Friday 20 March 2020

Greek Style Israeli Pearl Couscous Salad #quarantinecooking

This Covid-19 pandemic has given me some time at home with the boys.  So far, I have enough ingredients to make some decent meals. 

This is our side dish with dinner tonight.

Greek Style Israeli Pearl Couscous Salad

  • 3 cups of cooked peal couscous
  • 20 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • .5 cup of chick peas
  • 1 cup of diced celery
  • .25 cup of red onion
  • .5 cup of red or yellow onion
  • finely minced jalapeno if you like it spicy
Greek style dressing
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • garlic cloves, pressed (or finely minced)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Mix dressing into the other ingredients. I topped it with some Zatar cause that's how I roll.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Tomato Dill Soup

This is one of my favorite soups to make.  Quick and easy.

Tomato Dill Soup

·       2 tbsp of butter
·       2 cloves of garlic minced
·       Half a sweet onion chopped
·       2 ribs of celery, chopped
·       2 carrots chopped
·       1 can of diced tomatoes
·       2-3 tbsp of fresh dill
·       ¼ stp of salt
·       1 tsp pepper
·       1 box container of low sodium chicken broth
·       1 bay leaf

1.       Melt butter and over medium heat, cook onion, carrots and celery for about 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent.  Add Garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes further.
2.       Stir in tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
3.       Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
4.       Add dill and cook 5 minutes longer.
5.       Use an immersion blender (or a real blender in small batches) and puree the soup.

Saturday 14 July 2018

Improve your steaks : Chimichurri recipe

I had the chance this morning to attend our local farmer's market.  I'm glad they've found a location for the summer and hope to see them in a permanent location at some point. 
Their greenhouse is located right here in town. 

My goal this morning was to pick up some fresh parsley to make some chimichurri. Chimichurri is a condiment used quite commonly in Argentina.  It really brings out the flavor of beef.  Great on steaks but mine will be used on a burger today.

In speaking with Alex this morning he told to take pics of my food.  I thought I'd do one better and share my recipe.

3/4 cup of fresh parsley
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of red wine vinegar
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 tsp of pepper
salt to taste

Finely chop the parsley and mince the garlic.  Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix in the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Let sit in refrigerator for about an hour before serving.  Will keep in a covered container for at least a week.

There are a few things you can do to change up the flavor. I like adding red pepper flakes or a small thai bird eye chili when I make it.  I also really like it with the addition of about 1/4 cup of cilantro or oregano.  It changes the flavor.  

Feel free to try out this recipe and let me know how you like it. 

Friday 27 April 2018

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad

What do you do with pickle juice after you are done eating the pickles.  Some will add it to their Bloody Caesar's.  But I don't drink those.  So here is my take on a pasta salad for those who like the brinyness (is that a word) of pickles.


  • 3 - 4 cups of cooked pasta
  • 3/4 cup sliced pickles
  • 2/3 cup mild cheddar cheese , diced
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced onion (i used red onion for colour)
  • 3 tbsp of finely diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup pickle juice 


  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp white sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 4 tablespoons pickle juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Mix the dressing into the pasta and other ingredients one little bit at a time until it is properly coated.  

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Crazefest 2017

In just a few days, I'll be travelling to Crazefest 2017 on the Sutton Fair Grounds in Sutton-Georgina, Ontario, not far from Barrie.  I'll be joined by my beautiful wife as well as my great BBQ friends Sean and Tabitha from Toronto.

This will be my first professional BBQ competition.  Andrea and I have done fairly well on the Amateur circuit in the past 5 years by twice becoming Grand Champions and having a number of 1st place ribs awards at different events.

This event will be a whole new ballgame.  We will be competing against some of the best pros that Canada and the Northern US States has to offer.  If you've ever seen BBQ Pitmasters on TV, this is pretty much what this will be like.  You can watch an episode below.


On day 1, we have entered the Chicken wing division as well we dessert (Thanks to one of my teammates) and the best sauce.

On day 2, we will be cooking Brisket, Pork Shoulder, Ribs and Chicken and they will be turned in 30 minutes apart.

Hopefully, I'll be able to keep everyone updated on Facebook, but likely will not do much updating online till we get back.

All in all, I'm just hoping we won't completely suck!  Would be nice to at least get a call or a middle of the pack finish against all these teams that have competed before.

Monday 1 May 2017

Best Baked Potato

Every once in a while I come upon an article or a recipe online and I think.... Why didn't I think of that?

This is one of those articles.

I really like the Splendid Table website.  They really dive into recipes.

What was this miraculous recipe this week?  Wait for it!!!!

How to cook a baked potato!

That's it!  Simple as that.

From chosing the right potato (russet please), to what temperature to cook the potato at (450... yikes!) to actually using a meat thermometer to judge doneness (cook to 205 internatl temp).

I made these yesterday and they were awesome.

You can find the whole blog here.

Sunday 12 March 2017

Welcome to our first sponsor

Heart of Gold BBQ will be participating in their first Professional competition the weekend of June 2nd.  Georgina, Ontario will be hosting Crazefest which will have a KCBS competition.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome aboard our first sponsor for our first pro comp this year.

My cousin Dan Davidson, from Davidson's Country Dining in Innisfil, Ontario will be providing our meat for this competition.

The pic above is a picture of the restaurant.  When you step into the front door, you'll likely be greeted by Dan himself and you'll immediately feel welcomed as though you were visiting an old friend.

If you are in Barrie or Innisfil area, I highly recommend you check out the place and have some of their great food.

Here are the directions to the restaurant... just a short drive from Barrie.

