Archive for August, 2014

This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa is one of my favourite pasta salad recipes. Fresh tomatoes, black olives, fresh mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes are tossed with cooked pasta and then dressed with a tangy vinaigrette. Top with grated Parmesan and chopped basil and you have a wonderful side dish or vegetarian lunch.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

It can be difficult to find sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil that do not contain sulfites. You can dry your own, or look for a sulfite-free brand, such as Mediterranean Organic. Check the ingredients on the olives and fresh mozzarella. I use Pilaros olives (available at Costco) and Tre Stella bocconcini cheese. Red wine vinegar can contain sulfites – I used Eden Organic brand. Unico capers are additive free. Make sure the Parmesan does not contain colour.

Fresh and sun-dried tomatoes, olives and fresh mozzarella

Pasta with sun-dried tomatoes


½ pound (225 g) fusilli (spirals) pasta

Kosher salt

Olive oil

1 pound (454 g) ripe tomatoes, medium-diced

¾ cup (188 ml) good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced

1 pound (454 g) fresh mozzarella, medium-diced

6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing:

5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained

2 tablespoons (30 ml) red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons (90 ml) good olive oil

1 garlic clove, diced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) capers, drained

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) freshly ground black pepper

1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated Parmesan

1 cup (250 ml) packed basil leaves, julienned


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well. Serves 6-8.

From the Barefoot Contessa

This grilled chicken and corn dish from the August 2014 issue of Food and Wine is perfect for a late-summer lunch or casual dinner. Grilled chicken, corn and scallions are tossed with cherry tomatoes, herbs and a tangy jalapeño-lime dressing. If you want the dressing to be less spicy, don’t use the seeds from the jalapeños. Cook’s note – be sure to zest the limes before juicing them.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lime juice, as the concentrates contain sodium benzoate and are very bitter.

Season the chicken with oil, rosemary, salt and pepper

Leave one layer of the husk on the corn and soak for 10 minutes

Grill the scallions for five minutes and the chicken and corn for 15-20 minutes

Grilled Chicken and Corn with Jalapeño-Lime Dressing


Jalapeño-lime dressing

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons minced jalapeños (with seeds)

1 ¼ tablespoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper


4 ears of corn

2 bunches scallions, halved

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt


Four 6-ounce boneless, skin-on chicken breasts

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, chopped

1 pint Sun Gold tomatoes, halved

¼ cup thinly sliced basil

Chopped chives and finely grated lime zest, for garnish


In a bowl, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing.

Light a grill. Remove all but the last layer of green husk from the corn. In a bowl, soak the corn in water for 10 minutes, then drain.

In a bowl, toss the scallions with 2 tablespoons of the oil; season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, coat the chicken with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the rosemary; season with salt and pepper.

Grill the corn, scallions and chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the corn and scallions are lightly charred and the chicken is cooked through, 5 minutes for the scallions and 15 minutes for the corn and chicken. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain.

Chop the scallions into 1-inch pieces. Remove the husks and cut the corn kernels off of the cobs. Transfer the scallions and corn to a large bowl; add the tomatoes, basil and half of the dressing and toss. Transfer the salad to a platter. Top with the chicken and garnish with chives and lime zest. Serve the remaining dressing at the table. Serves 4.

From the August 2014 issue of Food and Wine

This delicious recipe from Great American Grilling can be made ahead and served either hot or at room temperature. Sausages, onion, peppers and garlic are grilled and then tossed with cooked pasta. The pasta is dressed with a mixture of the cooked garlic, vinegar and mustard. This is a great way to use up those leftover peppers in your fridge and sausages in your freezer.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for sausages with no additives or preservatives, vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites and an additive-free Dijon. I used Spectrum balsamic vinegar and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon.

Grill sausages and vegetables until done, turning once

Slice sausages

Slice grilled vegetables, toss with pasta and dressing

Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Italian Sausages


1 lb. (454 g) mild or hot Italian sausages

1 large red onion, cut into quarters

1 large red and 1 large yellow pepper, cut into quarters

1 small head garlic, unpeeled

1 lb. (454 g) dried penne

¼ cup (60 ml) balsamic or red wine vinegar

2 tbsp (30 ml) Dijon mustard

2 tsp (10 ml) minced fresh oregano or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano

1 large tomato, chopped

Oregano sprigs


Arrange sausages, onion, bell peppers and garlic head on preheated grill and cook, covered. Turn food halfway through cooking time, until vegetables are soft when pressed and sausages are no longer pink in the centre (20 to 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts (2.8 litres) water to a boil over high heat in a 5- to 6-quart (5- to 6-litre) pan. Stir in pasta, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook just until tender to the bite, 10-12 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Cut cooked garlic in half crosswise. Squeeze pulp into a small bowl and stir in vinegar, mustard and minced oregano. Slice sausages, onion and bell peppers. Add to pasta along with garlic mixture and tomato. Toss well. Garnish with oregano sprigs, Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 8.

