Archives for July 2010

Grilled Portabello & Radicchio Bruschetta with Chevre


When it comes to grilling, I will willingly admit I am not the queen of the barbecue.

Perhaps it’s because I never made it all the way down the line to the grill when I worked in professional kitchens. I always got hung up on the fish station, just past the hot entrees. Roasted lobster tails, delicate quail breasts and juicy raw scallops all fell under my knife, but I never got to hear the sizzle of the grill as it marked slab after slab of red meat.


Then we lived in a downtown apartment for several years. There’s not much room on a tiny Plateau balcony for a barbecue, especially with all the herbs I grew. Again, no grill experience for this girl.

Eventually I found myself in semi-suburbia, with two kids, my trusty tongs from the old restaurant days, and –uh oh!– a grill.

Now, thanks to inspiration from the kind folks at Sobeys, who sent me a grocery gift card and practically propelled me in the direction my barbecue, I’m bringing you a couple of grilling recipes that I feel confident about.

First up is this bruschetta, my interpretation of a Sobeys recipe for a warm grilled radicchio salad. I can definitely stand behind this bruschetta, with it’s warm chevre, silky portabello mushrooms, and chewy bread.

Perfect for a warm summer night, all it needs is a glass of red wine to keep it company.

Grilled Portabello & Radicchio Bruschetta with Chevre

Don’t be nervous about the bitterness of radicchio. The grilling brings out this green’s sweeter side, and the balsamic vinaigrette add the perfect balance.

Serves 4 as a light lunch

  • 1 pkg (350g) Compliments Organic Portabello mushrooms*
  • 1 medium head radicchio, sliced into 8 wedges
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Sensations by Complements Aged Balsamic Vinegar of Modena*
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted (or 1 T. capers)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 Complements French-Style loaf, cut diagonally into 1-inch slices*
  • butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup chevre or soft cheese of your choosing


Brush mushrooms and radicchio lightly in olive oil and grill over medium heat until mushroom are soft and radicchio is wilted. Remove from grill and roughly chop.

Transport to a bowl and add the olive oil, balsamic, olives and parsley. Toss together and season with salt and pepper.

Butter bread lightly and grill until slightly charred. Transfer to a pizza pan or heatproof serving platter.

Lower the heat on the grill.


Mound radicchio & portabello mixture on top of grilled bread and dot with chevre.

Place pan with bruschettas back on the grill and lower the lid of the barbeque. Turn off grill and allow the cheese to soften and the entire bruschetta to warm.

Pour wine, serve bruschetta and enjoy!

*Disclaimer: So, yep, the folks at Sobeys sent me a gift card and I went shopping for ingredients! Everything to make this meal was purchased at my local IGA, including the Complements products.

You can find plenty more inspiration for summer meals on their website.

Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: A Simple Summer Appetizer

Summer entertaining lends itself so well to simplicity: fresh produce abounds, needing little to no adornment, and the most a host should need to do is wash the produce well and serve. Since everything is so fresh and tasty so why complicate things?

One of my favorite summer snacking foods are cherry tomatoes. Fresh from the vine, bursting with warm juices, and available in an assortment of bright colors, they are nature’s Jujubes, in my opinion.

Sure you can put out a bowl of cherry tomatoes for all-day snacking, but here’s a suggestion for something slightly more sophisticated, yet still very simple: a slow-roasted cherry tomato.

Also known as oven-roasted tomatoes, these are dynamic, flavor-packed little morsels. For a easy appetizer, I like to serve a bowl of them alongside a wedge of soft cheese and a plate of crackers. Guests can create their own canapés that are easy, delicious and, best of all, seasonal! [Read more…]

How to Grill the Perfect Steak

Written by Elizabeth Nyland of Guilty Kitchen.

Today is more of a lesson in the fine art of grilling meat than it is a recipe, so no long lists of ingredients will haunt you this fine afternoon.

One of the most popular questions I get asked by friends, family and readers alike is “How do you tell when meat is cooked?” This is a loaded question. Everyone likes it differently and everyone you ask this humble question to will probably have their own answer.

Here’s mine: Practice.

The actual testing of doneness is crucial, yes, but there are other steps of equal importance. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

Eight Tips to Grilling the Perfect Steak

1. Always bring your meat up to room temperature before grilling. This ensures even cooking throughout. You wouldn’t jump in a steaming hot shower after running around naked in the cold would you? It might sting a little bit – unless you’re Norwegian…I hear they like doing that.

[Read more…]

Come Tour My Kitchen


We’re back from a five-day camping trip on the bewitchingly beautiful Maine coast and I have to tell you, I’ve fallen hard for the sea. Falling asleep to the sound of the surf, walking on the beach in sun or fog, the surf…ah, we were absolutely swept off our feet from our mini-vacation.

I’ll be giving you the full rundown of our adventures -a tornado, my first lobster roll, an overly friendly skunk in our camp, and plenty of good eats -shortly, but right now we’re busy dealing with the camping aftermath of sandy laundry, sticky dishes, and tired, sun burnt kids. We’ve got our hands full!

So until I get my photos uploaded & edited, here something for you to read….

I was thrilled to be featured on the Cafe Mom food blog, The Stir, last week. The lovely Kim Conte interviewed me and we chatted about my family, cooking, blogging and Simple Bites.

Included in the feature is a full photo tour of my kitchen, so you can see where all the action takes place. Check out my favorite spot for morning coffee and email check, as well as the counter where I Tweet-&-Cook, a favorite pastime.

Of course I threw in some family shots and plenty of food photos to make you hungry, too!

Head HERE for the full interview on The Stir.

Three 3-Minute Chilled Soups

I fell in love on my honeymoon. With a cold soup. Yes, I was already head over heels with a tall engineering student, but a chilled Hungarian sour cherry soup, enjoyed on a shady Budapest courtyard with the aforementioned tall student, also captured my heart.

That memorable lunch left an impression on me – on my palate – and I’ve never turned down a cold soup since.

Cold Soup. I know, it’s almost a contradiction. Isn’t soup supposed to be a comforting dish, warming us down to our very toes? Simmered on a back burner on a chilly autumn day? If you’re not familiar with the summer version of soup, it certainly can sound off-putting, but it is actually a marvelously refreshing way to enjoy summer’s produce.

Here’s what you may not know about cold soups: [Read more…]