I prefer Trout but, by all means, use salmon if that is your fish of choice.
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 cedar grilling plank
- 4 – 6 oz. trout fillets (skin attached)
- 4 – 1/2 inch thick slices, fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
- 1/2 inch slice thick red onion
- 1 jalapeno chile pepper
Firstly, soak the cedar plank in water for no less than 1 hour, making sure you weigh it down.
Now to make the marinade, stir together in a small bowl the pineapple juice, 2 tbsp. brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Place the fish fillets in a sealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the fish. Seal and place in the refrigerator for an hour. Turn it over a couple of times to ensure the fillets are coated.
Place the plank in a preheated barbecue until it begins to smoke and crackle. Remove the fillets from the marinade and lay the fillets, skin side down on th grill, and sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar. Discard the marinade.
Lightly spray the pineapple, onion and pepper with Pam. Around the edge of the grill, place these and cook all for about 10 minutes. Turn the pineapple, onion and pepper once, through this cooking time.
To make the salsa, chop the pineapple and onion, transfer to a small bowl. Add the minced pepper to this and toss to coat.
Serve with the fish.
Tuna Burgers With Ginger-Laced Mayonnaise
These burgers have a very bold and savory flavour. I wouldn’t think sissies should try it….aw, why not? Give it a go, it just may change your mind.
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise made with olive oil
- 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Panko crumbs
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce
- 2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
- 2 x 5 oz. cans of canned albacore tuna, rinsed
- 1/4 cup celery, sliced very thin
- 4 ciabatta buns, halved and toasted
- 1/3 cup pea shoots or, if you are lucky, micro greens
- 4 miniature sweet peppers, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and ginger. Transfer 2 tbsp. to a large bowl. Cover the remaining mayo mixture and chill.
In the same large bowl, add the eggs, panko crumbs, fish sauce and Sriracha sauce. Flake the tuna and add to the bowl. Add the celery and let stand for about 10 minutes. Shape into four burger patties.
Place the burgers on a parchment lined baking sheet (or use the bbq) baking for 10 minutes or until they reach a temperature of 160 degrees.
Serve on toasted ciabatta buns, add a patty to the bottom of the buns, add the pea shoots, sliced peppers and top buns.
These should wake up the sleepy taste buds.
Summer Grilled Romaine and Corn Tumble
Yes, summer is here and the temperatures are rising…at least here. By using the heart of the romaine lettuce, you will find the leaves are smaller, sweeter and a much lighter green, and more delicate in taste.
- 3 ears of fresh, sweet corn
- 4 tbsp. of olive oil (extra-virgin)
- 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 2 roasted-caramalized garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp. grainy mustard
- 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
- 1 cup pear-shaped tomatoes (all colours), quartered
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, crumbled
Place the corn, complete with silk and husks in a large bowl of cold water (enough to cover) and soak for an hour.
In a container with tight fitting lid, pour in 3 tbsp. olive oil, vinegar, mustard and mashed roasted garlic cloves. Cover tightly and shake well. Set aside.
Brush the romaine with the remaining oil and set aside. Place the corn on a covered grill on medium heat. Grill for about 20 minutes until the corn is tender. Make sure you turn them at least once and move around on grill. Don’t burn.
Grill the romaine, cut side down, directly on the heat for 2-3 minutes. The idea is to only char slightly and let the lettuce become wilted.
Place a romaine heart on each of 4 plates. Cut the corn from husks and combine with the tomatoes in a small bowl. Drizzle with some of the dressing to coat well. Spoon the corn/tomato mixture over the lettuce hearts and top with the cheese.
You know the drill…..add some cheese toast, a glass of chilled white wine (my fav is Pinot Grisio) and enjoy.
Steak And Onion Sandwich
With barbecue season upon us, this is a great way to use up any grilled steak (if ever) and put into a sumptuous sandwich.
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 lb. steak
- 1 small red onion, sliced into rounds
In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar and oil. Season with salt and ground pepper. Add about 16 oz. of steak and turn to coat all sides of the meat. Let this sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Drizzle the onion with a tsp. of oil and let sit.
Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Grill the steak and onions for 5-8 minutes. The steak should be medium and the onions tender.
Let this rest for 5 minutes and slice against the grain. In a food processor, finely chop the onions with 1 tsp. vinegar.
Spread the onion on 4 slices of crusty bread, top with the steak slices, add some spinach or baby greens. Add some provolone cheese and top with 4 slices of bread.
Now, doesn’t that make sense? You bet it does.
Spinach And Smoked Bacon Salad
This is a beautiful salad. Love bacon? got it. Love baby spinach? got that too. Love Zinfandel wine? Yup! It’s here.
- 6 tbsp. Zinfandel wine
- 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 12 oz. smoked bacon
- pinch of lemon finishing salt
- 4 bunches baby spinach, stems removed, torn into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Combine the wine, shallots and mustard in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. set aside.
Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels, save drippings in pan. Crumble the bacon.
Wash the spinach in ice water and place in a salad spinner to remove all the water. Put in a bowl, add the crumbled bacon. Now warm the drippings in the skillet and take 2 tbsp. out and whisk into the dressing. Toss the salad and sprinkle toasted pecans over the top.
Oh yeah, pour a glass of the Zinfandel and truly enjoy. This salad is great for a barbecue. It will serve 12.
Winter Warm-Up Martini
I couldn’t resist this one. I keep thinking of where I came from and in the winter you would have to plug in your car and make sure it was filled with anti-freeze. This will do the same thing, only from inside the house, looking out!
