GRILLED CORN + POBLANO SALAD WITH SHRIMP

Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca

Summer is here and I pray it's a long one. Toronto has been exceptionally rainy this year but the plants are lush and loving it. I spotted a few surprise mushrooms growing in my garden which I'm guessing is from the moisture. Their oblong tops are whimsical and look like they are from psychedelic posters with naked ladies and swirling colours.

Spicy, savoury, and a bit sweet– this meal is a perfect summer dish for rain or shine. It's not too heavy if it's hot out and your appetite is small. This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit which on it's own is delicious. I marinated and grilled tiger shrimp and blended up an avocado-cilantro dressing for drizzling purposes. While we are at it, grill and caramelize some limes for cocktails (or mocktails) for a hint of smokiness. This paloma would be all the better for it.

Note about poblanos: Poblano peppers are a Mexican pepper originating from the state of Puebla. They are traditionally used in a dish called chiles relleños– poblano peppers roasted, stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg batter and fried. Served with salsa or tomato sauce, they are a delicious and gooey mess. Poblano peppers are green when picked fresh with a mild spiciness. They become ancho chiles when left to ripen to a red colour and dried. This recipe calls for fresh poblanos which can be difficult to find depending on where you are. If you must substitute, try mild jalapeños first, cubanelles if you prefer less heat, or green bell peppers if you desire no heat. I would not substitute ancho chiles. Although they are the same pepper, they taste completely different taking on a smoky flavour in their dried state.

Who knew corn husk could be so stunning. Isn't she beautiful?

Corn Husk || Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Roasted Poblano || Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Corn Husk || Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca

Summer barbecues are the best. The smell of food and smoke, people gathered together cracking beers, and soaking in the sunshine. Sometimes the barbecue bleeds into nighttime and takes on a  new wild vibe. I love it all.

Years ago on a hot July day, my best friend and I moved into a new apartment on one of the most beautiful streets in Toronto, Palmerston Avenue. The street is lined with large lamp posts and old homes with mysterious attic windows and front hanging balconies. I heard a story years ago about these street lamps. It was that a rich couple used to live on Palmerston and one day the wife began falling ill with dementia. On walks she would lose sense of where she was and become lost among the streets. Her husband bought elegant lamp posts to line their street to help her find her way home during a spell. I don't remember who told me this story but I thought it was tragically beautiful and stuck with me. After much research, I have found zero evidence to prove this story is true. I'll call it folklore (or someone trying to take me home from the bar). When you say you live on Palmerston Avenue to someone from Toronto they go all “ooooo" and “aaahh" and “what a beautiful street, your place must be amazing!". Our place was amazing... when it was built in the early 1900s. Unfortunately no work was put into it in sixty years. It was the eyesore of the street.

We were weak, sweaty and dehydrated after the ten hours of moving our stuff into the apartment. Our neighbours helped us with some furniture at the end like the lovely humans they were. This was good timing since we almost threw out a one of our beds from sheer fatigue. They invited us to join the barbecue they were having and we were eager to accept hunched over and expired from the heat and the day. We decided to take a quick shower before heading over so my roommate Alex got in first and one minute later started screaming. I ran into the bathroom to see the faucet from the bathtub had blasted clean off and there was water spraying out in every direction with Alex naked trying to shield herself from the explosion. “MEGAN MAKE IT STOP!!! MAKE IT STOP!!!" she screamed. “I'M TRYING!!! I'M NOT A PLUMBER!!! I DON'T UNDERSTAND TAPS!" I yelled back while shoving my hand on and around the water stream doing nothing to help it. I turned taps back and forth for awhile until the water was only a constant drizzle. We said fuck it and I took a trucker shower (washing my face and armpits in the sink) and went down to join the barbecue. They served us chicken and corn which we inhaled with a few beers each. An intravenous would have suited us just fine. Soon after this day we became very close with our neighbours, but I don't recall anyone speaking to us at this barbecue. Probably because we looked like sickly wet rodents huddled together shoving food into our mouths as quickly as possible. And that was the beginning of our life on Palmerston Ave. It only got weirder from there. But it gave us many memorable stories which include (but are not limited to):

  • a locked shed in the backyard with childrens' dolls and broken plates 
  • a bouncer/drug dealer called “Big Ron" who frequented out place at night unannounced looking for our neighbours who were always “out".
  • a creepy old man entering our apartment at 3 am because he heard the toilet running.

