Archive for May, 2013

This recipe is featured on the cover of the latest issue of the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine. It is a simple meal—lamb chops and asparagus—but the tzatziki and pecorino shavings kick it up a notch. It’s also quick to make—30 to 45 minutes. Use a Y-shaped peeler to shave the Pecorino, which is a hard Italian cheese made with ewe’s milk.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Pecorino, sun-dried tomatoes and tzatziki may contain colour, sulfites and other additives. I made my own tzatziki from scratch (see the recipe below). It’s also becoming easier to find sun-dried tomatoes in oil with no additives. I used Allessia brand for this recipe. Tre Stelle brand Pecorino is all-natural.

Add sun-dried tomatoes and dill to tzatziki

The chops are seared, then roasted

Lamb chops with tzatziki and roasted Pecorino asparagus



2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Generous pinches of salt and pepper

8 bone-in lamb chops, about 2 lbs (1 kg) in total

Pecorino asparagus

2 bunches asparagus, tough stalks snapped off

1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) olive oil

Generous pinches of salt and pepper

½ cup (125 ml) shaved Pecorino


1 clove of garlic, minced

¼ English cucumber, finely diced

½ cup (125 ml) yogurt cheese

¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped mint or parsley

or use ½ cup (125 ml) store-bought tzatziki

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper to taste


Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Rub 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper all over the chops. Spread asparagus out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Shake the pan to evenly coat.

Set a large, ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat. Coat with remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil for chops. When hot, add chops. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side until browned. Adjust heat if needed, being careful not to burn the garlic. If pan is not ovenproof, remove chops to a rack on a baking sheet.

Roast chops in top and asparagus in bottom of oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until chops are done as you like and asparagus is tender. Remove each when done. Loosely cover chops and let rest for five minutes before serving. Scatter Pecorino over asparagus.

Meanwhile, stir tomatoes and dill into tzatziki. Serve chops with asparagus and tzatziki. Serves 4.

From the Early Summer 2013 issue of Food & Drink

If you like Indian food, you must try this delicious Chicken Tikka Masala from the April 2013 issue of Bon Appetit. Skinless, boneless chicken breast pieces are marinated in a spiced yogurt that tenderizes and flavours the meat. Marinate the chicken in the early afternoon and it will be ready when you start to cook dinner.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. The yogurt should contain all-natural ingredients. Use either vegetable oil or butter that does not contain colour. Unico tomato paste and canned tomatoes do not contain additives or preservatives.

Make the spice paste

Half the spice paste flavours the yogurt used to marinate the chicken

Crushed cardamom pods and onions add flavour

Saute the onions

Add tomatoes, cream and partially cooked chicken

Chicken Tikka Masala


6 garlic cloves, finely grated

4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger

4 teaspoons ground turmeric

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½ cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise

3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup tomato paste

6 cardamom pods, crushed

2 dried chiles de árbol or 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 cups heavy cream

¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish

Steamed basmati rice (for serving)


Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl.

Whisk yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium bowl; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.

Heat ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.

Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, until sauce thickens, 8-10 minutes.

Add cream and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet. Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it will not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice and cilantro sprigs. Chicken can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Reheat before serving. Serves 6.

From the April 2013 issue of Bon Appetit

The April 2013 issue of Food and Wine contained several recipes from Mario Batali, including this fettuccine. Batali’s tomato sauce is an excellent all-purpose sauce and can be made ahead. The cabbage adds flavour and texture—and you can use the same pot of boiling water to cook both the cabbage and the pasta.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

If you are making the tomato sauce, look for a brand of tomatoes with no additives, such as PC Blue Menu or Unico. It is becoming easier to find sausages with all-natural ingredients and casings. Check the label on the cheese to be sure it does not contain colour.

Onion, carrot and garlic flavour Batali's tomato sauce

You can make the tomato sauce ahead

Blanch the cabbage until just tender

The sauce includes onion, sausage and the cabbage

Cook the fettuccine in the same boiling water you used for the cabbage and add to the sauce

Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano cheese and serve


Batali’s Essential Tomato Sauce

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¼ cup finely shredded carrot

1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme

Two 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, crushed

Kosher salt

Fettuccine with Spicy Sausage and Cabbage Ribbons

1 pound green cabbage (½ medium head), cut into ½-inch-wide ribbons

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt

1 pound spicy Italian sausage—casings discarded, meat crumbled

2 cups Batali’s Essential Tomato Sauce or jarred tomato sauce

1 pound fettuccine

Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for serving


Batali’s Essential Tomato Sauce

In a saucepan, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, 10 minutes. Add the carrot and thyme and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until thickened and reduced to 5 cups, 30 minutes. Season with salt. The tomato sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Fettuccine with Spicy Sausage and Cabbage Ribbons

In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the cabbage until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a colander. Cool the cabbage under running water and drain well.

In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt; cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until no pink remains, 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and cabbage.

Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cabbage is tender, 15 minutes.

Return the cabbage cooking water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until just barely al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta and reserved cooking water to the cabbage sauce. Cook over moderate heat, tossing, until the pasta is coated and al dente, about 2 minutes. Transfer the pasta to shallow bowls, sprinkle cheese on top and serve. Serves 6.

From the April 2013 issue of Food and Wine

This steak salad from the March 2013 issue of Bon Appetit calls for two of my favourite things about spring: the barbecue and chives. A juicy grilled steak is served with a hearty salad of crispy sliced potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, greens and pickled red onions—all topped with a zesty dressing made with sour cream, horseradish and chives.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain additives and preservatives include the red wine vinegar, sour cream and horseradish. Look for a red wine vinegar with no added sulfites, such as Eden organic. Check the label on your sour cream for additives and keep in mind that lower-fat versions can contain more artificial ingredients. I have never been able to find prepared horseradish that does not contain sulfites, so I grate my own from my stash of home-grown horseradish roots.

Make the pickled onions first

Thinly slice the potatoes in a food processor with with a mandoline

Pickled onions, radishes and cucumbers ready for the salad

Cook the potatoes until crispy

Be sure to let the steak rest before serving

Steak salad with horseradish dressing


Pickled Red Onions

2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon (2 ml) kosher salt

½ small red onion, thinly sliced

Horseradish Dressing

½ cup (125 ml) sour cream

3 tablespoons (45 ml) prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon (5 ml) honey

1 teaspoon (5 ml) red wine vinegar

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Steak Salad

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, divided

1 1-pound (500 g) rib-eye, flank, or skirt steak

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

12 ounces (350 g) fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced

½ English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced

6 radishes, cut into thin wedges

2 cups (500 ml) greens (such as arugula or torn Bibb lettuce leaves)



Bring vinegar, salt, and 1 cup (250 ml) water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in onion. Let cool. Drain before serving.

Horseradish Dressing

Whisk sour cream, horseradish, chives, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Steak Salad

Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat.

Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked to desired

doneness, 5-8 minutes per side for medium-rare rib eye, about 4 minutes per side for flank steak, or 3 minutes per side for skirt steak. Transfer meat to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, season with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8-10 minutes.

Slice steak and serve with horseradish dressing, potatoes, cucumber, radishes, greens, and Pickled Red Onions. Serves 4.

From the March 2013 issue of Bon Appetit