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Piri Piri Chicken

6 Sep

I don’t have cable tv. I know. I’m crazy.

The result of not having cable tv is that whenever I am somewhere that has tv I am glued to it. I mainly watch the food channel. Not those reality or competition cooking shows. My thing are the good old-fashioned shows (not sure a tv show can be called old fashion, but you get the point) that feature regular recipes, chefs that write cook books that real people use, and no drama. It’s going to sound cheesy, but I find inspiration in these shows. Sometimes ingredient combination ideas lay foundation for delicious creations. Sometimes a certain kind of food is something I never knew how to cook or even considered. Other times it is just a down right amazing sounding recipe and I NEED to make it as is. This last scenario happened this past weekend.

Jamie Oliver – love him. He has some new show I didn’t know about (it may not even be new – I am so lame without cable). 30 minute meals. Amazing! Who doesn’t need a new tasty meal that only takes 30 minutes?

Last weekend was piri piri chicken. I immediately craved it. This recipe is superb! and very quick and easy.

Piri Piri Chicken (courtesy of Jamie Oliver)

Serves 4


4 large bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (if you can’t get large ones just double up on small ones, I did this and just made a bit more sauce)

1 red pepper cut into large chunks

1 yellow pepper cut into large chunks

cilantro for garnish

Piri Piri Sauce:

1/2 a red onion

2 cloves of garlic

hot peppers (what I used was 1 habanero pepper, seeded, an inch of a mirasol pepper with the seeds – the result? it was spicy, but not too spicy, totally tolerable. Really use any kind of hot peppers you want)

1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika

juice of a lemon

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (can anyone actually pronounce this?)

1/2 cup basil leaves

Turn the oven on to 400 degrees.

Take the chicken thighs and place them on a cutting board skin side down. Cut a slit on either side of the bone and two slit running across the bone (don’t cut all the way through). This is sort of butterflying your chicken, it will spread out evenly and flat in the pan and the bottom will soak up more of the sauce.

Heat a fry pan or griddle pan to medium high heat. Pour in a splash of olive oil. Place the chicken thighs skin side down and cook until browned and crispy (about 10 minutes). Flip over and cook for another 5 minutes.

While your chicken is cooking place all the ingredients for the sauce into a food processor and puree. Then add 2 tbsp of water and puree again. (the water will account for any steam lost in the oven).

Pour the sauce into a baking dish that will snugly fit the chicken. Place the chicken in the dish skin side up and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Discard any grease in the sauce pan. Turn the burner to high and toss in the peppers. Saute them until they are seared.

Scatter the peppers over the chicken and garnish with cilantro.

This dish was amazing! I brought it for lunch the next day and started eating it at 9:30 a.m.

Expect another recipe from this episode next. Sweet potato mash with feta and cilantro! I can’t be stopped!!!! Thank you Jamie!

oh ya, happy back to school. Make this on a school night. It’s fast and tasty!


Mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

13 Jun

I am not a mayonnaise hater, I just find sometimes it weighs things down. Potato salad doesn’t have to be terrible for you. It can be light and fresh and easy on the waist line. In the summer I eat a significant amount of potato salad and this recipe is my fail safe!

I make this to last for days so we can eat it all week. It’s the perfect accompaniment to some fall off the bone ribs, herb marinated chicken kebas, lemon pepper fish kebabs or blue cheese stuffed burgers. Basically, if you BBQ it, throw this on the side!

I’ve kinda got a thing for herbs. They really liven things up (geeze that statement makes my life sound thrilling…..)

mayonnaise Free Potato Salad

Serves 4 to 6


1.5 lb of mixed small potatoes (by mixed I mean purple, white and red – it looks prettier this way). If you live in Canada President’s Choice makes what I use – found here. If mixed aren’t available to you, simple small red or white potatoes will work just fine!

1/2 cup olive oil

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

the juice of one lemon

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp whole grain dijon mustard

5 grinds of black pepper

5 green onions, diced

1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro (if you are a cilantro hater, totally fine, leave it out, or replace it with flat leaf italian parsley)

1/3 cup of chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup of chopped fresh dill

Bring a large pot of water to boil and boil the potatoes until they are fork tender. Strain and slice the hot potatoes in half, placing them in a large bowl. In another bowl, or a glass measuring cup whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, dijon mustard, whole grain dijon mustard and pepper. Pour the dressing over the potatoes while they are still hot* and toss. Allow them to cool to room temperature.

*As a side note I want to talk about putting the dressing on while the potatoes are hot. I find they absorb the dressing very while they cool. I make sure to give them a toss every 15 minutes or so as they cool to ensure they are all getting enough dressing attention.

Once the dressed potatoes are room temperature I toss them with the fresh herbs and green onion. Now you can either serve or refrigerate until later.

