Monthly Archives: August 2015

Grilled Chicken Lettuce Wraps

 

Grilled chicken wraps

Grilled chicken lettuce wraps

I don’t know about you guys, but this summer has gone by in a flash for me. We’ve been keeping pretty busy and have had a bit more time away than usual, which was wonderful, but I always find that, no matter how fun a vacation is, it’s always really great to be back home. With school starting in just less than two short weeks, it’s great to be able to settle back in and start getting prepared for the chaos that comes with getting two little kids ready for school each day.Β After being away in Portland last week and eating out for every (delicious) meal, it’s also great to get back in my kitchen.

The recipe I’m sharing today was well received by everyone in my house, including my 4 year old. When she’s the first one done dinner, you know it’s gotta be great. It’s not that she’s picky exactly, she just doesn’t do dinner. At least not while sitting still, nor in a reasonable amount of time. She’s more of grazer and could happily snack all day long. I can’t really complain though, she gladly eats almost any fruit or vegetable I give her, which makes my world a little easier than most parents. Setting the meal up as I’ve pictured above allowed the kids to choose which vegetables they wanted to include and, for my daughter, made her feel like she was at a snack buffet. Maybe that’s why she ate so well.

I hope you enjoy these grilled chicken lettuce wraps as much as we all did πŸ™‚

 

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2″ piece of ginger, minced

1/4 Cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 Cup tamari (or other soy sauce)

1/4 Cup brown sugar, plus 1 tbsp reserved

2 tsp fish sauce

1/4 – 1/2 tsp chili flakes

1 lbs chicken breast

1/2 Cup carrots, julienned

1/2 Cup red peppers, julienned

1/2 Cup cucumbers, julienned

1 head of butter lettuce, cleaned and separated

Whisk together the first 8 ingredients. Set aside.

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and place in a shallow bowl or casserole dish. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the chicken and toss, ensuring that the chicken is evenly coated. Set in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-4 hours.

After the chicken has been allowed to marinate remove it from the fridge and begin preheating the bbq. Thread the chicken onto skewers, reserving the marinade, and place it on the grill for 15 – 20 minutes until it’s been cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, pour the remaining marinade into a small sauce pan. Whisk in the reserved 1 tbsp of brown sugar and bring to a simmer over low-medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

Serve the chicken alongside the julienned vegetables, lettuce and sauce.

 

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A tasty trip to Portland

 

I feel a little odd not writing a recipe post this week, but the truth is, I haven’t been cooking much. That’s not to say I haven’t been eating some pretty amazing food, though. My husband and I have been away in Portland, Oregon celebrating our 9th anniversary. My husband is completely into craft beer these days and I’m a total food geek, so Portland is an ideal destination for both of us.

The entire trip was awesome, but there were definitely a couple experiences that stood out above the rest. The first, being my absolute favourite, was the food tour we went on with Portland Walking Tours. If you’ve never taken a food tour, it’s really an ideal way to learn a little about the city you’re in, learn a lot about the food you eat, and get completely stuffed along the way. Also, depending on which tour you’re on, you often get served a few tasty beverages. After all, it’s important to stay hydrated when you’re out walking for a few hours.

Our hilarious guide, Adam, started the tour by taking us to Cacao, a store that serves up “drinking chocolate”. This was my first experience with drinking chocolate and I wasn’t really sure what I was in for. I had imagined it was just going to be really good hot chocolate, but I was wrong. It was more like drinking a melted bar of chocolate, but the best chocolate you can imagine. Very rich, but so delicious.

Our next stop was Benessare, an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting bar and store. Here we learned a lot about how olive oil is (not very) regulated and how to tell the difference between real olive oil and what is often passed off as olive oil. We also learned a little about the production and aging of balsamic vinegar. We then took a few minutes to make ourselves at home and taste a few of the products available.

For our third stop, we walked to All Way, a burger joint serving up amazing burgers, fries and homemade soda using all locally sourced products. Half a burger, some fries and a soda later, we were on our way to theΒ 9th and Alder food pod. In Portland, the food trucks are highly regulated just like any restaurant in town and are often organized in pods where several trucks are permanently stationed. 9th and Alder is considered to be one of the best pods in the city. If you’re eating from one of the trucks stationed here, it’s unlikely you’ll walk away disappointed. With dozens of trucks to choose from, our guide chose to take us to Kargi Gogo, a truck serving traditional Georgian cuisine. Because we arrived early enough, we were able to get our hands on their Khinkali before they sold out for the day. These little (they weren’t so little) dumplings are filled with meat and imported Georgian spices and were incredibly yummy.

