What a charming summer I’ve had (insert sarcasm here).

Let’s see… we had a fire, our AC melted down on the hottest day of the year, Emmett got skunked, Johnny was (mildly) attacked by a dog, we had a gas leak and our stove finally went kaput.

That last one was what really left us in a bind. We were without all capability to even boil water for over a week. At the beginning of the summer we surrendered our gas grill and decided to rely strictly on our coal smoker – it yields such delicious results – but it certainly isn’t something you fire up just to boil water or fry an egg.

Silver lining: it forced me to get creative (shout out to my glorious toaster oven!) and do a little digging.

I poured through my cookbooks scouting out great grilling recipes, getting lost in stunning photos and succulent ideas. It inspired me to look beyond my Jamie Oliver obsession and open up my heart (and tummy) to all the incredible food literature out there.

Last week I posted my first non-Jamie recipe adaptation turning my former feature Harlot’s Ode to Jamie to one called Reads & Feeds. This illustrious first spot went to my new favourite girl crush – blogger, stylist and author -Marilou Champagne of Trois Fois Par Jour.

For this Reads & Feeds I feel a little dirty straying from my beloved Jamie Oliver (while he is in town, no less). Curtis Stone is another celeb chef – also ruggedly good looking with a sparkly accent (Aussie), pumping out interesting and accessible dishes.

I came across Good Food, Good Life at an Indigo store closing sale. After two hours of browsing this is one of the gems I walked out with:


“I’ve pulled together this collection because I’ve always been a huge believer that good food and a good life are deeply and intrinsically intertwined. For me it’s not just the eating of food (though I’ll be the first to admit I’m a greedy little monster), but I also really savour the entire experience that encircles food. That’s anything from planting and plucking up veggies in my garden with the Californian sun on my back to the pride that comes along with pulling a perfectly golden brown roast chicken out of the oven.” – Curtis Stone.

Johnny and I fell in love with his Chicken and Broccoli Casserole – which says a lot – I’m not a casserole gal, but I now know this little ditty by heart. I am hot to try his falafel recipe and have a little list to work through following that.

This wickedly delicious and quick beef recipe has passed our bellies a lot. In fact, I just grilled it up for a recording session Johnny had at the house, pairing it with a variety pack of craft beers from Muskoka Brewery.

It takes a little foresight to marinate the meat, but even a quick soak does the trick since it is sliced so thinly. *On that subject – use a sharp knife and put your beef in the freezer for 20 minutes or so to firm it up to make slicing more controlled. Don’t get too bunged up about it though, you will be pounding it with a meat mallet, so you can even it out then.

As far as veggies go – the original recipe used snow peas, which we don’t love. I subbed in broccoli – one of my absolute favourites and so good when charred – as well as brussel sprouts which are in season and also thrive on a hot grill.

Chef Stone uses a grill tray, which are easy and cheap to come by, but simple tin foil will do in a pinch. You still get that char and smoky flavour and can lift everything off in one clean move.

I also upped the garlic and ginger and tossed on some extras at the end for texture – just ‘cuz…


serves four



1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated

1/4 c soy sauce (or tamari for GF)

1 hot pepper (jalapeno, habanero, thai etc), chopped

5 garlic cloves, peeled

a thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp coconut or brown sugar

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

1 lb/ 454g top sirloin steak, very thinly sliced against the grain

4-8 metal or soaked bamboo skewers


1 head bok choy or 4 small baby bok choys, chopped into large pieces

1 small head broccoli, rapini or broccolini, divided into florets and stem sliced into round coins

1/2 head napa cabbage, chopped into large pieces

1 small sweet onion, peeled and sliced lengthwise

2 tbsp coconut or olive oil

10 brussel sprouts, sliced lengthwise

TO SERVE: jasmine or long grain rice, soy sauce, sriracha, chili oil or pepper sauce, toasted sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onions



1) Combine cilantro stems, soy, hot pepper, ginger, garlic, sugar, sesame oil and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. As machine is running, drizzle in 2 tbsp olive and blend well


2) Bash thin beef slices with spiked side of a mallet to tenderize. Toss with marinade and place in covered container in fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight


3) Fire up grill to highest heat. Thread beef onto skewers so that they lie flat. Set aside at room temperature



4) Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to grill on either a grill tray or lay down tin foil over grates. Cook for 10 minutes or until slightly charred and still al dente, tossing a couple times throughout

5) Transfer to a serving platter or baking sheet and keep warm




6) Brush skewers with remaining tbsp oil. Grill for 2 minutes per side, for a nice char – DO NOT OVER COOK – these guys will continue to cook slightly once removed from grill, so have everyone ready to eat within minutes of putting these on



7) Serve family style or divide greens and rice between four plates. Sprinkle skewers with sesame seeds, green onions, remaining cilantro leaves (chopped or whole) and top each plate

8) Keep bottles of soy and pepper sauces on the table for extra suping up


… while you’re firing up that grill, you may want to do a dinner double duty by making space for some Garlicky Chicken Souvlaki or Skirt Steak and Grilled Salsa.

In the coming weeks I’m moving on to some loverly recipes from GOOP goddess Gwyneth Paltrow, Angela Liddon of “Oh, She Glows”, Einat Admony of “Balaboosta”, Floyd Cardoz of “Flavorwalla” and many more.

Anything I missed? Lemme know! xo

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