Showing posts with label grilling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grilling. Show all posts

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Seasonally Delicious Burger Night

Grilling season is year round at the Good Cook Doris house - you'll find me out in the snow womaning the grill. But now that the weather is finally warm the grill is really in full swing. Spring produce is also finally coming up and it seemd like the perfect combination for celebrating burger month 2020.

This epic burger is part of a fan-frickin-tastic month-long event hosted by Girl Carnivore, but opinions are always my own!

This is less of a burger recipe and more of a burger guide. It takes advantage of seasonal local ingredients and a little bit of creativity! This year we joined a spring CSA that delivers a mix of winter storage crops, early spring crops, and pantry items from local food producers.

It's been a delightful assortment of products. Most exciting are the early spring crops that are new to me - like wild ramps and sunchokes. Each box also comes with a loaf of freshly baked crusty bread. With all of these ingredients to work with I got grilling! I think that the fun part of burger meals is that everyone can customize their burger however they like. The griller's job is to make a good assortment of toppings along with juicy patties and the eaters are in charge of their creations. 

Here's how I assembled my mid-May seasonally inspired burger! 

Ground beef from a local farm that is now offering home deliveries (I prefer 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef - I find it stays nice and juicy)
Fresh crusty bread from a local bakery
Cabot extra sharp cheddar
Local sriracha
Dukes Mayo (my favorite!)

Burger patties: 
Keep it simple and let the beef shine! I like to season generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper when I mix the meat. 
Gently form into patties, being sure to press down and make an indent in the center (helps it from puffing up when grilling).

Choose your toppings! 
I like to cut thick slices of Cabot cheddar to melt on top - the sharper the better
For vegetable toppings, coat in oil and sprinkle with kosher salt

Start the burgers first
Add thicker vegetables with the burgers, add more delicate vegetables when you flip the burgers
Add the cheese when the burgers are almost done, letting it melt into a delicious coating on top
Grill your bread if you want to add a little extra grill flavor

Spread mayo on both sides of the bread and drizzle sriracha to your desired level of spiciness
On the bottom bread, add the grilled veggies
Add the cheese covered burger and top with the second piece of bread
Serve with a side of pickles, simple salad, or some grilled sweet potatoes
Try to fit it all in your mouth! Watch out for the dripping juice!

Now it's your turn! Open the fridge and pantry and see what you've got in there and get yourself to the grill! To help you out, be sure to enter the Burger Month giveaway to win some awesome prizes. They'll help you take your grilling to the next level! 

Want more amazing burger ideas? Check out these bloggers for more burger month creations:
🍔 Girl Carnivore 🍔 A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures 🍔A Day in the Life on the Farm 🍔 A Merry Recipe 🍔 An Affair from the Heart 🍔Art of Natural Living 🍔 Caroline's Cooking 🍔Chef Justin Grimm 🍔Chiles and Smoke 🍔 City Living Boston 🍔Comfortably Domestic 🍔Culinary Adventures with Camilla 🍔 Dixie Chik Cooks 🍔 Everyday Eileen 🍔 Everyday Southwest 🍔 For the Love of Food 🍔Good Cook Doris 🍔Grillax: Fire. Food. Fun. 🍔 Grilling Montana 🍔 Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks 🍔 Jolene's Recipe Journal 🍔 Karen's Kitchen Stories 🍔 Kate's Recipe Box 🍔Kudos Kitchen by Renee 🍔Life Currents 🍔 Life of a Ginger 🍔Making Miracles 🍔Man Meat BBQ 🍔 Miss in the KItchen 🍔Off the Eaten Path 🍔Our Good Life 🍔 Palatable Pastime 🍔 Pastry Chef Online 🍔 Real Life With Dad 🍔Renee Nicole's Kitchen - Everyday Gourmet 🍔 Sarah's Cucina Bella 🍔Savoring Midlife 🍔 Seduction in the Kitchen 🍔 Simple and Savory 🍔 Spoonabilities 🍔 Sumptuous Spoonfuls 🍔 Swirls of Flavor 🍔 The Redhead Baker 🍔 The Spiffy Cookie 🍔This is How I Cook 🍔 Thyme for Cocktails 🍔What's Cooking Italian Style Cuisine 🍔 Wildflour's Cottage Kitchen 🍔Wile E. BBQ 🍔 Wok & Skillet 🍔

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BurgerMonth Sponsors: Cabot, Anvil & Hammer, New York Beef Council, Red Duck Foods, and Spoonabilities for providing prizes for this epic event. All opinions are my own. The #BurgerMonth giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All winning entries are verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness.

