Archive for August, 2010

Sometimes a meal just works. Everything is ready at the same time, the side dishes perfectly complement the main course and it all looks good on the plate. This is a very simple meal but one we very much enjoyed.  The lamb chops are seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled until medium-rare.

The two side dishes are from the August 2010 issue of Chatelaine. For the Tarragon Beans, simply blanch the beans and toss them with a simple dressing of olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, tarragon and salt.

For the potato salad, cook the potatoes until tender and toss with red-wine vinegar, Dijon, shallots, salt and oil. Add more vinaigrette and parsley just before serving.

To avoid additives and preservatives in these recipes, use wine vinegars with no sulfites added and a Dijon mustard without preservatives or colour (I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon).

Tarragon Beans


½ lb each green and yellow beans

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp white-wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon

1 garlic clove, mined

1 tbsp fresh tarragon or ½ tsp dried

1/8 tsp salt


Trim beans and cook in boiling water until tender-crisp, 3-5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, white-wine vinegar, Dijon, garlic, tarragon and salt. Drain beans and toss with dressing. Serves 4.

Baby Red Potato Salad


2 lbs baby red-skinned potatoes

¼ cup red-wine vinegar

¼ cup grainy Dijon mustard

1 shallot, finely chopped

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup finely chopped parsley


Place potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook until tender, 17 to 20 min. Drain. When cool enough to handle, cut in half and place in a very large bowl.

Whisk vinegar with Dijon, shallots and salt. Whisk in oil. Add half of this vinaigrette to warm potatoes. Stir to coat.

Cool potatoes to room temperature. Just before serving, stir in remaining vinaigrette and parsley. Serves 6.

From the August 2010 issue of Chatelaine

If you like heat, you’ll love these pork kabobs, which are soaked in a jerk-style marinade and grilled with chunks of fresh pineapple. If you can’t find Scotch bonnet peppers, or if you want to tone down the heat, substitute jalapeno or hot banana peppers.

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, which is from Canadian Living’s The Barbecue Collection, be sure to use fresh lime and orange juice. I served these kabobs with steamed rice and grilled zucchini.


2 or 3 Scotch bonnet peppers, halved and seeded

4 cloves garlic, smashed

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 tbsp each lime juice and orange juice

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

¾ tsp ground cumin

¾ tsp dried oregano, crumbled

¾ tsp salt

½ tsp ground allspice

¼ tsp black pepper

1 ¼ lb pork loin or shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 cups fresh pineapple, cubed

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Fresh coriander sprigs

Lime wedges


In blender or food processor, purée together hot peppers, garlic, onion, lime and orange juices, tomato paste and ginger; transfer to bowl. Stir in cumin, oregano, ½ tsp of the salt, allspice and pepper; toss with pork until coated. Marinate, refrigerated, for at least 3 or up to 8 hours.

Toss pineapple with remaining salt. Reserving any remaining marinade, alternatively thread pork and pineapple onto skewers. Stir oil into marinade; brush over skewers. Grill over medium-high heat, turning once, until just a hint of pink remains inside for loin or until no longer pink inside for fattier shoulder, 12-15 minutes. Garnish with coriander; service with lime wedges. Makes 4-6 main-course servings.

From Canadian Living’s The Barbecue Collection

This grilled shrimp from the June 2010 issue of Everyday Food is quick to make and bursts with flavour from the citrus juices, tequila and jalapeno.

Shrimp in tequila-citrus marinade

You don’t even need a grill for this recipe – a ridged or regular cast-iron pan would work just as well. If you use bamboo skewers on a grill, remember to soak them for at least 30 minutes so they won’t burn up.

Tequila-grilled shrimp kabobs

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use fresh juice; the concentrates usually contain sodium benzoate. I served these luscious shrimp kabobs with grilled vegetables.


1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup silver or white tequila

1/4 cup lime juice (from about 3 limes)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

Lime wedges (for serving)


In a medium nonreactive bowl, stir together shrimp, tequila, lime juice, and orange juice; season with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Grill shrimp until opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes, flipping once. Transfer to a platter and top with jalapeno. Serve shrimp with lime wedges. Serves 4.

From the June 2010 issue of Everyday Food

It’s a bumper zucchini crop this year, so I’m very glad that the August issues of my favourite magazines are featuring several zucchini recipes. This recipe from the August 2010 issue of Bon Appetit suggests serving these zucchini fritters as an appetizer, but I served them as the entrée for a vegetarian meal. They were absolutely delicious – in fact, I was sorry I halved the recipe, as we easily could have eaten many more of them!

I’m always a little wary of making patties that are supposed to stay together when you fry them, but I had no trouble with these. I ended up with four patties instead of six, but you can make them any size you like.

Batter for zucchini fritters

Frying zucchini fritters

The grated zucchini has to drain for 30 minutes, so keep that in mind when working out your timing. The Green Goddess Dressing was also fantastic – I’ll be making it on a regular basis. I served the fritters with grilled vegetables and a warm potato salad.

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, make homemade mayonnaise or use one without additives, such as Hellman’s (regular, not low-fat). Make sure the goat cheese has no preservatives or colour added and use an all-natural, microbrewery beer.

Zucchini fritters with green goddess dressing



1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

1 anchovy fillet, chopped


1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini (5 to 6), trimmed

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided

6 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup beer

1 4-ounce package soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled, chilled (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup (or more) extra-virgin olive oil

3 1/2 cups (lightly packed) mâche (lamb’s lettuce; 2 to 3 ounces)


For dressing

Blend all ingredients in processor until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

For fritters

Using large holes on box grater, coarsely grate zucchini into large colander. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coarse salt over and toss to coat evenly. Place colander over large bowl. Let zucchini stand 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Press on zucchini to release as much liquid as possible. Empty zucchini into kitchen towel. Roll up to enclose and squeeze dry.

Whisk flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in medium bowl to blend. Mix in beer. Scrape zucchini from towel into bowl; stir to coat evenly (batter will be thick). Mix in cheese.

Heat 1/3 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Working in batches, drop batter into skillet by 1/4 cupfuls, flattening to 3-inch rounds. Sauté until brown and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil as needed. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 375°F oven 5 to 6 minutes.

Place mâche in large bowl. Toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons dressing. Place 2 fritters on each of 6 plates. Top with mound of mâche salad. Serve fritters, passing remaining dressing alongside. Makes 12 fritters.

From the August 2010 issue of Bon Appetit