Appetizers and Snacks · Sides

Green Chermoula

Great on Grilled Flatbread, but give it a try on pasta, shrimp or your next omelette as well.

This can be made using any combination of parsley, cilantro and mint.



Green Chermoula Salsa

1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves

1/2 teaspoon chopped peeled ginger

1 clove garlic, crushed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Appetizers and Snacks

Ancho Chile Oil

This goes great on Grilled Flatbread, but on your eggs, steaks, avocado toasts or most anywhere that could use a little pick me up in flavour.


Ancho Chile Oil

2 ounces dried ancho chiles, (about 4 or 5) stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 red serrano chile or red jalapeneo, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped

1 cup vegetable oil, sunflower or canola

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

salt to taste

Heat everything but the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant and just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat. Let steep for 1 hour.

Purée mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard solids in sieve. Season oil to taste with salt.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Appetizers and Snacks · Breads

Grilled Flatbread

You should start this 1 day in advance.  It can be done same day, but you will have to allow a couple of hours to chill the dough before shaping.   The actual work time is minimal.  Mix the dough on Thursday, pop it in the fridge and it is ready for grilling on Friday or Saturday.   The time spent in your refrigerator allows for a slow rise which gives the bread its nice chewy texture and a bit of extra flavour.  Plus, by letting it rise in the fridge for day or 2, I don’t feel like I’ve spent the whole day making bread.

The dough is very wet


When its time to grill the breads, take a cookie sheet and some (lots of) flour outside so you can be right beside the grill.  The dough is sticky.  You will need a lot of extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and anything else it may come into contact with.

Yes, it is messy, but relax, and have fun with this.  In our house, I do the rolling and Kevin does the grilling, but if you prefer, you can do it by yourself.  Just don’t forget to oil the grill before each flatbread goes on.  Also, as the dough warms, it gets softer, so work quickly!

Use lots of flour

Aside from the type of yeast I use and a huge reduction in salt,  it is pretty much as written in the original.  After all, it is a bread recipe.   Not a lot of changes I could make and still have it come out right.




OOOps,  this one fell thru a bit
The finished flat breads

Toppings for this bread are important!!  Fresh tomatoes? Yes!  Feta or cotija cheese, maybe some Lebnah?  Slices of roast beef?  Sure.   But for me, the absolute MUST HAVES are the Ancho Chile Oil and the Charmoula.  They take this bread to the next level.  Make them the day before you plan to grill the flatbreads if you like. The chile oil will keep for a week, the charmoula for up to 3 days.



Grilled Flatbread

2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast

4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting

2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 cup sour cream

Vegetable oil (for brushing on the grill)

Topping suggestions:

Ancho Chile Oil , Green Charmoula , and grated Cotija or Feta cheese

Puréed black beans, sliced avocado, radishes

Sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, black olives, red onion

In a large bowl, combine the instant yeast with the all-purpose and whole wheat flours.  Add up to 3 cups of water, mixing with your fingers until a shaggy dough forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle salt over dough, then add sour cream.  Knead until well incorporated and dough pulls away from sides of bowl and holds together in a loose, wet ball.  About 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft and wet.   Lightly moisten your hands to prevent sticking if needed.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Knead dough an additional 4-5 times to deflate. Cover and chill for up to 2 days. (Dough will develop in flavor and continue to rise slowly in refrigerator.) Alternatively, let dough stand at room temperature until doubled in volume, 3-4 hours (the warmer and more humid your kitchen is, the faster it will rise). Chill for 1 hour before grilling to make it easier to handle.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Generously flour your work surface. Working with 1 portion at a time  roll out dough or press with your hands into a 1/4″-thick shape. (It doesn’t have to be perfectly round, mine rarely are!)

Brush grill rack with oil. Grill flatbreads until lightly charred on one side and no longer sticking to grill, 2-3 minutes. Using tongs, turn over and grill until cooked through, 1-2 minutes longer. Serve warm, with desired toppings.

