Thursday, May 30, 2013


Grilled Ranch Potatoes



 There are a million different potato salad recipes out there during the BBQ season. I'm not really a fan of the gloppy mayonnaise filled type, and I especially don't enjoy making them. The potatoes fall a part and there just isn't much flavor. This is a super easy side dish to serve next to any grilled or BBQ main dish. 

The potatoes come together really quickly. I par cooked these while I was putting together the ingredients for my Buffalo Turkey Burgers. A few sprinkles of seasonings and they are ready for a delicious dinner. 

Ingredients, per person

1 potato (I used russet)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ranch seasoning
1 teaspoon butter or margarine



Start out with your potatoes well cleaned and make sure there are no growths on it. Then poke a few holes in the potatoes with a fork.  Cook them in a microwave for about five minutes. They should be slightly tender.


Cut the potatoes in quarters and place on a piece of aluminum foil big enough to make a packet around the pieces.  Wrap the potato tightly in the foil to help keep the steam and flavor in.
 

 Sprinkle over all the seasonings and try to spread the butter evenly over each piece. Fold up the packets and place them in a grill in a spot with medium heat. This works perfectly with any temperature you are grilling meat on, just put the packets on when you do everything else. It will all be done at the same time.


 A packet of yum!


 This goes perfectly with my Buffalo Turkey Burger recipe. Try these out the next time you grill!



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

 

 Buffalo Turkey Burgers



 Guilty, guilty, guilty. I am guilty of not posting in the last two weeks of school. It's because they were crazy weeks and food was simply not on the agenda as far as time goes. However I am super excited for summer and some new grilling recipes like this one!

Everyone loves burgers, but they do get a little hum drum after a while. This is a great recipe that is healthy, easy and will certainly prevent average burger boredom. The Buffalo sauce adds just a little bit of spice and moisture to help keep the burger nice and juicy. You could certainly add actual blue cheese to this, but I find it to be a bit overpowering.

Ingredients

1 lb ground turkey (I used 93% lean)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce, divided
4 to 6 tablespoons blue cheese dressing
1 stalk celery diced finely
4 soft hamburger buns

 Start by seasoning the ground turkey with the garlic salt and pepper. Then gradually stir in the wing sauce reserving about 4 tablespoons. The extra sauce will be poured over the burgers as they are cooking. Once the ingredients are well mixed, form the meat into four patties.


Cook the patties on a grill or grill pan with medium heat. These will only need a few minutes per side. 

 Flip the burgers when the first side is lightly golden brown. Make sure you don't over cook them as they will become dry more quickly than a fattier meat. As the second side is finishing up, spoon over the remaining wing sauce for extra flavor.


To plate each burger, put the cooked patty on a bun. Then add a sprinkle of the celery, a tablespoon or so of the dressing and even a splash more of the wing sauce for extra spice. These will be sure to add something special to your next BBQ! Check back on Thursday for a great side!



Monday, May 13, 2013

 

Thai Cabbage Salad



Eat, Pray, Love is one of my favorite girly movies to watch. It's about a woman named Liz who embarks on a multicountry adventure to break out of her humdrum and sad life. Liz's friend does not quite understand why such a drastic step is needed. She illustrates her point in a conversation about food. Liz asks "What did you have for lunch today?" Her friend casually replies "Just a salad." This is continued with Liz having a rather dramatic and long winded point about how people are made to live life more passionately than eating "just a salad." We have all had days where lunch is "just a salad" but I think we should fix that.

This is a crazy good salad. It is very healthy and definitely not boring by any stretch of the imagination. The flavors blend really well together and it can be served either cold or at room temperature. This salad is made with napa cabbage which is a bit more tender than regular cabbage. I like to top it with sliced grilled chicken, but any protein would make this a delicious meal.


Ingredients

1 Tablespoon Thai chile paste
1 lime
1/3 cup vinegar
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 Napa Cabbage, chopped well
3 carrots, diced



 Begin the dressing by combining the chile paste as well as the zest and juice from the lime. Stir this together well.


Add in the remaining ingredients and mix really well until it's well  combined. If you prefer this a little sweeter, add in a teaspoon of honey.


Add the chopped cabbage into a very large bowl and add in the carrots. Then pour over the dressing and stir until all the leaves get some of the dressing


 I like to let this sit for about a half an hour to let the flavors meld. It is perfect timing to make this salad and then grill up a chicken breast to go along with it. I hope you try this out instead of "just a salad" some time!



Thursday, May 9, 2013


 Strawberry Rhubarb Pie



"It's not sour, I really like it." my 8 year old voice said after taking a huge bite of rhubarb in a friend's backyard. Meanwhile my jaw resisted chewing the super sour and crunchy vegetable. I took a sip of water to help dilute the face I was trying so hard not to make. My friend was doing the same thing. Childhood rhubarb eating contests are a very serious thing. "How can anyone eat this? It's so sour." I thought to myself as I chewed through the pain. Little did I know that baking that gross plant can make a fabulous pie.