The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. One winner for each weekly giveaway will be selected. The prize packages are sent directly from the sponsors. Winners have 48 hours to respond or they forfeit the prize and another winner(s) will be chosen.

The #BurgerMonth Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #BurgerMonth posts or entry.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Smoke Siege BBQ Team: Inaugural Competition Season (Part 2)

This is the second post in a series about my first experience with competition barbecue. Last summer I helped my brother at a barbecue competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. This second installment in the series is quite delayed, but seems appropriate as I head out for barbecue season 2!

I am getting ready to head to Indianapolis for Smoke Siege BBQ Team's second season on the competition barbecue circuit. My brother's team has already completed one competition this season. This event will be number two of the season. We will be participating in the Wine, Brew, & Bar-B-Que, Too event hosted by the New Palestine, Indiana Lions Club. To get in the barbecue mindset, and ready for a crazy weekend, I am continuing the story of our competition day activities from last year's event. You can read about the event and our initial preparation at

Official team photo

For this post I will focus on Friday at the competition - the preparation day. Turn-in and judging happens on Saturday. Friday is spent getting organized, prepping all the meats, and of course a little beer and schmoozing with the other competitors. Depending on Saturday's turn-in times, actual meat smoking doesn't start until somewhere between midnight and 2:00 am.

Once we got our work area set-up and ready, the prep work began. Rules stipulate that you can only trim meat before arrival. Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) judges have to inspect your meat and give you the all-clear to get to work. With four meats and sauce to prepare, we started around 2:00 pm. My first task was to season and prepare the chicken thighs. For smoking chicken, dark meat is going to stay more moist and hold up to a few hours in the smoke. The chicken gets a nice rub down both under and over the skin before being put in the cooler to absorb the secret spice mixture.

About halfway through the chicken prep a huge thunderstorm rolled through. We covered the meat,threw a wool blanket over our wood pile, held tight the tent, and rode it out. Thankfully we were just a little soggy and didn't lose any of our supplies.

Chicken thighs, prepped and ready to chill.
Me, a little soggy from the rain.

Note: Even though you only turn in 6 portions of each meat, you cook a lot of extra. This allows you to select the best looking and tasting pieces for the judges. And it feeds all of the friends who come out to help you during the competition. 

While I was busy massaging chicken, my brother Marc was tackling the larger cuts of brisket and pork shoulder. The meats need time to absorb flavors and you want them to stay moist throughout the cooking process. To achieve this cooks use a variety of techniques. Marc injects the meat with liquid and seasoning and then gives it a generous spice rub. I think we cooked 2-3 briskets and 2 pork shoulders.Ribs aren't treated to the injection process but do get a good helping of spice rub. Between 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm we were able to prepare all of the meats and clean up our work space.

One of the perks of this particular competition was a complimentary dinner following the mandatory cook's meeting. All 50 pro teams listened to the rules and regulations before being treated to what I would describe as a very rich dinner. I am fairly certain that everything was cooked in butter. And if it wasn't , there was a giant vat of butter in which you could dunk your corn (or burger buns...).

After swapping stories with fellow competitors and clogging our arteries, the rest of the evening was open. The opening ceremonies of the Olympics were on TV, competitors were checking each other out, and the beer was flowing. As the 11:00 pm hour approached, I bunked in to our overnight facilities and rested up for the long night ahead.

Many other experienced teams had queen size air mattresses with full sheets, others had cots, some had fully loaded RVs. For our inaugural season, we had reclining seats in the car. Around midnight the wood went into the smoker and started a slow burn to reach 250 degrees. Meats got a final prep and around 2:00 am the cooking began.

Midnight pitmaster in action.

Seasoning the meat one more time before going on. 

After the temperature was satisfactory and the meats were on the smoker, I took over the overnight pit watch duty. This entailed trying to stay awake and making sure the temperature stayed constant. Sometimes the smoker needed to be fed a little extra wood, sometimes the smoke valve needed to open up a little.

Stoking the fire around 3 am.

We made it through the night and as the sun rose over the smoker we were a little weary, but energized to face the competition head on!

Ribs, awaiting their dawn cooking time. 

