Archive for July, 2010

There’s no better summer weekend meal than ribs and potato salad. This rib recipe from Bonnie Stern, which appeared in the July 10, 2010 edition of the National Post, uses a barbecue sauce by grilling guru Steven Raichlen. It’s a good all-purpose sauce with great smoky flavour, although I must confess that I still prefer the orange-maple sauce I usually make (see my May 21, 2010 post on this blog for the recipe).

I served the ribs with the Red Potato & Radish Salad from Canadian Living’s new cookbook, The Barbecue Collection. This delicious potato salad is quick to make and makes a nice change from mayonnaise-dressed potato salads.

To avoid additives and preservatives in these recipes, use an-all natural ketchup (such as Heinz), an all-natural Dijon (I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon), molasses with no sulphur added, Tabasco brand hot sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon juice. Liquid smoke is usually a natural product, made from smoke passed through water. Check the label to make sure nothing else has been added.

Steven Raichlen’s Bourbon-Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

1 cup (250 mL) ketchup

¼cup (50 mL) firmly packed brown sugar

¼ cup (50 mL) bourbon (or whiskey)

3 tbsp (45 mL) cider vinegar

3 tbsp (45 mL) molasses

2 tbsp (25 mL) Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

1½ tsp (7 mL) liquid smoke

1 tsp (5 mL) Tabasco sauce (or to taste)

½ tsp (2 mL) onion powder

½ tsp (2 mL) garlic powder

½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together. Slowly bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and cook gently until thick and flavourful, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. You can also freeze it. Makes 2 cups (500 mL)

Bonnie Stern’s favourite method for making ribs

To cook 3 sides of back ribs, enough for 4 to 6 servings:

Remove membrane from ribs. Place ribs, in a single layer, on one or two foil-lined baking sheets. Spread both sides of ribs with ½ cup (125 mL) barbecue sauce, ending with meatier side up. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in a preheated 325F (160C) oven for 1½ to 2 hours, or until very tender when a knife is inserted between the bones. Meat will also start to come away from the bones at the tips. (Side ribs or meatier ribs may take longer.)

Remove ribs from pan. Brush with more barbecue sauce — about 1 cup (250 mL). Grill 5 to 10 minutes per side on medium high until browned, but watch closely so they don’t burn. Serve with more sauce if you wish.

From the July 10, 2010 edition of the National Post

Red Potato & Radish Salad

3 lbs. small red new potatoes

12 radishes, thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

½ cup thinly sliced red onion

¼ cup chopped fresh dill

½ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy or Dijon mustard

½ tsp each salt and pepper

¼ tsp granulated sugar

In pot of boiling salted water, cover and cook unpeeled potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. Meanwhile, in large bowl, toss together radishes, celery, onion and dill. Cut potatoes into quarters; add to bowl. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar; gently toss with potato mixture until coated. Serves 8.

From Canadian Living’s The Barbecue Collection

The mayonnaise and sour cream-based dressing for this coleslaw includes lime juice, lime peel, fresh hot chile and cilantro, which makes it refreshingly tart and tasty. You can make it ahead and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days. I served it with honey-mustard pork kabobs and a grilled yam salad.

Creamy cilantro-lime slaw with honey-mustard pork kabobs and grilled yam salad

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, be sure to use real lime juice, as the concentrates contain sodium benzoate. If you opt for a “light” mayo or sour cream, keep in mind that these lower-fat versions tend to contain more artificial ingredients to boost the flavour.


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel

1 serrano chile, seeded, minced

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

4 green onions, minced (about 1/4 cup)


Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons lime juice, lime peel, chile, and garlic in large bowl. Stir in cilantro. Add cabbage and green onions; toss to incorporate evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Season slaw with more lime juice, salt, and pepper, if desired, just before serving. Makes 6-8 servings.

