Sunday, November 10, 2013

Zuppa Toscana

1 1/2lb Italian sausages (For a less fatty/greasy version I used Turkey Italian Sauasage)
4 large Potatoes, Cubed into bite size pieces
1 large sweet onion, chopped
7 slices of bacon chopped small (optional)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups kale - chopped
2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth ( I made my own broth with chicken "Better than Buillion"
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 cup Parmesan Cheese

In a large soup pot, on medium heat cook the sausage enough to firm the outside so you can chop it into bite size pieces, it doesn't have to be cooked all the way through, just enough on the outside to cut.
Remove and set aside.

Add onions bacon and garlic to hot pot, cook until softened. Remove and set aside with sausage. Add potatoes to pot and until partially cooked.

Add chicken broth to pot to deglaze it.

Combine all the ingredients except cream and cheese. Simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are fully cooked through.

Add Cream and cheese and bring back to a simmer.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

For Jeff and Merrit Bowden

I might have mentioned before how much I love aioli!. I Served this with our grilled chicken sandwhiches the other night. Sometimes I just like something quick and easy to make the dish "special". 
I served this on the side so the family and guests could dress their burger/sandwhiches as they liked. And then I ate the leftovers with anything and everything I could. Great for dipping vegetables or serving with crackers and cream cheese.

1/2 tsp grated garlic cloves
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained, patted dry
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine garlic and red peppers in the food processor (I used my hand blender). Blend until almost smooth. Blend in the mayonnaise. With the machine running, blend in the oil. Season the aioli, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the aioli to a small bowl. (The aioli can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day 7 :Rib Eye Steak with Warm Tomato Jalapeno Salad with Cilantro Chiffonade and Balsamic Reduction

Perfect Summer Dinner

Succulent steak should be kept simple! This warm and light tomato salad is the perfect accompaniment - Acidic and sweet from the tomatoes add a little heat from the Jalapenos and you have a really satisfying, but not carb loaded (only meat loaded) summer dinner!

Ribeye Steaks (I used medium thick cut- 2 was more than enough for me my husband and my 2 girls)
Spade L Seasoning
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Warm Tomato Salad Ingredients
1 Carton Cherry tomatoes (Approx  3-4 cups)
1/2 Red Onion thinly sliced
1 Garlic Clove chopped
1 Jalapeno roughly diced (for less heat remove seeds)
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
2 TBSP finely sliced cilantro leaves
Salt and Pepper to Taste
small head of Lettuce

Balsamic Reduction
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3-4 good squeezes of honey

Remove Steaks from fridge approximately 30 minutes before grilling while you prep. While you wait for them to reach near room temperature, make the balsamic reduction. (this step can even be done before hand)

In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to bubbling, add honey and stirring frequently, reduce heat to low and allow it to continue simmering until it thickens to the consistancy of syrup. it should coat the back of a spoon really well. Taste it to see if it's to your sweetness and liking.

Remove from heat.

Heat Barbecue with lid on. Create a non direct cooking area (if using a coal BBQ put the coals to one side) if using gas like me, then turn off a section of burners.

While BBQ is heating prepare steaks

Pour a little bit of Vegetable oil and rub over both sides of steaks.  
Sprinkle Spade L Seasoning over steak and gently pat/rub it onto both sides. I like a reasonably generous seasoning on the outside. 

When BBQ is super hot place steaks on direct heat. Let them get nice and hot, you should have some nice grill/char marks. After a couple minutes on this side peek and if ready flip them over.

Allow the steaks to cook for a couple minutes on 2nd side then place them on indirect heat and close the lid of the BBQ. My steaks last night cooked for about 10 minutes. Check on them every now and again. I could tell by touching with my finger how well done it was inside. I was aiming for a rare/medium steak. When I touched the steak and it was still soft but slightly resistant on the top I knew it was done. If you press it and its super firm you have a "well done" steak. 

While I my steaks cooked on indirect heat, heat a pan with olive oil on medium high.
When oil is hot add onions and garlic and jalapenos. Toss for a minute.
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste.  
Continue tossing them frequently so the tomatoes don't start getting squishy but the onions and garlic no longer have a raw look and taste.
Remove from heat.

