Friday, June 06, 2014

Grilled Halibut with South Asian Sauce

Inspired by Lucy Waverman and Kevin Closet Cooking

Printable Recipe
Prep time 10 minutes
Grill time 8-10 minutes
Serves 2

1 large Halibut steak (salmon and other firm fish steaks are great too)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2-3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1/2-1 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes (or red chili pepper flakes)
1/4 cup or so olive oil

1. Prepare the sauce - nothing easier than using the food processor.  Drop garlic down the feeding tube with the motor running.  Then but everything except the olive oil into the bowl and pulse a few times until everything is chopped and well blended.  Pour the oil down the feeding tube with the motor running.    If you don't have a food processor, finely chop everything and mix well in a bowl.

2. Prepare the grill - on high.  If you don't have a grill, you can roast at 450F/220C.    Coat the halibut with some of the sauce.  Grill for 4-5 minutes per side .

Serve with extra sauce

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Coriander Two Ways Grilled Lamb Chops

  • Adapted from Canadian Living: 150 Essential Beef, Pork and Lamb Recipes  
  • Printable Recipe
  • Prep & marinade time: 30 minutes (can marinate for 30 minutes - 8 hours)
  • Grill time: 10 minutes
  • Serves  

  • Ingredients: 
  • 6-8 lamb rib chops (The actual recipe calls for 2 racks of lamb, but I like to cut them into chops before marinating and then grill as chops)
  • Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt & pepper
  • Directions:
  • 1. Make  marinade:   With the motor  of your food processor running, drop the garlic and chunk of ginger through the feeding tube.  Add everything except the oil and pulse until well blended (30 -60 seconds).  Pour the oil down feeding tube with the motor running.  Taste for seasoning.   The results: a thick paste. 

  • 2. Place chops in a zip lock bag and add the paste.  Rub into chops and set aside for 30 minutes or so on the counter. 

  • 3. Prepare the grill or broiler to the highest setting.  Broil chops for 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and crisp.   Let the ribs rest for 5 minutes or so before serving.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Spring in a Bowl Pasta

Prep/Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

250g/8oz  dry pasta (I used PC Black Label Fiorelli )
Sauce: ( use the term loosely
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1-2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
pinch red chili pepper flakes
1-2 cups fiddleheads1lb/450g large shrimp, raw, peeled
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup green Spring greens coarsely chopped - this time: arugula, chives with their flowers, oregano, basil
1/2-1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiana 

1. Cook the pasta in boiling water with a generous amount of salt. It should be al dente (about 7-8 minutes) and drain., I reserve  1/4 cup of pasta liquid, but didn't need any this time..

2. Prepare the fiddleheads: This takes the most time. Cut off the blackened ends, rinse through a strainer or sieve several times to get rid of all the chaff (little brown skins) and toxins.  Place in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 minutes to blanch them.  Submerge in ice water to stop the cooking process.  Drain and set aside. Squirt  a little lemon juice to keep them from turning black.

3. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the shrimp and fiddleheads and raise the heat to medium high, flip when they start to turn pink on the bottom.  Add the arugula, rest of the herbs along with garlic, lemon juice and chili pepper flakes. Toss and cook for 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink.  

4. Place drained pasta into a large serving bowl, add the shrimp & greens mixture and toss.  Add the cheeses, taste for seasoning and serve.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Grilled Lamb Chops with North African Chermoula

  • Adapted from Mediterranean Cookbook
  • Printable Recipe
  • Prep & marinade time: 30 minutes
  • Grill time: 10 minutes
  • Serves  

  • Ingredients: 
  • 6-8 lamb rib chops (although lamb steaks of any nature work well too)
  • Marinade:
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 red chile, seeded and chopped (I actually used ground Aleppo Peppers - 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp gr cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Directions:
  • 1. Make chermoula marinade:  Mediterranean Cookbook (MC) way: Place garlic, red chile and coarse salt in a mortar and pestle and pound until they form a paste.  Add the cilantro and parsley and pound to a coarse paste.  Add the cumin and paprika and then pour in the oil and lemon juice.  Mix well.  My way:  use a food processor.  Start with garlic, chile or crushed aleppo and salt.  Pulse 30-45 seconds.  Add cilantro, parsley, cumin, paprika and lemon juice.  Pulse for 1 minute and pour oil down feeding tube with the motor running.  Taste for seasoning.   
  • 2. Place chops in a zip lock bag and add the chermoula paste.  Rub into chops and set aside for 30 minutes or so on the counter. 
  • 3. Prepare the grill or broiler to the highest setting.  Broil chops for 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through and crisp.   

