Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Tale of two Chilis

I have talked about my love for all things, pizza, pork, and spaghetti, but I have failed to mention my love for chili.  Everyone has that chili that they compare others too.  Mine, of course, is my mom's.  I look forward to having it every Christmas.  This seems to be the only time that I am around when it is made, I actually think she makes it just for me, well if she doesn't I like to think she does.  Since the weather has been, well for lack of a better way to put it, "chili" in Alabama I decided that I needed a fix.  I searched for a great chili recipe and came across, yet another hit from Chris at Nibble Me This.  It was a fantastic chili. Great depth in flavor and spice.  Not to thick yet not to thin. Really got me over the "chili craze" that I was going through.  I might also add that Byrd loved it as well.  I also read recently from Dave over at Food Fire about Zac Brown Chili.  It also sounded delicious and got a great review. Being a fan of the Zac Brown Band and Food Fire I had to make that one too.  That was for dinner tonight. Also a really great chili with a multitude of flavors, and  the first chili I've ever made with cocoa powder. I have no pictures of either of these due to my camera card being somewhere other than where it belongs, which is the camera or the computer, but this isn't about my cook. I changed nothing about either of these recipes they were made exactly as stated in the above recipes.  I just wanted to say thanks to these guys for bringing two great new chilis into my life. Thanks guys.  If you haven't tried these two you must, the chili and the blogs.  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Big Bad Beef Brisket

A few weeks ago we planned for Byrd's sister's family to come stay with us for a weekend.  We had a couple things planned for Saturday, one including me smoking my first good sized (7lbs.) brisket.  I haven't done one this large and was quite worried about serving a large lump of dried out beef, which has happened before when attempting the brisket.  So all last week I read blog after blog trying to find the perfect method/rub/all the help I could get.  I settled on a recipe from amazingribs.com. There is a lot more on the site than just good rib recipes. Like I said I read everything I could find.  This sounded the least complicated.  I started by reproducing the Big Bad Beef Rub Recipe.  I rubbed down the brisket on Friday night and let it sit in the fridge over night.  Here it is Saturday morning while getting to room temp.  
I set up the BGE for an indirect cook at 220 degrees.  I mixed in applewood chips for smoke.  I realize that hickory goes better with beef, but I realized Saturday morning that what I thought was a bag of hickory chips was actually apple.  Oh well.  I put the brisket on at 10 am.  We (Byrd, Baby Byrd, SIL, BIL, Emma (niece), and MIL) went to the Kickn Chickn wing festival around 11.  This is the first time I have left the BGE alone to  do its job with out me constantly staring at the temp gauge.  We came home a few hours later to find it exactly where it was when I left it.  The meat temperature was sitting at 143. I started to worry it wasn't going to be done in time for dinner.   To take my mind off of it, we watched Alabama get beat by South Carolina, still can't believe that happened, but as an Auburn fan, lets just say when my thermometer went off at 6:30 to say the brisket was at 170 degrees I was happy.  I double wrapped the brisket in foil and poured in about a cup of some left over vinegar based BBQ sauces from the fridge.  I put it back on the BGE and let it continue to cook until it reached 185 internal.  This happened right when as planned.  This never happens.  But the stars were aligned Saturday for me.  Alabama lost, Auburn won, and this is what the brisket looked like after slicing.  
Great smoke ring and very moist. While cutting this with an electric knife juice flew up an hit me in my left eye.   It burned like hell, but I got over it after I tasted a piece.

Paired with some great roasted corn salad, deviled eggs, squash casserole and what my BIL calls sexy sauce, which somehow didn't make the picture, sorry J.
It was delicious.  The Rub was slightly spicy, which I love.  I am glad I doubled the recipe so I have some ready for the next beef cook.  I am sure it won't turn out this good next time, but I am glad it did yesterday.  

