This recipe from Bon Appetit is easy, tasty and pretty. Cook whole peppers in a hot cast iron skillet until they start to brown, then cool and slice. Return the peppers to the skillet with shallot, chile and thyme and set a whole chicken on top. Roast until the chicken is done and then serve the carved chicken over the beautifully soft and luscious vegetables.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Everything in this recipe is additive-free.

Cook peppers until they begin to colour

Slice peppers and place in skillet with shallot and thyme

Top with whole chicken and roast

Roast chicken with bell peppers, lemon and thyme

Ingredients:

4 large bell peppers (any colour)

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced crosswise

5 sprigs thyme, divided

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) plus 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 3½–4-lb. (1.6-1.8 kg) chicken, patted dry

1 lemon, halved

Preparation:

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425° F (218° C). Heat a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook bell peppers in skillet, turning every minute or two, until blistered in several spots, about 5 minutes. (You aren’t trying to cook them, just get some color on them.) Transfer bell peppers to a cutting board and let cool slightly; reserve skillet. Stand a pepper upright and slice off sides, working your way around stem in 3 or 4 cuts. Pull out ribs and seeds; discard along with stems. Repeat with remaining peppers.

Return peppers to skillet and add shallot, chile, and 3 thyme sprigs. Season generously with salt and black pepper and drizzle ¼ cup (60 ml) oil over. Season chicken all over with salt and black pepper and set on top of peppers. Place a lemon half and remaining 2 thyme sprigs in chicken cavity and rub skin all over with remaining 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) oil. Roast in oven until skin is golden brown and crisp all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 160° F  (71° C), 60–80 minutes. Remove from oven (be careful; handle is hot!) and let rest 15 minutes before transferring chicken to a cutting board and carving.

Just before serving, squeeze remaining lemon half over chicken and bell peppers. Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

This delicious salad from Bon Appetit features grilled corn tossed with a spicy dressing, avocado, chile and cilantro. If you don’t have a barbecue, just cut the kernels from the cobs and sauté them in the butter until they are tender and beginning to brown. I served this right away, without chilling it for two hours, and it was great. It was also very good the next day, chilled.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter does not contain colour and be sure to use fresh lime juice. I use Simply Natural Organic Sriracha.

Grill corn or remove kernels and saute

The corn is tossed with a honey-lime dressing

Grilled corn salad with hot honey-lime dressing

Ingredients:

3 ears of corn, husked

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) unsalted butter, melted

1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) kosher salt, plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp. (45 ml) fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) honey

1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) Sriracha

1 tsp. (5 ml) granulated garlic or garlic powder

1½ avocados, cut into ¾-inch (1.9-cm) pieces

1 serrano chile, thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) cilantro leaves with tender stems

Preparation:

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Brush ears of corn with butter; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until kernels are very tender and charred in spots, 10–12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut kernels from cobs.

Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, honey, Sriracha, granulated garlic, and 1½ tsp. (7.5 ml) salt in a large bowl to combine. Add corn, avocados, chile, and cilantro to vinaigrette and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing in direct contact with salad to prevent avocados from turning brown. Chill at least 2 hours. Do Ahead: Salad can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Serves 8.

From Bon Appetit

This fun recipe from Bon Appetit lets everyone assemble their own meal. Marinate shrimp briefly in a spicy sauce then quickly cook them in a skillet. Arrange the shrimp, cucumbers, herbs, lettuce and peanuts on plates and let everyone compose their own wrap. In addition to cucumbers, I used red pepper and radishes. I also used cilantro instead of mint.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Sambal oelek typically contains additives, so I used Simply Natural Organic Sriracha. Check the sesame oil and nuts to make sure they are additive-free.

