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Archive for September 7th, 2008

“No car Saturdays” – to try to be more environmentally conscious, we have made a consorted effort to not drive on one day of the weekend. This gets us out on our bikes or on the subway and it allows us to make an effort to consolidate our driving day errands! Yesterday was Saturday!

We rode out to Taste of the Kingsway from noon to 2pm and then around 3pm we rode up to The Junction Arts Festival. The Taste was a bit of a downer, but the Junction festival was fun. Lots to see and do. We went back at 9:30 to see David Usher perform a free concert (well, we didn’t actually see him, but it was cool!)

Since JT’s been off, he has been doing all of the cooking during the week. He really is coming into his own, and I simply cannot complain, it’s just that I miss doing it. So, on the weekends, I do my share.

Saturday I made us Chimichurri Shrimp as an hors d’oeuvres and Mushroom Barley Risotto with Chicken au herbs en provence.

BBQ’d Chimichurri Shrimp

Chimichurri Sauce (adapted from Epicurious.com)

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (about 2 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 drops of Mesquite smoke (this is strong stuff, use very sparingly)
  • about 12 shrimp (6 per person)

Preparation

  1. Peel and clean shrimp.
  2. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl, coating shrimp evenly.
  3. Heat BBQ to ~450F.
  4. Using a lightly oiled BBQ wok, grill shrimp for about 1 minute on each side (this will entirely depend on how large your shrimp are – mine were 31-40 per pound)
  5. Serve hot with Grey Goose Martinis
  6. Cheers!
Mushroom Barley Risotto
Normally I prefer to use fresh ingredients, bar none, but for this dish the dried assorted forest mushrooms are really the very best. Butter and cognac are amazing companions to mushrooms, and really enhance the flavour layers of this dish. Serve as is or add a grilled chicken breast.
  • 1 cup dried forest mushrooms
  • 1 tsp light soy bean paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 vidallia onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp cognac or brandy
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In about 4 cups of hot water hydrate mushrooms (do this first thing in the morning and let the mushrooms sit all day). Clean mushrooms well, and strain sand out of liquid and reserve.
  2. Make a paste of the cognac and unsalted butter. Reserve in refrigerator.
  3. Reheat reserved mushroom stock and add soy bean paste. Stir well.
  4. Sweat the onions in about 1 tbsp olive oil. When translucent add barley and toast until you can smell the nuttiness. Add garlic.
  5. Just as you would make risotto, add the reserved mushroom stock about 1 cup at a time, stirring barley well, simmering. Barley will take 45 minutes to 1 hour to properly cook.
  6. At about 1/2 hour, add the mushrooms into the barley risotto.
  7. Keep adding liquid until the barley is done to taste.
  8. Take off heat. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir well.
  9. Season with salt and pepper, being careful as the Parmesan is salty as is the soy bean paste.
  10. Add the cognac paste and stir.
  11. Serve immediately.
Chicken Breast au Herbs en Provence
  • 2 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced well
  • 1/4 cup herbs en Provence
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Dry chicken breast well. Rub with olive oil.
  2. In a mortle and pestil, make a semi dry rub of the herbs en Provence and the garlic. Season.
  3. Rub well onto chicken, particularly the skin side (I like a crusty coating).
  4. Heat BBQ to 350. Turn off one element (this is where you will place chicken as the herbs may flare up).
  5. BBQ chicken until done.
  6. Serve on a bed of Barley Risotto, above.

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