Showing posts with label Spicy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spicy. Show all posts

Thursday, September 29, 2016

4th of July Special: Red, White & Blueberry Grilled Chicken!

These colors don’t run, but they do stain, so I recommend eating this delicious, red, white and blueberry chicken outdoors, preferably at some type of 4th of July barbecue. While the Independence Day wordplay was very much intentional, this grilled chicken is no gimmick.

Smoky, spicy meats have been paired with sweet-and-sour, fruit-based sauces since we’ve had cooks, so that this combo works beautifully is no big surprise. And yes, other juicy fruit like peaches, or other berries will work nicely.

Like I said in the video, I made my spice rub extra hot, so I could really take advantage of the cooling effects of the sweetness in the sauce. Sweet cancels out heat on your palette, so you can kind of push things a bit if you want. The measurements below are what I used, but you should, and must adjust. 

As far as chicken doneness goes, I recommend checking with a thermometer. If you cook a lot of chicken, it’s fairly easy to tell by feel, but why take a chance? I usually go to 150 F, which left to rest for a minute, should be safe, and very juicy. So, if you’re looking for a very tasty, slightly unusual, appropriately named chicken recipe, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground dry chipotle
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 cloves minced garlic

For the blueberry gastrique:
2 cups blueberries
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
*splash of water as needed to adjust thickness (after the blueberries start cooking)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
*If you make the sauce ahead, your sauce will thicken, and you will probably need to thin it out with some water. When tasting for seasoning, remember this is going to go on highly seasoned meat.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Turkish Chicken Kebabs – Expect More

I’d like to think that all the chicken coming off American grills this summer will be as tasty, juicy, and tender, as these Turkish chicken kebabs, but I know better. This has nothing to do with cooking skills, or quality of grills, but rather the unremarkable residue of low expectations.

People simply don’t expect much from their grilled chicken, and that’s exactly what they get. They use too little seasoning, and way too much time on the grill, followed by the inevitable barbecue sauce cover-up. Sure, the chicken was dry, but at least we couldn’t taste it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. By using a flavorful, yogurt-based marinade, like the one seen herein, even inexperienced grillers can produce impressive results. The acid and calcium in the yogurt tenderizes the meat, and unless it’s horribly over-cooked, you’ll be enjoying the kind of succulent chicken you didn’t even realize was possible.

Like I mentioned in the video, I’m not sure how "Turkish" this is. It’s loosely based on a lamb marinade I’ve used for a long time, but it really worked beautifully on these thighs. I really hope you give this easy, and very adaptable recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 or 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp ketchup
6 finely minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp Aleppo red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 long metal skewers
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Grilled Beef Flank Steak “Pastrami” – Backyard Deli

I’ll do a proper pastrami one of these days. Maybe right after I get a smoker. But in the meantime, this pastrami-spiced beef flank steak should do nicely. As with all "cheater" recipes, managing your expectations is key.

You can’t get the texture and color of a real “pastrami” without the curing step, where the meat is soaked in a brine, before being spiced/smoked, but you can get pretty close to the flavor, using the spice rub seen herein.

We’ve used a similar technique to turn plain corned beef into “pastrami,” as well as create a duck Reuben; one of my favorite videos of all time. By the way, the ingredient amounts below have been adjusted slightly, as my spice rub was a tad bit overpowering.

I’ve backed down the black pepper and mustard, but as with all spice amounts, that’s really up to you. If you simply put salt and pepper on a flank steak, and grill it properly, you’ll have something delicious to eat, so keep that in mind as you rub your meat. 

I ate mine fresh, but if you let it cool, slice it thin, and warm it up in a pan with a little splash of water, and a tiny pinch of sugar, you’ll have something even more pastrami-like. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

SPECIAL NOTE: I let my meat warm to room temp before grilling, so the inside reaches my desired temp a little quicker, and before the outside spice rub gets too black. Conversely, when grilling a steak, and there's nothing to burn on the surface, I generally like the meat cold, so the outside has plenty of time to sear, before the meat inside is done. 


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
1 trimmed beef flank steak (usually 1.5 to 1.75 pounds)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dry mustard
- For best results, cook to a medium. I pulled at about 135 F. internal temp, which will rise to about 140 F. as it rests.
-Serve with slightly sweetened mustard and rye bread
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Spicy Caramel Chicken and a History Lesson

I’ve wanted to film an updated version of this caramel chicken for many years. It was one of the first videos I ever posted, and its unexpected popularity made me realize that there were actually people (non-relatives) watching these videos.

