Corn and Tomato Pasta Skillet

By Corinne

I love fresh summer sweet corn and am always looking for ways to appreciate it while it is in season. This is a simple supper with a short ingredient list that comes together quickly. We had it as a vegetarian main, but if you wished it would go well with a serving of sliced Italian sausage or smokey.

Time: 5 min prep, 15-20 min cook

Serves: 2 generously

You will need:

  • 2 ears of corn, remove kernels from cob
  • about 1.5 cups of mixed cherry tomatoes (I just used what I had, a few more would have been welcome)
  • 2 tbsp garlic infused oil (or regular oil)
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta of your choice – I used orecchiette but any similar sized pasta would work
  • juice of one lime
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper if desired

Boil water for pasta, pasta water should be salted for optimum flavour. While water is boiling, shuck corn and remove kernels from cob. In a cast iron or other heavy bottomed skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. When water is boiling, add pasta to water, and corn and tomatoes to skillet.

Stir vegetables every couple of minutes, allowing some of the corn and tomatoes to brown/blacken a bit. When pasta is finished(about 10 min), drain and add to skillet with corn and tomatoes. Mix and add 1 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar, juice of one lime and fresh cilantro. Serve garnished with additional cheddar and cilantro if desired.

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Jerk Chicken Marinade

By Corinne

“Jerk” chicken doesn’t refer to obnoxious birds, but rather a blend of spices usually in the form of a marinade. Originating from Jamaica, variations generally include allspice, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper, but many of the other ingredients vary. This marinade tastes fairly spicy, but mellows out quite a bit upon cooking. I love spicy food but one of the things I love about jerk seasoning is that the flavours are complex. I find if it’s too hot, this gets lost in the burning sensation.  If you find you want it hotter, it’s easy enough to add another pepper, or add the seeds back in for heat if you de-seeded it. If you taste the marinade and find it very hot for your palate, you can reduce the heat by brushing the marinade on your meat as it is cooking rather than marinating it in the sauce.

Makes: about 1 1/4 cups of marinade

  • 1/2 cup lime juice (juice from 3-4 limes)
  • fresh ginger 1 1/2 inch piece
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 4-5 green onions(scallions)
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper- seeds and ribs removed if desired

Roughly chop all ingredients and add to food processor. Blend until smooth. This can be used as a marinade for chicken or pork. Leftover marinade can be stored in the fridge for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

I usually use 1/4 cup of marinade for 4 bone-in chicken thighs. They can be marinated for a few hours or overnight for more flavour. BBQ over medium low with the lid closed except for turning. Flip chicken every 5-7 minutes for 25 minutes until cooked through. Serve with traditional Jamaican peas and rice or a fresh salad.

 

 

 

 

 

Rum Punch

By Corinne

I enjoy this variation on rum punch as I find it less sweet than many other versions. This drink is perfect on a hot summer day, or on a freezing winter one to bring you visions of sandy beaches and warm salt water.

Time: 2 minutes 🙂

Serves: for one drink easily doubled/tripled etc – if there is interest I can post amount for a jug 🙂

  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 1/2 oz  dark spiced rum
  • 1 1/2 oz coconut water
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • drizzle of grenadine
  • dash of angostura bitters
  • ice

Fill glass with ice. Add juice of half a lime, rum, coconut water, pineapple juice. Give a little stir with a straw, then add a drizzle of grenadine and a dash of bitters.

*if you don’t have coconut water or pineapple juice, orange juice will work too and is pretty with the grenadine but your drink will be considerably sweeter.

Dilly Summer Bean Soup

By Corinne

Sometimes I feel we lose appreciation for seasonal foods when they are available at the grocery all year round. That being said, anyone who has ever had a fresh summer strawberry still warm from the sun knows there is an entire world of difference between it and it’s sad, long travelled winter counterpart. This is my favourite summer soup that I’ve been making for years. I only make it in the summer with fresh garden beans and I look forward to it every year.

This soup is quick enough to prepare for lunch, but filling enough for supper too.

Serves: 3-4

Time: 10 min prep, 30 minutes simmer

You will need:

  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 small/medium potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups mix of yellow and green beans cut into ~1 inch pieces
  • 6 cups V8 + 1 cup V8 if desired
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh dill + more for garnish
  • sour cream for garnish
  • grind of pepper if desired

Melt butter in pot and add onion and celery. Cook over medium for about 5 minutes until vegetables are softened and then add the garlic for one minute more. Add the 6 cups of V8 2 tbsp of fresh dill and the potatoes. Bring to a gentle boil. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Add 2 cups of beans and allow to simmer for another 10-15 minutes until beans are tender. You may wish to add an additional cup of V8 to thin out the soup as it will have lost some liquid in the simmering time- I like a rather thick chunky style soup, but if you prefer one a little more brothy, add some additional liquid. Serve with a generous dollop of sour cream and additional fresh dill.

