Category Archives: Recipe
Monday was a balmy 60 something degrees. I spent the entire afternoon outside, going for a run and then walking another hour and a half. Knowing what was coming later in the week, I wasn’t going to waste the sunshine and warm air. As I was walking, I was getting really hungry. I couldn’t get the thought of a juicy burger with melting cheese oozing from between the layers of a potato bun. Later when I stopped at the store to get what I needed, I did a quick search of the gourmet cheeses. I rarely go for the mundane American or plain old cheddar. I found a morel mushroom and leek jack cheese. Oh yeah! There is a small shop ( The Savory Gourmet )that sells cheeses and other snacky kind of foods in Lititz, PA that used to have a mushroom cheese (first introduced to us at Waltz Vineyards-excellent wines. My favorite is their Fusion). Eating that cheese was like eating a choice cut of beef. Awesome with red wine. This cheese that I found in the grocery store was pretty close.
When I got home, I mixed into 1 and a half pounds of chuck (gotta have chuck, 80/20-need that fat to keep the flavor and juices and keep the burgers from drying out) powdered garlic, minced onion, a splash or two of Worcestershire sauce and a big splash of red wine vinegar or red wine. I formed 5 relatively equal patties, giving them a little indention in the center (see Simple Backyard Burgers for more on burgers). The patties went on the grill with a hot fire, coals evenly spread out. I had very few flare-ups. Not sure why, but that is a good thing. Near the end of cooking time, I moved the burgers to the sides, no longer over the coals. Slices of cheese were added, the lid went on for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese and voila! Juicy, cheesey heaven on a bun! The burgers were perfect-just a bit of pink in the middle and the mushroom and leek cheese was an excellent complement to the touch of Worcestershire and red wine vinegar.
Sorry I don’t have pictures-just didn’t get them this time around.
Until next time, Grill Baby, Grill!
Last year (almost a year to the day I find), I posted Smokin’ Chick’s Beef Brisket. I smoked another one recently-my husband says it was the best brisket he’s ever had! He said the same thing last time. I guess I’m 2 for 2 on brisket.
Some people are intimidated by a brisket or any cut of beef that is known to be tough. Low and slow with plenty of moisture is the way to cook those cuts. My brisket was 8.33 pounds. It was smoked on the grill just under 3 1/2 hours, then in the crock pot on low for another 8 or 9 hours. It pulled apart quite easily and was very moist. The rub gave it a nice coating and flavor that required no sauce (but I use sauce anyway). If you don’t want it pulled, make sure you slice the meat against the grain and not with it.
For the rub you will need: allspice, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard and ground ginger. Place the brisket over 2 sheets of plastic wrap, layered over each other at right angles. I just sprinkled the spices over both sides of the brisket liberally and rubbed them in. Wrap the brisket tightly and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
Pull the meat out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grill time, to relax the muscle fibers. Prepare the coals and soak the wood you will be using for the smoke. I used apple wood chips (I purchase the wood chips from Lowe’s if I don’t have any oak or cherry wood chunks from the trees on our property).
When the coals are hot, sear each side of the brisket 3-4 minutes to seal in the brisket’s natural moisture. Opposite the coals, on the coal grate, place a foil pan filled with a liquid. For this brisket, I used cranberry juice. Once it is seared, move the brisket to the opposite side, fat side up, add more coals to the main pile and close the lid.
The temperature peaked at 325 degrees F. I had all vents on the lid and the kettle wide open. If the temperature gets above 325, adjust the vents to regulate the temperature. The more open the vents, the more oxygen and air flow gets to the coals. Closing the vents a bit will decrease the oxygen and air flow, thus decreasing the temperature. Once the temperature dropped below 250, I took the brisket off and wrapped it in foil to further cook and then cool.
I was saving the brisket for a later time, so it went in the freezer for a couple of days. I took it out the day before I was putting it in the crock pot to thaw in the refrigerator. For the crock pot, I kept the brisket in the foil, opening it, but forming a bowl from the foil. I poured enough water around the bowl to provide enough moisture for a lengthy time in the crock pot, but not so much it would get into the foil bowl. I did not want to take my brisket for a swim! The brisket slow cooked between 8 and 9 hours.
