My brother Lawrence loves to cook. He makes a killer pasta sauce, an authentic chicken parmesan but when I hear that he will be cooking paella I know that I will be eating very well. I wanted to learn his secret so I have asked him and Judy to the cottage with one thought, paella for dinner. So instead of bathing suit, sun block and flip flops he arrived with a paella pan in hand, a bag of bomba rice, tiny threads of saffron and a bottle of Spanish wine, so here we go….
As with many authentic recipes there are many variations, but here are a few of the secrets from my brother that you must follow…
You must make a sofrito (composed of tomatoes and onions), you must use a rice called ” bomba” but any paella rice from Valencia will do, there must be a mix of proteins in the dish, and it must develop a caramelized crust of rice called socarrat at the bottom of the pan which is the prize of a well-made paella. And our fav tip, you must drink Spanish wine!
When making the sofrito, we sautéed a mixture of finely chopped onions, garlic, and a tin of very good tomatoes.
The bomba rice is able to absorb three times its volume in liquid, so it is perfect for paella recipes. You can buy this rice at Pasquale Bros in Etobicoke.
Traditional paella is cooked outdoors, over wood-fire coals, which gives a pretty even heat to a wide pan. Guess who got the grill going for us…my own personal grill master, Gordy!
Our pan of grilled seafood and chorizo paella and to our surprise we were halfway through eating when I noticed that we did have the crispy socarrat on the bottom of the pan! BRAVO!
The happy cooks.
There are so many recipes for paella that no matter what kind of paella you’re making, the basic steps are the same. Read all you can, it is all about the techniques, then go ahead and make this dish yours by adding any combination of chicken, sausage and seafood. Salud!
I love this lentil salad recipe, I have been making this salad all summer long and am often asked for the recipe. My sister-in-law Marilyn is my biggest fan and I am sure that I have seen her eating it at the cottage for breakfast!
You can really make this recipe your own by adding your favourite veggies, nuts and some crumbly cheese. I like to toss in some raw pumpkin seeds, raw sunflower seeds and baby arugula, and if it is lunch time I just may crumble in a bit of goat cheese too.
The Best Lentil Salad
I found this recipe on the food blog My New Roots and it is for sure a recipe you will come back to time and time again.
2 ¼ cups (1 lb.) Du Puy lentils
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup dried currants (you could also use raisins or other dried fruit)
1/3 cup capers
1/3 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. strong mustard
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
Nuts and seeds
Fresh herbs: flat-leaf parsley, cilantro, basil
Crispy seasonal veggies
1. Rinse lentils well, drain. Place in a pot and cover with a 3-4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Check lentils for doneness after 15 minutes, but they should take about 20 minutes in total. You will know they are cooked if they still retain a slight tooth – al dente! Overcooking the lentils is the death of this dish. Be careful!
2. While the lentils are simmering, make the dressing by placing all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously to combine.
3. Finely dice red onion – the salad is best if all the ingredients are about the same size. If using raisins, chop them roughly to make them a bit smaller, and do the same with the capers if they are large.
4. When the lentils are cooked, remove from heat, drain and place under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled slightly but still a little warm, place lentils in a large serving bowl and toss with dressing. Add other onion, capers, and currants. If using other add-ins such as herbs, greens, or cheese, wait until just before serving. Otherwise, this salad can hang out in the fridge for a couple days.
I have had many memorable times with my friend Jayne. We go way back to summer camp in Temagami, we ran a hand-painted t-shirt business from our basements, I have followed her in snowshoes, in sail boats and on an almost road trip to find Sondheim…Merrily We Roll Along is the beat that Jayne rolls with.
During the summer I am lucky to spend a weekend at her cottage where we do a lot of good eating and this Mexican corn was on the menu. When you eat this corn you really just need a bottle of chardonnay, and lots of napkins, but no matter how and when you eat it, the end result is always the same: a sweet, crunchy, spicy, juicy messy taste of summer. So here’s to good friends!
This grilled corn is perfect to make in late July or August when the corn is fresh.
I love the charred kernels.
Mexican Grilled Corn
- 4 ears sweet corn
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper of chile powder
- salt, to taste
- 2/3 cup crumbled cotija anejo cheese (substitute parmesan or feta)
- lime wedges
- extra cayenne pepper of chili powder, for sprinkling
- fresh finely chopped cilantro for optional garnish
- Soak corn (in husks) in cold water for 25-30 minutes.
- Prepare a medium-hot grill.
- Peel back the corn husks leaving them attached at the end. Remove the silk. Pull the husks back up and tie with a spare piece of husk or a small piece of cooking twine.
- Place the ears on the grill. Cook 15 – 20 minutes, turning several times to ensure even roasting.
- Then cool ears slightly, pull back the husks (to use as handles) and place the ears directly on the grill (with husks overhanging the side) for 5-7 minutes, or until they reach desired level of charring.
- Place crumbled cheese on a plate large enough to fit an ear of corn.
- In a small bowl mix the mayonnaise, lime juice, cayenne pepper or chile powder, and salt.
- When the corn is cooked, brush each ear with some mayo sauce then roll in the cheese.
Serve with lime wedges, additional cayenne pepper or chili powder, and fresh finely chopped cilantro.
** Cotija anejo, a mild-flavored Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture, can be found in Mexican markets or in the refrigerator section of most major supermarkets. Queso fresco, another mild Mexican cheese, is a good substitute and also can be found in most major supermarkets.
I love to eat and grill fish. But I have never made a whole grilled fish, so here I am at the cottage with family and this is the perfect place to try. I bought three whole Lake Trout’s fresh from Georgian Bay at Johnny’s Fresh Fish and Seafood in Barrie, Ontario. As long as you have a good, fresh fish, you’ve done the hardest part.
I first sprinkled the fish with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper then stuffed them with lemon slices, chopped garlic, fresh parsley, chives and lemon thyme. I rubbed the fish with lots of olive oil and more kosher salt and pepper.
I must say I was feeling pretty impressed with myself, but I can’t take all the credit, I am lucky to have my own personal bar-b-q’er who always makes sure he has a Webber to grill on! Gordy, you cooked the fish perfectly.
Now the fun part, present to your guests, collect your kudos and eat!
Zach is coming for dinner, all year long I make his favourite desert, a crumble. He loves it made with any fruit, with any topping, in any season. At the fruit store today I found fresh Ontario peaches and wild blueberries so that’s what I will be baking tonight. I know he will be happy and as always take home the leftovers!
For the fruit:
- 6 to 8 peaches
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
For the crumble:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until their skins peel off easily. Place them immediately in cold water.
- Peel the peaches, slice them into thick wedges, and place them in a large bowl.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, granulated sugar, and flour. Mix well.
- Mix in the blueberries.
- Spoon the mixture into a well greased 9 x 13 pyrex or a deep dish pie pan.
- For the topping, combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and the butter in the bowl of a food processor.
- Mix using the on/off pulse switch until the mixutre looks crumbly.
- Sprinkle evenly over the fruit.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is browned and the juices are bubbly.
Serve warm or at room temperature.