All true stories. Stories for another time.  

Charred Corn Husk || Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Grilled Limes || Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Paloma with Grilled Lime || Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Fresh Lime || Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca
Grilled Limes || Grilled Corn + Poblano Salad with Tiger Shrimp || Delicious and healthy summer salad recipe grilled on the bbq. Perfect for parties and hot days! Gluten free + pescatarian.  || creamandhoney.ca

Now go soak in the sunshine and enjoy the summer while it's here, okay? 

xx


GRILLED CORN + POBLANO SALAD WITH SHRIMP

the magic

inspiration:                           fresh corn + hot sweaty days

the feels:                              spicy, sweet, savoury, light, fresh

eat with:                               palomas, margaritas, cucumber water,                                               citrus/herb water, fresh squeezed juice,                                             corona or sol, sangria, roasted                                                         potatoes, potato hash, steak, chorizo,                                                 cheese (cotija or feta), clams, crab. 

might like if you're into:       cantinas, inflatable water toys,                                                         learning about corn, backyard                                                         barbecues, rainbows after a storm.

the science

serves 4 || cooking time: 15 mins prep + resting time: 40 mins

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                                salad

  • 5 corn, in husk
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • oil, for grill
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey (or agave)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons water, start with 2 and add more as needed
  • good pinch of salt 

shrimp

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper chile flakes

method:

  1. Turn on barbecue. Clean grate if needed and oil well.
  2. Mix everything under the shrimp heading (except for the shrimp) together and pour into a resealable bag or shallow dish. Add shrimp and toss well. Keep in the fridge covered or sealed for minimum 30 minutes. 
  3.  Grill corn (dry and still in husks, no need to soak in water) and poblano peppers until charred, turning every few minutes once each side is blackened. The corn takes between 10 and 15 minutes and will be blackened/ dark brown on all sides. The peppers take between 8 to 10 minutes and will have blackened crispy spots and feel tender. Remove and let all vegetables cool. 
  4. Shuck corn and cut off corn kernels into a medium sized bowl. Cut open peppers and remove seeds. Chop and add to bowl of corn.
  5. Remove shrimp from fridge and stab onto skewers. Grill shrimp on barbecue for 2 minutes per side. 
  6. Add all remaining ingredients (from avocado to salt) to a blender/food processor and blend well. Keep adding water tablespoon by tablespoon depending on how thick (dipping consistency) or thin (dressing consistency) you prefer. 
  7. Serve all separately and let people do what they want or mix salad, shrimp and dressing/dip together. Garnish with cut limes and cilantro if desired. 

 

Shrimp marinade + dressing adapted from The Recipe Critic.

Corn and poblano salad adapted from Bon Appetit

 

 

CHARRED AJVAR, EGG + DUKKAH TOAST

Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca

I have a confession. I killed a mouse the other day and it's still haunting me. Let's start from the beginning. I had one mouse (or so I thought), but then it was mice. People tell me, “If you see one, that means there are [eight more], [twenty more], [fifty more], or [one hundred more]!" depending on who you never ask but they tell you anyways. Thank you for the terrifying information but stop. I already have anxiety and nightmares about it. Before you go judging me for killing an animal, you must know a few things first. Then you can judge all you want. 