When steaks are done to your liking remove from heat, cover and let them "rest".
Place Lettuce, grilled tomatoes and onions and jalapenos, then shaved parmesan cheese, lastly sprinkle some cilantro (really finely sliced cilantro leaves) on top (the cilantro is like the icing on the cake.. don't miss it out)
Spoon some balsamic reduction lightly over salad and on the plate (you want it to join the meat juices!)

Place steak on plate and serve... easy... and so very tasty!

Note: my husband hates tomatoes. I served him the lettuce cheese and reduction --no tomatoes

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 6: Quick and Tasty Grilled Pork Kebabs

This meal is a great quick week-night meal I just made up as I went.  Normally if I was making kebabs I would marinate the meat thoroughly overnight, however, I didn't have that luxury this week and I wanted to try something new so I decided to use ground pork, it's packed full of flavor and the fats keep the meat nice and juicy and tender. In this instance I made 3 flavors, Sweet Thai Chilli, Satay , and then for fun I did Panda Express' Mandarin Sauce. Individualizing these is easy, you simply baste the sauces on while you grill. I threw together a quick noodle stir fry to accompany it and whualla... a tasty, quick meal that my whole family LOVED! the novelty of eating off a stick never wears off in my house!


2 lbs Ground Pork
3 Green Onions, finely chopped
1 TBSP freshly minced ginger
3 Garlic Cloves Minced
1 TBSP Oyster Sauce
1 generous Splash of Fish Sauce (Preferred brand is Squid)
Kebab Skewers

Basting Sauces of your choice.. obviously I prefer home my Satay Marinade Recipe and Sweet Chili sauces but we don't always have time to make it all, so if you do use pre-made sauces don't be cheap get a really good quality tasting sauce, because there are some really disgusting ones out there!

Satay Sauce
Sweet Chili Sauce
Mandarin (from Panda Express - found this is the Asian food section at walmart and though what the heck lets try this guy)
NOTE: These kebabs can be prepared ahead of time, it just infuses more flavor to the pork. I made mine in the morning while my baby was napping and refrigerated them until I was ready to grill in the evening, that's what makes this such a quick, easy recipe

1. Combine all above ingredients in a bowl, the  best way is to just take off your rings and dig in with your hands until it is evenly mixed through, you want to make sure the garlic and ginger is evenly incorporated

2. Have your bowl of kebab mix, a tray and wooden skewers lined up and ready. I lined my tray with plastic, you don't have to do that it's just sometimes nicer on the clean up.

3. Take a small handful of meat , slightly larger than a golf ball and roll into ball shape.
4.  Gently Press skewer into meat.
5. Wrap meat around the skewer, and work it up and down until it encompasses it evenly.
It should look like this.
6.  Refrigerate when done.
 Heat up your grill and get your individual sauces in bowls with basting brushes ready.
7.  When Grill is hot, place kebabs on direct heat, these cook quickly. Once your first side is browned turn them and baste the cooked side, then flip them again basting as you do it.
You want your sauce to be caramelize and cook onto the meat. Do not over cook, remove from heat and serve hot over your favorite stirfry noodles, fried rice, or for a low carb option remove from skewer and eat with a zesty salad.
Stir Fry Noodles cooked on the side burner of my BBQ!,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 5: Warm Grilled Potato Salad with Garlic Paprika Aoli


Warm Grilled Potato Salad with Aoli
I'm pretty much a sucker for anything with aoli... love it! and it took me a long time to realize how easy it was to make, add it to the warm potatoes and it just melts over them. Just a small amount goes a long way, serve the extra aoli on the side so guests or family can add more to their own taste.
This salad was a great accompaniment to our BBQ Ribs. And leftovers are perfect for scrumptious hash the next morning!
5 Potatoes, peeled, sliced as shown and par boiled (I used Idaho in this instance but it's really up to your preference)
5 slices of Bacon finely chopped
3 green onions chopped
3 small cloves garlic roughly chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste 
Approx. 2 TBS Vegetable oil
Aoli Ingredients:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves smashed to a paste (sprinkle on some salt and using the back flat of your knife push down and smear garlic until it has formed a paste)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

