Monday, December 31, 2012

Hot Spiced Fruit and Smoked Ham!

 Welcome to part two of our Christmas weekend adventures. Christmas morning we opened more gifts and had hot spiced fruit. Throughout the day we Skype'd with my family members across the lower 48. For dinner, I smoked a ham and yams, Stacy made garlic green beans and we made cheddar bread.
     Hot spiced fruit is a tradition in my family growing up and Stacy and I have made it a tradition for our family too. It is fairly easy to prepare in the crockpot. We usually mix all the ingredients up in the crockpot and let it cook on low all night. In the morning the house smells nice and you have a meal waiting for you. I'll give you the recipe then tell you how we actually make it at our house.
1 large can pears
1 large can pineapple chunks
reserve 1 and 1/2 cup of the juice and to it add:
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 stick cinnamon or a tablespoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
bring juice mixture to boil and cook for 2-3 minutes
reduce heat, stir in the fruit and heat for 20 minutes.

Now what we actually do is even easier. We open various cans of fruit like pears, pineapple and peaches and pour them juice and all into the crockpot. We also clean out the freezer and add any fruit that has been in there too long or looks freezer burnt. For the marmalade we use whatever jam or jelly we feel like. Fresh oranges are a good addition too. Just make sure that you keep the spice amounts the same as the original recipe. One year I added too many whole cloves and it was way too spicy. We froze the rest all year and added it the batch we made the next year without adding more spices and it was perfect. We then cook it in the crockpot on low all night. In the morning we eat it warm. Cool whip, or vanilla ice cream are good in it plus it makes a great ice cream topping.
     For Christmas dinner, I rubbed a bone in smoked ham with honey mustard dressing and a maple honey sauce. I smoked it over indirect heat with apple wood for about 2 and a half hours at 300 degrees till the internal temp was over 155 degrees.  I basted the ham several times after the first hour with the mustard sauce. Also, I roasted some yams for an hour until their skin was gently yielding to light pressure. The ham had an amazing flavor of smoke and sweet mustard. The yams had a light smokey flavor. The bread was also really good. In fact the whole meal was good.
MMM! Cheesy bread goodness. We used homemade bread!

Double smoked ham!

Smoked yams and potato!

  We had a really good Christmas. For new years, I am going to smoke some ribs using my new rib rack. Have a happy new year! Happy Grillin!

Smoked Nuts and Fish Tacos!

I hope everybody had a good Christmas. I had a great four day weekend.This is going to be the first of a two part blog. Christmas eve we went over to Stacy's parents, had brunch and opened gifts. I got several grilling related gifts. I was given a Weber rib and roasting rack, a book called Weber's Smoke, and a grill light. I will be showing these in action in a few upcoming blogs. Later we went to Stacy's grandparents and had a Chinese Auction. As gifts we gave things that we had made. This summer we gathered fireweed pedals and froze them. We made jelly with the fireweed this fall when it was cooler in the house. We gave out jars of the jelly as gifts. Stacy made cookies and fudge. For her parents and sister, I made barbecue flavored smoked nuts.
          The smoked nuts were a last minute addition. I saw a recipe from Weber and decided to give them a try. I adapted the recipe to my tastes. Weber Smoked and Spiced Nuts is the original recipe. I used a Pampered Chef Smokey Barbecue Rub in place of the spices. I also doubled the recipe. I did use the brown sugar. To 4 cups of mixed salted nuts I tossed in 4 teaspoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar, and 2 teaspoons of rub. You could use any of your favorite rubs.  It was so windy outside that I couldn't get my charcoal to light. So I did it in my Char-Broil  Grill top Infuser. I put hickory chips in the bottom then, foil in the basket and poked a few holes in the foil. Next, I put the seasoned nuts in the infuser and put it on the hot grill. I smoked them for about 25 minutes, tossing the nuts a few times to prevent burning. Then, I let them cool before putting them in an airtight container. They came out pretty good. I think next time, I'd add a little more sugar and smoke them a little longer.
Nuts! (sorry my flash made this look weird)

 I used the infuser and the unburned hickory wood to grill some cod pieces for fish tacos for dinner that night too. We put the cod in grilled  tortillas with cheese, southwestern dip, and guacamole. It was good.

Fish taco!

Fish taco with homemade Mexican rice! 

Fish taco up close!
The next blog will be about our adventures on Christmas day. Happy grillin'.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Noodles and Eggs!