If you refrigerate until later they may seem a tad dry when you take them out to serve. When I say dry I mean they may seem like there is very little dressing on them (b/c it has been absorbed by the potatoes). If this is the case I squeeze another lemon over them and toss with a few tbsp of olive oil.

This is such a versatile side dish.

Perfect to store in the fridge if you have large numbers at the cottage for the weekend. Or to keep you going all week-long with a side dish.

Seriously, purple potatoes are pretty cool.

Rolled Flank Steak with Basil, Asiago and Prosciutto

15 May

Before I start to write about this mighty tasty recipe I want to talk about internet searches. Why? Because lately I find them informative for determining what leads people to this little space of mine in blogsphere. However, yesterday was particularly informative. The other day someone searched “girls top les” and low and behold ended up here. Seriously? How does this happen? All I have to say to this internet cruiser is a) if you’re going to search for topless girls, please spell it right b) you must have been so disappointed when you arrived here and realized the only naked breasts around here were on the chicken I roasted last weekend. Oh well, better luck next time champ!

Back to the steak.

This combination is just down right mouth-watering. The  pin wheeling that happens is also gorgeous presentation.

We made this for company last week. Yup, that means I have given it the fancy stamp! (I’m not sure most people give flank steak the fancy stamp, but around here we don’t like to discriminate.)

We served this alongside some caramelized onion and blue cheese scalloped potatoes. Don’t worry, they will be the topic of my next post.

Without further ado

Rolled Flank Steak with Basil, Asiago and Prosciutto (adapted from Bobby Flay)

The measurements I am giving you serves 3 – I usually double it and do 2 flank steaks


1 flank steak, butterflied(if you aren’t comfortable butterflying it yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you)

1/2 bottle of red wine

1 shallot, finely sliced

10 grinds of black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

6 slices of prosciutto

1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

1 cup of shredded Asiago

some string

In a large bowl combine the wine, shallots, pepper and olive oil. Place the butterflied flank steak in there, get it as covered as possible. Let this marinade for a minimum of 2 hours. I usually do it in the morning and let it hang out in there all day.

Remove from the marinade and discard it. Place the steak butterflied side up on a cook sheet. Cover with prosciutto slices, then cover with basil leaves, then top with cheese.

Now roll the steak like a cigar. I have never actually rolled a cigar, but I imagine this is how it goes. Once it is completely rolled, take 4 pieces of string and tie in four separate spots to ensure the steak stays rolled while cooking.

Turn your BBQ onto medium. BBQ the steak (turning occasionally). Cook to your desired doneness. Around here that means medium rare.

Let the steak sit for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Slice across so that you get a nice pin wheel for serving.

The combo of salty prosciutto and cheese with fresh basil is to die for.

Although we did a pretty powerful side dish with it (blue cheese and caramelized onion scalloped potatoes), it is really unnecessary. You can put it with nice simple sides b/c it has so much flavour on its own.

Sunday night family dinner will thank you for this one.

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

22 Apr

Sorry for the long absence folks. It’s been quite the week around here. We didn’t even do a menu plan or a grocery store visit this week – basically around here that means the apocalypse is coming…..But I’m back!

I think I am developing a twitch from having not set foot in a food store for so long. Food shopping is one of my favourite activities. I know, I am sick.

So this is soup. Not one of those sodium and chemical canned ones. Real soup.

Making your own soup is so much easier than you would think. This one is a classic. As a little kid tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches were a favourite. As an adult, well not much has changed, in many areas, but we’re just talking lunch today. I’m not going to tell you how to make grilled cheese b/c really, come on people, you’re just fine on your own with that one. But homemade tomato soup. Well I’ll help you out there. This is delicious!

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Serves 4


6 Roma tomatoes, halved

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 can of plum tomatoes

2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)

2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup of heavy cream

5 grinds of black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the halved Roma tomatoes with olive oil. Spread on a greased baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.

Heat a large pot on medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil and saute the onions until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for one more minute. Add the roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes, broth and black pepper. Once it has come to a boil, cut back to medium low heat and simmer for 1/2 an hour.

Get out your immersion hand blender and puree (I just do it right there in the pot).

Stir in the basil and cream and heat through.

I highly recommending some grilled cheese for dipping on the side!!!! And in the spirit of this classic grade 1 lunch, you should probably also invite your best friend over to your house for lunch to eat with you. Followed of course by an episode of “You Can’t Do That on Television.” Please don’t judge me.

Eggplant Parmesan and Caesar Salad

4 Apr

After a busy weekend of “projects” comfort food was on my mind. Comfort food in the form of cheese disguised as dinner. Yes Please!

Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 4


1 small onion diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 jar of strained tomatoes

5 grind of black pepper

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

300 grams of whole wheat linguine (if its whole wheat it makes all that cheese good for you….)

Eggplant Stacks:

1 large eggplant, sliced thinly

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 eggs

chopped fresh basil for garnish

For the sauce, heat a pot on medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and saute the onions until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for one more minute. Pour in the tomatoes, add the pepper and fresh basil and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and let simmer.

Leave the sauce to simmer away. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice your eggplant. Heat a large pan on medium high heat and add a splash of olive oil.  Set up an assembly line. Have your eggplant, followed by a bowl of the three eggs whisked together, followed by a bowl of the bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese. Dip an eggplant slice into the egg mixture and let any excess slide off back into the bowl. Then place the slice into the breadcrumb/cheese mixture, ensuring it is coated, the shake off any excess. Transfer into the hot pan. Repeat until the pan is full.

Once the eggplant slices have browned on one side (only a few minutes), flip and brown on the other side. Remove from pan and transfer to a baking sheet. Make 8 stacks.

Add a splash more olive oil to the pan and repeat with another batch of eggplant slices. Continue until they are all cooked.

While you are cooking the eggplant take a small spoon and place a tbsp of the tomato sauce onto each of the 6 eggplant slices. spread evenly on the slice, and top with a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese. When the next batch of eggplant slices are done, layer them on top of the slices 6 slices coated in sauce and cheese, and repeat the process until you have stacks. Then top with another tbsp of sauce and a generous serving of cheese. Place in the over for 25 minutes. While the eggplant parmesan stacks are baking boil a pot of water and cook your pasta. Once the pasta is cooked, toss it with the extra sauce.

Caesar Salad Dressing (adapted from Ina Garten)

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic clove grated or garlic pressed

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup olive oil

lots of freshly grated parmesan

Place all ingredients into a large bowl or glass and whisk together until there is no longer a separation of oil and vinegar. Toss with romaine lettuce (just enough to wet the leaves) and lots and lots of grated parmesan cheese. If you were being true to caesar salad form this would be the time to toss in the croutons. And, if you aren’t too tied to the no meat idea this also throw in some chopped bacon pieces.

To finish up put a heap of saucy pasta on the plate, followed by 2 stacks of eggplant parmesan stacks, garnish with fresh basil and serve some caesar on the side.

Sit back and let the food coma begin!

Smoked Salmon, Dill and Lemon Pasta

27 Mar

After a busy weekend of work and housework (the excitement never ends around here), a simple Sunday night dinner was the only thing that was going to emerge from this kitchen. Since there is still snow on the ground (*gag*), a summery light dinner sounded perfect. Fake it till you make it…..

This pasta is a delicious, simple way to get a fresh and light summery dish without a whole lot of work.

(Please excuse my photos, I am a work in progress on the photography front – my sister has offered to help and I think I’ll be taking her up on that.)

This dish will serve 4.


8 clusters of fresh fettucine (I like the fresh kind that have not been dried)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 large lemons

3 shallots (I used relatively small shallots – so depending on size, you may only need two)

1/4 cup capers

10 grinds on your pepper mill

a pinch of salt

1 cup of fresh dill chopped

a large package of smoked salmon, sliced into 1/2 inch slices.

Get a pot of water boiling for your pasta. While it’s coming to a boil half your shallots lengthwise and slice. Roughly chop your capers.

Heat a large sauce pan (large enough to hold all your cooked pasta b/c you will be transferring it to this pan once it is cooked) at medium heat. Add your olive oil. Once it has had a chance to heat up add your shallots. Saute for about 5 minutes until the shallots have softened.

Add in your chopped capers. Add the juice of three large lemons*.Add the pepper. Mix all together with a wooden spoon. Allow it to heat through but do not get it boiling.

Transfer your cooked pasta straight from the pot to the sauce pan with tongs. It doesn’t matter if some of the pasta water transfers with your pasta, it will help to loosen the sauce. Toss the pasta with the sauce and turn off the burner.

Add your chopped dill (instead of pre-chopping, to save time, I usually just stand above the pan with scissors and chop away). Then add your salmon and toss together.

I swear it looks nicer in person…..(my photography leaves a lot to be desired).

Enjoy with a simple green salad, or crusty bread.

From start to finish this only takes about 20 minutes (especially if you use the fresh pasta since it cooks so much faster).

While there is snow on the ground out there, it’s all summer in here. I’m now off to google “how to not be the world’s worst food photographer”.

Lemon Tip*I find that the easiest way to juice a lemon it to roll it under your palm a few times before slicing it in half. This allows for some of the little bead thingys (yes, technical term) that hold all the juices to break. This gets things moving for ya. It makes for an easier squeezing experience. Same thing for limes!

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