Khinkali from Kargi Gogo

Khinkali from Kargi Gogo

 

After 4 stops we were well fed (completely stuffed) and still had a few more stops to make, including Courier Coffee and the Pearl Bakery, where we went into the back, hairnets and all, and were treated to some of the best pastriesΒ I’ve ever tasted. After the bakery, we hit up Ringlers for a beer tasting and finally, we finished the tour at Ruby Jewel Scoops for a custom made ice cream sandwich. The tour was great and I would definitely take another one next time I’m in town.

Bread and pastries at the Pearl Bakery

Bread and pastries at the Pearl Bakery

 

Another highlight of our trip was the day we decided to go on a self-guided happy hour crawl. It wasn’t the drinks that made this experience the best though, it was the easy conversation with anyone we met and the really laid back vibe of the city. We made a few stops at South Park, Clyde Common and Oven and Shaker, and were then pointed in the direction of, what turned out to be my favourite stop, Hamlet. Hamlet, which opened in May of this year, is a cocktail bar with a small pork-focused menu. From telling us how the pork was raised or suggesting a drink to pair it with, the bartender and the chef were both easily on hand to help us fully enjoy the experience.

Chef meticulously carving the ham legs at Hamlet

Chef meticulously carving the ham legs at Hamlet

We rounded out our trip with a stop at the Pittock Mansion and Powells Books, which I think must be the largest book store in the world. They sell new and used books and it’s a good idea to grab a store map before you venture too far in.

One more thing that deserves mention was the friendliness of the people in Portland. No matter where we went, we were treated well. Any bar or restaurant led to easy conversation with other customers and staff. If we needed directions, anyone we asked would go out of their way to point us, or in some cases, take us to our destination.

Portland was definitely worth the trip and I’m sure we’ll be back again (and again).

 

Goat cheese and mushroom Tart

 

Goat cheese and mushroom tart

Goat cheese and mushroom tart

Goat cheese and mushrooms are two of my very favourite ingredients. I like them anytime, anywhere, in almost any combination. I love them so much that I’m actually a little surprised that I haven’t posted a recipe using them together, before now.

In my post last week, I mentioned that we had spent a week relaxing at our family cabin. Since the entire idea behind a vacation at the cabin is to relax, I usually spend some of my time working on a new recipe or two. That might sound odd to some people, but for me, being in the kitchen, creating something new and yummy is one of my favourite ways to relax. Especially with some music playing and my husband occupying the kids. Oh, and how could I forget, a glass of wine to sip on while I work away.

As far as wine goes, I tend to be a red wine kinda girl. In this case, however, I felt like this recipe was a bit too rich for red. I chose instead to sip on a delightful Sauvignon Blanc from Serendipity Winery. It was fresh and light, which was perfect for balancing out the richness of this goat cheese and mushroom tart.

Serendipity Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Serendipity Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

All in all, I would say this recipe completely sums up my idea of a perfect, relaxing day. I hope you enjoy it!

397g package of frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 oz cream cheese, softened

2 oz goat cheese

1 tbsp garlic chives

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 (14g) package of dried porcini mushrooms

1 Cup portabello mushrooms, sliced and then halved

1 large shallot, minced

4 pieces of asparagus, trimmed

salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Start by re-hydrating the porcini mushrooms according to their package directions.

While the mushrooms are re-hydrating, roll out the puff pastry to form a rectangle that’s about 10″x12″. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside.

Blend together the cream cheese, goat cheese and chives. Gently spread the mixture evenly over the puff pastry.

Once the porcinis are ready, heat the butter and olive oil together in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until just starting to sweat. Add the portobello mushrooms, cook for a just a few minutes, then add in the porcinis. Continue cooking for a couple minutes longer until the mushrooms are tender. Season with salt.

Evenly spread the mushroom mixture over the cheese and pastry. Top with the asparagus, cutting it into smaller pieces if you like.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is golden and flaky.

 

Summer Market Salad

Summer Market Salad

This past week we were able to get away for a few days vacation at our family cabin. About a 4 hour drive away, our cabin has been in my husbands family for about 50 years. Aside from a few renovations, much of the cabin is still the same and old family photos line the walls. Our kids love our vacations at the cabin. They look forward to it all year long, sometimes going as far as attempting to pack their suitcases a few months in advance. With very limited cell phone and internet service, it’s the perfect place to go to relax. Unfortunately, it’s also the perfect place to overindulge in food and drink and we often come back feeling a little sluggish. This week, it’s time to Continue reading

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