Wednesday, May 31, 2006
About the cauliflower, one wouldn't think of it when picking out veggies to grill but it does well. I like to toss it with olive oil and some spices. Last night I used a tandoori marsala spice mix. I cook them over low heat or even indirect heat while grilling something else on the other side of the BBQ. You can grill them over high heat but you need to either steam them a bit first or reduce the heat under them and let them cook through on the BBQ. Nice thing about them is that it is hard to overcook them this way. I had mine all done last night but still had to grill the lamb chops. I wrapped them in foil and put them on the warming rack over the lamb chops. Perfect!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
We re-did the kitchen out here a couple of years ago so it's a better space for prep work but somehow the additional counterscape ends up getting used for clutter. I got a new BBQ cookbook, Better Homes and Garden New Grilling Book. It's excellent. It has recipes for indoor grills, smokers, turkey fryers and rotisseries as well as the standard charcoal and gass grills. I find it very inspiring.
I do like to keep it simple at the cottage. Last night we had salmon fillets on sugar maple planks with steamed broccoli. Tonight it is rosemary lamb chops and roasted beets. All I'm going to do with the lamb is marinate for an hour or so in red wine, then rub it with chopped fresh rosemary and on to the grill it goes! The beets well get cut into 1/2 inch pieces, tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I'll cook them on low heat directly but I'll turn the other side of the BBQ on medium-high so they will roast. After they are done I may toss them with a little lite blue cheese dressing. A lovely Zinfandel will complete the meal.
A beautiful day deserves a nice meal!
Friday, May 26, 2006
Some helpful hints for those who cottage, camp or get away for a weekend. Do as much food prep at home before you go. It'll make it easier to do it in a space you are used to working in and won't cut in to relaxation time. Also stick to one food theme. I had some fresh lemons so I made a nice lemon, garlic and herb cornish game hen one night. I used a lot of the same ingredients to make a nice greek dish another. If you are going to be gone for a whole week or longer, pick two themes, maybe tex mex and greek. Or Indian and Mexican (yes, a lot of the spices and herbs are common like cumin, cilantro, coriander, peppers...) Keep it simple. The best tastes are often simpier than we think!
If you have a good knife or knife set, consider taking it if you are going to be cooking a lot or gone for along time. Sometimes the tools make all the difference in the world.
Also watch out for prepared foods and frozen foods. They are often laden with sodium and often have processed ingredients. I make a huge batch of gourmet burgers with different flavors at the beginning of the BBQ season. I freeze them and we are set for the summer! You can prep all your meats ahead of time. I put my marinade in with my frozen meats before heading out to the cottage. Then they get really flavorful as they defrost. All I need then is a fresh veg to round out the meal. Stop at those road side stands! If you don't have a farmers market in your area, then this is the best way to get the freshest veggies!
Here is my Cornish Game Hen recipe. It was delicious. And it can be done on the grill or in a frying pan.
I cut them in half, remove the skin and the rib bones from the hens. It makes it easier to eat and lighter in fat content. It will still be juicy, don't worry.
Mix in a ziplock bag or in a glass pan the following:
1/2 cup white wine
Juice from 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of salt substitute of any flavor like herb and garlic or lemon pepper. I used 1/2 a teaspoon of each.
Add hens and marinate at least 8 hours but I've left them sit for 36 hours and they are perfect!
cook them over a medium grill heat, toss them in a grill pan or frying pan and brown on each side then lower heat and cook for around 20 minutes. They will be juicy and tasty!
Friday, May 19, 2006
Soups, casseroles, pasta dishes all freeze well. Double up when you make them and keep your freezer ready for those nights when you need a quick meal. We'll cover more about freezer ready meals in the future. It's a great way to eat!
Friday, May 12, 2006
Last night we had Pad Thai. One of my favorite dishes. I used Bonnie Stern's recipe and it was delicious. I find that using fresh cilantro, green onions (or scallions) and some peanut pieces thrown on at the end really makes the dish.
