“Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted, mostly.” Robert Louis Stevenson

If I was told by a doctor that I could never have another piece of red meat it would hurt, but I could do it. If he told me that I could never have another glass of wine it would hurt, but I could live with it. If he said that I could never have another piece of #cheese, I would say, “How much time do I have left.”

Cheese is wonderful! Cheese is glorious! Cheese is my favourite food! Every kinds, every texture, the stinkier  the better!

Here is what I came up with last night, Roasted Squash rigatoni using #TreStelle mascarpone and Grana Padano with pancetta and kale.

The Butternut squash was roasted over coals with garlic and rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The warm, soft squash was blended with the garlic, mascarpone, Grana Padano, and cream.

I wilted the kale by adding it to the freshly boiled pasta.

Once tossed with the rigatoni, the pan fried pancetta was mixed in with the luxurious sauce and baked for 20 minutes.

Did I say I love cheese! This mixture with the pasta is sweet, sticky, and so tasty that your kids won’t know they’re eating squash and kale.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Cheese and squash! Happy, Happy, Happy!

Cheese and squash! Happy, Happy, Happy!

“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” Denis Waitley

Great weather, great weekend, and as Phil Robertson says, Happy, Happy, Happy!

Life has a way of just happening. No warnings, you just wake up and stuff is there to deal with. You can plan your best to make sure the bumps and the pitfalls are minimum, but in the long run, stuff happens.

Keeping a positive outlook is hard sometimes, but the flip is a negative one and going down that road is a soul sucking defeatist route that brings you to your knees.  Accomplishing even the smallest goals becomes overwhelming! Stay positive! Stay on your path! Don’t let the naysayers take control of your thoughts. Do what you know is right and stay away from the “realistic people”.

Everyone has heard the comment” I’m just being realistic,” and then someone lists off all their realistic points. Pay attention to their comments and see how many of them are negative. Most realistic people are actually just negative thinkers. Being realistic means looking at both sides positive and negative and dealing with them as elegantly and effectively as you can.

This weekend the food was fun. Having experienced the deliciousness of rotisserie chicken on the gas grill, we decided that to try a cousin of Mr. Chicken and introduced Mr. Duck to the Napoleon. Simply rubbed with ground coriander, salt and pepper and stuffed with lemons. I had duck bones in my freezer, (doesn’t everyone) so Mr. Duck had a Pinot Noir and duck stock reduction to complete him.

Red rice made an introduction too. Prepared in the duck stock instead of water and finished with toasted almonds and grated apple.

Since the trolls had friends over and we needed to stretch the quantity, over the charcoal short ribs in a honey/soya/sesame blend hit the Weber.

Vicky created a wonderful Kale and Grapefruit salad to complete the meal.

Weekend good! Week to come will be good, after all it’s not what your dealt, it how you deal with it.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Duck,Duck, Pork!

Duck,Duck, Pork!

“It is a solemn thought: Dead, the noblest man’s meat is inferior to pork” Mark Twain

Made fresh! Really fresh with no paper wrapped around it!

Made fresh! Really fresh with no paper wrapped around it!

So fast food done at home? Easy! When you bow to the advertising of Fresh tastes best, so why drive, waste gas and money? Do it yourself!

Last night was a pork tenderloin sub or hoagie if you will. Starting by making a rub of garlic, onion and brown sugar, the pork was grilled over coals, sliced and served on a French stick. Onions browned in balsamic and brown sugar and topped with homemade pickles and Swiss cheese.  The trolls went wild.

20 minutes! Less time than getting in the car to pick up fast food and still warm, soft and juicy.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

“God, it was hot! Forget about frying an egg on the sidewalk; this kind of heat would fry an egg inside the chicken.” Rachel Caine

I like it hot. When I order chicken wings in a restaurant I bypass hot and go straight to suicide. I usually get disappointed with jalapeño peppers. They use to be hotter. I think they’ve been over processed in a marketing scheme. I hope it doesn’t happen to scotch bonnets.

Picking up a challenge from #gastropost for Caribbean style and having some scotch bonnets and pork tenderloin in the house I came up with this, Caribbean marinated grilled pork on toasted coconut rice with a mango pepper sauce. Hot enough to let you feel the burn but sweet enough to cool make you want more. After all, it’s all about balance.

