Grilled mushrooms on a cedar plank

As the snow drifts by the window I’m dreaming of making these again ….. smoky from the grill and cedar plank, and bursting with creamy cheesy goodness.

Grilled Mushrooms:Cedar Plank

  • 25 to 30 small cremini mushrooms (about 650 g), stemmed
  • 2 cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup water-packed artichoke hearts (about 2), drained, finely chopped and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese , softened
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green olives
  • 1 egg , lightly beaten
  • 1 clove garlic , grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

To take these over the top, sprinkle with toasted and chopped hazelnuts, they add such a delightful crunch …. as you can see in this photo I didn’t have any handy this time!

Soak one 12- x 7-inch untreated cedar plank in water for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Meanwhile, using tip of spoon, gently scrape out mushroom gills to widen cavities.

In bowl, stir together Asiago, artichokes, cream cheese, olives, egg, garlic and pepper. Spoon 1 tbsp filling into each mushroom cap, pressing to flatten slightly.

Arrange on cedar plank, filling side up. Top with hazelnuts, if using, or you can always substitute toasted Panko crumbs.  Place plank on grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill until mushrooms are tender and filling is bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley. Serve on plank on heat-resistant surface or transfer to platter.

 

If barbecuing isn’t an option for you this can also be done in the oven …. 425 for 20 minutes.

Grilled Cauliflower & Shrimp with Romesco Dipping Sauce

Cauliflower & Shrimp with Romescu

Grilling the shrimp in the shell protects them from the searing heat of the barbecue, and is definitely worth doing.  Serve this as an appetizer and nobody minds getting in with their hands!

 

romescu

Go ahead and make a big batch of this, it goes really well with any cooked fish or chicken dish.

Romesco Sauce:

  • 1 jar (300 mL) roasted red peppers , including juices
  • 1/4 cup prepared tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter or 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Romesco Sauce: In blender, purée together red peppers including juices, tomato sauce, almond butter, vinegar, paprika and cayenne pepper until smooth. Season to taste with salt, if needed.  Transfer to small saucepan, and set aside.

  • 1 head cauliflower , cut in large florets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 450 g unpeeled jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 count)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch green onions

Shrimp and Vegetables: Plunge cauliflower pieces into boiling salted water for just about 2-3 minutes, and then immediately drop into ice water bath.

This can easily be turned into a vegetarian dish by omitting the shrimp, just use an assortment of vegetables.

In bowl, toss together shrimp, oil and remaining salt.

Thread shrimp onto metal or soaked wooden skewers. Place shrimp and cauliflower on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until shrimp are pink and cauliflower is charred, about 8 minutes. Add green onions during last 3 minutes of grilling.

Heat Romesco Sauce, stirring frequently until warm, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve cauliflower, shrimp and green onions on large platter with sauce on the side for dipping.  Add some crusty fresh French bread and you’ve got a great appetizer!

Thai Grilled Chicken

Thai grilled chicken should be moist, flavourful, and make you want more …. this is it.

Thai Chicken

This chicken.  So moist and delicious.  The dipping sauce takes it over the top!

 

  • 2 lb / 1 kg chicken thigh fillets (skinless, boneless) 

 

  • Use whatever chicken you have, or prefer, this amount of marinade worked with 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into pieces and pounded equal thickness.  I reserved some of the marinade and kept it to serve as a dipping sauce, it was incredible.
Marinade
  • 1 large lemongrass stalk , white part only very finely chopped (about 2 tbsp) If you live in an area like we do, fresh lemongrass is not always easy to come by, and in that case, I use 1 tbsp lemongrass powder)
  • 1 tbsp garlic , minced
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar or palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

Mix all marinade ingredients together, reserve 1/2 of it, and and add chicken to the rest.  Marinade overnight, or for at least an hour …. (I had an hour and it turned out really well!)

Serve the chicken with the reserved marinade.

Thai chicken

put all the marinade ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and give it a good whiz ….

 

Grill chicken until just cooked through, and serve with dipping sauce.