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
I enjoy coming up with new rubs, marinades and sauces for pork. Pork is one of those meats that just about anything goes. The tenderloin is my favorite cut of pork. I buy the 10-15 pounders when they are on sale and cut them up when I get home. I leave bigger sections, such as the 2.5 pounds used in this recipe, and pork chops any thickness I want. The sections are then put in freezer bags and frozen until I’m ready to grill!
What you need: 2.5 pound boneless pork tenderloin, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels.
For the rub:
Fresh cracked black pepper
Sprinkle all liberally (except maybe garlic-you might want to do that lightly) over all of tenderloin. Rub in, cover the tenderloin and refrigerate for at least an hour, removing about half an hour before grilling.
Prepare a fire for indirect cooking. Spread coals when most are ashen and temperature is high heat.
Sear all sides of tenderloin, about 5 minutes each side.
Remember to NOT use a fork to turn the meat. No piercing! Watch and put out flare-ups when searing the fatty side. Move to the side of the grill opposite the fire, fatty side up and add more charcoal, about 5 briquettes.
For pork, I sometimes insert a thermometer to make sure it is done. Internal “doneness” temperature for pork is 150-165 degrees F. Brush some of the glaze on the top of the tenderloin and put the lid on the grill. If you can maintain a cooking temperature around 300 degrees, a 2.5 pound tenderloin should be done after 2 hours. Mine wasn’t, so I brushed more glaze on it, wrapped it in foil and finished it in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
I served the pork with a caprese salad. This link takes you to a recipe. The only difference in how I serve it and this recipe is that I dress it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
Sometimes, when I have no ideas for dinner, I will go to the grocery store or farmer’s market and wander around looking for inspiration. Mango Chicken Salsa is one of those inspired dinners. I used a pre-made mango marinade that is pretty good. Good enough that I marinated some pork chops in it last night. The Mango Salsa below is similar but slightly different from the Mango Salsa recipe found in Shrimp Soft Tacos with Mango Salsa.
As you see in the picture above right, the salsa ingredients are very few. What is there makes a large batch, but there are plenty of ways to use what is leftover. I sautéed some of it and broke a couple of eggs into the skillet and had an omelet.
I had about 3 pounds of chicken breast (any chicken parts will be fine, you will just need to adjust the time on the grill). Put the chicken into a resealable plastic bag and add about half (8 ounces) of the marinade. Seal, shake and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Take it out when you start-up your grill to relax before putting on the heat. Grill over a hot fire (see Method Cooking for charcoal temps), at least 5 minutes each side. Since the marinade is sweet, it will carmelize as it grills. If it starts to smell charred, however, you’ve had it over the coals too long.
For the Mango Salsa: 4 medium sweet peppers, 1 red, 1 green, 1 yellow, 1 orange, all diced; 1 large mango, diced; 1/2 red onion, diced; 1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed; the juice of 2 limes. In a large bowl, put diced peppers, mango and onion. Add the garlic and mix thoroughly. Juice the limes directly over the salsa and mix again. My bowl has a lid, so I also gave it a few really good shakes. If you prepare the salsa the morning before serving or even the day before, the peppers, onion and mango will soften up a bit and the flavors will meld a bit more than if you wait to prepare just before serving with the chicken. I love super fresh, so I made the salsa while the chicken was marinating.
Fried or grilled potatoes and steamed broccoli and/or carrots will round out this meal. Sometime soon I need to post my method for potatoes on the grill. I just looked through my blog and see that I have yet to do that!
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
It happened later than I would have liked, but weather and time always play a factor when grilling with charcoal or wood. It’s harder to maintain the heat when it’s cold! And the first grilling of 2013 took place Easter weekend, so it was a while ago.
