Miso Marinated Flank Steak

This recipe was delicious. We marinated 2.5 lbs of flank steak & two nights later we marinated a pork shoulder using the same recipe. Both dishes were equally tasty.  Served with BBQ peppers, a fresh salad and baked sweet potato fries….Mmmmmm!!!!

The Marinade:image3

1 tablespoon Miso (white)

1 lb of skirt steak

1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons Sake

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cloves of chopped garlic

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, cover, refrigerate for a few hours or over night.

We decided to BBQ the steak as well as the pork.  If barbecuing ensure you remove as much of the marinade as possible before placing on the grill. You don’t want the outer surface of the meat to burn from the sugar. DO NOT WASTE THE MARINADE! Place the left over marinade in a small pot and boil it for 5-10 minutes.  The reduction sauce will serve well over the meat once plated!


Bon Appetite

Miso Marinated Flank Steak image2


Easter Dinner in Naples, Florida – A Rack of Lamb Feast.

I find lamb one of the easiest meat to prepare.  I don’t both with recipes anymore, I just know which key ingredients should be used and the rest you can play with.

When marinating lamb, i throw together some olive oil, garlic, rosemary, dry or any type of mustard, something acidic (i use vinegar – usually balsamic or red wine vinegar), a hint of something sweet (sugar, honey or maple syrup), and red wine or port.  Finish with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Use equal parts oil and wine and then smaller amounts of the other ingredients (to taste).  You’ll be able to tell when you’ve created a marinade that will taste great with lamb.  It should be very fragrant.

You should marinade the racks for at least 4 hours but I would recommend overnight, up to 24 hours.

When ready to cook, heat oven to 350 and heat BBQ to high heat.  After both sides are seared well (look for seared marks) the rack is ready for roasting. The meat is still very rare inside, and needs to be finished off to a medium rare (recommended). Roasting at 325-400 will complete the project.  Place rack-o-lamb on a roasting pan and place in oven cook another 10-15 minutes at 325-400 until the internal temp is 125-135.

Serve with your favorite green vegetables, a colorful vegetable (we used beets but tomato salad, peppers, etc could be good as well) and mashed or roast potato.  If you boil the marinade when the lamb is cooking, you can add butter to the liquid once it’s reduced and serve as a sauce for the meat and potato’s.

Get the BBQ fired up and enjoy!

Congratulations Rich & Anne! Let’s Eat! An Asian inspired meal to celebrate…

This past Friday night, I hosted a little dinner party for 2 friends of mine who recently got engaged.  I thought this was the perfect occasion to open a couple impressive Napa Cabs so I started planning a menu.  I had a prime rib in the freezer I wanted to cook but I’ve had prime rib with this particular group of friends the past few times we’ve cooked a meal so I needed to change it up!  The bride to be doesn’t eat red meat, so I needed to think of an alternative main course as well.  I decided on seared tuna and figured I’d serve this with an Asian inspired sauce and therefore I thought I’d frame my entire meal with the Asian theme in mind.  I decided to marinate the prime rib (found a rib eye steak recipe which I used for the prime rib), chose to cook quinoa as my starch, and then I prepared two salads (cucumber/mango and a cabbage slaw) and a hot vegetable side dish – broccoli.  Every thing turned out very well but the show stoppers were 2 dishes – the seared tuna and the roasted broccoli.  I know what I do well and I know what I doesn’t turn out so well.  When I say the tuna and broccoli were phenomenal – this is no exaggeration!  And as luck would have it, they were probably the two simplest dishes I prepared that night.  I’m already planning on cooking these dishes again when I’m back in Florida with my family in a couple weeks.

I did a lot of prep the night before the dinner party and even the morning of, before going to work.  When I was toasting the sesame oil for the quinoa on Friday morning, a fire started in the sauce pan and grew in size in seconds. I panicked, put the sauce pan in the oven to try to contain it and called 911 (my intention was to ask them how to safely attempt putting the fire out).  By the time the fire dispatcher came on the phone, the fire burned itself out but she sent firemen to my condo regardless.  3 HOT (of course) firemen can knocking on my door , came in to have a look in the kitchen to make sure all was under control and then asked me curiously what was on the menu for my dinner, so I gave them a peak in my fridge to see all the preparations I had made so far.  They were very impressed!  Ha!  Quite an eventful morning all before 8am!