The original vision for Food Wishes was an online cooking school, where I’d charge tuition for a series of courses that would mimic the culinary school I’d just left. I started filming a few recipes each week, knowing full well that only a handful of people would see them, but I had to learn my new craft.

Caramel Chicken, Circa 2007
As the library grew, so did the audience, and I realized that instead of charging for the content, I could give it away for free, and maybe survive on the ad revenue that YouTube was just starting to offer. Above and beyond that, I was getting emails and comments, telling me that what I was doing was making them happy.

This wasn’t something I’d anticipated, and while at the time I would have preferred money, it was great to hear, and inspired me to push on. The rest, as they say, is history, and every time I got an email asking for an updated version of this recipe, I would fondly remember how all this came to be.

So, whether you were here from the very beginning, or you’re brand new, and will be trying caramel chicken for the very first time, I really hope you give this fast, easy, delicious, and historically significant recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 4 large portions:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in about 1 inch chunks
1/2 cup sliced, seeded jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup sliced, seeded mild red chilies, or bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
4 cups cooked white rice

For the sauce mixture:
2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
4 cloves finely minced garlic
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
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Grilled Pattypan Squash with Hot Chorizo Vinaigrette – Almost Stuffed

Michele does a fantastic, sausage-stuffed pattypan squash, which was actually how these were supposed to be prepared, but someone, and we won’t name names, didn’t pay attention to buying ones of a uniform size, which is kind of a big deal if you want them to bake evenly. Okay, it was me.

In an attempt to redeem myself, I decided to grill them instead – a cooking method where any size will work – and top them with a hot chorizo vinaigrette. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while, and it really turned out to be a wonderful combination.

The ingredients below are just a rough guide, and you’ll have to figure out your own amounts, depending on how much squash you grill, but I do recommend a 1-to-1 ratio of sherry vinegar to olive oil/rendered chorizo fat.

I used a veal chorizo, which was very lean, so I had to add a good amount of olive oil. If you use pork chorizo, you’ll have a lot of rendered fat, so you may want to drain off most of it, keeping a few tablespoons, before adding your oil and vinegar.

Speaking of oil, don’t put any on your squash before you toss it on the grill. I used to do this myself, because it seemed logical, but it’s a bad idea. The dripping oil causes flare-ups that can make your veggies taste like gasoline, which is not good eats. Other than that, not much can go wrong with this simple summer dish. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions
8 pattypan squash
kosher salt to taste

6-8 ounces fresh, raw chorizo sausage 
(crumbled fine, and browned well in olive oil)
*you want to leave about 2 tablespoons rendered chorizo fat in the pan
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar (or, use any vinegar you like)
splash of water to maintain moisture level if needed
1 tablespoon freshly sliced mint leaves
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Alabama-Style White BBQ Sauce – An Almost Labor-Free Sauce for Your Labor Day Grill

This incredibly easy to make Alabama white barbecue sauce was invented in 1925 by Robert “Big Bob” Gibson at Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q restaurant, in Decatur. When I first read this bit of culinary history, I had to smile, since I actually know the guy. Well, sort of.

I’ve been to two bbq “boot camps,” run by champion pitmaster Chris Lilly, who trained under a guy, who trained under Big Bob Gibson. Hey, that’s only three degrees of separation. Ironically, Chris never made, or used the white sauce on anything we cooked, but still, I know a guy, who knew a guy, who knew THE guy.

Some people find this concoction quite strange, but not me. It’s eerily similar to the Cornell chicken marinade, which I love. In fact, Mr. Robert C. Baker, the creator of the aforementioned recipe, may have borrowed the idea from Big Bob. I would investigate further, but I have real crimes to solve.

Don’t let this mixture’s appearance stop you from trying what is a devastatingly delicious marinade, baste, and sauce. One tip for basting on the grill: make sure you do it towards the end of cooking, and not over too-high heat. You don’t want flame-ups, as that will cause an off taste.

I brush on two or three applications to each side, over more indirect heat, and as you see in the video, it sears on nicely. As a table sauce, it’s great on any of the traditional barbecued meats, but since it’s really just a salad dressing, it’s also wonderful for making potato salad, coleslaw, and grilled vegetables. I hope you give this white barbecue sauce a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 3 cups of sauce:
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup prepared extra-hot horseradish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tsp yellow mustard
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
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