From the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit

I’m always on the lookout for new recipes for pasta salad and this new find from the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit is well worth trying. Instead of the usual mayonnaise-based dressing, it uses olivada – a combination of chopped green olives, capers, red wine vinegar, anchovy paste, mustard and hot pepper flakes. Tossed with pasta, cherry tomatoes, bocconicini cheese and oregano, it makes a great summer side dish or main dish for vegetarians.

Pasta salad with cherry tomatoes and green olivada

A number of ingredients in this recipe can contain additives or preservatives, including the olives, capers, red wine vinegar and Dijon. Read the labels carefully to avoid benzoate of soda and sulfites. I use Pilaros garlic-stuffed green olives, Unico capers, Eden organic red wine vinegar and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon.


1 garlic clove, peeled

2 cups coarsely chopped pitted green olives (from about 6 ounces unpitted whole olives), divided

3 tablespoons capers, drained

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound gemelli, fusilli, or rotelle pasta

2 pints cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved

1 8-ounce package small (cherry-size) fresh mozzarella balls in water*

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Also called bocconcini, fresh mozzarella balls packed in water are available at many supermarkets.


With machine running, add garlic clove to processor through feed tube and process until finely chopped; turn off machine. Add 1 cup chopped olives, capers, red wine vinegar, anchovy paste, mustard, and crushed red pepper. Using 6 on/off turns, process to chop coarsely. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil, forming coarse puree. Transfer to bowl; stir in remaining 1 cup olives. Season olivada to taste with salt and pepper. Olivada can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain well. Transfer drained pasta to large bowl. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon oil over pasta; toss to coat. Cool, stirring occasionally.

Add olivada, halved tomatoes, mozzarella, and oregano to pasta; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 8.

From the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit

This recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s Essentials of Grilling combines two great techniques for cooking poultry—spatchcocking and placing a stuffing under the skin.

To spatchcock or butterfly a small chicken or hen, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it. Then flatten the chicken and grill it. It cooks quickly and evenly. Some people weigh the chicken down with a foil-covered brick, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

Placing a stuffing under poultry skin adds flavour and makes for an impressive presentation. In this recipe, the stuffing is made of chopped summer herbs. Be patient and go slowly when you are loosening the skin of the chicken and pushing in the stuffing, otherwise the skin will tear. It’s a little messy to do, but worth the effort.

Spatchcocked Cornish hen in the process of having herbs stuffed under the skin

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use fresh lemon juice. Concentrates usually contain sodium benzoate.

Grilled Cornish hen


2 Cornish hens

¼ cup chopped fresh summer savory

¼ cup chopped fresh chives

¼ cup chopped fresh mint

¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper


Remove the backbones from the hens and press down on them firmly to flatten them. Rinse the hens and pat dry. In a small bowl, toss together the chopped savory, chives, mint and parsley. Using your fingers, and starting at the tail end, carefully loosen the skin over the breast and thigh of each hen half. Using about half of the mixed herbs and dividing them evenly among the hen halves, insert them under the skin of each bird half, spreading as evening as possible.

Add the oil, lemon juice, garlic and ½ tsp each salt and pepper to the herbs left in the bowl. Mix well. Brush the oil mixture evenly over the hen halves, reserving a little of it for basting on the grill. Let the birds stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. If refrigerated, remove from fridge 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare charcoal or gas grill for grilling over medium-high heat. Grill the hens, skin side down, over hottest part of the fire for 15 minutes. Turn and brush with the reserved herb-oil mixture. Continue to grill, turning once or twice, until richly browned, about 30 minutes longer. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of a thigh away from the bone; it should register 175 degrees F. Cover loosely with foil and let hens rest 10 minutes (temperature should rise to 180 degrees during resting). Serves 4.

From Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Grilling, 2005

It’s that time of year.

The green and yellow beans and zucchini are piling up in the garden and I’m on the lookout for new ways to enjoy the harvest.