I hope everybody had a good week. We put up our Christmas tree this weekend along with other decorations. I didn't grill this week either. I watched Isabella Saturday while Stacy did a Pampered Chef party. I made noodles and eggs for dinner. It sounds weird but is good.
           I started out by sauteing chopped onion in vegetable oil. I also added chopped frozen broccoli. Next, I added left over cooked noodles and let them warm up. We usually add bell peppers to it, but we didn't have any. Instead, I added Pampered Chef bell pepper seasoning, salt, and pepper. Some precooked sausage also went in the pan. After that, I added some eggs that I had whisked up. I mixed everything up until the eggs were cooked. Then, I added grated cheddar and parmesean cheese. When the cheese is melted it is done. Isabella loved it. She kept wanting more and more of it. This is an easy dish to make and you can vary it in lots of ways.
        Sunday, Stacy made a soup with the rest of the smoked turkey from Thanksgiving. It turned out really good and was very flavorful from the smoked turkey. Smoked or grilled meats and foods add lots of flavor to dishes. I encourage you to experiment with new ways to use your leftovers. I have a 4 day weekend coming up and plan on grilling several times. Sorry for no pics this time. Merry Christmas and Happy Grillin'!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Teriyaki Pork Chops!

I almost didn't have a grilling post this week. Saturday and Sunday were spent watching Isabella while Stacy had Pampered Chef events. Sunday night though, Stacy started not feeling well and still didn't feel the best Monday morning. I ended up staying home from work Monday and took care of them. Stacy was feeling better by Monday afternoon, so I decided to grill for dinner. I made teriyaki pork chops.
       While the grill was preheating, I salt and peppered the pork chops. Also I cut a couple of onion slices, skewered them, peppered them, and brushed on KC Masterpiece Honey Teriyaki marinade. When the grill was hot, I put the pork and onions on  and turned the heat to medium high. After a little bit, I gave each chop a quarter turn and turned the onion over. A few minutes later, I turned the pork chops and basted with the marinade. The onions were softened and showed grill marks by this time, so I took them off. The pork got turned a quarter turn again after a few more minutes. Next I turned them over again and basted the other side. I took them off to rest after caramelizing the marinade a little on each side. I also grilled some bread for a few minutes. To go with everything, we had noodles with butter.
Yummy dinner!

Pork up close!
As usual everything tasted great. The marinade worked as a good basting sauce. It is nice to know that is tastes good even if you don't actually marinade your meat and veggies in it beforehand. I had the leftover pork for dinner tonight. It was even good cold. I would like to use this marinade to make Asian inspired ribs. I hope everybody has a great week. Happy grillin'!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pulled Pork!

I hope everybody had a good week. I had a pretty productive weekend. We put up some of our Christmas decorations among other things.  Sunday, I smoked a pork roast for pulled pork.
           Saturday night, I started out by rubbing the pork shoulder roast on all sides with salt and pepper followed by a mixture of Pampered Chef Smokey Applewood Rub and Smokey Barbecue Rub. Sunday morning I lit some Kingsford Original Charcoal in my chimney starter and started some apple wood chips soaking.There were also a few mesquite flavor briquettes mixed in too.  I piled up some unlit charcoal on both sides of the grill with an open space in the middle. In the open spot, I put a foil  pan filled with water.  Once the coals were ready, I dumped them evenly on the two piles of unlit coals. I added my smoker box to one side with the soaked applewood inside and some soaked chips to the other side. I let the grill warm up and start smoking before I added the roast to the grill. The roast went fat side up over the water pan. I adjusted the heat to maintain between 250 and 300 degrees. I had to replenish the coals a couple times to maintain the heat. It took about 4 hours for it to be done.  Once the pork reached an internal temp of 195 I took it off and put it in my cast iron combo cooker. I covered it with my skillet and let it rest for a bit.
           I know that this is not how a lot of people do their pulled pork, but this is the way I like it. When I make pulled pork, I like to smoke the pork then shred it and put it in a crock pot with BBQ sauce and onions to cook for awhile. I didn't have that time, so I put it in the combo cooker and shredded it. I then added half an onion that I sliced. After the onion, I poured in the remnants of a few jars of BBQ sauce. The whole mixture then cooked with the stove on low for an hour. I stirred it every so often. We ate it on homemade bread. We all thought it came out great. Isabella, who doesn't eat her meat well, even wanted more. As we were eating it, Stacy and I were talking about how tasty the bark was and Isabella thought we said barf. She started imitating the cat throwing up. We had a nice laugh about that.
Before shredding. (sorry for blurry pic)

Being shredded.

