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Grilled okra

This is a quick, easy and delicious way to prepare okra — no chopping!

Wash and dry fresh okra — no need to cut off the stem ends.  Toss with olive oil in a bowl with the following spices until well coated, according to your taste:

  • Lawry’s seasoning salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika
  • Dash of cumin
  • A little brown sugar

Place okra on skewers and grill until cooked.

This is a quick and easy dish that requires minimal prep…  We have it once a month or so.

For the chicken, get a few breasts and place them in a gallon-sized zip lock bag.  Just throw all the marinade ingredients in the bag with the chicken, seal it, shake it, and leave it in the fridge for an hour or two or three.  I usually include:

  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin (just a little)
  • Crushed garlic
  • Fresh coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Olive oil

Throw the chicken on the grill and cook until done. But before you start cooking the chicken, you’ll probably want to get started on the rice and beans.

For the black beans, I’ve used both prepared beans out of a can and dried beans — they’re both good if you season them right.  For dried beans, be sure to soak them overnight prior to cooking.  I generally add:

  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, crushed
  • Cumin (just a little)
  • Cayenne
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon (just a little)
  • Cocoa (just a little)
  • Salt (if you are preparing dried beans, DO NOT ADD THE SALT until the beans are soft)

And finally, for the rice, just make plain white rice, cooked according to the directions on the box. Make a puree of lime juice and fresh cilantro in the food processor and stir into the cooked rice just before serving.

 

BBQ short ribs

Nick and I love love love the new Oakhurst Market, less than a mile from the house.  It’s like a mini-Whole Foods, but a little less pretentious. Fantastic meat and seafood, fresh-baked bread, local produce…  And they even have an ICEE machine and sell sour patch kids by the pound.

We ran over there this afternoon and the short ribs looked great, so we got a rack.  Nick rubbed them with salt, pepper and cider vinegar before wrapping them in foil and placing them on the grill over low heat for about two hours (low as in around 300 degrees or less).

Meanwhile, I made cole slaw — 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, a little salt and pepper for the dressing — then 1/2 head of cabbage and 2-3 carrots in the food processor.  Best slaw ever.

Nick made homemade barbecue sauce and it was, frankly, amazing:

  • tomato paste, one small can
  • water, about a cup and a half
  • honey, 3 tbsp
  • cider vinegar, about a half cup
  • brown sugar, about a half cup
  • worcestershire, 2 tbsp
  • cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp or more)
  • paprika (1/4 tsp)
  • salt (1.5 tsp)
  • black pepper (1/4 tsp)
  • garlic powder (2 tsp, or substitute some fresh garlic)
  • half cup onion, diced
  • whiskey, a couple of tablespoons

Saute the onions in a little olive oil until tender, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thick (may take 30-45 minutes or more — we just put the sauce ingredients in a cast iron skillet and put it on the grill with the ribs so as not to heat up the kitchen).

After a couple of hours, Nick pulled the ribs off the grill, which were already falling off the bone, and took them out of the foil. Then he coated them liberally with the sauce on each side — and put them back on the grill on high heat to char them.

The final product put both Fat Matt’s and Daddy D’z to shame. Ben came over to help us enjoy them, and we all joined the clean plate club!

Our dear friend Liz Lawrence first made these for us in Raleigh — Nick and I have been making them ever since. Perfect appetizer if you’re going to be grilling out.

Take a handful of fresh jalapenos and cut off the stem end. Slice them in half lengthwise; remove the seeds and pith (consider wearing gloves so you don’t get capsaicin on your fingers — and then in your eyes or up your nose).  Fill jalapenos halves with cream cheese, then wrap with par-cooked bacon and skewer with a toothpick (about half a slice of bacon per jalapeno have should do).

Grill until jalapenos are done.

The bacon-wrapped shrimp inspired me to mention this as well.

I’ve decided to resurrect my blog, but dedicate it to cooking. Nick and I generally cook several times a week, and we usually find recipes on the internet or just make them up as we go — and then weeks or months later, we wrack our brains trying to remember what we did! So this blog is as much for us to document the meals we particularly enjoy — and also to share with with family and friends.

One of our favorite recipes is Shrimp O’Grady — named for my parents erstwhile friend Kevin Grady — which is basically shrimp marinated in orange juice and soy sauce, then wrapped with bacon and cooked on skewers on the grill.  We decided to change up the marinade and serve over pasta, and the results were delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • bacon
  • onion
  • garlic
  • chicken broth
  • heavy cream
  • fresh green beans
  • fresh tomato
  • good parmesan
  • olive oil
  • lime juice
  • lemon juice
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika

Peel and devein shrimp (about half a pound for two generous servings); marinate for 20-30 minutes in olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, with a dash of garlic powder and paprika.

Par-cook bacon in microwave until about “half done”; wrap marinated shrimp with bacon and place onto skewers (half a slice of bacon per shrimp). Set aside.

Gently steam fresh cut green beans — should still be nice and crisp.

Sautee onions until caramelized, then add some fresh crushed garlic; add a little salt and pepper, Deglaze pan with chicken stock and simmer on low.

Place bacon-wrapped shrimp skewers on grill and cook until done.

When shrimp is nearly done, add heavy cream and fresh grated parmesan cheese to onion/garlic/broth mixture.  After cheese is melted, stir in a little lemon juice, some fresh diced tomatoes and the cooked green beans.

Toss with fresh pasta (cooked and drained, of course; linguine is good) and top with bacon-wrapped shrimp off the skewers.

First prepared Wednesday, September 21, 2011