Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Grilling rocks!

OMG, I'm in love with our new charcoal grill. Who knew that $20 at Walley World could bring you so much happiness? It takes a little more time to heat than a gas grill, but the taste and the smell are so worth it.

We have grilled twice in the last week, and both times has been SOOOOOO good. Plus that smell! Oh, that SMELL! It's loverly! Smells like spring and summer! Cookouts rule.

Plus I got to harvest my fresh dill which was FUN.

Tequila Lime Chicken

1/2 c tequila **I used Cuervo Gold
1 c fresh-squeezed lime juice (about six large limes)
1/2 fresh-squeezed orange juice (about two large oranges)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 whole boneless skin-on chicken breasts or six split
1 Tbsp minced cilantro, optional

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Arrange chicken in a 13x9 baking dish and pour marinade over chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Grill until chicken is done and skin is crispy.

What I liked about this dish: Most of the work is done the night before, which leaves you free to make your sides while the chicken is grilling.
What I disliked about this dish: I can't get skin-on boneless chicken breasts here in big D. It's either skinless boneless or skin-on bone-in breasts. So I bought the latter and deboned them (actually P did). It wasn't that hard, and I'm sure that this chicken would be just as good with skinless breasts, but oh, was it TASTY with the skin on!
Cool kitchen gadgets: I have a small citrus juicer that I use for occasions such as this where I have a dish that calls for fresh juice. It was perfect for this dish. I also used my mortar and pestle to grind fresh pepper.
Tastiness factor: This is seriously the best grilled chicken dish I have ever had. Period. This recipe will be made a LOT in my house going forward. And yes, even though it made six breasts, it refrigerates and reheats perfectly. I have had grilled chicken Caesar salad twice with leftovers now and it is just so delicious. I meant to add the cilantro to the marinade (more harvesting!) but I forgot to do it so next time I will add it and see what new taste that adds.

Marinated Dill Steaks

1 to 1/2 lbs of steaks **I used two 8 oz tenderloins
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c red wine **I used an Australian shiraz
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
a half bunch of green onions, chopped
one clove of garlic, crushed and minced
1 Tbsp fresh dill, minced, or 1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp celery seed
juice of one lime

Combine all ingredients except steak in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Place steaks in a large Ziploc bag and add marinade. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag when you pass the fridge in the morning. Set steaks out for about forty-five minutes before grilling to allow them to warm to room temperature. Grill on each side about six minutes or to desired doneness.

What I liked about this recipe: Most of the work is done the night before and almost everything is stuff that most people have in their pantries.
What I disliked about this recipe: Nothing. IT WAS AWESOME!
Cool kitchen gadgets used: Besides the grill, I used my herb snippers to harvest my dill...first time cutting my dill. Granted, my dill looks a little bare now, but all my gardening books say the way to get more herbs to grow is to harvest and prune regularly, so we'll see. Even if this is the only dish that I can use dill with, it was worth it...fresh herbs really do make a difference, I'm noticing!
Tastiness factor: Delicious. Definitely a keeper. If you are looking for a tasty marinade, give this a try. Just make sure that you taste the steak before salting it because the soy and Worcestershire do make it very probably won't need any additional seasonings.

Nutty Sweet Potatoes

two sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/3 c sour cream
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp chopped pecans
1/2 tsp cinnamon
brown sugar to taste

Cover sweet potatoes in a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Mash and blend in sour cream, butter, cinnamon and milk. Fold in pecans. Serve hot with brown sugar to sprinkle on top.

What I liked about this recipe: It is a recipe just for two people, which means very little leftovers, but I still have enough for at least two more servings.
What I disliked about this recipe: It tasted like it was missing something. I can't explain it. It might have been that sugar wasn't added to it while it was stirring, but it was a little on the bland side. The pot also boiled over slightly and was a mess to clean up on my stove.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: My mixer is fab for mashing potatoes.
Tastiness factor: I would probably make this again as it was a little on the lighter side with less butter than most sweet potato casseroles, but considering how many other recipes I have for yams, I will probably wait a while. Not bad though...

Sauteed Peppery Zucchini and Mushrooms

8 oz package of sliced white mushrooms
1 zucchini, diced and unpeeled
kosher salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. When oil is hot, add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes until mushrooms are browned. Add zucchini, garlic and red pepper flakes and stir. Season liberally with kosher salt. Stir-fry for about five to ten minutes or until zucchini is very tender. Serve hot.

What I liked about this recipe: It is a great take on sauteed mushrooms and much much healthier to serve with steaks since it uses olive oil instead of butter. It is also the perfect size for two people and doesn't require constant stirring, so it's a good one to throw together at the last minute while your other dishes are finishing up. I made this and the nutty sweet potatoes at the same time and it went smoothly.
What I disliked about this recipe: It makes the pan very very dirty, so make sure you soak it before trying to scrub it clean.
Cool kitchen gadgets used: I always use my large chef's knife to crush garlic before I peel and mince it. Crushing garlic releases more flavor and makes the cloves much easier to peel.
Tastiness factor: I really, really like this dish. It is from one of my books by a certain Food Network chef whom I am not too fond of (think EVOO and yummo) and while most of her recipes to me are WAAAAAAAY too difficult, this is an easy one. I probably use more salt than most people do since I love salty dishes.


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