Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vietnamese Seared beef salad

To go along with the fried noodles with spicy peanut sate that we had on Saturday we wanted a fresh salad to complement the noodles, and we found the recipe in the same book.

I was also delicious and did have a wonderful fresh crunch. Again the recipe called for vegetable oil, but as always I substituted olive oil.

1lb of flank steak (or any steak really)
1 tablespoon of oil
1 cup of bean sprouts
1 small romaine lettuce
1 bunch each of mint basil and cilantro stalks removed
1 lime cut up to serve

Grated rind and juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of raw cane (or brown) sugar
2 garlic cloves grated
2 lemon grass stalks finely sliced
2 red chillies seeded and finely sliced.

Combine all the dressing ingredients together.

Pan fry or barbecue the steak until it is wonderfully golden on the outside, but very rare inside. rest for 10 minutes, and then slice thinly

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fried Noodles with spicy peanut sate and prawns

I dropped my son off at Vancouver Airport to catch a flight to Bangkok this morning.  I was very excited for him and I could tell he was a little apprehensive, as well as excited.  When I was around the same age I took a similar flight on my own from London to Singapore, also to spend some time alone with my Father. I remember what an eye opening experience that was and I am glad that he is getting a similar opportunity.  So later that day when looking for inspiration for dinner Connie suggested that we cook Thai food. After checking through some books we came up with a mostly Vietnamese menu, but they are fairly close aren't they?

This recipe is adapted from a book that I own called  Vietnamese Food Cooking by Ghillie-Basan which has some wonderful authentic recipes with great step by step photographs. I used olive oil, because that is what I use for everything, but the recipe called for vegetable or peanut oil.

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 lbs of large raw shrimp/prawns
8oz dried rice stick soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
1 cup of bean sprouts (we forgot to put these in)
2 tsp on nuc mam (fish sauce)
1 small bunch each of fresh basil and mint leaves

For the sate
1 serrano chili chopped
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons of good curry powder
1/2 cup of roasted peanuts.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Barbecued chicken with a southwest rub

Saturday last week was another hot summer day and I really did not feel like putting the oven on, so the barbecue was fired up yet again, to cook some chicken legs that I had picked up at Hopcotts.  I really like chicken cooked with a spice rub on the barbecue, So I made one up with some southwest flavours.

4 pieces of chicken (2 legs cut in half)
1 tablespoon of chilli powder
1 teaspoon of chipotle chili powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and rub all over the chicken.

Fire up the grill to high with both burners, then when you get it heated up turn off one side and place on the rubbed chicken.

I cooked these for about 1/2 an hour turning occasionaly with the lid down.

I served these with some potatoes dug up from the garden. Unfortunately my vegetable patch is not getting enough sun as some trees have grown over, and so the potatoes are very small, but they were also very tasty.

We also had some local green beans, a very simple fresh delicious meal enjoyed on the deck with a glass of chardonnay, life is good.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Preserving summer pesto

At this time of year when everything is so abundant, it gives me a lot of pleasure to preserve some of those wonderful fresh flavours to enjoy in the dark days of winter.  There is nothing better than pulling something out of your pantry or freezer on dark rainy January night that is redolent in the freshness of a sunny August day.  I managed last year to have a enough home canned tomato puree to not have to buy a singe can of tomatoes the entire winter.  I am starting to can again this year now that the tomatoes are in season, but I grow a lot of herbs and wanted to preserve some of those as well. Pesto seemed the best way to preserve my summer basil.

My basil is at it's height right now and often I find that before I have had a chance to do anything with the remaining leaves at the end of the summer it is gone.  So I realized this weekend that there was enough basil on my deck, that I could cut enough to make some pesto and still have plenty to use fresh.

One of my patches of basil
I froze mine without any Parmesan in it as this could be added later. So I gathered my ingredients together.

Barbecued Pizza

This is something that I have been wanting to try for a while, I have read about it and seen it on TV, but I have never actually tried it before. So on the last night of staying up at Pender Harbour I grilled two pizza's using what I found in the fridge and pantry for toppings.

I made one traditional style pizza with a tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, mozzorela and fresh basil and one using pesto sauce, sliced cooked potatoes, provolone and fresh rosemary.

Now there were a couple of things I was missing for this experiment, proper flour (I was still using the easy blending flour), a pizza peel and a pizza stone.  I have seen this done with putting the dough directly on the grill, but without a pizza peel it is hard to transport a thin crust pizza with out misshaping it.  Also the easy blending flour does not make a very stretchy dough, I really would not reccomend it.  Any way nothing ventured nothing gained so I gave it a try.  I made my basic foccacia bread recipe and then formed the base of each pizza on an upturned cookie sheet.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Barbecue jerk style chicken

On Saturday night all the boaters were coming to dinner at Pender harbour for a dinner ashore, and Nancy and I decided to make jerk chicken in honour of their sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands last spring.

The recipe I was following for the rub was from Foodnetwork and it called for the chicken marinating in the rub overnight.  Well since we made the rub the afternoon that we were cooking the chicken obviously this did not happen.  And even though the chicken only marinated for about 1/2 an hour before cooking it was still very flavourful.  I really have to try doing this again an marinating for the correct amount of time. We cooked one whole chicken on the spit roast as well as some chicken pieces cooked directly on the barbecue and both worked well.

