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Grilled Broccolini with Garlic Anchoy Sauce

broccolini with garlic anchovy sauceThe tail end of Spring is drawing to a close and thankfully the warmer weather has arrived.  And because of this, the air in our neighborhood is perfumed with food being cooked on backyard barbeques. If you don’t barbecue you almost feel left out.  When I head out to our back deck to fire up the grill, my stomach grumbles as I get a whiff of someone using their barbeque.  I love this time of year.  Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and gai lan (Chinese kale).  It’s more delicate in flavor than broccoli and can be eaten raw or lightly sautéed.

Serves 4
adapted by The Gardener & The Grill

1 to 2 anchovy fillets, mashed into as paste
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

2 bunches broccolini, trimmed (about 2 lbs.)
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

broccolini on the barbieFor the sauce, whisk together all ingredients and set aside. Light your barbeque to a medium-hot fire. Place broccolini on a plate and brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill until broccolini is al dente, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with sauce.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Fresh and simple! Make sure broccolini is similar in size otherwise the larger pieces will take longer to cook and will result in the smaller ones becoming burnt.  Serve this right off the grill or at room temperature.   Summer is just around the corner…Friday, 21st of June.  Enjoy!

Daylily Petal Salad

Daylily Petal SaladHow decadent! Daylilies in a salad!  Using flowers in a dish isn’t a new thing for me but it has been a long time since I last did so.  My grandmother always had a bed of nasturtiums in her flower garden which she used in bouquets around the house and if memory serves me correctly, she ate them in a sandwich.  In the 80’s it was all the rage to make candied (sugar coated) violets, rose petals, pansy flowers etc. as beautiful decorations for desserts.

I was asked to review Cooking with Flowers and was quite excited when the book arrived.  It’s full of sweet and savoury recipes…I have already bookmarked the ones I want to try.  This salad was easy to make, fantastic flavors and made for an interesting discussion around the dinner table.  Daylilies are native to Japan, China and Korea and were mentioned in the writings of Confucius (551-479 BC).  The Chinese grew these plants for their beauty and medicinal value.

Serves 4
adapted from Cooking with Flowers

4 cups arugula (rocket)
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
petals from 6 daylilies (washed lightly and dried on paper towel)
aged Gouda, shaved (use a vegetable peeler)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Maldon flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

dayliliesPlace arugula leaves in a bowl. Add avocado, lemon juice, splash of olive oil and daylilies. Gently toss. Arrange on a platter or individual plates and top with shaved cheese, sea salt flakes and pepper. Serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Gorgeous! Daylily buds will keep in the fridge for several days. However, the flowers should be consumed the day they are picked for optimum freshness and taste.  The flavor of the daylily will vary but the ones we ate reminded me of slight hints of melon.  You can sauté the unopened flower buds in butter or olive oil and sprinkle sea salt over them.  Enjoy!

Coleslaw with Granny Smith Apple and Chili

easy to make coleslawWarmer weather brings out all our favorite recipes for barbecues, family picnics and when it gets too darn hot to cook in the kitchen!  Everyone has their favorite coleslaw recipe that perhaps their mom or grandmother used but this one, for me, takes the blue ribbon at a state fair hands down!  Coleslaw gets its origins from the Dutch – koosla (from kool cabbage and sla salad).  Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A.  For more information on the health benefits of cabbage, click here.