This new find from the June 2010 issue of Bon Appetit is a keeper. In addition to using beans and zucchini, it calls for basil and Italian parsley, which are also at their peak. The veggies are tossed in a delicious sauce verte, which is like a pesto made with basil, parsley, scallion, capers, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and olive oil.

A few notes on this recipe: Unless you like very crunchy beans, blanch them first, so that they are ready at the same time as the zucchini. Otherwise, the zucchini gets soggy and begins to disintegrate. You can use yellow and/or green beans and I think the sauce verte would also be good made with other herbs, such as tarragon and summer savory.

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use fresh lemon juice, capers without additives (I use Unico brand) and Dijon mustard without preservatives, sulfites, sodium benzoate or added colour (I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon).


Sauce verte

1/3 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves

1 green onion, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons (packed) fresh Italian parsley

2 tablespoons drained capers

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, peeled

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound green beans, stem end trimmed

12 ounces zucchini, halved lengthwise, each half cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-wide strips

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves (for garnish)


For sauce verte

Blend first 7 ingredients in processor until finely chopped. With machine running, gradually add olive oil. Process until coarse puree forms. Season sauce verte to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

For vegetables

Heat oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetables; stir until coated. Sprinkle with salt and 3 tablespoons water. Cover; cook vegetables until almost crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Uncover; cook until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in enough sauce verte to coat vegetables generously. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Garnish with parsley and serve. Serves 6.

From the June 2010 issue of Bon Appetit

I like this new find from Canadian Living’s The Barbecue Collection because it includes a recipe for homemade teriyaki sauce. Most ready-made sauces contain additives, preservatives, artificial colours and artificial flavours, so they are off-limits in our house. You can make the sauce in advance and then use it in the marinade for the lamb chops.

Lamb chops in teriyaki marinade

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use homemade chicken stock or an all-natural brand, such as Imagine. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, an orange juice concentrate that is 100% pure and an additive-free mirin, such as Kikkoman Aji-Mirin. I served these delicious chops with grilled fingerling potatoes and green beans sauteed with summer savory.

Summer savory complements green beans beautifully

Teriyaki lamb chops with fingerling potatoes and green beans

Teriyaki Sauce


¾ cup chicken stock or vegetable stock

½ cup soy sauce

1/3 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

2 tbsp granulated sugar

3 slices gingerroot

2 tbsp cold water

1 tbsp cornstarch


In saucepan, stir stock, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and gingerroot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 20 minutes or until reduced by about half. Whisk water with cornstarch; add to pan and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Discard ginger. Let cool.

Lamb Chops


1/3 cup teriyaki sauce

2 tbsp thawed orange juice concentrate

1 tbsp minced gingerroot

2 tsp grated orange rind

1 garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp salt

Pinch pepper

12 lamb loin chops, ¾ inch thick (2 lbs)

2 green onions, sliced


In large bowl, combine teriyaki sauce, orange juice concentrate, ginger, orange rind, garlic, salt and pepper. Add lamb, turning to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 4 hours, or up to 24 hours. Reserving marinade, place chops on greased grill over medium-high heat; brush with marinade. Close lid and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or until desired doneness. Serve sprinkled with green onions.

From Canadian Living’s The Barbecue Collection

When I was a kid, my father used to bring home corn on the cob that had been picked 10 minutes earlier from a local cornfield. Slathered in butter and salt, it was spectacular.

I thought this basic approach corn on the cob could not be improved upon, but I was wrong. This recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics cookbook definitely kicks it up a notch. Don’t get me wrong – freshly picked corn on the cob, in season, is fabulous. But most of the corn we get these days is transported over long distances, is tough or is not very sweet.

This recipe brings the best out of fresh corn, no matter what its age or sweetness, because the kernels are sautéed until they begin to caramelize, which eliminates the starchiness and toughness and brings out the sweetness. Just keep tasting the corn as you are cooking it until it’s perfect.