Finished product!


Hey Dad I'm trying to eat!
        I did all that smoking with the temps in the single digits and the wind blowing outside. The end result is worth it though. We had a nice dinner Sunday and I ended up with leftovers for dinner all week at work. I will be watching Isabella during dinner both days this weekend, so we will see if I get any grilling in. I hope everybody has a good week. Until next time, happy grillin'!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey!

I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving weekend. We got a lot of stuff done around the house since I had a four day weekend. Thursday, we went over to Stacy's parents house and had Thanksgiving lunch. It was a nice time of good food and family. Saturday, we made our own Thanksgiving dinner. I smoked a turkey breast and made the green bean casserole. We also turned homemade bread into stuffing and put a  streusel topping on yams whipped with brown sugar and cinnamon. For rolls we broke refrigerated biscuit dough up into pieces, dipped them in garlic butter and layered it in the Pampered Chef Fluted stoneware pan. The pan is like a Bundt pan. The biscuits become pull apart rolls when cooked. For dessert we had homemade pumpkin pie.
 I started prepping the turkey Friday night. I started out by rinsing and patting dry the turkey breast. Next, I rubbed salt in the cavity, under the skin and on the skin. After the salt, I rubbed it with a mixture of pepper and Herbs De Province. It was in a foil pan and I covered it with plastic wrap and foil and put it back in the fridge. Saturday afternoon before I lit the grill, I took the turkey out of the fridge. I mixed Kingsford Original charcoal with about 10 briquettes of Kingsford Mesquite charcoal in my chimney starter and lit it. I also put a few unlit coals on either side of my grill and put my grate in the middle. I got a little distracted by another project we were working on and by the time I checked my coals in the chimney starter they were very white and ashy. I dumped them on the unlit coals on either side of the grill and put my smoker box with apple wood on one side and a handful of chips on the other. I closed the lid for a couple minutes and got the turkey ready.
To get the turkey ready, I removed the plastic wrap and put a whole stick of butter on top of the turkey and put the foil back on. To the foil, I poked a few vent holes in the top. I put the whole thing in between the two piles of coals and inserted a thermometer probe in one side of the turkey. I closed the lid and adjusted my grill vents to maintain about a 250 degree temperature. After about 2 and a half hours the turkey temp was about 148 and the grill temp was about 200 degrees. It was getting close to eating time so I fired up the propane side of my grill and let it heat up. It was 10 degrees outside and I didn't want to add more charcoal. Once the propane side was heated up, I turned off the center burner and moved the turkey to the propane side over the unlit burner. I also turned down the temp to medium low on the other two burners. I was able to maintain about 350 degrees on the grill. I grilled it for another 20 minutes to half an hour until the internal temperature of the turkey reached 160. I took it off the grill and we started eating the sides while the turkey rested for 20 minutes.
Everything tasted awesome. When we finally cut the turkey it was worth the wait. It was the juiciest most flavorful turkey I ever had. There was a nice smoky and herb taste to it. There was beautiful smoke ring to it. The skin wasn't crispy, but we don't eat the skin. About the only thing I might do differently is rub the skin with a little oil before seasoning to possibly crisp it up and start it smoking earlier. Overall it all was a big success.

MMM, Turkey, Turkey!
This weekend I am going to smoke a pork roast and make pulled pork. I hope everybody has a good rest of their week. Until next time, happy grillin'.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bison Meatballs and Turkey Bean Soup!

       I hope everybody had a good week. This is a non grilling recipe post, though you could grill the meatballs. I watched my Isabella all day Saturday while Stacy did a vendor show with Pampered Chef.  I made bison meatballs. Isabella is allergic to beef and awhile back we found some ground bison on sale. I decided to make meatballs with them. I formed them during nap time.
       To the bison I added, chopped colored bell peppers, chopped onion, Pampered Chef Smoky Applewood Rub, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. I mixed all the ingredients up and formed them onto balls. The meatballs went into the Pampered Chef Small Ridged Baker and into the fridge. Next, I cut up carrots tossed them with olive oil, some Pampered Chef Smoky Applewood Rub, salt and pepper. I covered the glass pan with foil and also put them in the fridge.  About an hour and ten minutes before dinner, I set the oven to 350 and put both the meatballs and carrots in the oven as it preheated. After about 40 minutes I stirred the carrots and took the foil off. I also flipped the meatballs over. After an hour I took the carrots out of the oven and turned the meatballs again. I basted the meatballs with some Pampered Chef Beer Barbecue Sauce.  I cooked the meatballs for about 10 more minutes.They got basted with more sauce and taken out of the oven. We had pasta tossed with butter, the meatballs and carrots. The meatballs were tasty but a little dry. I would add some olive oil to them next time. They were good with the barbecue sauce. The carrots were really good. They were the fantastic.
Mmm yummy dinner!