Serves 6
inspired by Charred & Scruffed

green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 6 handfuls)
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar

dressing –
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted in a small skillet and finely ground
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Granny Smith apples, halved, cored, and cut into julienne (skin left on)
1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds and membrane)
1/2 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

cabbage apple chiliCombine cabbage and bell pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Toss with the sugar and allow to macerate for 15 minutes. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients until smooth. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps as this will break up later on. Add the apples, chili pepper, dill, and parsley to the cabbage and peppers and mix well. Toss with the dressing to coat and serve.

pretty veggies before dressingThe Culinary Chase’s Note: For increased flavor, place slaw in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Grilled Romaine Salad with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon Dressing

grilled romaine

‘We both love to garden. We love the look of our gardens (most of the time). We talk about what we will do next season differently and what new crop we want to try. But we both garden differently. Karen’s garden mimics the French “potager” (raised-bed in a pattern) style with an emphasis -a BIG EMPHASIS- on tomatoes of every type. She also grows herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Judith’s garden is more edible landscaping and container gardening with baby turnips, rhubarb, melons, Italian plum tomatoes, and baby lettuces amongst the pear trees, raspberries, roses, and lavender. Even though our garden types and plantings differ, we’re both on the same page – grilling makes garden-fresh foods taste great.’

After flipping through the pages of this cookbook and getting excited at what I saw, I read the introduction (part of it is shown above) and was immediately drawn in. John and I are avid grillers no matter what time of year it is. When it’s winter there are three paths cleared: driveway, front steps and a path from kitchen door to the barbeque!  I am in total agreement with Karen and Judith’s statement – ‘when you want fresh and healthy foods with more depth of flavor, grilling from the garden makes perfect sense.’  While I don’t have a garden in my back yard, there are local markets nearby.  Their book has me salivating and this recipe for today’s posting is the first of many from The Gardener & The Grill.

Serves 4
adapted from The Gardener & The Grill

2 heads romaine lettuce, trimmed
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
rosemary, garlic & lemon dressing (recipe follows)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings (use a vegetable peeler)
4 slices cooked bacon (optional)

Preheat a grill to medium-high.

Rinse and pat dry the lettuce. Cut the 2 heads into quarters. Brush surface with olive oil and grill about 4 to 5 minutes total, turning occasionally. Place two wedges on a salad plate and drizzle with rosemary, garlic and lemon dressing.  Add bacon slices and cheese shavings.  Drizzle with more dressing, season with salt and peper and serve.

Rosemary Garlic & Lemon Dressing –
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the dressing –  if using a mortar and pestle, combine rosemary, salt, and garlic in the mortar and grind into a fine paste. Drizzle in the olive oil and grind again. Add lemon zest, juice, grind and taste. Alternatively, combine the rosemary, salt, and garlic in a food processor and pulse into a paste. Add the oil and pulse again. Add lemon zest and juice and pulse. Season as needed. The dressing will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Wow! This salad is so unbelievably good! Use any leftover dressing on veggies, chicken, beef, pork or lamb. The authors also say to try it brushed on bread or pizza dough. Enjoy!

Beet and Goat Cheese Terrine

beet & goat cheese

“Cooking food and presenting it beautifully is an act of servitude. It is a way of expressing affection through a gift… That we should aspire to produce perfectly finished and presented food is a symbol of a willing and enjoyable participation in servicing others. Food pornography exactly sustains these meanings relating to the preparation of food. The kinds of picture used always repress the process of production of a meal. They are always beautifully lit, often touched up.”     Rosalind Coward

I struggle sometimes to capture that food moment when I take a few shots and take more and still are not satisfied with any of them. And then, there are those times when only a few shots are taken and I feel I have a winner with at least three. The photo of the beet terrine encapsulated that moment. Perhaps it was my mood or that I was so excited to try what ‘looked’ so amazing…luscious layers of crimson and pink with bits of white peeking through. I plated the food, presented it to John…he requested seconds, need I say more?