Appetizers and Snacks

Red Savina Hot Sauce 

Way back in November 2017, a blogger I follow, Cast Iron Dan, posted his recipe for this hot sauce.  I reblogged it because it looked interesting.

It was the only thing I had ever posted that I had not already made in my own kitchen.  I had every intention of making it straight away, but travel plans came up quickly, guests started arriving, Christmas came and went, then came our busy season…and this got put to the WAY BACK burner.

Anyway, I just came from my kitchen, where I made the full recipe!  By the time all is blended, you really do end up with 2 pints of hot sauce.  I know!   8 oz of habaneros doesn’t really look like that much when its sitting on a scale.  But, factor in the other ingredients and yup, its a quart.


Cast Iron Dan will be happy to know that I did, in fact wear rubber gloves, as he recommended and my kitchen was well ventilated, plus, I had the hood fan going.

I had a small spill when blending (best to do it in 2  smaller batches instead of 1 big one!!) and I had already removed my gloves when I wiped it up.   Even the small amount that touched my palms is causing a slight tingle.  So, be warned.  WEAR GLOVES.  It does make slicing the habaneros awkward, but much better than the alternative.  Click here for an amusing story about that!

The bottom line is that this is a great sauce!  The carrots give this a nice sweetness which cuts the heat just a little.   My tongue is on fire, but I have already eaten 2 tostadas smeared with this sauce and intend to go back for more.  I cant wait to try this on … oh, probably every thing else I cook this week!

The basic recipe is below, but for the full version, follow this link to the original page.

Ingredients  (makes approximately 30 oz)

  • 8 oz carrots
  • 8 oz Habaneros  (red savina if you can grow your own)
  • 1 head of garlic- roasted on stove
  • 1 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Slice carrots into 1/8″ wheels, place in saucepan with enough water to cover a and cook until tender.

While that is cooking, slice peppers a bout 1/8″ thick.

Once the carrots are tender, add the peppers and the rest of the ingredients and return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour entire contents into blender and mix until very smooth.

I’m not sure how long this will keep.  My best guess is a couple of weeks if you just pour it into jars, and much longer if you process it as if you were canning.

Cast Iron Dan

The other day, I had someone on Facebook ask me what I do with all those peppers that I grow. That’s a good question, so I guess I should share what I make with all of that hot fruit! I make habanero hot sauce! The variety of habaneros that I grew this year are called Red Savina, which are about twice as big and twice as hot as the normal orange habaneros. Some of the peppers this year are over two inches in diameter!

I’ve been making this sauce for 5 years now and every time I think that I should change the recipe – I end up deciding to leave it just the way that it is! It is smoky, sweet, savory, citrussy and very hot… but not too hot! It doesn’t take much, but its a great condiment for tacos, burgers and most everything else. My youngest daughter…

View original post 277 more words

Appetizers and Snacks · Soups and Stews


If you want to bring Summer to your table, make Gazpacho.

Aside from being stupid simple to prepare, it’s a great way to bring the freshness of your garden (or Farmers Market) to the table.   I like to serve this with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for a perfect (and fast) summer meal.

My photo doesn’t do the dish justice, you will just have to take my word, that it does taste better than the photo would lead you to believe.

Serves 4

Gazpacho with Grilled Ham and  Cheese on Dark Rye


1 lb fresh, ripe tomatoes

1/2 English cucumber, or use a regular cucumber, just scoop the seeds out

1/2 red bell pepper

1 clove garlic

3 Tablespoons olive oil (plus additional for drizzling)

1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground pepper

capers, for garnish

Roughly chop the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper and garlic.  Toss into a blender, along with the vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Puree until there are no more large chunks of of veggies, but mixture still has some texture.  Refrigerate while you grill the sandwiches.  Divide between 4 bowls, drizzle each with olive oil and add a few capers for garnish and serve.


Appetizers and Snacks · Salads

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Anchovy Dressing

Grilling Romaine lettuce is nothing new.   in fact, it has been going on so long, I think I think I  might actually be one of the last people to try it!!

