Tidbits

DSC_1277 (1600x1060)Mmm… chili!  I’m convinced this is the only way to prepare chili: Chop up a beef roast, add pork, onions, chili powder, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, chili sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, anchovy paste, fish sauce, salt, and whatever else that looks appropriate because I’m sure my list isn’t exhaustive.  Let all that marinate over night and cook it with more onions and chopped peppers before adding beans and more of whatever it needs in the way of chili powders and garlic.  This batch has minced bell peppers and a couple of jalapenos and is relatively mild.  Serranos or habaneros will up the heat to suit a more jaded palate.DSC_1264 (1600x1060)It’s hard to beat a decent ribeye.  Easy to cook and easy to eat.  We’ve taken to roasting potato halves cut side down with olive oil and kosher salt.20151030_082843[1] (1600x1060)Here’s Homer! He thinks he’s a dog.  Yet to catch a mole but not for lack of effort.  I have to say, we have plenty of moles for everyone to chase.  Jack is a champion mole catcher and Annie lends a hand.  I just wish they would fill the holes back up.DSC_1279 (1600x1060)Usually I make chili mac with plain boiled pasta but this time I ladled the chili over mac ‘n cheese.  I like these new dishes.PICT2464 (1600x1060)Mrs J has just organized a dog walk and the crew charges out into the yard, eager to see what’s new.  First stop is always the spot where she dumps corn and sunflower seeds – there are always new scents to savor.PICT1433 (1600x1060)I’m going to throw this up again, just because.  The shutter has tripped for some reason during that period where the light is low enough that the camera sensor has switched to night IR mode but there is still plenty to illuminate the whole scene.DSC_1268 (1600x1060)Burritos!  These are filled with roast pork, refried beans, and cheddar cheese.  We like burritos, they make an easy meal out of leftovers of all kinds – just about anything you can wrap a tortilla around.DSC_1281 (1600x1060)

Friday Recipe Exchange: Smokin’

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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:

Smoked Brisket

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.

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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

row-of-hearts

Smoked Meal

My brother bought a smoker and tried it out this weekend. He’s practicing before he smokes a turkey for a pre-Thanksgiving family get-together next week.  Looks good little bro!

I love the idea that he smoked the mac ‘n cheese. I hear it was very good.

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Roast pork

Slow roasted another pork butt yesterday – rubbed in the Tex Mex chipotle seasoning mix I like, cut slits in the meat and inserted a handful of garlic cloves, and left it in the oven on 250 or so while we went about our Sunday.

They sell those cute little baby carrots now, all cleaned and colorful, they make sauteing pretty easy – just a few minutes in the pan will soften them enough that you don’t get the “still raw” vibe.  The broccoli was steamed and then quenched before cooking both veggies in a mix of olive oil and butter.There are a few different cheeses in this mac n cheese side – a generous grating of aged Parmesan for starters, then some odds and ends from the sliced cheese drawer in the fridge.  I had some mild cheddar and a few slices of muenster, and added some freshly purchased farmer’s cheese along with shredded Swiss.  I used some half & half in the white sauce to round up the fat content of the 2% milk that provided the bulk of the liquid, and added a good sprinkle of ground cayenne.  The secret to creamy, moist mac n cheese is to use a lot of liquid, more than you think you need.  The pasta will soak a lot up and there will be some evaporation in the oven, and the whole dish will thicken as it heats.

Stuffed Roast Chicken

I bought a couple of these stuffed chickens from the Cajun Grocer at the same time we bought the turducken roll we enjoyed for Thanksgiving.We bought our first one last year and liked it well enough to order more.  You can go straight to the oven with a frozen bird or thaw it first.  It will take about two hours from frozen or an hour and a half when thawed – the directions tell you to check the internal temp to be sure.

I think they had a run on these because they weren’t on offer when I looked just now although there is a similar product available from a different provider.I fixed some mac and cheese for a side and green beans cooked with onions and smoked pork neck bones.

Mmm…spare ribs

I remembered that I stocked up on ribs around Memorial Day when they had a good sale at the grocer’s.  Mmm…ribs.

Low ‘n slow is the ticket on these.  I think they spent three and a half hours in the oven at 300 or so.  I ran it up to 350 when I put in the mac ‘n cheese to get all bubbly and melty.  Makes a good side for a rib dinner.  The slaw and potato salad helped a lot.

I’m turning into a mac ‘n cheese snob-note the shells instead of elbows.  LOL

Italian meatloaf

I had a yen for a good old fashioned dinner of meatloaf.  I cruised the recipes Google fetched and looked at a few before I saw this one.  Right away I knew I had to do it.  Pretty well followed the recipe as written except I used half beef and half Italian sausage.  A thorough rummage through the cupboard yielded no mushrooms in a can so I soaked some dried shiitakes.

Mac “n cheese and  the beans are standard sides.  I did use five kinds of cheese but it turned out just a bit too dry.  I have to remind myself that I really need to go with “soupy” in the casserole dish prior to baking.  I rescued the mac leftovers today with additional cream and some yogurt, along with a spoonful of cream cheese.

Enjoy!

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