1 yellow onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 cup fresh strawberries (trimmed, quartered)
1/2 cup pinot noir
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 TBSP soy sauce
2 TSP worchestershire sauce
2 TSP garlic powder
1 TSP tobasco
1 TSP cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
What happens when you have a bottle of red wine and some freshly purchased strawberries on your counter? A barbecue sauce experiment, of course! I love trying out different variations on a traditional barbecue sauce (like this Root Beer one). More so in the spring/summer, when a sunny day is practically begging you to be outside grilling something! The best part about cooking with wine is that you never need a whole bottle, so you can enjoy a glass while you’re cooking with it! Or, that’s what I do anyway…
Start off by cooking down the onion and garlic in some olive oil on medium-high heat until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped strawberries to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, pour in the pinot noir and let the mixture cook until reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes.
Once the mixture has reduced, stir in all remaining ingredients. Reduce to low heat and let simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Store in a container in refrigerator until ready to use. Will keep for up to one week.
Great on salmon or chicken! Serving with a chilled, creamy potato salad is highly recommended!
Yields 2 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
Totally cook time…45 min
For the fifth installment of Monday Night Supper Club, we decided to head down to Sandy Beach Park for a potluck dinner. Sandy Beach Park is definitely a nice space, but I do have one mild bone to pick with it (listen up Nenshi!). It does not have any sand, nor a beach, which is generally comprised of sand. Nonetheless, ‘Sandy’ ‘Beach’ Park proved to be a great destination for our Monday night gathering. We’ve really been lucking out with the weather over the past few weeks (knock on wood) and this Monday was no different. There was nothing but sun in the sky!
We staked territory over a group of picnic tables and grills, then got to work unpacked and setting up all the food. As our dinner club has been growing in size, there’s always new individuals attending each week, so it’s always interesting to see how everyone interacts with each other. (Tammy, Jacinthe and Sarah pictured to the left)
Luckily, thus far, everyone seems to be getting along quite well, but I’m hoping for a massive Gossip Girl-esque cat fight soon. Nothing says ‘life of the party’ like some good old fashioned drama! Hopefully between the two Chelseas…Fingers crossed!
The dishes were nothing short of amazing tonight. Newcomer Mike (of Mike’s Bloggity Blog) brought some vodka soaked tomatoes (I liked to call them ‘deconstructed caesars’) and a balsamic watermelon and mint salad to the table. Funnily enough, I assumed I would also bring a watermelon and feta bites with a balsamic blueberry reduction, so we kind of had a watermelon overload on the table, but at least they weren’t exactly the same thing.
Continuing on the salad side of things, Jacinthe made an absolutely breathtaking salad using edible flowers, different greens and herbs all from her own home garden. The flowers, and their petals, were a little peppery and reminiscent of arugula. Her home-made vinaigrette was equally as impressive as the garden salad.
I just need to say salad a few more times…Sarah brought a green bean and potato salad, then Tym and Tammy both brought quinoa salads. Now the salad chapter of this story can finally come to a close.
For the main course offerings, Jacqueline brought some souvlaki chicken skewers, pitas, and appropriate toppings while Rob W barbecued some salmon. Although not pictured, Rob W seems to be growing a beard. He looked quite rugged and manly on this particular Monday.
The ‘gold star’ of the main dishes, would probably have to go to Mealan. She brought an array of sausages from a European meat shop near her home, as well as a platter of mustards, pickles, and sauces to accompany them. If the extensive lay-out of this wasn’t enough, she also made labels for each item on the tray. How Martha Stewart. I won’t lie, there may of been some phallic references/jokes happening during the barbecuing of these sausages, but that’s par for the course, right?
For desserts, Wendy (from Yelp!) brought some nanaimo bars, eclairs, and cream puffs. You know, healthy desserts! Rob M was too preoccupied ensuring that he had enough different colours of frisbees to make anything for the dinner, so he brought a pie from Safeway. Priorities Rob, priorities…
His pie was quickly put to shame, by Adria’s yogurt fruit cups made with baked wonton wrappers, and then, again, by Stephanie (fellow food blogger @globaldish) who created what was probably the most beautiful tart I have ever seen. Her blueberry buttermilk tart was really a work of art. I think everyone felt bad slicing into it, but it was equally as delicious, and simply had to be eaten. We should probably take a moment to look at it…
Amidst the prepping, grilling, eating, laughing, and talking, it seemed that we hardly noticed the sun swiftly disappearing from the sky. It’s funny, when summer begins there are so many long days, where the light lasts until after 10PM, but this Monday it was pretty much full-blown night by 9PM. Sigh, that means fall is approaching…So what do you do in the dark besides make s’mores (courtesy of Jacqueline)…No, not that! You play glow in the dark frisbee, of course!