  • MC serves it with a tomato salad.  I served it with a Spring Greens & Avocado salad with a vinaigrette of avocado oil, apple cider balsamic vinegar & a spoonful of Kozlik's Lime & Honey mustard. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Crispy Fried Chicken Wings with Asian Dipping Sauce


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch or potato starch
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 10 chicken wings, tips removed, then each wing cut into two pieces
  • 1- 1 1/2 tbsp frying oil (I use olive or canola)
  • Glaze/dipping sauce:
  • 1/2 cup water or beer ( used water, but David suggested beer, so choice is yours)
    3" (7 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
    1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
    1/2 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
    3 tbsp rice vinegar
    1/2 cup corn syrup or maple syrup
  • Directions:
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, starch, egg, salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper until it’s a thick paste. Add the wings and mix with your hands until they’re thoroughly coated.  This step is very messy and the "batter" very thick.   Also know that the chicken pieces will not be totally covered with the batter.
2. Put the coated wings in the T-fal ActiFry Low-Fat Healthy Multi-Cooker  and drizzle with the oil. Close the lid and cook for 35 minutes, until brown and crispy.
David's other suggestion: Or the deep-fry the wings in a pot of hot oil (Maangchi recommends 350º-380ºF, 177º-193ºC) twice, in batches. Then drain well.
Sauce/glaze:3. In a large pot or wok, bring to a boil the water, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, chili pepper flakes and corn or maple syrup. Let cook until the mixture becomes syrupy and thick, and starts to foam. It should be about as thick as honey.
My Honey is not a fan of sticky food, so I stopped here and used the syrup as a dipping sauce.  For David' Lebovitz's recipe:  Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked wings, peanuts, sesame seeds, and chili flakes, until completely coated.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chef Jason Lynch's Gravy Ready Braised Short Ribs

From Chef Jason Lynch's Straight from the Line

Note: Short ribs are one of my favorite cuts of meat.  I love them best sliced across 3-4 ribs - thin for marinating and grilling and about 1.5" thick for braising and in hearty soups. I've made them a bazillion different ways - some successful, others not so much.   But this one actually took my breath away when I lifted the cover after three hours.  The aroma of all the herbs, garlic and vegetables was insane - or as my grandsons would say when something is spectacularly wonderful - RIDICULOUS!!!!!  But what was even more surprising was the gravy.   Normally when braising, the juices are - well... delicious as they may be... juices.   And if you want to make a gravy, you stil have work to do.   Not with Chef Jason's recipe.  The first step is critical - tossing the ribs in in seasoned flour before searing them! 

Note:  Don't rush the searing process - it is the longest step, but take your time.  Make sure your pan is hot before adding the ribs; Don't crowd the hot pan; Let the ribs sit for 3 minutes before checking to see if they are well browned and ready to turn; Continue to sear the other side for 3 minutes and remove from the pan.  Repeat until all your ribs are seared. 

Printable Recipe

Prep time:40-45 minutesCooking time: 3 1/2 hours or so
Serves 4-6

1/3 cup all purpose flour

salt & freshly ground pepper
4.5- 5 lb/2.2 kg beef short ribs  (I like mine cut across 4 ribs, about 1.5" thick, with lots of meat on the bones)
4 tbsp olive oil, divided (I actually used grapeseed oil)
2 medium red onions, cut into 1" pieces (or roughly chopped)
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 celery rib, cut into 1/2" pieced
3 large cloves of garlic, smashed or minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp, fresh thyme leaves, (I give them a chop or two also)
2 cups full-bodied red wine
2 cups chicken stock (since I was out I used my homemade roasted vegetable stock
2 cups diced roma tomatoes with their juice (I use a 19oz/398ml tin of diced fire roasted tomatoes and their juice)
1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar (this time I used Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar from Liquid Gold - a cool tasting bar for all things olive and vinegar)

1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C and place the rack at the lower position. .  

2. Mix the flour, salt & pepper in a large zip lock bag and toss the ribs in to coat them.  Do this in batches, so all of the ribs get some coating.  Knock of the excess flour and set the dusted ribs aside while preparing the other batches.