This recipe lets everyone assemble their own meal

Sambal shrimp lettuce wraps

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 ml) hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

¼ cup (60 ml) unseasoned rice vinegar

4 tsp. (20 ml) toasted sesame oil, divided

1½ lb. (680 g) large shrimp

Kosher salt

1–2 Tbsp. (15-30 ml) vegetable oil

2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced into rounds

Flaky sea salt

2 heads of Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, covered, chilled

½ cup (125 ml) mint sprigs

½ cup (125 ml) crushed salted, dry-roasted peanuts

Preparation:

Whisk hot chili paste, honey, vinegar, and 2 tsp. (10 ml) sesame oil in a small bowl to combine. Season shrimp lightly with kosher salt and place in a resealable plastic bag. Pour in half of marinade and seal bag. Transfer remaining marinade to a small bowl and set aside for serving. Let shrimp sit at room temperature, turning the bag occasionally to ensure even coating, 10–15 minutes.

Remove shrimp from marinade, allowing excess to drip back into bag, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Heat 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Working in batches and adding another 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) oil along the way if the skillet is looking dry, arrange shrimp in skillet in a single layer and cook undisturbed 2 minutes (the marinade will have darkened in colour and some of the sugars in it will have started to caramelize). Turn shrimp over and cook 30 seconds. Transfer to a platter.

Arrange cucumbers on platter next to shrimp; season with sea salt and drizzle with remaining 2 tsp. (10 ml) sesame oil. Arrange lettuce leaves and mint sprigs on platter so that each component is visible and easily accessible. Place crushed peanuts in a small bowl and set out next to platter along with reserved marinade (for spooning into wraps). Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit

Who needs take-out? This recipe from Martha Stewart is fun to make and delicious. Cook chow mein noodles until tender (or use fresh), then press into a cast iron pan and cook until they are brown. Carefully flip the noodles and brown on the other side; then set aside. Quickly cook chicken, mushrooms, broccolini, carrots (I used red pepper instead), ginger and garlic, toss with a glossy sauce and serve over the crispy noodles.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce and stock and rice wine with no additives; I used Imagine Organic brand chicken stock and Eden rice wine.

Assemble the ingredients before starting to cook

Press cooked noodles into an even layer in the hot pan

Cook noodles until brown and crispy on both sides

Cook chicken until done and remove from pan

Cook shiitakes

Then add broccolini and carrot - I used red pepper instead of carrot

Add ginger, garlic, chicken and sauce to pan and heat through

Serve chicken mixture over crispy noodles

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons (45 ml) plus 2 teaspoons (10 ml) soy sauce

5 teaspoons (25 ml) cornstarch

3 tablespoons (45 ml) Shaoxing rice wine

1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar

1 cup (250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth

8 ounces (226 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into ½ -inch (1.27-cm) pieces

Kosher salt

½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil

6 ounces (170 g) chow mein noodles (either fresh or dried and cooked until tender)

6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps cut into ¼ -inch (0.64-cm) strips (or dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and cut into ¼ -inch/0.64-cm strips)

¾ cup (180 ml) julienned carrot

1 cup (250 ml) chopped broccolini

3 tablespoons (45 ml) julienned peeled ginger (from a 3-inch/7.6-cm piece)

2 large cloves garlic, minced (4 teaspoons/20 ml)

1 cup (250 ml) mung bean sprouts (optional)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) toasted sesame oil

Preparation:

Whisk 3 tablespoons (45 ml) soy sauce into cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons (30 ml) wine, sugar, and broth. Season chicken with salt and remaining 2 teaspoons (10 ml) soy sauce and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) wine.

Heat a 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron skillet over medium-high and add ¼ cup (60 ml) oil; heat until shimmering. Add noodles and flatten to an even layer. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup (85 ml) water and cook, pushing edges in with a spatula to shape into a more compact disc, until golden brown and the entire thing holds together like a mat, 4 to 5 minutes more. Carefully slide a spatula underneath and flip over. Drizzle 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil around edges of pan. Cook until crisp on the second side, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to serving plate.

Return pan to medium high-heat, add chicken, and cook until golden brown on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss and cook until almost cooked through, about 1 minute more. Remove from pan. To the pan, add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and broccolini. Toss 1 minute. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir sauce to recombine, then add to pan and bring to a boil. Add chicken and toss to combine. Stir in sprouts and sesame oil. Serve over crispy noodles. Serves 4.

