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Monday, October 20, 2014

Harvest Season on the Grill

With gardens and farmer’s markets bursting with fall harvests of peppers and zucchini, here are two new ways to enjoy them on the barbecue.  Do not despair, meat-lovers:  these are good on their own or as a side dish with your favourite protein. 

Quinoa and Vegetable Stuffed Bell Peppers

It was such a treat to find our cottage garden laden with fire-engine-red peppers.  Ours were not bell peppers so we didn’t make them upright but rather as “boats”. 

8 bell peppers
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small zucchini, medium diced
1 medium tomato, medium diced
4 cups swiss chard (roughly a handful-sized bunch)
1 bayleaf
1 sprig thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
4-5 drops of hot sauce or a dash of red chili flakes

1 teaspoon orange zest
½ cup feta, small diced
¼ cup fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
S+P to taste

Cut the tops off of the peppers leaving the stem on. Remove seeds and membranes. Set prepared peppers aside in a casserole dish.

For the Quinoa:
Heat an empty medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Rinse quinoa in a sieve strainer under running water. Strain out as much water as possible before adding the quinoa to the hot pot (you should hear a sizzle). Toast the quinoa until it is no longer wet before adding the chicken stock. Let it come to a boil and turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let stand.

For the Filling:
In a large pan (enough to fit quinoa and vegetables), heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan on medium heat. Saute onions, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, swiss chard. Add herbs and seasonings. Cook until tender, around 15 minutes. Incorporate the cooked quinoa and finish with orange zest and feta. Salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh parsley or cilantro.

With a spoon, fill the peppers with the quinoa filling. Cover the peppers with the tops and cook on the top shelf of the barbecue for 30 minutes with the outside burners on low. Serve!

We developed this fritter recipe to make use of a new stainless griddle or “grilling steel” accessory.  It held the heat very nicely and because of the ultra smooth surface there was no worry about food sticking.

Gluten Free Corn and Zucchini Fritters

2 cups sweet corn
1 ½  cup grated zucchini, using the largest holes on a grater
1 jalapeño, minced
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons basil pesto
¼ c chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
3 large eggs, beaten
1  cup gluten free flour
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Slice the corn kernels from the cobs using a sharp knife and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the zucchini, jalapeño, green onions, garlic, pesto, cilantro, salt, and cheese. Toss well with a large spoon or your hands.

In a small bowl, stir together the beaten eggs and gluten free flour. Add this very thick mixture to the vegetables and combine thoroughly using a spoon or your hands. 
Let it all relax in the bowl at room temperature for at least 20 minutes so that the egg is absorbed by the flour and the zucchini releases some of its moisture.

Meanwhile, place the grilling steel on the grates of your barbecue and preheat on MEDIUM. Brush 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over the surface.  Working in batches, drop about ¼ cup of batter onto the hot surface. Space the fritters about 1 inch apart.
Allow to cook about 5 minutes until the bottom edges just begin to turn brown. Using a flat spatula, flip them over. Cook for another 4 - 5 minutes. The fritters should be lightly browned on both sides.  Move them up to the top rack to stay warm while you repeat with the remaining batter.  Serve with Avocado Cream.

Avocado Cream

1 ripe avocado
2 cloves garlic, minced
small handful cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
few dashes chipotle hot sauce
½ cup mayonnaise

Whir together all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Seegmiller Annual Pig Roast'14

The Seegmiller family fall pig roast is becoming a tradition that is much anticipated by family and friends.

After 14 hours in the smoker, it was finally ready-juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Yummy!
Tim and Geoffrey start plotting days in advance, brushing off their smoker, ordering the pig and deciding what tantalizing dishes to serve along with it to their guests. This year, Geoffrey decided to stuff the pig with sausage and a beef brisket!! We can not tell you how he managed to pull it off, but the pig was succulent and tender, the brisket was moist and flavourful, and the sausages were juicy and fully cooked!! Yeah!
The Witzels brought a bit of Oktoberfest to the pig roast!

