Browsing: Beach House Recipes

Pollo al Mattone

July23

Pollo al Mattone is a method for grilling chicken under a brick to keep it juicy and crisp. Both the Tuscans and the Romans claim to have invented the method. The weight of the brick presses the meat into the grill for faster, more even cooking. It also works as a cover for the meat, keeping it moist. In Italy, pollo al mattone is often cooked over a wood fire.

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Pollo al Mattone
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Tuscan
 
Ingredients
  • two heavy bricks, terra cotta are best
  • aluminum foil
  • 1 whole fryer chicken
  • fresh herbs like basil, oregano, flat-leafed parsley, to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. wash & dry two bricks
  2. wrap bricks in aluminum foil
  3. using a butcher's knife or large kitchen shears, cut the chicken along one side of the backbone
  4. remove the back bone entirely if desired (we left intact)
  5. open the chicken and lay it flat like a book
  6. lift the skin away for the flesh or make small cuts on breast & thighs
  7. push the garlic and fresh herbs under the skin to look like photo above
  8. liberally salt & pepper chicken
  9. preheat barbeque to approx. medium
  10. heat the bricks in a closed barbeque
  11. place chicken skin side down onto grill
  12. using hand protection, place hot bricks over chicken covering as much surface as possible
  13. close lid and let chicken cook 22 -25 minutes without disturbing
  14. remove bricks
  15. using hand protection, grab legs and flip the chicken so the skin side is up
  16. place the bricks on top again
  17. close lid
  18. cook again for 12-15 minutes without disturbing until exposed skin is starting to brown
  19. repeat above action and flip one last time
  20. cook another 5-10 minutes until skin is starting to crisp and internal thigh temperature is 175 degrees
  21. transfer chicken to platter and let rest 10 minutes before serving

I enjoyed this dish twice in one week. The first was the evening of my Mom’s Celebration of Life. I had driven back out to the lake from the city. Girlfriends of 35 years were staying with me that week. Nance handed me a glass of wine and Mary pulled the chicken off the grill to sit. What would I do without my friends?

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Later that same week with Beep, Boo and the Frenchman joining us on the weekend, D tried his hand at the same recipe.

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We had assembled in the gazebo as it looked as if it might rain. When the sky darkened we had to light candles to illuminate our meal. We didn’t mind a bit.

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This was the finished product: chicken and ribs, new potatoes, squash and zucchini. Delicious food, cozy spot, good wine and family. Life is good.

Kath’s quote: “You know when you come across one of those empty shell people, and you think “What the hell happened to you?” Well there came a time in each one of those lives where they are standing at a crossroads… someplace where they had to decide whether to turn left or right. This is no time to be a chicken-shit, Frances“. -Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun

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Love never fails.

 

Anywhere in the World, He Chose Our Beach

September16

My beautiful and talented niece/Goddaughter was back home for a visit. She currently resides in Melbourne Australia as does her dashing beau. Her Mom (dubbed Sister#2 in this space) invited all her beach cousins to get together for a little soiree at their beautiful lake home. If Aunties and Uncles happened to be out that weekend they were invited along. It was to be a very unceremonious get-together. What we didn’t know was this:

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The burly rugby-playing beau had a surprize up his sleeve. He invited his love to join him down at the beach. It was an overcast and fairly non descript day as far as the weather went. She was told to wait at the end of one of the beach paths.

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As she made her way along the path, she saw that the story of her life was displayed in photos along the fences that line the way. Near the end of the photo journey were images of her new life with her man in Australia. He was waiting for her on the beach. Just then, the sun burst out and shone on the two of them as he bent down on one knee to ask her to be his soul mate forever.

This may sound all very romantic and like the perfect setting. Here’s the thing, they currently reside in one of the most breathtaking places in the world and are en route to spend time in Europe with a stay in Paris. The Aussie could have chosen any dream locale to make his request but he chose Lester Beach, knowing how important it would be for his future bride to be in a place she loved so very much, surrounded by her family and long-time friends.

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The details of the party seem like minor points indeed with all the love that was swooning in our midst. But they were not. They were consistent with the premise of this space and my core belief, that is: Food=Love. To me it was particularly fitting that soon after the beach festivities, we were assembled together to eat, drink and be merry.

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The day prior D lovingly grilled these two platters of garden vegetables. He wanted them to chill overnight to set the flavours. He knew that our niece was vegetarian and wanted to delight her with the variety and the tastes.

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Sister #3 made her famous guacamole and Sister #2 this cheese ball as big as your head.