- 6 parts Vodka
- 2 parts Blue Curacao
- 2 parts Midori Melon liqueur
- 1 part pinepple juice
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker filled with crushed ice and shake for a few seconds.
Strain into chilled martini glasses and garnish with a lime twist.
Now, don’t you feel all warm and fuzzy? That’s enough for now!
Pasta Salad With Prosciutto
This makes a refreshing salad to present to family and friends. Not everyone has had this one before, so here’s another “damn I can do this” dish.
- 3/4 lb. uncooked orzo pasta
- 1/3 cup fresh peas
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 100 grams prosciutto, cooked and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh white button mushrooms
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup slivered fresh basil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Bring water to the boil; and cook the orzo according to package instructions. Strain and let cool.
In a mixing bowl, add the peas, tomatoes, mushrooms and prosciutto. Stir in the olive oil and lemon. Add the basil, cheese, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.
Serve with a Chardonnay.
Another way to use these nuts and I’ll bet you have never tried them.
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup EACH of finely chopped celery, carrots and onion.
- 2 flat leaf parsley sprigs
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 jar peeled, cooked whole chestnuts, crumbled (approx. 15 ounces)
- 1/4-1/3 cup Madeira
- 1/4-1/3 whipping cream
- cheesecloth and some string
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat and stir in the carrots, celery and onion and….this is different….cover the vegetables with parchment paper that has been buttered on the side touching the food, cover with a lid and sweat for about 15-16 minutes. The veggies, not you!
Wrap the parsley, cloves and bay leaf in the cheesecloth square and tie off with some string.
Discard the parchment paper, add the broth and the cheesecloth bundle and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes. Add the chestnuts, Madeira and simmer, covered for about 3 minutes.
While hot (and be careful here) pour in a blender in small batches and puree until smooth. Strain into a clean pot, add the cream, pinch of salt and pepper and reheat. Do not boil now or it will separate. Stir occasionally to mix well and serve.
This makes an elegant first course for you and your guests.
Escarole, Fennel and Blood Orange Salad
This is a refreshing salad with a bit of a twist.
- 2 Blood oranges
- 2 medium fennel, stalks discarded and bulbs halved lengthwise
- 1 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- pinch of salt
- small pinch of pepper
- 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
- 2 heads escarole (dark leaves discarded), pale yellow and green leaves torn into bite sized pieces
Grate finely enough zest from one orange to measure 1 tbsp.
Cut and peel skins from both oranges and separate the membranes from the orange segments. Cut the segments in half (1/2 inch pieces)
Cut out and discard the core of the fennel bulbs and cut crosswise into thin slices.
Whisk together the vinegar, all the zest, salt and pepper into a small bowl and add the oil in a steady stream, whisking until well combined.
Toss the escarole, fennel and blood orange segments in a bowl and combine the dressing well.
Serve with a great bread, glass of wine….ta da awesome time.
This is a great flavoured butter to use in many ways, but one of the best is to make gingerbread scones and use this butter. Try it with turkey sandwiches, perhaps. Besides, this is one recipe you can set aside for Christmas which is only four months away. Oops!
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or just orange juice
- 1/2 cup berry sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup of room temperature butter
In a small saucepan on medium heat, stir the cranberries, Grand Marnier or juice, sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the cranberries have split open and the sauce has started to thicken (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
In a food processor blend together the butter and cooled cranberry mixture for about 2 full minutes. Spoon into a serving bowl .
There, that’s all there is to it.
Mussels With Tomatoes
Right off the bat I will inform you, these things do not enter my mouth. I can’t be drunk enough or dead enough! True. That being said, this recipe, I am told, is the best. Ordinarily Mussels are really good when just steamed but over-the-top when teamed with tomatoes.
- 2 lbs. fresh mussels
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 1 small zucchini
- Crisco Oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3/4 cup of V8 juice, NOT clamato juice
- 1 tsp. sugar
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup finely shredded fresh basil
Scrub these little babies and remove the beards. Discard any that are open.
Coarsely chop the tomatoes and onions, finely chop the zucchini. Lightly oil a wide saucepan. Set over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. For one minute, stir often. Now add the tomatoes, zucchini, sugar, salt and pepper. Boil gently until tomatoes start to soften and the sauce is thickening.
Once the sauce is thick, add the mussels and cover. Cook these for about 6 minutes. If there are any that did not open, discard. Scoop into bowls, ladle some sauce over and add some warm crusty bread to sop up all the juices. Sprinkle some shredded basil over top.
Order lots of wine and go for it. Enjoy! See, I can be good every once in a while and share something I don’t happen to care for.
Braised Leg of Lamb
For those who love lamb this is a nice, easy way to cook your dinner with the meat and veggies – all in one. Here we go.
- 1 leg of Lamb (5 -6 lbs)
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- sea salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups Chardonnay wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- sprigs of rosemary
- 1 1/2 lbs baby new potatoes, halved
- 1 cup oil-cured black olives
- 1/2 cup green olives
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Make 8 slits in the lamb and insert garlic in each one. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large roast pan or dutch oven until it begins to simmer. Sear the lamb on both sides until golden – about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
Add the wine and return the pan to heat and simmer for about a minute. Add the stock, remaining garlic, rosemary and bring to a boil. Add the lamb back in and cover with a lid. Braise in the oven for 4 hours.
Now add the potatoes and olives and continue braising until the lamb and potatoes are tender (35-40 minutes).
Transfer the lamb to a platter and with a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and olives. Strain the pan juices and skim the fat from the top. Return to the pan and simmer for about 6 -7 minutes, until reduced by half. Spoon the sauce over the lamb and serve.
Add a salad and you really have a dinner fit for a king.