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Korean Steak with Kimchi Fried Rice

Wow it has been a long time since I have had the time to sit down and do this.  Well here we go.... Quick update:  Baby Bird is now 4 months old and growing like a weed, Bird is more beautiful than ever, Restaurant is getting busier and taking up more of my time, oh yeah and we decided to move with all of this going on.  Once again I am not sure what we were thinking, but we have been in the house for about 2 weeks and here is the first long cook I have done in a long time.  I got lucky after reading this one in the most recent Food Network Magazine, my parents were in town and stopped by to see Baby Bird so I took the baby free time to prep.  Free time doesn't come often around here these days.

I started by making the kimchi.  I have seen this made on tv, but have never had it.  It sounded spicy and delicious.  I have also never tried Fish Sauce, which smelled like old rotten fish, but I pushed on.  After making this it didn't smell great, but it did smell great after a night in the fridge.

I then made the marinade for the steaks.  Any marinade that involves thick sliced bacon has to be delicious.  The recipe in the magazine is for skirt steak, but we had 2 filets in the freezer so that is what I used for the main protein.  Here we have 2 filets and 1 large white onion (quartered)  covered in bacon, soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, Coke, dark brown sugar, and garlic.  The recipe calls for 6-8 slices of bacon, but really who would just use 6 when given the option to use 8. No brainer for me.

When you remove the steak and onion you are left with 8 thick slices of marinated bacon to start your fried rice.  You see why I made this now.  Dice the bacon, cook until almost done, then add in the drained kimchi from above, saving the liquid.  When the kimchi is brown add in your cooked rice, toasted sesame oil, and reserved kimchi liquid.  Stir fry.  I have never stir fried before, but basically cook real hot constantly moving everything around, while pressing everything down.  I am really over simplifying a century old cooking style.  

I grilled the onion and banana peppers in a grill pan like suggested, then cooked the steaks to medium rare.  

All together now.

All in all this was worth all the time it took to prepare.  I learned that kimchi is delicious (although it doesn't sound like it), I can fry rice, and Korean flavors are awesome.  Another great recipe from the Food Network Magazine.  I also learned that I remember how to log into blogspot.  It has been to long.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

BGE Pizza and a little more.

When I started writing Macon Dinner I was in between working for a restaurant and buying one.  I had plenty of time to cook anything I could think of.  Byrd was pregnant and we were anxiously awaiting the birth of Baby Byrd.  Wow how things have changed.  We opened the restaurant and then eight days later Baby Byrd was ready.  Since then life has not been the same, it has been better.  I remember when I was a child and my mom and dad said "you will never understand how much we love you until you have your own."  I now understand and it's amazing.

I have been cooking, but just haven't had the time to put it into words.  I am still reading blogs and enjoying all of them immensely.  Chris, Nibble Me This, you continue to inspire and  thanks for all the Egg info.  Dave, MYOTG, I not only enjoy your food but envy your lifestyle.  Grey, Grill Knuckles, we share not only a taste for food, but also beverages.  Brent, Brent's BGE, being on of my oldest friends I am amazed at the cook you have become.  Dave, Food-Fire, first food blog I read, thank you for showing me the way.  

Just a few shout outs to say thanks. Now on to the recent cook.

I have had pizza more times in my life than I would ever try to count.  I have discussed this in the past.  The other night I tried a pizza on the BGE.  (I still haven't come up with a name for her, yes it is a her, yet, but I will.)  I wanted to make my own crust as I have seen it done, but didn't have the time, and lately dinner preparation is lacking.  I went to Papa Murphy's and grabbed one.  If you don't have one in your area I am sorry.  Now I didn't make the pizza, but I did pick out the toppings.  That has to count for something, right?  I went with a pepperoni, onion and jalapeƱo pizza.  I read the instructions on their website on how to grill a pizza, well it wasn't very specific.  So I decided to kinda wing it. I got the Egg up to 450, with the plate setter legs down, I am  still trying to get my lEGGuage down, pizza stone on top.  I bought the stone the day after getting the egg.  A month ago.  Sad it has just been sitting waiting to be used.
Per the manager at Papa Murphy's I cooked it on the tray given for the first ten minutes, then removed the tray and placed the pie directly on the stone.  At this point the cheese was melted and the crust was set.
Byrd and I like really crispy crust, so I let it go at 450 for another 25 minutes.  
The cheese had a great crust on the top, with a great smoky flavor.  The crust was crispy on the outside with a nice soft inside.  All pizza should be wood fired. I doubt I will ever put a pizza in the oven again.  Next time I will make a homemade crust, I hope.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pork Wellington Sort of...