Of the seedlings I started the other day, I noticed today that the Arugula is sprouting! Now lets see how long it takes me to kill it....
Tonight it's what we call "Swedish" pizza. We call it this because we had it in Sweden and it was the best pizza ever. I have friends who spent time in Italy and they say the pizza from this pizzaria in Sweden is the best. We use a thin crust, add a little sauce, mozza and parmesan cheese, proscuitto, and arugula. Tonight I'll add some fresh basil and red, yellow and orange tomotoes. I have a multigrain crust that I got at the market that we may use too. Either way, there is a nice Californian Zinfandel to have with it. Can't wait!
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I spent much of the day pulling weeds. As someone who loves to cook, I also have a great appreciation for gardening. Small problem though... I'm allergic to weeds and grass. That's right, weeds. And today I was up to my eyeballs in them. But it had to be done. I'm developing a new appreciation for all things organic. Maybe I should word that differently... I'm developing a fear of all things not so natural and chemically poisenous. I have large hairy dogs and I'd prefer not to put down chemicals in the yard that is anywhere near them. So I ended up pulling weeds by hand. Now I'm about to start some seeds for our veggie garden at the cottage. I tried to find some heirloom variety seeds but it was hard. I did get 3 varieties of beets and 3 varieties of tomatoes. We'll add some plants once we actually break ground but I thought I try some seeds again. I have a bit of a black thumb (don't tell my relatives.. my mom and my grandmother can grown a silk purse out of a sows ear....) Mom isn't handy to the cottage but Tim's mom is and she is like my mom... can grow anything. So hopefully we'll have some fruits to show for our labour (pun fully intended!)
Monday, May 08, 2006
Tonight, lefteover refried beans tacos! Can't wait!
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I used a Cedar plan, soaked it in water for about an hour and then put it on a hot bbq. Once it started to smoke, I put the salmon steaks on it. I turned the heat down to med-high. After 15 minutes I put on the sauce. I made a Southwest Sauce out of the following:
- 2 tbsp fat free mayo
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp cumin, oregano and salt substitute
- a couple of drop of hot sauce and a pinch of chipotle powder
- 3 tbsp of fresh cilantro, chopped
I mixed it all, except the cilantro (I sprinkled that on right before serving)
I served this with leftover Black-Bean Mango Salsa from the night before and a salad.
Tonight it's leftovers. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make something edible out of the leftovers in my fridge. I'm thinking corn tortilla with leftover refried beans and a salad.
We picked up some fantastic multi-grain pizza crusts and I can't wait to try them out tomorrow night. I like to make non-traditional pizzas so stay tuned!
Friday, May 05, 2006
- 1 can of Black Beans
- 1 Mango, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (wear a glove or use a sandwich bag to prevent the irrating chemicals from getting on your hands and eventually into your eyes.... or maybe that's just me....)
Mix the following and pour over the above ingredients.
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (I'll have fresh ones on had for making margaritas anway!)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- pinch of salt
This recipe is from the Weight Watchers "Take Out Tonight" cookbook. It's great. I love this book. A friend of mine has tried just about every single recipe in it. She wasn't impressed with the Chinese recipes but she lives in NJ so she has access to awesome chinese food. Living here in Canada, I don't so I like the Chinese recipes too.
For the Pork I'm going to marinate it in some chili powder, cumin, hot sauce and cilantro. I'm thinking to serve it with either refried beans or polenta. I know polenta doesn't sound very mexican but it should be, it's just cornmeal. I think I'll season it with mexican spices... Ooo, I have some chipotle powder and some Chedder and Monteray Jack cheeses to mix in. yum!
And of course there will be margaritas and mexican beer. And the best part of it all? It's a beautiful warm day! 20 degrees (that's 72 for you non-metric folks) which is just perfect!
Adios and Buenos Noches