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Bushel of Tomatoes? Make Soup!

Tomato Soups

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Roasted peppers, tomatoes, sautéed aromatics and seasonings are cooked in chicken broth, strained, pureed, and thickened with a roux to create this creamy soup.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 4 large tomatoes – peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon white sugar
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream

Roast peppers: rub oil on peppers and put them under the broiler until blackened, turn to get all sides. Put into paper bag and seal. Let rest for 15 minutes, then peel will come right off and core and seeds will fall out. Chop peppers. Reserve one chopped pepper; set aside.

Heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato, bell peppers (except reserved), thyme, paprika, and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until all the tomato juices have evaporated, about 25 minutes.

Stir in chicken stock, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce (if using). Bring to boiling, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Strain soup, reserving broth. Place solids in food processor or blender, and process until fairly smooth. Add puree back into broth.

Melt butter and stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute. Stirring slowly, add the broth/vegetable mixture. Add reserved chopped pepper and bring to boiling. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and add 1 tablespoon of sour cream to each bowl. For a lighter soup, this is also delicious without the sour cream.


Tomato and Basil Soup

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 2 organic chicken or vegetable stock cubes
  • 2 x 400 g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Put a large pan on a medium heat and add a couple of lugs of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon.

Cook for around 10 to 15 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden.

Put the stock cubes into a jug or pan and pour in 1.5 litres of boiling water from the kettle. Stir until the stock cubes are dissolved, then add to the pan with your tinned and fresh whole tomatoes, including the green stalks that may still be attached to some of them (these give an amazing flavour – trust me!) Give it a good stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Meanwhile, pick your basil leaves.

Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the basil leaves. Using a hand blender or liquidizer, pulse the soup until smooth. Season again before dividing between your serving bowls.



Spicy Dill Pickle Soup, Pickle Chicken with Garlic Fries and Spicy Pickle Dip & Baked “Fried” Pickles with Peanut Butter Frosting Dip

Pickle Soup, Chicken and Dessert

This was such a fun meal.  One of my guests absolutely loved Pickles and Peanut Butter.  So I took to creating a Pickle experience from start to finish.  The soup was on the spicy side so would definitely pair with a light white or a bubbly.  The main course was perfect with a creamy Chardonnay as the Chicken after being brined for 24 hours in pickle juice was the tenderest chicken I have ever tasted.  The desert was another flavour explosion and a sweet dessert wine or Cab Franc Ice wine would be perfect.

Spicy Dill Pickle Soup

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup pickle juice
  • 1cup baby dill pickles, diced
  • 1cup russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2   cups carrots, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup Yoplait® Greek 100 plain yogurt (or sour cream)
  • Pita chips for serving
  • Grated cheddar cheese for garnish, if desired

Melt butter in stock pot and whisk in flour. Whisk in half the chicken broth. To the pot, add the remaining chicken broth and the butter, flour and broth mixture and whisk until combined. Add the pickle juice, pickles, potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper and cayenne.

Bring to boil and then simmer until veggies are cooked.  Cool and then puree in a blender.  Stir in the yogurt (or sour cream) and cook another 5 minutes. Serve warm with pita chips and garnish with grated cheddar cheese or chopped pickles if desired.


 Pickle Chicken with Garlic Fries and Spicy Pickle Dip

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of garlic dill pickles (I go for the sandwich slices to top each piece of chicken with – see note)
  • 4 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed and sliced relatively thin – like steak fries
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic dill pickles
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce
  • salt to taste

Up to 24 hours ahead of time (but at least an hour) place the chicken in a shallow dish and pour the pickle juice over it. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you re ready to cook.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the potatoes out in a single layer. Sprinkle them with the salt and garlic. Bake the potatoes for 25 minutes, turning them over on the tray halfway through.

While the potatoes bake, heat your grill. You could also utilize a stovetop grill pan.

To make the Spicy Pickle Dip, mix together the chopped pickles, Greek yogurt, sriracha, and salt.

Grill your chicken. I usually opt for thinner chicken breasts and 4-5 minutes on each side will cook them through (grill temperature should be 350°-400°F). Make sure you either check the chicken with an instant read thermometer for an internal temperature of 165°F OR slice into the thickest part of the meat and check that the juices are clear and there’s no pink.

Serve the chicken with a pickle slice on top (optional) , with a handful of the Garlic Fries and a side of Spicy Pickle Dip!


Baked “Fried” Pickles with Peanut Butter Frosting Dip

For the Pickles

  • 1 jar Farmer’s Garden by Vlasic Kosher Dill Spears
  • 2 eggs
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
  • cooking spray

For the Peanut Butter Frosting Dip

  • 4-oz. (half of a block) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with foil and set a rack over the baking sheet; spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Drain and dry all pickle-spears with paper towel; set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Dip each pickle in the egg mixture, then roll the pickle in the bread crumbs. Place all the prepared pickles on the previously prepared rack. Lightly spray all the pickles with cooking spray. Broil for 4 minutes.

