I have a lot of things to say in this post - so just one title doesn't seem to do it justice.
Last weekend, I was quite envious of one of my neighbors' smoked chicken BBQ. So my other neighbor, Justin, and I decided we'd try our own luck at smoking some proteins since we're both pretty enamored by food.
We made smoked chicken drumsticks, beef brisket, and a pork shoulder. I had the chicken drumsticks in a brine overnight. I gave all three meats a generous coating of the Pork Barrell BBQ Dry Rub
that I found at Costco.
I have never actually brined anything myself. Hell, I've never even cooked meat with a bone in it until Saturday's drumsticks. I googled every single recipe for the "best chicken brine" ever - and I couldn't quite figure out what would work for me. So what did I do? Made it up, of course.
What you'll need:
1 gallon cold water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
10 gallon ziploc bag
1. Whisk salt and sugar into water until it starts to dissolve.
2. Pour brine into ziploc bag. I also added a good helping of my dry rub into the bag.
3. Add chicken (I always rinse my chicken first before cooking - you don't need to wash the chicken with soap as seen on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 2
).4. Leave in brine overnight - or at least a minimum of 2 hours.
After letting the chicken smoke for 2.5 hours, it was the most tender, juicy, flavorful deliciousness that I've ever made. The skin gets kinda rubbery in the smoker, so we dipped them in the deep fryer for 3 minutes afterwards. PERFECTION.
I seriously don't know why I don't brine every time I cook chicken - it made a world of difference.
Check out the final product:
And here's the BBQ Beef Brisket after 8 hours in the smoker:
Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the finished pork shoulder. It took about 12 hours - and by the time it was done - I had enjoyed a few drinks with the neighbors and forgot about taking pics.
If you have any great BBQ recipes, tips, or tricks - please share in the comments below!
my new favorite made-up recipe for summer drinks! (inspired by the drinks we had at 9 Dragons
2 parts Grey Goose La Poire,
1 part Peach Schnapps
1 part apple juice
2 parts ginger ale
& a spoonful of Trader Joes mango sorbet to top it off!
shaken over ice - served in martini glasses - because that's what was clean at the time :)
Yesterday, I asked you all for suggestions on kid-friendly finger foods to take to the neighborhood BBQ. My friend, Sheila, suggested an idea she saw on Pinterest for mini corn dog muffins - however, the link was removed from by Pinterest as spam. I decided that it would be pretty hard to screw up making these without a recipe, so I went ahead and gave it a shot. Disclaimer: These are not the healthiest - however, I would guess that they are healthier than regular corn dogs which are usually fried.
Here's what you'll need:
1 box of cornbread mix - I used Krusteaz Natural Honey Cornbread
(plus an egg, water, and vegetable oil - or whatever you mix requires)
1 package of hot dogs
non-stick cooking spray
mini-muffin baking tray
1. Heat oven to 400. Apply non-stick cooking spray to baking tin.
2. Make cornbread according to directions on the box. Fill each mold a little less than 2/3 with batter.
3. Cut hot dogs into little segments (I cut each dog into 5 pieces) and place in the center of each mold.
4. Bake for about 10 minutes - keeping an eye on them.
Let cool. Pop out of tins. Enjoy!
These were a hit with the kids and adults. The only comments I got were "I like butter on my corn bread" and "bring ketchup next time". Touché, mis amigos, touché. Next time, I might try brushing the tops with melted butter.
Let me know if you try it and what changes you make!
On the Saturday before Easter, we had plenty of family in town. Lots of young, growing boys to feed. To put it bluntly, the best way to feed these people is outside. My mom is famous for making pizzas on the grill - so we thought we'd try a new version. We adapted our recipe from Bobby Flay's Grilled Pizza with Hot Sausage, Grilled Peppers and Onions and Oregano Ricotta.
We passed on the spicy sausage and went with sweet italian sausage instead. We also skipped the fontina cheese and replaced sheep's milk ricotta with whole milk ricotta. And we completely nixed the vinaigrette dressing.
2 pounds fresh sweet Italian sausage
2 large red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
5 large red pepper, sliced
Salt and pepper
2 ready-to-make pizza shells of your choice
1 tub whole milk ricotta
fresh herbs (oregano, basil)
Pre-heat grill. Grill sausage about 7-10 minutes per side. Toss onions and peppers in about 2 tbsp olive oil to coat. Cook peppers and onions on grill - we used a vegetable grilling pan made specifically for outdoor use. Remove sausage once cooked and slice. Roughly slice the onions/peppers after they have softened.
Heat grill to med-high. Brush dough with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with garlic salt.
This is important: place the side where you're going to put your topings DOWN first and grill so that it's crispy when you apply the goodies. Grill 3-4 minutes. Remove from grill and place on cookie sheet/cutting board to assemble pizza.