From Martha Stewart

This delicious recipe from the New York Times takes advantage of in-season corn and tomatoes. Sear the shrimp and cook the bacon until it’s crisp (I actually cooked the bacon first and then seared the shrimp in the bacon fat). Cook corn niblets and scallions and then add cold, cooked rice. Press the rice into the pan and let it cook until a brown crust forms. Top the crispy rice with the shrimp, tomatoes and bacon and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for frozen organic shrimp with only salt added (fresh shrimp is often treated with sulfites to remain white). Use bacon preserved with celery salt.

This recipe uses fresh corn and tomatoes

Cook corn and scallions after shrimp and bacon are cooked

Add rice, pat into an even layer and cook until the bottom becomes crispy

Scrape the crispy rice from the pan to serve

Crispy rice with shrimp, bacon and corn

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil

1 pound (454 g) peeled and deveined shrimp, patted very dry

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

4 strips bacon

3 ears corn

6 scallions

1 cup (250 ml) grape tomatoes, or 1 large chopped juicy tomato

4 cups (1 L) cooked rice

Preparation:

Heat oil in large cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet over high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add to the hot oil in a single layer and sear until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Turn heat down to medium-low and add the bacon in a single layer. Cook, turning to evenly brown, until crisp, about 10 minutes.

While the bacon browns, shuck the corn and cut off the kernels. You should end up with about 3 ½ cups (875 ml). Thinly slice the scallions and set aside some greens for garnish. Cut the tomatoes in half. (If the bacon is done cooking before you’re finished slicing, remove the pan from the heat for a moment.)

Drain the bacon on paper towels, leaving as much liquid as possible in the skillet. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the corn, scallions, and a pinch of salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the scallions just wilt, about 1 minute.

Add the rice and stir until well-mixed and heated through, about 3 minutes. Press the rice evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Let cook, without stirring, as the rice and corn begin to crackle, until you smell a toasty scent and the rice browns, about 5 minutes. You can lift up a section of rice to peek and see if a golden-brown crust has developed.

Remove from the heat and divide the rice mixture among four bowls, scattering the tomatoes, shrimp and accumulated juices on top of each. (Alternatively, serve rice directly from the pan, with tomatoes and shrimp on top.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon all over and garnish with the reserved scallions. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This recipe from Canadian Living cooks everything – chicken thighs, potatoes and greens – on a baking sheet. It’s quick, tasty and clean-up is a snap.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the seasoning to make sure it doesn’t contain additives or anti-caking ingredients. I made my own, mixing 2 tsp (10 ml) oregano, ½ tsp (2.5 ml) thyme, 1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) onion power, 2 tsp (10 ml) garlic powder, 1 tsp (5 ml) rosemary, pepper and salt.

Place ingredients on a baking sheet

Toss cooked chicken and potatoes with watercress or arugula

Sheet pan Greek chicken and lemony potatoes

Ingredients:

8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (about 2.4 lbs/1.1 kg)

4 yellow-fleshed potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 1-inch (2.54-cm) thick rounds

3 cloves garlic, smashed

3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil

¼ cup (60 ml) Greek seasoning

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) each salt and pepper

1 lemon, halved

4 cups (1 L) watercress or arugula

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. On pan, toss together chicken, potatoes, garlic and oil to coat; sprinkle with Greek seasoning, salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer with chicken skin side up. Add lemon, cut side up. Roast, rotating pan halfway through, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced and potatoes are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

Add watercress; toss to combine (if substituting arugula for the watercress, there’s no need to return the pan to the oven. Just toss and serve). Return to oven; roast just until watercress is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Squeeze lemon over top; discard lemon halves. Divide chicken, potatoes and watercress among plates. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

Our dear friends Lisa and Gary invited us to their beautiful cottage for the long weekend and, aside from the great company and gorgeous lake, this clambake was a real highlight. You can cook it on top of the stove, but Lisa cooked it on the barbecue, in great pot she inherited from her mother-in-law. Lisa grilled the potatoes and corn before adding to the pot. The recipe is adapted from Canadian chef Stefano Faita. Make sure you have lots of crusty bread to sop up the delicious broth!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Lisa used Steam Whistle beer, Imagine organic chicken stock and salt instead of Old Bay Seasoning. Chorizo sausages often contain preservatives, so she used additive-free sausages, grilled in advance of being added to the pot.

