July 31, 2009
Once the warm weather hits in Vancouver the barbeques come out – especially amongst our friends. This always calls for “bring your own meat” (and beer of course, but this isn’t a beer blog). Armed with ground beef from the freezer, C came up with this recipe before one such BBQ. It is super simple, but surprisingly delicious and now a staple in our menu. We’ve even had them twice this week!
Yield: 4 burgers
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chives
1 teaspoon salt
lots of fresh ground pepper
Roughly chop the garlic and chives.
In a large bowl, work all the ingredients together with your hands. Divide the mixture into 4. Shape into patties. Press your thumb into the centre of each patty to create a little indent (this is the trick to stop the burgers from shrivelling up on the grill).
Place on the grill and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes (depending on how well done you like them). Stick them in a fresh bun with your condiments of choice (and a cold beer) and enjoy!
July 30, 2009
Money’s a bit tight these days with the whole law school debt and European vacation situation, so I have been making a big effort to pack a lunch every day. However, I am so not a morning person which means lunches must be made the night before. Even better, the Sunday before and last the whole week. This salad is one such Sunday concoction. I have had the remains of a box of quinoa in the cupboard forever (left over from some cleanse I did – ugh) and I wanted to finally do something with it. I also had a bunch of veggies from the market in the fridge and fresh herbs in containers on the patio. Inspired by tabbouleh, I decided to mix up a big grain salad. It turned out really well and lasted the whole week in the fridge. Five lunches in one go!!
Yield: 5 to 6 servings
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chives
1 yellow pepper
10 cherry tomatoes
4 green onions
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
lots of pepper
sprinkle of chili flakes
Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. When done, remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, chop up all the vegetables and herbs into small pieces.
In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, vegetables, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and chili flakes together. Put in the fridge to completely cool.
July 29, 2009
Last Sunday my friend, Barb, had the brilliant idea of hosting a pancake picnic. I love pancakes and I love picnics and this was the most perfect way to spend a Sunday morning/afternoon. We laid out blankets on her front lawn, drank coffee, ate tons and chatted away.
Barb was whipping up all the pancakes and asked us all to bring a topping. I had some berries in the freezer and mint in the patio garden, so I decided to make a berry sauce and jazz it up with a bit of mint. I made it in about 10 minutes in between rushing home from running and rushing out to make sure I got hot pancakes. (You can tell I was in a bit of a hurry by the steamy photograph – no time for cooling!)
Mint Berry Sauce
Yield: 2 – 3 cups
4 cups berries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
In a saucepan, bring the berries and sugar to a slow boil. Keep at a gentle boil until the mixture starts to thicken, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the mint and cook for another 2 minutes.
Serve warm (preferable) or cold (nice mixed into yogurt).
July 28, 2009
Every Sunday morning I get up at a ridiculously early hour for a Sunday and meet my running group for a long run. Since I am a big grump if I don’t eat, I have to get up even earlier to make sure I can eat and digest something beforehand. This smoothie is perfect! I have made it every Sunday morning for the last several months. It digests quickly so I can sleep in a bit longer and not feel like I have a bouncing bundle of food in my stomach while running. It is also a great way to use up any ripe bananas and frozen berries.
The proportions on this smoothie are pretty adjustable. Just add what you feel like until you get the consistency that you like and drink up!
Yield: 1 1/2 large glasses / 2 regular glasses
2 cups berries, frozen (I use either plain strawberries or a blueberry, raspberry, blackberry mix from Costco)
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup cranberry juice
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
Throw all the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
July 13, 2009
Recently, I was in England and Ireland and sampled some delicious scones. Big and fluffy and soo tasty slathered in jam and butter and clotted cream. I had them in a B&B in Sligo, beside the lake at Kylemore Abbey, in the cafeteria at the Victoria and Albert Museum and in Cambridge at Fitzbillies. These scones are just as delicious. They are based on the scones served at Butchart Gardens in Victoria (which is as British as we get in British Columbia). I saw the recipe yesterday morning in Gourmet magazine; someone had written in requesting the recipe. I figured that they were just the thing for Sunday morning (and a little something to remind me of my trip).
The were delicious. Buttery and fluffy. Perfect covered in blackberry jam (alas no clotted cream to be had). I froze what we didn’t eat right away to take for breakfast (a quick reheat in the toaster oven or microwave). I highly recommend this recipe – it would be perfect for a special tea or anytime you need a little treat.
