Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day Fantastics

Last night it was just going to be Dan and I for dinner so we decided to crank up the Weber grill (well, HE decided to crank it up....I'm not good a charcoal fires) and cook some chicken wings...it was going to be the first time we ever did them this way...and so we were both a bit apprehensive. I marinated the wings in about 1/4 to 1/2 c of olive oil, juice from half a fresh lemon, some sea salt, pepper, and our "house seasoning"...Everglades, for a couple hours beforehand. If you can't find Everglades in your supermarket, feel free to put any spices you wish into the oil and lemon juice...in fact you can do this with any type of chicken, really...it doesn't have to be just wings.

When the grill was good and hot (and a thunder and lightening storm was approaching, lol) we put the wings onto the grill. Be careful, the oil and the lemon in the marinate causes them to flame up REALLY badly when you first put them on there...use tongs with long handles. Turning them often until they were about finished Dan "painted" half of them with barbecue sauce and then the other half of the wings he took off, tossed in a bowl of Buffalo Wing sauce and then returned to the grill. We cooked them for a few minutes more and then removed them. They were FABULOUS!! I like them SO much more this way then deep fried....the smokey flavor of the grill just enhances the flavor of the wings so much more and it's a lot more convenient than deep frying...where you can only cook so many wings at a time in the fryer...so Dan was always invariably still cooking while I was eating. This was much nicer...we got to sit down to the meal TOGETHER....and it TASTED BETTER!! I know I'm betraying "The South" here by saying that a food actually tasted better cooked some way other than deep frying...but I can't help it...these were fantastic. The marinade is very important in the process though, as it makes the chicken more moist. Another idea for grilling chicken is to take a whole chicken and cut it in half right down the middle...removing the backbone. Place it on the grill...skin side down and place an aluminum foil wrapped brick over the top while grilling. You'll end up with really nice, moist chicken with super crispy skin. You can add barbecue sauce to this also, if you'd like. If you pair this with potato salad (our fav it Publix "Southern Style"---much easier and faster to make...and cheaper too with the current price of potatoes on the rise almost as fast as gas) and some freshly sliced tomatoes (best if you can pick it from your garden and slice it right up!) and this is one summer meal (or Father's Day meal) that Dad will LOVE and will result in little fuss, and little muss (easy cleanups are AWESOME!)

Today's food quote: "I'm a man. Men cook outside. Women make the three-bean salad. That's the way it is and always has been, since the first settlers of Levittown. That outdoor grilling is a manly pursuit has long been beyond question. If this wasn't firmly understood, you'd never get grown men to put on those aprons with pictures of dancing wienies and things on the front..."
William Geist, ‘New York Times Magazine’

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pronto Pesto

As I mentioned in a previous blog...I have a TON of basil growing in my backyard herb garden. So MUCH so that I'm once again extending the invitation to anyone who may need some to stop by. In searching for recipes and ways to USE my basil, I came across this one....and it is delicious. An interesting "twist" is that it uses no olive oil in it (although I used some just because I felt "funny" not doing it) Give it a try for a nice cool dish for these VERY hot and dry days we're having. Served with a nice green salad and some crusty bread it is a FANTASTIC summer meal. And if you need some fresh basil, come on down!

Spaghetti with Basil Pesto Sauce

1/2 c. Chicken Broth
1 c. packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. grated Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated is going to make a HUGE difference here...but if you can't, you can always use the kind in a can)
1/2 of a 16 ox package of spaghetti, cooked and drained (about 4 cups)

Place the broth, basil, garlic and cheese into a blender or food processor. Cover and blend until the mixture is smooth. Place the basil mixture and spaghetti into a bowl and toss to coat. Serves 4


Today's food quote: "Life is a combination of magic and pasta."
Federico Fellini

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Bounty

When we made "Fiesta Karis" the other night, I held back some of the chicken. I'd like to note for those of you who READ the "Fiesta Karis" blog that this makes a "goodly amount" of food...we ate off of it for 2 nights and I froze a small amount of it, for use as a dip for Dan and I during a "movie date night" at home. But as I said before...that stuff is GOOD and it's already calling to me from it's spot in the freezer.

But I digress. Today I took the 1/2 chicken that I had left and threw it into a pot with some water (I always use bottled water when I make things like this...but that's just my personal preference). I then went out to my garden and gathered the following: basil (by the way...if you NEED some of this, PLEASE come by...I have TONS of it growing in the back yard!!), dill, onions, cilantro, garlic, carrots, and tomatoes. I took celery from my fridge and a couple potatoes from the pantry basket...added salt and pepper and (in the words of Emeril Lagasse) BAM! dinner was on the stove. I'll be adding some of the leftover Mexican rice from the "Fiesta Karis" evenings later today and making some buttermilk biscuits to go along with. Also my personal preference, but thanks to an old friend in California I always throw a half a lemon into my chicken "soup" whenever I make it. It gives it a wonderful "sunshiny" flavor.

Hope you have a backyard garden (or even a porch garden)so that you can enjoy the wonderful flavors and aromas that gardening and growing your own food can offer...not to mention the SAVINGS!! Potatoes were $7.99 for ten pounds at Publix last week...when I do some "rotation" out there I think I'm going to plant myself some!!

Enjoy your harvest...and your dinner. Bon Appetit!

Today's food quote: Weather means more when you have a garden. There's nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans. ~Marcelene Cox (so Lord...could ya PLEASE send a shower for MY green beans? Thanks, love...me)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Is it a casserole? a dip? a tortilla filler? It's "Fiesta Karis!"

Dinner was early tonight because Dan just got home from work and has to go back there in about 12 hours. So I decided to try a recipe that Karis had given me while she was home for Cassie's graduation. This stuff is SO good, that Dan and I spent dinner talking about all the different ways it could be used....for a party dip; served with chips....wrapped in tortillas, put in a casserole and covered with cheddar jack cheese and put in the oven until it browned and "crisped up"....just suffice to say this stuff is REALLY GOOD!!! So here goes....have "Fiesta Karis" for your next meal or party.


Fiesta Karis
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 jar salsa (your choice as to what kind and how much "heat")
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 package cream cheese

Coat the chicken breasts in the taco seasonings and place in the bottom of a crock pot. Add the salsa, corn and black beans...cook on low all day. About 30 minutes before serving...add the brick of cream cheese; once it's melted stir in. Serve with rice and/or tortillas (or chips)

I love it when my kids come up with recipes and share them with me. It proves to me that they're not afraid to try recipes on their own, and that they like them enough to share them with me. Karis is a phenomenal cook...and this recipe proves it. Once you've made it, if you want to vary it just a bit, then I think you could even substitute cubed beef (cooking it all day in the crock pot would make the meat REALLY tender) or ground beef (like taco meet...I would, however, probably cook the ground beef IN the taco seasoning, as you would for regular tacos, if I was going to do that)

Today's food quote: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” James Beard (1903-1985)