Category Archives: BBQ

Steak and Greens

i like a rare steak. what of it.

I love my grill.  I love it so much that sometimes, late at night, I walk out onto my balcony and give it a supportive little pat, because I want it to know I appreciate it.

But that shiny, beautiful jerk likes to overcook my steaks.  It won’t overcook chicken, sausage, pork, or even shrimp.  It saves its brattiness for really good steaks.  Which is why, for better or worse, I cook my steaks in a pan on the stove.  Please don’t tell my dad.

I have an easier time controlling the temperature of the steaks in a pan on the stove.  I use a big, stainless steel skillet, which gets really hot, and then I can melt a little bacon grease before I put the steaks in.  Additionally, there’s all kinds of brownish-beefish bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, which are crying out to be made into a sauce, or to perform my absolute favorite cooking miracle: COOKING ALL THE ELEMENTS OF YOUR MEAL IN THE SAME PAN.  Yeah, this whole dinner occurs in one pan.

Steak and Greens

2 steaks, any kind will do.  I used sirloin this time, but my favorite choice is ribeye.  Whatever you like is fine.

salt and pepper

a little bacon fat, if you have it

1 bunch Swiss chard, ribbed and roughly chopped*

2 shallots, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp dijon mustard

3-4 tbsp brown sugar

red pepper flakes, if you like

a few tablespoons of water

crusty bread and butter

Method: Remove the steaks from the fridge 30 minutes or so before you want to cook them.  Season them liberally with salt and pepper.  In a large pan (large enough to cook two steaks at the same time, keeping them at least 2 inches apart from each other and the sides of the pan – if you don’t have a pan that big, cook them one at a time) on high heat, melt a little bacon grease and wait for the pan to get really, really hot.  When it’s hot enough, pop in the steaks, they should sizzle, a lot.  Depending on the thickness of the beef, it might take 2-4 minutes per side for medium rare.  Err on the side of bloody, that’s what I say.

see how they're not crowded in the pan? don't crowd them!

A minute or two before your steaks are cooked to your desired doneness, remove them to a plate and cover with foil.  Don’t cut them or mess with them or anything, just leave them alone for awhile.  In the meantime, turn the heat down to medium, toss the garlic, shallots, vinegar, mustard, sugar and water into the pan and let it cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring it around so the browned bits of beef are all deglazed.

de-glazing!

Finally, put all the chard into the pan and move it around with tongs, letting it wilt.  I do this whole process for maybe 6 minutes or so, 3 minutes with the heat still on, 3 minutes with the heat turned off.  When that’s done, you can slice your steaks (against the grain!!!) and serve over the greens, with crusty bread to sop up the beef drippings/greens dressing.

* Swiss chard is kind of a pain in the ass.  It’s a really sandy vegetable, so you have to wash it carefully, and it requires that you cut out almost all of the center ribs in the 5000 leaves of chard the bunch you buy will certainly include.  So to cut out the rib, rinse each leaf well, lay it out flat, and cut out the rib with a knife.  When they’ve all been de-ribbed, roll them up in bunches and cut them up.

pain in the ass vegetable. but it is among the most nutritionally dense vegetables on the planet. also: they look like dinosaur plants.

– Cat

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Filed under BBQ, Meat, Recipes, Sides, Vegetables

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Coriander Rice and Veggies

I wanted to call this post Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Pile of Health, but I thought it wouldn’t read well in Google searches.

Trader Joe’s has an interesting new product called “Bag of Stir Fry Stuff”, which has chopped up baby bok choy, carrots, snow peas, broccoli and Napa cabbage.  It seems like the kind of thing that exists to solve some other problem, like their fruit leather Odds and Ends (which is a bag of the trimmings from giant sheets of fruit leather).  The problem was probably: How can we make more money off of stuff we’d probably just throw away otherwise?  The solution is obviously:  Put it in a bag and find a cutesy name for it.

Normally, I am strenuously opposed to produce that is pre-chopped.  I hate that someone can fool me into paying more for something that is exactly the same as something that is cheaper.  I come from a long line of overblown dramatics, so getting pretty worked up about something like pre-chopped produce is routine for me, and luckily my boyfriend finds it amusing.  Recently Dom got a satisfying laugh at me while we were standing in the produce section at Trader Joe’s and I was agonizing over buying the pre-skinned and chopped sweet potatoes, because even though I really didn’t want to spend the time peeling and chopping those things if I bought the regular kind, I REALLY didn’t want to buy a bag of pre-peeled, pre-chopped sweet potatoes.  In the end, I bought the regular ones and felt superior through the whole arduous process of peeling and chopping them.

