Friday, October 23, 2009

Grilled Summer Vegetables

There are a couple of Farmer's markets here in Houston. My favourite is the Bayou City Market, it's a producers only market and everything must come from a 150 mile radius. As a result the produce is truly seasonal, on our first visit every veg stall was teaming with courgettes and squash of all shapes and sizes. This dish of summer grilled vegetables quickly became a favourite in our house. I usually make a full batch and then mix half with some grilled chicken and cooked pasta for the following day's lunchboxes.

Grilled Summer Vegetables

Serves 4 as a side dish

500g courgette / small squash
olive oil
2 peppers

mix together the following ingredients in a large shallow bowl:
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp mint, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

  • grill the peppers until the outsides are black and charred, this can be done under the grill but I just place them directly on the gas hob. Don't be nervous, they should be black all over.
  • place the peppers in a Ziploc bag (or a cling-film covered bowl), seal and leave too cool
  • slice the courgettes and squash lengthwise into 2-3mm thick slices
  • brush with olive oil and season
  • heat a ridged pan over a high heat, brush with olive oil
  • griddle the courgettes and squash in batches until charred on both sides
  • as you remove them from the pan place straight into the bowl containing the dressing
  • remove the charred skin from the now-cooled peppers, chop and add to the bowl
  • toss well to coat everything in the dressing

Texas Chilli

What have I been doing? I hear you say. The last six months have been pretty hectic, we've relocated 4500 miles away to Houston, Texas. Now that we're all settled it (and all my kitchen gadgets have arrived) it's time to start cooking again.

Where better to start our Texas adventure than with a Texas Chilli

I used a pre-blended chilli mix "Chilli 3000" available from Penzeys in the US. I'm not usually a fan of pre-blended mixes and would always make my own for Indian etc. I figured I couldn't go wrong in the home of chilli though.

Texas Chilli

Serves 4
olive oil
1 kg beef, I used chuck steak
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt + Pepper
1.5 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp cumin, ground down in a mortar and pestle
400g can tomatoes
2 tbsp flour

  • in a heavy pan brown the beef in olive oil, you probably need to do this in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan
  • remove beef and set aside
  • add onion and garlic to the pan and saute until soft
  • add chilli powder and cumin and cook for 1-2 mins
  • return the beef to the pan and the tomatoes and season
  • simmer over a low heat for 40 mins
  • if sauce is too thin add a little flour (mixed to a paste with water) to thicken
serve with Basmati (or Texmati) rice