Ok, so we got a new barbecue grill today. And let me say, I LOVE IT! My dad has always been the one to work the grill, and my parents have a gas grill, so I was a little fuzzy on the details. But Google is my friend, I figured it out. We had a little bit of money left over, so we got ourselves a grill, a chimney to start the coals, some charcoal, and some cheap grilling tools. Oh, and matches. Because for some reason we don’t seem to have any lighters in the house? This grill we found at Lowes, and it has this cool little feature where it folds up pretty flat, can hang if we want it to, and the way that it is built, it rolls around like a large suitcase, and even has a little table to go along with it. Very cool invention.

So, meal number one on my snazzy new grill was porkchops. I marinated them first in this Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon mix that I got for like 69 cents, that mixes with oil, water and apple cider vinegar. I was pretty sure my hunny was going to pass out from delicious flavor overload. It wasn’t terribly hard to figure out how to grill stuff without burning it and/or overcooking it. I put it over the hottest part for a few minutes each side and then moved it off to the not so hot portion where it wasn’t directly over coals, closed the lid and let it cook. At the same time that the meat was going, I also had some corn on the cob going on the grill as well.

I will never cook corn the same way again. It was THAT GOOD.

I de-husked (I don’t know what the correct term would be for removing the husk so I made one up) the corn, rubbed some canola oil on it (has the best neutral flavor) and then put it in some tin foil with some sliced garlic, dry ground sage, dry ground onion, salt and pepper. Wrap that up into a little faux-husk, and let it cook for the same amount of time as the pork on the not-so-hot portion of the grill. It turns out flavorful and juicy and delectable.

I mentioned to my hunny that I’ve never heard him make the “Oh my goodness this is the best thing I’ve ever ate ever” sounds while eating something I made, it’s always while we’re at a restaurant. I’m going to sit up here on my happiness cloud now. Best wedding money spent thus far, I think!

The Next FN Star: LT Style

I went to a BBQ today with some LT buddies from my class, and one of them we have now designated class chef. He picked up and prepared all the food and everyone else brought sides and drinks… Man this guy can cook!

He made corn on the cob with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and then topped it with cinnamon and sugar. I never knew how well that would go together! Once grilled and crispy, it was slightly smoky and had an amazing flavor that brought out the sweetness of the corn.

And then there was his chicken. I apparently stuck my foot in my mouth because when he asked if it was good, I said “Oh My God, Good doesn’t begin to describe it.” Well, being around soldiers means that the next thing anyone asks is if he can always make girls say that. Geez.

I watched him prepare this chicken, and there were a ton of different spices that went on it. It started with basil, and then some oregano, montreal chicken seasoning, seasoned salt, garlic powder, paprika, splenda, brown sugar, and honey barbecue sauce. When grilled, the skin got crispy and delicious, and it was juicy and just plain amazing.

He also made a second batch that were almost like buffalo wings, because they had the same seasonings, but then he made up a Frank’s Red Hot, butter and basil sauce to go over top of them. I don’t normally like spicy, but these were just spicy enough that it was a good flavor instead of a kick in the butt.

I may need to watch him cook some more, he could expand my repertoire ten fold if he makes food that good all the time.

Finally cooking two nights in a row…

So I got a new job, and it means that I might actually be able to come home and cook more often! Go figure! I’m really excited, and I got an almost sneak peek this week, when I got to cook two nights in a row for the first time in months!

So night one. I got this seafood mix from an oriental store that a friend of mine introduced me to, hoping to make a dish reminiscent of the frutta di mare (fruit of the sea) that we had gotten in Italy. But of course, I can’t remember exactly what went into it, so I just threw some stuff together and called it good. Well the sauce rocked. The fish…well that left a little to be desired. This particular mixture had crab meat in it…I mean, imitation crab meat. Soft and gushy did not mix well with the other textures, and frankly was a little sickening. Unfortunately, the squid/octopus was chewy, but the clams were good! I think the same sauce with fresh seafood would be significantly much tastier.

The sauce though. The sauce was amazing. I used oil with garlic, tomato paste, tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano and hot sauce and let it simmer with the seafood. It was so so good! I think it would be good on really any kind of protein.

For my second night, I made a chicken kebab. Now this wasn’t just any chicken kebab…this had Korean BBQ sauce on it that I got at that same oriental market. I used some of the veggies from our Halloween get-together to make these that much more scrumptious, and added some very flavorful rice along with it. These kebabs had piece of bell pepper, then a pineapple chunk, and then a very sturdy carrot, and that pattern sandwich some marinated chicken tenders. Then the skewers were put in to the rotisserie and cooked for approximately 40 minutes or so. The tenders weren’t very thick, so they didn’t take long at all to cook. Let me just say, I added a little bit of chicken broth to the rice with the water, and that gave it such a good flavor! I should have cooked it just a tad bit longer though…It became like this sticky sushi rice almost. But I tend to like rice like that better. It just seems like it almost goes down smoother.

Can’t wait to keep up my cooking spree 🙂

Mustard-y BBQ

We didn’t have enough chicken, and we didn’t have enough ribs, so I made both. Just used a sauce to tie them together. The sauce was a mix of two BBQ sauces, some steak sauce and a very tangy/spicy mustard. It brought out the flavor of the ribs really well. I baked it all at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes a side, added the sauce and then cooked it for another 5 minutes each side.

The ingredients and tools for my sauce

The final product, served with mixed greens

The final product, served with mixed greens

An update on homemade BBQ sauce

So I tried making more BBQ recently, it really is that good! Well the first time I made it, I had forgotten to add the apple cider vinegar until about halfway through and my barbeque sauce was a little thick. This time, I added all the ingredients when you’re supposed to add them in the beginning, and it turned out a lot more like a sauce! Go figure, do it right and it comes out right…

Yummy BBQ Sauce and Veggie Paninis

So who said that carnivores don’t like veggies? My boyfriend is notorious for ignoring the greens and isn’t so big on the cheese. But he liked my veggie paninis! And I don’t even have a panini maker. What I do have is a George Foreman Grill. Works just the same. Eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese with a cilantro and basil pesto.  The trick is not to add too much salt to the pesto and to only grill the veggies until they are a little squishy. Pile it on a baguette and squish it in a George Foreman for a few minutes…presto! Scrumptious.

Just on a whim I made Neely’s BBQ Sauce after seeing the couple use it on the Food Network. Oh my goodness it’s delicious! It comes out really thick after simmering for an hour and 15 minutes, but it’s sooo worth the time. Unfortunately it reduces quite a bit, and I halved the recipe so there wasn’t much left at the end. But I’m betting it’ll taste really good on pork chops.

This is what it looks like when it's done...about 4 shades darker than when it started.

This is what it looks like when it's done...about 4 shades darker than when it started.