Category Archives: Barbecue

Grilled Cuban Oregano Chicken

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This last spring while shopping for plants for my garden I stumbled upon a Cuban Oregano plant.  I’ve never seen or heard of Cuban Oregano before and it was so much different looking than the Italian or Greek Oregano that I have growing in large pots on my back patio.  The leaves were thicker, almost succulent like and they were lighter in color than the variety I use for Italian and Mediterranean dishes.  What I also noticed is that it had a wonderful herbaceous smell and flavor that would be perfect with chicken, pork or even lamb.

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Do you see how thick the leaves are?  They are fleshy and soft to the touch, almost velvety in nature.  I picked a few sprigs and thought of making a marinade for some chicken that I was going to prepare for dinner that evening.  I tasted one of the leaves first to get an idea of how much to use.  It was fairly aromatic and had a lovely flavor.  With that in mind, I was thinking of making a marinade that had a Mexican or Latin American profile.  That meant lime juice, cilantro and garlic would be great in addition to cumin, pepper and onion.  I pulled together my ingredients and marinated the chicken for about 4 hours before tossing on the hot grill.  Luckily, I wrote down my recipe for it turned out fabulous!  Both Bruce and I loved it!  As a result, this marinade is a definite keeper.  Chop up any leftover chicken and fill warm corn or flour tortillas for delicious soft tacos for a quick and easy dinner the next day.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbs Cuban oregano
  • 4 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • garnish with lime wedges and sprigs of Cuban oregano

Toss all ingredients except for the chicken in a blender.  Blend for a few seconds until all the ingredients are mixed well.  Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 – 6 hours before cooking.  Place chicken on the barbecue or grill pan on medium high heat.  Discard marinade.  Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until the juices run clear or the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from heat and let chicken rest for about 5 minutes prior to serving. Serve with lime wedges and garnish with the Cuban oregano.  Makes about 8 servings.

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Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpicy Teriyaki Sauce

The year 2013 is quickly coming to a close and I wanted stop and say hello and squeeze in one last recipe for the year.  For so many dumb reasons, 2013 has not been the best year for me and frankly, I really look forward to a clean slate in 2014.  You know, you just have to realize that some years are just like that.  We’ve all had those years. Unfortunately, it is what it is. By late spring of this past year, I knew that I had to just had to put my head down, grit my teeth and push through it. And I did. It was hard. I endured a few bumps and bruises, spilled a few tears but I made it through 2013 in one piece and with my chin held high. This next year I plan on devoting more time to my blog, taking a much needed fly away tropical vacation with Bruce and most importantly, focus on simplifying my life. Oh, and I really would like to take a photography class…  Sounds like a brilliant idea doesn’t it?

Last week, I was thinking about making a batch of teriyaki sauce for some grilled salmon that I wanted to prepare later on in the work week.  This time, I wanted to prepare something different than the usual (but, delicious) teriyaki sauce that I make for my family.  I wanted a sauce that was sweet, spicy and packed a bit of heat.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce turned out to be just the ticket.  It’s great drizzled over grilled chicken, fish, tofu or beef.  For even more flavor, marinate your protein ingredients in the Spicy Teriyaki Sauce prior to tossing on the grill.  Maybe even use it in stir fried vegetables or noodles.  My Spicy Teriyaki Sauce is super simple to make and tastes delicious!  With that said, I hope that you will have a wonderful and prosperous 2014!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 3 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • 2 Tbs garlic chili sauce (or sambal oelek)
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

In a medium sized sauce pan whisk together all the ingredients.  Taste the sauce and add more garlic chili sauce if desired.  Place over medium low heat, cook for 30 minutes or so, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, let cool and pour in a clean airtight container.  Store refrigerated for up two weeks.  Makes about 2 cups.