         Sunday, Stacy was still fighting a cold and wanted soup for dinner. We had ground turkey in the fridge so I decided to make a turkey bean soup. In our enameled cast iron dutch oven, I cooked the turkey with a little olive oil. As the turkey was cooking I added chopped onion, chopped colored bell pepper,  a handful of frozen corn, salt, pepper, and  3 Tablespoons of Pampered Chef Bell Pepper Rub. When the turkey was almost done I added minced garlic and 2 handfuls of chopped cilantro. Next I added, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, a can each of red beans and kidney beans undrained. I stirred everything and simmered it all together for about an hour and half stirring occasionally. The soup came our really good, almost like a chili. It was just what Stacy was craving.
      It is really windy out right now and so I don't think I will grill this weekend either. I did find a pork roast and will be smoking it soon. I hope everybody has a Happy Thanksgiving! Stay safe. Happy grillin!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shrimp and Chops!

This is my second installment of what happened while I was on vacation. Last time I shared what I did before and during my trip to Oregon. This one is about what happened after. I grilled twice in a few days. The first time was shrimp and the second time was pork chops.
      While shopping I found a good deal on shrimp. It was in the shells but had been devaned already and was 30 percent off. I threw the package in a freezer when we go home to make sure it didn't go bad before we used it. The next afternoon I took it out and thawed them in the fridge for a couple hours. Then I put them in a bowl and seasoned them with Old Bay, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice. I let them marinate for about 15 minutes while the grill was heating up. I heated the grill screaming hot, then turned it down to medium as I added the shrimp. I let the shrimp grill a few minutes per side till they were pink and tender to the touch. I had about three casualties fall between the grates. Next time I will use a grill basket to keep them contained. This was my first time grilling shrimp and I wanted the satisfaction of turning each one. They came out really good. We all really liked them. They were super flavorful. I forgot to get pictures.
       About 2 days later I grilled pork chops. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and Pampered Chef Smokey Applewood Rub. Next I sprinkled some apple wood chips in the bottom of my Char Broil Grill Top Infuser. Then I put the grate in the bottom and the pork chops on the grate. The lid went on and the whole thing went on a hot grill. I turned the heat down to medium hot. They grilled for about 30 minutes. I threw them on the grill for a couple more minutes. We enjoyed the chops with some mashed potatoes. Stacy was amazed that she could actually taste the rub and smoke. Usually she isn't able to taste that as well. Stacy made a really good cheesy bruschetta dip.

Chops in the infuser ready to go on the grill.

Finished chops and mashed potatoes.

Cheesy bruschetta dips (yes those are pumpkins on top).
Well, that about catches you all up till now. I am not sure what this weekend will bring. The weather is getting colder here in Alaska. I tend to do more low and slow grilling and smoking when it is colder. I found I can keep my temps lower. I am waiting on some good deals on pork roasts to make pulled pork. Hopefully soon. Have a great week and happy grillin!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm back!

I am sorry I was gone for so long. I had almost the whole month of October off from work. I spent it with my family and took my 21 month old daughter to Oregon for 12 days. I am back to work now. I am going to try to get you all caught up with my grilling adventures over at least a couple posts. This post will be what happened before and during Oregon.
 I wanted pineapple upside down cake one day and we had most of the ingredients. My wife Stacy and I made the cake. I cut a whole pineapple into rings and rolled the rings in sugar. I then caramelized the pineapple in my cast iron skillet. I arranged the caramelized pineapple on the butter and brown sugar mixture like the directions on the cake mix said. Stacy mixed up a pineapple cake according to the box and poured it on the pineapple. We baked it then inverted it. I usually put cherries on top with the pineapple, but we didn't have any.
mmmm cake!