Next up in the series are final cooking, presentation preparation, and a lot of good eats. I'll close by showing our schedule for the competition. To have a successful cook,  you have to start with the turn in time and work backwards. The meat needs time to rest before slicing, and everything has a different cooking time. As you can see below, Marc had a grid for the meat to go on, get wrapped in foil (prevent too much smoke flavor), if it need to be sauced, and when to take off the grill.

I'll wrap up this series, and then have a recap of our second year. I hope it is as fun as the first! I'll be tweeting & putting pictures on Instagram over the weekend. Follow along!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Smoke Siege BBQ Team: Inaugural Competition Season (Part I)

This is the first post in a series about my first experience with competition barbecue. This summer I helped my brother at a barbecue competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. While it is a little overdue, I will be posting about the experience over the next few weeks. While the weather is getting cool here in the northeast, things will get a little smoky here on the blog! 

My brother Marc is a fantastic cook - he has been since we were little. I've mentioned it before on the blog. We used to make ourselves after school snacks and dinners when are parents were busy. Except that one time he almost caught the microwave on fire, we did pretty well! Throughout college and now into being a grown-up, he has continued to expand his culinary horizons. This summer I joined him for a weekend in Indianapolis to pursue his delicious new hobby of competition barbecue.

Competition Eve - getting ready for the night ahead.

What is competition barbecue? Simply explained, teams gather to barbecue (smoke) meat for prize money and bragging rights. In reality, custom smokers are commissioned, secret spice rubs and sauces are developed, entire kitchens and bedrooms are packed up into trailers, and teams spend the weekend working hard at their craft. After a few seasons of backyard smoking, my brother gifted himself a custom smoker for his big birthday this year. Depending on who you ask, the smoker is either St. Louis Cardinals Red or Hoosier Red (we're from St. Louis and Marc is an Indiana University alumni). The smoker was custom built by Iron Hog BBQ of Kansas City.

Sunrise over the smoker. 
Saturday morning - competition day.

I flew out to Indianapolis to join the Smoke Siege BBQ Team for its second competition this summer. Our destination was New Palestine, Indiana for the "Wine, Brew & Bar-B-Que, Too" event. There are a few different competition circuits and formats. This event was a Kansas City Barbecue Society event, following rules determined by the society. For this event, 50 teams were competing for prizes in the following categories: chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. Teams could also turn in a sauce as well as participate in a People's Choice pulled pork (festival attendees paid $5 to taste and vote for the best pulled pork). We entered all categories including sauce. Teams are provided with turn-in boxes for each category. You are judged on taste, tenderness and appearance. Appearance involves someone on the team spending a lot of time arranging curly parsley into a fluffy bed for the meat. All of the work has to be done on-site. Judging is blind, done by a panel of six KCBS certified judges (they take an oath). Points are awarded by each judge, the highest and lowest scores are tossed, and your final score is tallied. At this competition, teams were competing for a total of $11,000 in prize money across the categories. There are category winners as well as an overall competition winner.

Plush parsley prepared for presentation - thanks to Rob and Steve..

Marc had some help prepping before my arrival. The rules allow trimming and cleaning of meat before arriving on site. His friend Alan spent a few hours expertly preparing the skin on the chicken thighs and Marc trimmed the excess fat from the pork and brisket. On Friday morning, we got up early to finish blending the sauces and rubs before loading up the car and heading out. A lot of organization is required for these competitions. You don't want to take everything, but you don't want to be without something crucial to your success. It seemed like we took everything but the kitchen sink (although many teams did take sinks!). After stocking up on a few last minute supplies like water and beer we headed East to the "New Pal" Lions Club parking lot.

Teams came from all over Indiana to compete. There were a few from Michigan and even one from Mississippi! Competition barbecue is a serious hobby and even a profession for some. Teams included hobbyists like us, lifelong barbecue aficionados, and even barbecue restaurants. Team names ran from the pretty basic to the more entertaining. Names like Rob-a-cue (staffed by a very nice man name Rob), Sweet Racks and Smokin' Butts, Squealers BBQ, and the aptly named team below. A lot of tongue-in-cheek names to be found.

Set-ups ranged from tents and trailers to RVs and bigger RVs and tricked out buses. That's the range you get in the types of teams - but bigger equipment doesn't necessarily translate to better barbecue.