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Grilled Grapefruit Chicken

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Grilled Grapefruit Chicken

I finally had another well earned day off and let me tell you, it was great!  It was so amazing to spend a leisurely day at home and in my garden doing absolutely nothing.  The house was quiet most of the day until the unthinkable occurred.  While assembling some fresh fruit smoothies for Bruce and I the other morning is when it happened…  Neither Bruce or I saw it coming.    Everything appeared normal and all looked fine as I dropped in some gorgeous bright strawberries, blueberries and bright orange mango chunks into one of my most cherished kitchen appliances.  As I secured the lid, the base of my blender appeared to be tightly fastened to the glass pitcher before I pushed the start button.  Within a matter of seconds, I shredded the motorized gears and destroyed the base unit, rendering my blender completely useless.

What completely “frosted my cookies” about the incident was that I received that blender as a gift from my mother many years ago.  I loved that blender.  It was a beautiful bright red KitchenAid and it was in perfect running condition before I destroyed it… And the smoothie ingredients?  Not salvageable either.  All went straight into the garbage can.

Well.  I have to tell you.  There is a bright side to the story.  I have a new blender.  My husband Bruce felt pity for me and within a few hours he brought me down to Macy’s to pick out a replacement to help dry my tears.  Before we left our home, I did my homework, and read the blender reviews on the internet prior to purchasing the new blender. First of all, I avoided purchasing a unit with a similar design.  I wanted something with a one piece construction rather than three.  I wanted a quality blender that was sturdy, with high wattage and really easy to clean.  Surprisingly, Bruce did not even bat an eye at the price.  We simply walked into the store, I pointed at what I wanted, he lifted the box off the shelf and pulled out his credit card from his wallet.  What a sweet man! Or rather, I should say, a very sweet intelligent man.   He really likes his smoothies.

While all the fuss was going on, I had placed some chicken thighs and legs in a tangy grapefruit marinade in the refrigerator for dinner later that day.  The marinade is a wonderful combination of flavors with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, lime juice, garlic, Sazon Goya seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.  I marinated the chicken for a few hours before tossing on the grill.  My grilled grapefruit chicken is easy to make and has a wonderful Mexican inspired flavor.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Grapefruit Chicken on the grill…

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 pounds chicken thighs and legs
  • 2 grapefruit (juiced)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used more)
  • 2 packets Sazon Goya seasoning (cilantro and anchiote blend)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the grapefruit juice, olive oil, lime juice, sugar, garlic paste, cayenne pepper, Sazon Goya seasoning, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken pieces, cover with plastic wrap and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  Turn chicken at least once.  Heat up your grill and place chicken on medium high heat.  Throw away the marinade.  Cook until juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from grill, place on serving platter, garnish with cilantro and serve.  Makes about 4 servings.

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Grilled Steelhead Trout

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGrilled Steelhead Trout

Now that the spring in Southern Oregon is in full force and the weather is warm, I prefer to prepare many of our meals outside on the backyard barbecue.  Our barbecue sits out on the back deck only a few short steps from the kitchen.  When barbecuing meals for our family, I simply roll the barbecue in front of the sliding glass door so I can easily keep an eye on the grill temperature and quickly deal with any flare ups as they may occur.

During the work week, I often cook fish for dinner for Bruce and myself.  I love to cook fish because it is quick, easy, healthy and most importantly, we both enjoy it.  What I enjoy about living in Southern Oregon is that we have access to some really great species of fish. For local fish, Chinook salmon, rainbow trout, bass and steelhead top the list. If we take a short drive west to the Oregon Coast, we have access to ling cod, tuna, and snapper fresh from the ocean.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABear Creek earlier this spring….

Bear Creek is a tributary of the Rogue River here in Southern Oregon.  Bear Creek runs through the middle of the Rogue Valley and during certain times of the year, you can actually see salmon and steelhead making their journey back from the ocean to their spawning grounds a few miles upstream.  Bear Creek is home to many species of plants and animals including otters, beavers, ducks, and turtles.