A few weeks ago I saw Alton Brown make a Pork Wellington on Good Eats and I have wanted to try it.  This has been my next cook since then.  Well this afternoon I set things in order to have this tasty looking treat.  After work I came home to take care of Baby Byrd and Byrd went to the store to get the few ingredients we didn't have.  One of them being puff pastry.  Byrd came back with Phyllo dough.  She said the lady at Publix told her it was the same.  I wasn't aware that Publix hired culinary graduates these days, but then again you never know.  Well it isn't the same so what do you do when you don't have one of the necessary ingredients for wellington, well you adapt the recipe.  So instead of the above mentioned this is what I did.

I layered the prosciutto so I could wrapped the tenderloin.  I seasoned the wrap with thyme, light salt, and pepper.

There were a few other items that weren't what they were supposed to be as well.  The 1 pound unseasoned pork loin package ended up being to very tiny pork tenderloins, but what do you do.  I fileted both of them then rubbed them with course grain mustard and packed with sliced dried apples.  
Then wrapped it. Since I didn't have the pastry I seasoned the outside with more thyme and garlic powder.  
I got set up for an indirect cook at 400.  Then onto the Egg.  After about 35 minutes the pork was at 150.  I removed it and let it rest.  Then sliced.
The prosciutto crust was nice and crispy and the smell was overwhelming.   Served with a great box of toasted pine nut couscous.
The pork was delicious.  The flavor of the mustard, apples, and thyme together was fantastic. This wasn't exactly what I had planned for this evening, but what came out of this mishap was great. I will go back and make the Pork Wellington from Good Eats, but this will definitely get made again.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Early Father's Day Present

There are many moments in life I will never forget.  Here is the short list: When I met Byrd. My wedding day.  The day I found out we were pregnant. The opening of the new restaurant. The birth of baby Byrd.  Byrd's first mother's day, I got her a card, touching I know.  And then yesterday. Memorial day 2010.  The day Byrd surprised me with an early father's day gift.  I would like to say that Byrd is a much better gift giver than I am. She always has been, and probably always will be.  She went above and beyond incorporating my dad into the mix for this one. The perfect gift.  You can see in the shadows are 2 of my now extinct smokers.  I say extinct because this gift came with a clause.  Now that you have an Egg, you have to get rid of 2 of our grills.  I am glad to part with them.
I got this around 5 o'clock yesterday and it took about an hour to put it together.  Then we had to go out to dinner. I say had here, but dinner was great.  There is nothing like spending time with the family, but this did kill me. A new toy sitting at home waiting to be played with. If i would have known we would have cooked immediately.  But that is what's great about surprises.  All day today, and last night, I got to think of what to cook first.  What a tough decision.  I have been toying around with a new mustard based marinade and think I have finally got it the way I like it.  So I went with that on some chicken thighs.

Mustard Marinade (I know, not a creative name)
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/8 cup Saw's Sauce
2 Tablespoons McCormick's Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning
2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

Mixed together until blended well

I marinaded 4 chicken thighs in half of the marinade in a zip top bag for 2 hours. Then removed them and let sit uncovered in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

While the chicken was sitting in the fridge, I got the Egg started.  Following all directions I got it up to temp(400), plate setter in, legs up.  I put the skin side down for 20 minutes.  This was the longest 20 minutes of my recent life.  Mainly because Byrd was putting Baby Byrd down while I put the thighs on.  She kept wanting to look inside.  I was strong enough to not let myself show her.  This was tough.  After the 20 minutes I flipped them over and set a timer for 20 minutes.  Then basted the tops of the thighs with some of the reserved marinade.  Then let them finish cooking for another 20 minutes.  Here they are when I opened the Egg.
If I were a better blogger I could describe the smell/ thoughts going through my head.  Christmas morning/Any present getting holiday morning comes to mind, but that is the best I can do.

