Archive for March, 2018

So I have a new kitchen toy, the T-fal OptiGrill™ Smart. It’s an indoor grill with sensors that measure the thickness and internal temperature of the food being cooked. It cooks the food to the temperature you want – rare, medium or well done –and notifies you of each stage through beeps and a light that changes colour. It is also equipped with Bluetooth technology, so you can operate it from your phone or tablet.

OptiGrill Smart

It has six settings on its dashboard — burgers, chicken, panini, sausage, red meat and fish — plus settings for seafood and bacon that you can enable from your Bluetooth device. It will also cook frozen food. I was a little skeptical, but it does work! So far I have cooked steak (perfect medium rare), chicken kebabs (juicy), lamb chops, fish, vegetables and panini and all have been great. It’s also fast and easy to clean. It’s not very big so cooking large batches is a bit tricky. But if you don’t have a barbecue and like grilled food, it’s a pretty good option.

This tilapia dish is from OptiGrill’s online recipes. The grill preheated in 5 minutes and cooked the fish perfectly in 8 minutes. To make this without the grill, just bake or broil the fish in the oven until it is done.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar to avoid sulfites. Use fresh lemon juice, as the concentrates contain additives. I used President’s Choice garlic-stuffed olives.

Brush half of parsley, vinegar, oil, lemon juice and garlic mixture over fish

Add olives, tomatoes and lemon zest to the rest of the mixture

Tilapia with tomato olive relish


¼ cup (50 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) white wine vinegar

3 garlic cloves, minced

¾ tsp (4 ml) each salt and pepper, divided

4 tilapia fillets, about 5 oz (150 g) each

1 cup (250 ml) seeded and finely chopped tomato

¼ cup (50 ml) finely chopped green olives

1 tsp (5 ml) finely grated lemon zest


Whisk the parsley with the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and garlic; divide into two equal portions.

Sprinkle ½ tsp (2 ml) each salt and pepper on both sides of the fillets. Brush one portion of the parsley mixture over the fillets. Stir the remaining parsley mixture with the tomato, olives, lemon zest and remaining salt and pepper; set aside.

Preheat oven or indoor grill. On OptiGrill, cook until the indicator light has changed to orange. In oven, cook the fish until cooked through. Serve the fillets with the tomato mixture on the side. Serves 4.

From OptiGrill Recipes

This side dish from Lynn Crawford’s new cookbook Farm to Chef is colourful and satisfying. Cooked quinoa is topped with sautéed shallot and Brussels sprouts leaves and then garnished with grated pecorino cheese. Healthy and delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the butter and cheese do not contain colour.

While quinoa is standing, sauté shallots

Add Brussels sprout leaves and cook until leaves are barely wilted

Brussels sprout leaves with pecorino and quinoa


1 cup (250 ml) uncooked quinoa

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

2 cups (500 ml) water or stock

½ tsp (2 ml) kosher salt

2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter

1 shallot, julienned lengthwise

2 cups (500 ml) Brussels sprout leaves

1 tsp (5 ml) chopped thyme leaves

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) finely grated pecorino cheese


Place quinoa in fine-mesh sieve. Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes, then drain well.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add drained quinoa and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute to let the water evaporate and toast the quinoa. Stir in water or stock and salt and bring to a rolling boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until tender and almost all the liquid has been absorbed.

Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 more minutes. Remove the lid and fluff quinoa gently with a fork. If any liquid remains in the bottom of the pan or if the quinoa is still a bit crunchy, return the pot to low heat and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. Set aside and keep warm.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallot and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add Brussels sprout leaves and thyme and cook until leaves are barely wilted, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon quinoa into a serving bowl, then top with Brussels sprout mixture and pecorino. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

From Farm to Table by Chef Lynn Crawford

This delicious recipe from the New York Times is a cinch to make and is dinner party-worthy. Pickle red onion in vinegar and honey and marinate the chicken in salt, garlic, coriander and black pepper for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, toss sweet potato and a sweet pepper with oil, fresh sage and spices. Place the chicken and veggies on a baking sheet and roast until done. Garnish with the pickled onion and cilantro and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

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

Marinate chicken thighs for 30 minutes

Pickle red onion in vinegar and honey

Place chicken and veggies on sheet pan

Roast until chicken is done and veggies are tender

Garnish with pickled onion and cilantro


3 tablespoons (45 ml) apple cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) honey

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) kosher salt, more as needed

1 to 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds (900 g) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (4 to 6 thighs)

2 ½ tablespoons (37.5 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces (340 g) sweet potato (1 large), peeled and cut into ½-inch (1.27 cm) cubes

1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) finely chopped fresh sage

¾ teaspoon (3 ml) sweet paprika

⅛ teaspoon (0.5 ml) cayenne

⅛ teaspoon (0.5 ml) ground allspice

Cilantro leaves, for serving


In a small, shallow bowl, mix together vinegar and honey. Mix in half the red onion and a pinch of salt and set aside for garnish, tossing the mixture occasionally as the chicken cooks.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, garlic, coriander and black pepper. Add chicken to bowl and rub the mixture all over it. Let marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). In a large bowl, toss together 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil, sweet potato, pepper, remaining onion, sage, remaining ½ (2.5 ml) teaspoon salt, paprika, cayenne, and allspice. Spread vegetables out on a rimmed baking sheet.

Add remaining ½ tablespoon (7.5 ml) oil to marinated chicken and turn to coat. Place chicken pieces, skin-side up, among the vegetables, making sure chicken is surrounded by them, but not on top of them. Chicken should rest directly on the baking sheet.

Roast for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and raise heat to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Use a wide spatula to flip vegetables over (but not chicken). Drizzle chicken (but not vegetables) with 2 teaspoons (10 ml) liquid from the onion-vinegar mixture. Roast until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

To serve, top chicken and vegetables with a spoonful of onion-vinegar mixture and plenty of cilantro leaves. Serves 4.

From the New York Times