Local BBQ restaurant. 
The other side had 2 giant televisions.

After we pulled into the Lions Club lot on Friday afternoon we got to work setting up our spot for the weekend. We had the car, the smoker, and a pop-up tent. Marc and I worked on our own for Friday and overnight and then were joined by the rest of the team on Saturday morning. Rob and Steve showed up with the sun to start the parsley prepping and Alan and his dad joined a little later. I'll end this post with a look at our set-up. The Lion's Club provided a water hookup, electricity, and ice. We were on our own for the rest of our supplies for prepping, cooking, presenting and cleaning.

Setting up work tables and supplies.

Dish washing station - soap, bleach water, and fresh water.

Getting the meat inspected so we can start working.
Head judge checks to make sure nothing but trim work is
done ahead of the competition.

Unloading the supplies we transported in the smoker.

A look at some of the other team setups.

Lions Club lot filled with trucks and tents.
Stay tuned for the next post - prep work, a soaking thunderstorm, the cook's meeting, and cook's dinner.

Our third teammate on Friday.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Smokin’ Backyard Cookout: Part 1

The smoke has cleared and I’m excited to share my latest cooking adventure!

Over the last two summers I did a fair amount of smoking using my gas grill rigged up with a smoker box and water pans. This year, I tackled smoking in a dedicated smoker! Last November I was lucky enough to win a Masterbuilt electric smoker and I finally put it to work. I know it’s not a traditional smoker that you’d see at a real barbecue place – but for a novice smoker in the ‘burbs it is perfect. The electric smoker maintains a consistent temperature and all it takes is some woodchip additions and monitoring throughout the cooking process.

With inspiration from my previous smoking adventures and my brother’s smoking expertise I put together a menu for a recent get together. When I entertain, I love to try out new recipes, new dishes, and new cooking methods. The challenge of trying something new is exhilarating! There are one or two items that always make an appearance on the table, but most of the dishes are new.

I tackled menu planning and party planning by starting with a list. First with a list of all of the dishes and their ingredients and second a timeline for when each dish would be made. A little cookbook, online research, and a phone call to my brother helped to put the finishing touches on the smoking timeline. The next step was to make labels for each dish for the serving table. This helps plan the table space and also ensures that dishes don’t get forgotten in the rush to get everything on the table.

Smoked chicken wings – plain, buffalo, and sweet chili
Chunky pineapple salsa*
Tomatillo-avocado guacamole*
Sea salt & lime tortilla chips*
Want’ems chips with Thai mango dipping sauce
Carrots, broccoli, and celery for dipping (these went untouched)

Main Course
Smoked brisket with coffee dry rub
Smoked chicken with garam masala rub
Homemade garam masala barbecue sauce
Smoked tofu for the vegetarians
Smoked vegetables - summer squash, zucchini, garlic scapes, and mushrooms
Grilled corn on the cob
Tastes Better with Friends’ Peanut Apple Coleslaw

*Old favorite – always on the table for parties

There are too many delicious things to cover in one post, so I’ll start today with the smoked meats and barbecue sauce.

I decided to smoke an assortment of items to test out my new toy. I picked my favorite meat to cook – brisket. Using the temperature required for the brisket, I adjusted the cooking times for the rest of the items. The smoker has different shelves which allowed me to easily add each item at the appropriate time. Everything turned out flavorful, but my hands down favorites were the chicken wings and the chicken breasts. The meat was juicy and the smoky flavor infused each bite.

Smoking Temperature: 225 degrees F
Wood chips: Equal parts Maple and Apple woodchips

Smoked Chicken Wings

2 pounds fresh chicken wings
Smoking time: 1.5 – 2 hours

Seasoning: A generous sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Prep time: Let seasoned chicken wings refrigerate for an hour or two while the brisket is smoking

Serving styles:
1: Naked – served as is with no sauce
2: Buffalo – I received a free bottle of KC Masterpiece hot buffalo sauce through Foodbuzz. Since I’m not a fan of buffalo flavoring it was a perfect addition to the party. I tossed of the cooked wings in the sauce and every reported that they loved the flavor and spice.
3: Sweet Chili – this sauce, made by the folks behind Want’ems chips is inspired by duck sauce. I was given the sauce to sample. The dip/sauce is full of onion, pepper, garlic, and jalapeno pepper. I tossed wings in a generous helping of sauce. They were sweet, with just a little kick.