Or maybe those are UFOs?
Here are some more pictures from our potluck night…
Digging into the food!
Sarah’s green bean and potato salad.
Mike’s vodka soaked tomatoes. I am trying this at home soon.
I’m pretty sure I told Jamie and Adria to pose casually…
Stephanie snapping a shot of the food. What can I say? It’s what we do.
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Last week, we had been really lucky. Monday had boasted some amazing weather, which ended up being perfect for our second Monday Night Supper Club outing to Home Tasting Room. While we sat there in the early evening sun, the group decided that the following week’s dinner would simply have to involve a patio as well. Being moderately proud of my own patio, I suggested that we have the meal at my house, barbeque some pizzas, and have a grand ol’ time.
I have the bad habit of having people over for dinner parties and then trying out recipes that I have either a) never used before or b) am just experimenting with. For the most part, all ends well on the plate, but on my end, the majority of the afternoon is spent stressing out about everything and wondering why I chose to, more or less, wing it for the supper.
Luckily, my BBQ pizza potluck portion was limited to pizza sauces and the dough itself, so I didn’t go too crazy. I just threw some red wine and lemon zest into one of the sauces, because it’s summer-time and lemon zest makes everything taste better…except gravy…Except gravy.
Since this week’s potluck had a BBQ-ed pizza focus, most people brought various ingredients to serve as toppings. Tomatoes, zucchini, shrimp, arugula, basil, roasted peppers, carmelized onions, and more…oh, and different cheeses too (obviously)! Four of the group brought some appetizers to precede the pizzas.
Jacqueline brought a chilled vegetable flatbread (eaten too quickly to be photographed), Rob Waye made the women swoon with asparagus spears wrapped with brie and prosciutto…Oh Rob, you heart throb! Victoria made a nice, light carrot and radish salad with a fresh mint and honey dressing. The fourth appetizer came from Rob M. (yes, there were two Robs AND two Chelseas this night…oh my…) who was new to the Monday Night Supper Club experience. He brought a pretty solid macaroni salad. Let’s get real here, it’s not a true outdoor potluck without some macaroni salad!
So, as you would imagine, personalized pizza creation ensued. We weren’t being all too fancy this evening, so the pizza presentation was less ‘Una‘ and more ‘Hey Brie, did a six year old assemble your pizza?‘. Nonetheless, every combination that we grilled was delicious and fun was had by all! So far, everything was a success. Even the sky, which was teasing us with some dark rain clouds, decided not to rain on our
parade dinner party.
Yes, it appeared that nothing would go array on this Monday evening! That was, until someone tried to BBQ a calzone. I don’t want to name names or anything, so I’ll scramble up the letters of their (his) name and let you figure it out: ORB M.
The original goal was to make a pizza (like the one pictured). So, the calzone did start out harmless enough, but soon turned into a massive, doughy mistake. Ok, so maybe ‘massive, doughy mistake’ is a little harsh. Maybe it would be best to take a look for yourself and decide what you think of the…err…situation.
At least he ate it all…
Brie, Rachele, Chelsea K and, surprisingly, Jamie brought the desserts. Brie made a nice fruit salad with some greek yogurt, Rachele brought some tasty cheesecake squares (the kind of thing you know you shouldn’t really even eat one, but end up eating two), and Chelsea K brought an impressive fruit pie. Finally, Jamie made some chocolate cupcakes. He might look scary, but he’s really just a big, tattooed teddy bear!
Chelsea K’s pie, half-eaten.