Of all the fish that I cook for my family, steelhead is one of my favorite fish to prepare.  Steelhead trout lead a different lifestyle as compared to the other species of trout that inhabit our local creeks, lakes and reservoirs.  It’s an anadromous fish and that means it is born in the fresh water, spends most of its life in the salt water ocean and returns later in life back to the fresh water stream where it was born to spawn.

My Grilled Steelhead Trout is simple to prepare and perfect for a busy weekday meal.  Steelhead trout is similar in texture and taste to salmon.  Just marinate the fresh fillets in a homemade teriyaki sauce, toss on the grill and within minutes dinner is done. Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 12-16 ounce steelhead fillet (use salmon if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (see recipe below)
  • toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Wash and skin the steelhead fillet. Cut the fish into large serving sized pieces.  Marinate the fish in teriyaki sauce for at least 1/2 hour.  Heat up the barbecue and lightly oil the grates.  Place fillets on hot barbecue.  If you don’t have a barbecue, that’s okay…  Feel free to prepare the fish on a grill pan on your stove or broil it in your oven. Cook for only a few minutes, flipping fish only once.  Fish is done when it begins to flake with a fork.  Be sure to not over cook.  Remove from heat, drizzle with teriyaki sauce and serve.  Makes 2 – 3 servings.

Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch

In a medium sized saucepan whisk together soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch.  On medium low, cook mixture stirring occasionally for a half an hour or so until mixture has thickened.  Let cool.  Any leftover teriyaki sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.

 

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Easy Barbecued Apricot Pork Ribs

Easy Barbecued Apricot Pork Ribs

During the summer months Bruce and I fire up the barbecue nearly every weekend.  Chicken, steaks and ribs are the usual fare.  Chicken is my favorite and pork ribs are Bruce’s favorite.  Sometimes, if I feel like it, I’ll make both.  Any leftovers from a Sunday afternoon barbecue makes some of the best lunches during the work week.

Okay, now that I have your attention, (and this is directed to all you “barbecue purists” out there) don’t laugh and don’t turn your nose up at this. Seriously…  I know that the sauce is not made from scratch however, my adaptation of a store bought barbecue sauce makes these ribs taste deliciously easy.  In my opinion, the combination of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce and apricot preserves makes an amazingly tasty sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.  Trust me.  Without a doubt, once you try it, I’m quite sure that you’ll want to make these ribs again.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 racks pork ribs
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 cup store bought barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s but use whatever you prefer)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Wash and trim pork ribs and pat dry. Put ribs on foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.  Tightly cover ribs with additional foil. Place in oven for 2 hours or until ribs are very tender. Preheat barbecue grill. In a small bowl mix together the apricot preserves and store bought barbecue sauce. Place ribs on medium high barbecue and mop ribs liberally with the sauce. Ribs are done when you get a desired char.  The ribs should only take about 10-15 minutes on the BBQ.  Serves 4 – 6.  Enjoy!

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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay.  Now close your eyes and repeat after me.  Saa-taay…  While you are saying it, just imagine hot, juicy, succulent, flavorful barbecued chicken on bamboo skewers drizzled with peanut sauce.  Close your eyes and say it again.  Saa-taay…

Did I just catch you drooling?

If you have never had satay before, satay is an amazingly flavorful barbecued dish that is generally of Southeast Asian origin.  It is prepared with many different ingredients such as chicken, beef, shrimp, lamb, fish, pork, goat and even tofu.  One of my favorite ways to prepare satay is with chicken.  I like to use bits of boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated for several hours in coconut milk, Indonesian soy sauce and a variety of spices.  I then thread the chicken on to the skewers and cook them on the barbecue.

I like to serve my Chicken Satay with my homemade peanut sauce or drizzled with sweet chili sauce or sriracha.  I also serve it with a scoops of fluffy jasmine rice and fresh sliced cool cucumbers for garnish.  I also make sure that there’s plenty of sambal oelek on the side for those who love fiery hot food.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  •  1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ cubes or strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 – 2 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or sambal oelek (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

In a medium sized bowl whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken.  Once the marinade has been blended, add the chicken and toss well to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Take 10 -12 bamboo skewers and soak completely in water while the chicken is marinating.  Soaking the skewers in water prevents the skewers from burning off while the satay cooks on the barbecue.

