Archive for February, 2012

I had some buttermilk left over from making cornbread, so I decided to try this Buttermilk Roast Chicken recipe from the blog Smitten Kitchen. It is inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe. Chicken parts are marinated in a brine of buttermilk, garlic, paprika, sugar, salt and pepper. If you have never brined a chicken, I highly recommend it. The brine infuses and seasons the meat, making it tender, moist and full of flavour. This is a very easy recipe and it yields terrific results. I brined the chicken for 24 hours; we used drumsticks and thighs, because we prefer dark meat, but you can use whatever chicken parts you like best.

Sprinkle brined chicken with paprika, oil and salt

Roast until cooked through and well browned

I served Buttermilk Roasted Chicken with roasted potatoes and sauteed green beans


2 cups buttermilk

5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1 tablespoon table salt

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling

Lots of freshly ground black pepper

2 ½ to 3 pounds chicken parts

Drizzle of olive oil

Flaked or coarse sea salt, to finish


Whisk buttermilk with garlic, table salt, sugar, paprika and lots of freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. Place chicken parts in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or lidded container) and pour buttermilk brine over them, then swish it around so that all parts are covered. Refrigerate for at least 2 but preferably 24 and up to 48 hours.

When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil. Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and arrange in dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste. Roast for 30 minutes (for legs; approximately 35 to 40 for breasts), until brown and a bit scorched in spots. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

From the Smitten Kitchen blog

This recipe from the May 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated is really for a charcoal grill, but I used a grill pan on top of the stove and it worked just fine. The tuna steaks are brushed with a Provençal-inspired vinaigrette, seared, then served with more vinaigrette. Keep an eye on the tuna steaks to make sure you don’t overcook them; they should be rare or medium-rare in the middle.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain additives and preservatives include the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, anchovies and black olives. I use Eden Organic brand red wine vinegar, which does not contain sulfites. Look for a Dijon mustard without white wine or sodium benzoate. I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon. Read the labels on the anchovies and olives to check for preservatives and colour. I use Unico anchovies and Sardo Organic kalamata olives.

Brush tuna steaks with vinaigrette

Sear until the centre is rare or medium-rare

Pan-Grilled Tuna Steaks with Provencal Vinaigrette


Vegetable oil

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Table salt

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or rosemary leaves

¼ cup chopped pitted oil-cured black olives

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano

2 minced anchovies

1 minced garlic clove

¾ cup olive oil

6 tuna steaks, 1 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)

Ground black pepper


Whisk vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt, mustard, honey, olives, parsley, oregano, anchovies, and garlic together in large bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle oil into vinegar mixture until lightly thickened and emulsified. Measure out ¾ cup vinaigrette and set aside for cooking fish. Reserve remaining vinaigrette for serving.

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Brush both sides of fish liberally with vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill fish without moving until grill marks form and bottom surface is opaque, about 1½ minutes. Carefully flip, cooking until grill marks form on second side, about 1½ minutes longer for rare (opaque at perimeter and translucent red at center when checked with tip of paring knife) or 3 minutes for medium-rare (opaque at perimeter and reddish pink at center). Transfer to large plate and serve immediately, passing reserved vinaigrette. Serves 6.

Adapted from the May 1, 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated

We are trying to eat less meat these days, so I am on the lookout for good vegetarian recipes. If you like curry, try this Easy Chickpea Curry from the January/February 2012 issue of Everyday Food. Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas add heartiness to the dish, so you really don’t miss the meat! If you roast the cauliflower and tomatoes ahead of time and keep them handy in the fridge, this recipe comes together in about 35 minutes. The curry is served over rice – I used Basmati.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain additives and preservatives are the curry powder and the chickpeas. Look for organic chickpeas, such as President’s Choice Blue Menu. Curry powder may contain colour, so I make my own. The recipe is below.

Roast cauliflower and cherry tomatoes

Add spinach and stir until it wilts

Serve the chickpea curry over rice


Curry Powder

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp crushed or ground fenugreek seed

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp crushed dried dill

¼ tsp ground mace

¼ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp dried mustard

1/8 tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix ingredients together.

Chickpea Curry

1 cup long-grain white rice

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced medium

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

4 teaspoons curry powder

2 cans (15.5 ounces each) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 1/2 ounces baby spinach (2 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

Coarse salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss cauliflower florets with 1 teaspoon oil and arrange on one side of a rimmed baking sheet. Toss tomatoes with 1 teaspoon oil and arrange in a single layer on other side of sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until florets are softened and browned in spots and some tomatoes are collapsed, 25 minutes. Refrigerate florets and three-quarters the tomatoes until later or proceed with the recipe.