This Bag of Stir Fry Stuff, though, barreled right through the chink in my anti-marketing armor labeled: Stuff She Will Buy if it Saves her Chopping Many Items, Rather Than Just One Item.  It has baby bok choy AND carrots AND snow peas AND broccoli AND Napa cabbage!!!!  That’s enough saved chopping time to run a mile and a half.  Or, watch the Daily Show while eating cheese.

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken

1 lb chicken (I used 4 boneless breasts, but you could use thighs, bone in parts, a whole chicken, anything)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

juice of 1 lime,  plus the squeezed limes

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped (no need to peel it)

2 tbsp Sriracha

1/3 cup coconut milk

3 green onions, roughly chopped

Whisk all the ingredients together (it will be chunky) and pour over the chicken.  I marinate stuff in big Ziploc bags, because that’s what my mom does.

see, the marinade is all big and weird, but it doesn't matter.

2-24 hours of marinating should do it.  When you’re ready to grill it, turn the grill on high and OIL THE GRATE.   Remove the chicken from the marinade, and grill 4-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through.

Coriander Rice

1/2 a sweet onion, chopped

2 tbsp butter

2 cups brown rice

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp turmeric (will make the rice that pretty, pretty yellow)

4 cups water or chicken stock or coconut milk

3 green onions, chopped

In a large saucepan on medium heat, cook the onions in the butter until translucent, about 7 minutes.  Pour the dry rice into the pan and stir it around in the liquid for a couple minutes, then put in the coriander and liquid.  Cook, mostly covered, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.  When done cooking, stir in the green onions.

Stir Fried Vegetables

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp soy sauce or ponzu

2 tbsp Sriracha

2 tbsp brown sugar

juice of 1 lime

2-3 tbsp water

a whole bunch of chopped veggies (I used a bag of frozen edamame and  pre-chopped, pre-washed Bag of Stir Fry Stuff, which was AWESOME.  But you could use carrots, any kind of cabbage, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, anything.)

In a saucepan on medium heat, put in everything but the veggies.  Cook for 10 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until it thickens up a bit.  Dump in all the veggies and cook until just shy of the point you like your veggies cooked to.  I like a crisp vegetable, so I cooked mine for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

– Cat

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Sweet and Spicy Shredded Pork

Remember when the Food Network was not a reality TV channel, but one that actually featured cooking shows? Yeah, me too. Since the Food Network seems to not really be about cooking anymore, the big guns over there decided to make a new network called the Cooking Channel. However, my crappy cable company that shall remain nameless (it rhymes with schmomschmast) does not include it. So, naturally, anytime I’m somewhere that does have it, I watch it.

The other day I caught this show called Kelsey’s kitchen, and kind of loved it. This Kelsey is a little bubbly for my taste, but I really liked the food she made. She also talks about a lot of the technical sides of her cooking methods, which I love (if you haven’t figured that out already). The day I watched she made this lemon orzotto, which is like risotto but made with orzo, and is easier to make. I’ll let you know when I try it. After the show I headed to the website (yeah, I’m a nerd) and I looked at some of her recipes and came across one for a sweet and spicy shredded pork. I immediately knew I had to try it.

I love pork in all forms, especially the slow cooked and shredded variety. Often shredded pork is mixed with a bbq sauce of your choice, which I do enjoy, but sometimes it covers up the flavor of the pork. If you’re looking for a good porky flavored shredded pork, this is the recipe for you. It was incredibly moist with just a hint of sweetness and spice. It was delicious, and easy, and I will be making it at least once a week for the rest of my life (or until my boyfriend gets tired of eating it).

Sweet and Spicy Pulled Pork- modified from The Cooking Channel

Ingredients:

1 (5-7 lb) pork shoulder

½ cup light brown sugar

4 cloves garlic minced

1 Tbs ground cumin

1 Tbs salt

1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

2 onions coarsely chopped

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup cola

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Mix together brown sugar, garlic, cumin, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg. Rub the mixture generously and evenly over the pork shoulder.

In a large roasting pan or Dutch oven, add the chopped onions, broth and cola. Place the seasoned pork in the Dutch oven. I had a little bit of excess seasoning that I just patted on to the top of the pork once it was in the cooking liquid.

Roast for 6 hours, checking the pork every couple hours for tenderness and liquid level.

When the pork is tender enough that it is falling apart, shred it with a fork. I did this directly in the Dutch oven, it shredded with very little effort. Stir to combine with the remaining juices.

I topped the sandwiches with a Jicama Apple Slaw.