Adapted from the Butchart Gardens via Gourmet
Yield: 15 to 20 scones
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
220 mL butter, cold & cut into small pieces
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
3/4 cup dried currants
Preheat oven to 375F with racks in the upper and lower thirds.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Add butter and cut into flour with a pastry cutter until butter is in pea-sized bits.
Stir in the currants.
Whisk together eggs and milk. Add to the dry mixture and stir until just combined (dough will be sticky).
Drop batter into 1/4 cup mounds onto 2 ungreased baking sheets.
Bake, switching the positions of the sheets halfway through, until the bottoms of the scones are pale golden – about 15 to 18 minutes
Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm.
July 12, 2009
Fish is healthy. Fish is tasty. Fish is in the freezer. Fish goes on the barbeque which means C will cook it. Fish is for dinner!
2 salmon fillets
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
½ teaspoon black pepper
Mix the syrup, soy sauce, garlic and pepper in a shallow dish. Place the salmon in the dish and spoon the marinade over it. Marinate for 15 minutes on each side.
Either place in oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425F or grill on the barbeque for 10 minutes (until it flakes easily).
July 11, 2009
When I first moved to Vancouver after university to find a job and was flat broke, my diet largely consisted of microwave popcorn, cereal and hummus and carrots. In fact, I think I ate just that for several weeks straight! Needless to say, I like hummus. So when I got a food processor for my birthday, I set to work developing a super tasty hummus recipe. It had to have two things: lots of garlic and spiciness. This is the recipe I finally settled on; the garlic and pepper amounts can be easily adjusted to suit your tastes.
Since it is so easy to whip up, this hummus is my go-to appetizer when I haven’t thought of or prepared to bring anything else. Since last September (the dawn of the food processor) it has accompanied me to birthday parties, welcome back parties, housewarming parties, the beach and my couch!
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 jalapeno pepper
2 to 3 red chilies
¼ cup lemon juice
Water, as needed
Remove the seeds from the jalapeno and red chilies. I like to cut them in half and then use the back of the knife to scrape the seeds away.
Put all ingredients, except the water, in the food processor. No need to chop anything. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is a bit lumpy or dry, add water until it reaches a smooth creamy consistency.
Serve with vegetables (my fave is carrots) and pita. Stores well in the fridge for a week (or two…).
July 9, 2009
After being away for over 3 weeks, we invited some friends over for a barbeque to catch up and enjoy all the sunshine. While everyone was bringing something for the grill, I wanted to make a side salad – and nothing says summer barbeque like potato salad. I looove potato salad (must be the Irish in me)! I didn’t have a recipe but I knew I wanted mayonnaise and lots of grainy mustard. So I threw in a bunch of things and it turned out super delicious if I do say so myself!
Yield: At least 6 servings
1 to 1 ½ pounds new potatoes
½ red onion, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup really grainy German mustard
½ cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes until tender but still firm (not mushy), about 10 to 15 minute. Drain and then rinse in cool water.
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes with the rest of the ingredients. Toss to combine.
Serve warm or refrigerated. (This salad lasts several days in the fridge and is great for lunches).
July 8, 2009
In an effort to be more fiscally responsible (i.e. I just spent three weeks traipsing through Europe and am flat broke), I am trying to use up everything in the freezer. Hidden under the frozen peas and ice packs, I found a beef roast. But roast doesn’t feel like a very “summery” dish, so I decided to make it pulled pork-style and serve it over buns. Plus, there is nothing like throwing a bunch of stuff in the slow cooker and having dinner done the moment you get home from work!
Note: This dish is excellent served on the balcony with an nice cold beer (we had Pelican India Pelican Ale).
BBQ Shredded Beef
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
1 medium sized roast
2 onions, chopped
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
6 cloves garlic
1 carrot, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
½ cup chili sauce
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 can beer (I used Dead Frog Nut Brown Ale)
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
Cut the roast into smaller pieces (roughly 2” inch cubes). Place in slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and cook on Low for 10-12 hours.
Remove beef from the sauce and shred (I use two forks to pull the meat apart). Place back in the slow cooker and mix with the sauce.
Serve over rice or on buns. (Pop any leftovers in the freezer. We had some for dinner tonight over rice and it was still very tasty.)