Tag Archives: Spicy

Home-Made Healthy Clamato Juice

imagesI love a good Caesar, I load mine with lemon, picked beans and/or asparagus, celery, horseradish and extra hot sauce Mmmmm! But, I get quite the headache from the MSG in Mott’s Clamato Juice and I tried finding a healthier version and it seems it’s just not out there.  Plus, the rest of the ingredients in Mott’s brand aren’t so great either.  I’m not going to pretend that home-made is more economical as the recipe calls for 4 bottles of clam juice coming in at $3 a bottle but it sure does taste awesome, tried and tested on skeptics at a Christmas Party.  This recipe fills one of those big glass Apple Juice Jugs, not really sure how much that is but you can put it in whatever container works.

1 (46 oz)  can Tomato Juice
4 (10 oz)  bottles Clam Juice
1/4             cup lemon juice
¼                cup Molasses
1                   tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1                   teaspoon Worcestershire sauce I uses a gluten free version I bought at Whole Foods)
1                  teaspoon Hot Sauce
1                  teaspoon Celery Salt
1                  teaspoon Onion Powder
1                  teaspoon Garlic Powder
¼               teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Oven Dried Salmon Jerky

Cleaning out my freezer making room for soups and stews last night I found the last of my Summer Cabin Time salmon, so I whip up a marinade and dried it in the oven. This method is actually quite simple and you get a very tasty, preservative free jerky! The recipe below is my tried and tested marinade but feel free to adjust or improvise on it, if you don’t like any sweetness you can take out the maple, if you like spice and pepper add more or add some fresh cracked pepper to the flesh of the salmon before drying, if you don’t have smoked paprika you could use liquid smoke to keep the smokey flavour. You could use soy sauce in place of Braggs too. 6-8 hours of oven drying time should do it, but watch for desired doneness. I like my jerky less done so 6 hours at my ovens lowest temp with the door cracked open ever so slightly is just right for me. This is one of those recipes you’ll HAVE to try along the way – Oh darn. 😉

2    full Salmon Filets, approximately 3 lbs, cut into 1 inch strips (I use sockeye so this was maybe a 9lb fish)
Medium bowl
2/3     cup Braggs Liquid Amino
2/3     cup Worcestershire Sauce
2/3     cup Agave, Maple or Brown Sugar
2    teaspoons Smoked Paprika
2    teaspoons Tabasco
2    tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1    teaspoon Garlic Powder
2    teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper
1    teaspoon Onion Powder
1    teaspoon fresh Ground Pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Arrange Salmon strips in a shallow glass dish or place in a ziplock bag and pour in marinade sauce. Allow to marinade for 6-8 hours, turning or shaking every so often.

Drain marinade and shake off excess drippings.

Line the bottom rack of your oven with foil to catch drippings and turn onto the lowest setting, usually ovens set as low at 170 degrees, if 160 degrees is available go with that or if you’ve got a fancy oven with a dehydrating setting definitely use it! My oven only goes to 170 but I crack the door, just a little bit with a small metal spatula to allow the moist air to escape similar to a dehydrator.

Arrange salmon strips skin side down, spaced out on a rack place mid oven.

Bake for approximately 6-8 hours or until desired dryness.

Salmon jerky will last a couple months in the fridge or freeze it for longer term.

Eat it as is, take it hiking, serve with goat cheese or cream cheese, capers and crackers…endless delicious possibilities.


Mackerel with Asian-inspired Dressing

First day out fishing at the family cabin we went out for the afternoon bite just to get the hooks wet and see what’s going on just outside the inlet, we were hoping for salmon but all we caught was mackerel.  Mackerel after mackerel and some more mackerel, at one point we pulled the lines just to check them and we had 4 mackerels, so I decided, no way, we are keeping them and I am going to make them good.

My quick online research told me that Mackerel is part of the same family as tuna and actually quite good for you, it is high in fat but unsaturated fat and a filet still has fewer calories than beef and some other meats. It’s loaded with the omega fatty acids EPA, DHA and ALA, all of which are good for brain growth and heart protection.

The people around here’s first recommendation was to batter the heck out of this fish but I decided to treat it like tuna and add a little Asian flare to it.  Being a fatty fish a fast fry without oil in a cast iron skillet worked well.  Here at the cabin I threw the iron pan on the BBQ on high, sea salted, peppered and lemon zested the flesh and cooked it skin side down.   The recipe below is for the sauce I made to top it with but honestly it was totally tasty just off the BBQ!