The buffet was rounded out with salads and baked beans and all of the fixings from the Edelweiss in Kitchener. Of course, we can never arrive at a party empty handed, so we decided to grill up some cornbread. The savoury recipe that we developed for the pig roast contained grilled corn and red and jalapeno peppers. It was made extra special with the addition of cheddar cheese to the batter, and topped with a maple/lime glaze when removed from the oven. It can be baked in the barbecue, over indirect heat, or in the oven.

Cheesy Grilled Cornbread with Grilled Peppers and Corn with Maple/Lime Glaze
(makes 2 loaves)

4 ears of corn, remove a layer of the husk and pull away the silk from the ears of the corn
2 red peppers, cleaned
2 jalapeno peppers, cleaned

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 eggs
2 cups buttermilk or 2% milk +2 tbsp white vinegar
1 cup melted butter, cooled
1 cup grated old cheddar

1/4 cup maple syrup
juice of 1 lime (2 Tbsp)

Preheat the barbecue on HIGH for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to MEDIUM.  Oil the grids well.
Prepare corn and peppers for grilling. Place directly on the grids, close the lid and grill for 30-40 minutes. Turn every 5-8 minutes.  Remove corn from the grill once the niblets have begun to caramelize and turn a nice golden yellow.   Remove the peppers once the skins have begun to blacken and bubble.  Set aside to cool  while preparing the cornbread batter.

Mix together the flour, cornmeal, white sugar, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk and melted butter and beat with a wooden spoon until well blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon, just until the batter forms.
Cut the kernels from the corn cobs. Peel and seed the peppers and dice.  Add corn, peppers and grated cheese to the batter and fold in gently.
Pour into 2 well oiled loaf pans.
Bake in a 375°F barbecue over indirect heat, or  oven for 35-40 minutes.
Combine maple syrup and lime juice in a small dish. Use a silicone brush to baste the glaze onto the surface of the warm cornbread. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Almost ready?

You cooked that where???????
If you have some pictures from your Thanksgiving gathering that you would like to share, check out this link: Chow Down

Monday, October 6, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Salads

We sure felt the fall weather nipping at us this weekend!  This is the perfect weather for heading out to the local farmers market and stocking up on the final crops of the year. We love all of the varieties of squash, potatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, brussels sprouts, apples, even the very last of the corn.........The offerings are endless.  Consequently, everything that we have been making over the past couple of weeks has been chock full of these delicious vegetables, because they are so fresh and wonderful.  Here are recipes for 2 very delicious salads, featuring grilled vegetables.

Maple Glazed Grilled Vegetable Salad with Monforte Dairy Cheese

We picked up everything for this salad at the Market in Waterloo Square last Thursday. As usual, one of the highlights of that shopping experience is picking up a sampling of cheeses from the Monforte Dairy stand! Use any kind that you like, they are all delicious. We used a cheddar in todays recipe.

This salad is simple as 1, 2, 3!!  Open your fridge and pull out whatever vegetables are calling out to you. Grab some maple syrup, olive oil and freshly ground black pepper and sea salt for basting your vegetables. Turn on your barbecue and  start grilling!!
The cherry tomatoes become so sweet and delicate when they are grilled, they become the centre piece of the dressing! Here is the recipe for what we had in our refrigerator.

1 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds
2 large eggplants, sliced thickly
2 leeks, scrubbed
2 pints cherry tomatoes
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
200 grams Monforte Dairy cheese

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

Preheat the barbecue on HIGH for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to medium. Have a medium sized bowl on hand beside the grill, so that you can remove the cherry tomatoes to the bowl before they split.

Clean and prepare squash, eggplant, leeks and cherry tomatoes as directed.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange the  squash on the upper rack and grill for 15 minutes.
 Place cherry tomatoes, leeks and eggplant slices on a grill tray and place it directly over the lower grids and continue grilling for 15 minutes. Using a silicone brush, baste the vegetables liberally with maple syrup every 5 minute. Gently remove the cherry tomatoes from the grill as they slowly become soft and golden. Add 3 tbsp of the remaining maple syrup and 1 1/2 tbsp of the remaining extra virgin olive oil to the bowl containing the grilled tomatoes. This becomes the dressing.
Arrange the grilled vegetables on serving plates and drizzle with the grilled cherry tomato dressing. Garnish with chopped parsley and shaved cheese.