Ingredients:

1 green apple, cored and julienned

½ of a medium sized jicama, peeled and julienned

½ of a medium sized  green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (or use a mandolin like I did)

1 tsp salt

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs olive oil

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

½ of 1 jalapeno seeded and julienned (optional)

Method:

Combine all the ingredients. Chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

A few notes:

The “modification” I made was the nutmeg. I love nutmeg in savory dishes, it adds just another level of spice and helps bring out an earthy almost smoky flavor in the meat.

I left the house for 5 out of the 6 hours this was cooking. While I can’t “recommend” this, my pork was juicy delicious and not at all dry.

I served this on those cute little slider buns. I prefer a smaller bun for the meat to bread ratio. We each had two.

You could top this with any type of slaw, or even bbq sauce. I liked the jicama apple slaw because it adds a bit of crunchiness and sweetness to the pork.

-Sue

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Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Onion and Roasted Garlic Jam

This post might be labeled pork sandwiches, but the real highlight of this is the jam. I have a thing for savory jams; it’s like having a little bit of dessert with dinner. They complement savory dishes, they are made with savory ingredients…but that touch of sweetness is just what the dish needed. Like this onion jam- made with shallots, Vidalia onions, and roasted garlic. Yes, they are onions, but they are the sweet kind. I LOVE Vidalia onions, what’s not to love about an onion you can eat like an apple? Ok, maybe not JUST like an apple, but it has a sweet flavor with less of the lingering bite of your average onion. Shallots are another favorite of mine, they have a light bite when they are raw, but as they cook they release an earthy sweetness. Add a little roasted garlic and a few other ingredients and you have quite possibly the best sandwich condiment ever.

You can cook the pork tenderloin anyway you like, or you can even use leftover pork.  The jam can be made ahead of time, which makes this a perfect picnic meal. Picnics are cute, and impressive picnic food is a sure fire way to make a good impression on a date…I’m just sayin’.

Sweet Onion and Roasted Garlic Jam

Ingredients:

3-4 medium shallots

1 medium Vidalia onion (or sweet of any variety)

2 Tbs olive oil

1 full head of garlic

1 Tbs balsamic vinegar

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

½ cup brown sugar

Roasted Garlic:

1 head of garlic

1 Tbs olive oil

Method:

Start by roasting the garlic. Preheat the oven to 350. Slice off about ¼ inch off the top of the head of garlic, just exposing the top of the cloves. Place on top of a square of foil, and drizzle with olive oil, pull up the sides and twist to close.  Roast the garlic for about 30-45 minutes or until the cloves are soft.

Slice or dice yoru onions and shallots*. I prefer a thin slice, about ¼” X ½”. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs of olive oil in a large heavy bottom sauce pan or enameled dutch oven. Saute the onions and shallots until they are fragrant and transparent, about 3 minutes.  Add the remainder of the ingredients with the exception of the garlic, which is probably still roasting. Stir all ingredients together and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by ½. Whenever the garlic is done, or for at least the last 10 minutes, squeeze in the roasted garlic cloves and stir to combine. Using a wooden spoon, crush some of the larger cloves of garlic if desired.

not pretty, just delicious

Serve over thinly slice pork tenderloin on a bun.

The pork can be cooked anyway you want; you can tell by the pink smoke ring on my pork that I smoked it, but whatever you want will be delicious! Here is an easy way to cook pork tenderloin:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper. Sear all sides in a large skillet on high heat, if the skillet is oven proof move directly into the oven. If not, transfer to a large sheet pan and cook in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. Let the pork tenderloin rest for 10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.

A few notes:

* Cat and I have a running argument on shapes of onions in things like French onion soup, and jams. I like little slices, she likes a dice. Pick what you like, and let us know. I’m pretty sure I’m in the majority here.

-If you are new to shallots, you will be pleasantly surprised by their more subtle onion flavor, they also get sweeter as they cook, similar to garlic. There are a number of varieties of shallots; but in a normal super market you will most likely only see French, or common, shallots.  They have a grayish purple skin and are usually found close to the garlic.

– You could also serve this on pulled pork. Or eat it by the spoonful.

– According to the FDA pork can now be cooked to 145 degrees. This is how you’ve been eating it in restaurants for years, but if it still makes you uncomfortable, cook it up to a full 160.

-Sue

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Baby Potato Salad with Chard and Bacon

mmm bacon.