Smoked Chicken Breast with Garam Masala Rub

4 whole chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
Smoking time: Approximately 2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees

Seasoning: Garam Masala seasoning
My coworkers traveled to India earlier this year and brought back an assortment of spices for me to add to my pantry. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try them out! Garam masala is a spice blend that is made a little different by each person. It often has cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, nutmeg, and cloves. Those are all spices that go well with poultry. I rubbed each chicken breast generously with garam masala – making slits in the skin and putting the spices underneath the skin as well. Let the seasoned chicken rest in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil before adding to the smoker.

When the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, remove from the smoker and let rest for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with barbecue sauce. Eat it on its own or make a messy sandwich.

Smoked Brisket with Coffee Dry Rub

1 - 4.5 pound brisket, fat layer trimmed to about 1/4 inch thick
Smoking time: About 6-7 hours for this size. After 4 hours wrap brisket in foil and continue to smoke for another 2-3 hours. The internal temperature should reach 185 degrees.

Seasoning: Coffee Dry Rub. I first made this seasoning two years ago when I smoked my first ribs. The combination of coffee, brown sugar and chili powder gives the meat a great flavor.

Coffee Dry Rub (courtesy of Whole Foods Fire Up the Grill flyer, summer 2009)
2 cups light brown sugar (I used dark brown, it's all we had)
1 cup chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup medium ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely ground dark roast coffee

Serving: Let the brisket rest for at least 20 minutes before thinly slicing. Serve plain, douse in barbecue sauce or make a sandwich! Reheat the next day in barbecue sauce.

Garam Masala Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is really easy to make. If you have an extra 20 minutes, it’s well worth whipping up your own unique sauce. I wanted to incorporate the garam masala to pair with the chicken flavoring. I did some internet searching to find a recipe to consult for proportions of ingredients. I happened upon a Barefoot Contessa recipe for a basic barbecue sauce. Using the recipe as a starting place, I created my homemade sauce.

1/2 diced yellow onion
1 garlic scape, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup brown mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
3-4 tablespoons Garam Masala
1 very light sprinkle of hot red chili powder (part of my Indian spice collection)

Heat a large saucepan over medium-low heat
Add vegetable oil, chopped onions and garlic scape and sauté for 10-15 minutes until onions are translucent
Add the remainder of the ingredients and simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
I wanted a smooth sauce, so I used an immersion blender to blend the onions and garlic into the sauce

Makes approximately 1 quart of sauce. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if there is any sauce leftover.


That's all for this post. Stay tuned for the next installment with appetizers and a giveaway!

The Want'ems chips and dips were provided to me as a free sample. I was not obligated to review and I did not receive any financial compensation. I received the KC Masterpiece Buffalo sauce through the FoodBuzz tastemakers program. The sample was also complementary and all thoughts about it are shared voluntarily. The rest of the food I bought at the farmers market and grocery store!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

When He Fends for Himself: Bison Burgers

I never thought I would ever say this, but Ted Turner has had a positive influence in my life. Ever since I went to Ted's Montana Grill ten years ago and had my first bison burger, I knew I had stumbled upon something I really liked. There is a Ted's nearby to us and we have gone a couple of times, but I make an effort to see what other bison burgers are being created out there. More often than not, if a bison burger is on the menu I'll order it. Such is my desire to get a good burger that I had a bison burger on the way to Yellowstone, where one of attractions I was most excited about was to see the Buffalo roam. The burger was delicious and I don't feel the least bit guilty about. The herds of buffalo in the park were pretty awesome also. But, what does this have to with lonely dinners?

I don't know if you have noticed, but Whole Foods regularly stocks ground bison. When planning our meals for a particular week, the wife informed me that I was going to be on my own for a night. She told me this right in front of the meat counter, and because I don't really like to put too much thought into what I'm going to have for dinner 2 days in advance, and because the ground meat looked so good, I decided on the spot that I'd do bison burgers for when I fended for myself.

I had a solid plan for quickly forming the burgers and getting them on the grill when I got home, but I decided to take a load off first. This lead to "resting" for an hour or two, and before I knew it the wife was on her way home, it was kind of late, and I missed my opportunity to make the burgers. Admittedly the cooking and execution of my lonely meals is probably biggest hurdle I need to overcome. I can be quite lazy.

