Saturday, September 20, 2014

Chicken and Dumplings (and Bacon)

This ALMOST the season for comfort food, it has been in the 50's once or twice...and before you go much further please note; this recipe does NOT qualify as healthy but it does include several organic ingredients.  Sometimes you just can’t help yourself and have to eat comfort food.  Since this original post I have converted all my cast iron to Emile Henry Flame Ware but the rest stayed the same. 
  • 4-6 slices bacon
  • 5 Medium white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 Medium Sweet Onion, diced
  • 4 Skinless, boneless chicken breasts  (organic) – diced and seasoned with poultry seasoning.
  • 3 Cups – Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tsp. Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Poultry Seasoning (to taste)
  • Coarse Sea Salt and Fresh ground Black Peppercorns (to taste)
  • 1 14-15 Oz. Can, Whole kernel corn, drained
  • 3 Cups, Low Fat Half-and-Half
  • 1 ½ Cups Bisquick  
  • 1 Cup Organic 2% Milk
  1. Place bacon in an extra large Cast Iron (CI) Skillet or 6 Qt. Dutch oven and cook until done (or microwave in advance and save grease).  Crumble Bacon and set aside.
  2. Keep or put the bacon grease in the skillet and bring up to temperature.
  3. Add the diced potatoes, onion and chicken to the bacon grease and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently (it will cook slower in a Dutch oven due to smaller pan area). Note: If using a Dutch oven add a little EVOO to keep the chicken from sticking to the pan during simmering.   
  4. Add the chicken broth, corn, more PP’s poultry seasoning, sea salt and fresh pepper.
  5. Pour in half-and-half and bring to a boil; add crumbled bacon.
  6. Biscuits: In a medium bowl, combine the Bisquick with milk and mix well (dough should be thick enough to ‘drop’).
  7. Drop tablespoon sizes of dough into boiling mixture; reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes uncovered.  Cover the pan and simmer another10 minutes. Be careful NOT to stir while simmering, or dumplings will fall apart. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Himalayan Salt Block / Salmon on the Big Green Egg


Pictured here is a Sur La Table Himalayan Salt Plate.  There are tons of facts on the internet about these ‘slabs’ and the information that follows is a compilation of that information and three recipe ideas for grilling with these slabs/blocks. 


Your salt plate/slab can be used for cooking and serving.  When you prepare food on a salt plate they take on a light salty flavor and are alleged to deliver a variety of minerals absorbed into the food (as many as 72 trace minerals not present in regular salt).  Generally, a natural salt slab will add a hint of salty taste to moist or wet foods, but will have no effect on dry foods.  You can cure things like Ahi Tuna on a chilled slab but we’re focusing on cooking here!

Searing meat or fish
These salt slabs can be heated to as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit and used to lightly sear all sorts of food.  The slab should be heated up slowly for searing or lightly grilling meat, fish or vegetables. When the slab reaches high temperatures it will turn colors in spots which is normal returning closer to it’s original color as it cools.  It is very important to start with a dry slab as lingering moisture inside the slab may expand and cause damage. Typically the dry time should be at least 24 hours since the slab's last contact with any moisture.

Once you've thoroughly heated your Himalayan salt slab, you're ready to sear your meat, fish and/or vegetables. Place the thoroughly heated salt plate on a heatproof surface. Lightly toss your meat, fish or vegetables in oil, spices and herbs. Drizzle the slab with EVOO (note that less oil will cause more salting and vice versa). Place directly onto the heated salt slab, then cook to desired doneness, stirring and moving around the salt plate as you would any other grilling surface. Your salt block will retain the heated temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
meal, as it will take several hours to cool completely.

To clean your Himalayan salt block, wipe with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel and remove any remaining food bits. Avoid running your natural salt block under water.  There is no need to use soap or detergent on your Himalayan salt slab, as it is naturally anti-fungal and anti-microbial. You may wish to freshen your salt block with a bit of lemon juice from time to time.

Note that the appearance of your Himalayan salt slab will change over time. The more varieties of foods you cook and serve on your salt plate, the more likely the surface will acquire various, interesting new colors and shades. This merely adds to the irregular beauty of the Himalayan salt slab. Your salt block may also develop small fissures and cracks over time; this is typical with regular use. And when it finally is time to replace your Himalayan salt block, you can break up what remains and shave it down to crystals to sprinkle over your food or into your bath. 
Avoid making direct contact with the salt block for some time after cooking the
Using your Block/Plate
Pictured here with a few scallions this salmon fillet cook was completed on a Himalayan Pink Salt block.  Note: Leaving skin on reduces the amount of salt absorbed during the cook.