Ingredients for the rub.

1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons white pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 small jalapenos
2 tablespoons cooking oil (olive or vegetable)
Splash flavorful rum
Juice of one lime

Combine all these ingredients in a small food processor.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crusty Olive bread cooked on a barbecue

The oven up at my friends place in Pender Harbour was acting strangely on the weekend, so when I wanted to make bread I had to use the barbecue.  Of course as it was really hot this was not a hardship and in some ways is a good way of dealing with making bread without heating up the house.

I used my basic crusty bread recipe, but after the bread was kneaded and just before leaving to rise I added about a cup of chopped pitted green olives.

I kneaded for about one more minute until the olives were evenly distributed through the dough and then left it to rise as normal.

We heated up the barbecue to 600, then turned one side off and put in the trusty cast iron pot.  When this was heated through I plopped the dough in put the lid on the pot and cooked with the top down on the barbecue for about 20 minutes when I took the lid off the cast iron pot.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pulled pork and asian style slaw to go

On Friday night we had a mission to deliver dinner to 3 boats full of weary sailers who had been battling against the wind all day.  Nearly everyone one of them had been sea sick at some point during this oddesey, and no one felt like preparing dinner.  We got the call early enough to be able to cook a pork roast long and slow, so that it was falling apart in the way that only pork butt roast can. we were delivering this dinner to Gibsons Landing Marina about an hours drive away at the southern tip of the Sunshine Coast.

When we arrived it was calm, hot and hard to believe the stories that we heard of the rolling seas, high winds and all the throwing up over the side.  Any way who are we to judge, and we did feel like  we were on a mission of mercy.

I made a rub to rub all over the pork roast as follows.

1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of salt.

I rubbed this all over the pork butt roast, then wrapped it in foil and placed on a barbecue with the lid down for about 3 hours.  I turned the heat down to low on one side and placed the roast on the other.  The barbecue was at about 300.  Obviously you could do this in an oven as well, but it was very hot and the oven was playing up.  

After 3 hours I unwrapped the pork and cooked it for a further 1/2 hour uncovered at about 400.

The pork was getting crusty on the outside and meltingly soft and falling apart in the centre. Just before we left to drive down to Gibsons, I wrapped the pork in foil and then in a large beach towel to keep warm.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Barbecued rack of lamb

The first night on the Sunshine Coast found just two of us for dinner, so we hunted and gathered down at the local IGA and found a lovely fresh looking rack of lamb.  It was a beautiful evening, so there was nothing to do but barbecue it.

I decided to do the simplest way that I could using traditional flavours that go so well with lamb, mustard and rosemary.  I cut the rack into cutlets, then smeared with Dijon mustard and chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fresh Oysters on Jedediah Island

I was very fortunate to join some friends on their sail boats for a couple of days on the August long weekend.  We had wonderful hot sunny weather the whole weekend, and so there was much time spent swimming and seeking shade.  We arrived on a speed boat from Madeira Park to join up with two sail boats anchored in a sheltered bay at about 3:00 in the afternoon.

Boats waiting to greet us
We rafted up to one of the boats as they had already stern tied and anchored in the bay.  When we arrived they were busy erecting a home made, cover to provide shade.  This was the first time it had been erected and there was much hilarity as they tried to get it up.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vanilla Pod restaurant, Poplar Grove

On Wednesday in the middle of our week at Naramata each year, we go to a winery for lunch.  We have been to a couple of different ones over the years, this year we decided to try a new restaurant that had just opened. The Vanilla Pod situated at Poplar Grove Winery.

The winery moved to its new spectacular location and beautifully simple building last year, and the Vanilla Pod restaurant moved from Summerland very recently.  We got a large table outside on the extensive deck, which fortunatly was shaded by a large canopy as it was a warm sunny day.

There was a large dark cloud threatening to disturb our alfresco lunch, but for some reason it turned south and we avoided the storm that it undoubtly was carrying.

To start Connie, Nancy and I chose a garbanzo bean salad to share.

This was light and tasty with the beans and tossed with a little spinach, onion, tomato and fresh herbs.  The dressing was light and did not overwhelm the fresh ingredients.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Crispy salad with almonds to go

Wednesday night was one of the three Celebration of Lights fireworks competition in Vancouver.  This consists of three nights of the most spectactular fireworks displays and over 1 million people all around English Bay coming down to see them.  I am lucky enough to have a couple of friends who have boats moored within a 10 minute walk of the bay.  So I met with them for a dinner on board before walking over to watch.  I made a salad to go along with some wonderful sandwiches that Nancy made.

I made the dressing at the bottom of the container and then layered the ingredients on top, so that when I arrived and we were ready to eat, all I had to do was shake the container with the lid on and voila freshly tossed salad.

3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of vinegar (I used my home made herb vinegar this time it was tarragon)
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove grated
1 handful of fresh chopped mint and basil
1 teaspoon of salt.

1/2 english cucumber cubed
4 campari tomatoes cubed
1/2 bunch green onion chopped
1/2 can of garbanzo beans
1 head of romaine (cos) lettuce chopped

3/4 cup of toasted slivered almonds

Mix all the dressing ingredients in the bottom of a large sealable container.

Then layer the ingredients finishing with the lettuce, so that it is not touching the dressing, therefore stopping it from getting soggy.