1. I was raised by a woman who grew up on a modest farm. Killing animals was a regular way of life and necessary to put food on the table. My grandfather loved to tease me about animal slaughter. I guess that was his idea of humour and liked seeing my face get all screwed up into sheer terror. While eating roast beef during Easter dinners he would say, “I caught that bloody Easter bunny by the tail, snatched him up and skinned him. Oh he tastes good, doesn't he?!". He likes to get a rise out of people and will go to great lengths to do so. Grandpa facts: He is from rural England, he is always drinking tea and everything that annoys him is “the devil". Which incidentally made “the devil" seem far less scary because “road construction is the devil", “that squirrel in the garden is the devil" and “the ruddy speed limit signs are the devil". Therefore, general annoyances = the devil. Hell is a place where you stub your toes, get a million invites for Candy Crush and only use dull knives to cut tomatoes. Sounds like a regular day for me so I don't think I'd mind hell to be honest. 

My grandfather would slaughter chickens, pluck them and hang them upside down (to dry? Is that why? I still don't know). After he butchered them, my mum would chase me around pulling the tendon of a chicken foot so it was forced into a grabby claw. She would hide behind corners and poke the chicken claw out grasping the air while cackling, “It's coming for you Meggie! Meh-heh-heh-heeehhhhh!!!". It terrified me and she thought it was hilarious. Clearly she got her sense of humour from my grandfather. In hind sight it was hilarious– I don't blame her at all. But it was also traumatic at age 5. So this is who raised me.

2. The second thing you should know is I've been dealing with this mouse problem for months now. Sleepless nights are common with my new heightened level of anxiety. If democracy rules, is it their home now? Or mine because I was here first? I put out tons of traps– nothing. Not a single one caught. I put out poison (I've already accepted hell so at this point anything goes). Apparently they can live off of poison and not die. Wtf!? I googled it and the poison used for mouse extermination is a blood thinner.

Me:A blood thinner!?! Why isn't it something more poisony like in olden times when you needed to kill your abusive husband, like arsenic or deadly nightshade?! I've always wanted to brew up some deadly nightshade!"     Friend:Uhhhhh because those are lethal and they could kill you or other humans and pets."                             Me:   “Oh haha! Right. I was just kidding... obviously."                  

These guys are intelligent terminator-evolved mice. Poison is their bitch and they literally eat it for breakfast. One night I grabbed a flashlight and shined it right on a mouse. He looked at me and I glared right back at him– the ultimate stare down. Then I yelled, “THIS IS NOT YOUR HOME!!! YOU DON'T LIVE HERE!!! I DO!!!". He scurried away but didn't listen to me. He continues to live here. 

So I killed a mouse. I consider myself a very sensitive and loving person, especially with animals. Unless! You mess with my sanity and push me too far. Then I turn into a complete psych. A storm is unleashed and I go all Mommie Dearest. It takes a lot. But it happens on a rare occasion like this one. A mouse was out in the middle of the day  acting like he owned the place and sh*t! Wandering around, staring at me like, “oh it's just you". I was all, “Ohhh NO! Not this time motherf$%ker! Not on my watch!" He sat behind small chest so I grabbed it, lifted it up and slammed it down. That was it. I was relieved but also felt terrible. I had no choice though, right? I couldn't let him think we were friends and both live here like, “Oh hey Frank, how's it going?! Why don't you bring your thirty brothers and sisters over for dinner tonight– I have a ton of crumbs and don't know what to do with them". Oh no. No no. 

I feel bad this had to happen but also– circle of life, right!?

Let's eat! 

Charred Eggplant || Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Eggplant || Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca

Speaking of mouse fertility, this recipe has me all summer's-in-the-air. Fire up the barbecue and let the smell of char and smoke waft through the air. Some fresh lemon juice and herbs for daydreaming in warm breezes and feeling the sunshine on your skin. This meal is a very easy one to make, although takes a bit of time. But in a nice way. In a, put on some music and pour yourself a glass of wine while you grill things way.

Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca

Ajvar (pronounced eye-var) is a spread or sauce popular in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It is perfect on a crust of bread with some butter and topped with feta or goat cheese but is versatile in it's condiment claim. I gave a jar to my friend from Romania and she ate it within twenty four hours on every meal– on bread, with eggs, and as a burger topping. Take a note from her and add it to anything and everything. 

Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca
Charred Ajvar, Egg + Dukkah Toast || This charred eggplant + red pepper spread is healthy, simple and delicious. Serve it on toast with arugula, an egg and dukkah for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Dairy free + plant based with removal of egg on top. || creamandhoney.ca

CHARRED AJVAR, EGG + DUKKAH TOAST

the magic

inspiration:                 Eastern European grocery stores 

the feels:                     smoky, spreadable + good for dolloping 

eat with:                      bread, dukkah, as a base for or on top of eggs,                                    on labneh/greek yogurt, crumbly cheese,                                            hummus, baba ganoush, on toast with butter                                      + goat/feta cheese, on pasta, in sandwiches,                                      alongside grilled/roasted meat, on top of                                            burgers, or with fresh herbs + olive oil.

might like if you're into:    antipasta, preserves, cooking with fire,                                              tapas, meals at picnic tables, ketchup,                                              the balkans, Eastern European preserves,                                          sharing platters, campfires. 

the science

makes 2 cups ajvar || time: 1.5 hour

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ajvar

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 baby eggplants
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 spanish onion, diced
  • 2 - 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup herbs, chopped (parsley, basil, cilantro, mint – one tablespoon of each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, to your taste or a fresh hot chile pepper. I like a good amount of heat to cut the sweetness of the peppers.
  • black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

toast

  • slice of nice bread, toasted
  • handful of arugula
  • egg, fried sunny side
  • dukkah (buy from a market or make your own)
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, optional

method:

 

ajvar

  1. I charred my roasted red peppers on my charcoal barbecue grill (with no oil). [If you don't have a barbecue, here are other ways to char red peppers– you can use the same method for the eggplant.] Char each side of the peppers for about 5 minutes (or until the side is black), turning them a quarter turn every time. Afterwards, once the coals were all ashy and burning red with no black left, I lifted the grate off and placed the eggplants directly on the coals. Cook for about 10 minutes on one side and then urn them over to char the other side for another 10 minutes or so. They should be falling in on themselves and covered in ash. 
  2. Once you remove the vegetables from the grill, immediately place them in a large bowl and cover with saran wrap or aluminum foil. The vegetables will steam themselves and release their skin easier. Wait about 10 minutes or until they are cool enough to touch. 
  3. While the vegetables are steaming, place a saucepan over medium to high heat on the stove. Add olive oil, diced onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté onions for a few minutes until translucent, reduce heat to medium. You can continue to cook the onions down for more caramelization if you like. Add garlic and sauté for a few more minutes until garlic is fragrant. 
  4.  Remove peppers and eggplant from bowls, peel the skins off and discard. Add eggplant, peppers, sautéed onions + garlic, and all the remaining ajvar ingredients to a food processor or blender. Pulse until desired consistency. I like mine a bit chunkier than totally pureed.
  5. Place olive oil in a pan on the stove over medium heat. When hot, add chile flakes or fresh chile peppers and sauté for a few minutes. Add pepper and eggplant mix to pan and turn to medium-low. Let simmer without lid, stirring occasionally for 20 to 30 minutes or until you are happy with the taste. (Sometimes I add a splash of balsamic vinegar at this point if I feel like it needs a bit more of a punch). 
  6. Let cool and place ajvar in airtight container or mason jar and keep in the fridge for one week. You may also freeze ajvar if you think you might not eat it within that time. 

ajvar, egg + dukkah toast

  1. Fry your egg and toast your bread. Spread on a good layer of avjar onto the toast, add arugula, lay egg on top, add a drizzle of olive oil if desired and cover in dukkah.