  •  2 Lb. Salmon Fillets (skin on)
  • Paul Prudhommes Salmon Magic Seasoning
  • Unsalted Butter
  • EVOO
  • 1 Large Lemon, sliced thin
  1. Fire up BGE and bring salt block up to approximately 350 to 400 degrees slowly.
  2. Cut salmon into 1 ½ - 2” slices and coat with butter
  3. Sprinkle on Salmon Seasoning to taste then add a slice lemon to each serving
  4. Once you've thoroughly heated your Himalayan salt slab, you're ready to bake your salmon.  Drizzle the slab with EVOO (note that less oil will cause more salting and vice verse). Place directly onto the heated salt slab, then cook to desired finish
  5. Close lid and let cook (approximately 10 minutes); remove and serve.
Avoid making direct contact with the salt block for some time after cooking the meal, as it will take several hours to cool completely.

To clean your Himalayan salt block, wipe with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel and remove any remaining food bits. Avoid running your natural salt block under water.  There is no need to use soap or detergent on your Himalayan salt slab, as it is naturally anti-fungal and anti-microbial. You may wish to freshen your salt block with a bit of lemon juice from time to time.

Scallops - Place Himalayan Salt Slab on grill. Heat grill gradually to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  1. Mix together olive oil and fresh diced garlic
  2. Brush uncooked scallops with olive oil/garlic blend
  3. Place scallops directly on salt slab and sear
  4. Flip scallops as needed until cooked through
  5. One minute before pulling scallops off the grill, sprinkle generously with Sweet Onion Sugar. Sugar will melt slightly creating a delicious, sweet glaze. 

When finished cooking on salt slab, turn off the grill and allow slab to cool. It may take several hours to return to room temperature.

Additional suggestion: Sauté 2 tablespoons margarine, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 shallot chopped, 1 garlic clove minced in pan on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Pour directly over cooked scallops and then top while still hot with Sweet Onion Sugar.

Shrimp - Place Himalayan Salt Slab on grill. Heat grill gradually to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

  1. Squeeze fresh lime juice directly onto uncooked and peeled shrimp
  2. Drizzle salt slab with olive oil
  3. Place shrimp on salt slab
  4. Cook shrimp on both sides until they are pink and firm
  5. After pulling shrimp off the grill, coat lightly with your favorite rub or sauce (can also be done before cooking. When finished cooking with your Himalayan salt slab, turn off the grill and allow slab to cool. It may take several hours to return to room temperature.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Tandor Baked Naan and Filets

One of our favorite things to eat when we go out to the Indian Restaurant is comes in many varieties.  In the absence of a tandor to cook the naan, we bought some Storefire Authentic Flatbread Naan and grilled it for two minutes over our hot coals after removing our Filets.  Filets were prepared reverse sear with my Jailbreak rub applied at room temperature.  Baked potatoes completed the meal. 

Early in the cook, this is the set up for the primary cook, indirect.  About five minutes each side, remove, let set, then place over direct heat for about 1 minute per side.  These are 12 Oz. Filet and finished up medium rare, fall apart in your  mouth moist.  Prepared on our Rosle Kettle Grill.

PUSH TAB a.k.a. things I should have already known.

Okay, I MAY be the last person on the planet to learn this trick so no snide comments on the blog please.  We all use Aluminum Foil and Plastic Wrap in our cooking.  I am constantly fighting those stupid boxes (for YEARS) with the rolls coming out while you are trying to cut or unroll product...but NOT AFTER TONIGHT !  

My wife, who also apparently did not know this trick showed me that, and apparently this has been true for many years, that the boxes are designed to NOT give you the hassle factor of rolls coming out while your unrolling and or cutting...a.k.a.  PUSH HERE! OMG

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pizza Day ~ 103 degrees outside, 700 in the egg

Call us crazy...but hungry.

Grilled Cuban Pork Sandwiches me cooking is all about taste, quit worrying about lighting and presentation years ago.  This particular recipe I pirated from Chris at NibbleMeThis.COM in 2012 and it is one that we do not prepare enough...Cuban Pork Sandwiches.  This was all prepared on my Rosle Kettle Grill, quickly becoming my favorite grill for quick cooks. 

I like to prep, cook, eat, clean up and move on.  Chris goes all in...all the time.  But hey, we're Internet Grillin' friends so whats a few stolen recipes between those who've never really met? LOL.
The plating looks a little boring but the meal was spot - on !

For tonight's meal I have prepared what I am going to call Grilled Pork Cuban Butterflies and Seasoned Pee-Wee Roasted potatoes

I tossed out the potato preparation and all the ingredients from Chris's potatoes and also from Bobby Flay's original pork chop recipe and went with Pee-Wee potatoes (no cutting required) and Mojo (I didn't have all those spices in Flay's list anyway).   This makes preparation a snap, which is my new MO...quick and tasty. 