Rhubarb is a very misunderstood vegetable. It was often used to add bulk to more expensive fruits and to be used as a thickener. Strawberry Rhubarb pie is one of my favorites with its varying textures and fruity sauce. It's also very easy to temper the sourness of the Rhubarb. It can be found at most grocery stores in the produce section next to the celery. You may need to ask, and you will be glad you did!

If you read along with my last post, you will understand my quest for the ability to make really good pie crust. However, once I had the ability I realized that pie crust is actually not my favorite thing. It's like climbing Mount Everest and not even liking the few. That is a bit of a dramatic comparison, but you understand. It is not traditional, but I like to put a streusel topping on the top of this pie. It adds a nice sugary crunch and a pretty homey look. 

Ingredients

1 pie crust, get my recipe here
1 lb of fresh or frozen strawberries
1 thick stalk of rhubarb
1 lemon
1 cup of white sugar, divided
2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Topping:
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour



First, clean and chop the rhubarb. Take all the stems off the of the strawberries and wash them well. 


Place the rhubarb in a pan with about 1/3 of a cup of water and 3/4 of the sugar. Let this boil until it is tender and the mixture has thickened. 


 This is what the rhubarb should look like when it is done. Sick and sour to begin with and ooey gooey fruity in the end.


 Slice the strawberries in half, making them all about the same size.


Use the zest of the lemon and the remaining sugar. Then add the juice from the lemon and the cornstarch.


 Then add in the rhubarb mixture. It should be a little runny. Don't worry the cornstarch will do its job in the oven.


 I bake the pie crust at 350 for about 10 minutes just to make sure it doesn't get too soggy. Poke the raw crust with a fork so the steam won't build up and cause pillows in your crust.



While the crust is baking, combine all the topping ingredients together. If it is a bit dry, just add a small splash of milk.


When the crust is very lightly golden brown, add the pie filling.


 Then dot the top of the pie with the streusel topping.


Bake the pie at 350 degrees for about 35 to 45 minutes or until the top has a bit of a golden crust. 


 
This looks like a much more palatable rhubarb eating contest!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013



 Perfect Pie Crust



 I have terribly patient parents. When I think of the number of times I tried to make something and it didn't work out I just shake my head in amazement. Pie crust is one of those things. I had this idea that I could make really good pie crust and I chased it for a really long time.

 It would always start with out sweet neighbors giving us some peaches. I would run to the cookbook cabinet, stand on a chair and pull out our trusty Betty Crocker cookbook. You know it was the best one we had because it was securely bound together with duct tape. This was the older orange colored version with cute 1960s models who had big hair. I really, really loved that book. Every time I would follow the instructions and the pie crust would fall apart. One time I got it into the pan and I couldn't even get a knife through it. 

Along my cooking adventures I found a few tips and a really good recipe. This one comes from Just Get off Your Butt and Bake. She has tons of really good baking recipes, but this one is my favorite.Not only is this crust delicious, it makes enough for 2 double crusted pies. I take the extra pie dough and freeze it for another day. I modify it a bit by adding mostly butter instead of shortening. I think it adds a nice buttery flavor to the crust. 

Ingredients

4 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
 1 cup of butter
3/4 cup shortening
1 tbs vinegar
1 egg
1/2 cup cold water



Place all the dry ingredients into a large Tupperware bowl with a very secure lid.



Add in the butter and shortening cut into small pieces. Cut this into the flour mixture until it looks like small peas. 


Place the lid on the bowl and shake until the mixture resembles wet sand.


Combine the egg, vinegar, and water into a bowl and mix well. 


Toss the flour over the wet mixture. Do not try to form it into a ball or stir it.


Securely fasten the lid on top and shake, shake,shake!


This is about what your crust should look like. I ended up adding another tablespoon of water, but it may depend on the humidity that day.


Form the dough into a ball and chill this for about an hour. Do you see all the little bits of butter? That's where the yummy lives.


After the dough has chilled, separate the dough into four pieces. This recipe makes enough for 2 double pie crusts. Roll up the other quarters of dough in plastic wrap and freeze it for another day of pie.


Take one of the quarters and dust a counter, the dough, and a rolling pin with flour.


Roll the dough out making sure to rotate it so it will not stick to the counter.


To place the crust into a pie plate, fold it into a quarter. It is much easier to transfer this way!


Then unfold the crust.


You can bake this blind by using pie weights or beans and bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.


Check back on Thursday for my delicious Strawberry Rhubarb pie!