Monday 16 January 2017

Guest post from Bill Pudim. Biscuits and gravy

From Bill Pudim : Grill Master on Backyard BBQ Battle

Sausage gravy and biscuits, topped with a sunnyside-up egg is a southern classic and one of my favorite breakfasts. Simply delicious. The biscuits are your preference, personally I like buttermilk drop biscuits, but you can buy the refrigerated Pillsbury Country Biscuits at the grocery, use Bisquick, or make your own rolled biscuits. The magic is in the gravy. I like to use Johnsonville breakfast sausage, because I can't find a Canadian breakfast sausage that has that sage, savory flavor that stands out. If I can't find Johnsonville, I will use locally produced breakfast sausage and season it to my liking before browning. 
Here's my gravy recipe

1lb of loose breakfast sausage,
1tbs of finely minced onion
6tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
hot pepper sauce to taste
2 354ml cans evaporated milk
1 cup water

Crumble and brown breakfast sausage over medium heat in a large skillet, add minced onion when sausage is no longer pink, continue to cook for 1 minute. add flour to sausage and onion and mix well, add 2 cans of evaporated milk and continue to stir constantly, Add 1 cup of water, keep stirring, scraping up all fond from the bottom of skillet. When gravy begins to thicken, reduce heat to low and continue stirring, add several dashes of hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper, stir until blended.

Serve immediately over warm biscuits and top with egg and enjoy.

Leftover gravy can be refrigerated and reheated, add a splash of milk or half&half to desired consistency.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Backyard BBQ Battle, Episode 12, Chef's choice

I decided to cook steak for this last episode.  Bill went with duck.  Stewart's line of the day was "how's your duck Bill?".

I made an argentinian style steak rub.  It will soon likely be for sale under the brand.  So I'll give the ingredients (kosher salt, pepper, sweet paprika, granulated garlic, dill weed, coriander, red pepper flakes, mustard powder, onion powder) but you'll have to watch the show to get an idea of the quantities.

The rest of my recipes are below.

·         2 cups packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
·         4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
·         1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves (or 4 teaspoons dried oregano)
·         1/4 cup red wine vinegar
·         1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
·         1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Throw everything in a blender and go!

Melted Onions

·         6 medium yellow onions (skin on), 8 to 10 ounces each, about the size of a tennis ball
·         ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
·         ½ teaspoon kosher salt
·         ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·         1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
·         1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley

Render the onions down in a cast iron skillet.  When fork tender and translucent, add salt, pepper, vinegar and parsley.  

Saturday 14 January 2017

Backyard BBQ Battle - episode 11 - Bring on the booze

Due to a technical glitch, Episode 11 will not be airing.  However, I made some great recipes using product from Rheault Distillery from Hearst.  My friends Mireille Morin and Marcel Rheault have been producing Loon Vodka (not made from real Loons) and Sinful Cherry Liqueur for a few years now.

These 2 recipes use their products.  If you want a quick and easy dessert, Sinful Cherry served over a lime sorbet is outstanding as well.

Hope you enjoy the recipes. The bloody ceasar flank steak recipe is really good.  I ended up using skirt steak but it's a great marinade for any tougher cut of beef.  The key is to not overcook the meat.  Cook it no more than medium and slice against the grain, otherwise, it will be way too tough!
To my American friends, Clamato juice can be substituted with tomato juice, or even V8.

Episode 11 - Bring on the booze episode

Bloody Caesar Flank Steak – inspired by Guy Fieri

·         1 cup Clamato juice

·         1/2 cup Loon vodka

·         1 teaspoon sea salt

·         1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

·         1 teaspoon hot sauce

·         1 tablespoon lemon juice

·         1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

·         1/2 tablespoon crushed garlic

·         1 teaspoon onion powder

·         1 teaspoon celery seed

·         1 teaspoon of celery salt

·         1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

·         4 tablespoons olive oil

·         1 -pound flank steak


1.      Thoroughly mix all the ingredients except for the flank steak in a 1-gallon zip lock bag.

2.      Add the flank steak. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 and up to 24 hours.

3.      Preheat the grill to high or heat a skillet over high heat. Remove the flank steak from the marinade and wipe the excess liquid off with paper towels.

4.      Grill both sides and cook to medium rare or in a skillet, sear both sides and lower heat to medium to cook to medium rare.

5.      Let the flanks steak rest, covered, with a sheet of foil for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut on the bias against the grain and serve.

Grilled beet salad with goat cheese

·         4 medium beets - scrubbed, trimmed and cut in half

·         1/3 cup chopped grilled walnuts

·         1/3 cup of Sinful Cherry Liqueur

·         1 (10 ounce) package mixed baby salad greens

·         1/2 cup fresh orange juice

·         1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

·         1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

·         2 ounces goat cheese

1.      Wrap beets in foil and cook in a hot grill for at least an hour.  Remove beets and grill them to add some smokey flavor. 

2.      While the beets are cooking, place the walnuts in a skillet over medium-low heat. Heat until warm and starting to toast, then stir in the maple syrup. Cook and stir until evenly coated, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3.      In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, Sinful Cherry Liqueur, balsamic vinegar and olive oil to make the dressing.

4.      Place a large helping of baby greens onto each of four salad plates, divide candied walnuts equally and sprinkle over the greens. Place equal amounts of beets over the greens, and top with dabs of goat cheese. Drizzle each plate with some of the dressing.


Grilled parsnip puree

·         1 lb of parsnips

·         ½ cup of cream

·         ¼ cup of butter

·         Salt-pepper

·         Herbes de provence


Grill or smoke parsnips for about 20 minutes.  Wrap them in foil with a bit of butter and allow them to cook all the way through.  Mix with butter, herbes de provence, salt and pepper and cream.