Saturday, August 28, 2010

ribeye and more

Ooooh I missed my Weber!! But today was W-Day again! Summer has returned for 2 maybe 3 days so I really needed to whipe off the dust that had found my barbecue and go for it!
And that my dear friends, I wrote more than a week ago...time flies when you're busy!! Didn't had time to finish this post, and oooh I knew you would gonna love it, so I had to hurry.
And here it is!!!
After some discussion about Halloumi and Yanni Cheese with my friends Cyndi and Wilfred I came to the conclusion that I just had to try it myself to find out what the raving was all about! And so I did! Now I still don't know if Halloumi is the same as the Yanni cheese, but I think it's very close! If you can help us out here, let me know please.
Okay before we have lift off, as you know, Holland is a cheesy country, so I guess we are spoiled. Why do I tell you that? Because the Halloumi disappointed me a litte bit. Not that it was not tasty oooh nooo!!! But a bit too much salt and the structure...well....not quite what I expected but I enjoyed it anyway.
Hey....anything coming from the grill is good!!
But I really want you to try it for yourself and make up your own mind about this. Because taste is difficult, and very personal!!!
Let's start with a Greek Salad:
you need tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper, onion and feta. Cut it all into bite-size-pieces except for the onion, slice that one very thin.
Mix it all in bowl and make a dressing of 1 part vinegar, 3 parts olive oil and oregano. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and you're done!

Now let's move over to the grill! I started with the greek potatoes because they need 50-60 minutes. The last 15 minutes I added the ribeyes and the Halloumi cheese. The ribeyes (I just couldn't resist) I sprinkled with some Cajun Foreplay

As you can see, the Halloumi doesn't melt. I grilled it for 2 x 5 minutes. The ribeyes only for 5 minutes, then you let them rest until the cheese and potatoes are ready.

For the Halloumi cheese I made a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and fresh oregano. Drizzle that over the cheese as it comes from the grill. Oooh ain't that a lovely picture!!

And this is the result on the plate: it doesn't get any better than this...okay almost close then!

And now all you need is a wine!
I served it with a Shiraz Rosé (yes, again, you really have to try it because it's soooo good and matches with a lot of dishes) but a red Shiraz would go great with it too!

And stay tuned, because I know what is gonna be the next recipe.......!!! (don't you love those cliffhangers at the end of a soap episode??)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kabobs with Salsa Verde

Now don't get intimidated with the title of this dish. It's just skewered beef with a green cold sauce! 

Half of this recipe came from my butcher, but I thought it needed more. Be honest, what's a barbecue without bacon?? Nothing, you got that right.
So I added bacon, but I wanted to give the meat more taste too. Therefore I thought why not add a rub to this recipe. A real good herb rub for beef I found on the website of Gary Glen. If there's anyone who knows all about the ins and outs of grilling, it's him (yeah don't be shy Gary!) so make sure to check out his great website! I used his Herb Meat Rub, but left out the fennel, since I'm not fond of it, but if you like it of course you can add it!

Let's start!

Ingredients for the kabobs:
beef tenderloin
cherry tomatoes
1 red or white onion, cut into big pieces
thick pieces of bacon, cut into big pieces

Ingredients for the rub:
1 tablespoon ground black pepper  
1 tablespoon non-iodized salt  
1 tablespoon garlic powder  
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper  
1 teaspoon cumin  
1 teaspoon dried marjoram  
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
1 teaspoon dried thyme  
1 teaspoon coriander

Ingredients for the Salsa Verde:
2 pickles
2 filets of anchovies
1 tablespoon capers
1 cup flat parsley, only the leaves
10 basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon french mustard
salt and pepper

- Cut the beef in big chunks and add the rub, let this rest for at least 1 hour.
- Put all the ingredients for the Salsa Verde in a blender and let it mix until you have an almost smooth salsa. Place this in the fridge.
- Preheat your grill.
- Skewer the beef together with the onion parts, tomatoes and bacon.

