Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I wanted to make pizza, without heating up my kitchen and in the process really my entire house the obvious answer is to make it on the grill. My preference for home made pizza crust has always been French Bread Dough. It is sturdy enough to hold up to generous pizza toppings and the recipe is forgiving enough to allow me some leeway with ingredients, below is the basic recipe that I used:
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 + 1/3 cup water
Put the yeast and 1/3 cup warm water (105-115 F) and set aside for about 5 minutes until it begins to activate (gets foamy)
Put the flour and salt into a mixing pan then add the yeast mixture while stirring with dough hooks, add the splash of vinegar and continue to mix until it forms a ball that pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
Cover the bowl with a slightly damp towel and let it sit in a warm spot for an hour or so kneed it a few times to deflate during that hour.
For the sauce I have to admit that I almost bought a pre-made sauce, because I was feeling a little lazy, but decided against it. The pre-made Pizza sauce that I found was $4.97for a 10 oz package where the 15 oz can of diced tomatoes was $ .87 and I knew would taste better in the end. I have some Basil an Oregano growing in the "garden" so the rest of the ingredients would be easy.
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 small onion
1Tbs Olive oil
1Tbs chopped fresh Basil
2 tsp chopped fresh Oregano
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 can of tomato paste
pinch of pepper
pinch of brown sugar
Start by mincing the garlic and dicing the onions then put into saucepan with hot olive oil. Saute for a few minutes until soft. Then add the Diced Tomatoes (you can use any kind of tomatoes as this all goes into a blender) and keep over medium heat then add the Basil, Oregano, Salt and Pepper. Let this simmer for a while then put into a blender or food processor and puree. Put it all back into the sauce pan and add about 1/3 can of tomato paste and just a little brown sugar. Be careful I like just a little sugar but it is easy to over do. Let it cook for a few more minutes taste and make any adjustments then remove from heat.
First light the grill and when the coals are ready spread them to the edges so you will be cooking with somewhat indirect heat. Now is when the fun begins! Flour a work area and your ball of dough then roll out to about 1/4 inch thick or so. It doesn't seem like too long ago (ok it was about 18 years ago) that I could take a pound and a quarter of French bread dough and roll out a perfect 16 inch circle, obviously I am a little out of practice. In the end the shape doesn't matter as long as it fits on the grill top.
Once it is rolled out put on the grill top and close the lid for a few minutes to cook. The dough should have slight grill marks and start to brown just a little, don't let it go too far it is only half done when you take it off the grill. To do that grab the edge with tongs and pull off the grill onto an inverted baking sheet and return to your floured surface cooked side up. Splash a little Olive Oil onto your crust then add the pizza sauce as much as you like I used a little more than half of what I made. Add any toppings that you like, we (you can see the little hands that obviously aren't mine) used mini pepperoni and Italian sausage. Then topped with cheese, this is a five cheese blend. Slide the pizza back onto the grill top and cover for about 10 minutes, check a few times it is done when it looks like pizza, melty cheese that is slightly brown at the edges with bits of tipping poking through.
I put it on the only pan in our house big enough to hold it and cut. You can tell it is different from an oven baked pizza right away you can hear the crunch of the crust as you cut it and get just a hint of smokey aroma from the pizza as you serve it.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I understand that all of us come from different backgrounds and
I use Kitchen Language or technical terms that maybe not everyone is familiar
with so I have composed this series of posts to show what I am saying. That way
I don't have to reference Wikipedia when I use culinary language.
Chiffonade is a cutting technique that is used for leafy vegetables or herbs such as Spinach or in these pictures Mint. Using this technique they are cut into long strips. To do this usually the leaves are stacked, then rolled tightly like a cigar then cut into long fine strips with a sharp knife.
"Chiffon" is the French term for "Rag" which refers to the rag like strips that are produced by this technique.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
1 TBS Paprika
1 TBS Garlic Powder
1 TBS Cumin
1 TBS Cayenne Pepper
1 TBS Kosher Salt
1 TBS Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 TBS Brown Sugar
about 2 1/2 hours before I was ready to eat I started the grill I used a little less charcoal than I usually use to grill out. Once the coals were hot I pushed them to the sides of the grill and put a drip pan in the center so I could cook with indirect heat. I put a little water into the drip pan so it wouldn't burn too much. I had soaked a large handful of Mesquite woodchips in water for about an hour then put some (about a cup) of them on either side on top of the coals. I had cut the rack of ribs into 3 pieces and put them over the drip pan. Since I was slow cooking I could stack them as you see in the picture. I covered the grill for about 1/2 an hour while they were smoking I made a Mop sauce to put on the ribs as they continued to cook.