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The big hit of the evening was the latter’s chicken lettuce wraps but my favourite was courtesy of the bride-to-be herself. Here’s how she makes the stuffed jalapeno peppers pictured above: “Sorry I don’t have exact measurements for the pepper recipe cause I always just wing it! but these are the ingredients… Jalapeños sliced lengthwise and seeded. The cheese filling is half cream cheese half goats cheese. Use a piping bag to fill the sliced jalapeño with the cheese. The caramel sauce is around 12 pitted dates blended with half a can of coconut milk. Drizzle the sauce over the cheese. Top with a couple of pecans the put in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 mins or until the pecans are toasted and jalapeños are softer.” Whip up a batch for your next cocktail party and you will not be disappointed.

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The sun set on that momentous evening. After more connecting around the bonfire, the couple walked down to the beach with cousins and friends. Along the way they witnessed a dazzling shooting star and then from the shore, the most spectacular display of northern lights. The couple felt very blessed as if nature was endorsing their future nuptials.

Kath’s quote: “Be my forever  You’re my bright blue sky   You’re the sun in my eyes   Oh baby you’re my life  You’re the reason why”-Be My Forever, Ed Sheeran

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Lake Life-Part 3: The Food!

August27

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Since we have 4 family cottages in the same vicinity, meal times are often communal. These tomatoes along with pounds of apples were dropped off by my nephew who had a surplus of both from his garden. When we make too much salad at supper, we run the remains across or up the street to whatever family hasn’t finished up their dinner. If you are out on your own you will invariably be invited to someone’s place for supper. If you happen to ride your bike by when everyone is eating brunch on the deck, you will be pulling up a chair and digging in, in no time. When Sister #3 has catered an event and has extra dessert around, all the kids will be invited over for make-your-own sundaes. When Sister #2 is making eggs Benedict or anyone has taken a pie out of the oven, word goes around really quickly.

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We typically eat two meals a day: brunch when the guys get home from the tennis or volleyball courts and then dinner. Bacon is a mainstay at many weekend brunches, pictured above with wild blueberry pancakes.

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At “Life is Good” everyone pitches in on the cooking and whomever hasn’t cooked has to help with the dishes. J1 will whip up his fabulous Denvers or Boo and the Frenchman will make everyone waffles (with real maple syrup, of course). The grownups typically can manage until happy hour.

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But the toddlers like the Wee One and her cousin may need a picnic of cheese, crackers and strawberries!

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The surplus apples mentioned above were fantastic with slices of cheddar and fig & kalamata olive crackers. These were placed on an over-turned tree stump between two swinging hammocks one snack time.  Some of the gang bring spring rolls and samosas for communal happy hour. This summer I often put out antipasto, marinated artichokes, olives and feta and loved it each and every time.

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The surplus tomatoes also mentioned above went into this caprese salad with huge basil leaves that I harvested from home just when our vacay had begun.

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Our favourite dinners are those centered on the grill. D does a great job with squash and mushrooms and peppers. New potatoes were amazing with rosemary & sea salt. Whatever mixed greens had arrived in our garden share were sautéed with garlic and lemon juice.

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One evening we enjoyed a batch of moules et frites (mussels and fries). The former made with wine, garlic, butter and whatever fresh herbs were available and the latter cut thin, blanched and then finished on the barbeque. We dined el fresco on this evening and to our surpize the Wee One loved the mussels as much as the adults. Unfortunately, so did the bears which are plentiful in our area, as the beach house is located in the midst of a provincial forrest. At 5 the next morning, D woke to a sound, looked out of our bedroom window, to see that an absolutely enormous creature had unsecured the clamp down handles on the garbage can, dumped out the mussel shells and lay on his (or her) tummy for their feast! We are not about to accidently forget to secure the garbage can in the shed again any time soon.

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Even though I am not the greatest baker, I make the occasional pie or crumble utilizing the bounty of summer fruit.

The best dinners of all are the random ones that miraculously become delicious times together. The first weekend of our vacation, it was casually mentioned that we were invited for boccia and beer by my eldest nephew. The games attracted more of the family and when it was time to disperse for dinner, he suggested that we all bring what we were preparing that evening and put the finishing touches on together. There were hot dogs, slow roasted chicken, left over monster pork chops, taco salad, kale salad and the sweetest corn on the cob I have tasted this season. There were 17 family members at dinner. I called it a “30 Something” supper. Do you remember that show?