Here it is with the still favorite oven fries of Byrds.
The chicken was wonderful.  In Byrd's words " I didn't know there would be that big of a difference.  The thighs have always been good, but these were perfect. I mean on the other grills they were a consistent 8, but these were a 10!"  This stroked my ego, which is probably already to big.  I can't wait to continue to play with my new toy. I am thoroughly happy with as Byrd calls it, my first gift from my daughter. Now a question to other owners of the BGE.  What "EGGcessories" can I live without?  Right I must have them all.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Filet and Grilled Veggie Grilled Cheese

There has been a lot of food gifts for us since Baby Byrd came home and all have been much appreciated.  Yesterday when my mom stopped by she brought a pack of four filets, she said she got them on sale so we should either cook them or freeze them soon.  Well there is really no reason to freeze them so they were definitely on the menu tonight.  Byrd didn't want a traditional steak dinner so I had to think fast, still have that 8 o'clock dinner schedule.  I looked in the fridge and saw half of red pepper, yellow pepper and red onion. There was also a loaf of Publix white mountain bread sitting on the counter, what can I do. The wheels started to turn as  I remembered the last Food Network Magazine, there was a great cover shot and article on grilled cheeses.  I decided that would be for dinner.  

I fired up my Hibachi for the first time in a while.  It was a nice night out and just felt right.  While the coals were getting to temp, I rubbed the peppers and onions in a little olive oil and seasoned them with some McCormicks's Char Broil seasoning.  I did the same to the steaks.  Then onto the grill.
When the steaks were medium rare I pulled everything off for a 10 minute rest.  Then thinly sliced all of the above. I did feel slightly guilty about treating a filet this way, but I knew it was for the greater good of dinner.
I had a little trouble trying to figure out how to build this sandwich.  I decided to place a couple good slices of Munster on the bottom, then add the sliced filet.  Topped that with the peppers and onions, then more steak and cheese, and then the top piece of bread.  Into a hot pan of butter.
At the flip.
This would have been to much for one of us so I cut it in half and served with oven baked steak fries.  
This was a long way to go for a grilled cheese but it was definitely worth it.  To quote Byrd, "A perfect first mother's day dinner."  I couldn't be a happier guy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Peachy Chicken

We have been home from the hospital with Baby Byrd for about 4 days and sleep has definitely not been on the menu.  What has been is a hodge podge of family cooked frozen food for us to heat when needed.  It has all been great.  Thank you everyone for the quick delicious meals. One great thing I have found about odd hour feeding times it gives me a lot of time to watch food network.  This morning before I left for work I saw Rachel Ray make a dinner called A Little Bit Country.  A great looking meal that I have been waiting to cook all day.  I will first state that I have not always been a fan of Rachel, but that is starting to change.  I need quick good meals these days and well 30 minutes is pretty quick.

Here is my take on her Chicken and Peaches

Canned peaches, I couldn't find fresh ones
1/2 lemon, juiced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Boneless skinless chicken thighs
Salt and Pepper
1 Shallot
3/4 cup Chicken Stock
2/3 cup Peach Preserves
Hot Sauce
Worcestershire Sauce

I started by adding some olive oil in a sautee pan, then added in the chicken thighs.  I would like to say that I really wanted to grill real thighs, but I was on a dinner deadline of serving before 8, feeding time. I stuck to the boneless ones.  Cooked them until done then removed them from the pan and placed them in the oven to stay warm.  Next came the shallots, chicken stock and preserves.  I let this simmer for about 5 minutes making sure to get all of the goodies off the bottom of the pan.  Then I added in the hot sauce, not really sure how much, about  a tablespoon.  Then the Worcestershire sauce, not measured either, probably 2-3 tablespoons.

Since I didn't have fresh peaches I strained the ones from the can and rinsed them to remove the syrup.   Then into a pan with a little butter and the lemon juice to heat through.

Chicken out of the oven and onto a platter.  I garnished with the peach slices then covered in the sauce.
This was a great main dish that I will make again.  The peach and chicken combination was delicious. Next time I will marinate some real thighs and get them on the grill then baste with a similar peach sauce.  This also got me thinking about a apple sauce made the same way paired with some sort of pork.