Divide the sausage, onions and peppers evenly over the two shells. Dollop ricotta (mix with herbs, 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic salt to taste). Place the pizza on the grill, close the cover and grill until the cheese has melted, about 3 to 4 minutes.
If you have a favorite grilled pizza recipe - please share! I'd love to try it!
I have been desperately wanting the weather to be more beautiful and a chance to plant my herbs outside this spring. Unfortunately, with this ridiculous snow-in-March, it doesn't look promising. I usually plant my herbs indoors
in my hanging garden and then transplant outside when the weather warms up. This past week, I have found several fresh herb plants that were worth their weight in gold - including a beautiful basil plant from Whole Foods in Fair Lakes. I instantly picked up some fresh on-the-vine tomatoes and mozzarella to go with. Drizzle the top with a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a teaspoon of pesto (I use Classico brand). I don't measure anything unless I'm baking - so use your judgement on this one. The key here is to salt the tomatoes just a dash before layering the mozzarella. Otherwise, the flavor is not as robust.
write down/email/print/memorize this recipe asap and keep in your arsenal. I use this about once/twice per week on salmon, chicken, or pork.
This recipe is a hybrid of a marinade and a rub - but is best applied by a silicone basting/pastry brush. It is easy to make - and easy to modify to meet the needs of your tastebuds. It always impresses guests and commoners (my family) alike. Crunchy outside, soft and tender inside.
tip: I often make this spread (in a larger batch) every couple of weeks and keep in a mason jar in the refeigerator. it's nice to have on hand, ready to go, with the flavors nicely blended. also, sometimes i heat up the olive oil on med-low and let the rosemary simmer for a few minutes to extract the flavors.
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp dijon mustard (i like something that is really seedy)
2 tbsp Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb seasoning
2 tbsp rosemary (use fresh when you can)
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
sometimes I also add other spices: garlic powder, white pepper, cayenne, whatever else is in my cabinet.
Directions: Mix all ingredients together, spread with pastry brush onto both sides of the salmon. The key to success is a grill pan - it's not too shabby in a regular frying pan either. Make sure your pan is hot enough to create the crust on the outside. I usually heat my pan on high for about 2-3 minutes, throw the salmon on, and then turn to medium or medium-high depending on the thickness of the filet. Cook about 3-4 minutes per side. I also find it best to use tongs to turn over so that you don't scrape the crust off the filet.
This is very customizeable - and it's hard to make it wrong. Add what you like and give it a try!
by Jennifer Hemmick
It’s my birthday and I’ll bake if I want to!
Last weekend was my birthday and birthdays with my husband’s family are not birthdays without ice cream cake. Call me crazy, but ice cream cake is not my favorite; I’m a frosting and cake kinda gal (the thicker the frosting, the happier I am) and I decided that this year, I was going to bake myself some cupcakes.
A couple of months ago, my coworker mentioned she was going to make some salted caramel cupcakes that she found on Pinterest for her sweetie’s birthday. When the day came, she posted about them on Facebook and I was so jealous I wasn’t a part of the festivities. Knowing how sweet Ms. A is, I should’ve guessed she would save some to share
with her wonderful coworkers.
As soon as I tasted it, I was in heaven. The combination of salty and sweet was amazing and I was so sad when I ate that last bite that I vowed to find an excuse to make them ASAP. What better excuse than my very own birthday?
Ms. A shared the original recipe
with me, but told me she used yellow boxed cake mix instead of the written one. Hers were so good, that when I went to the store to stock up on baking supplies, I decided to just get the box. In my excitement, I ended up getting Sugar-free yellow cake mix and while looking up reviews on Amazon I found out that “excess consumption may cause a laxative effect.” I’m sorry, but diarrhea and birthdays don’t mix well in my opinion, so I ended up following the original recipe.
In full disclosure, these are time-consuming and use A LOT of sugar, but trust me, they are definitely worth it! You will also end up with a lot of leftover caramel and frosting, which, in the original poster’s opinion, “only matters if you’re an alien.” For an added treat Ms. A topped the cupcakes with a chocolate-covered pretzel, which I forgot to buy, but they were good
• 12 Tbsp butter
• 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
• 3/4 cup light brown sugar
• 3/4 cup whole milk
• 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 12 Tbsp butter, room temperature
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 3 eggs
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 3/4 cup whole milk
• 3/4 cup reserved caramel sauce
• 3 cups powdered sugar
• 4 Tbsp butter, room temperature
• 2 Tbsp milk
• Sea Salt for topping
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and light and dark brown sugars, and milk together. Bring to a boil.
2. Let mixture boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
3. Preheat oven to 350°
4. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
5. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together.
6. In mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar over medium speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and continue beating
until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl when necessary.