My nephew’s trick with the corn is that he soaks it still in its husk and then places it on the barbeque until the husks burn away. He then throws half cobs into an enormous pot with butter and salt and recruits someone with upper arm strength to jostle the pot around until the cobs are perfectly seasoned-YUM!

Kath’s quote: “Well, I haven’t really anything to eat at home, I began, but then stopped, as I realised that a dreary revelation of the state of one’s larder was hardly the way to respond to an invitation to dinner.” ― Barbara Pym

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

Barley Mango Sweet Pepper Spring Rolls

June24

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At “Life is Good” our summer beach house, weekends are lovely and brimming with family. I love to make suppers from scratch and serve up some special treats of things that the kids might not have the time or the budget to make on their own. With the price of protein as high as it is right now, I love getting wind of a nutritious meal that stretches an item like shrimp into a full meal deal.

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Recently, the team at Go Barley sent me this recipe for Barley, Mango and Sweet pepper Spring Rolls with Dipping Sauce including delectable Shrimp. Having cooked often from their award-winning cookbook, I knew that the recipe would be packed with flavour, healthy & simple ingredients and affordable barley!

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I prepared the pearl barley earlier in the day, while I was taking care of the dishes from brunch. This way, we were able to spend the afternoon on the beach with the Wee One, arriving home just in time for me to swing into action.

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I got everything prepped in order to start making the rolls and was able to coax our 2 year old grandbaby to snack on the red pepper and mango to hold her over until supper time. The rolls were fun to put together and I even had a volunteer of our son-in-law to help me out. We have to be particularly resourceful when we are up at the lake because there are a couple of country stores but not one with a full complement of items. Therefore, when I ran out of large rice papers and had to resort to smaller ones, the process got a little bit more time consuming.

When another contingent of family arrived just in time for supper, everything was ready to go for a casual dinner. We knew that there would be snacks around the bonfire later that evening, so we were all content with the lighter fare.

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Barley Mango Sweet Pepper Spring Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 rolls
 
Hint: I purchased round plastic screens from an Asian grocery many years ago to make working with rice paper a breeze. I use them often and strongly recommend them.
Ingredients
  • Dipping Sauce:
  • ⅓ c fresh lime juice
  • 2 T liquid honey
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 2 t rice vinegar
  • 2 t finely minced ginger root
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • Spring Rolls:
  • 2 T peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1½ c cooked pearl or pot barley
  • ⅓ c chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 10 large rice paper wrappers
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, cut into strips
  • 10 large cooked shrimp, peeled and cut into half lengthwise (mine were smaller so I kept them whole)
  • 1 small mango, cut into thin strips
  • 2 c shredded cabbage or pre-cut cole slaw
Instructions
  1. To make dipping sauce:
  2. In a small saucepan, combine lime juice, honey, fish sauce, vinegar, ginger root, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  3. Heat gently, stirring, just until honey melts.
  4. Set aside.
  5. To make spring rolls:
  6. In a small bowl gradually add 1 to 2 T dipping sauce to peanut butter, whisking until blended, smooth and the consistency of a thick sauce.
  7. Stir peanut butter mixture and cilantro into barley.
  8. Set aside.
  9. Fill a pie plate with or shallow plate with warm water.
  10. Place a rice paper in water and soak for 5 seconds.
  11. Remove and place on work surface until soft and pliable, about 30 seconds.
  12. Across lower third of rice paper, layer approx. 1/10th of the red pepper and the barley mixture, a couple of shrimp pieces and 1/10th the mango and cabbage leaving 1 inch border at each end.
  13. Fold bottom of rice paper over filling, then fold sides towards the centre.
  14. Roll up into a cylinder (mine were more like "packets")
  15. Repeat soaking, filling and rolling with remaining rice paper and ingredients.
  16. To serve, cut each roll diagonally in half.
  17. Serve with Dipping Sauce.

I made a double batch. There were enough rolls for six of us that evening. I served them again as an appetizer previous to our Father’s Day dinner Sunday evening and then D took the remainder to work for lunch. In the mean time I mixed up extra pre-cooked barley, more of the peanut butter sauce, added cilantro and fresh mini cucumbers and enjoyed a tasty barley salad for my mid-day meal.

Kath’s quote: “The keynote to happiness within the four walls that make any home is plain, wholesome, well cooked food, attractively served.”-
Louis P. De Gouy

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

 

 

P.E.I. Shellfish Festival

January9

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We are a hardy crew in Winnipeg and this is one way that we cope. About the middle of January, we head away for sunny beaches and if we cannot, we at least dream about them. Another way is to ditch the winter stews and prepare food that is typically enjoyed in the summer time.  I have a gorgeous cookbook entitled “flavours of PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND a culinary journey” by Jeff McCourt, Allan Williams and Austin Clement. The over sized photos are expertly taken and breath-taking. To really sweep you away, imagine this scenario as described in the cookbook, taking place on one of those sandy beaches…..