Grilled Hangar Steak Salad with Gorgonzola Dressing
This salad is so simple to prepare! Just put everything on the grill, and within 20 minutes, it will be ready to serve. The steak is made even simpler by using The Perfect Steak Marinade, a prepared product that you will find at all stores that carry Broil King Barbecues. It features a zesty blend of balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, vegetable oil, garlic, onion and spices.  You may be surprised to know that it is as close as your local Canadian Tire, Lowes or Home Depot Store!
1 400 gr Hangar Steak
2 cobs of corn, husk on, silk removed
2 red peppers, seeded
8 cremini mushrooms
4 cups mixed greens
1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly
1 cup mixed sprouts 
Marinate steak for half an hour in the Perfect Steak Marinade.
  •  Preheat grill on HIGH for 5 minutes, then reduce to MEDIUM.
  •  Prepare corn, peppers and mushrooms as directed in the Vegetable Grilling Guide .  Put corn, peppers, mushrooms and steak on the grill at the same time. 
  • Grill steak as directed in The Perfect Steak grilling chart, for a total of 7-8 minutes.  Grill vegetables as directed in the Vegetable Grilling Chart, and remove when finished.
  • Set everything aside to rest and cool while you prepare the Gorgonzola Dressing and assemble the salad. Remove corn from the cobs.
  • Assemble salad by spreading a layer of mixed greens on each plate. Top with thin slices of hangar steak, strips of red pepper, mushroom quarters and corn. Drizzle Gorgonzola Dressing over top and garnish with red onion rings and mixed sprouts.

Gorgonzola Dressing
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
2/3 cup Greek yoghurt (at least 2% MF)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Put the Gorgonzola in a small mixing bowl and mash it with a fork. Add the Greek yoghurt, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and black pepper and whisk to combine. Serve or store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 1 week.

While working with all of these delicious vegetables, someone asked : "Where's the meat?" Imagine?!
Not to worry! Next week we will be back with news and recipes from the annual all pork extravaganza - Geoffrey's Annual Pig Roast. Stay tuned.....................

Monday, September 29, 2014

Coulotte Steak and Grilled Leeks

Cooking with Teddy can at times feel like an aerobic workout.   His frantic creativity involves aggressive chopping, slamming, spinning, shaking, dashing in and out, and generally high-energy movements. But by the time you sit down to one of his flavourful, harmonious creations you quickly forget all the chaos.  He recently discovered a new cut of beef at his favourite Kensington Market butcher, Sanagan’s Meat Locker:  coulotte steak, which is a cut from the sirloin family.  It is thick and flavourful, and benefits from a marinade to tenderize it. 

Grilled Coulotte Steak
1 coulotte steak
for the marinade:
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
freshly ground black pepper

Place the steak in a flat glass dish.  Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour them overtop of the steak.  Turn the steak to coat it well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Bring the steak to room temperature for 20 minutes.  Preheat the barbecue on MEDIUM HIGH for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to MEDIUM and grease the grids with olive oil.  Place the steak on the 45° angle and cook for 3 ½ minutes.  Flip to the other side on the same 45° angle for another 3 ½ minutes.  Remove to a platter, tent with foil to rest for 7 minutes to reabsorb juices and to allow the meat to cook evenly.  Replace the meat on the grill on the opposite 45° for 3 ½ minutes, then flip to the same 45° for a final 3 ½ minutes.  Let rest for 10 minutes before carving against the grain into ½” slices.

Haley was an excellent sous-chef!

