. Chill, covered, stirring twice, about 24 hours

Dredge and fry chicken

Heat 2 inches oil in a wide 8 – 9 ½ quart pot over moderately high heat until a deep-fat thermometer registers 365 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or use a deep fryer

Meanwhile, whisk together all dredging ingredients in a large bowl. Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Dredge each piece of chicken in seasoned flour and put on a large baking sheet. Let stand about ten minutes.

Fry chicken (in two batches if necessary), turning a few times, 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on rack. Serves 4.

From Gourmet magazine – July 2000

I shouldn’t watch cooking videos. Especially cooking videos that feature barbecuing recipes. However, while idly surfing a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a video of chef Adam Perry Lang making “Man Steak”, the signature recipe from his new cookbook Charred and Scruffed. It was mesmerizing. He took an absolutely huge piece of prime rib, pounded it flat with a baseball bat, rubbed it with a seasoning blend and then moistened the rub into a paste. He then proceeded to cook it over open flame on an unoiled charcoal grill with an elevated grate, basting it frequently using a brush made of fresh herbs tied to a wooden spoon. He also turned the meat frequently, meaning parts stuck to the grill, creating what Lang calls “scruffing”—increasing the surface area of the meat and enhancing flavour. The meat was then moved closer to the flame and cooked until done. After the steak had rested, Lang sliced it and doused it with a tangy sauce flavoured by the herbs from the herb brush.

I had to make it.

My butcher quailed when I told him what I had planned for the gorgeous two-rib roast I bought from him, but I was determined, and I did enjoy the pounding part. The baste and rub are easy to make, as are the herb brush and board sauce. The grilling takes a while, so, from start to finish, you may want to set aside two hours to make this recipe. Was it worth it? Yes and no. The rub, baste, herb brush and board sauce are fabulous, and I will use them again when making regular steak. However, I’m not sure it was worth it to pound the roast – I will use a thick steak next time. Anyway, it was lots of fun to do with friends on the deck and the meat was delicious. If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes! Visit YouTube If you want to see Adam Perry Lang making this recipe with Jimmy Kimmel.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients to check in this recipe are the butter, soy sauce, lemon juice, wine vinegar and dried spices. Look for an unsalted butter that lists one ingredient: cream. I use Gay Lea brand. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, because it does not contain MSG or sodium benzoate. Use fresh lemon juice and a wine vinegar with no sulphites added, such as Eden Organic brand. Check the labels on your spices to be sure they do not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

You can make the baste ahead of time and refrigerate it.

Grind the spice blend in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

Tie herb sprigs to a wooden spoon to create a basting brush.

The roast, pre-pounding.

The roast, post-pounding.

Rub the spice blend into the meat, then moisten it to form a paste.

Use bricks and an extra grill to elevate the grilling surface.

The meat is starting to become "scruffed".

Baste frequently, using the herb brush.

After the meat rests, douse it with a tangy board sauce.


Note – the quantities below make enough baste and rub for two large roasts, so you may wish to halve the recipes.


1 ¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cups rendered fat from meat being cooked (optional, especially if preparing ahead)

2 tablespoons finely grated garlic or garlic mashed to a paste

2 tablespoons finely grated onion

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ cup white wine vinegar

Four Seasons Blend

1 cup sea or kosher salt

2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. cayenne pepper


A 4 1/4–4 1/2-pound 2–bone rib roast, pounded to flatten it. Cut between the bones and twist them apart; this increased the surface area of the meat.

6 tablespoons Four Seasons Blend

2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

Herb Brush

Assorted herb sprigs (such as rosemary, sage, and thyme), tied together with kitchen twine, then tied to the end of a wooden spoon.

Board Sauce

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Grated garlic or grated shallot, finely chopped fresh chiles, finely chopped scallions (optional)


Combine first 11 ingredients of baste in a 2-qt. saucepan. Bring just to a simmer; remove from heat. For the best flavor, refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for 1–2 days. Reheat over low heat to melt butter before using.

Whisk in lemon juice and vinegar just before using.

For Four Seasons Blend, combine the salt, black pepper, garlic salt and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer to a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and pulse to the consistency of sand. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Makes approximately 1 cup

Set up grill with an elevated grate and preheat grill to high. I used bricks to do this.

Season the beef all over with Four Seasons Blend and pepper, then lightly moisten your hands with water and work seasonings into the meat. Let stand for 10 minutes to develop a “meat paste” coating.

