Summer Salad

When I was a kid, once a summer or so we used to block off the whole court, drag out the BBQs into the road and have a huge party. It was the greatest thing ever, with the neighbours offering up their pools to all us kids and all the summer BBQ favourites you could eat!

Even as a little kid, this recipe of my mom’s was one of my most looked-forward-to summer recipes. It was only ever broken out for special occasions, like the court party or a pool party at the neighbours, and I used to gobble up big plates of it every chance I got.

A quick google shows  tons of recipes for Broccoli Salad, almost all of them laden with lots of bacon and a cup or more of full fat mayonnaise. Which tastes fantastic, but isn’t so easy on the waistline. Tonight, with a washed and ready bag full of broccoli hanging out in my fridge just begging to be used, I decided to try and lighten up a traditional broccoli salad.

This salad is super easy, very quick and so yummy!

1 large head broccoli

4 slices bacon

2/3 cup 0% Greek yogurt

2 tbsp light mayo (I love Hellman’s light olive oil mayo)

1/2 cup light cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup raw pepitas (sunflower seed centres)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Wash your broccoli really well; I like to soak all my hardy produce in a sink full of water and a cup of white vinegar when I bring it home, so everything in the fridge is ready to go when we want to eat it! Soak for about 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water and store in the veggie crisper until ready for use. The only thing I don’t do this with is berries, as they’re so fragile they always seem to end up mushy and gross if they’re pre-washed.

Next, crisp up your bacon either in a pan on the stove top or in the oven and then dice it into small pieces. Side note – I recently discovered baking bacon in the oven and it is *fantastic*! Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and lay out your desired number of bacon strips on the pan and put it into a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 400C and leave for 17-20 minutes (until desired crispiness) and you’re done, all with no grease splatters!

To make your dressing – mix the yogurt, mayo, salt & pepper together.

Put the broccoli, pepitas & bacon into a big bowl and mix in the dressing until well distributed. That’s it! Even the medic – who was super skeptical, said it was yummy 🙂

broccoli salad

-J.

 

 

Advertisements

BBQ Pizza

This is one of the medic’s favourite barbeque meals that I make and has become the only way we make pizza in our house! It’s a little bit of a pain in the ass getting started and don’t be surprised if you screw it up the first few times (pro-tip: start with individual pizzas first, they’re easier to handle).

Fresh pizza dough (make your own or buy from the bakery section)
Pizza sauce of choice (we love Unico garlic and basil)
Dried oregano to taste
Your favourite pizza toppings
Olive oil
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Flour

Our toppings of choice are usually pepperoni, red onion and mushrooms. I also really like using barbequed chicken and barbeque sauce instead of pepperoni and pizza sauce, with the mushrooms and onion.

Start by flouring your counter and rolling out the pizza dough. This part is one of my least favourite parts. Trying to get the dough to stretch out into a nice, relatively symmetrical (I’m OCD like that) rectangle makes me want to throttle someone so sometimes I give up and go back to it after shredding the cheese or whatever. Once your dough is stretched, transfer it to a cookie sheet or big cutting board and set aside.

Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that I prefer to sautée my veggies prior to putting them on the pizza because the BBQ is really only capable of warming then through, not cooking them.

20130625-110524.jpg

Assemble all your ingredients (toppings, shredded mozzarella, sauce, oregano and dough) somewhere close to your barbeque and pour a little oil into a bowl or mug.

If your barbeque has a removable upper rack, take it out and then heat the barbeque to medium. Once the grill is warm, take some folded up paper towel and dip it in your oil. Holding the paper towel with barbeque tongs, oil the grate of the barbeque (be careful of flare ups! Don’t soak the paper towel in oil and have water nearby just in case).

20130625-115154.jpg

The next part is a two person job if you’re doing one big pizza as opposed to a few individual sized ones: transfer the dough to the grill (a real son of a bitch sometimes). I find it easiest to have my assistant hold the tray with the dough close to the grill and then I just kind of pick the dough up and throw it on the grill really quickly (before it has a chance to tear). Once the dough is on the grill you have about one minute to try and tug it into a shape you’re happy with, then just shut the lid and wait!

Dough likes to do this when you cook it on the barbeque:

20130625-115601.jpg

You can pop the bubbles if you want but it doesn’t really matter. Once the dough starts to get some grill marks and colour, turn it 180 degrees (if your barbeque is big enough, otherwise, turn it as much as you can). Close the lid and let it continue cooking. Once the bottom is fully cooked, pull the dough off the grill, flip it cooked side up on your pan and turn the grill down to low.