Today’s post is not a recipe. Rather, it is a testimony. I am not overly fond of sausage. However, since the day looked good for grilling and I didn’t want burgers, I chose some yummy looking sausages at the butcher counter. There were fresh made brats and chicken sausages to choose from. I chose chicken with feta and spinach and chicken with feta and sundried tomatoes. Oh my gosh, they were so good! Nothing beats fresh.
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
PS: This greeted me when I opened up the grill:
I don’t even remember what it was that I cooked on the grill! So, don’t forget to clean up your grill! Happy Grilling, now that the season is finally here!!
I’m dying to spend time outside on my deck. Weather is looking pretty good for the next couple of days to do just that, but my schedule this weekend is going to prevent me from doing so. I just hope Mother Nature isn’t putting us on and really means to allow us to have Spring from here on out.
In the meantime, this smoothie is what I drink every morning. It’s filling, nutritious and tastes great. One thing I love about smoothies: you can add just about anything to it. Any kind of fruit and some veggies will go well in this recipe. I make a gallon at a time. You can cut ingredient portions to make less. Occasionally, I end up with more than a gallon, depending on the amount of OJ I add.
2 32 ounce containers of Greek yogurt. I use the Greek yogurt because it has less whey (the liquid on top of the yogurt) and more protein than regular yogurt. One container is plain, the other vanilla.
About 5 cups total fruit, cut into chunks if needed. I have been using frozen because I’m lazy. If you use frozen, you will want it partially or completely thawed. If processed frozen with the OJ, you will end up with the blades of your blender all gummed up. Any kind of fruit you like is fine. I always use mango. I have also used blackberries (only once-I hate the seeds!), dark cherries, blueberries and strawberries.
1 12 ounce bag of granola. I always use Bear Naked Fit. It is lower in calories and sugar. Use whatever you like.
1/2 cup of wheat germ. This adds a good dose of several vitamins and minerals.
Orange juice. You will need a minimum of 3 cups. I add as I am blending, so you can expect to add a bit more than 3 cups.
I also add a fiber supplement. The clear, tasteless, flavorless, smooth textured kind. The brand I use has 5 grams of soluble fiber per heaping teaspoon.
In a food processor (blender if you don’t have a food processor), process the granola and wheat germ until fine.
Set the granola mixture to the side. In a blender, pour in half of the fruit and about a cup and a half of orange juice. Blend until smooth, adding more OJ if needed. Add 1/2 container of yogurt and blend again until smooth. Add some of the granola mixture and blend again.
Pour the mixture into a pitcher (or whatever you plan to store the smoothie mixture in). Repeat until all of the ingredients have been blended. Once all are blended, stir all together in the pitcher.
If the smoothie is too thick, just add more OJ. I add OJ to my cup to thin out individual servings until I have enough room in the pitcher to add OJ directly to the pitcher. I generally end up with a thicker smoothie that is more like an ice-cream shake than a smoothie.
Enjoy! Up next, something from the grill!!! Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
The Chuck Wagon Beans recipes I have encountered are full of green and lima beans, not baked beans. I really do not like green beans and I hate lima beans and wax beans. Thankfully, my Mom never made those recipes!
This is the recipe I was going to prepare when I ended up making Baked Chili. My mom made this frequently when I was growing up. I am one of 6 kids. When she made this, it would never last. The recipe below is half of what my Mom would make. Double it and take Chuck Wagon Beans to a potluck. It is only slightly changed from Mom’s original.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Brown 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, adding about 3/4 cup of diced onion when the beef is nearly completely browned. Drain. In a greased 9×9 pan, pour in the beef and onion, adding the following: 1 28 ounce can of baked beans, 1/3 cup beef broth, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons dried ground mustard, 1 garlic clove, minced and 1/4 ounce fresh grated ginger (or 1 to 2 teaspoons ground). Mix well.
Cover with foil and place in oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. While the beans are baking, fry 6 slices of bacon until crisp. Crumble.
