Grilled Avocado Stuffed with Salsa

Let’s have a Friday quickie! Here is a nice little recipe that you can prepare in a flash. Great for a weekend BBQ as an appetizer. Never thought I would be grilling an avocado and it was quite a revelation. The Grilled Avocado Stuffed with Salsa will be a guaranteed hit!

Grilled Avocado Stuffed with Salsa 1

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Grilled Shrimp Saganaki Stuffed Tomato

Summer is still playing hide and seek here in Montreal. Last weekend was hot and scorching, this weekend sunny but much cooler. As long as it is sunny I am happy. In Canada we had a long weekend too so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get some of my foodie friends together for a simple BBQ dinner. An excuse to have the seasonal BBQ baptismal.

I do feel bad a bit for my friends because they did not get to taste my earlier meal, my amazing grilled lunch. There just was not enough to go around. How a propos to submit this recipe for the Creative Cooking Crew’s June theme – “what are you bringing to the BBQ?”. Turns out I did not bring my Grilled Shrimp Saganaki Stuffed Tomato to the BBQ but kept it all for myself.

Grilled Shrimp Saganaki Stuffed Tomato

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Tomato Bloghop: Barbecue Tomatoes Stuffed with Oka

A lovely plump and ripe tomato. Now times that 4 and stuff it with amazing Oka cheese, bacon, onions, bread, eggs and more. Oh so simple and good. A perfect choice for this month Love Bloghop.

Oka cheese is a local cheese in Montreal, originally manufactured by the Trappist monks, who are located in Oka, Quebec, Canada. It is a pressed, semi-soft cheese that is surface ripened for some 30 days. It has a distinctive flavor, very flavorful but not overwhelming. If you do not have any Oka where you love try to match it up with a similar cheese, like Raclette or Emmenthal.

Ξ Barbecue Tomatoes Stuffed with Oka Ξ
original recipe from Marilyn.ca

2 slices bacon, finely chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
4 medium tomatoes
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 eggs, beaten
1 slice whole wheat bread, diced
1/3 cup 10 % cream
1 cup shredded or diced Canadian Oka, rind removed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat barbecue (or oven) to 450 °F (230 °C). In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon with onion until onion is soft. Remove from heat and cool. Cut a ‘hat’ off top and scoop out inside of each tomato. Add remaining ingredients to bacon mixture, combining well, and use to stuff tomatoes. Place ‘hat’ on top of each tomato and barbecue (or bake) for about 10 minutes.

July is #tomatolove month!

Please join in on the #tomatolove fun by linking up any tomato recipe from the month of July 2012. Don’t forget to link back to this post, so that your readers know to come stop by the #tomatolove event! The twitter hashtag is #tomatolove :).

Meet my fellow co-hosts…

Evelyne @ Cheap, Ethnic, Eatz, @cethniceatz
Junia @ Mis Pensamientos, @juniakk
T.R. @ No One Likes Crumbley Cookies, @TRCrumbley
Jess @ Oh Cake, @jesshose
Sheila @ Pippi’s In the Kitchen Again, @shlylais
Helena @ Rico sin Azúcar, @ricosinazucar
Deanna @ Teaspoon of Spice, @tspbasil
Liz @ That Skinny Chick Can Bake!!!, @thatskinnychick
Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack, @veganyackattack
Suzanne @ You Made That?, @YouMadeThatblog
Cindy @ Vegetarian Mamma, @vegetarianmamma
Elizabeth @ Queen’s Notebook, @Mango_Queen

Want more tomatoes? Check out:

Grilled Lime and Bitters Chicken

A friend once invited me to dinner at her brother’s new house, maybe 10 years ago. I do remember the gorgeous setting of the backyard. There was lush vegetation all around, pretty wind chimes and birdhouses. I have fond memories of that evening. Its was a beautiful summer day and of course a barbecue meal was in order. He made this chicken, it was the best grilled chicken I ever ate. So flavorful, fragrant and intensely delicious. They gave us a photocopy the recipe from a cookbook or magazine and I made it a few times back then and forgot about the recipe. I wish I would remember what was the side dish to the chicken at that dinner party, I know I took down that recipe too but memory fails me.

Well I had a craving and I was having my parents over for lunch on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for my father’s birthday. It did not take long to dig out the recipe. I cannot give you a source, all I know is that is was on page 52-53 of the barbecue section, as indicated in the photocopy. Just as wonderful as I had remembered!

Ξ Grilled Lime and Bitters Chicken Ξ

1 chicken cut into 4 pieces or 4 chicken breast
1/3 cup lime juice
1 Serrano pepper, thinly sliced
2 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp Angostura Bitters
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 ground pepper
a pinch of ground cloves

Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Cover the chicken with the marinade and let stand in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. Remove chicken from fridge and let it come to room temperature prior to grilling. Drain and set marinade aside. Grill the chicken on the barbecue for about 5-8 minutes per side (meat thermometer should read 165 F), basting the meat with the marinade regularly. Serve with a side of your choice.