When cooking the fish you should press it down several times to really char the skin and keep it flat, when it’s just about done you’ll see almost all the purple/pink flesh gone, flip for a few moments to just heat the flesh but do not press here.   Serve with sauce over basmati rice with something like salad or asparagus….seriously delicious. Tried and tested on skeptic fishermen!


1              clove of Garlic, peeled and chopped fine

1              thumb sized piece fresh Ginger, fine grated

3             Shallots, trimmed and fine grated

1              tablespoon Red Chilli Peppers

2             Limes, zested and juiced

1              small bunch of fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped

2              tablespoons Sesame Oil

4              tablespoons Wheat-Free Soy Sauce

2              teaspoons Honey or Agave

Splash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine all prepared ingredients except oil, whisk then add a good splash of olive oil and whisk again,  set aside until fish is cooked then simply spoon on top!

Organic Chorizo Sausage, White Bean and Kale Soup

First time I made this soup I did it without the white beans and saffron but I felt in need something, my boyfriend suggested the beans – perfect, and I added Saffron; I think it’s about right now.  This soup would be great to get lots of super healthy kale into a loved one who might prefer lots of sausage =). The sausage I used is McLean’s Organic Chorizo Pork Sausage. If I need a processed meat that I can’t get from my butcher I like to use Mclean Organic Foods. Their deli line is made from meat that was produced without growth hormones, antibiotics, and from farms that meet an animal welfare criteria. Their products are free of common allergens, food additives and are organic too!

Large heavy bottomed soup pot
Large skillet
Potato masher
Paper towel
3           tablespoons Sunflower Oil
1           large Onion, finely chopped
3           cloves Garlic, pressed
2           lbs Yukon Potatoes, thinly sliced
10         cups Broth
1           can, White Beans
1           lb Chorizo Pork Sausage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1           tablespoon Paprika
Pinch Saffron Threads
1-2        bunches Lacinato/Dinosaur Kale, center ribs discarded and leaves cut crosswise into thin slices
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
Cook onion with oil in heavy bottom pot over moderate heat until translucent and just golden.

Add garlic and sliced potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes.

Add broth and sea salt to taste and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté chorizo in skillet over moderately high heat until browned. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Coarsely mash potatoes in soup with a potato masher. Stir in white beans, chorizo, paprika, saffron and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale and simmer until just tender.

Adjust seasoning to taste.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Sweet and Smokey Paprika

Fall is here which in my kitchen means soup time.  We love cauliflower but growing up I remember cauliflower soup being kinda boring and loaded with cream so I put this flavorful one together. Roasting vegetables ALWAYS makes them taste so much better and the smokey and sweet paprika lends a nice spicy warmth.  Finding smokey paprika shouldn’t be too difficult and its fun to have around, I use it in breakfast skillets, on potatoes or in anything I want to have a real smokey flavour.

A lot of people enjoy bread with their soups, with this soup I suggest picking up your favourte baguette, gluten-free if you wish and toasting it with garlic. I will also post an easy method for garlic toasted baguette croutons.

 Oven 350 degrees

Large bowl
One large or two regular sized baking sheets
Medium-large heavy bottomed soup pot
2          large heads of Cauliflower, de-stemmed and cut into 1 inch florets
5          cloves of Garlic, peeled
4          large Shallots, peeled and cut in half
4          tablespoon Olive oil, divided
8          cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2    teaspoon of thyme leaves, finely chopped
1/4       teaspoon of Paprika
1/4       teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/8       teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Fine grain Sea Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste
1          small bunch Chives,  finely chopped

In your large bowl, toss cut up cauliflower with whole peeled garlic and shallots with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper then arrange on a one or two rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to golden.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in your soup pot over medium-high heat,  add both paprikas and sauté gently for a minute or so. DO NOT BURN.

Add the roasted cauliflower, garlic and shallots as well as thyme, cayenne and then 8 cups of stock.

Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is very tender. Remove from heat and let stand to cool enough to purée the soup in a blender.

Return to pot, gently reheat and adjust seasonings to taste.

Top with chives and a sprinkling of paprika

Makes 10-12 cup servings

Garlic Toasted Baguette Croutons

Oven to 375 degrees

Cut baguette on a diagonal into thick 1 1/2 inch slices. Brush with olive oil and dust with fine grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place the baguette slices in a single layer on a baking rack placed on top of a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and cool enough to handle.  Cut a couple peeled cloves of garlic and rub fresh cut sides on the toasts.   Float one or two slices on top of your soup!