After 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil and sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the beans. Put back in the oven for another 5 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving. This recipe is a good candidate for the dutch oven (read more at the preceding link). Cast iron cooking with a bit of natural smoke flavoring added! Enjoy! Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
This isn’t what it started out to be. My mom used to make this recipe she calls Chuckwagon Beans, which I will be posting sometime in the future. That is what I was thinking I was going to make for dinner. Turns out, I had one 16 ounce can of pork and beans, meaning I wasn’t making my Mom’s recipe. It was one of those days I was not planning to go anywhere and I was not changing the plan. So Baked Chili is what happened. And I mean, what happened. I started pulling things out of the pantry and the veggie drawer and this is what I came up. All of these ingredients are available in my house 90% of the time.
Although I baked this in my oven, it will easily translate to the grill. A cast iron skillet or a Dutch Oven on the grill or a Dutch Oven over an open fire or with coals will make this recipe even better than it is baked in the oven in the house. Adding natural smoke flavor to any dish such as this improves the overall taste-so pull up your stump around the campfire for this one.
This recipe makes a lot. It will be good for a potluck or when you have a crowd. Of course, you can cut it down 1/2 or 1/4 easily enough. The end result filled a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. To prevent a mess in my oven, I laid a sheet of foil on the shelf below the chili to catch the inevitable drips. Also, plan ahead. This will need to bake about an hour and a half.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brown 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of hamburger in a large pot. Drain and set aside. In the same pot, saute 2 medium to large cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped, one large diced green pepper and one large diced onion, about a cup and a half each. If you don’t like that much, cut the amount. I love peppers and onions. For a bit of heat, you could add a diced chili pepper. Saute the pepper and onion about 5 minutes or so, just until crisp tender. They will cook further in the oven.
Add the cooked hamburger back to the pot and stir all together. Next, you will be adding 3 undrained 16 ounce cans of chili beans, one 16 ounce can of baked beans,one undrained 16 ounce can of kidney beans,one cup of beef broth or stock (veggie works well, too), 1 tbsp dried cilantro or 2 tbsp chopped fresh, 2 tbsp ground mustard, 1 tbsp cumin, 2-3 tbsp chili powder (to your taste). Stir well. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven (preheated to 375 degrees F) for one and a half hours. After taking it out of the oven, remove the foil and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. It will be very hot!!
In my house, we have cornbread with our chili and sometimes a bit of shredded cheese over the top (sometimes for my husband and myself, every time for my daughters).
When I eventually bake this outdoors, I will prepare the chili completely in my Dutch Oven. I can brown the hamburger, saute the veggies and stir it all together in the same. Over an open fire, I use my tripod and keep my fire pretty hot, adjusting the hanging level of the oven with the chain (for more on Dutch Oven cooking, see Heaven and Earth/Himmel und Erde). On the grill, I will start with a hot fire and keep up the heat, spreading the coals around the perimeter of the grill, placing the Dutch Oven in the center (after removing the cooking grate). The way cast iron holds heat, I don’t anticipate any issue keeping the chili hot enough to bake as completely as it does in the kitchen oven.
This is a different kind of chili. A little off from the chili I make in a pot, but it’s a keeper. No tomatoes, no tomato sauce, really thick and meaty. It was good. I hope you enjoy it.
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
Grilled chicken is great on a salad. Grilled chicken is great period. I believe it is the best way to cook chicken. As long as it is done correctly, you end up with moist, flavorful and tender chicken that lends itself well to just about anything you want to put it in or eat it with. Although I put this chicken recipe on a salad, it will be just as good with rice or on a sandwich with a honey mustard mayo.
I had mixed greens with iceberg lettuce for the salad. I don’t normally buy iceberg lettuce since it has very little nutritional value. Generally, it is the dark, leafy greens (including spinach) that I eat. There is a bigger nutritional bang in the darker greens.
As far as making up the salad, I always have a variety of options. No one in our household like the same things on his or her salad, so a salad bar is set up and each can pick whatever to put on their own salad. Tomatoes, nuts or sunflower seeds, Craisins, different cheeses (I like feta and goat cheese) are some of the items on our salad bar. I grilled up this chicken when tomatoes were ripening, so we had homegrown tomatoes. The yellow grape tomatoes went very well with the raspberry balsamic chicken. Fresh raspberries would be a nice salad addition as well. Honey mustard, raspberry vinaigrette and balsamic vinaigrette dressings are excellent choices to finish off the salad.