The Mop Sauce consisted of:
3/4 cup Cider Vinegar
1 TBS Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Salt
It couldn't be easier, after 1/2 hour I spread some sauce on the ribs then rearranged them so they would cook evenly added some wood chips to either side and covered again. If I wanted the grill a little hotter I would open the vents more to cool it some I would close them a little. After another 1/2 hour I set the Ribs on a plate for a minute while I added about 10 Charcoal Briquettes to each side of the grill and another couple of tongs full of wet wood chips. Put it all back together, spread the ribs with the Mop Sauce again and covered the grill for the last 1/2 hour of cooking. While they were sitting in the smoke filled grill for that time I prepared the Slaw (see the post below) as my side dish. I knew the ribs were done when the meat would pull from the bone easily and was tender to when poked with a fork
This made for a beautiful plate the slaw was a light and refreshing addition to the ribs that had a smokey depth to the them that was just wonderful.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
If it is a thick skinned potato you will want to peel it first, if you choose reds or Yukon Golds you don't have to. Start by cutting up the potatoes into about 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks then put them into a microwave safe dish add a little salt, pepper and butter and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes (I have 4 potatoes in the pictures) stir them twice while they cook.
While they are in the Microwave chop up a couple of garlic cloves. When the Potatoes come out of the microwave put about a teaspoon of butter onto a foil sheet then add your garlic and set the potatoes on top. Then I add the Cheeses, first is Parmesan, I don't say this often but use the cheapest out there, it is to absorb some moisture so the potatoes don't come out a big gooey mess. Toss these together on the foil then add your favorite cheeses on top... these have Cheddar, Mozzarella and Colby on them then wrap and it is ready to go.
I put these on a cooler spot of the grill a few minutes before any meat goes on to get them started, I would have to say that the packet of potatoes spends between 25 and 30 minutes on the grill before it is done the last 5 minutes I put it on a hotter spot to caramelize the cheese a little. I like it when the cheese has is just a little brown at the edges.
After it comes off, tear open the package and put on a plate. They are easy to make, taste great and nobody needs to run in and out of the house to check on the side dishes it is all on the grill. You can also bring the potatoes with you if you go somewhere to picnic, the foil package can just be thrown on the grill while at the park or tailgating.
Friday, June 19, 2009
use kitchen language or technical terms that maybe not everyone is familiar
with so I am composing this series of posts to show what I am saying. This
way I don't have to reference Wikipedia when I use culinary language.
When I Clarify Butter I usually start with about a cup and a half of butter and put it in a small saucepan, you can see this is really a 2 cup stainless measure, and heat over low heat until it is melted.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Later comes the question of what to do with the bruised plums, I was poking around in the kitchen that day so I had time to make a fruit BBQ Sauce. I peeled and pitted two of my peaches and the three plums then peeled and chopped up some ginger I would have to say about a tablespoon and put it all in a small sauce pan with some Tequila and Triple Sec and the juice from one lime. I cooked that until the fruit was falling apart (about half an hour). I used an immersion blender to blend it to liquid form then pored it through a screen strainer into a pan. To that liquid I added about t Tablespoons of Honey and cooked it for another 20 minutes or so. When it was about the consistency of... well BBQ sauce it was done.
I lit the grill and started my side dishes going, when the charcoal was hot (I could hold my hand over it for 3-4 seconds) I started the chicken breast. I put it over a coolish spot of the grill and painted my chicken with the Peach Ginger BBQ Sauce closed the cover and let it cook for about 2 minutes to let the sauce caramelize then turned the chicken, painted and covered. I repeated that a couple of times so I could get the crossed grill marks on the chicken and the flavor soaked in well. The flavor was sweet and fruity (no big suprise there I know) the sauce was smooth and easy to enjoy. I was in such a hurry to get it to plate I forgot to take pictures.
Friday, June 5, 2009
1 cup of Strawberries and blueberries mixed
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Here is one of my favorites this is Chicken Wings done on the Charcoal Grill it is so easy to prepare and always a hit!
They are so easy, first I poor about 12 oz of Dr. Pepper (Coke or Pepsi as long as it isn't diet) into a sauce pan with about 6 oz of hot sauce, (that is most of a bottle) pick your favorite I used "Louisiana Hot Sauce" because it was on sale. Put the Chicken wings in the sauce pan and set on the grill.
After about 10 minutes take the wings out of the sauce and put them directly on the grill top for about 10 minutes, turning once. Then put them back in the sauce repeat the process for about 45 minutes to an hour. As you cook them the sauce starts to caramelize and thicken a little which is exactly what you want. Each time you take them out of the sauce pan and onto the grill it sticks a little more.
In the end the coating is thick, sweet and spicy and the flavor goes all the way to the bone. These I did the traditional dip in Bleu Cheese Dressing and had them for a light dinner.
The sauce that is left in the pan is sooo good! Thick, spicy and sweet, I am not sure what to do with it, but I saved it this time. I will find a good use for it and write about it soon.