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One Pot Chicken Rigatoni with Rosé Sauce

By Corinne

I happen to be all into a gardening adventure this year, and as some of my cayenne peppers are ripening up, I’ve been itching to use them!

Upon tasting my peppers they are SO good! Now this is one of the things about fresh produce, peppers are going to vary a lot in heat. I used two whole peppers in this pasta, and it was only maybe a medium heat. But taste your sauce and your peppers. It’s always easy to add more for additional heat than it is to try and reduce it if you’ve added too much.

If you are looking to up the veggie count, this pasta and sauce is delicious with the addition of snap peas, asparagus, or broccoli- simply cut and add to pot for the last 5 or so minutes of cooking time.

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Aside from gardening,  I’ve been reading “Consider the Fork- A History of How We Eat and Cook” by Bee Wilson.  Interestingly, “…  most domestic cooks from the Bronze Age until the eighteenth century had to make do with a single big pot: the cauldron (often called a kettle or kittle).”Another historical tidbit, Hitler took advantage of the nostalgia that many people in Germany had for the “Eintopf”, the one-pot meal in his propaganda, encouraging people to put aside one Sunday to eat this frugal meal and save their money to donate to the war effort.

Today, the one pot meal is generally lauded because of our poverty of time rather than a poverty of pots. It doesn’t have to be a matter of, “Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old”. While we generally have the utensils available to us, there is a lot to be said for a lovely one-pot meal.

Serves: 4-5

Time: 5-10 min prep, 30 minute cook

You Will Need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp oil- canola or olive oil
  • 1 28oz can of tomatoes, diced or whole
  • 2 fresh cayenne peppers finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed and chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 lb rigatoni noodles **gluten free if you use gluten free noodles – I find the corn ones have the best texture, especially for being cooked in the sauce and still holding their shape
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp dry basil
  • 3 tbsp fresh snipped basil, + some for garnish
  • 1 cup asiago, parmesan or romano cheese + more for garnish

In a large pot heat oil and add chicken pieces. Cook over medium high heat until browned, but they don’t have to be fully cooked. Add garlic and cayenne and stir around a bit, a minute or two until fragrant, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add wine, scrapping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let reduce about 5 minutes.

Add can of tomatoes, dry basil, 1 1/2 cup of water and noodles. Cover pot and bring to a simmer, stirring every 3-5 minutes. You may need to add more water, I did, but again, it’s one of those things where it’s easier to add a bit more than to try and deal with too much liquid.

When noodles are al dente and the liquid is mostly absorbed, add 4 tbsp of butter, and stir until melted. Add 1/3 cup of heavy cream,  fresh snipped basil, and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and cook for another 5-7 minutes until sauce has reduced to desired thickness.

Serve garnished with additional cheese and basil.

 

Steak Piadini (Grilled Folded Flatbreads) with Grilled Corn and Paprika Compound Butter

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By Corinne

We don’t get too many truly sweltering days here in Thunder Bay, but even still, in a tiny house with no air conditioning, there are days I just don’t want to turn on the stove/oven.

This entire meal can be prepared without  using any hot indoor appliances so is perfect in whole or in part for those days when you can’t bear to make inside any hotter than it os already.

This is a meal where it’s handy if you have a BBQ partner to do the flipping while you do the wrapping. Not necessary, but helpful!

Serves: 4 (2 flatbread ‘sandwiches’ and 1 grilled corn each)

Time: dough 5 min prep, 1 to 1 1/2 hour rise. Steaks- marinate 2-4 hours, Grilling time,-about 10 minutes for steaks and corn, about 1 minute each for the flatbreads. 5 min dressing prep.

Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 pkg quick rise yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 + 1 tbsp canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt

Dressing and Greens: 

There will be extra for a salad tomorrow 🙂

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp grainy and 1 tsp smooth dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • about 4 cups of greens, I used some fresh baby lettuce from the garden, spinach or arugala would also work

Steaks + marinade

  • 1 1/2 cups of lager (one regular sized beer- I used Canadian)
  • 2 tbsp montreal steak spice
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 sirloin steaks, about 8 ounces each

Cheese if desired. Blue cheese if you’re into that or if you aren’t, brie is wonderful!

Compound butter + corn

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 tsp paprika – smoked, sweet or hot, whatever you desire, they all work nicely
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • few grinds of black pepper

Prepare your steaks to marinate. In a ziplock baggie, add all marinade ingredients and the steaks. Refrigerate until about 1/2 hour before you want to grill them, at which point let them come up in temp before grilling.