 

Delectable BBQ Sliced Rosemary Lamb

I am away for a little bit to frolic in the country…..enjoy this scheduled post and I look forward to posting upon my return.

_________________________________________

Have you learned to love a certain food over time…a food you really disliked at first that now you enjoy? I like best the descriptive Acquired Taste expression to explain this phenomena.  I know I have my fair share of such foods I rejected on firts bite as a child and now adore. My part list includes blue cheese, oysters, anchovies, eggplant and lamb by a long shot.

Oh that repulsive wooly gamey taste in my youth, I hated it. Now I know that lamb only tastes like that when the lamb is slaughtered past the 1 year mark. That is when the taste gets stronger and the meat tougher. I clearly remember the day I was courageous and ordered the first piece of lamb I loved. It was at a restaurant specializing in cuisine from Brittany. The Lamb came from l’Ile Verte, an island in the Saint- Laurence river, where the lambs fed in a salted march. It was also served like a filet mignon. It was divine and I have eating lamb without fear ever since.

I was preparing a very simple dinner with lamb,  a meat I do not buy often but it was 30% off. It turned out to be one of the best lamb dishes I have ever tasted in my life. It was a Foodgasm! The incredibly easy  and quick to prepare marinade knocked my socks of and paired with lamb perfectly. Let the meat marinate for one hour and them cook 3 min on each side on the BBQ.

Ξ BBQ Sliced Rosemary Lamb Ξ

4 slices of lamb leg butt
2 clove of garlic cut in 2 lengthwise
4tsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut excess fat around the slice, rub each side of the steaks with the halved garlic
  2. Mix well remaining ingredients in a bowl. Marinate the meat in the sauce for 2 hours
  3. Pre-heat your BBQ to 400F.
  4. Cook for 3 minutes on each side – this timing will give you a medium rare meat.

I bought this weekend some zucchini flowers for the first time ever. Now I realize they were maybe not bloomed enough beauty wise and since they may not be good upon my return I decided to do a quick grill with them since I could only find fried or stuffed recipes online which was not going to happen at 9 pm at night!

All I did was mix a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar together, with a touch of garlic salt and pepper and them dipped the blooms in like a paint brush to coat the flowers. After 3min on the BBQ they are done. They were very tasty and I look forward to experimenting more with this flower. how pretty are they with red currants lazying about the dish.

Celebrating Oh Canada, Moving and Seperation with Rabbit

Before the rabbit we will have a small history lesson if you will.

Today, July 1st is Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadian readers. Canada, under a united constitution, is 186 years old. It was in 1867 that we told the British to go stuff their tea cups and go home! Ironically Prince William and his new princess bride, Kate, are here visiting and celebrating with us Canuks this year.

But that is not all. Quebec celebrates Moving day on July 1st. No, this is not an official holiday or law but it has been tradition to move on this particular day since 1973. The origins actually go back to the late 1700s when the French government forbade the land Lords from evicting their tenant farmers before the winter snow had melted. When the concept of leases began this was set as May 01st but later became July 01st so that students would not have to move during the school year. On the island of Montreal, where Moving Day has its biggest impact, it is estimated that about 1/8th of the population is changing address. It’s a great day to go dumpster diving for furniture too!

Unrelated but interesting note: Canada is 186 years old but the French took possession of Quebec in 1534 (477 years ago) when Jacques Cartier planted a cross on the Gaspé Peninsula. No information super highway back then.

Nope I am not going political on you with Quebec and separation. This is on a much more personal note as this post is dedicated (as promised) to my friend Karyn who is celebrating her 4th anniversary of separating from her ex-husband…..a day she celebrates grandly every year (hey she got out of a non abusive but miserable situation). Congrats hun!

And what better way to celebrate separation then with a BBQ and a whole carcass! I gave her the choice of my pending recipe posts…she chose the BBQ Rabbit. But I actually served this on Father’s Day, confusing I know. Warning sensitive souls may be offended by some of the pictures below (but I bet you are real curious now).

So I bought a rabbit a while back because it was 30% off. I have never cooked a rabbit before but I was no stranger to eating it. I have never had an issue about it. I told a few friends about my purchase and was told flat out NOT to send an invite to that meal. Fine, like, whatever!

But I knew my parents would be delighted. I really wanted to give this a go on the BBQ too which I finally got working and gassed after a 2 year hiatus. So here we go with a BBQ Rabbit recipe.

Ξ BBQ Whole Rabbit Ξ

1  approx 3-pound rabbit, whole but without the head
1 can of beer
1 cup of barbecue sauce, store bought or homemade

Place the rabbit in a pot and pour the bottle of beer over it. Add cold water to the pot until the rabbit is completely covered. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a LOW SIMMER, parboiling, for 20 minutes.

Preheat grill to 400 degrees F.

Remove rabbit from boiling water (drain well) and place directly on grill. Grill on one side for 15-20 minutes, then flip the rabbit. Apply a generous coating of barbecue sauce on the top side of the rabbit and let it cook for another 15-20 minutes. Flip the rabbit over and apply barbecue sauce, letting it remain on the grill for another 10 minutes, being careful to not let the barbecue sauce burn. Cut into pieces and serve. Great info here on how to carve a rabbit.