However, not all was lost. I originally purchased a half of pound of the meat so the next night I made two burgers for me and the wife to have for dinner. I wasn't fending for myself, but I was giving the wife a night off. Here's how the magic happened:

1. I placed the ground meat into a mixing bowl
2. Added dashes of salt and pepper
3. Sprinkled in some Worcestershire sauce (I've seen this go in burgers before, so it's staple, right?)
4. Added and egg and some breadcrumbs (The wife's suggestion)

I mixed this all up by hand and then formed the 2 patties. In the meantime, the grill was preheating so I took the burgers out back and threw them on. When they looked done, I used our fancy spatula to scoop them up and plated them. I also grilled up some corn on the cob go to with it. It turned out to be a really quick dinner and looking back on it, I'm not sure why I couldn't do it the night before. A couple of weeks back I promised more healthy and complete dinners and I think this one is a step in the right direction. Hopefully it is something I can build on so you all can be impressed by the next "When He Fends for Himself"

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Manly Steak Salad

We don't do salad very often in our house. I'm not sure why, but it just doesn't make it on the menu. I don't like to eat the same thing every day and most packages of greens are more servings than two people need in a week. But it's summer and it's hot - and light meals are the way to go.

I like salads full of stuff. I'm not a fan of salads that are just lettuce and dressing (like Caesar). I usually order the salads full of beans, avocado, corn, etc.  So when I set out to make a steak salad at home I pulled out a few ingredients from the refrigerator.

For the cold ingredients: Olivia's Organics spinach.  Next up, carrots and English cucumber. The rest of the ingredients (steak, onions, mushroom, and asparagus) went on the grill. For dinner we had, what I'll call a "manly steak salad". For lunch the next day we had the same base salad with grilled chicken on top. It was fantastic both ways.

Mix the salad base early in the week and you can top it with different proteins each day - steak, chicken, chickpeas, tuna (if you like that sort of thing), or even some grilled tofu. You can change the taste with different dressings also. It's easy to tweak the mix and enjoy a different salad every day!

Manly Steak Salad
Serves 2

2 cups spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2 carrots, cut into coins or sticks
1/2 of an English cucumber, cut into one-inch sticks
1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
8-10 spears asparagus, trimmed
1 portabello mushroom caps, lightly brushed with olive oil
Sirloin Steak, approximately 1 lb.

Wrap onion slices, olive oil, and water in a foil packet and seal tightly

Heat the grill to medium-high heat, grease the grill to prevent sticking
Sprinkle both sides of the steak with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
When the grill is hot, add the steak and onions directly over heat
For a 2 inch thick steak, cook for 8 minutes per side for a medium steak
When you flip the steak, flip the onions and move off of the direct heat and
add the mushrooms and asparagus to the grill (flip after 4 minutes)
Remove veggies and steak from the grill and set aside
Do NOT slice the steak yet (it needs to rest)

While the steak is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the salad
Place 1 cup of spinach on two serving plates
Split the carrots and cucumber sticks evenly between the two plates

Combine 2 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar in a small container with a lid
Shake vigorously to combine

After steak has rested for about 10 minutes (so the juices don't run out), slice and place on top of the salad
Top with sliced portabello, asparagus, and onions
Dress salad to your liking and add freshly ground pepper

Serve with a big fork and knife and enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Topping (for the next day)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, excess fat trimmed off
Old Bay seasoning

Rub a generous amount of Old Bay seasoning on both sides of the chicken
Heat grill to medium heat and grease the grill to prevent sticking
When grill is hot, add chicken and cook until done
The time varies depending on the thickness of the chicken and heat of the grill. It could be anywhere from 10-15 minutes
Let the chicken cool before slicing into bite sized pieces
Add to the salad base and dress the salad before eating

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time:15-20 minutes
Cutting board, knife, plates, tongs, grill, dressing container, foil, serving dishes and utensils

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Burgers, Corn, Radishes and a nice Rose

I'm a little behind on my blog posts - this one goes back to last Tuesday night. With adjusting to evening classes and homework, it's been hard to keep up! Sorry for the delay, I hope that you enjoy reading the next few posts from the past two weeks.

I had been to the Tuesday farmers market and continuing the theme of buying something new to me each time, I picked up some watermelon radishes from Siena Farm. On the train ride home, I noticed that someone had left a bag on the baggage rack. I could read the name Kimball Farm on the bag and figured that someone forgot to take it home (I get off at the last stop). I picked up the bag and inside were 4 fresh ears of corn! I'm sorry to the commuter who had no side dish for dinner, but thank you for adding to ours!