You can make this recipe with just corn, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper and it is delicious. But the onion, pepper and fresh herbs add lovely colour and flavour.


2 tablespoons good olive oil

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 small orange bell pepper, 1/2-inch diced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Kernels cut from 5 ears yellow or white corn (4 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil, minced fresh chives, and/or minced fresh parsley leaves


Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the bell pepper and saute for 2 more minutes.

Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Over medium heat, add the corn, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the corn just loses its starchiness. Season to taste, gently stir in the basil or other green herbs, and serve hot. Serves 6.

From the Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics cookbook

We love hot and spicy food and this grilled chicken from the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit was excellent. I couldn’t find piri-piri sauce locally, so I substituted Tabasco brand hot sauce, which worked very well. If you are looking for ways to use the cilantro in your garden, try this recipe, because both the glaze and marinade include it. I marinated the chicken for 24 hours.

Piri-Piri marinade

Marinate the chicken overnight if you have time

I grilled the chicken over charcoal with a handful of soaked apple wood chips. The glaze, which is poured over the cooked chicken, is fabulous. I served the chicken with roasted asparagus and sautéed corn.

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use Tabasco brand hot sauce, butter that does not contain colour and fresh lemon juice (concentrates contain sodium benzoate).

Piri-Piri chicken with roasted asparagus and sauteed corn



3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons piri-piri sauce or other hot pepper sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced

1 large shallot, peeled, quartered

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup piri-piri sauce or other hot pepper sauce

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, backbone removed, opened flat

1 11 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 1 1/4-inch disposable aluminum baking pan (to catch drips)


For glaze:

Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cilantro and garlic; cook until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add piri-piri sauce and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 2 minutes. Glaze can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before using.

For chicken:

Finely chop cilantro, ginger, shallot, and garlic in processor. Add piri-piri sauce, 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, coarse salt, and pepper; process marinade to blend.

Place chicken, skin side up, on work surface. Using palm of hand, press on breastbone to flatten chicken. Tuck wing tips under. Pour half of marinade into 11×7x2-inch glass baking dish. Open chicken like book; place skin side down in single layer in dish. Pour remaining marinade over. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally.

Remove top rack from barbecue. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). If using 2-burner gas grill, light 1 burner. If using 3-burner gas grill, do not light center burner. If using charcoal grill, light briquettes in chimney and pour onto 1 side of lower grill rack. Place disposable aluminum pan on unlit part of grill.

Place upper grill rack on barbecue; brush with oil.

Remove chicken from marinade. Arrange skin side up on grill rack above drip pan. Cover barbecue; grill until skin is browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, turning often, about 40 minutes. Transfer to platter. Pour warm glaze over. Serves 4.

From the July 2010 issue of Bon Appetit

Chicken Piri Piri

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please ( and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies ( They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

This challenge was easier than last month’s, which involved baking bread and making pâté. I decided to make cashew butter, which forms the basis of the dressing for one of the challenge recipes, Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing.

Cashew butter couldn’t be easier to make – just process a cup of roasted unsalted cashews in the food processor until a spreadable paste or butter is formed. It takes 2-3 minutes.

The cashew dressing, which is like a peanut dressing for satay, is delicious. This recipe makes loads more than you will need for the salad, so plan your menus accordingly!

The Asian Noodle Salad is perfect for a summer lunch or light dinner. Cooked noodles are drained, cooled and tossed with cucumber, red pepper, scallions, basil and cooked shrimp. I grilled the shrimp and used a blend of regular and Thai basil. Delicious!

Asian Noodle Salad with Cashew Dressing

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe notes: Customize the salad by adding or substituting your favorite vegetables. Shredded cabbage, bean sprouts, and slivered carrots would make nice additions. You can omit the shrimp, or substitute chicken or tofu or the protein of your choice. The dressing is equally good with peanut butter.

