Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Meaty Cobb Salad...with Meat in it.

If you're as desperate as I am to get more meat into your diet, don't ignore the almighty salad. A double dose of meat here can easily be tripled if your beef deficient, but I'm keen on the two-tone selection of chicken and pancetta Jamie Oliver's chosen, although I did double up on the chicken.

We used to summer in the Hamptons Spokane during Nordstrom's summer sale season. During my Dad's frequent power breaks between transactions, he'd head to Nordstrom's cafe for a wedge salad covered in blue cheese dressing. I just didn't get it. Why would you eat something that's clearly gone bad?! Now I can't get enough of the stinky stuff.  Substitute the dressing for another creamy variety if preferred, but note that you won't be able to shop as hard as you would with the powers of Stilton in you. As you wish.

Adapted from:

Serves 6-8


  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 2 handfuls of mixed greens
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced in wedges
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 avocados, sliced in wedges
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced in wedges
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on
  • olive oil
  • paprika
  • sea salt
  • 50 g pancetta
  • 50 g Stilton
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chives
  • olive oil
  • 50 ml buttermilk
  • 2 T Greek yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 t Worcestershire


Heat your barbecue to medium-high. Prepare the chicken by sprinkling the thighs with a generous dose of paprika, sea salt, pepper and a few lugs of olive oil on both sides. Place the chicken thighs, skin side down on the bottom grill for about 10 minutes on each side. Once cooked, remove from the barbecue, place the pancetta around the thighs and return to the heat for about 5 minutes each side. Check to ensure the thighs' centres are cooked through before removing them permanently from the heat. If you don' t have a barbecue, bake the thighs in an oven for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F, remove and wrap them in the pancetta to be returned to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Once cooled, chop up the chicken into bite sized pieces and set aside.

The corn can be prepared a number of ways, but if you're barbecuing the chicken, strip the cobs of their skin and rub a small amount of olive oil all over them. Wrap them in foil and grill them on the top rack for about 15 minutes. I unwrap them near the end end place them directly on the bottom grill for about 3 minutes to blacken some of the ears. Alternatively, you can boil the corn for 5 minutes or use the frozen variety.

To cook the eggs, heat a pot of water until almost boiling. When the water's about to boil, add the eggs and set your timer for 6 minutes. This will get you a soft boiled egg assuming the eggs were refrigerated prior to being boiled. Add another 2 minutes if you prefer a hard-boiled egg. Once you've reached your desired time, remove from the heat, dump the water and replace with cold water to stop the eggs from cooking.

For the dressing, begin by crumbling the Stilton into a jug or container. Chop the chives and add them to the jug. Follow with the remaining ingredients and whisk well until all combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To prepare the salad, wash, dry and tear the Romaine leaves into bite-sized pieces. Combine with the mixed greens in a large salad bowl. Strip the corn from their ears and distribute on top of the salad along with the sliced tomatoes and avocado. Add the sliced chicken and peeled/halved eggs as well. I included some of the remaining chopped chives in the salad and dressed each portion individually. Don't forget that crusty bread and a little beer to accompany your healthy meal!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rhubarb Ice Cream

I'm having second thoughts about not putting "no ice cream maker required" in the title, but it seemed like a lot of information for a title. This was on the June cover of Chatelaine magazine and the link to their site for further ice cream flavours is below. Next round will be the salted caramel.

The recipe only calls for cream, sweetened condensed milk and a vanilla bean as the base. Place these in a standing mixer for four minutes and then freeze it for at least six hours. If you want a flavour other than vanilla, Chatelaine provides some interesting options to choose from. What I found with my first batch was a mixture with a lot of ice crystals in it. The result tasted more icy than creamy. Apparently the faster you can freeze the product, the fewer ice crystals will form in it. With the next batch I mixed the ingredients together, put everything in the freezer for five minutes, including the mixing bowl and then mixed it for the allotted time. Once the recipe was transferred back into a storage container, I placed it in the freezer and mixed it periodically with a whisk as it froze. The result was more in line with the texture I am familiar with.

Rhubarb offers a fresh take on this little number. The stuff grows like a weed in this province and I find people are more than happy to get rid of it. The tart and sweet combo's a winner for me.

Adapted from:

Serves 2-3


  • 2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
  • 1 cup 33% cream
  • 150 ml of sweetened condensed milk


Place a pot on medium heat to warm it. Add the rhubarb, mixing it well to let the water evaporate from it. Increase the heat to a medium-high temperature and keep stirring for about 3 minutes or until the rhubarb is mushy. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

Place the cream and condensed milk in the bowl of a standing mixer. Place the bowl and contents in the freezer for 5 minutes. Once chilled, mix the ingredients for about 4 minutes. Transfer the ice cream mix into a storage container and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Monkfish with Olive Paste & Lemon Mash

With Ruedi's return to YEG, we have quickly settled into a few habitual affairs; one of them being a Saturday visit to the City Market Downtown. Fresh fruit, eggs and pastry to tide us until lunch are the usual takeaways. This time we cruised by Ocean Odyssey Inland which sells wild seafood, including a wide array of fish from Iceland. We picked up a few small pieces of Monkfish for dinner; pricey little numbers, but they have a hearty texture I really enjoy. If Monkfish isn't an option for you, you can still pull this recipe off with other white fish. The original recipe courtesy of Jamie Oliver includes a rub of rosemary and lemon zest for the fish, but I ran out of time and figured the fish would be lovely either way. I used less fish than the recipe calls for and ended up with quite a bit of leftover olive paste. The extra I combined with a rice and lentil mix topped with cilantro, avocado and tomatoes for my lunches. Worked quite well, thank you.

If you live in Edmonton and haven't been to the City Market, I highly recommend a visit. We often go just to people watch since there's usually a good turnout in the summer. The market moves outdoors between the May and Thanksgiving long weekends on 104th Street between Jasper Ave and 103rd. Be sure to pick up a few gougeres at Dauphine to keep your strength up during your visit.

Adapted From:

Serves 4

The Fish

  • sea salt
  • 4, 200g Monkfish fillets
  • olive oil

Olive Paste

  • 2 handfuls of black, pitted olives loosely chopped (I chose Kalamata)
  • 1 fresh red chili, minced (had orange Habaneros, but red chili would be best)
  • handful of fresh herbs finely chopped (basil, cilantro, parsley)
  • 1 heart of celery, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • freshly ground pepper
  • a few swigs of olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar to taste

Lemon Mash

  • 1 kg of russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • sea salt
  • butter
  • ground pepper
  • milk 
  • juice of 1 lemon


To prepare the fish, salt it in advance and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the juices to release. Heat barbecue grill on high (400F). Place fillets on grill and cook for  2-4 minutes each side. Ours were about an inch thick and took 4 minutes each side, but you'll want to gauge your time carefully. The meaty texture can take a little more abuse than lighter fillets of fish, but over cooking fish is easy to do.

To make the olive paste combine all the ingredients and set aside. When ready to serve, taste the mix and add a little of the balsamic vinegar if a little extra kick is needed.

For the mash, heat a large pot of salted, boiling water. Add the potatoes and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove from heat and dump the water. Add a hearty nub of butter, about a half cup of milk and the lemon juice and blend with a hand mixer. Do not over mix the potatoes! They become starchy if blended for two long. Add more milk and butter to get your desired texture and salt and pepper to taste.