Mix stock ingredients together

This recipe uses shrimp, clams and mussels

Serve with lots of crusty bread to mop up the broth

Stovetop (or in this case, barbecue) clambake

Ingredients:

1 bottle beer, such as pale ale or pilsner
1 to 2 cups (125 to 250 ml) chicken stock
6 shallots, cut in half
6 garlic cloves, crushed or left whole
3 sprigs thyme
2 large bay leaves
1 to 2 tbsp. (15 to 30 ml) Old Bay Seasoning (or salt)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 pound (454 g) mini potatoes
2 smoked chorizo sausages or kielbasa, cut into thirds
4 corn on the cob, cut into thirds
1 pound (454 g) little necks or manilla clams
½ pound (227 g) mussels
1 pound (454 g) large shrimp, peeled, tail on, deveined
2 lemons cut in half
Parsley, chopped for serving
Lemon wedges and hot sauce, for serving

Preparation:

Add to large pot or stock pot: beer, chicken stock, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and old bay seasoning. Bring to a boil.

When mixture starts to boil, add potatoes and sausages. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until potatoes start to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.

Add corn, clams, mussels, shrimp and lemon halves. Cover and let steam until clams and mussels have opened and shrimp start to curl, turn pink and are just cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes.

With slotted spoon or spider, remove seafood, sausage and veggies to large serving dish or platter. Finish with chopped parsley. Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce. Serves 4-6.

Adapted from Chef Stefano Faita

This pasta salad recipe from Kitchn is light, tasty and feeds a crowd. Make a vinaigrette from garlic, lemon juice, oregano, wine vinegar, salt, sugar, mustard, oil and red onion and toss with cooked, cooled pasta, cherry tomatoes, olives, cucumber and goat cheese. I used red pepper instead of canned pimentos and feta instead of creamy goat cheese.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use fresh lemon juice and a red wine vinegar without sulfites, such as Eden Organic. I used President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon. Olives and pine nuts may contain preservatives, so check the label. Tre Stelle feta is additive-free.

Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients

Pasta salad without mayo

Ingredients:

For the vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried oregano

1 tablespoon (15 ml) red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt

2 teaspoons (10 ml) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons (90 ml) olive oil

¼ medium red onion, finely diced (½ cup/125 ml)

For the pasta salad

1 pound (454 g) dried short pasta, such as farfalle, fusilli, penne, orecchiette

10 ounces (283 g) cherry tomatoes, quartered

½ cup (125 ml) pitted kalamata olives, halved

¼ cup (60 ml) canned diced pimentos

½ medium English or hothouse cucumber, diced (about 1 cup/250 ml)

¼ cup (60 ml) loosely packed fresh basil leaves

4 ounces (113 g) goat cheese, crumbled

½ cup (125 ml) toasted pine nuts (optional)

Preparation:

Make the vinaigrette: Place the garlic, lemon juice, oregano, vinegar, salt, sugar, Dijon, and pepper together in a glass jar. Add the oil, seal the jar, and shake until emulsified; set aside.

Pickle the onion: Pour ½ cup (125 ml) of the dressing into a large bowl (reserve the remaining ¼ cup/60 ml for later) and add the red onion. Stir to coat, then set aside.

Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well.

Toss the salad: Add the drained pasta, tomatoes, olives, pimentos, cucumber, and basil to the bowl with the dressing. Toss to coat. (At this point, you can set the salad aside for a few hours.)

Finish the salad: When ready to serve, add the reserved dressing, goat cheese, and nuts if using, then toss until well-combined. Serves 8-10.

