Spice of Life
What a beautiful start to the weekend! Our team has been spending some extra time in the garden and whipping up our favourite summer treats to help beat the heat. Spoil yourself, your family, and your friends with these delicious recipes all summer long.
Gardening with Martha: French Breakfast Radishes
by: Martha Wright, Executive Chef, Stratus Restaurant
I love everything about radishes. They are juicy, crunchy, a little spicy, and often they can taste like the earth they grow in. They are available early in the growing season. Serve with some flakey Maldon salt, or even better, the very French picnic item; a radish and butter sandwich. The key is to use a lot of butter, a lot of radishes, plenty of salt, and a great sourdough (Blackbird Bakery is my favourite). The greens are also delicious, sautéed like kale or spinach. They can also be stirred into soups or stews near the end of cooking.
Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow at home, taking only 28 days from seed to table. Being cold loving plants, they do well early in the spring, and late into the fall. You can plant seeds once to ground is workable, in loose soil, with lots of organic matter worked in. Make sure they will get lots of sun, and consistent watering. The rapidly growing roots do best when they don’t have alternating periods of drought and flood, but rather, even watering that can drain away and not pool up and cause rot.
Once the bright red shoulders start to push out of the soil, they are ready to be eaten. Enjoy!
BBQ Tips: Beer Can Chicken
by: Sean Vodden, Sous Chef and Team Canada BBQ Chef, Stratus Restaurant
Ready in 90 minutes
Serves 2 adults
- 1 whole chicken, 2 - 3 lbs
- 1 can of your favourite beer
- 1/2 cup Hardins Seasoning or Montreal Chicken Spice
- Beer can chicken holder, if available
- Empty pint glass
- Set your grill to 350F with a 2 zone cooking area.
- Open your favourite can of beer and pour half of the beer into your empty pint glass. Put aside.
- If necessary, cut off top of beer can to fit into beer can chicken holder.
- Liberally rub chicken with your favourite chicken seasoning, make sure to coat it all.
- Place chicken on stand and put on the cool zone of the grill.
- Start enjoying your favourite beer from step 2.
- Turn the chicken every 20 minutes to ensure an even temperature.
- Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165F.
- Once cooked, let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
- Use 2 zone cooking on your gas grill or charcoal grill.
- If a beer can chicken holder isn’t available, use the chicken legs to help prop up the chicken in your grill.
- If you don’t drink beer, chicken stock or broth is a perfect substitute.
Summer Cocktail: Strawberry Daiquiri
by: Kyla Markland, Bar Manager, Stratus Restaurant
On these hot summer days, cool down with a delicious Strawberry Daiquiri!
- 6 cups of ice
- 1/2 cup of super fine white sugar
- 4 ounces of fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1/8 cup lime juice
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of lemon or lime sparkling soda
- 3/4 cup of rum
- Combine ice, strawberries, and sugar.
- Add in lime, lemon, sparkling soda, and rum.
- Blend until smooth and serve in a chilled glass.
- Garnish with fresh a strawberry or lime wheel.
Don’t forget the kids:
Take out the rum and add a dash of grenadine to the recipe. The kids will love this yummy mocktail!
Fun Cooking with David: Gazpacho
by: David Mendonca, Sous Chef, Oak Room
Gazpacho has a long history. Roman soldiers would carry dried bread, garlic, vinegar, salt, and olive oil to make an early form of the soup. But it was in Andalucia in southern Spain that gazpacho became popularized.
Gazpacho has many health benefits. It prevents colds and hypertension; contains Vitamins A, E, and C, mainly found in the peppers and tomatoes; has a certain vasodilator effect which helps control blood pressure; slows the aging process; helps you lose weight; and hydrates your body.
- 4 to 5 fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and finely diced
- 1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup minced green onion
- 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 pinch dried oregano
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, thinly sliced
- Add all ingredients to blender. Or use a hand blender.
- Combine diced tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, jalapeño, and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
- Place cherry tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a blender.
- Cover and puree until smooth. Pour pureed mixture through a strainer into the tomato-cucumber mixture; stir to combine.
- Place 1/3 of the tomato mixture into the blender. Cover, turn blender on, and puree until smooth.
- Return pureed mixture to the remaining tomato-cucumber mixture. Stir to combine.
- Cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
- Season cold soup with salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with basil.
Right now, most of us are noticing that our groceries are getting used up and aren’t going bad. But just in case you're wondering, this gazpacho would last not more than 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
by: Kyla Markland, Bar Manager & Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Stratus Restaurant
In talking about our favourite “superfoods,” it’s impossible not to mention this super nutritious fruit. Yes, although the avocado is commonly enjoyed and used in cooking as a vegetable, it is technically a fruit from the Lauraceae family of plants.
The avocado is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Not only that, but it manages to pack in more potassium than a banana and is super satisfying, making it one of the best fruits for weight loss.
There are limitless ways to enjoy this creamy fruit; try spreading it over toast, adding it to a salad or smoothie, or even just sprinkle a bit of salt on a few slices and enjoy.
Cooking with Neesha: Shakshuka
by: Neesha de Souza Miljanovic, Food & Beverage Manager, The HUB – kitchen and bar
If a truly perfect dish exists, it just might be shakshuka. Easy to make, totally flexible, healthy, inexpensive, and composed of ingredients you likely regularly have on hand, it checks all the boxes for an ideal meal—plus, it’s fit for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 450 ml can diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp dry coriander
- 2 medium spicy Italian sausages (meat optional)
- 2 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Cut sausages in small chunks and sauté in cast iron or any oven proof pan in a little bit of olive oil until cooked through and golden in colour. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.
- Sauté onion, garlic, and peppers for 6 - 8 minutes in olive oil. Add the spices and sauté for another minute then add tomatoes. Cook on medium heat for 7 - 8 minutes until liquid reduces by half.
- Mix in cooked sausage if doing the meat version.
- Create small holes to crack an egg into. Once eggs have been placed in the dish, transfer into the oven.
- Cook until eggs are to your liking. For soft eggs: 2 - 3 minutes, for hard eggs: 5 - 6 minutes. Use an oven mitt or kitchen cloth to remove pan from oven and serve!
- Can be accompanied with toast or bread of your choice. I baked my own gluten-free corn tortilla chips for easy dipping.