These kabobs don't need a lot of time on your grill (just a few minutes), just make sure you have a real hot fire!

Can you smell the fabulous flavor??

Serve the kabobs with the Salsa Verde, a butter bean salad and bread (on the picture there's green olive bread and regular white bread).

And if you want some wine with this dish, a Nero d'Avola or a Shiraz paires very well!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and Gary, thank you!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Caponata alla Nigella

Today I'll give you a recipe for a sidedish. An Italian dish, and to be more specific a Sicilian one. This is a great recipe, adapted from the lovely Nigella Lawson. If you're not familiar with her, make sure you get to know her and her recipes!
Italian dishes always make me smile, they add a little sunshine to your dinner! So does this recipe, but I have to add, again, to buy good food! It makes the difference between a great dinner and a disappointed one. Taste is everything, and you DO want THAT don't you!?

What do you need:
1 eggplant, chopped
olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 can peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated dark chocolate, I used Green & Black's
4 tablespoons capers
14 cup green olives
1 egg, hard boiled

Fry the eggplant in olive oil for a few minutes. When done, put them on a plate and sprinkle some sea salt over it. Add some new oil to the pan and fry the celery for a few minutes. Add it to eggplant (you see the beautiful color of the celery??? almost luminous!!).

Add some new oil to the pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, some salt and pepper and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

In another (small) pan heat the sugar and vinegar, add the chocolate, capers and olives.

Stir until the chocolate has melted, and add it to the tomatoes and onion mixture.

Let this simmer for 5 minutes more. Then add the eggplant and celery and give it another 15 minutes.

Serve the Caponata on a big plate, and add the hard boiled egg. Et voilá, this is the result:

This side dish goes very well with the chicken with lemon and garlic I posted earlier. But fish or lamb will go very well with it too!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

This recipe has only 6 ingredients, and I know you're thinking this can't be good. May I say that you're wrong, so wrong....? Ok, there, I said it!
Because this, my dear friends, is a great summer dish so you better hurry before the wind and rain comes around the corner. I'm sorry to post this just now as August is halfway gone, but I only discovered it myself yesterday!

Don't let the amount of garlic scare you, I'm not forcing you to eat them, but oh you're missing something if you don't.... Just pick a good day for this dish....the next day no vampire will come near so that's one benefit!

And a short remark about the lemons: buy organic ones! Since you're using the whole lemons: organic ones don't have a waxed coating.

The ingredients:
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (ask your butcher or do it yourself, depending on which mood you're in)
1 bulb of garlic, leave the cloves unpeeled
2 lemons, cut into 8 pieces each
a handful of fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
half a cup white wine
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325F.
Put the chicken pieces in a roasting pan or other shallow oven dish, add the garlic, lemon, thyme and olive oil. Use your hands to mix it all and coat the chicken with the oil. Make sure you place the chicken after this with their skins down. Sprinkle the wine over the chicken and add some freshly ground black pepper and cover it tight with aluminium foil.

This goes in the oven for about 90 minutes. I had a small chicken, for a big one you'll need 2 hours. After that amount of time it looks like this:

While you remove the foil, rise the temperature of the oven to 400F. Put the chicken back in the oven for 30-45 minutes, until the chicken has a nice color and the lemons are caramelized...oooh yummy...

I served this with a vegetable stew called "caponata" (recipe will follow soon) and bread. But baked potatoes with rosemary and sea salt and a green salad will also make you happy.

This is really so easy and amazingly delightful!!

Now, which wine should you serve with this? A Chardonnay from Chile I had. And don't let the amount of lemons makes you think this dish will taste sour, because it doesn't. It's very sweet because of the slow cooking! Therefore the Chardonnay!


Sunday, August 8, 2010


Now, who doesn't like pizza....everybody luvvvvs it and I'm not talking about those cardboard flying saucers that you can buy for less than 2 Euro's, those aren't worth to be called pizza! No, I'm talking about homemade pizza, with all the toppings you like, coming straight out of your own oven! Or, from the barbecue, of course, but this time I made them in the oven....sorry if I disappointed you now....!!