The cake came out super good. The pineapple was like candied pineapple. 
    For dinner one night, I made cod pieces in the Char broil grill top infuser. I put orange juice in the bottom of the infuser. Then I seasoned the fish with salt, lemon pepper and a little old bay. I grilled it in the infuser till the fish was nice and flaky. The fish had a good flavor to it. We all enjoyed it. 

Here fishy fishy!

Isabella and I had a great time visiting people in Oregon. She went to a pumpkin patch, rode a carousel, went to the zoo, and went swimming for the first time just to name some of what we did. We even went over to my brother's place and I grilled dinner one night. I didn't get any pictures of grilling there. Isabella was freaking out for various reasons. Also my Dad fell while we were there at my brother's and broke 2 bones in his ankle and one in his foot. I grilled thin pork sirloin and heated up frozen veggies and sweet potato fries. I screwed up and way over peppered the meat. I had my sister pour bbq sauce on the meat when it was done and I quickly caramelized it on the meat. The fries were a little mushy because I had them wrapped in foil. Even with all the drama and my screw ups it was a good meal.
It is good to be blogging again. I have one more installment to go to get you all caught up to now. I hope to have that one posted in a few days. Happy grilling.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Char-Broil Grill top Infuser First Grill!

We had a busy weekend of attending weddings, so I didn't get to grill till Monday night. I have some time  off work, so I have been getting things done around the house.
My Char-Broil Grill Top Infuser came in the mail on Saturday and I decided to try it out for dinner Monday. I sprayed all the parts with cooking spray and I put  a small handful  of Hickory wood chips in the bottom. Then the infuser basket was put in. In the infuser basket, I put carrots, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. I salted and peppered the veggies and put the grill rack on top. On the rack I was able to fit 3 pork sirloin chops. I salted, peppered and rubbed the pork with Pampered Chef Smokey BBQ Rub.  After that, I put the lid on and put the whole thing on the screaming hot grill. I turned the heat down to medium and put my Pampered Chef BBQ Roasting Pan on the grill to heat up. While the pan was heating up, I quartered potatoes and tossed them with salt, pepper, more of the Pampered Chef Smokey BBQ Rub and olive oil. I put the potatoes in the pan and grilled them, stirring occasionally till they were done. I cooked everything in the infuser for about 40-45 minutes. I think that might have been a little too much time because the meat was a little over 170 degrees by that time. I should have checked it sooner, but I was afraid it wasn't going to be done since the meat was so thick and I didn't trust the infuser yet. I tossed the pork on the grill for a minute per side to add a few grill marks. After that I let it rest for 5 minutes.
Infuser and roasting pan

Pork just before I took it off the Infuser

Veggies in the Infuser.
 The meat was a little dry because I overcooked it, but it was really good with bbq sauce. The veggies had an incredible smokey flavor to them. They were amazingly delicious. The potatoes were good too. I will definitely be using the infuser more and think it was worth the $25. I have even read of people using it on their grills side burner. Also it is all dishwasher safe.

Most of it fit on the dishwasher top rack
I am planing on grilling fish in the infuser this weekend. I hope everybody has a good rest of their week. Happy grilling!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Country Ribs and Apples!

I had a nice weekend watching Isabella while Stacy went to a Pampered Chef retreat. We played lots and went shopping and we grilled. When we were in the meat aisle buying pork, I saw some pork country ribs for a really good price. So I bought them and grilled them for dinner.
   While Isabella took her nap Saturday, I prepped everything. I salted and peppered the ribs on all sides and put them back in the fridge. I cut up cabbage and onions and put them in a foil packet with salt, pepper, olive oil, and minced garlic. For dessert, I cored some apples and put them in foil. I poured lemon juice on and in the apples to prevent browning. Inside the apples I stuffed brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, more brown sugar, coconut, and poured caramel flavored syrup on the apples. Then I tightly wrapped up the apples in the foil.
  When it was closer to dinner time, we went out and lit the grill. When it was hot, I turned the center burner off and the other two to medium. The apples went in the middle and the cabbage on one of the outside burners. After a bit, we put the ribs on. I grilled the ribs for about 5 minutes per side. When the last side was on the grill, I started basting the ribs with sauce. I then turned them a few times and basted them with sauce to cook it in a little. The sauce I used was Kenai Premier Old Alaska Style Spicy BBQ Sauce. This was one of the sauces that we bought at the Alaska State Fair about a month ago. It had a very nice flavor. The cabbage was on the grill for about half an hour and I rotated it several times. I had the apples on for almost an hour. I also heated up some leftover cheese bread from the night before in foil. I had it on the grill for about 5 minutes and it was nicely warmed up.
Locally made BBQ sauce!

