Sunday, May 30, 2010

Grilled Fish Tacos

Seems like I cooked an awful lot this holiday weekend and from the looks of the photo record, I may have even cooked more than I thought. I believe it was Saturday night we started with these Grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos. The flour tortillas were really fresh and made these so good. You can use about any kind of fish and even fry them rather than grill – just a great way to eat fish.

So Sunday morning with plenty of those fresh flour tortillas left I fried a pound of sausage and about 4 eggs and put together some nice breakfast tortillas. I really like the local tacos stands chorizo / egg burritos but these mostly American style tacos are kinda hard to beat.

I have three Aunts getting on up in their years, one on the Rhudy side and two on the Calhoun side, that I wanted to visit yesterday and I always like to take a little something and yesterday it was Pot Roast. That might not sound like normal Memorial day fare but I wanted to take that because it was my favorite Sunday afternoon meal at Granny Calhoun’s house and I thought Aunt Mildred and Marylou would enjoy it. I gave it a good sear on the little Portable Kitchen Cast Aluminum Grill and then removed them to half pans with some broth and covered to finish in the Backwoods Chubby. Of course you have to have plenty of potatoes, carrots, onions, celery and we did, but we kinda cheated and did those in one of the two half pans in the meat broth after the meat was done. We did this Sunday with plans to make our rounds with it Monday.

Since the pot roast wasn’t going to get done in time for us to have Sunday, I picked up a bottom round roast for some Chopped Sirloin (bottom round). I really like this with a tossed salad, baked potato, and roll – gotta have a lil 57 or A1 though.

Now that seems like an awful lot of cooking and it was but, we were not finished yet. I'm pretty sure the week got a little long for me and I kinda just gave out or something because what we cooked last night wasn't fit to eat and in fact I through out some Potato / Cauliflower Salad. It's the first thing I remember that was so bad I threw it away. What happend was I thought it would be a good idea to start the pototoes and cauliflower to boiling and turn it off and put a lid on it and they would be perfect when we returned from visiting the aunts. Wrong. The cauliflower was so over cooked that when I tried to mix up the salad it turned into water. Bummer. Being peaved about the salad, I rushed the chicken breast and took them up a lil too soon - they were still good and can aways be cooked a lil more but, I also left my cooker on wide open with the 80 dollar themopen sitting on top of it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dream Steak Sandwich

This is why I like to buy big ol sirloin tip roast and smoke em. When they come off the cooker I like to shave it in the electric slicer and serve it on sandwiches RARE, but it seems to loose some thing when frozen even if it's been vacuum sealed as this has, so I think it's a lot better cooked again as you see here. There are some caramelized onions as well as some cooked till just tender and plenty of cheese which was melted into the meat. Bread is fresh from the mexican bakery and we didn't add a thing to these sandwiches but the meat mixture.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Beef Ribs, German Potato Salad & Cucumber Salad

You've heard the saying "it's the next best thing to being there"? That's kinda how I feel about beef ribs; they are the next thing to a Prime Rib and about everybody loves Prime Rib. Anyways, on the way back from the course Saturday morning I ran into the store and was just minding my own business walking by the meat case and these two slabs of ribs jump into my buggy. I was glad though because it had been like forever since I cooked beef ribs and I was oh so ready for some. I do a lot of my cooking on the Backwoods Chubby and this little insulated water smoker is perfect for this type of cook. They turned out great and I learned something that I either never realized before or had forgotten and that was how important it is to remove the membrane. I read some recipes from some great bbqr's and most didn't mention it and I think it's only because they felt you should know that already. One person wrote that the beef ribs actually have two membranes and it is more critical on beef ribs than spare ribs that they be removed and I agree. I didn't make any effort to see if two membranes were there but was careful to remove all of the first one and still had some that it was quite obvious a membrane was present, so I believe there is two of them. I cooked these Saturday afternoon and it took only 3 hours at 250 to get the internal temp to 180 at which point I wrapped in foil a few min while we set the table. Since I had to mow the grass while the ribs were cooking the sides limited to just the Olive Pasta Salad and some bread, which was fine by me especially since I knew we would have plenty of ribs for Sunday too. Soooo, yesterday found me a little more ambitious when it came time to put some sides together and I chose two that like the ribs had been a long time since I had them. German Potato Salad and German Cucumber Salad and they did pair very well with the ribs. My Dad use to trade body work for motor work with a German friend in town named Paul Bender. Paul served in the German navy on a submarine and was quite a character. I was just a 12 or 13 yr old boy back then but in my 20's or around about 1972 or so I ran into him at some local rodeos where he had his son entered in the jumping horse events and I wound up stabling my horse with his for a while and during that time he hosted a cookout where his German wife made these two dishes. I can almost taste them some times when I think back about that day and I put my heart into making these and they tasted just like I remembered. Good weekend of cooking and fond memories for sure.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Grilled Zuchinni and Olive Salad Sandwich

I have been wanting to try the Olive Salad that is part of the Muffuletta Sandwich that is known far and wide as being a New Orleans favorite. The authentic sandwich includes cold cut meats like salami and such but I wanted to do this one with grilled zuchinne and straight neck yellow squash. We were both a little disappointed but it could be that we included too much of the salad on each sandwich. I do think it would be great on pasta which is another recommended use for it. Anyway google you a recipe and try it, I will wait till I have time to tweek my recipe and if it's good enough I will add it to my online recipe file.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What's Cookin

With a serious chicken practice in the works on our future BBQ contest we had to be sure to get off to a good start with a good breakfast. How much better could you ask for than this: bacon, hash browns, slow scrambled eggs, tortillas, and salsa verde. Pig candy has always meant thick sliced bacon with brown sugar and red pepper flakes cooked on the grill - may never happen again after today - this naked bacon crisped up just like it was fried and did it all by itself in the lil PK grill while I was fixen the rest of our meal. Sure was a good breakfast. As far as the chicken practice run - I'm pretty sure I got this one down pat. Heck, even the BBQ hating Sue ate it without a word. The method I use now takes all the muss and fuss out of the deal and is so easy and quick I can't believe it. Crispy skin, never too salty with all the crap I use to put on there and oh so good - I think the judges will love it.