The pork marinated in vinegar, oil, soya, honey, cinnamon, onion, all spice, and one blended down scotch bonnet for 4 hours. Grilled over the hot coals, then placed on a bed of coconut rice with toasted coconut on top.  Another scotch bonnet was blended with a mango, honey, onion. oil and vinegar  to add some additional sweet and hot heat.

Take a look at what you have in the house. Improvise and come up with your own creation.

Be well and eat well.

Scott

People in the party - hot hot hot

People in the party – hot hot hot

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” Cesar Chavez

I’ve always believed in the family dinner.  Taking time from the week to bring everyone together and just be together. Our lives are too full these days and we have become a self-society.  When you have children your focus changes, or should change.

Ever since life dealt us a hard hand and we became 3 from 4, dinner and food has been a binder for us. Sharing and talking or even just being together in the same room has bound us through difficult times. This effort has even spread to friend, boyfriends, girlfriends, and new partners. Funny how a simple basic need imparts love when you take time to put your heart into it.

As I stated before, soup is one of my favourite meals to put together on the #BGE. Roasting off vegetables in the oven imparts more flavor, but roasting outside over some sweet wood takes it up to a new level. Smoke is like a kiss from the gods.

This time it was Corn and Sweet Potato, roasted of course.  Pulling back the husk of the corn but leaving the husk intact and then pulling all the silk out, as best you can. After that push the husk back into place and soak in water for at least an hour. The water soaked husk will create steam and hold back the leaves from burning right away. Oh they will burn just not as fast.

While the corn is soaking, prepare your stock. If you have bones in your freezer and make your own great, if you’re using a store bought stock, that’s ok too but add your own twist to it. Some bay leaves, garlic, whatever will make it your own.

When your grill is ready put on your sweet potato. I half mine and rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When its 50% there, I start my corn. Husks intact and laying over the coals. I keep turning until the kernels are golden. You won’t get all the husk covering the corn so you can peak and watch.

Take the roasted corn from the grill along with your sweet potato and let cool till you can handle it. Remove all the corn from the cob and place half in your stock along with the scooped out sweet potato. Keep the other half aside. Don’t forget to put the stripped cobs in the stock too.

After 20 minutes of the warm sweet stock cooking, take it off, take out the cobs, and blend till smooth in a blender or food processor.   If you want a very smooth soup, pour through a strainer and work it through with the back of a ladle. If you like a little more substance to your soup, skip the strainer.

At this point add the reserved corn to your soup and return to the heat for a few minutes. The corn was already roasted so all you’re doing is heating it up.

A little cream or sour cream to the bowl and garnish however you like. A little red pepper flakes make it happy, happy, happy!

Soup is like a warm loving blanket and a great conversation starter at dinner time. Make some bread too. It’s not that hard.

Be well and eat well

Scott

"I live on good soup, not on fine words." Moliere

“I live on good soup, not on fine words.”
Moliere

“I want to be strapped to a table, while a family of chickens argues over who gets to eat my legs.” ― Jarod Kintz,

“If you’ll be my Dixie Chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee Lamb, And we can walk together down in Dixieland Down in Dixieland”. This is one of my favourite Little Feat songs. I didn’t do southern chicken, I did stuffed chicken legs!

I’ve been working on my butchering skills and have only seen this preparation a few times, so I thought, why not?

I had a house full of trolls and a whack of chicken legs. My usual got to is to wrap in bacon and smoke over hickory. Tonight I wanted to try something different. My attack plan was simple, if I can get the first leg deboned, I can do it! Honestly, it was simpler than I thought. Creating these little poultry packs of heaven is something I will definitely go back to.

The fridge and the pantry had genoa, bocconcini, chèvre, tomatoes, and spaghettini. So let’s go Italian!

I blended the chèvre into a paste with garlic, red onion, and Italian seasoning. I placed a dollop of paste on a slice of genoa with a whole basil leaf and a slice of bocconcini. Rolled into a little cigar and then inserted it into the drumstick sealing the end with a toothpick. The outside was rubbed with olive oil and Italian seasoning. The little morsels of love were grilled on the cast iron until they were browned.

The meal was served with a tomato, red wine sauce tossed into the spaghettini.

Being able to take a bite without the bone there is a great experience. I’m thinking a bacon and cheddar stuffing next time!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Where's the bone!

