Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce is something you buy.  I always thought this.  Why wouldn't I?  I was talking to client of mine who said they were making ketchup (or catsup in some countries) from scratch.  "Why" I asked.  So you can control the amount of sugar and salt and the flavour too.  Duh!  Of course.

So naturally I figured I should try something like that too.  But I really don't use ketchup, so...what about something to accompany my famous (in my mind) ribs.  Perfect.  That'll be a little bit of excellent on top of awesome. Let's make a BBQ sauce.

1 tbsp (15 mL)  vegetable oil
3-4 shallots chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp (10 mL)  paprika (smoke)
1 tsp (5 mL)  dry mustard
1/4 tsp (1 mL)  salt (I really like Maldon salt)

2 tablespoons hot sauce (Cholula)
1 tablespoon Worstershire sauce 
Approximately 3/4 cup organic strained tomatoes 
1/3 cup (75 mL)  bourbon (use your favourite, Buffalo Trace is a good go to)
1/4 cup (50 mL)  maple syrup
2 tbsp (25 mL)  cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium-low heat; fry onion, garlic, paprika, mustard and salt, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add chili sauce (tomatoes, hot sauce, Worstershire sauce), 1/2 cup (125 mL) water, bourbon, maple syrup and vinegar; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 cup (250 mL), about 25 minutes. In your beautiful wife's Vitamix blender or food processor, puree until smooth. (Make-ahead: Let cool; refrigerate in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.)

It's going to smell heavenly in your home making this.  It'll get the stomach juices flowing.  All you have to do now is smear it all over your meat and listen to the sounds of joy!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Garlic Chilli Lime Seafood Pasta

My Mom cooked in the best English tradition, you know, bland and overcooked.  Hey but I liked it.  There's still nothing like your own Mom's cooking.

It took me until I was away at Massage Therapy College in my early 20s that I learned about garlic.  Well, maybe that's not fair.  Mom did have some 20 year old garlic powder that she used sparingly.  Maybe she was rationing it out because they didn't have it in Ontario or maybe it was too strong for my Dad's stomach.  I don't really know.  I think this is when I learned that food has taste.  And that there can be different flavours layered in one dish. It used to be: take a mouthful and chew the meat, veggie or potato and taste that individual thing.  Now instead it's: take a bite and there is a starting, middle and finishing flavour.  All in one dish!  This is a brave new world.  Let's explore together...

This was something that I first through together when we were staying at the Crystal Cove Cabins in Tofino BC.  This is my at home attempt to capture the sounds of the surf and smell of ocean.  It's a little pricy because of the goodies you put in but "if you were to order this out..." argument makes it seem cheaper.

Time: less than an hour.  Or if you perfer less than 2 glasses of wine.

2 limes zest and juice
2 oz chilli oil ( may want to use half plain olive oil)
About a cup of fish pieces ( I like to get a mixture of salmon, cod, etc)
8 spot prawns 
6 large pieces crab legs
Snow peas
Cherry tomatoes halved 
Fresh leaf lettuce 
1tbsp fine chopped garlic (4 cloves)
1 tbsp grated ginger
Fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Boil pasta, add snow peas to water for thelast minute 
  2. Warm oil with garlic and ginger about 30-60 seconds

3. Add fish pieces 3 minutes

4.  Add prawns to pink

5.  Add lime juice and zest

6.  And crab and tomatoes to warm last minute (don't add the tomatoes too soon or they will fall apart and go too mushy)

7.  Drain pasta and mix together in the pan with fish and sauce 

8.  Serve and add fresh lettuce 

I really enjoyed the different layers of flavour with this dish.  I still am learning about the heat from garlic, ginger and chilli.  Sometimes a mouthful will be warm on the lips and sometimes on the tongue and I can't discern what is the cause.  I will have to keep experimenting to find the culprit!  I do know that I had a big smile on my face :D