Grilled Garden Leeks

1 bunch leeks, white and light green parts only
olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons each red wine and red wine vinegar

Trim most of the roots off the leeks, and slice them in half lengthwise.  Rinse to remove any sand.  Let drain to dry.  Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay the prepared leeks on a preheated grill set to MEDIUM.  Cook until just beginning to caramelize, about 5 minutes.  Lay them on a sheet of aluminum foil, and sprinkle with the red wine and red wine vinegar.  Seal the package tightly and replace it on the grill for a further 10 minutes until very wilted and tender.  Open the package carefully to avoid steam burns, and sear the leeks with a final turn on the grill.  Serve along side any meat or poultry.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Harvest Time in Waterloo County

Fall in Waterloo County offers a bounty of local ingredients, and we gathered together a selection of them for the recipes that we developed this past weekend.  Of course some of the ingredients were as local as our own gardens!  Both the Grilled Corn and Pepper Quesadillas, and the Roasted Beet, McIntosh Apple and Wheatberry Salad with Feta Cheese can be served as an appetizer, lunch, or part of a buffet.  And either would be an ideal dish to bring to a potluck. Try them both this week.

Grilled Corn and Pepper Quesadillas
1 onion, halved and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1 cob corn, grilled and cut off the cob
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted and coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
8 medium flour tortillas
a little vegetable oil

Melt the butter in a medium skillet and add the onions.  Cook on low heat until very tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, roast the bell pepper until blackened and grill the corn in its husk on the barbecue.  Let cool, then peel and chop the pepper, and husk the corn and cut it off the cob. 

To assemble, brush one side of each flour tortilla with a little vegetable oil.  This will be the outside of the quesadillas, and the oil both prevents sticking and promotes crisping.  Place the tortilla oil-side down on a cutting board.  Sprinkle with a quarter of each of the vegetables and bacon, leaving a border around the edges.   Sprinkle with cheese almost to the edge.  Cover with the second tortilla, oiled-side-out.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients. 

Reduce the temperature of the gas grill to LOW, and place the quesadillas on the grill for about 2 minutes.  Using a very large spatula, turn them ¼ turn for 2 minutes.  Flip to the other side and cook for 2 minutes, then give them another ¼ turn and let cook for a final 2 minutes.  Transfer to a wooden cutting board and use a sharp chef’s knife to cut into wedges.  Serve with guacamole or salsa.  

Roasted Beet, McIntosh Apple and Wheatberry Salad with Feta Cheese

1 cup wheat berries
3 large beets
1 tbsp olive oil
1 McIntosh Apple, unpeeled, cored and quartered
1 rib fresh celery
1/2 bunch red kale, cleaned, rib removed
1/2 small red onion
1/2 cup Greek Feta Cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place the wheatberries in a glass bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Drain.  Place in a large pot  with 2-3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt and bring to a bowl. Reduce to medium and cook for 35-40 minutes, until they are tender-firm. Drain and place in the refrigerator to cool.
2. Meanwhile, preheat barbecue on HIGH for 5 minutes and lower to MEDIUM. Scrub beets, leaving tops and roots attached. Place in an envelope of heavy duty aluminum foil and sprinkle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Wrap tightly and place on upper rack of barbecue for 45-50 minutes, until tender-firm.  Remove from foil, and peel once they have cooled to the touch. Cut them into 1 1/2 inch chunks and set aside
3. Cut apple and celery into 3/4 inch cubes. Finely shred the kale. Dice red onion.
5. Prepare the dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a glass bottle, close lid and shake vigourously
4. Once the wheatberries have cooled, combine with chopped kale and toss them with half of the dressing and spread on a large serving platter.  Arrange the beets,  apple and celery over top. Sprinkle remaining dressing over the entire salad. Top with crumbled feta cheese and chopped celery.

Delicious with grilled trout, ratatouille and corn. We love the harvest season!!!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Flattened Chicken with Linguine with Grilled Mushrooms, Lemon and Thyme

Travelling really helps you put things in perspective. Having recently returned from an amazing week visiting friends in Switzerland and then touring around the beautiful Tuscan countryside, we were nonetheless happy to be home! The food in Switzerland was amazing as always, especially the wonderful dairy products. In Tuscany, we were buffeted with a sensory overload from the sight and smells and tastes of the olive groves, lemon trees, vineyards and fields of fresh herbs. Upon reflection on our favorite dining experiences, we agreed that our favorite meals were the simplest ones- those that highlighted the best of the ingredients that were used to prepare the meals. Of course, we have to admit that the scenery adds a lot to the dining experience as well.
Our reward after a 4 hour hike

Everything served at this mountain top family home is grown on their farm. All of the cream, cheese, ice cream etc. is thanks to their cow, "Gloria."