Five-Spice Quinoa with Toasted Almonds

Five-spice powder is a seasoning that usually includes star anise, cinnamon, licorice root, fennel, and black or Sichuan pepper. It plays well against the slight nuttiness of quinoa, a grain that is rich in protein. Toasting the quinoa in a little oil adds a pleasing nuance of flavor. Serves 4 to 6

For the sauce:
4 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl.
2 cups quinoa
1-1/2 Tbs. olive or canola oil
3 Tbs. minced scallions
1-1/2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. five-spice powder
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan with a lid over medium-high heat until very hot, about 20 seconds. Add
the scallions, ginger, and five-spice powder and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the quinoa and
Five-Spice Quinoa with Toasted Almonds – stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. The quinoa should be tender to the bite. Remove from the heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork.
If the almonds aren’t toasted, cook them in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until golden
brown. Let the quinoa cool slightly and then stir in the toasted almonds. Taste for seasoning, adding salt or
soy sauce if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature as a staple dish instead of rice or couscous.

Asian Marinated Prime Rib

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 6 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 4 rib eye steaks
  • In a small bowl, combine first seven ingredients; mix well to blend.
  • Place prime rib in a bag (I used a clean plastic grocery bag) and pour marinade over the roast.
  • Seal and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  Turn roast every 8 hrs or so so each side sits in marinade for hours.
  • Cook roast for 15 minutes at 450 degrees and then reduce to 325 degrees and cook until roast reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees (my 6lb roast cooked 1.5 hours at 325 degrees – on top of the 15 minute sear)

ASIAN ROASTED BROCCOLI (this recipe is SO easy and out of this world amazing)!

2 heads on broccoli, cut into florets (or at least 4 cups of florets) – you could probably substitute broccoli with asparagus, brussel sprouts or rapini


3-4 tbs chili-garlic paste (i didn’t know what this is so I used Srirach Hot Chili Sauce)

1 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs soy sauce

3 tbs veggie oil

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp fresh garlic

Mix marinade together in large bowl. Add in broccoli to coat. Spread on a pan and roast at 425 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until edges are golden.  I doubled the marinade recipe because my heads of broccoli were very large.

Snappy Cucumber Mango Salad

Serves 4

For the most refreshing salad, place your mangoes and cucumber in the refrigerator for a few hours before making the salad so that they’re nice and cold. The fresh ginger adds some zing to the salad, but if you’d prefer it to be a bit more mild just leave it out. (Find a tutorial on how to peel and store fresh ginger here.)

2 ripe mangoes, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 English cucumber, peeled or partially peeled (see note below), halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced

1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger, optional

1 tablespoon honey or coconut nectar

pinch of sea salt

In a large bowl, toss together all of the ingredients to combine. That’s it!

Serve immediately.

Pan Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger and Lime
Ingredients2 big handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, grated
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 (6-ounce) block sushi-quality tuna
1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted, and slicedDirectionsIn a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1 minute on each side to form a slight crust. Pour 1/2 of the cilantro mixture into the pan to coat the fish. Serve the seared tuna with the sliced avocado and the remaining cilantro sauce drizzled over the whole plate.

Asian Coleslaw

2 tbsp. sesame seeds
4 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. sugar
2 cups (about 1/2 head) shredded red cabbage
2 cups (about 1/2 head) shredded green cabbage
2 cups (about 4 carrots) shredded carrots
kosher salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste


Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine shredded cabbages and carrots. Toss to combine. Add vinegar mixture and toss to coat. Season with kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste.

To serve, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Cooking in Naples. Cool evening – warm Vino. ;-)

Needed something heavy to eat so my Dad could open some big reds he’d been waiting to drink.

Truffle Mac and Cheese heavy enough?  Kobe Wagyu Beef much?  Still full…wow!  But everything was amazingly delicious!