Make ahead: This salad can be made through Step 4 and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Let the salad come to room temperature, and taste and season with more salt as needed, as cold temperatures can dull the flavors. Wait until just before serving to drizzle with remaining vinaigrette and add the cheese and nuts.

From Kitchn

Suya is a spicy meat skewer from West Africa and this recipe from Food and Wine is a delicious way to marinate and grill beef. You can use short ribs or any grilling steak, thinly sliced. Marinate the beef in a savoury mixture of peanuts and spices for several hours, thread onto skewers and grill for a few minutes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Cut the beef thinly and marinate

Thread the marinated beef onto skewers and grill

Beef Suya

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 ml) unsalted roasted peanuts

1 tablespoon (15 ml) garlic powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) onion powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chili powder

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground ginger

1 tablespoon (15 ml) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1 tablespoon (15 ml) black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil, plus more for brushing

1 ½ pounds (680 g) boneless beef short ribs, frozen 20 minutes and very thinly sliced lengthwise

12 large wooden skewers, soaked in water 1 hour

½ lemon

Sliced red onion, tomato, and cucumber, for serving

Preparation:

Pulse peanuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, ginger, salt, and pepper; pulse to combine. With processor running, gradually add oil until a thick paste forms.

Combine short ribs and peanut mixture in a large bowl; toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 450°F/232°C), or heat a grill pan over medium-high, and brush grate with oil. Thread short ribs onto skewers, brush lightly with oil, and season lightly with salt. Grill, turning once or twice, until lightly charred and nearly cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a platter; squeeze lemon half over skewers. Serve with sliced red onion, tomato, and cucumber. Serves 4.

From Food and Wine

This recipe from Canadian Living combines ground meat with cucumber, yogurt, harissa paste, honey, lemon juice, garlic, mint, coriander and cumin, yielding a flavourful and moist burger. Instead of chicken, you could use ground lamb or beef. Serve the burgers in a bun or on top of pitas with the cucumber yogurt sauce and lots of fresh toppings.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for plain yogurt with no preservatives and use fresh lemon juice. Check the ground cumin to make sure it does not contain colour or anti-caking agents. Ozery Bakery pitas contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Additive-free harissa is hard to find, but you can make your own; the recipe is below. La Costeña canned chipotles do not contain preservatives.

The cucumber yogurt sauce goes into the burgers and is also a topping

Top your burgers with cucumber, avocado, radishes, onion, tomatoes and feta

Grill burgers until cooked through

Mediterranean Chicken Burgers

Ingredients:

Harissa

2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet paprika

1 chipotle in adobo, minced, plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) adobo sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground caraway

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Burgers

¼ cup (60 ml) shredded English cucumber

½ cup (125 ml) plain Greek yogurt

1 ½ teaspoon (7.5 ml) harissa paste

1 ½ teaspoon (7.5 ml) liquid honey

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) lemon juice

1 lb (450 g) lean ground chicken, beef or lamb

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons (30 ml) finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon (15 ml) ground coriander

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin

1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt

4 pita pockets

Toppings (optional)

Sliced radishes, cucumber ribbons, chopped tomatoes, sliced avocado, crumbled feta cheese, sliced red onion or fresh sprouts

Preparation:

Harissa

In a mortar, combine the paprika, chipotle, adobo sauce, garlic, cumin, caraway and olive oil and pound until a paste forms.

Burgers

Squeeze excess moisture from cucumber. In small bowl, mix together cucumber, yogurt, harissa, honey and lemon juice.

In large bowl, mix together ¼ cup (60 ml) of the yogurt mixture, the chicken, garlic, egg, mint, coriander, cumin and salt.

Shape mixture into four ½-inch (1.27-cm) thick patties (Make-ahead: Layer patties between parchment paper in airtight container; refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Place patties on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until instant-read thermometer inserted sideways in patties reads 160°F (71°C), 8 to 10 minutes.

Place pitas on grill, turning once, until warmed through, about 1 minute. Spread some of the yogurt mixture on pitas. Top pitas with patties and toppings (if using). Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

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