The side dish tonight was Sweet Onion Potatoes Au Gratin.  I will blog this later in the week.  They too were outstanding.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Done Baking

This is not a food post.  But it is definitely about baking.  For the last 8 month 3 weeks Byrd has been baking baby Byrd.  Last Sunday night she was done.  Home healthy and happy here is Byrd and what she has been baking, the loves of my life:
A very healthy 20 inch 6.43 lb. loaf of love.  Cooking will return shortly.  I may actually start making baby food.  Who knows.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Creole Shrimp Scampi

I got home relatively early from work today and Byrd had a great idea for dinner.  This meant I didn't have to go through the process of figuring out what to cook.  I am really glad when she gives me ideas.  Last night her mom made a Publix Apron recipe and said it was delicious, so she wanted to try it.  I was glad to be back in my home kitchen and went right to work.  Here is the link to the original recipe.  During Byrd's pregnancy she has has had no taste for seafood at all, no fish, shrimp, crap, nothing.  Tonight she was craving shrimp.  Finally.  I love shrimp. And as I have said before, I love all things pasta.

Here is what I used.

6 slices thick cut bacon (diced)
1 (9-oz) package fresh angel hair pasta
10 oz peeled/deveined 51-60 shrimp
3 tablespoons blackening seasoning. (I used Chef Paul's I haven't made my own in a while.)
1 cup fresh diced Roma tomatoes
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon CRP
1/2 cup Publix scampi sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

First season the shrimp.
I started by sauteeing the bacon then removing half of the grease, this was Byrd's idea.  I hate to remove any of the delicious bacon drippings.  When the bacon was almost cooked I added in the shrimp.  The smell of shrimp cooking in bacon is very intoxicating.  After about a minute I added in the garlic and crushed red pepper and let them heat up for a few seconds then added in the tomatoes and wine.  
The smell just kept getting better.  I let this simmer for about 2 minutes until the shrimp were cooked through.  Shrimp are easily over cooked so you have to be careful.  Then add in the cheater scampi sauce and lemon juice. I am not ashamed of using the cheater sauce, somebody at Publix spent a lot of time coming up with this and well, I am glad they did.
Hot tub of deliciousness.  Not to take a line from Guy Fieri, but it works here.
The pasta was cooked according to the package which was about a minute in the boiling water.  Served with a little toasted garlic French bread, for sopping.
This had a lot of flavor and wasn't as saucy as most scampi dishes. This one has room for improvement, but it was great as served.   

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Simple New Marinade

New marinades are always fun to play with.  A little of this and a little of that make a lot of difference.  My only problem is when adding a little bit of anything I don't write it down.  I will make a great dish, then when asked to reproduce, well I don't remember everything that went in it.  I know the basics, but never down to the last detail. I am going to get better at this.  A few days ago I whipped up a pretty good marinade out of things I had on hand and it turned out pretty good.  Last night I tried to duplicate it with a few changes for the best, I hope.  It started with Worcestershire, soy sauce, brown sugar, cayenne, salt and pepper.  The original amounts I have no idea, a taste and add type marinade.  Tonight I measured.

1/2 cup Worcestershire
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cayenne
1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Pepper

This time I heated it up on the stove to melt the dry ingredients.  I removed a 1/2 cup of the marinade and let it cool.  Then poured it over a pork tenderloin and let it marinate for 1 hour.  Here it is before the oven.
I cooked it at 225 degrees until it reached an internal temp of 155.  Then let it rest for about 10 minutes.  While it was cooking I boiled the rest of the marinade until it was reduced by half.  I drizzled it over the sliced pork and potato wedges.
This was a very good simple meal.  I tasted a piece of the pork pre finishing sauce and it was good, but the drizzle added a great extra bump of flavor.  I like the basics of this marinade but it definitely needs a little something else. It is sweet and spicy but just didn't have the depth I was looking for. I can't wait to figure out what it is.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I guess I should have titled this one a quick post.  Not much detail here, just letting everyone know I am still around.  I have been quite busy lately with a new venture and due to my long hours Byrd has been taking care of the cooking around here.  Tonight she made a few additions to Byrd's Spaghetti by spicing it up with some left over hot Italian sausage from the tortellini cook and then threw in some spinach.  I love the regular sauce but this was a nice change.
I promised last week that I would be back to my regular posting, but....such is life.  I will get back to posting as soon as I get into a good rhythm with the new restaurant.  We bought one.  More on that later. What was I thinking opening a restaurant in the last two weeks of Byrd being pregnant.  Am I crazy?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tortellini Soup