Cashew Butter


1 cup (240 ml) cashews*

Cashew Dressing:

½ inch (1 cm) slice of fresh ginger, chopped

8 cloves garlic, more or less to taste, chopped

½ cup (120 ml) cashew butter

¼ cup (60 ml) soy sauce

3 Tablespoons (45 ml) sugar

3 Tablespoons (45 ml) vinegar

3 Tablespoons (45 ml) toasted sesame oil

¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon (75 ml) water

Hot sauce to taste (optional)

Noodle Salad

½ pound (225 g) linguine or thin rice noodles

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

½ pound (225 g) small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 large red bell pepper, cored and seeded, cut into thin strips

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced

¼ cup (60 ml) sliced green onions

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped cashews (optional garnish)

Lime wedges (optional)


Make cashew butter: Grind cashews in food processor for about 2 minutes until smooth. (*or start with ½ cup (120 ml) prepared cashew butter.)

Prepare cashew dressing: Combine ginger, garlic, cashew butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water in food processor or blender. Process/blend until smooth. Be sure to process long enough to puree the ginger and garlic. The dressing should be pourable, about the same thickness as cream. Adjust consistency – thinner or thicker – to  your liking by adding more water or cashew butter. Taste and add your favorite hot sauce if desired. (If the cashew butter was unsalted, you may want to add salt to taste.) Makes about 1 ½  cups (360 ml) dressing. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

Prepare noodles according to package instructions in salted water. Rinse and drain noodles. Set aside.

Heat oil in large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add shrimp to the pan and sauté for about 3 to 4 minutes or until opaque throughout. Alternately, cook shrimp in boiling water for about 2 to 3 minutes or until done. You can also grill the shrimp, about 2-3 minutes per side, until done.

Slice basil into thin ribbons. Combine noodles, bell pepper, cucumber, onions, and basil in a large bowl. Add about ½ cup (120 ml) cashew dressing; toss gently to coat. Add more cashew dressing as desired, using as much or as little as you’d like. Scatter shrimp on top. Squeeze fresh lime juice over salad or serve with lime wedges. Sprinkle with chopped cashews if desired.

If you grow peas in your garden, or have ready access to them at the store or farmers’ market, I envy you. I love fresh peas, but can hardly ever find them. And they don’t do well in our garden.

So imagine how happy I was this week when Bill brought home a basket of gorgeous peas in the pod.

Fresh peas are wonderful just boiled in salted water, but I highly recommend this recipe for Petits Pois à la Française (French-style peas) from the 1984 Gourmet Cookbook, Volume I. The peas are boiled in water with butter, spring onions, shredded lettuce, sugar, salt and sprigs of parsley and chervil until almost done, and then you add a little butter and flour to make a lovely light sauce for them.

Ingredients for French-style peas

Peas and chervil were made for one another, and this is my favourite way to use this delicate herb with a mild licorice flavour.

Chervil has a mild licorice flavour

Once the peas have cooked, you stir in some flour creamed with butter and voilà – perfect peas.

French-style peas with sauteed corn and grilled chicken

French-style peas


3 tbsp butter, divided (2 tbsp + 1 tbsp)

6 tiny spring onions or scallions (white part only)

5 or 6 leaves lettuce, shredded

1 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

3 sprigs of parsley and 3 sprigs of chervil, tied together

2 generous cups freshly shelled peas (about 2 lbs. in the pod)

½ cup water

½ tsp all-purpose flour

Place 2 tbsp butter, onions, lettuce, sugar, salt, parsley, chervil, peas and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, cover the pan and cook rapidly for about 5 minutes, until the peas are almost done. There should only be 2 or 3 tbsp of water left in the pan. Discard the herbs and remove the pan from the heat. Add 1 tbsp butter creamed with the flour to the pan and return it to the heat, shaking it until the butter and flour mixture has combined with the liquid. As soon as the liquid boils again, remove from heat and serve the peas. Serves 2.

From The Gourmet Cookbook, Volume I, 1984