" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak

Big Ambitions

I guess I had big ambitions last weekend.

While driving home from the beach we saw a sign advertising local strawberries and tomatoes for sale at a farm.
The strawberries were kind of small but sweet, but it was the hothouse tomatoes from Leamington that caught my eye.

They were large and ripe, and at four dollars for a bag of ten it was a real bargain.
Trouble is we cant seem to eat them fast enough as they are ripening quickly.
I created this dish today using the inspiration of scalloped potatoes.
I was really pleased with it and used up over half of the tomatoes.
This dish can be served as a side or as a main vegetarian entrée.


Italian Scalloped Tomatoes
  • 4-6 tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 minced tsp each of basil, oregano and garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375F
Lightly spray a baking dish with oil.
Remove tops from tomatoes and slice thickly.

Layer in baking dish.
Drizzle with some extra olive oil,
In a bowl combine the rest of the ingredients except for the mozzarella.

Sprinkle evenly over top of tomatoes.

Finish the top with the mozzarella and bake in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Cheers!

Skewer Me!

I am enjoying barbecue season...so far.
Although it can be very easy to tire quickly of grilled steaks and hamburgers.
I like to use different ways to grill food. Sish kebabs are one of those ways.

Shish Kebabs originate from Turkey. The Turkish phrase means skewer and roast meat. Other countries use different names for them such as the Asian satay, Japanese yakatori and in France they are called brochettes.
I used pork here and marinated it in a Greek marinade. Chicken, lamb or beef can be used as well. The sky is the limit when it comes to the accompanying vegetables. Just about any vegetable that can be grilled will go on a skewer.

You can use washable metal skewers as I have or soak wooden ones in water for 30 minutes that can be thrown away or tossed in the campfire.

Serve on a bed of rice or in a warm pita.

Happy Skewering!

Greek Shish- Kabobs
  • 1 pound of boneless pork cubed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp each oregano, minced garlic, sugar
  • salt and pepper
Mix last 8 ingredients together in a bowl and add pork cubes. Toss to coat and marinate in fridge for at least 1hour.
Thread onto skewers alternating with vegetables such as cubed red and green pepper, onions, grape tomatoes and mushrooms.
Grill turning often until pork is no longer pink and vegetables are roasted.

Wine Suggestion: Riesling

Cheers!

Spud Simplicity

A staple on most buffet tables this time of year is potato salad.

More often than not it is the creamy variety which can be very filling and can get boring after a while.

It also is a food safety hazard in warm weather if it is the mayonnaise laden type.
A friend gave me this recipe that she got out of one of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks.

I tweaked it a little to suit my tastes.
The olive oil makes it heart healthy and safe to take along on picnics. The dill and capers give it a tangy unique flavour. You can peel the potatoes if you like. I left the skins on for extra nutritional punch.


I love the fact that this salad tastes delicious hot, cold or at room temperature. I also adore the simplicity of it and how easy it is to put together.

I think you will find
this salad a refreshing change and will find yourself making it over and over.

Rustic Tangy Potato Salad
  • 8 new potatoes scrubbed or 1/2 a bag of baby potatoes
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp chopped capers
  • 1/2 a bunch of chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 a Vidilia onion diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
Boil the potatoes until just tender. Chop into pieces .
Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the potatoes and toss well.
Chill for 1 hour or serve warm or room temperature.

Cheers!

Best of Both Worlds

My herb garden is blooming with an abundance of Italian herbs that I love to put in pasta sauce.

I am missing a good pasta dinner but the heavy comfort foods of winter just don't have the same appeal when the temperature outside is soaring, so I created this dish that combines outdoor grilling, my new herbs and pasta.
Eliminating the heavy tomato or cream sauce and just using olive oil keeps it light.
Boneless chicken thighs are very a economical cut and work well in pasta dishes.
Later in the summer you can use cherry or grape tomatoes but for now I just used Ontario hot house tomatoes diced up.
This could also be served as a cold pasta salad for a lunch or picnic buffet.
This is a dish that goes together quickly and will get you out of the kitchen and onto the patio pronto.

Pasta in summer, I love it!



Grilled Chicken Pasta Toss

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • lemon pepper
  • 1/2 a package of farfalle (bow tie) pasta or pasta of choice
  • 2 tbsp of minced fresh oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of tomatoes diced
  • 1/4 cup of sliced roasted red pepper
  • fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat grill.
Sprinkle chicken thighs with lemon pepper and place on grill spread out flat.
Grill until no longer pink in the center.
Meanwhile boil pasta according to package directions.
Slice chicken into strips. Drain pasta and add remaining ingredients including chicken.
Toss together and serve.

Wine Suggestion: Pinot Grigio

Cheers!


Our Secret

Now that barbecue season is here the grocery store flyers are filled with ads for all the things related to grilling.
Barbecue sauce is one of those heavily advertised items.

Sure it is easy to stock up on various flavors, but have you ever considered making your own?
It really is easy and your own sauce won't be filled with preservatives, artificial flavors and colors.
You can have fun experimenting with different ingredients to create unique flavor combinations.
I created this sauce with the inspiration of the flavors of Jamaica and brushed it on beef as pictured here.
If you don't have an immersion blender you can transfer the cooled sauce to a blender and then reheat.

The best part is the flavor you create will be a one of a kind, so have fun making that special sauce that may just become a family secret recipe.


Island Sauce
  • ~olive oil
  • half a chopped onion
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce or ketchup (the latter will make it a bit tangier)
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp chili sauce
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of rum
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
In a sauce pan heat the oil and add the garlic and onion. Cook until softened. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook stirring for about 10 minutes. If you wish insert and immersion blender and blend until smooth. Brush on beef, chicken or pork and grill. Cheers!