Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Grilled Lemon-Pepper Trout and Corn on the Cob (GOOD)


*** Grilled Lemon-Pepper Trout with Corn on the Cob (GOOD) ***

I got some fresh-caught trout from a friend, so I fileted it up and threw it on the grill. I like trout to be pretty simple, so I just put some lemon pepper on it and a little olive oil and nothing else except for some fresh-squeezed lemon juice when it was done. Threw it on the grill for a few minutes, along with some corn on the cob, and it was a delicious (and healthy) weeknight meal. Opened a can of peas for a side as well.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Portobello and Vegetable Chili (BLAH)

TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2008

*** Portobello and Vegetable Chili (BLAH) ***

This is why I'm not a vegetarian. To quote my wife, "This would be better if it had big pieces of steak in it." I agree.

I basically took all the veggies I had on hand (portobellos, summer squash, zucchini, green peppers, and onions) and threw them in a pot with some chili seasoning, diced tomatoes, and kidney beans. By no means did it taste bad, but there was just something missing (MEAT!). Hell, even ground turkey would've been fine.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Smoked BBQ Chicken and Grilled Mozzarella-Stuffed Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms (GREAT)

SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2008

*** Smoked BBQ Chicken and Grilled Mozzarella-Stuffed Balsamic Portobello Mushrooms (GREAT) ***

CHICKEN: Had company over so I smoked a few whole chickens on the charcoal smoker with a mixture of apple and pecan wood. The smaller two chickens were done in about four hours, and the larger chicken took about 20 minutes longer. All three were moist and had a good smoky flavor that wasn't too overpowering. Two chickens sat on the bottom rack on the far side of the smoker, while the third sat above them on the upper rack. NOTE FOR THE FUTURE: The upper rack definitely cooks quicker than the bottom, so rotate the meat accordingly.

I also made a paste of minced garlic, lemon zest, salt, lemon pepper, and fresh thyme and rubbed it under the skin of each chicken, as well as a couple lemon slices. In addition, I sprinkled the skin with some more lemon pepper and paprika to give it nice colorful crust. As a result, all three chickens looked great. Whole chickens work great on the smoker and don't take nearly as long as big cuts of pork, so they work great for company. Leftovers make a great smoky soup or chili, and if you're in to making your own chicken stock, the smoky bones/carcass make an awesome stock.

SAUCE: Made two sauces ... a Spicy Ancho-Chipotle BBQ Sauce and a Worcestershire-based sauce called Black Sauce. Both are awesome and have a million applications.

Spicy Ancho-Chipotle BBQ Sauce

1/4 cup granulated sugar (or less ... depends on how sweet you like it)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons chili peppers packed in adobo sauce, chopped/minced

Mix everything in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce head to medium-low and simmer 12-15 minutes until sauce thickens.

Black Sauce

1 c. Worcestershire
1 c. white vinegar
2 TB brown sugar
2 TB lime juice
1 TB plus 1 tsp black pepper
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp allspice
lemon zest (optional)

Mix together and heat over medium heat for 10 minutes.

MUSHROOMS: The portobello mushrooms is an appetizer that I often breakout for company, and it's always loved by everybody. Here's the original recipe I used from Epicurious. I also like to add fresh basil to the mixture, it gives it a nice depth. In the future, I would also use a bottled balsamic glaze (or boil down your own) to drizzle over the top.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dinner Out: Surf and Turf (GOOD)


*** Black and Blue Burger ***

Went out to dinner tonight at Surf and Turf so we could sit outside on a nice night in Grandin Village in Roanoke. Surf and Turf grinds their own sirloin for their burgers, which is always a great sign because you can then comfortable order a burger medium-rare and eat it the way it's supposed to be eaten. Topped with some crispy bacon and a nice strong blue cheese, this meal was a winner. Throw in homemade potato chips and a side salad (and several Black and Tans!) to round out the meal. Grade: A-

Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin (GOOD)


*** Grilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin ***

Basic and easy, but good and relatively healthy as well. Threw a pork tenderloin on the grill and glazed it with some bottled teriyaki sauce in the last few minutes for a nice crust. Served it with steamed edamame and basmati rice.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chicken and Corn Salad with Chili-Lime-Cilantro Sour Cream (DECENT)

TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008

*** Chicken and Corn Salad with Chili-Lime-Cilantro Sour Cream ***

I'll often roast a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken from the store, pull it apart, and then use the meat for a couple of lunches/dinners. It was 95 degrees here today, so I was in the mood for something cool that also allowed me to not have to turn the stove on. I mixed some of the chicken with a tomato, a can of Mexicorn, some cilantro, and some chives from the garden together in a bowl. I then sprinkled in some chili powder and made a super-quick vinaigrette with olive oil and blood orange vinegar (balsamic or apple cider would work fine too). I then threw it on a bed of romaine lettuce and topped it with a dollop of the sour cream.

The Chili-Lime-Cilantro Sour Cream is something I came up with that is great with all sorts of things. Just mix together 1/4 cup sour cream with lime zest, lime juice, chili powder, and cilantro. I'd give you amounts, but I just do it to taste and feel. My best guess is about a teaspoon of zest, juice, and powder and a tablespoon or so of cilantro. Regardless, it adds a great kick to otherwise boring sour cream (great on a burger too).

I wouldn't say this is the greatest meal in the world, but it was a solid meal for a hot weeknight and I'd certainly eat it again. You could definitely add black beans to this as well, but I didn't want to since I had eaten so many beans the night before.

Double Bean Burritos (QUICK and BORING)

MONDAY JUNE 21, 2008

*** Double Bean Burritos ***

This is one of my standbys when I don't feel like cooking or have anything defrosted or fresh in the fridge. I heat up a can of refried beans as well as a can of black beans. Throw them into a tortilla and add whatever other taco fixins you want. Good, quick, and easy (but boring).

Honey-Dijon Chicken Thighs (VERY GOOD)

SUNDAY JULY 20, 2008

*** Grilled Honey-Dijon Chicken Thighs ***

I like mustard-based sauces, but could never seem to find one that was exactly what I was looking for. I want one that has some kind of Asian flair ... soy or ginger or whatever. The store-bought ones are always WAY too sweet, and most of the online recipes seem to be for a honey dijon sauce that you would get with your McNuggets.

I finally found a honey-dijon glaze from Bobby Flay that had what I wanted ...

3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

Melt the first threee ingredients over medium heat. Then remove from the heat, add the rest of the ingredients, and let it cool to room temp.

I threw some salt, pepper, and paprika on the thighs and tossed them on the grill. FYI ... paprika is my secret ingredient for just about anything grilled since it puts a great char on the food from the fire. Brush them with the glaze during the last few minutes of cooking.

I would definitely make this again, and this glaze is great for most meats ... salmon, pork, chicken, and shrimp all come to mind.