Warm Potatoes with Aioli on the Side
1.  Heat your grill on high for direct grilling. I cooked my bacon on the side burner of my grill, if you don't have one you might need to do that step inside on your stove. 
Use leftover Aioli as a tasty spread on sandwhiches!
2. While grill is heating MAKE THE AIOLI. combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy, taste the aioli as you season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Par boiled potatoes then cut into fingerling strips
3.  Make sure your potatoes are rinsed and thoroughly dried. Coat them with oil and sprinkle Salt and Pepper. Place on grill to finish cooking all the way through. It is best to let them be and crisp up. They can take up to 8 minutes to cook. 
 4.  While potatoes are cooking on the grill heat a fry pan or cast iron skillet on side burner. Cook bacon, when bacon is almost done add garlic and green onions (you don't want the garlic to burn, or the onions to be overcooked) Set aside the pan once they are done.
5. Once potatoes are cooked to your desired crispy-ness, remove from the grill and roughly chop into bite size pieces. Then add the potatoes into your pan with bacon, onions and garlic, toss thoroughly to coat evenly with the bacon fats and juices.
6. Quickly fold in approximately 2-3 TBS of aioli while potatoes are still warm. Serve warm with extra aioli on the side.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 4: Grilled Steak with Green Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri Marinated Flank Steak from Bobby Flay
I think chimichurri is one of my favorite marinades. The bold flavors can be intensified after cooking by adding more sauce. I served my steaks on freshly grilled corn and flour tortillas.. but it was great the next day on my salad as well.  
The original recipe calls for skirt steak... would have been great but none of the stores in town had any and the closest I could find was Flank Steak... and considering the cost of beef right now this was a super cheap cut of meat. Marinating it simply tenderized it, one cut feeds approximately 6-8 people.
My Oregano plant got quite the hair cut for this recipe.

Flank Steak (If you have skirt steak then grab that!)

16 Garlic cloves
2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
1 cup fresh oregano leaves
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds skirt or flank steak cut crosswise into 3 pieces

1. Marinate the steak in the green chimichurri: Combine the Garlic, Parsley, Oregano, Mint, Red Pepper Flakes, Vinegar and Canola Oil in a food processor and process until smooth.  Put the steak in a large baking dish or ziplock bag, add half of the green chimichurri sauce, and turn to coat.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.  Refrigerate the remaining sauce separately.

marinating in glass dish, I think it would work in plastic ziplock as well.

2.  Thirty minutes before cooking, remove the steak from the refrigerator and transfer to a place.  Discard the marinade.  Heat your grill to high for direct grilling (meaning we will be cooking directly over the flame or heat source)
3.  Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides.  Grill until charred on both sides and cooked to medium-rare, about 5 minutes per side.  Remove the steaks to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let rest for at least 5 minutes.

Note: I had my grill heated up and as hot as it would go but one of my burners was not working, I didn't quite achieve the char that I wanted to in this instance.

4.  Cut the meat across the grain into thin slices and top with reserved chimichurri.  Serve with warm tortillas or on a salad.
My Tortillas waiting happily under the plates as the steak cooks.

Day 3: Guasacaca

Venezuelan Guasacaca
What is grilling and BBQ-ing without some great fresh sides.. Here is my latest discovery via Bobby Flay (can you tell I'm a fan?) Mexicans have their own Avocado dip/sauce "guacamole", and here is the Argentinian version of avocado accompaniment, Meet "Guasacaca". It has just a couple more ingredients (one key ingredient being the vinegar) that makes it distinctive and different - great as an appetizer or side for your summer entertaining and grilling


4 ripe Avocados, peeled, pitted & Diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste
1/2 red bell pepper finely diced
1/2 poblano chile, finely diced
1 small Spanish onion, finely diced
1 plum tomato, halved, seeded, and finely diced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
2 TBSP finely chopped cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
good quality tortilla chips.
Combine the avocados and Garlic in a bowl and mash with a fork until chunky.  Fold in the bell pepper, poblano, onion, tomato, vinegar, oil, parsley, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with tortilla chips for dipping.



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 2: Brats and just a little bit more.

Brat on Ciabatta with Grilled Garlic Tomato Peppers
Simple is good. Cooking does not need to be complicated to be good, sometimes it's just a little extra that can make a simple meal special. Take the Brat for example.. it's pretty much a perfect example of the Sausage specimen, why mess with such a good thing, I cooked some up for my family the other night and thought... I really would like just something more with it.
When I was at the store I noticed they had in some ciabatta bread in the shape of long rolls... perfect... why get boring plain sugar loaded bread when I can have ciabatta! I quickly chopped up some veggies, threw them on with the brats. I didn't just serve my brat in my cold bun, in my head I'm thinking.. add flavor when you can, so I buttered it and threw it into the pan or on the grill.
Throw on some muenster cheese while its hot and top with the caramelized grilled peppers and garlic... it's a little more than just a Brat.