Taste & Create Logo by my_amii.
My first month of Taste and Create.  I was paired with Katie from One Little Corner of the World.   I have really enjoyed reading through her posts and getting to know her a little better through her words and pictures.  My one issue was how do you pick just one dish, out of so many, to try and recreate?  I used this as it is meant to be a cultural exchange and a learning tool. I came across a soup that sounded delicious and I don't make a lot of soups, due mostly to Byrd not really liking them.  Well she likes tomato and potato soup, but thats it.  Also I have never had tortellini soup, and what could be wrong with sausage, pasta, cheese and spinach.  NOTHING.

Here is Katie's Recipe:
Tortelinni Soup with Sausage and Spinach
1 lb. mild Italian Sausage
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb cheese tortellini
1 bag fresh spinach
1 tsp fennel
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 quarts beef stock
Parmesan cheese
Slice sausage and render in stock pot. When sausage is near to finishing, add garlic, thyme and fennel. Drain grease from pan, deglaze with beef stock. Bring stock to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add tortellini to pot and cook for 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
Serve immediately and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Now I am sure this would be great left over, but being as busy as we have been lately and with Baby Byrd due any day now I opted to cut the recipe in half.  Here is what I used.

2 links of Hot Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. 3 cheese tortellini
1/2 bag of fresh spinach
1/2 tsp fennel
1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/2 quarts beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesean cheese
Once the sausage was almost cooked I added the garlic, fennel, and thyme.  I let these heat through for about 2 minutes carefully stirring so I didn't burn the garlic.  The smell of all these together was enough to make you want to stop the process there and spoon it on a plate, but I continued. Then deglaze with the beef stock.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Even though I cut the recipe in half I still went the full 20 minutes.  Added the tortellini simmered for 5 minutes, then the spinach for 2.  This came together very quickly. 

Always needing a little more cheese I served this with a whole grain wheat mozzarella and Parmesean cheese toast.
I know it is late spring and at some points in the day it feels very summerish around here, but this really hit the spot. Even though this was a quick soup it had deep, rich flavors that you normally get from cooking all day. I would like to thank Katie for bringing a new soup in to my kitchen. And as for Byrd, I will let her bowl speak for her.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Roasted Corn Salad with a side of chicken.

Sometimes dinner decisions are hard to make.  Sometimes it just comes together.  Last night was one of the latter.  It has been busy around here lately, lots of running around and tying up loose ends before baby byrd comes around. When we were discussing dinner Byrd said she wanted to make a roasted corn salad.  I said that sounds great, what gave you that idea.  She says "I saw Bobby Flay make it today and thought it looked good."  My question "Where was I when she was watching a cooking show, How did I miss that."
She didn't pull a recipe off line, she told me she had it covered.  I am amazed at her at this point.  There is no computer in the kitchen while she makes this.  All by memory.  She puts four mini corns in the grill pan on the stove and starts to roast them.  Then dices up some white onion, and slices some cherry tomatoes.  Once the corn is good and roasted she lets them cool for a minute then cuts the corn away from the cobs.  Mixed all together in a medium size bowl.
Then she asks me to get the blender down, who is the beautiful woman in the kitchen. She pulls some stuff out of the fridge.  She then pours, not measuring, some rice wine vinegar, a squeeze of dijon mustard, throws in some fresh basil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and starts the blender.  Then proceeds to take the plug out of the top of the blender and drizzles in olive oil.  I am in awe. Once she tastes it and approves she drizzles the dressing around the outside of the bowl. covers it and places it in the fridge.
The chicken was marinaded in a mix of Worcestershire, soy sauce, brown sugar, cayenne, and salt and pepper.  Then on to the grill.
All together now.
The chicken was good, as chicken thighs usually are, but the corn salad was fantastic.  Simple and easy, with a side of an amazed husband.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cajun Chicken Alfredo

I have been without the internet for about a week.  Here is a little about dinner last night.  I will be back to my normal posting tomorrow.