If you never tried it because you thought it was too difficult or you get nightmares even thinking about making your own dough....please read this, I'm gonna convince you that it is EASY!
So, put your legs on the table and we'll start (yes, it is that easy!)

The dough comes from the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, it's a great book written by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François. It contains lots of recipes for bread, pizza, dessert, anything with dough!

All you need is a big container with a lid, a wooden spoon and a thermometer and of course the ingredients:
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon granulated yeast
1,5 cup water, lukewarm (that means absolutely NOT warmer than 100F, check with thermometer!)
This amount is enough for two large pizza's or several small ones, of course.
The original recipe also has sugar in it, but I omited that because I think it's too sweet.

Mix the flour and the yeast in a big bowl. In the container goes: water, olive oil and salt. Then you add the flour, all at once and start stirring until there are no dry spots of flour left. If the dough is too wet, add some more flour, if you think it's too dry add some water or olive oil.
Put the lid on loosely, don't close the container! Put it on the counter and have a glass of wine.

The dough needs approximately 2 - 2,5 hours to rise, so maybe you'd better take a bottle of wine.

This is how it looks after stirring, before rising:

In the meantime:
gather all the toppings you want, like onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, salami, garlic etc. etc. Anything you like! But there are three things you really need:
1 can of peeled tomatoes
dried italian herbes
shredded cheese. I used shredded Gouda cheese.

Use a blender for the tomatoes, in order to get a smooth tomato sauce, but some tomato chunks are okay.
Preheat the oven to 500F or use the crisp program if your oven has one.

When the dough has risen, scatter some flour over it and pull out half of the dough with your hands.
Now you can make the pizza, flatten the dough with a a rolling pin or simply use your hands. Put it on baking paper, a pizza stone, or as I did, use a crisp plate for pizza. 

Divide some tomato sauce over the dough and start building your pizza. End with the dried herbes and the cheese.
The first one I made, with onions, prosciutto, red bell pepper, and garlic:

After 12 minutes (when using the crips program or a pizza stone) or about 15 - 20 minutes when you use a regular oven method, it is ready!!

The second one (mine!) had salami, mushrooms, garlic, onions, jalapeno slices (from a jar) and green olives:

And I almost forgot to make a picture of the result, so here are the last 2 pieces.... :

And now I'm hungry, you too??

Try it, and enjoy!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Potato Salad

Everybody needs at least one good recipe for potato salad, you can't survive the summer without! Lucky me, I've got three great recipes, an "unhealthy-but-sooo-good" one, a "healthy-but-also-almost-the-best" one, and the recipe I'm giving you today (the "definitely-not-the-average-salad"). And easy does it, cook, chop and mix!
Make this a couple of hours before dinner, keep it in the fridge and I promise you this recipe is gonna be a keeper for the rest of this summer!

Usually I don't measure the ingredients, and it's not that important in this salad. A little more or less, it still will taste yummylicious, so that's good news for the uncertain cooks among us!

The only thing that is important, is your choice of potatoes. Choose potatoes that will stay firm after cooking. Boil them, with the skin on, for 25 minutes and let them cool. It's easier to peel them when they have cooled off. A trick I use is an old, clean, towel. Rub the potato and the skin will go off easy and the potatoe won't break or fall apart. Cut them into not too small cubes.
In the meantime, boil 2 eggs for 10 minutes and let them cool.

In a bowl mix half a cup of sour cream with 4 tablespoons of the best olive oil you can get, one garlic (use a garlic press), some pepper and salt and give it a few stirs, just enough to get a smooth dressing.

Then it's time to chop chop!
What do you need:
green olives, capers, shallot, another clove of garlic, fire roasted red bell pepper, parsley and the boiled eggs.

Mix all the ingredients, put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours and here is the result:

When it's dinner time, put some meat on the grill like skewered beef (recipe will follow this week so stay tuned!), steak or whatever you're in the mood for and dinner is ready!