We prepared this meal this weekend to celebrate our homecoming with some of our kids. Grilling the chicken, pears and mushrooms really intensified their flavours. Using lemon, olive oil and fresh herbs in the dished helped to remind us of some of the wonderful meals that we enjoyed in Tuscany, and also to brighten the flavours and take the simple ingredients up a notch. Enjoy!

Flattened Chicken Marinated with Chipotle Pepper Paste

1 4-5 lb chicken
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
 Chipotle Paste:
1/3 cup smoked chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
1 tsp honey

To prepare the Chipotle Pepper Paste: It is important to use the garlic press when mincing the garlic in this recipe, since you want the garlic to contribute to the texture of the marinade paste. Combine chopped smoked chipotle peppers, pressed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl.

Preheat barbecue on HIGH for 10 minutes, then reduce to MEDIUM-LOW, by turning off the middle burner(s).

To prepare the chicken, cut out the back and neck of the chicken using kitchen shears. Open up the chickens legs and flatten the chicken, skin side up, in a large baking sheet. Season it inside and out with salt and pepper. Press down firmly on the breast bones to flatten it. Massage the skin to loosen it from the flesh, then pour the paste under the skin and rub to apply paste all over the chicken.
Place the flattened chicken directly onto the grids, over the unlit burners, leaving the outside burners lit at MEDIUM setting.  Close the lid and cook for approximately 40-45 minutes, checking occasionally. Use the meat thermometer to determine when the chicken is finished. The temperature should read 165-170°F (77°C) at the breast. Remove the chicken and let rest, tented with foil, for 10 minutes.

Linguine with Grilled Mushrooms, Lemon and Thyme Sauce

1    lb cremini mushrooms
1        tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3        sprigs fresh thyme
½   tsp sea salt

1         tbsp olive oil
1        clove garlic, minced
1           1    lemon, zested and juiced
4        sprigs fresh thyme
1    tsp dried red chili flakes
½   cup dry white wine

1 pound linguine
          To finish: 
3       tbsp parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated
          2    tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
          2    tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat barbecue on HIGH for 5 minutes, then reduce to MEDIUM.  Toss cleaned mushrooms with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh thyme and salt, to coat. Spread mushrooms out on a grill topper, then  place on grids of barbecue. Close lid and cook for 5 minutes, open lid and turn the mushrooms. Close lid and grill for 3-4 more minutes, until nicely browned. Remove and set aside for later.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook linguine according to instructions on the package.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and add chopped garlic, thyme, lemon zest and dried chili flakes.  Saute for 3 minutes, until garlic is translucent, then add white wine, lemon juice and grilled mushrooms. Reduce by half, then add ½ cup of cooking liquid from the pasta and reduce by half again.
Dump strained pasta into the sauté pan, with the mushroom mixture. Toss with parmigiano reggiano, chopped parsley and basil and freshly ground black pepper.Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Arugula Salad with Grilled Pears and Feta Cheese

2 large pears, cut into quarters
1 lemon
6 cups baby arugula
½ cup greek feta cheese
½ pecans, toasted

2/3  cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt

Clean barbecue grids thoroughly, then brush with vegetable oil. Preheat barbecue on HIGH for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to MEDIUM.
Cut and core pears and brush liberally with lemon juice. Place pear quarters on barbecue, close lid and grill for 5 minutes. Open lid, turn pears and grill for an additional 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine ingredients for the vinaigrette in a glass bottle and shake vigourously. Assemble salad by tossing arugula and feta cheese in a salad bowl with the vinaigrette. Plate, then top with grilled pear segments and toasted pecans.
Dining under a full moon in Chianti