I decided on making a burgers for a late summer (well, early fall) dinner and grilled the corn along with them. I had recently read about a radish salad at one of my new favorite websites, and followed their recipe for the dressing.

I paired it with some wine I picked up at one of my other favorite new places, It's a great rose from Oregon - A-Z wines. Perfect for pre-, during, and post-meal sipping!

Every time we have burgers I like to add a little twist. The hubby had gone to the store this week and bought whatever veggies looked good. We had red peppers and onions on hand. I mixed up a variation of my meatloaf mixture for the burgers and tossed in a little hoisin sauce for a little Asian flavor. I grilled extra red peppers for a topping and made sure to toast the whole wheat buns on the grill too. This was delicious! Enjoy!

Asian Flavored Meatloaf Burgers (that's quite a mouthful!)
1 lb. ground sirloin
1/4 red pepper, diced very small
A few slices of onion, diced very small
About 1 tablespoon (2-3 dashes) Worcestershire sauce
About 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
Breadcrumbs, just enough to hold the burgers together

Preheat the grill before you make the burgers
Score the meat into four equal portions
Form patties, but don't over work
Set aside until ready to grill
Grill until desired doneness
Top with lettuce, grilled red peppers, and a little extra hoisin sauce

Simple and Delicious Radish Salad
Check out the recipe and nice presentation at I didn't have any cucumbers on hands, so I stuck to just radishes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Grilled Tilapia - Quick and Tasty

Things have gotten busier around here with school starting, so my food and menu planning has changed. Now meals are falling into two categories: quick and easy and good for leftovers. Having less time doesn't mean that the meals are any less fun and creative!

This meal falls into the quick and easy category. I challenged myself to only buy only items on sale for my trip to the grocery store. From the fish case I picked up two tilapia filets for dinner. In an effort to support the local farmers, I also bought some local zucchini. From the pantry I used some couscous and some mushrooms that we already had on hand. This was a 5-10 minute prep meal (depending on your chopping speed) and 5-8 minute cook time. Dinner was on the table is about 15 minutes for us.

I decided to fire up the grill to cook the fish. I stood in front of the fridge for a few minutes thinking up a quick marinade. Tilapia takes well to a variety of flavors - I decided on a jalapeno lime marinade with a little ginger and garlic. The couscous was a box with a garlic and olive oil spice pack. I sauteed the zucchini along with some diced crimini mushrooms for the side dish. Here's how to do it at home:

Grilled Jalapeno Lime Tilapia

2 half-pound pieces of tilapia
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, sliced into rings (keep seeds in)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh grated if you have it)
1-2 shakes of garlic powder (fresh minced if you have it)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place tilapia in a pie plate (or shallow bowl with flat bottom)
Cover with lime juice, olive oil and spices, turning to coat
Place jalapeno rings on the top
Cover and marinate while you chop the veggies for the couscous

Heat the grill to medium
Make sure to rub oil on the grill before putting the fish down (ours stuck a little)
Cook the fish for about 3 minutes per side, until just cooked through

I've posted versions of the couscous before, so I won't bore you with it again. Just a photo of the veggies. Have I mentioned how much I love to chop vegetables?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good Cook Doris Photo Shoot

A friend of ours has taken up photography. I casually mentioned to him at our summer BBQ that if he ever wanted to take some food photos, I'd be happy to volunteer. Lucky for Good Cook Doris, he had a photo challenge that called for food pictures! Thanks for the new profile pic! Stay tuned for the next "When He Fends for Himself" - a new profile photo too!

I started thinking of colorful and photogenic recipes that would hopefully help him win his challenge. On the menu: grilled chicken with quick beer-brine, vegetable confetti couscous, and a red and golden beet salad. To finish off the meal on a sweet note - a quick 10 minute apple cinnamon pull apart bread.

We had our dinner shoot on a weeknight, so I did some cooking the night before in order to be ready on time. I roasted the beets and chopped all the veggies the night before. That left the chicken and couscous for the night of the shoot. I'll post photos and recipes below - it might be a long post. For more photos from my friend, visit his Flickr page at

This is a recipe I found on my new Epicurious iPhone app. I thought beets would make for a good photo and set out to find a recipe on my train ride home. As noted in the reviews of this recipe, the dressing was delicious and worth making for salads and other veggie dishes. There was no photo with the recipe, so I took the suggestions and styled it my way!

