Grilled Vegetables

One of the best ways to enjoy fresh seasonal vegetables is to grill them – often just right on the grilling surface and don’t mess around with them too much!

 Let the fresh flavour speak for itself.

Zucchini likes to be brushed with a little olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly ground pepper – while tomatoes like just a little olive oil and save the seasoning for after they come off the grill.

Cauliflower can get a little tough on the grill so I like to steam it a bit first, until almost cooked.  Toss with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice to keep that bright whiteness, and season with  bit of salt and pepper.

Asparagus is happier if you just grill it right on the cooking surface naked … then dress it up with a drizzle of your best olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon, season with salt and pepper.  Added flavour punch comes from occasionally treating it to a bit of freshly grated Parmesan and/or toasted nuts.

Moroccan Quinoa Salad

SALAD

3 cups cooked quinoa                                                                         

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed well

1/2 cup finely diced red onion

1/2 cup each finely diced red, yellow and orange peppers

1/3 cup diced sun dried tomato

1/2 cup olives

GARNISH

1/4 cups chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

DRESSING

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

Toss cooked quinoa with vegetables into bowl.  Drizzle with dressing, and just before serving mix in the fresh herbs, garnishing with the toasted almonds.

Serve with Moroccan Spice Chicken

Moroccan Spice Chicken

MOROCCAN SPICE RUB

Combine all ingredients and blend well:                             

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil

Massage chicken with olive oil and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice then  rub spice ingredient both under the skin and over – sprinkle into cavity as well.

This works really well on a beer can chicken holder – you can either do it on the bbq or in your oven @ 375 degrees, for approximately 20 minutes per pound.

If you roast it in the oven fill a roasting pan with sliced red onions and a couple of lemons (halved).  Pour in enough chicken stock to cover onions.  Baste the chicken half way through the cooking with this liquid.

If you don’t have a beer can chicken holder – just lay the bird on the onions and let the juices run.

When the chicken has reached a temperature of 180 degrees, remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

If you have cooked the chicken with the onions, reduce the                                     onions and liquid to make a soupy delicious onion jam to serve alongside the chicken.

Look for my Moroccan Quinoa Salad to serve this with, along with grilled

vegetables, simple, easy and fantastic!

Chicken and Chorizo Paella – Casa Katarina style

Once upon a time I had a really fun Spanish Tapas Bar … one of our specialties was Paella.  We served either a meat paella, a seafood paella, or the specialty of the house – Paella Parellada combining the best of all!

Olive oil

2 cups rice

4 cups good quality chicken stock (1 tsp saffron threads & 1 tsp turmeric powder added)

3 chorizo sausages, thinly sliced

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 red onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks celery, finely sliced

1 zucchini, quartered and sliced

1/2 red and yellow pepper – diced

1/2 cup sliced green beans

1 tsp each dried oregano, parsley, basil

1/2 cup whole olives

1/2 cup quartered artichoke hearts

salt and pepper to taste

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped

lemon wedges

Remember – all recipes are just guidelines!  Use whatever vegetables and meat you have on hand.  This particular recipe is for a meat paella – but feel free to do this with your own appetite in mind.  One of our favorites is a seafood paella – and so impressive!  Watch for a photo of that one of these days …..

Heat olive oil in paella pan (or other casserole style dish that is not too deep and can be used on both the top of the range and in the oven).  When oil has heated, add onions and sweat just until translucent.  Add chicken breast and cook until almost cooked through – stirring just enough to allow bits of carmelization on the meat.  Add the fresh vegetables and saute lightly.  Stir in dry rice, seasonings and stir for a few minutes to allow the rice to heat up a bit, and brown lightly.

Heat chicken stock and dissolve saffron threads along with turmeric powder.

Slowly pour 3 cups of chicken stock into rice/vegetable/meat mixture and allow to cook just until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Stir in the chorizo sausage, olives and artichoke hearts.  Add the rest of the chicken stock if needed.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Go creative – add thinly sliced colored peppers to the top around the dish before covering with tin foil, or your lid, and baking at 350 just until rice has full absorbed and is fluffy.

Saute tomatoes only until heated through and pile in the center of your paella – scatter with scallions and parsley.

Be sure to serve with fresh lemon wedges to be squeezed over top – this really brings out the flavour!

Quinoa Couscous Salad

Here we go again – salads without exact measurements, but a general idea.  Recipes are really just ideas on a sheet of paper, what is important is taking them and making them your own – use ingredients that you love!

equal portions of cooked quinoa and couscous

quartered and thinly sliced cucumber

chopped tomato

chopped black olive

diced red onion

feta cheese

fresh basil, mint and dill

salt and pepper

DRESSING

juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 tbsp good quality olive oil

1 generous tsp dijon mustard

1 garlic clove

salt and pepper to taste

Toss all salad ingredients together first and allow to sit for a few minutes while you mix up the dressing.  Whisk all dressing ingredients together, and toss with salad … TASTE for salt and pepper, and only add as needed – remember the olives and the feta cheese are salty all by themselves!

Feta Greek Chicken Burgers

You are going to love these Greek style chicken, pork burgers

studded with herbs and feta cheese!  

Great dinner when served with Quinoa Couscous Salad

Burgers are really just ideas … following are the ingredients in my burgers, with an approximate portion plan:

equal portions ground chicken and hot italian sausage meat (approx 1 pound each)

2 tbsp minced basil

2 tbsp minced mint

1 large minced garlic clove

3 scallions, sliced fine

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp each of salt and pepper

Lightly toss all ingredients together until just mixed.  Do not overmix your meat or it will end up with the texture of a meatloaf!  Form burger patties and place onto lined baking sheet.  Set aside, either in freezer or fridge until you are ready to grill and they have had time to rest.

Grill on greased surface until cooked through.

Serve with:

Grilled thin slices zucchini (lightly coated with olive oil, salt and pepper)

Grilled thick tomato slices (dusted with salt and pepper)

Coat each side of your pita style bun with a generous dollop of mint/dill yogurt sauce:

MINT/DILL YOGURT SAUCE

1 cup greek style yogurt

1/2 cup grated, drained cucumber

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp finely chopped dill

1 tbsp minced mint (try to say that a few times!)

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, and put in fridge to set up and allow flavours to blend.

Coconut Chili Vegetables

This recipe was created spur of the moment, when I needed another dish to round out dinner – Chinese Grilled Pork and Fried Rice … even with all the chopped vegetables in the rice dish, we needed more greens.  This was so simple, and could easily be turned into a full meal by adding any protein you were inclined to add.  The best thing is the simplicity – throw it all in a pot!

1 cup coconut milk                               

1 tbsp sambal oelek

1 tbsp minced garlic

bok choy

chinese mushrooms

red onion

Heat coconut milk, garlic and sambal oelek just until boiling point – add onions.  When slightly tender stir in the rest of your vegetables and allow to simmer just until cooked through – being careful not to overcook them or they will lose their vibrancy and wilt.