Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Italian Steak Glaze with Caramelized Fennel

My beautiful carnivorous wife (a rehabilitated vegetarian might I add) asked if we can have steak this week.  I said sure with a big smile on my face because I LOVE steak! When I said I wouldn't be making this marinade and we can just have Montreal Steak Spice. She frowns. Pause. Hmmm. Why not? Maybe we should have something else then. That's how good this marinade is.  Once you have it you always want it. Its just like...well you know ;)

When anyone asks me what the best cut of meat to eat for steak is? I answer as my mom would say: "life is too short to eat anything but beef tenderloin." Sure you can argue about the flavour of different cuts.  But if you are getting beef that is grass fed, free range, steroid free, gluten free, (and any of the other important things your food has to have/ have not) then all the cuts taste great.  If you are buying the cheapest tenderloin yes it will have less flavour; but, also be tender so you won't wear out your jaw muscles.

You can make this and accompany it with anything you would a steak. I served it with my chanterelle mushroom caramelized onion Risotto; onions; potatoes; salad; lots of red wine.


10 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh ground salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (I used a little less so they don't catch on fire on the BBQ)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3-4 beef tenderloin steaks 1 1/2 inches thick


Use a garlic peeler to peel the garlic - 10 cloves takes a while but so worth it! and chop it all up roughly.
Place the garlic, rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano and salt into a small bowl or if you have one a mortar. Grind it into a paste.

Stir in the olive, balsamic vinegar and white pepper until blended throughout
Set aside half the mixture in a separate small bowl for later.

Massage the meat with the other half of the mixture. Let marinade for 1 hour.

Preheat your BBQ to medium-high heat.

Before placing your steaks on the grill oil the grill (I like to spray or rub it with grape seed oil)

I think steak should be medium-rare. If you agree then do it this way:
To get nice hash ( # )marks: place the steak on the grill so it is across the grates on a 45 degree angle; set a timer for 2 minutes, turn 90 degrees and cook for another 2 minutes;

Flip and spread the remaining mixture onto the just cooked side.

Repeat the 2 minutes at 90 degrees for the other side. A total of 4 minutes per side.

Remove from the grill and cover on a platter with tin foil for 3-5 minutes.  Believe me, this is critical. It will keep the heat in but more importantly the steak will become more juicy.

I like to present this steak either on the plate whole or as my wife prefers: sliced thinly against the grain and plated in a pleasant fan orientation.

This is a fabulous tasting marinade. I made it with fresh herbs from our garden and garlic grown in the interior of BC. The aroma in the air was so big and full I wondered why I don't always use fresh herbs. After all BC is know for its herbs isn't it?

I was so excited about making this Italian steak glaze that I told my neighbour what I was grilling over the fence. He just kind of smiled and said "yes, I love that." Then it dawned on me his name is Dino, wife Adrian and sons Leo and Nico, all solid Italian names.


Caramelized Fennel:

This is a great accompaniment to steak, and many other dishes too.


1 fennel bulb sliced (think making onion rings)
2 tbsp. oil in frying pan


Heat oil in pan on medium-low;

Slice fennel and put in pan stirring occasionally. This can take 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Cedar Plank Salmon

Living on the West Coast it seems everyone has got a cedar plank salmon recipe. Well so do I! I go for the simple things that showcase the flavours. Well, also because I don't want to spend ALL day in the kitchen prepping food. I feel that the key thing with smoking is to enhance the taste. I have had experiences were I feel like I am eating a piece of dry wood and that just isn't what I'm ever after. Along that vein--the new chardonnay's are being made with way less oak and they are fantastic! It's worth trying them again if you gave up on them. I had the opportunity to purchase some "White Spring Salmon" to use with this preparation and I HIGHLY recommend you try it if you get a chance. It is fairly rare I understand. The taste is not as overpowering as some salmon can be and works beautifully with the cedar.


2 12-14 x 5-6 inch cedar planks
1/3 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 11/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2+ pounds of salmon (I had 4 pieces about 2.5 pounds, 2 on each plank)


1.  You will need to soak the cedar planks for an hour minimum in warm water. Longer is better if you have the time. If you soak them in your sink remember to clean it first.

2.  Combine all ingredients (olive oil, rive vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, ginger) in a shallow dish. Put the salmon into the marinade and coat. Let sit for at least 15 minutes but an hour is better. Turn fish half way through time to make sure they are coated.

3.  Time to get the grill going. Preheat your BBQ for medium heat.

4.  When the grill is up to temperature, about 400, place the cedar planks on the grate. When they start to smoke and crackle a little they are ready.

5.  Now place the salmon skin side down on the planks. Discard the marinade because now we can't use it. Close the lid to contain the smoke. Depending on the thickness of the fish and temperature you keep your grill at (a fire flare up will spike the temperature) it will take 15-20 minutes to cook. Please don't overcook! It is ready when it can be flaked with a fork. Remember it will keep cooking even after you remove it from the grill.

NOTE: it the plank catches fire use a water spray bottle to put out the flames.

6.  Plate the fish. The skin will most likely stick to the plank so don't worry about that.

The thin portion of the salmon had the texture of a soufflé and we all marveled at it. The smoking combined with the marinade sealed the juices in waiting for your fork to release the flavour. The meatier portion was flaky and tender. There was a light smoked taste, but it was subtle.

I've since made it again with farmed salmon that was nice and fatty and it was just as tasty.

Grills hot- Here we go!

I'm back with some tasty new recipes for the grill and in the kitchen. My awesome wife has planted herbs that I can use so let's get to it. Here are some of the things to look out for...

Happy days!