Yummy pork ribs!

Meat, veggies and bread!

Apples turned to sauce!

Apple in foil!

Everything turned out great. The apples were a little like applesauce though. I might have grilled them a little too long. They tasted really good anyways. Sunday, Stacy wasn't feeling well and so I made the stuffed peppers she was going to make. Here is the the recipe. I used vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth. I thought they were good.
I have two weddings to go to this weekend, so we will see about grilling this weekend. I hope everybody has a good week. Happy grilling!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Smoke-roasted Turkey breast!

We had a nice weekend of staying home and getting things done around the house. It was very windy and rainy most of the weekend, so I only grilled once. I smoked a boneless turkey breast. The turkey was already brined and seasoned with herbs. All I had to do was open the package and put it on the grill. I used the charcoal side of my grill and put a layer of charcoal on one side. Then I heated some more charcoal in my chimney starter and poured the glowing ones over the unlit ones. Next, I made a foil pouch and put some oak wood pellets that had herbs mixed inside the pellets in the pouch. I found the pellets on clearance a few weeks ago and wanted to try them. The turkey went on the grill away from the coals.
   Under the turkey, I put a pan of vegetables to roast. I cut up carrots, onion, and potatoes and put them in the pan. I drizzled the veggies with olive oil, salt and peppered them and poured some blackberry wine we had in the fridge over everything. The turkey smoked for a little over 2 hours until it was 5 degrees from being fully 170 degrees. I took it off, tented it with foil and let it rest to finish cooking to 170.  I put the veggies directly over the heat to finish cooking, but it was taking too long. When you have a hungry toddler, sometimes you have to speed things up. I removed the veggies from the grill and put them in a 450 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. 
Yes that turkey is done, the pink on the edges is the smoke ring.

Mmm, turkey!
  The turkey came out flavorful and juicy. It had a nice smokiness to it. Isabella ate all of hers and has continued to eat it, which means she really likes it. The veggies had a nice smoky flavor and you also could taste the wine. It was a nice combination. Yes I gave my toddler wine, but the alcohol was evaporated in the cooking process. 
  For Sunday dinner, I made a goulash. I started out by sauteing carrots, peppers, broccoli, and zucchini in my cast iron dutch oven. I salted, peppered the veggies and added some Italian seasoning. Next, I added 2 cans of diced tomatoes, half a jar of leftover pasta sauce and some cooked elbow noodles. I mixed it all up and let it simmer for a little bit and grated some parmesean cheese in. We all liked it. Stacy even ate all her zucchini which is a feat for her since she normally isn't big on zucchini's texture. 
  I am not sure what this weekends cooking/grilling adventure will be. I will be watching Isabella most of the weekend while Stacy has Pampered Chef training and fun all weekend. Have a great week and happy grilling.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Smoke-Roasted Pears!

I had a pretty good weekend. I worked late on Friday and we got the wind damaged plane fixed. They made 9 flights over the weekend and were very happy with our hard work. Saturday we ran errands and harvested the rest of our vegetables in our garden. We had a few more zucchinis, a summer squash, some carrots and lots of green tomatoes. We are ripening the tomatoes in the house and I will let you know how that goes.
  Sunday, we went over to the in-laws house and had a nice lunch of deep fried cod. For dinner, I grilled smoked sausage and mini sweet peppers. I also smoke roasted pears using a Steven Raichlen recipe that I modified slightly to our tastes.  I still cut part of the tops off, scooped out the seeds, and squeezed lemon juice in the cavity. Next, I mixed 4 oz of cream cheese (since I was only using 3 pears), the full amount of brown sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and vanilla extract. I stuffed the pears and put them on foil rings that I made by rolling foil up and coiling into rings. I put apple wood in my smoker box and grilled the pears on indirect medium heat for 45 minutes or so.
Here is dinner cooking. The center burner is off and the 2 outside burners are on medium

Here is the yummy goodness of the inside!
   We loved the pears! They had an incredible flavor. We had planned on only giving Isabella half of one, but she kept wanting more and ate a whole pear! This is definitely a keeper recipe. It was kind of like a pear pie. I'll hopefully be smoke roasting more fruit this fall.
    I had a discount code for 25 percent off anything on the Char-Boil website and so I ordered myself a new grill tool.  I ordered the Char-Boil Infusion cooker. Watch the video and see how cool this thing looks. I should have it in a few weeks and will be letting you all know how it works.
  I'd like to let you guys know that I sometimes post links to websites and recipes. I usually hide them within my posts. These links show up as blue words. Just click on the words and it will take you to the website. I just wanted to make sure that everybody knows about this feature so they can get everything out of my blog.
  I hope everybody has a good week. Happy grilling!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

BBQ'D Pork Chops!