Not to be left unmentioned, the majority of the pizza toppings were brought by Sarah, Adam, Chelsea W and Chelsea K. Without their contributions, our pizzas would of been just some cooked dough, tomato sauce, and a wish. So, I thank them for helping make that wish come true…
Thus, ends our third week of Monday Night Supper Club! For next week’s adventure, we’re headed to Anju for a chef’s table tasting menu. I have heard amazing things about this restaurant from friends, critics, food bloggers…Basically everyone in Calgary has told me that there is an amazing meal to be had there! Monday can’t come fast enough!
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1 yellow onion (chopped)
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 fuji apples (cored, chopped)
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup brown sugar
1 TSP cayenne pepper
1 TBSP lapsang souchong tea (crushed…also optional if this freaks you out!)
salt and pepper
Over the past couple summers, I’ve become slightly addicted to creating my own BBQ sauces (see espresso or root beer versions) simply because they’re quick to make, and much more pat-on-the-back appropriate than anything that you can buy out of a bottle. This apple BBQ sauce is awesome as a marinade for anything you’re wanting to pop on the grill, except for apples…with apple BBQ sauce? That would be inappropriate, too much apple. Anyway if you’re unfamiliar with lapsang souchong tea, it is a strong black leaf that has a nice hickory-esque flavour to it. Throwing a tablespoon of this dried black tea into the mix will give it an awesome smokey taste. Trust me!
Alright, start things off by cooking down the onions and garlic in a large pan with some olive oil on medium-high heat. Once the onions have softened, about 5 minutes, toss in the apple chunks. Season with some salt and pepper and let cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now, add in all remaining ingredients and stir until the brown sugar has dissolved.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce to low heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place contents of pan in a blender and puree until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste. The cayenne should give the sauce enough of a kick, so I’d lay off on adding a pile of pepper.
This BBQ sauce should last up to three weeks in a covered container in your refrigerator. Slather on whatever you please, and enjoy!
Yields 3 cups of sauce
Total cook time…35 min
2 cups good quality root beer
1 yellow onion
2 garlic cloves
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1 TSP chili powder
1 TSP ground mustard
1 TSP black pepper
This one is for all the dentists that told me to ‘stop drinking pop’ when I was a kid. Well guys, it’s be put into a sauce. I guess that’s not technically ‘drinking’ it right? Dear Dentists, You know you would eat this up. Literally…This is a seriously sweet, slightly spicy, BBQ sauce that is amazing on chicken, ribs, burgers, steaks, and probably anything else you’d be willing to soak it in.
Ready? Unusual, but easy…Open up that root beer and pour 2 cups of it into a medium-sized pot. Let it simmer away on medium heat until it has reduced by half, about 10-12 minutes. In the mean-time, chop up the onion and mince the garlic cloves. While you’re at it zest the lime and juice it.
Once the root beer has reduced to desired level, add all remaining ingredients, including the onion, garlic, and lime components. Stir until evenly mixed and let simmer for 20 more minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Place mixture in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Lather it on whatever you please. Any leftover BBQ sauce will last for up to 10 days in your refrigerator.
Yields 2 cups of sauce
Total cook time….40 minutes
1 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup espresso
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 TBSP dijon mustard
2 TBSP worchestershire sauce
2 TBSP tabasco sauce
1/4 brown sugar
1 TBSP ground black pepper
2 TBSP chili powder
1 TSP red curry powder
For the coffee fanatic in all of us! This unique BBQ sauce has a little kick, and goes great with anything you’re wanting to throw onto the grill, especially beef or pork. It’s so tasty you could even sip it like it’s espresso…on second thought, that’s weird. Please don’t do that.
Making home-made BBQ sauce does involve a long(ish) list of ingredients, but is actually really easy to make. In lieu of espresso you can use a 1/2 cup of strong, dark roast coffee.
Start off by chopping the onion and mincing the garlic cloves. Place them in a large pan with a bit of olive oil on medium-high heat. Once the onion has softened add in all of your wet ingredients and give everything a good stir. Once the mixture starts to bubble, turn down to low heat. Now, add all of the remaining (dry) ingredients and mix well. Let it simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the sauce from the heat, and let it cool down for 5 minutes. Place contents into a blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Now your sauce should be perfectly pureed! Keep this BBQ sauce in a covered container in your fridge and it will last you for up to 10 days. Now, smother, marinate, grill, and enjoy!
Yields 2 1/2 cups of BBQ sauce
Total cook time…30 min
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