Truffle Mac and Cheese recipe:
Ingredients2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Good olive oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
3 tablespoons cream sherry
Kosher salt
1 pound pasta such as cavatappi
3 ounces white truffle butter, such as D’Artagnan
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart whole milk, scalded
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan, add the mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the sherry and continue to saute for a few more minutes, until the sherry is absorbed. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt the truffle butter in a large (4-quart) saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.

Combine the pasta, sauce, and mushrooms in a large bowl and pour them into a 10 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until they’re minced. Add the bread crumbs and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

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Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/truffled-mac-and-cheese-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

The beef was from Jimmy P’s.  http://www.jimmypsbutchershop.com/.  Worth every penny – if you love red meat, you have to try this – make sure to buy Jimmy P’s seasoning as well!

Family Day Weekend – Wasaga Style

On the Family Day weekend in February 2013 (same weekend as US President weekend), some friends and I headed to my buddy Richard’s cottage for what turned out to be a winter wonderland, freeeeeeeeeeeeeeezing weekend!!!  Instead of skiing – we stayed indoors and ate to keep warm!  lol

The first night, Richard’s brother Dave made one of the best prime rib I’ve had (Mom still comes in 1st – sorry Dave 😉 ) but this beef was outstanding!  Live in Toronto?  Try going to Totera Fine Foods.  Dave was also able to buy (flash frozen) porcini mushrooms to make risotto as a side dish to the beef!  Even when the mushrooms were frozen they were overwhelming with fragrance!  Simply amazing!  You can pick these up in the freezer section (in ziploc bags).  http://www.yelp.com/biz/totera-fine-foods-vaughan

Love making a group dinner like this, someone helped with the gravy, we all kept an eye on the beef cooking, then the yorkshire pudding (favorite recipe is here http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/yorkshirepuddings_86010 ).  Some good red wine was decanted…

Yorkshire puddings
100g/3½oz plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
pinch white pepper
1 tablespoon shredded suet (optional)
2 free-range eggs
200ml/7fl oz milk
50ml/2fl oz water
oil or beef fat, for cooking

preparation time: 10 to 30 mins
cooking time: 30 mins
Serves 4-6

Preparation method
1.Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
2.Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the salt, pepper, suet (if using) and
eggs and beat with a fork to combine.
3.Mix the milk and water in a jug, then gradually add to the flour and
egg mixture, stirring constantly, to create a smooth and creamy
4.Leave the batter to stand for ten minutes.
5.Pour two tablespoons of oil or beef fat into each of the cups of a
muffin tray. Place the muffin tray into the hot oven and leave for 5-10
minutes, until the fat is smoking hot.
6.Carefully remove the muffin tray from the oven. Pour approximately
30ml/1fl oz of batter into each muffin cup, then carefully return to the
oven to bake for 10-15 minutes, until risen and golden-brown. Resist
the urge to open the oven and check on the puddings for at least ten
minutes, as this will hamper their progress.

7.Remove from the oven and serve with the roast of your choice.

On the second night, we changed it up and made Mexican food – fried fish tacos with fresh caught BC cod, homemade guacamole, sauteed peppers, homemade salsa, and all the other fixings were there too!  Served alongside?  What else?  Margarita’s made perfectly in the new Margaritaville machine that the Belluz brothers managed to find!  Don’t think I won’t be buying one of these for summer time at the cottage!  Wow!  😉

I sometimes talk about balance right?  You’ll see at the end of the photos (after my super indulgent weekend – i forgot the mention the platters of Rolo cookies we baked for 3 days straight), my friend Jay showed off his new juicer and to end the weekend off, dinner was a large glass or fruit/vegetable juice.  I wasn’t sure about this at first but it was delicious!  Anyone thinking of buying a juicer?  Highly recommend it – but buy a Costco membership while you’re at it.  You’ll go through A LOT of produce to keep up this habit.  I think Monday night juice at Jay’s is about all I’ll commit to for now…

The trouble I get into when I visit the market! Lamb, cabbage, heirloom carrots, pureed celery root and parsnip

A few weekends ago, I decided I’d go to the Evergreen Brickworks and buy whatever fresh produce they have to accompany the rack of lamb I was cooking.  It’s winter in Toronto so lots of root vegetables.  I got cabbage, which I had never cooked before.  It was delicious  Sauteed in shallots, olive oil and bacon and then boiled in white wine and finished with salt and pepper.  Outstanding.