Next on my list of things to master... making my own sausage!


Good brats! (go with the best brat you have... we don't have a local butcher or delicatessen, but I have found Johnsonville has my favorite kind of pre-packaged brat)
About 2 cups of mixed peppers cubed or just sliced into bite size segments. (I had 2 jalpenos de-seeded, red capsicum(bell pepper) and orange capsicum (bell pepper) .. really just whatever is your favorite)
4 cloves fresh garlic smashed
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tsp Worcestshire sauce
1 tsp Brown sugar
Olive Oil
Grated Muenster Cheese
Ciabatta rolls or whatever is your favorite roll.. get what fresh and looking good from the bakery.

Originally I have done this out on the grill..but on the day I took pictures it was raining so I had to bring it indoors to my pan so sorry my pics aren't entirely accurate. Concept is there and my method is done through grilling.

Combine all peppers, tomatoes and garlic, drizzle over some olive oil and salt and pepper.
If you have a bbq vegetable tray (one with no holes in it) then use that but if not I just created a aluminium foil bowl and placed all my oiled vegies. I find it best to put the garlic on the bottom under the peppers so it can really soften and caramelize.

If outside put in foil and let cook down.

Place on direct heat on the grill.

On the other side of your grill place your brats over direct heat. They are a funny thing to grill brats, they are so big that you want to make sure they are cooked all the way through without burning the outside. Thanks to my Bobby Flay education on direct and indirect cooking I think I have worked out how to get the job done without a black dog.

Start with your brats on direct heat, I like to get lightly scoured marks around, and then move them to indirect heat part of your BBQ . Cover and let them cook like this for about 7 minutes, turning half way through. This will cook them on the inside! break one open to check they are fully done.

Meanwhile stir your vegies around and make sure they are softening evenly. About half way through the brats cooking splash on your worcestshire sauce and sugar on your peppers and mix through, then let the "zing" cook out of the sauce and reduce down. You will get some great flavors!

Right at the end place your lightly buttered rolls face down on the grill to give them a nice flavor seal.
Remove all items from heat... place sausage on Bun, sprinkle with grated muenster cheese, and top with as many veggies as you want.
Whualla... you got yourself a gourmet looking Brat.

Brat on Ciabatta with Grilled Garlic Peppers

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

30 Days of Grilling

Well I know I have not exactly been the worlds most reliable blogger lately, but I am back and ready to post my heart out.
Summer Grilling is perhaps my favorite form of cooking. There is almost nothing you can't grill,  I'm sure my affinity for grilling stems back to my easy going, outdoor loving Australian roots, just the smell of starter coals is enough to bring back so many childhood memories, for me the words "long weekend" roughly translated into Australian are "Throw a snag on the "Barbie". Whether its at the public parks or home, Barbecuing family, social and cultural event.
Note:awesome 80's hair and sunglasses
Fast-forward to present day Utah! To celebrate the snow finally thawing, birds chirping and weeds blooming I am going to be posting  30 days of  tried and loved grilling recipes. you heard me...30 recipes! Now they might not be everyones cup of tea but I am sure there will be at least 1 recipe you will use again and again just like me.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 1: Grilled Chili Lime Chicken

Based on recipe.

A Classic Favorite at my house. For those who have been asking for this... here you go finally!



2 teaspoons lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small jalapeƱo chile, seeded, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 chicken thighs (1 1/4 lb)  (the original recipe calls for chicken breast but I personally prefer the texture and flavor using thighs.. if using breasts flatten with a mallet first and only marinate up to 10 hours)
Combine all ingredients in a zip lock bag and store in refridgerator and allow to marinate at least 3 hours but no longer than 24.
Heat Grill to medium and cook thighs until done. approximately 10 minutes.
Serving suggestion -  with Fresh lettuce and "This Aint No Tomatillo Cafe Rio Dressing" Tortilla strips, Pico De Gallo and Guacamole for a refreshing Salad.