From Great American Grilling

This recipe from Anna and Michael Olson Cook From Home is a great way to grill a whole chicken. Because the chicken is flattened, it cooks quickly and evenly. The marinade makes the chicken tender and juice and the herbs add great flavour both before and during grilling. Place the chicken away from direct heat to avoid flareups.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a red wine with sulphite level lower than 10 parts per million and a red wine vinegar that does not contain sulphites. I used a red wine from  Frogpond Farm and Eden Organic vinegar. Make sure the spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Remove the backbone and flatten the chicken

The marinade uses fresh herbs

Remove the herbs from the marinade and place on the grill

Place the chicken on top of the herbs

The chicken takes about 30 minutes to cook through

Grilled chicken with scorched herbs


1 2 lb. (1 kg) whole chicken

2 bay leaves

½ bunch fresh thyme

½ bunch fresh rosemary

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/3 cup (75 ml) red wine

1/3 cup (75 ml) red wine vinegar

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin

1 tsp (5 ml) ground coriander

Coarse salt and ground black pepper


Rinse the chicken under cold water and dry with paper towels. Remove the backbone carefully using a boning knife and split each chicken in half lengthwise through the breastbone. You can also simply flatten the chicken by pressing down on the breastbone from the skin-side until it “cracks”, and cook it whole.

Stir the bay leaves, whole thyme and rosemary sprigs with the garlic, wine, vinegar, cumin and coriander together and marinate the chicken for 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours, refrigerated.

Preheat the grill to medium and make sure the surface is scrubbed clean with a grill brush. Remove the bay, thyme and rosemary from the marinade, and place them on the grill, then season the chicken with salt and pepper and place over the herbs. Cover of the grill and allow this to cook 8 to10 minutes (the herbs will smoke vigourously). Baste the chicken with half of the remaining marinade and cook 5 minutes, then turn over and brush with the last of the marinade. Finish cooking, about 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. The juices of the chicken should run clear and the meat should have lost its “pink” look around the bone (check near the thigh bone). Serve hot from the grill. Serves 4

From Anna and Michael Olson Cook From Home

This is a great recipe for grilled chicken from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Grilling. Marinate chicken pieces in orange, lemon and lime juices mixed with onion and fresh herbs. Grill the chicken, and, when it is almost done, grill some citrus slices as well for a tasty and impressive-looking garnish.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Everything in this recipe is all-natural. Be sure to wash the citrus fruits with water before zesting.

Citrus juices and herb marinade

Add the citrus slices to the marinating chicken for 15 minutes

Grill the citrus slices until they are tender and have grill marks

Citrus and honey chicken


For the citrus-honey marinade

1 orange

1 lemon

1 lime

3 tbsp (45 ml) snipped fresh chives or finely chopped green onion

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh mint

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) honey

For the chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or thighs

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 orange, cut crosswise into slices ¼ inch (0.64 cm) thick

1 lemon, cut crosswise into slices ¼ inch (0.64 cm) thick

1 lime, cut crosswise into slices ¼ inch (0.64 cm) thick

4 fresh mint sprigs


For the marinade, finely shred the zest from the orange, lemon and lime, then squeeze the juice from each fruit into a shallow, nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Stir together the orange, lemon and lime juices and zest, chives, chopped mint, oil and honey. Pour off about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the marinade and set aside.

Use the palm of your hand to flatten the chicken pieces to an even thickness of about ¾ inch (1.9 cm). Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the dish and turn to coat both sides with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for at least one hour or up to four hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Add the orange, lemon and lime slices to the marinade during the last 15 minutes.

Grill the chicken over medium-high heat, turning once or twice and brushing with the reserved marinade, until firm to the touch and cooked through. A few minutes before the chicken is done, place the citrus slices on the grill over low heat. Grill, turning once, until softened and grill marks appear, about one minute per side. Serve the chicken garnished with the citrus slices. Serve 6.

From Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Grilling