3. My personal step to make the rest of the prep work easy:   Prepare all the ingredients in the order they will be added to the pot.   For this one I chopped the onions, carrots and celery and placed them in one bowl.  In a small prep bowl, combine the crushed garlic and herbs.  Premeasure wine in one cup, stock & vinegar in another and have the tomatoes ready.  

4. Pat the ribs dry and toss them in the flour mixture (see my note at the top).  

5. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wide, heavy bottom pot (I have an old cast iron roasting pan that I used as I wanted to have the ribs spread out as much as possible) over medium-high heat.  Brown the ribs in hot oil (3 minutes or so per side, but it might be less or longer, depending on the thickness and length of your ribs) Remember not to crowd the ribs or check for sear too soon.  Rule of thumb:  Using tongs, the meat will easily come off the bottom of the pan only when the sear has taken.  Lift too early and you will only succeed in removing the coating.   BE PATIENT!   Remember not to stuff the pot, you want your ribs to sear, not boil and for that they need room.   Once the ribs are done, remove the batch to a platter and repeat the slow process, until the last of the ribs are seared.

6.  There should be very little oil left in the pot, but if there is, spill it out before adding another 2 tbsp of oil to the hot pot.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are just softened and beginning to brown (ab out 10 minutes).

7. Add the garlic and herb and cook, stirring frequently until the aroma hits you and you are transported - less than 2 minutes!  Add the wine, stir once and allow to come to a boil.  Let it reduce to half ( at least 5 minutes, maybe longer).  Add the stock, tomatoes and vinegar and bring to a simmer (soft bubbles).

8.  Return the ribs to the pot.  I like to try and spread them out so there is no more than two layers of meat, but not to worry if you need to do an extra layer.  Just make sure the ribs are covered with sauce.   

9.  Cover the pot/roasting pan with a well fitting lid or two layers of heavy duty foil, sealing the pot as best you can.   Place the pot in the oven and braise until the ribs are fork tender (about 3-3.5 hours).  

The book tells you to use a slotted spoon to remove ribs and transfer them to a large serving bowl.  Let the cooking liquid stand briefly and skim fat from top.   But there wasn't any extra fat in my batch and the gravy/sauce was thick and perfectly seasoned.   All I had to do was serve it with something delicious to sop up the gravy... could be rice, pasta or,mashed potatoes...or as  I did, mashed sweet potatoes & carrots with as side of broccoli.  

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bal's Awesome Grated Cauliflower & Peas

From Bal's Spice Kitchen  Served here as a side with Grilled Steak rubbed with Bal's Steak Masala

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 4

2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root (I store mine in the freezer - lasts longer and is easy to grate)
1 tbsp coriander seeds (I ran out of seeds so I used 1 heaping tsp of ground)
1 tbsp cumin seeds (same story as coriander seeds)
1 tsp ground turmeric
salt to taste
1 tomato chopped (I actually used 1 tbsp tomato paste instead)
1 small cauliflower, grated
1 cup frozen peas

1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and ginger and cook for about 4 minutes.  You want the onion soft and translucent.

2.  Stir in the spices and cook for about 15 seconds - just until you can smell the wonderful aroma.   Add the tomato (or paste) and cauliflower.  Toss well and cook until the cauliflower is tender ( 12-15 minutes).  It it starts to stick before the cauliflower is done add a 1-2 tbsp water and cover.

3.  Add the peas and cook for a few minutes until they are cooked and coated with the spices.

This is a wonderful side for grilled meat, chicken, fish and soooo good by itself as a leftover lunch the next day.

Bal's Steak Massala

From Bal's Spice Kitchen

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes 1/3 cup
Lasts up to 3 months

2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds (I used yellow and it was still delicious)
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 cup fenugreek leaves
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt

1.  In a skillet, toast the cumin, fennel & mustard seeds, and peppercorns on medium low heat until the aroma fills the air - about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

2. Process the spices in a spice grinder or mortar & pestle until coarsely ground.   Add the fenugreek leaves, paprika, chili pepper flakes and salt and give a quick pulse in the grinder or pounding in the mortar.
Store in an air tight jar in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months.  NOTE: I made have the recipe for two steaks and still had enough left over for another time.