7. Add the flour and the milk, beating on low speed until ingredients are just combined.
8. Fill each liner about 3/4 full, about 1/4 cup batter.
9. Bake approx 20 minutes until centers are set.
10. Transfer to wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.
11. While cupcakes are cooling make your frosting. Combine butter, powdered sugar 3/4 cup prepared (and cooled) caramel sauce and milk in a mixing bowl. Beat ingredients together about 2 minutes until creamy. (Mine came out really thin, but it hardened once on the cupcakes)
12. After cupcakes have cooled for about 10 minutes, pierce tops of cupcakes with a sharp knife or skewer about 10 times. Pour about 1 tablespoon of caramel sauce on top of each cupcake, allowing it to absorb into the holes. (This step can get messy! I had the cupcakes on a cooling rack placed over wax paper for easy cleanup)
13. Let the cupcakes finish cooling completely and then frost with about 2 tablespoons of frosting on each. Lightly
sprinkle your cupcakes with (coarse or flaked) sea salt.
guest blog by Kylie Carey of Kylie's Pop Shop
Dorothy Jane is a family member on my mom’s side of the family. This recipe has been in the family for a very long time. Actually, the original recipe calls for “oleo” instead of butter! (That’s how old it is!)
Here's what you'll need:
2 sticks of salted butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp vanilla
1 box confectioners sugar
1 cup graham crackers
Chocolate for dipping
First, assemble your ingredients so that everything is handy.
Next, melt your butter in 30 second intervals in the microwave. While doing this, crush your graham crackers using a food processer. I find that about 3/4 of a sleeve of graham crackers = about 1 cup of crumbs.
Mix in a large bowl using a hand mixer: peanut butter, melted butter, and vanilla.
Use the lowest speed. Mix until creamy.
Add your dry ingredients all at once. DO NOT try to mix using the electric mixer.
My advice: put on some gloves and squish that buckeye dough by hand.
Here is my dough once it was thoroughly mixed and ready to roll!
By hand, roll each buckeye into the size ball you’d like. I made mine into 1 inch balls (the recipe yields about 70 balls!). I like to put my buckeyes on a cookie sheet after they’ve been rolled - it’s easier to put them in the freezer this way.
Put the cookie balls into the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until balls are firm.
Dorothy Jane’s original recipe says to keep them in the fridge for 6-7 hours - but who has time for that? Mine do just fine in the freezer!
Set a timer and do some clean up while they are hardening in the freezer. Get your chocolate melted down, and get ready to dip!
When the pops come out, dip each buckeye into the chocolate quickly and carefully. I like mine on sticks, but Dorothy Jane put hers on toothpicks and removed the tooth pick once the buckeye had dried. Leave the peanut butter showing at the top for the buckeye effect!
And VOILA! Buckeyes!
Please stop by my Facebook
page and check me out, as I am always creating new recipes and toying with classic recipes for new renditions!
In my house, we absolutely LOVE Moby Dick House of Kabob
. And when I say we - I mean all three of us. My 4 year old orders his own platter and eats every last bite. The food is awesome - but it ain't cheap. I decided to try to mimic the famous yellow chicken recipe at home (Persian saffron chicken joojeh). Surprisingly, it was a super easy two-step recipe.
2lbs chicken breast, trimmed and cubed (1-2 inch chunks)
1 cup plain greek yogurt (I used a Chobani)
1 yellow onion, minced finely (almost a paste)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cloves of fresh garlic, minced finely
1 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp saffron threads dissolved in 1-2 tbsp warm water
1 1/2 tbsp turmeric (for color)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl that is not going to absorb the color of the saffron. You could probably use glass, but I used a metal bowl to be safe. Cover in the refrigerator and let marinate for a minimun of 4 hours. *If you're going to put the kabobs on the grill using wooden skewers - make sure to let soak in water for at least an hour before you're ready to start cooking to prevent the skewers from catching fire.
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup butter (melted)
Grill kabobs for about 3-4 minutes per side (all 4 sides). I had my grill set on medium heat - but all grills are different, so adjust the heat and timing as needed. Baste each side of kabob with lemon butter mixture. Serve hot with basmati rice.
After I made this and was cleaning up dinner, B ran around the corner in the kitchen and said, "Mom, that was PERFECTO!"
I'll add this to my arsenal of recipes. Hope you enjoy!
My girlfriend Susan from my sorority's alum group made these AMAZING sweet treats -- and it's "SO EASY" that I just had to share!
Here is her secret recipe:
1. Into the wells of a muffin tin (or in cupcake papers) flatten a square of store-bought chocolate chip cookie dough.
2. Top that with a Reese peanut butter cup (or a mini).
3. Prepare box-mix brownie batter (as directed on the box) and spoon it over Reese-cookie dough, 3/4 full.
4. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. VOILA!
Susan's claim of goodness: "Srsly: not costly, easy, and I have to hide them to keep husband and son from eating all of them tonight."
Doesn't that pic make you want to run to the grocery store right now and make them?