Last week was the 4th of July, which I realized is my favorite holiday.  Everything about the 4th of July is good: eating grilled things, eating baked beans, lots of drinking, usually swimming in lakes, fireworks, being outside in beautiful weather, lots more drinking, sparklers, falling asleep in the car on the way home, etc.  There’s nothing bad about this holiday.  My love for the 4th of July has almost nothing to do with patriotism, interestingly.  Not that I don’t love America.  BECAUSE I DO.  I think my favorite thing about America is the fact that we can fearlessly make fun of whoever we want, but also: the freedom for people to set off fireworks in the street outside my building until 2 am even though it’s a school night, and my freedom to yell obscenities at them for doing so.  Ah, America.  The only thing Christmas (traditionally my favorite holiday) has on the 4th of July is mimosas and honey baked ham.

So because I’m a real American, I celebrated the 4th of July by eating baked beans and drinking.  I mostly slowly sipped shots of orangecello and I made pulled pork instead of burgers with  my baked beans, but still, it counts.  I also made a nice potato salad of NOT THE MAYONNAISE VARIETY.  This potato salad is a lot like German potato salad, with the addition of Swiss chard or kale.  The chard makes it seem like you’re making something healthy, which you are, if things can still be healthy when they have a gloss of bacon fat.  I made mine with baby Dutch yellow potatoes, which are delicious and buttery.  You could also make this with fingerlings or redskins, but I really think the Dutch yellows are the nicest.  In any case, make this with a baby potato so it stays delicate.

Baby Potato Salad with Chard and Bacon

2 lb baby Dutch yellow potatoes, scrubbed

1 bunch Swiss chard or kale, cut or ripped into 2 inch pieces (To prepare kale or chard, wash each piece pretty carefully, they hold a lot of sand and grit.  When they’ve been satisfactorily rinsed, rip or cut out the center stem of each leaf.  Discard the stems, and chop or rip the remaining leaves into bite sized-ish pieces.)

5-6 slices bacon, chopped (I cut up my bacon with a pair of kitchen scissors I use only for cutting up bacon.)

3 large shallots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp whole grain mustard

4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp brown sugar

salt and pepper

Method:  In a large pot full of water, boil the whole baby potatoes with a few pinches of salt, until they are fork tender.  Remove them to a colander and let them drain until cooled to room temperature.  When they’ve cooled, cut them into quarters and put them in a large pan or bowl, whatever you want to serve the potato salad in.  In a large saute pan on medium heat, cook the bacon pieces until crispy.  Remove the bacon pieces to a paper towel lined plate.  Turn the heat down to low and put the shallots and garlic into the bacon fat, cooking until translucent, probably 10-15 minutes.  Then add the mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, brown sugar and salt and pepper, and let cook 5 more minutes.  Pour half the dressing over the potatoes, leaving the other half in the pan.  With the pan still on low heat, put the chard into the pan in a big layer, moving it around every 30 seconds or so with tongs.  It will slowly wilt and shrink in size.  When it’s all wilted but still green and mixed up with the remaining dressing, pour the chard over the potatoes and mix well.  Mix the bacon back into the salad and serve warm or at room temperature.

– Cat

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Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers


We all know turkey can be good. I mean come on, there’s an entire day devoted to eating it. What’s not to love? Moist, delicious, roast turkey, served with every possible delicious side you could ever want…is it November yet?

Now, let’s be honest. Aside from the occasional deli sandwich how many of you eat turkey on a regular basis? My guess is not that many. I remember when turkey burgers became popular, and everyone tried to make them taste like a beef burger. As it turns out, turkey tastes nothing like beef.  You cannot slap a slice of cheese on a turkey burger and call it a day.  Turkey, unless it’s smoked, roasted, or done up with some other elaborate cooking method, it is generally pretty bland (hello gravy).  BUT this does not mean turkey burgers can’t be delicious! They really can be, and what’s awesome about turkey is that they are a kind of blank slate; you can do almost anything with them. For example, this burger; spinach and feta are wonderful with turkey, but the flavors would be lost with hamburger.

I did a fair amount of research for this burger, and almost every recipe I found recommended using frozen spinach. I have nothing against frozen spinach, but by the time you defrost it and squeeze out all the moisture I have gone through almost an entire roll of paper towel.  The other great thing about wilting fresh spinach for this is you can infuse it with garlic flavor- and who doesn’t love that?

I topped these burgers with a thick slice of grilled tomato, a handful of arugula, and a spoonful of tzatziki sauce.