Time For A Little Mexican At Home

I like to think I can do the Mexican foods about as well as they can and what I mean by that is simply that we love the food and eat at some of the best "authentic" restaurants in our area (no Tex Mex for me, sorry). This dish was lacking a lot on the bells and wistles, i.e. garnishes, but lack nothing in great flavor. I debated about chopping the grilled meats and frying the way they do their carne asada but after tasting the beef I didn't think it could be improved on at all. I got the beef at the huge Mexican store and you can see how thin it is sliced and from the looks of it it's probably some bottom round. I marinated it in bottled mojo grillo for about 6 hrs first and just tried to get a good sear on them a few at a time and transfer to a hot metal pan on the side and when all were grilled I wrapped them in tin foil and let rest for 15 min before chopping. The fresh home made salsa verde is the trick and all we added to our tacos was onions and cilantro. Limes were DOA so I went with lemons.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Traegered Hot Wings and Pasta Salad

Had to change our Hot Wing meal up a lil bit, so I came up with this Pasta Salad that turned out really good. To start it has a lb of small pasta, 1 chopped onion, large clove of garlic, fresh spinach, 4 seeded fresh roma tomatoes, handful of sun dried tomatoes, small can of sliced black olives, sm container of feta (5oz), ½ cup evoo, couple tbs of wine vinegar. It’s good warm or cold and was a nice side dish with these wings along with celery sticks and ranch.

I cooked these wings at the store before coming home in the Traeger at 350 but I used the “SMOKE” setting for about 30 min before turning the heat to 350. They probably cooked about 90 min to get crispy like that and they turned out so nice I just couldn’t dunk em in sauce. They look like they were breaded but all they had on them was Obies Sweet n Heat and Slabs Birds and Bones. I like dipping sauce for wings maybe a lil better than presauced wings anyway and I don’t add the butter to Texas Pete.


I am going to JUDGE in the Rome, Ga contest tomorrow and I’m kinda excited. I try to judge at least one or two contest a year just to stay in the loop and see what the other guys are turning in – can’t wait.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cornmeal Pig Candy

I'm loving firing up this Traeger demo at work - it saves us from spending so much for lunch and getting disappointed like yesterday because we get ripped with terrible food. Today we had jacked up BLT's minus the L cuz Sue forgot to bring it. I read something in a magazine that some canadian was just saying that our canadian bacon is not true canadian bacon and that they use pea meal on it when they make it and the article went of to say pea meal is the same thing as cornmeal - well I sure know what cornmeal is and am never out of it for very long. With this little bit of info and a recipe I read about making a paste of brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and balsamic vinegar, I proceeded to comibine the two ideas by including the cornmeal in the paste. Seems like there is a video on the net somewhere with a restaurant that serves bacon that is breaded and deep fried. I cooked these at 250 in the Traeger but I bet they would be good deep fried too. As for the BAD restaurant review - it was O'Henry's and they have served me many fine hamburger steak but yesterdays will be the last. Rather than that fine burger meat they always had before, they now have decided customers will go for the frozen burger (round) patty's that does not resemble real meat on the inside and would pass for a veggie burger. I called em on it in hopes to find that it was a temporary thing but they acted like I was the one with a problem - no more for me.

Pot Roast Wednesday

This is usually weekend fare but Sue got the ol crock pot out and put the gifted meat on before work (thank you bro n law - now go raise some more beef) and I went home after lunch and added the carrots, taters, celery, onions, garlic, and splash of worchestershire. The meat was already falling apart when I got there so I took it out before adding the veggies. I had to go home early anyway to move everything back into the study / spare bedroom after finally getting our hardwood floor finished. I sure do like that hardwood floor and I sure did like this pot roast, cornbread, and fried squash too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Casserole Weekend

I love casseroles and made one Sunday morning and turned around and made another Sunday afternoon - very out of the ordinary - but no complaints here. Used a chub of the free sausage from the bro n law to make a breakfast casserole that absolutely rocked. This sausage is so fat it looks like it all fat but if you keep browning it it will finally turn out pretty good. After browning a lb of it, I removed it from the pan with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Wiped out the pan, added evoo and sauteed some onions, garlic, tomatoes, and mushrooms, starting with the onions. Buttered a narrow but deep casserole dish and added sausage first then onion mixture, then 6 seasoned and beaten eggs. Topped with cheese and baked till eggs were set and top browned and bubbly. Served with hard toast and hot yellow pepper.

After recovering from eating way too much casserole and enjoying that lil cigar and with a few chores out of the way, it was time for another casserole. I love throwing this stuff together - it's just whatever stikes your fancy and is on hand and no going to the store either. Pulled pork BBQ sounded like a good place to start and I had plenty so about a lb and 1/2 went into the bottom of a buttered casserole dish followed by some New Mexico Hatch Chili Peppers (Thanks Vern), heavy cream, thick layer of mashed potatoes, sprinkling of smoked paprika, and shredded cheddar cheese. These casseroles both turned out great and it is fun just to make your own recipe as you go sometimes.