Then I made my roast carrots.  For recipe see:

Recipe for Parsnip and Celery Root Puree:


  • 1 lb parsnips, 1 lb celery root peeled, stringy cores removed, chopped (about 1 1/2 pounds after removing cores)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel parsnips, make a cut off the top of the fat end of each parsnip. This will show you extent of the inner core. Often this core is stringy and woody, especially at the larger end of the parsnip. When you are prepping the parsnips, cut around this core.

2 Place chopped parsnips in a medium sized bowl, add the melted butter and stir to coat. Lay out the parsnips on a roasting pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, at 400°F, until lightly golden, turning the parsnips once half-way through the cooking.

3 Put cooked parsnips into a blender or food processor. Add 1 1/2 cups water, and pulse until puréed to the desired consistency. Add more water if necessary. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

Yield: Serves 4.  Simply Recipes http://www.simplyrecipes.com

Rack of Lamb Recipe:

Preparation time:
Cooking time:
Yield: 4


  • 2 racks of lamb, cleaned (save trimmings)
  • Coarse salt and cracked pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of red Zinfandel wine or other big bodied red wine such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 cup of chicken or beef stock, homemade or canned
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch of tarragon, roughly chopped (save a few sprigs for garnish)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup of grainy mustard
  • 1 cup of coarse bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Season the meat with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Preheat a sauté pan large enough to hold both lamb racks over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the olive oil and the lamb racks, meat side down and brown well. At this point you’re not trying to cook the meat through, you’re just adding rich caramelized flavour to it that would be impossible once its insulated by the breadcrumb crust. Using tongs, turn racks and brown the bone side. Place on a plate, resting on its bones while preparing the crust and sauce.
  3. Toss the lamb trimmings into the sauté pan and brown until well caramelized. Drain excess fat and then pour the Zinfandel into pan, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. This is known as ‘deglazing.’ The brown bits are caramelized juices from the meat and will add a ton of flavour to the sauce. Add the stock and bay leaves then simmer until the liquid reduces by 2/3 two thirds to a sauce-like consistency.
  4. Meanwhile in a small bowl mix the tarragon, egg yolk and mustard together. Pat this mixture around the meaty part of the lamb racks, applying pressure to make it adhere. Pat on the breadcrumbs. Place the lamb racks onto a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, when it reads 140 degrees F (70 C), it’s a perfect medium rare.
  5. Rest on a rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This will allow the meat that’s stressed out from the heat of the grill to relax and reabsorb the juices that are driven to the center of the cut. By letting it rest you won’t end up with a platter of juice and dry meat!
  6. With a sharp knife, slice the lamb racks between every second rib bone. Place two pieces in a warm bowl and spoon some Zinfandel sauce around them. Garnish with a sprig of tarragon.

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Need a yummy summer dinner idea? Here’s one! Light the grill!

My biggest frustration with this posting is that I forgot to photograph the FIGS and finished presentation!  When preparing this meal…buy fresh figs and serve on the platter just like the bocconcini or tomatoes – with a little salt/pepper/olive oil.  Throw them on the grill and drizzle with honey even!  One steak is enough for this light summer meal…slice the steak across the grain directly on the wooden cutting board…serve and ENJOY!
For Quinoa Salad:  follow package instruction for cooking quinoa (I find I always have to add more water and cook longer.  Salt your water like pasta water (or cook in vegetable broth).  For dressing I used:  3 parts olive oil, 1 part sesame oil, 1 part peanut oil (omit if there is an allergy concern), 1 part rice vinegar, 1 part white balsamic and a dash of soya sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  You can make extra (as I did) and enjoy for a couple days in the fridge.