Remove from oven; turn over all the pickles, lightly spray with cooking spray and broil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Prepare Peanut Butter Frosting Dip

In your mixer’s bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar; mix until creamy. Add peanut butter and vanilla; continue to beat until smooth and well incorporated. Pour frosting in a dipping bowl and serve.

Beef and Broccoli with Fried Quinoa

Beef and Broccoli with Fried Quinoa

A simple quick meal with a bit of kick (or not if you choose not to use Sriracha). Pairs perfectly with a Gamay or Baco Noir.

For the Quinoa:

  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups veggie or chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 cups mixed veggies– ie. red pepper, carrot, peapods, mushrooms, frozen peas
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Oil for pan, about 1-2 teaspoons
  • 2 eggs beaten with a splash of water
  • Green onions & Sriracha to garnish
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce, to taste


For the Beef and Broccoli:

  • ¾-1 pounds of beef
  • 3-4 cups chopped broccoli florets. Fresh or frozen.
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger


For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup teriyaki + 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil + 1 teaspoon sesame oil

To make the quinoa, In a sauce pan, add oil and quinoa. Toast on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes. Toss in garlic clove and stock. Bubble on low heat for 20 minutes. Fluff with fork and remove garlic and ginger. Place in fridge until ready to use.

Chop all veggies. Heat a wok over medium high heat. Circle with enough oil to cover pan—about 1 teaspoon. Add egg and cook like an omelet, seasoning with Sriracha. Remove from pan and slice in ribbons for later. Add veggies to pan and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic. Shake in soy sauce, to taste. I tend to use around 1 tablespoon. Add quinoa and toss with veggies for a minute. Mix in cooked egg and sprinkle with green onions and Sriracha.

To make the Beef and Broccoli – Melt coconut oil in the microwave for about 20 seconds with the honey. Mix everything together in the bowl. Slice the beef in ¼ inch cuts. Marinade the beef for at least 2 hours.

Combine everything for the sauce together and mix well. Remove the marinated beef from the fridge. Let stand for about 15 minutes. Heat the wok to medium high (same one as quinoa! No need to mess up another pan!), circle some canola oil to coat pan. Add beef and any extra marinade. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broccoli and continue to stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until tender. Pour in sauce to coat beef and broccoli. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.


Herb-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Potatoes and Lemony Asparagus

Herb-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin With Potatoes and Lemony Asparagus

Pork is such a versatile ingredient that can be adjusted to fit your palate. The asparagus and herb crust of the pork make this a perfect pairing with a crisp white wine.

  • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes (about 15), halved, or quartered if large
  • 3 tablespoons   olive oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Heat oven to 450° F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until tender and browned, 20 to 24 minutes.

Meanwhile, rub the pork with the parsley, thyme, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. After the potatoes have cooked for 10 minutes, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the asparagus and lemon to the skillet and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Transfer the skillet to oven and cook until the pork is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the pork rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with the potatoes, asparagus, and lemon.

Crunchy Baked Barbecue Chicken

Crunchy Baked Barbecue Chicken

When your chips turn to crumbs, use them up in this slightly spicy chicken dinner. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans or carrots. A white bubbly would pair perfectly.

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 cups barbecue potato chips
  • 4 bone-in chicken legs or breasts
  • 2 tbsp Cajun Seasoning

Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

Spray a rack with nonstick cooking spray and set over a baking pan. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg with hot sauce. Crush chips into large crumbs. Place in a wide shallow dish.

Remove skin from chicken. Dip in egg mixture then sprinkle with seasoning. Press chicken in chips, pressing to help them adhere. Sprinkle any bare spots with crushed chips-they don’t need to cover perfectly.

Place chicken on rack. Bake in preheated oven until cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes.

Slow-Barbecued Caribbean Pork with Mango Salsa and Chili Potato Wedges

Slow Barbecued Caribbean Pork

Braised to moist tenderness with Island seasonings, pork shoulder roast is not only economical, it’s robust with flavour. If using a gas barbecue, more than 1 burner is essential to cook with indirect heat. If your barbecue doesn’t have a built-in thermometer, place an oven thermometer on the unlit side beside the roast to be sure the temperature is maintained. The oven version is just as tasty and easy. Cut roast into thin slices and serve on roti, tortillas or buns and top with fresh, colourful Mango Salsa and Chili Potato Wedges (recipes follow) – serves 8. This dish represents a variety of flavours so it paired perfectly with a young fresh white of a sparkling wine.