Spicy Sweet & Sticky Asian Pork Chops

Spicy Sweet Sticky Pork Chops

Grill just until cooked through, these juicy pork chops hit all those notes of spicy, sweet and sticky – get out the napkins!

 

  • 8 thin cut pork chops, pounded lightly until uniform thickness
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger grated
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 chilli finely chopped (seeds removed if needed)
  • juice of 1 lime
  1. To make the pork chops, combine the soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, curry paste chilli & lime juice in a bowl and mix well.  Taste, and adjust if necessary – especially for heat.  If you like it hotter, add more!
  2. Place the pork chops in a ziploc bag and pour over the sauce. Close the bag and allow to marinade for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Grill over high heat until just cooked through.

Noodles 2

 

We served these with a crunchy Thai noodle salad.

Almost Shake Shack sauce!

IMG_4127

Almost famous all right …. Make your own Shake Shack sauce.

 

This creamy sauce will take your home made burger right to the level of that famous burger at Shake Shack.

In order to replicate the burger all the way – make sure you use good beef, 1/4 pound of it per burger, and cook it on a flat surface … without greasing the pan!  That creates the crisp exterior.

Use soft potato buns, lightly butter and grill or toast.

Lettuce, tomato, pickles and this amazing sauce will complete the deal.  And you may never buy another burger!

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 4 slices kosher dill pickle
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
IMG_4134

Maybe not the best presentation photo, but this creamy, slighty tangy sauce takes your burger to lip smacking, napkin required level.

Asian Marinade for Chicken or Pork

Asian Marinade for Chicken or Pork

 

I love the balance of flavours in this marinade, it just has the right amount of sweet, heat, sour and salt …. and caramelizes perfectly on the grill.  I find it works really well on pork chops or chicken thighs but I’m sure it would be great on just about anything.

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

1 tbsp chile garlic paste

2 tsp sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

zest & juice of 1 orange

juice of 1/2 lime

Make enough marinade for 8 pork chops or 12 chicken thighs.

Garnish:  lime, roughly chopped cilantro and green onions.

Place all marinade ingredients in food processor and give it a good whiz.  Pour half of it in a ziplock bag with meat and reserve the rest.  Give the meat a massage and allow to marinade for 30 minutes at the least and up to 8 hours.

Put reserved marinade in a small sauce pan and cook over moderate heat until reduced and thickened.

Heat grill, and grill meat, brushing with the reduced marinade.

 

 

Pork and Prawn Burgers

These delicious burgers have an Asian twist to them, and are absolutely oozing yumminess!  Tonight they were served on a slim style bun, but can be enjoyed on a regular bun as well.  For an appetizer, make the patties small and serve on individual lettuce leaves.

Pork & Prawn burger

The dipping sauce makes these burgers particularly delicious, make sure to have napkins handy, and lean over your plate.

1 pound (450 grams ish) lean ground pork

1 bag of frozen RAW prawns (around the same weight as the pork), chopped in small but identifiable pieces

2 eggs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping tbsp fresh ginger, minced

2 tbsp. soya sauce

2 tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup finely sliced chives

In a large bowl mix up the eggs, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Gently toss in the pork, prawns and chives.

Form patties, and allow to rest in the fridge to set up.

Either grill or cook on hot griddle.  These are delicate, so make sure not to try and turn or rotate until they are well cooked on the first side.

Pork & Prawn burgers

Serve on a toasted bun with aioli on the bottom, and pickled cucumbers on top.  To take this on to the most delicious burger, be sure to serve with the dipping sauce.

Sweet Chili Sriracha Aoili

4 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. sriracha (or other Asian style hot sauce)

1 tbsp. sweet chili paste

Blend well and allow to sit in fridge for flavours to come together.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

1 cup very thinly sliced cucumber – tossed with rice vinegar, and seasoned lightly with salt, pepper, and a few chili flakes

Dipping Sauce

For each person, use a little individual dipping bowl and in each:

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

drizzle of chile oil or chile flakes (to taste)

a couple slices of fresh garlic, and fresh ginger

sprinkle of chives or spring onion