Thread chicken onto the skewers and cook on medium hot barbecue or grill pan until the juices run clear or the chicken reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss any remaining marinade.  Do not brush it on the chicken while cooking and do not even think about reusing it.  Pay attention and turn your skewers occasionally for even cooking.  Be sure not to over cook or under cook the satay.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.

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Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Bruce and I lead very busy lives so cooking dinner on weekday evenings can be a crazy mad scramble. I’ve learned over the years to prep what I can in the morning before work and by the time I get home in the evening all I have to do is toss together a salad, make a quick side dish and grill up dinner.  Done.  If there is any one dish that tastes great and easy to make, my Lemon Rosemary Chicken is one that fits the bill.

Fresh picked Rosemary from my garden.

To make the Lemon Rosemary Chicken, all you need is boneless skinless chicken thighs, fresh rosemary, fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and some spices.  Toss all the ingredients in a covered container in the morning before work, cover and refrigerate.  Come home, pull the chicken out of the fridge, toss on a grill or grill pan, and cook until the juices run clear.  See?  I told you that it was easy…  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Toss all ingredients in a covered container and let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  Toss any remaining marinade.  Place on medium hot barbecue grill or grill pan.  Turn chicken when halfway cooked.  Cook until juices run clear or the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Pull from grill, let chicken rest for about 5 minutes covered, garnish with sprigs of rosemary and plate up.  Serves 4 – 6 people.

 

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Guamanian Chicken

Guamanian Chicken

My friend Janie first introduced me to Guamanian Chicken several years ago. She was taught how to make it from her sister in law who is from Guam.  Guam is an island territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean.  When Janie first told me what the ingredients were in the chicken, I thought to myself no way, it won’t work, its missing sugar or something sweet in the recipe.  I was seriously wrong…

Guamanian Chicken is probably one of the most flavorful grilled chicken that I have ever tasted.  It’s made with a sauce or a marinade called finadene.  Finadene is pronounced fin-ah-den-ee and not “vinny dinny”  like I originally thought.  Finadene is a simple sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar, fresh lemon juice, sliced green onions and hot sauce.  You can adjust the heat by adding red peppers or omitting the hot sauce altogether.

After grilling a big platter of Guamanian Chicken, I like to serve it with fluffy white jasmine rice, and a bowl of finadene on the side for drizzling.  It’s easy to make and so delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Guamanian Chicken Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds chicken hindquarters (cut up)
  • 1 cup soy sauce (I use low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I use rice vinegar)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbs hot sauce

Grab a large bowl and add chicken.  Whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, chopped green onions and hot sauce.  Add to chicken, toss well to coat, cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or overnight.  Turn chicken occasionally.

Meanwhile, make the sauce below by whisking all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Finadene Sauce: (It’s the same as the marinade above, just half the volume)

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup green onions
  • 1 1/2 tsp hot sauce

Now that the chicken has marinated.  Fire up your barbecue or indoor grill.  Cook chicken on medium to medium high heat until the juices run clear or the chicken has an internal temperature of 180 degrees.  Throw away the marinade…  Don’t even think about reusing it or drizzling it on the rice.  Remove chicken from grill, let rest 5 minutes and serve with rice and finadene sauce.  Makes about 6 servings.

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“Stove Top” Baked Beans

“Stove Top” Baked Beans

Late yesterday afternoon Bruce and I were invited to a backyard barbecue at my sister’s home with family and friends.  We never go to somebody’s home empty handed so I offered to make some Baked Beans to share.  My sister made pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw so the Baked Beans were a perfect addition to the feast.  We socialized with friends, played bean bag toss games and competed ferociously at foos ball for hours.  We all had a wonderful time!