The result: A little more gammy in taste then if it was cooked in a delicate sauced dish but very good and different. Would do it again.

Canada Day, Canada, Quebec, Moving day,July 1st,cheap ethnic eatz,montreal,rabbit, barbecue, bbq, bbq rabbit, bbq sauce, parboil

Bofinger Review

I have been putting of going to Bofinger for quite sometime. The first location is like 8 blocks away from me and I just did not go. At one point I was decided to go with the CEE dinner group but they do not take reservations. Why was I so hesitant to go?  Because the word of mouth reviews I got were mixed and mostly somewhat negative. Since they serve traditional US Southern food I figured if there ever was a time to try out Bofinger it was NOW, upon my return from the South.

Now what most people do not know is that one of the owners of Bofinger is also co-owner of La Louisiane, a Cajun bistro which I love. Again, the first location near me is 3 blocks away from La Louisiane. Since then 3 locations have opened up: downtown, West Island and the Plateau. The website says:...Our goal was to introduce authentic Southern Style BBQ to Canadians. At Bofinger, we prepare all our food with great care. Our famous NATURALLY Smoked Meats are prepared in a true fusion of Southern/Quebec style: Dry rubbed and smoked with maple wood for up to 24 hours.

The one I tried was the Plateau location on Parc Avenue. Not only was I finally going to try this place but it also turned into a ‘foodie blogger ‘blind date”. Through the Foodie Exchange I started chatting with another Montreal food blogger. I really like her blog and I was happy to see we were getting along by email. She suggested meeting and I brought up Bofinger. Now it was a bit odd planning a first date in a really non fancy place lol. But Vibi of La Casserole Carrée said she clearly understood what she was getting herself into. We had a really nice time chatting away for a couple of hours, actually 3 I think he he, and another diner will be planned once the craziness of summer subsides. Her blog is only in French but it is wonderful. Recipes can be translated easy enough.

So Bofinger is totally cafeteria style. You order what you want at the counter…your meat and the famous sides plus what ever else you want. You pay, they take down you name and you go sit and wait till you are called. I am not a big cafeteria style fan. But the girl who served us was nice enough. They have trios on the menu – your meat, 1 side dish and a drink.The menu is Southern BBQ in its various forms: ribs, chicken, pulled pork, wings. In North Carolina BBQ is pulled or chopped pork…period. My friend there said it quite well: ” for you BBQ is a verb, for me it is a noun”. Once you pick your meat you pick your sauce to go with it. Choices are Texas, South Carolina, Honey BBQ, Memphis, Alabama and Crazy Spicy. Sides dishes offered are mac and cheese, baked beans, salad, potato salad, coleslaw, bean salad, fries.

Vibi liked her ribs although they were a bit dry and not the best she has had. Her side dish of baked bean were a disappointment. they were your Canadian variety. Potato salad was good but nothing special. That is all I am going to say about her critic….can’t remember other details.

Now for my review – fresh of the plane from the South – please buckle your seat belt and make sure your trays are in an upright and locked position because it is going to be a bumpy ride. I had of course the pulled pork sandwich. Both ribs and pork had a very pronounced smoky taste to them, good but not what I was familiar with in the South. Besides that I found the pork itself a bit bland. As I said you choose your sauce, they did not put enough sauce on the pork and they should add the sauce in the kitchen in a bowl and mix it all up…..not just ladle it on the meat. Never in North Carolina did I have a piece of unseasoned meat sticking out. I got the South Carolin sauce and they got right: traditionally dijon mustard that makes it sour-sweet. With the sauce the pulled pork was good and did bring back vacation memories. If I were them I would not toast the bun….it was a bit burned and too big.

Next the sides. Really, no attempt to have an equivalent to greens? For shame. Actually the only side dishes that were truly reminiscent were coleslaw, fries and mac & cheese. Where were the mashed potatoes with gravy, the black eyed peas, string beans, corn. The mac & cheese was a DISGRACE! it’s by the box Kraft dinner with sprinkle shredded cheese on it. It SHOULD BE  by the box Kraft dinner with baked in cheese. Not a fancy dish but the backing with extra cheese is a huge upgrade to this crap. Baked beans were very Canadianized.

Things seriously missing from the menu if they want to call themselves a southern restaurant…biscuit, corn bread, hush puppies and ice tea..the real kind! you want to try some simple different BBQ food which a gourmet touch then Bofinger is for you. If you want to try reall Southern BBQ….travel!! It’s not so authentic.

All in all there is one lesson learned here: even if two foodies share a just OK meal it can still be a wonderful outing as what counts is the company rather then the food sometimes.

Bofinger
– 5667 Sherbrooke West, Montreal, QC
– 1250 University Street, Montreal, QC
– 25 Boul. Don Quichotte, Ile Perrot, QC
– 5145 Ave. Parc, Montreal, QC