Cook rice according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and gently simmer 8 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook until cauliflower is warmed through and chickpeas are tender, 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cilantro and season with salt. To serve, divide rice among four bowls and top with curry. Serves 4.

From the January/February 2012 issue of Everyday Food

This braised chicken recipe by Mario Batali was published in the February 2012 issue of Food and Wine. It is very, very good and easy to make. The sauce is well balanced between sour and sweet and the chicken was moist and tender. Rice, egg noodles or mashed potatoes would all be great accompaniments.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may have additives and preservatives include the red wine, red wine vinegar, capers and almonds. Look for a red wine with a sulfite content of less than 10 parts-per-million and for red wine vinegar with no sulfites added. I use Eden Organic brand. Check the labels of the capers and almonds to make sure they don’t contain preservatives. I used Unico brand capers and President’s Choice No Name sliced almonds.

Brown the cut-up chicken

Saute carrots, celery and garlic

Add sauce ingredients and browned chicken

Italian Sweet-and-Sour Chicken


One 4-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces (each breast split crosswise)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice

2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise ¼ inch thick

2 celery ribs, cut into ½-inch dice

8 garlic cloves, peeled

¼ cup sugar

1 cup dry light-bodied red wine, such as Chianti

½ cup red wine vinegar

½ cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons capers, drained

¼ cup sliced almonds


Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off the oil.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the sugar, wine, vinegar, orange juice, capers and almonds and bring to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a plate. Boil the pan sauce over high heat until thickened, about 3 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the skillet until warmed through. Transfer to a plate, spoon the sauce on top and serve. Serves 4.

From the February 2012 issue of Food and Wine

At the end of December, the Toronto Star food section published its top ten recipes of 2011. They included this recipe for Red Wine Braised Short Ribs from Brad’s Takeout and Eatery in Toronto. I love short ribs, but I don’t love the fat they produce. So I adapted the recipe by braising the ribs, removing them from the sauce and refrigerating the ribs and sauce separately overnight. When I checked the next day, the sauce had an inch of solidified fat on the top, which I was able to easily remove. I then reduced the sauce, poured it over the ribs and heated them through. The technique worked very well, so I encourage you to try it if you find short ribs too greasy or you just want to reduce your fat intake.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

The ingredients in this recipe that may contain additives and preservatives are the wine and the stock. Look for a red wine with a sulfite content of less than 10 parts per million. I couldn’t find beef stock, so I substituted Imagine brand chicken stock, which was fine.

Brown the short ribs well

Place browned ribs in a Dutch oven so they fit snuggly in one layer

Brown the vegetables

Add vegetables to ribs, add liquid ingredients and braise

Reduce braising sauce

Serve the ribs with the sauce over egg noodles or mashed potatoes


4 pieces beef short rib, cut 2-inches (5-cm) wide across the bone (about 3 lb/1.4 kg)

Salt + ground black pepper to taste

2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil

2 each: yellow onions, celery stalks, peeled carrots (all cut into 2-inch/5-cm chunks)

5 cloves garlic, unpeeled

2 sprigs rosemary

2 cups (500 mL) red wine

2 cups (500 mL) low-sodium beef stock

1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 325F (160C). Season ribs with salt and pepper.

In large fry pan, heat oil over medium-high. Cook beef, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 10 minutes. Transfer to 4-inch (10-cm) deep casserole or baking dish, bone side down — meat should fit snuggly as possible.

Return fry pan to heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until nicely browned, 5 minutes. Add vegetables to beef along with rosemary. Return fry pan to heat. Add 1 cup (250 mL) wine and stock, scraping up any brown bits. When liquid is hot, pour over meat. Wrap pan tightly with foil. Bake until meat is fork tender, 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

While beef is cooking, place remaining 1 cup (250 mL) wine and sugar in saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce until syrupy, 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Carefully transfer beef to baking dish. Strain braising liquid into saucepan with reduced wine, discarding solids. To reduce the fat in this dish, refrigerate ribs and sauce separately. Before finishing the recipe, remove the solidified fat from the sauce. If you don’t want to wait, bring liquid to boil over medium-high heat. Skim off fat that rises to surface. Reduce liquid until salt level is to your taste, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour sauce over beef. Bake until hot, basting occasionally, 20 minutes. Serves 4.

Adapted from Brad’s Takeout and Eatery recipe published in the December 28, 2011 Toronto Star