I had only a couple of hours to prepare the beans so I thought I’d cook them in a dutch oven on the stove rather than firing up the oven.  And I am pleased to say that the stove top method worked.  My “Stove Top” Baked Beans were delicious and I completely sold out by the end of the evening.  My Baked Beans are an interesting combination of black beans, great northern beans and little sweet aduki beans.  They are similar to a Southern Style Baked Beans but with a distinct Asian flair.  Instead of molasses, I used sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce.  I also added zesty Sriracha and floral scented Szechuan pepper for a bold and unique flavor.  These beans tasted so good that the “carnivores” in the crowd had no idea that the beans were vegan too!  Makes 12 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans (drained)
  • 1 – 15 ounce can great northern beans (drained)
  • 1 – 15 ounce can aduki beans (drained)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Sriracha sauce
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Begin by grabbing a dutch oven or cast iron pot with a lid.  Heat dutch oven on stove with a medium flame and add canola oil.  Add onions and cook until translucent or about 10 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, turn stove down to low and cook partially covered for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally.  Add water if the beans are too thick, or remove the lid and cook longer if the mixture is too thin for your liking.  Taste and correct your seasonings and serve.  Makes 1 1/2 quarts or 12 servings of “Stove Top” Baked Beans.

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Mango Barbecue Sauce

Mango Barbecue Sauce

I love it when the weather here in Southern Oregon starts to warm up.  Warm weather is perfect barbecuing weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I barbecue at all times of the year and I even have been known to barbecue in the middle of a snowstorm…  It’s just that it so much more pleasant and enjoyable when the weather is nice.  Standing next to the BBQ, chatting with friends or family, grilling dinner with long stainless steel tongs in one hand and an ice cold beverage in the other hand.  You get the picture…

The other day at the local Food Coop, I found this gorgeous organic mango for a dollar and a half.  It was twice the size as my fist and was perfectly ripe.  I could not pass it up…  At first, I was going to make a dessert, I then quickly changed my mind after thinking about making a sweet and tangy Mango Barbecue Sauce.  I wanted a sauce that I can easily brush on grilled chicken or pork tenderloin during my busy work week for a fast and flavorful dinner.

While my Mango Barbecue Sauce was simmering away on the stove, I snagged my camera and headed out the back door.  The photo above is the backside of a perennial herb called “bloody dock” or “bloody sorrel”.  Yeah, I know, it’s a gory name for a lovely little plant. But when I bought them I was told that you could eat the leaves in a manner similar to spinach.  We’ll see.  The plants are not quite big enough for me to harvest a bunch of leaves yet.  Maybe in a few weeks I might be able to do that…

Up in the corner of the backyard, I heard all of this squawking…  It was a young blue jay that fell out of the nest a few days ago.  The parents were taking turns flying back and forth to feed their little down covered youngster.  The baby jay would hide in the bushes and only come out when its parents were around with their beaks full of food.  I’m hoping that within a week or so it will be able to take care of itself and be able to fly around on its own.  In the meantime, my Jack Russell Terrier is not allowed out in the back yard without a leash…  Poor dog!

My Mango Barbecue Sauce is easy to make and takes about an hour to prepare. I like to brush it on grilled chicken or if I have a more time on my hands, brushed on  succulent barbecued pork ribs.  Makes about 3 cups and it will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mango (peeled and diced)
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Indonesian Soy Sauce
  • 1 can Pepsi (you can use Coke if you want)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp Szechuan pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper (or to taste)

Grab a saucepan and add all the ingredients.  Cook on low, stirring occasionally for about an hour or until the mango is cooked down and the sauce has thickened.  If it is too thin, cook a bit longer.  Too thick, then add water.  Be sure to taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove from heat, blend with a hand or stick blender until smooth.  Brush on grilled chicken or pork.  Makes about 3 cups.  Keep in the refrigerator covered for about a week.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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