Spicey Tomato Mozerella Pesto Salad

Spicey Tomato  Mozerella Pesto Salad

Recently I was at the store on my way to work and I thought to myself "What do I want to eat today" and this is what I came up with. This salad is ready in 2 minutes! super easy, healthy and satisfying, my kids even love it. This amount feeds about 4 as a medium side.

1/4 cup of pickled Tamed Jalepenos slices
1 ball of mozerella pearls (found this in the specialty cheese section)
1/4 cup basil pesto
4 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes

Seperate mozerlla pearls, place all ingredients in a bowl, mix briefly with spoon to make sure pesto is covering evenly and presto - did I mention this was fast? Lunch is DONE! If you want to add the pesto spoon by spoon according to your liking you can. Some people don't love pesto as much as me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

This Aint No Tomatillo Cafe Rio Dressing

I have used other peoples versions of "Mock Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing".
My 6 year old daughter and I were making up Chicken Chilli soup the other night, driving to town to grab some dressing from the restaurant was out of the not really an option, however I did not have any tomatillos. For years we have made other peoples versions of "Mock Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing" and I while it was not exactly like cafe rio it mostly hit the spot for our cravings.
Oh the Rio craving!
So back on topic - we decided to wing it, we were just going to make up our own dressing, with no hopes of it actually tasting like it. Ironically I think this is the closest mock version I have ever had.
Is is possible that all this time Cafe Rio has convinced us this is a tomatillos  dressing ... with no tomatillos? perhaps we will never know. Just know this that this dressing is alot more convenient to make without those little husky green balls and tastes just as good if not better than any mock dressing.
Serve on salads, as a dip.. or on Soup (see the southwestern chicken chilli recipe)

"This Aint No Tomatillo Cafe Rio Dressing"

2 cups sour cream
1 package Ranch Dip Seasoning
2 limes
2 Jalapenos (1 deseeded and deveined, the other whole)
1/2 bunch cilantro(coriander)
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp salt
2 shakes of pepper

In a medium size bowl combine sour cream, ranch dip mix.
Zest both limes, and add the zest plus juice from 1 of the limes to the bowl. mix well. (put remaining zested lime aside in case you need it later)
Chop cilantro and jalapeno. Add it to bowl. Use an immersion blender to puree all ingredients together.( - note.. if you don't have one of these handy kitchen utensils, ask santa for one. Meanwhile put the cilantro, jalapeno in a blender and blend as smooth as possible, then add remaining ingredients)
Add milk, salt and pepper and puree more until smooth.
Taste for correct seasoning and add more milk if you desire a runnier dressing.
whualla... no tomatillos required!

Proscuitto Wrapped Green Beans

During my stay with my mum in Australia it was right in the middle of summer, the green beans in her veggie patch were hitting their peak.. along with everything else in the patch. I LOVED being able to walk outside to collect my vegetables and herbs, there is just something really satisfying about it. I think it is one of the things I miss most about living in the freezing climate of Utah.
One of the families favorite uses of the fresh green beans was to wrap them in proscuitto, I don't think there was anyone who didn't gobble all their beans up when we served them this way.

Fresh Green Beans ( I count about4-5 green beans per bundle, count on everyone having at least 2 bundles each)
Proscuitto , 1 strip for me made 2 bundles of beans. Count out how many strips you get in a package from your local store, or if you are lucky enough to have a delicatessan that gives you however much you want just calculate how many you need .. or how many people you are serving.
Ice water
....and thats it... really does it get any more simple?

Trim ends off green beans (if you have a thing for them all being the same size go ahead and make cut them to size, I don't mind the imperfect rustic look)

Bring a pot full of water to boil. When water is ready add green beans, blanch them in the boiling water for about 1 minute.

Remove beans from water and put them immediately in the bowl of "ice water"

Turn on your broiler to hi (grill).

Remove beans from water, dry with a towel and arrange them in piles so they are ready to bundle up.
Try one bunch first, wrap proscuitto around beans winding it down until it is completely covered.  See how much proscuitto it takes to cover beans comfortably.

Continue on to wrap all beans.

Place on a baking sheet, and place in oven.

Watch beans as they cook, turning over halfway through.

Remove from oven and serve. Beans should still be slightly crunchy but nice and salty from proscuitto.