I had another busy week this week and wasn't able to blog till tonight. Wednesday, the wind was blowing pretty good and the power kept going on an off. Thursday and Friday, I was busy with work. One of our company's airplanes got damaged in the wind and we were working hard to fix it.
     Last Friday, the 31st, I had the day off from work and we went to the Alaska State Fair. Isabella enjoyed seeing all the animals. They had an exhibit that had a baby bear, monkeys, lion cubs and other animals. We got to sit and watch as a guy showed the animals to us and told us about them. Isabella kept saying "bear, grrr." It was cute. We bought a couple bottles of locally made bbq sauce that were spicy, but not in a hot sauce type way. I look forward to grilling with them. I'll tell you more about them after we use them.

Here is the bear!
   Saturday, we went to a local farm and picked veggies. We got Yukon gold potatoes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, snow peas, and rhubarb. When we went home and Isabella was napping we preserved the veggies. We blanched the broccoli and froze it on cookie sheets for a few hours before dividing it up into freezer bags. The rhubarb was cut up and froze in 4 cup increments. We also froze the cabbage. We put the potatoes and carrots in a dark tote and put in a cool place. It was nice to be able to get fresh veggies to be able to have through out most of the winter. 
    For dinner Saturday, I made barbecued pork chops. I salt and peppered the pork, then grilled it with applewood chips in my smoker box. When the pork was cooked on one side, I glazed them with bbq sauce. We had 3 open jars of sauce in the fridge that only had a little left in them. I added a little water to each jar, shook them with the lids on and poured them into a bowl. I then mixed the sauces together and that's what I used to brush on the pork. I brushed both sides with sauce and grilled for a few minutes longer. We all liked the pork, even Isabella who doesn't eat her meat very well. 

MMM, pork chops!
Old cover.
I bought myself a new grill cover a few weeks ago. My old one was starting to rip and was faded after 2 years of use. I finally put it on the grill last weekend.
New cover
I hope everybody has a good week. Happy grilling!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fresh Veggies!

This week was a short work week for me. I worked Monday through Wednesday. Today Isabella had a followup to her allergy testing. We can now reintroduce peanut and chicken back to her diet. She is still allergic to beef though. Now onto this last weekends grill adventures and slight misadventures. 
    Saturday for snack I cut a couple brownies in half and filled them with marshmallow creme. Then I quickly grilled them on each side till warm. They came out good.

Brownie smore!
 For dinner, I grilled Yukon gold potatoes, turkey breast and a fruit concoction for dessert. I grilled the potatoes wrapped in foil. The skins were rubbed in olive oil and salted. They cooked for about 40 minutes on the grill at medium heat. I filleted the turkey breast and rubbed it with Pampered Chef Smokey Applewood Rub, salt and pepper. I grilled it with applewood chips in my smoker box. It was done in about 15 minutes on medium heat.
For dessert, I cooked up some fruit together. I grilled some peach slices for a few minutes before putting them in a pan with melted butter, cut up strawberries, bananas, and frozen blueberries. I added brown sugar, oatmeal, vanilla and orange extract. The whole thing then cooked down on the grill for a while. 
Warning: Don't cook this recipe in a cast iron skillet like I did. It tasted very good and had a nice smokey flavor, but it stuck super bad to my pan. I think it needed more butter to lube the pan and to be cooked less time. Next time, I will cook it in a foil pan and for less time. I scrubbed my pan multiple times and I think I lost some of my great seasoning on my pan that I have built up since I got the pan for Christmas.  

Fruit concoction
Sunday, I made a fairly simple dinner. I grilled some bruschetta, and fresh veggies. Stacy made homemade mozzarella sticks. To make the bruschetta I buttered both sides of the bread, and topped it with sliced turkey and cheese. I grilled it till the cheese was melted and the bread was toasty. 

I kept the veggies super simple. I cut up fresh zucchini, carrots, and onions from our garden. I also added some mini sweet peppers. I tossed the veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper. I grilled the veggies on my Pampered Chef BBQ Roasting pan. I had applewood chips in the smoker box. I grilled them for about 25 minutes stirring occasionally. They tasted really good. It was nice to use fresh ingredients that we had grown.