Assemble a small charcoal barbeque  and start the coals burning. Let them burn for about 15 minutes then rake them to distribute them evenly. Cover the bottom of a large roasting pan with seaweed, making a layer about 2 inches thick. On top of this arrange the clams and mussels. Put in the onions, garlic and ginger and then cover them with a 2 inch layer of seaweed. Load on the potatoes, corn and hotdogs or sausages. Pour half of the beer over everything and cover with a clean, damp potato sack (or lid). Place this on the barbeque and begin steaming.

Once the steam starts, let everything cook for 1 hour. Add some beer if steam is escaping and add more charcoal if the fire degrades.

Serve family-style (that is, letting everyone help themselves) with melted butter and lemon.

Can’t you just feel the heat from the fire, smell the yeasty steam escaping the roaster, hear the fire snapping and taste an ice cold beer while you await your feast to cook?  Of course, the seaweed would have to be replaced with tinfoil on the prairies but other than that, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying fresh P.E.I. seafood next summer on the beaches of Lake Winnipeg. If you don’t care to wait, you could place your roster in the oven or dig out the barbeque and place the roster in there.

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Our extended family celebrate each Labour Day weekend with a dinner on the beach. The menu is typically comprised of local delicacies like chicken, veggie kabobs and the like. The fun is in the cooking process itself and the time spent together in anticipation of our upcoming meal. When the sunsets, we sometimes wash our dishes in the lake and then head back to our beach house for a round of crib or a televised football game.

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But we also dream of eating authentic clambake again, having done so years ago on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. With the current state of the Canadian dollar a more realistic alternate to the Cape would be the shores of PEI- a journey that we would love to make as we have only ventured to Nova Scotia and never set eyes on the other maritime provinces.

The good folks at WOW Hospitality must be dreaming of summer too, because they have decided to host the first PEI Seafood Festival right smack in the middle of winter. See here for everything you need to know:

Members of the Prince Edward Island seafood Community will be descending on Winnipeg January 16th, 17th and 18th with their products for the first ever PEI Seafood Festival. Take in one event, two events or all the events and enjoy the feel of PEI.

Friday, January 16th
Gala Dinner – 6pm at the Pavilion Centre in the Pavilion in Assiniboine Park
Tickets are $250.00 with net proceeds going to SOS (Share our Strength), a charity that works to alleviate and prevent hunger and poverty in our city including a program near and dear to my heart: St. Aidan’s Christian School in Winnipeg’s North End.
Tickets available by calling 204-942-1090 ext 230

Saturday, January 17th
9am Black Box Competition
Come out an watch top Winnipeg Chefs compete in the Black Box Competition. What will they creative with the products they are given in their box?
Yours truly is a judge.
Tickets: $25.00 Available by calling 204-942-1090 ext 230

1pm Oyster Schucking Championship – The Forks Centre Court
A competition to find the best Oyster Schucker in Manitoba.
Winner will represent Manitoba at the Canadian championship.

6pm East Coast Kitchen Party – 295 York
A Kitchen Party in East Coast style.
Enjoy sampling the best of PEI at different food stations while listening to East Coast Entertainment, Watch the Best Caesar Competition and meet members of the PEI shellfish Industry.
Tickets $40.00 and are available at any WOW Restaurant or by calling 204-942-1090 ext 230

Sunday, January 18th
1pm Best Mussel Competition – 295 York
Come Out and Watch Top Manitoba Chefs compete in the Manitoba Best Mussel Dish
No charge

3PM Best Seafood Chowder Competition – 295 York
No Charge

6pm Champagne & Oyster Tasting – 529 Wellington
Tickets are $100.00 and are available by calling 204-949-1090 ext 230

Kath’s quote: “We found some large clams…which the storm had torn up from the bottom, and cast ashore. I selected one of the largest, about six inches in length, and carried it. along…..We took our nooning under a sand-hill, covered with beach grass…I kindled a fire with a match and some paper, and cooked my clam on the embers for my dinner…..Though it was very tough, I found it sweet and savory, and ate the whole with a relish. Indeed, with the addition of a cracker or two, it would have been a bountiful dinner.”-‘Cape Cod’ Henry David Thoreau

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

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