Prepare your dough. I used a stand mixer, but this could be done by hand. Combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Give a stir and let stand for about 5 minutes. Add the 4 1/2 cups o flour, 2 tbsp canola oil, and salt. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed for about 1 minute until dough comes together, then increase the speed to medium for about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and rub with the 1 tbsp reserved oil, and drop it back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it has about doubled in size.

In a small bowl (or a measuring cup works well!) whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside until needed.

In another small bowl prepare the compound butter. Add butter, paprika, chopped fresh parsley and fresh ground pepper. Smash together with a fork until combined. Set aside.

1/2 an hour before you are ready to grill, pull steaks out of fridge to let come up in temp. Preheat grill to medium. Shuck corn and brush with oil.

This is where having a grill partner comes in handy 🙂 If there are two of you working together, one person can grill the steaks (medium) and the corn, while the other rolls out the flat breads. If there is only one of you doing all the work roll out all the dough first, then cook the steaks and corn. Both steaks and corn will take about 8-10 minutes. Put on the corn about 5 minutes after you put on the steak so it will be finished at the same time as the flatbreads, or alternatively, do it at the same time and then keep warm in your toaster oven or if you have a fancy BBQ on those upper racks for keeping things warm 🙂

To prepare dough,  cut 8 pieces of parchment paper into 10 inch squares and lightly oil each piece. Divide dough into 8-9 pieces. Roll each piece into approximately a 10″ diameter circular shape. This dough tends to be a bit springy, and I find sometimes it’s easier to stretch it out by hand a bit and then roll it. Stack the dough rounds between pieces of parchment paper.

When steaks are finished, set aside to rest while you grill the flatbreads. Place flatbreads over direct heat. They will start to bubble a bit, flip after about 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on the heat of your grill. If you are using cheese, add the cheese immediately to the side that was just grilled while the other side grills.

Add about half the dressing to the salad greens and mix up. Thinly slice the steak and add some greens and steak to half of the flat bread and fold in half. Enjoy the compound butter generously slathered on the corn.

 

 

 

BBQ Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto, Basil and Provolone

By Corinne

Firstly, let me say that while I feel this is one of those meals that looks impressive, it’s truly not difficult to put together. I love having basil available to me at hand all summer, and tend to put it in everything 🙂 The prep time varies a lot depending on whether you happened to purchase your chicken pre flattened and whether or not you make your own marinara. I tend to be a bit lazy with this, as the local butcher shop will flatten your chicken at no extra cost, and since I’m getting the prosciutto and provolone at the same place, it is a time saver. The drunken red sauce I make to go with panzerotti goes marvellously well with these.

I’ve made this in the oven as well, 350F, cook seam side down on a baking sheet for 15, then flip them for another 15. They don’t turn out quite as pretty, but are just as tasty!

Serves: 4

Time: Prep time 10 min*, grill time 15-20 min * longer if you are making your own marinara and have to flatten your chicken breasts!

You will need:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 8 ounces each
  • 4 thin slices of prosciutto
  • 4 thin slices of provolone cheese
  • 8-12 basil leaves + more for garnish
  • 2 cups good quality tomato sauce – either homemade or purchased
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper
  • toothpicks

If you are making your own tomato sauce, start it before you prep your chicken. If you are using prepared marinara, heat it when your chicken goes on the BBQ.

If you did not purchase your breasts already flattened-then place each piece of chicken, smooth side down, on about 12 inches of plastic wrap about 2 inches from the edge. Fold the rest of the plastic wrap over the chicken, leaving about an inch from the folded edge. Starting from the thickest side, gently pound the chicken with the flat side of a tenderizer, moving to different areas until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Don’t pound too hard or you can break the chicken apart.

After all breasts are flattened, season each on both sides with a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange the chicken with the smooth side down on a work surface.

Lay a slice of prosciutto on each piece of chicken. Then lay a slice of  provolone. Depending on the shape of your chicken, you may want to break the provolone in half and lay them that way. Then lay 2-3 basil leaves on the provolone.

Carefully roll up the chicken keeping it snug. Use tooth picks to tuck in the ends and keep it together. Remember how many toothpicks you used in each so you can make sure you take them out before serving! I usually need 4 to keep them together.

After all chickens are rolled, lightly brush with canola oil. Place seam side down on a preheated grill over medium direct heat. Cook with the lid closed as much as possible. Grill until golden on all sides, about 3-5 min on each side. This part is where it depends a bit on how well you know your BBQ :). It took 15 minutes on ours, but if your temp is a little lower, it may take 20. If there is cheese oozing it’s way out, they are almost certainly done. Starting on the seam side down helps you avoid losing cheese in the grilling process.

Remove from grill and let rest a few moments. Remove toothpicks before serving. Plate a few spoonfuls of sauce and then lay the chicken on top. You can either cut it into slices to serve, or cut each one in half to plate. Garnish with additional basil and enjoy!