Beet, Cucumber, and Sweet Onion Salad with Dijon-Honey Dressing
Adapted from Epicurious (original recipe here)

3 medium red beets
3 medium golden beet
1 large English cucumber, unpeeled, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1/2 sweet vidalia onion halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons honey
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard
1/3 cup corn oil

This part can be done the night before or earlier in the day:
Preheat oven to 400°F
Wrap each beet in foil, enclosing completely
Place on rack in oven (be sure to wrap well so they don't drip)
Bake until beets are tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
Cool in foil
Peel beets, then cut each into 6 or so round slices (I cut mine into half circles)
Note: use gloves when peeling the red beets otherwise your hands will be bright red (and peel over the foil!)
Store in a ziplock bag (red beets will stain your Tupperware)

Cut the onions and store in a plastic bag
Cut the cucumber and store with a little water in a separate plastic bag

Right before serving:
Arrange red beets on 1/3 of a large platter
Arrange golden beets on 1/3 of the other side of the platter
Arrange cucumbers down the middle
Sprinkle the onions on the top
Put in the fridge while you make the dressing

Whisk honey, vinegar, and mustard in small bowl to blend
Gradually whisk in the corn oil
Season with salt and pepper
Drizzle over vegetables right before serving

Confetti Couscous
This is a quick and easy dish perfect for using up leftover veggies. It's ready in less than 10 minutes and can be customized in many ways. The dish is great hot or cold, so no need to worry about serving right away.

1/2 of a red pepper
1/2 of a yellow pepper
1/2 of an orange pepper
1/2 - 1 cup of fresh shelled English peas (substitute frozen if you don't have fresh)
1 box of plain couscous
A few tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice peppers into small squares
Shell peas
Steam veggies in either the microwave or on the stovetop
Prepare couscous according to the instructions on the box
Fluff couscous and add veggies
Season with salt and pepper
Sprinkle with parsley and serve

Beer Brined Chicken
I searched the web for some recipes with grilled skin-on chicken breasts. I came upon a recipe on a site called Cooking for Engineers that was adapted from an Emeril recipe. Using the flavors as a guide, I adapted it myself for this delicious dish! I didn't marinate the night before, but I can imagine it would be even more delicious if I did. Here's my version:

2 cups apple juice (natural, not the super sugary kind)
1/4 cup kosher salt (maybe a little less)
A teaspoon or two ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon multi-colored peppercorns
A dash or two of ground cloves
A dash of nutmeg
4 boneless skin-on chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bottle of dark beer (I used a Newcastle)

Put the chicken in a large dish
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with all the spices and rub in with your hands
Pour beer into the dish
Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until you're ready to grill

Heat the grill to 450 degrees
While the grill is heating, melt butter and mix in chili powder and cayenne pepper
Take chicken out of marinade and brush with the butter mixture
Lay chicken skin side down on the grill (watch to make sure it doesn't catch on fire like mine)
Flip every 10 minutes or so until it is cooked through (165 degrees inside - with a meat thermometer)
Due to the fire at the beginning, the chicken cooked a little quicker than expected (about 20-25 minutes)
Served with a parsley garnish, no sauce was needed!

Quick and Easy Pull Apart Bread
I was briefly a Pampered Chef Consultant (I hate following rules!) and this is one of my favorite recipes that I took away from the experience. It works perfectly with my 8-inch skillet and cinnamon sprinkle. This dish costs maybe $2 at the most. Budget friendly and it could be diet friendly (if you use a healthier butter substitute).

1 apple (any type) cored and diced into small squares
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of cinnamon sprinkle (or combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, etc.)
1 can of supermarket brand biscuits (they are 2/$1 at my store)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (or the temp. on the can)
Melt the butter in an 8-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat
Add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon sprinkle and diced apples
Saute until brown and just softened
Tear biscuits into small pieces and cover the apple cinnamon mixture
Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of cinnamon mixture on top of the biscuits
Place the skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until biscuits are golden brown
Remove from oven
Place a large plate over the skillet and flip over (like an upside down cake)
Enjoy - there won't be any leftovers!

Thanks Jim!


Related Posts with Thumbnails