Spinach and Feta Turkey burgers

Ingredients:

1 ½ Lbs ground turkey

1 bag baby spinach (usually bout 6-7 oz)

1 large clove of garlic, minced or pressed

1 Tbs of olive oil

¾ cup block feta, crumbled

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 tsp freshly chopped dill

1 egg, lightly beaten

Arugula

1 Large tomato, beef steak if you can find it, sliced thick

Method:

If you are planning on making the tzatziki sauce, make it before the burgers- recipe follows.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and lightly sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add the spinach and cook over medium heat until wilted.

Remove the skillet from heat and move the spinach and garlic to a large bowl, drain off any excess liquid. Add ground turkey, spices, egg, and feta, and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.

Form into 4-5 patties depending on your liking and bun size.

Heat grill to medium . Cook each burger for about 6 minutes on each side or until the meat is completely cooked through.

In the last two minutes of grilling add the thick slices of tomato to the grill, grill for 1 minute on each side. Also toast the buns if you desire (just do it).

To serve, place on burger on each plate, top with grilled tomato, a handful of arugula, and a spoonful of tzatziki.


Tzatziki sauce:

1 ½ cups Greek yogurt (I use 0%)

1 Tbs dill

1 Large clove of garlic, minced or pressed

1 large cucumber, seeded and diced small

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp salt, or more to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let marry for at least 30 minutes before serving.

A few notes:

I like a chunky tzatziki sauce. Many recipes call for you to grate the cucumber, which you can of course do, but I like the chunks. It is also extremely important to seed the cucumbers or the sauce will be way too watery. It can also be helpful to salt the cucumbers and let them sit in a strainer to draw out some of the moisture.

This burger could also be topped with a slice of roasted red pepper, which is a very common Mediterranean flavor. Bell peppers and I don’t get along very well, so that is why I chose tomato.

A little bit of thinly sliced red onion would also be delicious.

I had grand ideas of making a roasted red pepper and pepperoncini mayo to go with it, but I didn’t have enough mayo. If I try that next time I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I served this with zucchini oven “fries”- recipe coming soon.

-Sue

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Grilled Vegetable and Orzo Salad

This is quite possibly one of the easiest BBQ sides I have ever put together.  I knew a few things: I wanted grilled vegetables, and I didn’t want them on a salad, and I didn’t want them plain. While I love grilled vegetables plain I wanted to spice it up. When you put grilled vegetables on a big salad they all sink to the bottom and end up making the lettuce soggy. While a grilled vegetable salad can be plated nicely individually, it’s not as successful as a big dish.

This salad was also met with rave reviews; it’s been awhile since I had such a rush of requests for a recipe. A few other great things about this recipe: it can be made ahead, and I can attest to this because I ate every last bit of the leftovers. It can also be eaten warm or cold (versatility at its finest). It’s a GREAT summer salad because there is no mayo in it or anything to get all nasty when you leave it out in the sun while you are distracted playing bags (I know I’m not the only one). You can feel completely safe about eating round two hours after this salad has been sitting out. Feta cheese is one of those great cheeses that never really melts and never gets the greasy sweat that other cheeses sometimes do. Perfect for something like this.

By far- the best part of this recipe is how damn easy it is. Cook some orzo, skewer some vegetables, and crumble some feta…delicious amazing salad complete.

Grilled Vegetable and Orzo salad

Ingredients:

1 cup orzo pasta, cooked and drained

¾ to 1 cup block feta cheese, crumbled

1 zucchini, cubed

1 yellow squash, cubed

10 asparagus spears

15 (or so) cherry tomatoes

1 medium Vidalia (or sweet) onion chopped in large pieces.

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method:

Skewer the zucchini, squash, cherry tomatoes, and onion. Skewer only one kind of vegetable together. The onions will take a little longer, and the tomatoes will take the least amount of time which is why I keep like vegetables together. For the asparagus, prepare a foil packet for the grill and toss the asparagus with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper before sealing up. Drizzle the skewers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and a healthy grind of pepper. Over medium heat grill each of the skewers until each of the vegetables has a nice light char. Onions first; asparagus, zucchini, and squash at the same time, and tomatoes a quick turn last. While the vegetables cook (or before) cook the orzo according the the directions on the box.

In a large bowl top the orzo with the vegetables and the feta cheese and toss.

Add a drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper (no salt is necessary, the cheese has plenty) and serve.

A few notes:

You could use any kind of vegetable here. Bell peppers would be lovely (if I liked them) along with eggplant, or any other vegetable (I can’t think of any other vegetables you grill, but maybe you can).

I love grilled (or roasted) tomatoes, but this salad could also be served with them fresh.

I highly recommend trying this as is first, but a bit of fresh basil, or other fresh herbs, would be wonderful.

-Sue

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