  • 4 lb (2 kg) boneless pork shoulder blade (butt) roast, tied
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh hot pepper
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) dried thyme
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground allspice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice

Place roast in a large foil pan (for barbecue) or a roasting pan (for oven). Combine garlic, ginger, sugar, hot pepper, thyme, allspice, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the coconut milk. Spread all over roast. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the barbecue to high or oven to 350°F (180°C). Combine remaining coconut milk and lime juice and pour around roast in pan. Cover entire pan with foil, sealing tightly around pan but not touching roast.

If barbecuing, turn 1 side of barbecue off and reduce other burner(s) to medium-high or temperature required to maintain 350°F (180°C). Place pan on unlit side of barbecue or place in oven. Grill or roast for 2 to ½ hours.

Uncover and baste roast with pan juices. Grill or roast, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes longer, basting twice more, until fork tender and a meat thermometer reads 170°F (75°C). Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Transfer roast to a cutting board, discarding pan juices. Cut off strings and cut roast into thin slices. Serve with Mango Salsa and Chili Potato Wedges.


Mango Salsa

This fresh and tangy salsa is the perfect complement to the pork. It is best made just before serving but can be covered but can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours.

  • 2 firm ripe mangos
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lime zest
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) minced fresh hot peppers (or to taste)
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) salt

Peel mango and cut flesh from pits. Dice flesh and place in a bowl. Add lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, hot pepper and salt. Toss gently to combine. Taste and check seasonings. Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)


Chili Potato Wedges

Traditional foil-packet barbecued potatoes get a boost that will liven up any barbecue meal. Ancho chili powder is increasingly available and gives a nice chili flavour without overpowering heat. If you like a smoky heat, add ¼ tsp (1 mL) chipotle pepper powder to the butter mixture. The zesty dip is easily put together as the crispy-crusted potatoes cook.

  • 3 lbs (1.5 kg) baking potatoes (russet or Yukon gold)
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) butter, softened
  • 1½ tsp (7 mL) ancho or other chili powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper



  • 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream or mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lime zest
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ancho or other chili powder

Preheat the barbecue to medium-high or oven to 350ºF (180ºC).Scrub potatoes under running water. Pat dry and cut each lengthwise into 8 wedges. Place on a large piece of heavy-duty foil.

Mash butter, chili powder, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Drop in small dollops randomly over potatoes on foil. Top with another large piece of foil and seal both pieces together with a tightly crimped edge. Slide onto a baking sheet.

Slide packet off baking sheet onto grill or place on sheet in oven. Grill or bake for 30 minutes, gently shaking packet a few times and flipping over halfway. Carefully unseal a small section and check potatoes with a fork to ensure they are tender. If not, reseal and cook for 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, make dip. Combine sour cream, lime zest and chili powder in a serving bowl.

Let potatoes stand for 5 minutes. Open packet and, using a lifter, remove potatoes from foil (you may have to scrape the crispy ones) and transfer to a serving platter. Serve dip on the side.



Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples and Onions

Pork Tenderloin is on sale this week at Zehrs. This was a quick inexpensive meal that will definitely be done again.  The combination of the fennel and Dijon mustard left my mouth watering for more.  I served it with a Marsanne Viognier

  • 1 large pork tenderloin (about 14 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or apple cider

Preheat oven to 450°F. Season pork with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sear until all sides are brown, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer pork to plate. Cool slightly. Spread mustard over top and sides of pork; press fennel seeds into mustard. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add onion slices and apples; sauté over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Spread evenly in skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pork atop apple-onion mixture.

Transfer skillet to oven and roast until apple-onion mixture is soft and brown and meat thermometer inserted into center of pork registers 150°F, about 15 minutes. Transfer pork to platter and tent with foil. Let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour white wine over apple-onion mixture in skillet. Stir mixture over high heat until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Cut pork on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Spoon apple-onion mixture onto plates. Top with pork and serve.

Honey, Mustard and Balsamic Pork Tenderloin with Split Peas with Honey-Sweetened Eggplant

Honey, Mustard and Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

This was an amazing food and wine adventure.  The eggplant tasted very similar to a bruschetta so I decided to make Cheddar Mashed Potatoes to go with this meal.  The sweetness of the Pork along with the savory eggplant made pairing a Gamay Noir the perfect choice.


  • 1 Ontario Pork Tenderloin (about 1 lb/454 g)
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
  • 2 Ontario Carrots, sliced
  • 1 Ontario Leek (white and light green parts only), halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) Honey
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) sodium-reduced chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cornstarch
  • Fresh Ontario Rosemary Sprigs (optional)

Cut pork tenderloin into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick slices. In large nonstick skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; brown pork slices on both sides. Transfer to plate; set aside.