Anyway, I had an opportunity this week to give it a try, and you know what?  I really liked it!   Romaine is a strong lettuce, and stands up nicely to a little heat from the grill.

It only takes a couple of minutes to get enough char on the lettuce, so you can easily put this together while the meat you just grilled for the main course is resting.

The instructions are for a gas grill.  If you are using charcoal, you  may want to do this with the lid off.  Watch closely as you may not need the full 2 minutes. ( I know our Charcoal grill tends to be hotter than our gas grill.)

This salad is similar to a Caesar salad, but without the raw egg.

Serves 6

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Anchovy Dressing, Grilled Lemony Potatoes, Chipotle Lime Chicken Thighs

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Anchovy Dressing

2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained and chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

3 Romaine Lettuce hearts

12 slices of baguette 1/2 ” thick

Pre-heat gas grill to 350F.

Puree anchovies, garlic, oil, in blender until smooth.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Brush both sides of baguette slices with some of this mixture and grill both sides until toasted.

Add the lemon juice and zest to the anchovy oil and blend until emulsified.   Taste for seasoning add more salt if needed and set aside.

Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise.  Place over direct heat on grill grates and close lid.  Grill about 2 minutes, just until char marks from the grill start to appear.  (You want to grill them, just until grill marks appear, and you need the lid closed to get the heat to do this.  Otherwise, you and up with a wilty mess of greens no one wants to eat. )

Transfer cooked greens to large platter, spoon dressing over, arrange baguette slices on top and serve.

Alternately, you can slice the grilled lettuce into 2″ pieces transfer to bowl and toss with dressing, serving baguette slices on the side.

DO AHEAD – Bread can be brushed with anchovy dressing. and the dressing can be completed 4 hours ahead.  Lettuce hearts can be cut in half and kept refrigerated in advance as well.





Appetizers and Snacks · Breads

Naan Bread

A happy day it was, when we learned how to make this at home!  these instructions are for grilling this bread on a charcoal grill, however, a gas grill or cast iron pan stove top will work just as well.  It may take some practice, and your first batch(es) may not be perfect (or edible), but if you are reading this, you probably already know that learning this will be well worth the effort.  Enjoy.

Pumpkin-Spice Hummus
Naan Bread with Pumpkin-Spiced Hummus

Naan Bread

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt (plus more for finishing)

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup plain yogurt (not greek) or sour cream

2 Tablespoons melted butter,  ghee or canola oil (plus more for finishing bread)

Whisk flour, sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl.

Stir milk and yogurt and 2 Tablespoons melted butter together to combine and pour into flour mixture.  Mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Turn  out onto lightly floured board.  Dough will be sticky.   Adding flour as needed, knead until a soft, smooth dough forms.  About 7 minutes.

Form into ball and place in lightly oiled bowl.  Turn to coat, cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in warm draft- free place until dough is doubled in size.  30 – 45 minutes.  (Instant yeast works faster than regular, so keep a close eye on it)

Punch down, divide into 10 pieces.  With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and place on lightly floured cookie sheet.   Cover with flour dusted kitchen towel and let rest 10 minutes.   (If you are not making the bread right away, place the tray in the fridge -up to 3 hours covered with a kitchen towel).

Preheat grill to HOT.

On a lightly floured surface, and with  floured hands, pat and stretch dough into about an 8″ circle.  (honestly, the shape doesn’t matter.  You need to be concerned that the dough is more or less uniform thickness, about 1/8 inch.  You could roll the dough out, but the bumps left by your fingers  give the bread an interesting surface texture).

Toss onto preheated grill and let sit until dough starts to  bubble and the surface looks slightly dry, 2 – 3  minutes.   Flip over and cook for another minute or two, until charred in spots.  remove from heat, lightly brush with melted butter (or ghee) and sprinkle very lightly with salt.  Repeat for remaining pieces.

Toss on preheated grill
Fresh Naan!!