Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bourbon-Mustard Chicken

This is a modified recipe from the Weber Big Book of Grilling. Original one called for squab - we just used bone-in chicken breasts. We only marinaded for about 1 hour - and I definitely think it should have gone longer.

Bourbon-Mustard Chicken

1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

4 bone-in chicken breasts

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (we used locally harvested raw honey)
2 tbsp bourbon
2 tbsp dijon

Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, whisking thoroughly. Place chicken in a large plastic bag, pour marinade over, seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Turn the bag to evenly distribute the marinade and refrigerate 2-12 hours, turning occasionally.

Just before grilling, make the baste by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl.

Remove chicken from bag and discard the marinade. Preheat grill to medium heat. Grill chicken over direct heat until chicken is done, about 20-25 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of grilling, apply the baste. Serve warm.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spinach-Stuffed Pork Chops

It's that time of year again to start cooking with homegrown veggies. Our garden got a later-than-normal start this year, and then unseasonably cool weather delayed the first harvest of spring greens. The spinach and rosemary were from our garden and the spring onion was from our local farmer's market. The obvious side dish of asparagus is also from our local market, steamed and lightly seasoned.

Spinach-Stuffed Pork Chops
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped spring onion
2 tsp minced garlic
2 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 large bunch fresh spinach, chopped
3 slices prosciutto, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely grated fontina cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

4 thick-cut pork chops

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil and cook the onion until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the remaining stuffing ingredients.

In a small bowl combine the rub ingredients. Trim the chops of any excess fat and cut a pocket in the side of each chop. Push the stuffing into the pockets and close with toothpicks. Lightly brush or spray the chops with oil and season with the rub. Allow to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling.

Grill over direct medium heat until cooked to desired doneness, 15 to 20 minutes for medium rare. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Wine Pairing: Stephen Vincent "Crimson" 2006

Monday, June 15, 2009

Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Whiskey Marinade


I never liked ribs. I always found them too fatty, too chewy, too tough, too.... gross. I give them a go every year or so, at restaurants, sworn-by family recipes, etc. and am always - always -disappointed.

Every year we host a BBQ for The Spouse's co-workers. This year we had 20 people over (plus 4 kids and 2 dogs). The theme was "BEE-BEE-Q" in honor of one of the co-workers having adopted a colony of bees and fostering them on my sister's prairie. So there was lots of honey-based items. Honey punch, honey beer (leinie's) and I found a recipe for honey-glazed ribs. So I decided to make them... with one big change.

Unfortunately the locusts...uhm.. guests! moved thru before I could photograph them. Clearly I wasn't the only one who was impressed! Which means I just have to make them another time.

Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Whiskey Marinade

3 racks baby back ribs (about 5 pounds)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 whiskey
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Honey Glaze

1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp hot water
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup red pepper flakes, preferably Korean
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp sugar

Marinate the ribs: Arrange the rib racks in a large glass or ceramic baking dish, overlapping them slightly. In a medium bowl, whisk the soy sauce with the whiskey, honey, ginger, white pepper, sesame oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the marinade over the ribs and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange the ribs on the baking sheet, meaty side up. Roast for about 2 hours, until tender.

Make the glaze: Combine the ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking until well combined and sugar is dissolved. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add honey mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and reduce until thickened. Remove from heat.

Baste the ribs with the honey mixture and roast for another 15 minutes, until browned and glossy. Remove the ribs from the oven and baste again with the honey mixture.

Preheat a grill. Grill the ribs over moderately high heat, turning once, basting on each side with the glaze, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Transfer the racks to a cutting board and cut into individual ribs. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Grilled Cumin Chicken with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce

About, oh, four years ago The Spouse and I spent a lovely weekend up north at the lake, just the two of us. We grilled out quite a bit and I had made a recipe for a homemade tomatillo salsa that rocked the casbah.

Strangely, though, I haven't made it since. Not sure why, except maybe that finding tomatillos here that don't look awful is difficult (why they had them in Bumble-F, Nowhere I don't know. mysteries of the universe). Hence the reason we're growing our own.

Then I spotted this recipe while menu planning and shot it over to The Spouse with a "Whaddaya think?" To which he responded "::thumbs up::".

Per usual, lots of changes. Namely, I didn't follow their instructions for the tomatillo sauce at all but substituted the uber-deliciously-goodness of the other recipe. They're really not that dissimilar but I liked the idea of roasting the tomatillos on the grill instead of in the oven. I mean, if I've got the grill going already for the chicken, why on earth would I bother turning the oven on??

I also added some fresh lime juice to the cumin/olive oil mix that the chicken breasts sit in.

Grilled Cumin Chicken with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 onion, cut into 1/4" thick rings
1 lb tomatillos, stems and husks removed
1 large jalapeno, stem removed, cut in half
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal and let stand for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat grill. Add the onion, tomatillos and jalapeno to the grill. Grill over direct heat, turning once halfway, for about 6-8 minutes. Add grilled vegetables and remaining salsa ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 tsp salt. Place on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Serve with tomatillo sauce.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chicken and Feta Tabbouleh

I love tabbouleh. It's one of my favorite summer dishes to make since we grow 90% of the ingredients.

But it's one of those things that I don't get very often because The Spouse has A Thing about cold salads (other than, well, salad). He won't eat pasta salad or anything along those lines. Tabbouleh falls into that - if I convince him to eat it, he heats it up. As he indulges some of my more bizarre food eccentricities (like my dislike of almost all fruit), I don't complain about this one.

So, while hunting for new dinner ideas, I found this recipe and decided I'd just make it "hot". The directions for the bulgar don't work (at least they didn't with mine), so follow what I suggest below (which DID work). If I were to adjust anything, I would add more feta and a bit more bulgar.

Chicken and Feta Tabbouleh

1 cup uncooked bulgar (like bob's red mill)
1 cup water
2 chicken breasts, chopped up
1 cup tomato, chopped (about 4 med. roma)
1 english cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup green onions
1/4 cup minced mint
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add bulgar, stir, remove from heat and cover until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Broil chicken breasts until done, about 15 minutes, turning halfway thru. While chicken breasts are cooking, combine remaining ingredients and chopped chicken breasts and stir to combine. Stir in bulgar and serve.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese Spread

The Spouse looked at me in askance when I said there was going to be spinach in the burgers themselves. But he changed his tune.

The dish had a decidedly Greek flare to it which would lend itself well to being made with ground lamb, as well.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese Spread

2 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 large egg white
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 tspb chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
6 (2-ounce) whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted

Combine first 6 ingredients and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, mixing gently. Divide turkey mixture into 6 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/4-inch-thick patty. Preheat grill and add patties; cook 8 minutes on each side or until done.

Meanwhile, combine remaining pepper, yogurt, and next 4 ingredients (through mint) in a bowl, stirring well.

Serve burgers with goat cheese spread, lettuce, tomatoes and onion for garnish.