Where’s the bone!

“A satisfied customer-we should have him stuffed!” Basil Fawlty

Did some interesting things this past weekend, so it’s time to share! Steak yes but grilled oysters too!

Saturday night the trolls were out. My lady and I decided to spurge. I have long wanted to grill oysters on my #biggreenegg and this was the night. Not having time to take advantage of #StLawrencemarket, we took advantage of the seafood bar at Loblaws. Not the greatest selection in the world I must say. I don’t think shellfish is their highest priority but since we were grilling them we took the plunge on 6 after pointing out the cracked and opened ones to the fish lady. I made a #Guinnessrarebit sauce to meld with the fishy wonders.  Guinness, cheddar, Dijon, and a little Worcestershire’s combined with a roux to thicken. Vicky shucked and I coated and then introduced them to the #BGE. A little Irish on the tongue!

We accompanied the #Hors D’Oeuvre, well actually we served it with the main of grilled steak, mushrooms and a warm beet salad. The salad included the beet tops and stems, pecans, and #chèvre dressed in tarragon Dijon vinaigrette. Check the shot! There was a food coma shortly after the meal. No trolls means happy chefs!

I definitely will be introducing Guinness into more meals but it’s hard sharing the bottle. It’s so nice straight out of the glass!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Guinness Good!

Guinness Good!

“Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself.” Paul Bryant

So thinking outside the kitchen, and in turn sacrificing one of my indoor cast iron pots I decided to make #beefstew on my #BGE #BigGreenEgg.   Incorporating smoke with the flavor of the beef and sauce was one of the best things I’ve ever attempted.

I marinated the beef in beer with fresh rosemary overnight. Patted dry, floured, seasoned, and seared in my cast iron over the fire with hickory smoking away below. Since I was using the Egg, I left the lid off the pot because closing the lid on the Egg had the same effect and allowed the smoke to permeate the flavor. I removed the beef and sautéed the onions in the juices from the beef and then reunited them with more beer and some beef stock. At the halfway mark I joined the union of flavours with peas, potatoes, and carrots. When we were about 15 minutes away from completion, I add my dumplings to cook in the broth.

The comments from the trolls that live with me? This is the best stew we’ve ever had. I have to say I’m really proud of this one. The hickory smoke add to the overall experience of the stew and mixed with the rosemary background in the meat gave it another dimension.

My pot will survive and is now destined for use on the #BGE all the time.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Beer marinated beef and rosemary

Beer marinated beef and rosemary

Everyone into the pool! You too dumplings!

Everyone into the pool! You too dumplings!

Pretty tasty stew!

Pretty tasty stew!

“Life is like a grapefruit. Well, it’s sort of orangy-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It’s got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have a half a one for breakfast.” Douglas Adams

So you sit and wait, and wait, and wait.  No matter how much of yourself you put into something and take a personal stake in it, it seems you always end up waiting for others to act. There seems to be this pause in the universe that puts a hold on things and makes you ponder your actions. What’s it for? Why can’t we just get on with things? What’s the hold up?

The rain in Toronto put a damper on my efforts to do a Lobster Mac on the grill. A little rain doesn’t usually hamper me but that was ridiculous. We’re still drying out! Needless to say the Mac went in the oven against my better judgment.

So I realize that I’ve been slow to post but once again life threw a wrench in my direction. No complaints just waiting for stuff to happen.

I’m still working on the presentation for Masterchef Canada? I have an idea and am working on a plan. The biggest question? Do I wear my kilt? Do I go for the spectacle? It’s 30 days till the audition and I’m in 2nd gear. 3rd and 4th gear are in hand but still to come.

The backyard has had a few meals go through it. Here are a few images of what’s happened on my deck.

Be well and eat well!

Scott

Wet time, Summer in the City. My backyard grills get wet.... well wetter!

Wet time, Summer in the City. My backyard grills get wet…. well wetter!

Trying to get through that bottle of Maple flavoured Rye!

Trying to get through that bottle of Maple flavoured Rye!

Took it inside. I don't mind a little rain, but I look bad when I'm drenched!  Really bad!

Took it inside. I don’t mind a little rain, but I look bad when I’m drenched! Really bad!

Garam masala rubbed Mutton with curried rice

Garam masala rubbed Mutton with curried rice