Category Archives: Mediterranean Twists

Chipotle Lime BBQ Zucchini

2015 07 08 18 58 38 1

I love summer squash, particularly when they are fresh and the size of my thumb. They are crunchy and sweet, in my mind, zucchinis are the perfect summer food. Now what happens when all you have in your fridge is a foot long specimen? Not as sweet and when cooked not as crunchy. Do not fear, this recipe is just for that problem. Grind a few peppers, mix in the rest of the ingredients and get grilling. The results will be a party favourite.

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What you need:

  • 1-2 chipotle pepper (or more if you like heat)
  • 2-3 ancho chillies
  • 2 limes
  • Olive oil (enough to blend)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (If you dislike cilantro you can use parsley)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 med-large zucchini cut in half.

How it’s done:

  • Take your ancho and chipotle peppers and run them through your spice grinder or food chopper until you have a nice even consistency.
  • Finely chop your cilantro
  • Zest and then juice your limes
  • Place in a mixing bowl and add enough olive oil to create a nice thick mixture
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cut hashmarks into the internal flesh of each of the zucchini halves (this allows the mixture to penetrate into the flesh of the zucchini.
  • Using a spoon or pastry brush, evenly distribute the chilli mixture onto the zucchini (reserve some of the mixture to baste)
  • Preheat your BBQ to an even medium heat
  • Place your Zucchinis uncut side down and grill, watching carefully that the skin doesn’t begin to char.
  • This helps open up the cut hash marks and allows the marinade to penetrate even further
  • At the point when the Zucchinis are soft flip them over to grill the cut side.
  • After a few minutes flip them back over and baste them with the reserved mixture.
  • When the flesh is soft remove from the grill and let cool for a minute or so.
  • Cut into slices and serve as a great side dish or as an appetizer
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Artichoke Risotto

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Words cannot express just how good this dish is. Seriously… After disembowelling and braising a truckload of fresh artichokes, this dish is the reward for all the hard work. The rice is creamy and bursting with luscious spring artichoke flavour. This dish is dependant entirely on the braising liquid from your previously prepared artichokes  so make sure you save it!

What you need:

  • 2 cups of Arborio rice
  • Reserved braising liquid from the artichokes
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock (if needed)
  • 10 artichokes, quartered 
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 100g butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 cup (or more) grated Pecorino or Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream (Optional)
  • Coarse salt to sprinkle over the top (I used black Indian)

How it’s done:

  • Fry the onion, garlic and the artichoke quarters in a 1/4 of the butter and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Fry until the onions are translucent.
  • Stir in the paprika.
  • Add the wine and stir until it has evaporated. 
  • Stirring continuously, slowly add the liquid a ladleful at a time. (Gently stirring releases the starch in the rice and making it creamier)
  • Once you run out of artichoke liquid use the chicken stock.
  • Gently add stock and stir until the rice is soft and the consistence is slightly firmer than apple sauce.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese and the cream.
  • Let stand a few minutes and serve with a sprinkle of salt.

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Carrot and Orange Salad

Great as a stand-alone tapas, or as a killer side dish to complement your heavy wintertime meals. This somewhat odd combination is as simple as it gets and is bursting with lively flavours that leave you coming back for more. There is a one month sweet spot during the winter when blood oranges reach their… continue reading

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Cauliflower Tapas

If you are in need of a sleeper side dish this one’s for you. Unassuming, this Spanish-inspired tapas is really tasty and simple to make. I cooked this for a party I had over the weekend and it was the surprise hit. What you need: 1 head of cauliflower cut into small florets 3 potatoes… continue reading

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Epic French Onion Soup

I will admit at the front end that this is a shameless ripoff of a Julia Child recipe. But what makes it worth posting is the great company, the almost amputated finger and the huge time debt it took to take this soup from good to epic. Let me explain. My wife and I have… continue reading

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Pork Lemonato

Over the weekend I had a bit of extra time to cook. And with cooler weather outside and in, I had a hankering for something warm, simple and earthy. Armed with lemons, a few eggs and a slab of pork belly, I came up with a pork dish worthy of the cravings. The only problem… continue reading

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Creeper Tacos

One of the benefits of having a 10 year old boy in the house is that you get to play with lego and any other cool toys that exist. As of late my son has been really interested in an online creative game called minecraft. I will spare you the gory details of gameplay, but when it… continue reading

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Phoenix Corn Chips

Sometimes out of the ashes of failure something is re-born. It is completely ironic that in the birthplace of the mythical phoenix (i.e. Greece), the epic culinary failure that was my tortillas spawned new life and creativity that became corn chips. Born from the ashes of an empty pantry and a hankering for tex-mex flavours… continue reading

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Porcini and Squash Risotto

If I were left to die on an abandoned island and I had the choice to take one thing with me, Porcini mushrooms would at the top of the list. Unfortunately for me, I live in a house of fungus haters and therefore I am metaphorically on that island only without the “Boletus edulis” in… continue reading

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Braised Veal Shank

There is something simply satisfying about braised meat. I remember the first time I had Osso Buco, I was with my wife in a trendy restaurant, and to this day I can almost taste the rich sauce oozing from the meat into the delicate potato risotto. I have many times tried  to re-create that moment,… continue reading

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