The chicken will marinate for a few hours or overnight to fully absorb the flavors. I had a 2 pound chicken breast that I left whole. For the marinade you will need: 1/2 cup of oil, 1/4 white (or dark) balsamic raspberry vinegar (or you can make your own. 1 pint raspberries will yield about 1/2 cup of juice. To juice the berries, press through a sieve and discard the pulp and seeds. Add the juice to 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar. If that is not a strong enough berry flavor for you, add more juice. This uses fresh berries, so I recommend making this right before you are going to use it), 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 2 medium cloves of garlic, pressed. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor to emulsify. Emulsification blends the oil with the other ingredients in order to keep the oil from separating. This is definitely a time when you want the oil and vinegar to stay blended. You will know the ingredients are emulsified when the mixture is thick and you can no longer see the individual ingredients. In a plastic bag, add the marinade to the chicken and seal. Store in the refrigerator at least a couple of hours before grilling.
To grill, prepare a fire for indirect grilling. While the coals heat up, take the chicken out of the fridge to warm-up in anticipation of the hot fire. I’ve mentioned this before, but it doesn’t hurt saying again-the meat is just like us when it gets cold. It tenses up and needs to relax prior to being placed over direct hot heat. When the coals are ready, place the chicken directly over the coals, searing each side for about 3 minutes. Move the chicken to the opposite side and place the lid on the grill. In about 20 minutes, the chicken will be ready.
In these photos, you can see how moist the chicken remained. No dry, rubber chicken here!
I chose a honey Dijon mustard dressing to top my salad. It was very good!
Enjoy your grilled chicken! Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!
A conserve or whole-fruit jam is basically stewed fruit. The cooking time is shorter than the time for a regular jam, so not as much natural pectin is released from the fruit to “jell” the fruit. It does thicken up quite nicely, though. It is thick, but not as thick as a fruit butter (which is actually pressed through a sieve for a smooth fruit spread). Plenty thick enough to spread over a warm slice or hunk of fresh bread.
One 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries, 3 large, seedless oranges and honey to taste are all I put in this concoction. Rinse and sort through the cranberries, discarding any that don’t look right and removing any stems that remain. Pour them into a large saucepan. Juice the oranges, scraping out some of the pulp right into the saucepan. One trick I learned (I think from Rachael Ray) about juicing citrus fruits: set the fruit out to warm up a bit to room temperature or pop in the microwave for about 30 seconds-after poking a hole or two through the peel to prevent an exploding orange or lemon-then roll the fruit on the counter with the heel of your hand to break up the pulp, easing the juicing process. When I juice an orange (or lemon or lime), I use a flat wooden spatula. Cut the orange in half, insert the spatula into the center of one half and squeeze the orange while pressing the sides of the orange. Then press/scrape some of the pulp out with the spatula. I scraped some pulp out of 2 of the oranges and most out of the 3rd. Finally, the honey. Honey is an excellent sweetener for this. The smooth sweetness derived from honey counteracts the tartness of the cranberries. A honey with floral notes adds another dimension altogether. Clover honey is the most common variety found in grocery stores, but you may also find orange blossom honey or plum or lavender. Mmmm. Anyway, I started with about a 1/4 cup of honey and added more through the cooking process as needed. It all depends on how tart you like your cranberries. Once all was in the saucepan, I stirred together on medium-high heat until the cranberries started to burst. The mixture also started to simmer/boil at this point. I turned the heat down to low-medium and cooked about 20-25 more minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture will slowly drip from a spoon held vertically. As it is hot, it will thicken up even more as it cools. Start checking the thickness around 15 minutes-if it cooks too long, it will become juicy and therefore runny. You don’t want a runny conserve. You want it nice and thick for those slices of bread, ham, turkey, pork or whatever.
I’m going to play with this recipe some more. See what else I can pair with the cranberries. I’m imagining a cranberry/mango chutney glaze over ham or a pork tenderloin…
Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!