Cedar-Plank Grilled Salmon Recipes

This weekend we had a couple friends over for dinner and BBQd our last, summer, cabin caught sockeye; one of our favourite ways to prepare salmon is in the BBQ on a cedar plank and it always impresses guests. We even cut our own planks from cedar around our cabin. However, you can buy a kit containing cedar planks from your grocery store or even by a board at hardward store. Just be sure that it is untreated, then, have it cut to size. The planks I use are typically 6 X 14 X 1/3 inches.

Below are a bunch of my favourite cedar plank recipes; this weekend we had maple bourbon with slices of lemon and orange and rosemary sprigs on top, served with roasted beets and crumbled goat cheese, baked herbed baby yukons, grilled asparagus and salad. Was very tasty and a fun evening with our guests!

Prepping a Cedar Plank:
Rinse plank. Fill the sink or a container large enough to fit the plank with water. Submerge for at least 20 minutes and as long as 4 hours.
Heat your BBQ to medium-high or about 425° F. At this temperature, the grilling planks should give off a medium- to-light smoke.
Arrange your salmon on the soaked plank and place it on the center of the grill. Within a few minutes, the plank will begin to smoke. Cooking time varies to your preference, we like our salmon pink in the middle so it really takes less than 5 minutes.
Note: After use, if your plank is not exceedingly charred or cracked you may simply brush clean with warm, soapy water, set up to dry and store for next time.

Maple Bourbon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup bourbon or apple juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 salmon fillets
4 sprigs rosemary or thyme
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix maple syrup and bourbon or apple juice together in a baking pan large enough to marinate the salmon fillets. Marinate for 20 minutes.

Brush one side of the soaked plank with olive oil and arrange Salmon fillets, skin side down and top with rosemary or thyme and black pepper. Drizzle the remaining maple bourbon mixture over salmon. Cook over a medium to high flame for approximately 10 minutes or until done.

Grainy Honey Mustard
2 tablespoons Grainy Mustard
2 tablespoons Honey (could also do with maple syrup)
1 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon Lemon, Zested
Fresh ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Arrange Salmon on soaked planks and brush with mustard mixure. Grill.

Simple Dijon Maple
1/4 cup Dijon
1/4 cup Real Maple Syrup (darker the better)
2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted

Mix all ingredients together. Arrange Salmon on soaked planks and brush with mustard mixure. Grill.

Lemon Dill
1/8 cup White Wine
1 Lemon, zest and juice
1/4 cup fresh Dill, chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher or Sea Salt
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper

Mix all ingredients together and pour over salmon in a marinating pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Arrange salmon on soaked plank and grill.

Lemon, Pepper and Red Onion
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 large Red Onion, sliced
1 large Lemon, sliced
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon Black Peppercorns, crushed

Rub salmon filets with olive oil. Arrange on the plank. Top salmon with red onion, lemon slices, parsley and black peppercorns and Grill

Spice Sauce
1/4 cup Pineapple Juice
1/3 cup Tamari
2 tablespoons White Vinegar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
3/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup packed Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 pinch Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring pineapple juice, tamari, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and honey to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and stir in brown sugar, 1 teaspoon black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 15 minutes. Set the sauce aside.

Place soaked planks on the grill and wait for smoke.

Season the salmon with sea salt and pepper and place the fillets onto the smoking cedar planks, close the lid of the grill, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Spoon a small amount of the sauce over the salmon fillets, and continue cooking until the fish turns opaque in the center, about 5 minutes more. Serve with the remaining sauce.

Blackened White Fish

Think spicy, crisp cajun-style deliciousness.  The key to this recipe is the dried herbs, I grow them on my patio, snip and dry often but all of the below can be found in the grocery store spice section.

Iron skillet
1 1/2      pounds fresh White Fish (sole, flounder, haddock, cod ect), cut or butterfly into thin fillets
1/2         cup Butter, melted
Flat edged glass pan:
2              tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1              tablespoon Sea Salt
1              teaspoon Onion Powder
1              teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2         teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2         teaspoon ground White Pepper
1/2         teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1/2         teaspoon dried Thyme leaves (I use Lemon Thyme)
1/2         teaspoon dried Oregano leaves

Combine all the dry ingredients until they are uniformly mixed.

Brush fish with the melted butter on both sides.

Heat cast iron skillet on high heat until it is extremely hot, even smoking.

Lay fillets in the spice mix coating both sides.

Fry until its smoke and sizzling, approximately a minute per side. It may even flame up which is okay, the flame will not spread from the pan.

Finished fish will be charred and crisp on the outside and moist and fully cooked on the inside.

If you are concerned that your fish is still a bit raw inside (possible if you cut it thicker), finish cooking it by sticking the whole skillet in oven at 450 degrees.