20130625-122133.jpg

Top your pizza with sauce, and sprinkle with oregano to taste, then add your veggies, cheese and meat.

Again with two people (or super carefully by yourself), transfer the now topped pizza back to the grill (oiled or not, it generally won’t stick and half the time I forget to oil it before putting the pizza back on). Close the lid and let the pizza cook. Keep checking on it and when you start to get grill marks, turn the pizza. It’s done when the dough is cooked through and your cheese is all melty 🙂

20130625-122705.jpg

– J.

Smokey Burgers with Lattice Bacon and Donkey Sauce

What is Donkey Sauce you ask? I said the same thing the first time I was introduced to it. It is (not surprisingly) a product of Guy Fieri’s culinary genius – and he says he called it Donkey Sauce because, “You’re an ass, if you don’t like it!”. It was stumbled upon by my husband when he was reading Maxim…for the article of course. Turns out, there was actually a pretty good article that had this gem of a sauce in it. I would put this stuff on damn near anything!

Donkey Sauce:

one large head of garlic, roasted

1 cup mayo (I used light, olive oil based)

5 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1t yellow mustard (yup just standard French’s)

1/4 salt

pepper to taste

To start preheat your oven to 400F then cut the top off of a clove of garlic and drizzle with oil.

IMG_0442

Wrap the garlic in tinfoil and throw it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. When it’s done, it’ll look like this, all warm and golden and fragrant:

IMG_0452

Let the garlic cool until you can handle it, then you’re going to need to squeeze it into out of its skin and into a food processor. Or, if you have a Kitchenaid immersion blender that came with one of these attachments, I highly reccomend using it:

IMG_0407

It’s my favourite thing ever for making sauces and marinades. Once you’ve squeezed in your garlic, add the rest of the ingredients and blend!

IMG_0455

Lattice Bacon:

One package applewood smoked bacon (I like President’s Choice)

Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil. I usually cover it with heavy duty BBQ strength tinfoil, and then again with a layer of the Alcan Slide tinfoil.

Cut three strips of bacon in half and lay three of the halves down parallel to one another:IMG_0446

Then pull the centre piece back just a tiny bit at one end and lay another of the halves perpendicular to the first three:

IMG_0447

Put the middle piece back and pull the outside pieces up about half way on the opposite end and lay another piece perpendicular to the first three:

IMG_0448

Finally, put the outside pieces down and pull up the centre piece from that same end, putting your final piece of bacon in perpendicular to your first three again before putting the centre piece down:

IMG_0449

Put the cold pan in a cold oven, and turn it on to 400F, then just walk away for twenty minutes! When you come back, your bacon should be getting crispy. Keep a close eye on it, and when it’s as crispy as you like it, take it out of the oven. Let it cool on the pan for a few minutes then transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

IMG_0453

Smokey Burgers:

750g medium/regular ground beef

2t liquid hickory smoke

1T Worcestershire sauce

1/4c finely chopped red onion

1 egg

1T minced garlic (I cheated and used jarred)

1/2c (ish) seasoned breadcrumbs (enough to make the mix not too wet)

salt

pepper

extra old cheddar cheese

red or green leaf lettuce

roma tomatoes, thinly sliced

garlic dill pickles, thinly sliced

Put the ground beef, egg, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, bread crumbs, minced garlic and red onion in a bowl until combined.

IMG_0445

Put the formed burgers on a plate and cover with plastic wrap, then put them into the fridge for firm up for a bit while you heat up your BBQ. Guy Fieri says you can use a grill pan but I love to barbeque 🙂

Spray the burgers with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Once the barbeque is at medium low, put your burgers on sprayed side down and close the lid. Once the burgers start to form grill mark, turn them 180 degrees to get a pretty cross hatch pattern (and to make sure they get cooked through).

Flip the burgers and cook a few minutes more until you start to get grill marks on the opposite side, turn 180 degrees again and put on your cheese and bacon lattice. Close the lid again and cook until the cheese has melted and the burger is cooked through. All-in-all, it takes about fifteen or twenty minutes to cook the burgers.

To assemble, put some of the Donkey Sauce on a pretzel bun (we also like bakery ciabatta-type buns if you’re not into baking them yourself) and then layer on the burger, lettuce, tomato and pickles (plus whatever out you like…maybe some sliced onion?)

IMG_0461

And that’s it! My little brother-in-law said he loved me when he ate his, so I guess they must be good! Coming sometime this week (or maybe next) Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins…and Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes!

-J.