We don’t BBQ in the winter

I know many people grill and BBQ all year round, but we actually have a pretty cheap propane BBQ that sits out in our backyard… Bill doesn’t like to have it close to the house, and doesn’t like the cold… so I cook everything on the stove or in the oven in the cool months, and we grill/BBQ all our dinners in the warm months.  What ends up happening with this method, is that I forget from one season to the next what our favourite meals were, how to do them, what worked well… (I hear you thinking.. is she that forgetful?)  Here’s the problem… i rarely use recipes, and if I do, it’s only as a launching pad.  And then 6 months later, the concoction that I came up with in my head is gone..

So.. I’m hoping this blog will rectify that.  I rarely ever measure.. (except in baking where chemistry is important)

Bill and I are learning grill methods together.. meaning, I learn, and I go out and tell him what to do while he’s grilling.   (“flip now, brush sauce on now…”)  He likes timers, so i do that for him as well.   In years previous, we finally mastered sirloin steaks to a nice medium rare, hamburgers, and cedar planked salmon.   I have never been able to get chicken or pork right… UNTIL this year!  Tonite we had our first ever success with grilled pork tenderloin kebobs.

Our local Foodland has the best cuts of meat (shout out to Vito, the butcher!)  Today he had these beautiful pork kebabs on sale, so I picked a few up to try.  I brushed some avocado oil on, ground fresh pepper and a bit of salt, and sprinkled with some dried tarragon.

I also picked up some pineapple sauce and fresh pineapple while i was in the store.  Picked zucchini, mint, garlic scapes, (these were harvested a while ago, and have been staying fresh in a bag in our crisper)  and basil.  A friend gave us fresh sweet peaches from his orchard this week, so I also halved 2 of those for dinner.

  
First time I’ve grilled fruit as well.  I melted some butter and brushed it lightly on the fruit, adding cinnamon to the butter for the peaches.    Zucchini was dressed only in fresh squeezed lemon juice and Greek seasoning.  Scapes with Avocado Oil, lemon, salt & pepper.  (in case you’re wondering why i use Avocado Oil, it has a much higher burning point than Olive Oil, which breaks down and loses all it’s nutritional value when heated past a certain temperature.. i don’t know the particulars or the science of it.. but i’ve been using avocado oil, and really like the results)

So.. here’s the results of tonite’s first attempt at fruit and pork kebabs… I can tell you honestly.. this was the BEST dinner we’ve had in a while, it was so tasty, the pork was fork tender, and melted in our mouths.  Serious YUM factor.

    

Our tomatoes are starting to ripen!

i get so excited when the first of our tomatoes ripen.  I have 3 overflowing cages of heirloom tomatoes growing on the south side of our house, a perfect spot where they get lots of sun and heat.   I’ve been brutal with them this year, (although you’d never know it looking at them) trimming, suckering, peeling off leaves… 

Today I thought I’d try my hand at something new (to me) .. Grilled stuffed tomatoes.   Recipe calls to just cut off the top of each tomato, and scoop out the flesh… But one tomato each would have been too much..our tomatoes are HUMONGOUS!!!   Great thing about heirloom tomatoes is the meaty flesh.. Very little wet seedy areas.

I stuffed the tomato halves with stovetop stuffing (called for croutons,none in the house), the meat from the tomatoes, zucchini, basil, parsley, chives, summer savoury, and feta (all veg and herbs from our garden) 

   

I had way too much stuffing for the two halves, (enough for one more half filled like these) next time we will try quinoa or rice…  And less of it.   Add in some garlic and onion maybe? 
And here’s dinner….  

Grilled sirloin steak, sliced portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and our stuffed tomatoes.   So Yummmmmmy…. 

Today we had a late breakfast outside, leaving us full and satisfied well past midday, so this was our “Lupper”..  

Bills headed off to the races tonight, making it  a perfect night for an early meal.   

  
                                                                                           Bon appetit!!!

I hate beets

at least I used to.   Cold, pickled, boiled… Doesn’t matter, they taste like dirt.

That is, until someone made roasted root vegetables for a family dinner a few yrs ago, and beets were in the mix.   Tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, and some Rosemary…and most importantly, not overcooked, I was pleasantly surprised to find they were actually quite good!

Inspired by the roasted beet phenomenon that changed my Dutch stubborn mind… I decided last summer to try them on the grill with some surprising success!  My guests, Bill, and even I, the beet-hater… Loved them.

This past Friday  we stopped by our local fruit stand, to see what they had ready. I was disappointed by the slim pickings.  No fruit, just bushels & bushels of corn, zucchini (we already have enough to sell ourselves) and little else.  The girl at the stand tried six different ways to sell us sweet corn, but we weren’t interested.   I didn’t want to leave empty handed, and just before I gave up, I stopped and my eyes fell on this one huge gorgeous deep burgundy beet.   We gladly paid $1 and brought the beauty home.   We were away for the rest of the weekend, so she sat alone on the counter til tonite…waiting to see what I would do with her.

I’ll get better at this blogging thing, even now as I write, I realize I should have taken a photo of both the fruit stand, and the glorious uncut beet.  Instead here you have the sliced beet, rubbed with Evoo, S&P, with fresh chopped rosemary and summer savoury from our garden.  Each slice is about 3″ diam.

Next question… What to add to this meal?  I have been wanting to try grilled romaine for awhile, and had a few large mushrooms left in the fridge, so I prepared those as well, while also marinating some chicken breasts in the fridge (chicken marinade is Evoo, grated rind from one lemon, 3 minced garlic cloves, crushed black pepper, and oregano)

Here’s all the veg ready to go..  

The halved Romaine hearts are lightly brushed with avocado oil on cut side, topped with a sprinkle of  steak spice and grated Parmesan

Mushrooms with avocado oil, and a dash of Greek seasoning

Can you smell the grilling beets?   

The romaine on my plate was maybe 30 seconds  over charred, but yummy (squeezed a little lemon juice on when it came off the grill for the final touch)

This next romaine was done to perfection… 

What unusual veg do you like on the grill?  What’s something different you’d like to try? Our review:   Bill was a little iffy on the romaine, but loved the beets.   I enjoyed both, but would do the romaine for shorter period next time, and maybe top with some crumbled “fromage bleu” immediately when it comes off the grill.  And perhaps bacon??  😉
                                                           Bon appetit!

It’s mostly Amy’s kitchen…

But “Amy’s kitchen”was already taken on WordPress, and my dearly beloved really does a lot most of the work in our garden and on the Q, so I’ll share the blog name with him.  I love posting pictures of our tasty healthy dinners, and the miraculous growth in the garden, but I’m sure people on Facebook are getting tired of it.  I’ve decided instead to blog our yummy dinners, garden pictures, birds, trees, flowers and whatever else catches my eye and makes me happy.   We live in an exceptionally beautiful area within Niagara Peninsula in southern Ontario, also known as the “fruit belt”.  We are blessed with an endless bounty of amazing fresh local produce in the summer & autumn months.

The colours, aromas, shapes, textures and sizes are all so pleasing.   I love the smell on my hands when I pick fresh basil, mint, summer savory or Rosemary from my herb garden, or the juice of harvested garlic  running over my fingers.  

 The almost prickly fuzz on fresh picked zucchini  tickles.  I get excited at the first bright blooms, and when bees visit… Knowing we’ll have juicy plump fruit very soon.    

   Welcome to this one dimensional blog… Hopefully through my photos and words you will be able to smell the sweetness of fresh local strawberries, smell the sun heated herbs, feel the fuzz on zucchini, peaches and even green beans..   Bon appetite!!