Serves 4 to 6
inspired by Frances Janisch

12 or more beets, assorted colors (if possible)
8 oz. (227g) goat cheese
extra-virgin olive oi
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
basil leaves

fresh beetsBring a pot of water to a boil. Add beets and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until soft and easy to slice with a knife (about 40 min. depending on how big the beets are). Remove from pot and rinse under cold water. Once cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and allow to cool completely. In the meantime, line a bread tin with plastic wrap allowing the wrap to hang over the sides. Once beets are cooled, thinly slice.

beetsTo assemble: start with a layer of yellow or orange beets, season with salt and pepper and a very light drizzle of olive oil. Next, add goat cheese chunks. Don’t try to spread the cheese – you’ll end up with a mess. Repeat another layer until the yellow or orange beet slices have been used. Do the same procedure using the red beet slices and end with red beet slices. Fold over the plastic wrap and add a brick or other heavy weight. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, use the plastic to remove beets from the tin and place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to slice. Decorate with sea salt flakes, basil leaves and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: Oh my stars! The basil and sea salt flakes add just the right flavor to this eye-appealing appetizer.  Pressing the beets helps to release any air pockets and makes it easier to slice without falling apart.  Choose beets that are similar in size. I had to buy yellow beets as the orange ones were too small. Don’t worry if the beets don’t fill the bread tin.  Enjoy!

Swordfish and Vegetable Kebabs with Charmoula Sauce

kebabsThis is my new go-to BBQ sauce…I want it on everything!  On Tuesday I attended a cooking class compliments of my daughter (for Mother’s Day) and really wasn’t sure what to expect.  The menu appealed to me but I wasn’t sure how the instructor would come across.  It’s so important to hit the ground running and chef Michael Proietti nailed it!  You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.  A smile came over my face as I watched his enthusiasm grow with every step.  He engaged all seven of us with a bit of humor thrown in and instantly made us all feel more comfortable with him.  The last cooking class I took was back in Thailand at the Blue Elephant cooking school (2009).  I must say I thoroughly enjoyed Tuesday’s class at Sur la Table.

The menu, a Moroccan Feast, consisted of fish and vegetable kebabs with charmoula sauce, chicken and lemon tagine, marinated carrots with cumin, cilantro and mint followed by a coconut-orange cake with honey whipped cream…drool!  The charmoula sauce really makes the kebabs shine.  Charmoula is a marinade used in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking.surlatable

Serves 4
adapted from Sur la Table

1 1/2 lb. swordfish or other firm fish fillets (cod, halibut, tuna, grouper, shark, monkfish or seafood), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large red bell peppers, halved and seeded and cut into chunks
1 or 2 small zucchini, trimmed and cut into half-inch rounds
wooden skewers, soaked in water (30 minutes)

Charmoula Sauce –
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro/coriander, coarsely chopped
2 small cloves of garlic, skins removed
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

cumin CollageTo make the sauce, place cumin seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly – 2 to 3 minutes or until a shade darker and fragrant. Allow to cool and place in a mortar or spice grinder and grind finely. If you are using a mortar, add the rest of the spices and stir to combine. If not, add remaining spices to a small bowl and combine.

In a blender, combine parsley, cilantro, and garlic and process to a paste. If using a mortar, pound with pestle until a paste is formed. Gradually add the spices and process. With the motor running, slowly add oil. If using a mortar, slowly add the oil to the paste until blended. Season to taste and adjust accordingly by adding more salt and or cayenne and lemon juice.

Place fish in a bowl and spoon charmoula sauce over (about 3 tablespoons), making sure to coat the fish well with the sauce but not too much. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.fish & veggie Collage

In a large bowl combine bell peppers and zucchini. Add 3 tablespoons of the charmoula sauce and mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate with the fish.

Thread the fish and vegetables onto skewers. Lightly brush with charmoula sauce. To cook, use the broiler in your oven – about 4 inches from the heat or cook on a barbeque. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender and fish is opaque in the center.

kebabs1The Culinary Chase’s Note: Serve this with seasoned couscous.  Charmoula sauce works well with chicken, beef, pork, vegetbales etc. so don’t worry if you have any leftover.  It will keep in the fridge for at least a month.  If you have a pestle and mortar, I highly recommend using this in lieu of a food processor.  I find the sauce tastes better, it’s not as refined and for me it feels more authentic.  Enjoy!