Ingredients for the Grilled Cuban Butterfly Pork chops
  • 6 - Butterflied Pork Chops (approx. 6 ounces each)
  • 1 - Bottle, Mojo (eliminates the entire list on Flay's ingredients) 
  • Suggested additional 'fixins'"
    • Mustard
    • Honey Ham (deli sliced)
    • Baby Swiss Cheese (deli sliced)
    • Tomato slices (TOTALLY optional and non-traditional)
  • NO BUNS or CUBAN ROLLS required!
Potato ingredients
  • 1  - 3 Lb. Bag - Yellow Pee-Wee Potatoes, rinsed (use the quantity you need to feed your guests, 3 Lb. might be on the high end for feeding 6).
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Black Pepper
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Dried Roasted Garlic

Pork Directions
1. Place chops in a 9 x 13 roaster and soak in Mojo, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
2. Remove 45 minutes prior to cooking and drain off marinade.  Cover in plastic wrap again and let come to near room temperature while the grill gets hot.
3. Prepare the chops by layering your favorite ingredients then fold.  You might need to stick a toothpick in them to keep them 'folded.'
4. Fire up (in this case I used my Rosle Kettle grill) and Kingsford Charcoal and place on hot grid and sear grill marks into each side.
5. Raise grid or place a grill basked on the grid (the idea is to raise the pork chops further from the heat so the pork can finish without demolishing the cheese and condiments. Optional:  Use a grilling surface like a Emile Henry Baking Stone for final cooking cycle instead of raising the grid or messing with temperature controls.
6. Cook to temp and remove to rest for 3-5 minutes and serve. 

Finished Marinating

Layered on Honey Ham, Home Canned Dill Pickle Slices and Baby Mozzarella

 All Wrapped up and ready for the Grill (that's a Emile Henry Small Baking Stone)

Potato Directions
1. Rinse potatoes and pat dry and dump into a gallon freezer bag.
2. Add spices (to taste but using those recommended above) will NOT take much.

All spiced up for the oven (I hate cooking anything indoors!)

3. Set aside or refrigerate depending on how soon you will cook.
4. If you are going to use the oven (sacrilegious at our house) cook on a cookie sheet at 350-375 F until tender. If you cook on the grill, use a grill rack and roast until tender, rotating constantly to avoid burning.

Note:  The potatoes will take 20 minutes minimum....prepare them BEFORE you start the pork chops because those will cook in under 10 minutes. 

KEEP ON EGGIN' my Friends! (or Rosle'n)
More information than you will ever want to know about the Cuban Sandwich paraphrased from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (so you gotta know this is suspect information LOL).
The Cuban sandwich is a variation of a ham and cheese originally created in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Cuba and in the early Cuban immigrant communities of Florida: Key West and Ybor City, Tampa. Later on, Cuban exiles and expatriates brought it to Miami  where it is also still very popular. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and sometimes salami (the Italian influence) on Cuban bread. FUN FACT!!!! In April 2012, the "Historic Tampa Cuban Sandwich" was designated as the "signature sandwich of the city of Tampa" by Tampa's city council.
While there is some debate as to the contents of a "true" Cuban sandwich, most are generally agreed upon. The traditional Cuban sandwich starts with Cuban bread. The loaf is sliced into lengths of 8-12 inches (20–30 cm), lightly buttered or brushed with olive oil on the crust, and cut in half horizontally. A coat of yellow mustard is spread on the bread. Then roast pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, and thinly-sliced dill pickles are added in layers. Sometimes the pork is marinated in mojo and slow roasted.  The main regional disagreement about the sandwich’s recipe is whether or not to include salami.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New York Strip Steaks

New York Strip steaks prepared 'reverse sear' tonight.  Combined with some tender crisp veggies and corn on the cob...
 How do you get there? - I used to post every weekend, create recipes and put endless lists of ingredients and directions.  We've gone SIMPLE in our cooking and in our directions.  I hope you enjoy this method. 
  1. Buy four 12 oz. Angus Beef NW Strip (HyVee brand) 
  2. Rub with my Jail Break Rub  recipe posted her on the blog.
  3. Set up Rosle grill for indirect.
  4. Chop Veggies; 1 each large Red, Green, Orange Bell pepper, 1/2 Large Vildalia onion, 2-3 Teaspoons of Minced Garlic and a dose of Paul Prudhommes Vegetable Magic.
  5. Simmered direct in a terracotta roasting pan, stirring once to Tender-crisp.  Remove and cover.
  6. Boil water with copious amounts of sea salt and sugar and boil Corn for 10 minutes.
  7. Drop steaks on middle of grid for 3-5 minutes per side
  8. Remove and let rest for 3 minutes, place over coals for 2 minutes each side for the SEAR or GRILL MARKS.
  9. Remove and cover, let stand for 5 minutes and serve
  10. If you FORGET to buy fancy bread, use REGULAR bread and toast it with butter and garlic and parsley spice.  As always, serve EVERYTHING with Green Onions. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pizza on the Big Green Egg

Grilled Pizza is the BEST....and what PIZZA CRUST to use IS NOT A DEBATE. 