Put beef on the clean (unoiled) grill grate and cook, without moving it, for 1 minute. Turn, making sure to grab “eye” portion of each steak with your tongs, and cook for 1 minute. The meat may stick and tear a bit, but this is fine, as it creates what Adam Perry Lang calls “meat scruffing.”

Put the foil-wrapped brick on the grill grate to be used to steady the meat. Lean meat, cut side down, up against brick and cook for 4 minutes. Turn meat and repeat until all 4 sides have cooked for 4 minutes each.

Move brick to one side and continue cooking meat, turning every 3–4 minutes and basting with the herb brush and the basic baste each time meat is moved, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 105°, 25–30 minutes.

Transfer meat to a platter, brush lightly with the basic baste, and let rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

Remove brick from grate and carefully remove elevated grill grate.

Put meat on hot grill and cook, turning every 3–4 minutes and basting lightly each time meat is moved, until instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°. Transfer meat to cutting board and let rest for 5–10 minutes.

Combine oil and parsley in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic or shallot, chiles, and scallions, if desired. Set aside.

Finely chop herbs at the end of herb brush. Mix herbs into dressing. Cut meat from bones, then cut bones into individual ribs. Cut meat into 1/4-inch slices. Turn each slice in dressing to coat; place on a platter. Pour juices from cutting board over meat. Serve with bones alongside. Serves 6.

Adapted from the “Charred and Scruffed” by Adam Perry Lang

This recipe from the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit is a delicious side dish that is also a great way to use garden-fresh vegetables and leftover rice. The recipe calls for assorted vegetables, such as radishes, tomatoes, peas, summer squash, herbs and carrots; I used radishes, tomatoes, summer squash, red onion, and yellow and green beans (which I blanched for a few minutes in boiling water to make them tender-crisp). Tender herbs, such as parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, summer savoury, oregano and dill, would work better in this dish than sage, rosemary or thyme.

It’s important to use cold rice in this recipe; you can cook it in advance and either keep it in the fridge for a day or in the freezer indefinitely. A minute or so on high in the microwave will thaw the frozen rice. To make the rice, stir a cup of basmati rice into a teaspoon of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for a minute or two to toast the rice. Then add 1½ cups of water, ½ tsp of salt and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. Cover the pan, turn the heat down to very low and cook for 17 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, but leave the lid on for another 10 minutes. Then fluff the rice and refrigerate or freeze to use in the salad.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain additives and preservatives are the rice and red wine vinegar. Use a good-quality basmati rice—nothing that has been converted or has had flavour added. Look for a red wine vinegar with only naturally occurring sulphites, such as Eden Organic brand.

The salad is tossed with a thyme, parsley and shallot dressing.

I used tomatoes, summer squash, radishes, blanched beans and red onion.

This salad is a great side dish or vegetarian entree.

I served this salad with grilled salmon.


1 small shallot, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups cooked basmati rice, cooled

2 cups bite-size pieces assorted vegetables (such as radishes, tomatoes, peas, summer squash) or carrot ribbons

¾ cup torn mixed leafy greens, sprouts, and herbs

1/3 cup chopped red, yellow, or white onion or scallions

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)


Pulse first 4 ingredients in a blender until combined; season with salt and pepper. With blender running, slowly drizzle in oil. Process dressing until well blended.

Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl; drizzle with 3 Tbsp. dressing and toss to coat. Pass remaining dressing alongside for drizzling over. Serves 2-4.

From the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit.

Good news for everyone concerned about food allergens, including gluten and sulphites. As of August 4, 2012, new regulations take effect in Canada to enhance the labelling of food allergens, gluten and added sulphites.

According to Health Canada, the new regulations mean that when protein, modified protein or protein fractions from the following foods are present in prepackaged products, these allergens will need to be declared using plain language. The foods are:

  1. almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios or walnuts;
  2. peanuts;
  3. sesame seeds;
  4. wheat and triticale;
  5. eggs;
  6. milk;
  7. soybeans;
  8. crustaceans (common name of the crustaceans);
  9. shellfish (common name of the shellfish);
  10. fish (common name of the fish);
  11. mustard seeds.

Also, gluten sources will need to be declared when a food contains gluten protein, modified gluten protein, or gluten protein fractions from barley, oats, rye, triticale or wheat (or a hybridized strain of any of these cereals).

Sulphites will still have to be declared at any level of use when directly added to a food as a food additive or when indirectly added to a food as components of an ingredient that is not exempted from component declaration. In addition, the new regulations will require that sulphites added as components of an ingredient exempted from component declaration will have to be declared when the total amount of sulphites contained within the food is 10 parts per million or more in the finished product.

More information is available at the Health Canada website.