In same skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat; cook carrots, leek, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper until leeks are softened, about 5 minutes. Add maple syrup, broth, mustard and vinegar; bring to boil. Add pork; reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until juices run clear when pork is pierced and carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

In small bowl, stir cornstarch with 1 tsp (5 mL) cold water until smooth. Stir into skillet and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, stirring constantly.

Garnish with fresh rosemary, if using. Serve with creamy Mashed Potatoes

For split pea purée

  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Greek)
  • 1 lb yellow split peas (2 1/4 cups), picked over, rinsed well, and drained
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

For eggplant compote

  • 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Greek) plus additional for drizzling
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey
  • 1 tablespoon drained bottled small capers (in brine), rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil or chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic or Greek raisin vinegar

Make purée:

Cook onion in 1/3 cup oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add split peas and stir until well coated, then stir in water and bay leaf. Increase heat to moderately high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and slowly simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is soupy, about 1 hour. Stir in salt and continue to cook, stirring more frequently as purée thickens, until water is absorbed and mixture is the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes, 30 minutes to 1 hour more. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup oil, then cool to room temperature, pot covered with a kitchen towel. (Purée will thicken as it cools.) Discard bay leaf.

Make eggplant compote while split peas simmer:

Toss eggplant with 3/4 teaspoon salt in a colander set over a bowl. Place a plate or bowl directly on top of eggplant to weight it down and let drain 1 hour. Rinse eggplant (discarding liquid) and pat dry.

Cut a shallow X in bottom of each tomato with a paring knife and blanch tomatoes in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel, beginning from scored end, with knife. Halve tomatoes crosswise and seed, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add eggplant and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just golden, transferring to a plate. Reduce heat to low, then add remaining 3 tablespoons oil and onions to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in honey until incorporated. Add eggplant, tomatoes, capers, basil, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then gently simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar (to taste) and remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature, uncovered.

Serve purée topped with eggplant and drizzled with olive oil.

Tequila-Lime Grilled Chicken Breast with Sweet & Sour Potato Pepper Salad

Tequila-Lime Grilled ChickenThe newest LCBO Food and Drink Magazine came out last week and had to try a couple things out.  I saw these two recipes and altered them slightly. If you have tequila and white wine on hand the cost of this meal for 4 people is less than $15.  I paired it with the rest of the bottle of Pinot Gris that I used for the recipe and it worked well. Serves 4.


Tequila-Lime Grilled Chicken Breast

1/3 cup gold tequila

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 to 3 limes)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

12 green onions

4 chicken breasts, skin on, bone in, for best flavour and moistness

Lime wedges, for garnish


Combine the first 11 ingredients. Add the green onions and chicken breasts – make sure it is all well coated. Cover and Refrigerate overnight. Bring chicken up to room temperature about an hour before grilling.

Heat the grill to medium.  Place the chicken (reserve marinade) bone-side down for the first half of cooking time; about 10 minutes.

When ready to flip the chicken, put the green onions on the grill. Flip chicken over and grill for another 10 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 160 F.

While chicken is grilling, in a large skillet over medium heat bring the leftover marinade to a simmer and reduce by half, about 15 minutes.

Garnish with grilled onions, fresh lime wedges and a side ramekin of the cooked, reduced marinade for dipping.


Sweet & Sour Potato Pepper Salad


1/2 cup olive oil

1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced

2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced

1 large orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 large onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 lbs yellow-fleshed potatoes

1/2 cup firmly packed parsley


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry garlic until light golden, about 2 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and set aside. Add peppers and onion to pan; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring from time to time, until vegetables are very soft, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in reserved garlic and balsamic vinegar.

Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces and cook in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 12 minutes; drain. Add to a large shallow serving bowl or platter. Spoon oil and pepper mixture over potatoes and gently toss to combine. Serve scattered with parsley.


Grilled Striploin served with Garlic Basil Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Greens with Basil-Walnut Dressing

Garlic Basil Mashed Sweet Potatoes

With Fresh Herbs starting to take over your garden – a perfect meal to use fresh basil. I used a spicy rub for the steak which added to the complexity of the plate: Spicy, Sweet and Savoury. A difficult meal to pair perfectly but would work with a Pinot Gris or a Baco Noir.

Garlic Basil Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1.5 lbs Sweet Potatoes
1.5 tbsp basil chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Place sweet potatoes in pot of water and boil for about 20 minutes or until tender enough to poke a fork through them.

Take the sweet potatoes out and allow to cool enough so you can peel the skin off without burning your fingers (lesson learned the hard way).

Mash sweet potatoes in a bowl and add basil, garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. If you feel it needs more butter, feel free to add some but I felt that 2 tbsp was perfect.

Basil-Walnut Salad Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted walnuts
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup fresh basil
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Toss with Mixed greens.