Cajun Chicken Alfredo adapted from Cajun Chicken Alfredo.

I started by butterflying 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, then coating them in Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Seasoning.  I used a screaming hot cast iron skillet.
Once blackened on both sides I put them in the oven on 350 to finish them.  While they were in the oven I started the sauce.  In a sauce pan I put a tablespoon of olive oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of garlic.  Once heated through I added a cup of sliced cherry tomatoes.  While these were heating up, I sliced the chicken and added it in.
Deglaze with a 1/8 cup of dry white wine, then add in 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream.  Simmer until reduced by half.  Then add in a cup of grated Parmesan cheese.
Toss in some thin spaghetti (cooked al dente) and serve with some garlic cheese bread.  Also top with some green onion and sliced cherry tomatoes.
This was a fantastic dinner.  I am glad to be able to share again.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jerk Kabobs and Pineapple Salsa

There is a show on a couple of networks that deal with Hoarding.  It makes me think of my cookbooks.  I have a lot.  I mean A LOT!  Most of which I have never opened other than the day they came in my house.  Some I have had since I was a kid.  My first cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, is still around.  It is old, I am sure it was old when my mom gave it to me all those years ago.  Back to the hoarding shows.  I rarely use any of these cookbooks so why do I keep them?  Byrd doesn't know, I don't really know, except there maybe an outstanding recipe in one of them I can't live without.  The answer to why I keep them is the same response from the people on these shows. I can't live without something I don't use, that's just silly. This kind of freaks me out.  So in order to not think of myself as a hoarder of cookbooks I have made a deal with Byrd.  I will find a recipe in each one of them that is worth keeping, if I don't find one we can give it to whoever takes used, or hardly used cookbooks.  All of the kitchen gadgets are safe for the moment, they aren't in plain sight.  I hoard those too.  Now where the hell do I start?  After deliberating on this Byrd and I decided that on the nights we cook from a book, she will pick the book and I will find a recipe.  This being the first time she couldn't decide. She handed me two.  Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes Grill It! and Shall We Gather(This is a regional cookbook from my childhood home town of Wetumpka, AL). I looked through both and decided to go with Grill It! Dave at MYOTG has been using pineapple in several recipes and they all have looked great.  With that in mind this recipe jumped off the pages.  Jerk Steak Kabobs with Pineapple Salsa.

Jerk Marinade
2 green onions, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Mix all ingredients together.
I used a 1 1/2 lb boneless sirloin cut into 1 inch cubes.  I put the steak in a zip top bag and then poured on the marinade.  The recipe says to marinate the steak for 15 minutes, I had more time than that so it bathed for 2 hours.
After smelling and making the marinade I decided to make a second batch to use with some vegetables.  I sliced red onion, squash and zucchini and marinaded those for an hour.
 I put everything on my little hibachi.
The recipe said to serve the Jerk Kabobs with a pineapple salsa. I made this first and let it sit in the fridge while everything else was prepared.  I made a few changes to the salsa for my tastes.  I added extra cilantro.

Pineapple Salsa
2 limes
1 ripe pineapple (rind removed) cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 green onion, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

I pulled the meat off the grill first to let it rest while I finished the second batch of veggies.  Now all together.
With the salsa now.
First things first, this was delicious.  The meat was tender and full of flavor.  Byrd normally doesn't like allspice due to its cinnamony taste, but it was subtle enough and with everything else worked well.  It had just the right amount of sweet and heat.  The vegetables as well.  Although next time I would leave the cayenne out of the veggie marinade, all together it was a little spicy.  The pineapple salsa was fantastic, a great accompaniment to the meat.  A bite with all three was even better.  I will be using this marinade for all sorts of things in the future.   There were a lot of tasty looking recipes in this book and I can't wait to try more. 1 cookbook saved.