We will have more fresh veggies this weekend. We still have carrots, zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes growing. We also are going to go to a local farm and pick some veggies. It is nice to support local farms and businesses when we can. I hope everybody has a good rest of their week. Happy grilling!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Macaroni Salad!

I had another busy week at work last week. Over the weekend, I only grilled once, but cooked meals a couple other times. Saturday morning, I made a dutch baby for breakfast. We topped it with sliced sugared strawberries. We really enjoy dutch babies and Isabella likes watching them in the oven. On a side note, I miss eating strawberries that have taste. Most of the ones we get in the store here don't have a taste. I was hoping to grow some this year, but the critters and bugs are eating them before they are ready.
Isabella watching the dutch baby

She was watching and dancing

Isabella had her strawberry outfit on
For Sunday lunch, we made pulled pork nachos. We topped the chips with bbq pulled pork, cheese, and thawed frozen southwestern corn mix. Then we broiled it on low for a bit till the meat was warm and the cheese melted.
Sunday dinner, I grilled hamburgers and fries. In the hamburgers, I put bread crumbs, olive oil, green onions, chopped sweet pepper, Pampered chef Smoky BBQ rub, garlic, fresh grated parmesean cheese and salt and pepper. I formed them into patties in the morning and froze them till it was time to grill them. I grilled them over medium heat. I still had some bad flareups and had to move them to a safe zone on my grill temporarily. A lot of people spray their flareups down with water, but that is stupid. Flare ups on a grill are caused by burning grease and water makes grease fires worse. So the best way to deal with a flare up is to move the meat to a cooler part of the grill till the fire subsides. I wasn't prepared for the first flareup. I tried to flip the burgers with the cover still on my spatula and melted the cover slightly.
   I also grilled sweet potato and russet potato fries in the Pampered Chef BBQ Roasting Pan. I enjoy grilling fries this way. As a side dish, we also had macaroni salad. I made the salad in the morning and let the flavors meld all day. We cooked the noodles Saturday night and let them cool in the fridge all night. In the morning, I added all the other ingredients. I added light mayo, light miracle whip,  green onions, grated carrots, cut up roasted red pepper, dill relish, and salt and pepper. The roasted red peppers were peppers that I had roasted on the bbq months ago and froze. I roasted the whole peppers till the skin was charred. Then you scrape off most of the black and the seeds and I had put it in a freezer bag. When I used it in the mac salad, I took the frozen peppers out of the bag and sliced a few pieces off and diced it. The peppers thawed nicely in the salad. We really liked the mac salad. The peppers were a nice touch.
  I hope everybody has a nice week. Enjoy the last bit of summer we have. The leaves are starting to turn here in Alaska. Happy grilling!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Anniversary Weekend!

   Last weekend Stacy and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary. Stacy's parents watched Isabella for a few hours while we went out to lunch. We also picked up dinner for later. After Isabella was in bed, we heated up our Chinese food and watched The Big Year. It was a very good movie and I highly recommend it.
   Sunday for dinner, I grilled thin boneless pork loin chops, zucchini, potatoes, cabbage and onions, and sweet peppers. I seasoned the pork with salt and pepper on both sides. Then I rubbed it with Pampered Chef Smoky Applewood rub. I set the grill to medium low. I grilled it for about 5 minutes or less per side , since it was so thin. The potatoes were grilled whole with a little salt on the skins for about 25 minutes. The zucchini was the first zucchini from our garden. I cut it several times lengthwise and salted and peppered it before I rubbed it with Pampered Chef Chili Lime Rub. I grilled it for a few minutes per side. I could finally taste the rub. I have used it on several things in the past and hadn't been able to taste it as well as I did on the  zucchini.  It was pretty good. The sweet peppers were cut in half and grilled for a few minutes per side.

  The cabbage and onions were grilled in a foil packet. I doubled up the foil and put sliced cabbage and sliced onions in the foil. I put minced garlic on top, drizzled olive oil on it and salted and peppered everything. I put the foil packets on the colder part of my grill for about 15 to 20 minutes. When I opened the packets, they were perfectly steamed. This was a nice way to make cabbage and onions without heating up the whole house.

All the grilled veggies!
Foil cooked cabbage and onions

We had a great dinner and a weekend. I hope everybody has a great rest of your week.