I bought a bottle of sour orange juice so I could more closely replicate the mojo marinade needed for a proper roast pork Cubano sandwich. I haven’t done that yet, but a recipe for mojo marinated roast chicken caught my eye. A mojo sauce is mostly olive oil with garlic, citrus, and oregano. I used fresh oregano instead of dried in mine. The lemon and lime juices in the recipe are intended to get to the sour/bitter taste profile of the sour orange juice when sour orange isn’t available and regular orange juice is substituted. Lacking a rotisserie on my grill I used the beer can roaster gadget with good result.A recipe for Cuban style black beans and rice worked well and fit the general theme of the plate. I have no Idea if broccoli plays much part in the Cuban diet but I like it so I steamed some florets and gave them a squeeze of lemon. I picked the green pepper and a couple of sweet banana peppers from my container garden to make the bean dish. The addition of a splash of red wine vinegar to the beans right before serving them really made the dish. I never would have thought to do that but it works!
It’s rainy today here in Beautiful Southern Illinois™ and so I passed some time looking around for something to fix for dinner. Found some of the Andouille sausage I made a while back and thought jambalaya might hit the spot. I try to link to this guy whenever I can, he’s my goto guy when I do anything Cajun-style. The link goes to a jambalaya recipe that informed my take on it today, you could do worse than spend a little time looking over his recipe collection.
I opened a can of coconut milk the other day for the shrimp dish but only used a couple of tablespoons out of it so I looked around for a recipe to use the rest. This one is said to be a Brazilian recipe and I had everything except for the hot chilies. I added some curry powder I had on hand to the spices in the recipe and backed off the cayenne it called for because I wanted Mrs J to not hate me. The dish was not at all spicy even though I did use canned tomato bits with the green chilies. There is one huge sweet onion in there, chopped into not so small pieces. The chicken was boneless and skinless thighs and breasts with the breasts cut into thigh sized pieces. The gravy looked thin so I stirred in corn starch in a slurry to thicken it. Pretty good over the white rice.
Last week I found a nice, small pork roast on sale and decided it would be perfect to make a slow-cooker pulled pork. That reminded me that it would be a good idea to revisit JeffreyW’s smoking adventures with his backyard smoker. I’ve pulled a few recipes, but if you search for “smoker” on the blog, you’ll find a whole lot more of his mouth-watering pictures and recipes.
Let’s start with my slow-cooker Easy Pulled Pork, I posted two ways to make it here.
Next up, JeffreyW makes an assortment of goodies in his smoker:
Here is his recommendation for a smoker and some tasty Ribs.
Homemade Pastrami (click here) – serious mouth-watering photos.
Smoked Chicken (photos and recipe here).
My youngest brother also jumped on the Smoker band wagon and sent me photos of a great meal that included Smoked Macaroni and Cheese (link here). He didn’t include a recipe, but I think it’s safe to say, make your favorite Mac ‘n Cheese, place in an aluminum pan, cover and smoke it for about 45 minutes to an hour at 165-180 degrees.
Smoker people seem very passionate, so if you’ve got the bug, hit the comments and share your experiences and expertise. What delicious things do you have planned this weekend? Anyone getting the grill out yet?
Tonight’s featured recipe from JeffreyW:
I thawed a beef brisket and was thinking corned beef but changed my mind. I have a fresh made pastrami on hand so I decided on a straight smoked brisket. The procedure is much the same as with making a pastrami except you are starting with a fresh beef beef brisket rather than a corned one. I suppose you could use the same dry rub for both but I wasn’t sure how the juniper berries in the pastrami rub would taste so I went with a more traditional rub. I was tossing various ingredients in and didn’t keep track of the amounts of each so I can’t do more than list them from memory: Black pepper, kosher salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, ancho powder, regular chili powder, fresh ground cumin, some powder out of a bottle of Goya “Adobe Seasoning” (it’s yellow – go figure), creole/Cajun seasoning, oregano, and probably a few more.
I placed it on the top rack of my electric smoker, threaded the temp probe through the vent and into the thickest part, placed a drippings pan with an inch of apple cider under the meat, added the soaked hickory to the smoke chamber, closed the door and fired it up. It’s been cold and snowy so I knew it would take a good while to get to the “done” temperature but I wasn’t thinking 23 hours. That’s how long it spent in there before I pulled it. The probe was registering 176 degrees.
I pulled the first drippings pan out because I think it was keeping the inside temperature in the smoker too low and replaced it with a dry pan after about 12 hours. The quart of cider plus the drippings was reduced to what you see above. If I could make it by the gallon I’m pretty sure I would be a millionaire in short order. Awesome stuff.
That’s it for this week. No Bixby update, but he turns 10 months old this weekend, so I’ll put something together soon. Have a great weekend. – TaMara
I like green beans cooked this way: Parboil the cleaned beans for about 4 or 5 minutes then dump them in an ice bath to quickly stop them cooking. I drain them and put them aside until right before dinner is due then saute them in oil with garlic and ginger. I use olive oil with a wee drop of sesame oil for the flavor, and add a dollop of oyster sauce right at the end before plating. The sesame seeds are a garnish, optional.
For the lo mein dish the chicken marinated in soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and a spoonful of chili garlic paste with some cornstarch. I make a brown sauce that is pretty much the same as the marinade plus a slug of chicken stock. To prepare the dish, heat some oil in a wok, add chopped onions and frozen peas, garlic and ginger, and add the chicken with its marinade. Leave it alone in the hot wok for a minute or two without tossing and it’ll brown nicely. Add the cooked and drained noodles and stir to combine, add the brown sauce and stir and toss as it thickens.
I was browsing among various recipes for green beans and noticed a call for Chinese five spice in one of them and wondered if I had the ingredients to make my own. Yes! – or at least close enough for my purposes. I looked over several recipes and they all had the same ingredients with a few variations: Star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns. Some used Szechuan peppercorns and others called for the more familiar black peppercorns, one recipe used cassia bark in lieu of the cinnamon, there were differences in the ratios so I just eyeballed mine as I loaded them into my little spice grinder. I ended up with about a quarter cup of some great smelling stuff.Those are the Szechuan peppercorns between the cinnamon sticks. They have an interesting effect in the mouth, some heat and a numbing sensation on the lips. Another name for them is prickly ash seed.
After all of that, I used about a teaspoon of the spice powder in the soy sauce marinade of the chicken for the green bean dish pictured above. That was a simple enough recipe, the most prep went into the sauce: 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup chicken stock, a tablespoon of sesame oil, a tablespoon of ginger garlic paste, a tablespoon of honey, and a tablespoon of rice vinegar with a little corn starch to thicken it in the pan. I steamed the beans for five minutes while the chicken was cooking then added them to the pan with the chicken and then poured in the sauce and cooked until it thickened, a few more minutes.
We love chicken and the packages of boneless and skinless thighs they sell in family sizes are good bargains. I took the thighs and cut them into three of four pieces and poured buttermilk over them in a bowl to marinate, seasoned with red pepper and salt. When you are getting ready to cook, take them out to drain a little on a wire rack, then dredge them in seasoned flour. I like to add Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, and maybe some paprika. Fry them in a half inch of oil, turning to brown both sides.I like to toss mine with a sauce made from butter and hot sauce with more sauce for dipping at the table. Mrs J likes hers plain with BBQ sauce or catsup so I leave a few untossed.