Summer is here and the barbecues are cooking!
Tonight’s dinner includes Barbecued Steak, sautéed onions and mushrooms, tomato and cucumber salad sprinkled with feta cheese, barbecued potatoes and steamed bok choy. It was a plate full of nourishment and a wonderful blend of flavours.
The sun has finally appeared here on the west coast and it was warm enough to sit outside and enjoy the sounds of birds chirping as we readied ourselves for our evening meal. Our spring has been on and off for the past few months but this week it came on like a ton of bricks. I decided to prepare a meal that for the most part, could be cooked on the barbecue. One of the reasons I wanted to do this was because my husband is the barbecue chef and I could take a step back from the preparation.
I don’t know whether you have experienced this, but once in a while, my taste buds start to crave something specific for dinner. This week it was steak. We have a butcher in the neighborhood who has committed to supplying the market with a selection of hormone free, antibiotic free local meats. Although it is a bit out of my way to go there, when I decide to serve something like beef, I make the effort to get the best there is and Windsor Meats is the place to go. We don’t eat a lot of meat; usually about 4 oz is a serving size at our house. I bought three good sized rib eye steaks and cut them into two pieces making six 4-5 oz steaks.
Our good friends Gary and Margaret were coming for dinner and we had a lot of catching up to do so we started with a cocktail and chat session.
The steaks were marinated in “Mike’s Marvelous Marinade” , I usually make a good amount of this at one time, and store it in the fridge to use for other dishes. It is excellent for marinating chicken, steaks, pork chops fish and roasts. We often marinate our salmon before putting it on the barbecue.
Mike’s Marvelous Marinade
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
- ¾ cup soy sauce (wheat free of course)
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp. dry mustard
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. ground peppercorns (you can use whatever kind you wish)
- ½ cup Raspberry Vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp. find herbs (I use a blend of herbs and throw in a pinch of lavender)
- 2 garlic cloves crushed.
Whisk together all ingredients. Keep refrigerated in a covered container and enjoy.
**I marinated the steaks in this for about 4 hours. I don’t like the marinade to overpower the meat but I do like to have a hint of the flavours of the marinade.
We’ve had these before but Gary made such a fuss about how delicious these were that I decided to remind you how to do these on the barbecue. I use a foil pan because I don’t want to get my baking/roasting pans covered in soot by placing them on the barbecue. It also makes clean up a breeze because they are recyclable.
Start with the smaller yellow/gold creamer potatoes and scrub the skin so they are nice and clean. Take out any of the little imperfections and place them in the pan. Sprinkle the potatoes with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper and put ¼ cup of olive oil over the potatoes. Mix them up so the skins are covered evenly with the oil. Place on the barbecue and cook for 20 minutes. You do need to keep an eye on them because if the heat gets too high, they will burn and that would be a shame.
Tomato Cucumber Salad with Fresh mint and Feta Cheese
I/we love Greek salad but lately I’ve been reacting to the raw onions in the salad so the other day I tried making the Greek salad without the onions. I loved the results and so did my digestive system. Because of our guest Margaret, I could not put peppers in the salad this week. She reacts terribly to peppers when she eats them so I decided to just use tomatoes and cucumbers. The result was a new favorite salad.
- 4 ripe Romano tomatoes cut in quarters and then cut in half again
- 1 English cucumber peeled and cut into 1” slices. Cut the slices in four quarters and place in bowl with tomatoes.
- 4 fresh sprigs of mint finely sliced and chopped.
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese.
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tsp. Greek spices
Mix tomatoes, cucumbers and mint in a salad bowl. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil and Greek spices and pour over vegetable mixture. Mix together and put in serving bowl. Sprinkle feta cheese over the salad and serve.
Steamed Bok Choy
Prepare bok choy by cleaning off the spoiled leaves, washing the vegetable and drying it before cooking. If the bok choy you have chosen is large you’ll need to slice the thicker stem of the plant off and cook it for 3 /2 minutes and then add the the leaves cooking for another 1 ½ minutes. For our meal, the size of the plant was medium so I decided to leave the thicker part attached and cook it all together. Bok Choy is very adaptable; you can steam, boil, fry, stir fry and deep fry it.
I steamed the whole bok choy for 3-4 minutes before serving it to my guests. It is a vegetable packed full of nutrients. It is known to have cancer fighting and cholesterol lowering properties and it is known to be a good source of calcium and Beta carotene. It is a vegetable that deserves to be served several times a week if you want to live a healthy lifestyle.
Dessert was very special this week. Margaret is a dessert goddess and showed up for dinner with a Banana Cake with Caramel butter cream and Dark Chocolate Glaze. I have not tried the gluten-free version of this yet, nor have I tried to make a healthy version of it. I can say it was one of the most delicious cakes I’ve had in a very long time but I would not suggest having it very often. Margaret agreed to give me the recipe so you can all enjoy it on that special occasion down the road.
Banana Cake with Caramel buttercream & Dark Chocolate Glaze
• 21/2 c all-purpose flour
• 4 large bananas, or about 2 cups ripe mashed bananas
• 1 tbsp baking soda
• 2 tsp salt
• 2c firmly packed “best” brown sugar
• 1tsp. cinnamon
• 1 c grapeseed/canola oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 c 2% milk
• 1 tbsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325’F. Prepare 2 9-inch cake pans by coating them lightly with Cooking spray. Cut a round parchment circle and line the bottom of the pans.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, milk and vanilla. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the bananas and sugar. Combine until smooth and slightly light in colour (about 5 minutes on medium speed). Reduce the mixer’s speed to 1, Beat in the flour mixture, followed by the egg mixture.
Using a flexible rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is well combined. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean (about 45-50 minutes).
Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely.
250 ml Cocolico salted butter caramel sauce (or store-bought caramel sauce)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
Place caramel sauce and butter, both at room temperature, into the bowl of a stand
mixer. Using the whisk attachment, combine on low speed. Stop the mixer and scrape
down the sides, then continue to whisk on medium speed until buttercream is light and
fluffy. Use immediately.
Dark Chocolate Glaze
1 cup 71% chocolate, chopped (5oz)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup glucose or corn syrup
Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil. Pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Stir until shiny and smooth, then set aside until needed. Use warm.
Slice the cooled cakes in half horizontally. Divide the caramel buttercream into 4 equal
portions. Using a small offset spatula, spread 1 portion evenly across a cake layer.
Place another cake layer on top. Continue icing and layering the cakes until you have 4 layers of cake and four layers of buttercream. Wrap the outside of the cake with cling
film and place in the fridge. Chill, overnight if possible. Remove cake from fridge and
remove the cling film. Top with warm chocolate glaze, starting in the centre of the cake
and allowing the excess to drip down the sides. Allow the glaze to set. Decorate the
cake with a light dusting of cocoa powder. Serve with lightly whipped cream, ice cream
and a drizzle of caramel sauce.
This week on Empowered Health we did smoothies outside. It was one of our better segments and you’ll get lots of ideas about how to make your smoothies more nutritious.
Please come back and visit us next week for another Sunday Night Dinner at Julia’s Place!