I see endless forum recipes and all kinds of equipment and ingredients going into the preparation for a simple thin crust pizza.  I've tried them all and I keep coming back to my .89 cent package of Betty Crocker Pizza Crust Mix.  It is ready in about two minutes, cooks very consistently and tastes great.  
Here are the dough's rolled out (by hand only) with a light drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkling of Paul Prudhommes Pasta and Pizza Magic.  We use 2 Cups of Shredded Mozzarella cheese on each pizza recipe we make.

Ingredients for our cook tonight - One Veggie Pizza and one Sausage
  • Two packages of Betty Crocker Pizza Dough
  • 1 Cup of HOT water
  • 1 Pound of Honeysuckle Italian Turkey Sausage, browned in the microwave
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper (organic)
  • 6 Sweet Banana peppers (seeded and chopped) (organic - Cat Poop Only)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper (organic)
  • 1/2 Large Vidalia Onion, Sliced and diced.
  • 30 or so Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes (organic), slice in half
  • Black Olives
  • Canned Mushrooms
  • 1 Pint - 'Hulsmeyer Family' Homemade Pizza Sauce 
  • Parchment paper
  • Crushed Red Peppers (garnish)
  1. Fire up BGE to T Rex
  2. Add Plate-setter, legs down
  3. Add Pizza Stone
  4. Close lid and bring temp to 450-600 degrees (it REALLY isn't that critical after you reach the 500 range, its about time and one peek at about 8 minutes. 
  5. Prepare pizzas, place on parchment paper and transfer to pizza stone
  6. Cook for 9-13 minutes (depends MOSTLY on number and thickness of ingredients.  The BC Pizza dough is typically done in about 10-11 minutes. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Reverse Sear on the Rösle Charcoal Grill

Take 2...this weekend it's Reverse Sear on the Rösle Charcoal Grill.  Now that I have tried it, I am hooked.  Last week I dipped my toe into the Reverse Sear world and the results were amazing, that was on the Big Green Egg.  This week I reproduced, and frankly with slightly better results on my Rösle.  

Just like last post, the concept is simple, Reverse Sear allows you to approach your favorite internal temp first, then sear on those grill marks we all love to take pictures and post on the internet.  This is really a testament to the fact that the rules of Steak 101 apply to char-coaling nice cuts of beef - Meat is a muscle; when subjected to extreme temperatures in constricts.  

Traditional grilling methods are sear, remove, rest (relaxing is the real thing that is occurring), return to the grill and hope for the best in the middle.  Reverse Sear, reverses the process and with better results than traditional grilling. 

  • 2 - 12 Oz. 1.5-1.75" Angus Beef® KC Strips (NY Strips outside the Midwest).
  • Rub of your choice, however tonight I used a light dusting of Pink Himalayan Salt, White Pepper and Paul Prudhomme's Anaheim Chile. 
  • Set up the Rösle for indirect cooking (Pictured here)
  • Lower the dome and let the temperature rise to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or higher). 
  • Prepare yours steaks as you would normally, seasoning of your choice, as I mentioned above, tonight I used a light dusting of Pink Himalayan Salt, White Pepper and Paul Prudhomme's Anaheim Chile. 
  • When you reach temp, plop your meat directly on the Grid. In this case in the MIDDLE and not above the coals as pictured below.

  • Remove the grid and dump the indirect coals into a pile in the middle, lid up and vents open and let them get TRex Hot.  
  • Place steaks directly over the flame to sear in those coveted grill marks and flip once (picture at the top of this post) about 60-90 seconds depending on how hot your coals and if you have flame present. 
  • Remove and let relax while you dish up your sides and serve.

Sunday, June 29, 2014



Char-coal [2](chär'kōl') n. A black, porous, carbonaceous material, 85 to 98 percent carbon, produced by the destructive distillation of wood and used as a fuel, filter, and absorbent.

Natural Lump Charcoal [1] comes from partially burning wood created by heating wood without oxygen turning it into nearly 100% carbon. During the process all volatile compounds in the wood (water, hydrogen, methane and tars) pass off as vapors into the air, some of the carbon is consumed as fuel, and the rest of the carbon is converted into charcoal.

Since Charcoal is 100% pure wood carbon, it weights much less than its original state. It is also free of tars (which can contain carcinogenic compounds, like benzo-a-pyrene). And unless it has been exposed to moisture and variable temperature, natural lump charcoal will last literally forever.
The low ash production of lump charcoal is very important. Ceramic grills and Smokers have a fire bowl holding the charcoal. As the charcoal burns, the ash falls down into the bottom of the bowl. There isn't room for a whole lot of ash. Lump charcoal tends to burns hotter and faster than briquettes. Lump charcoal will also burn at whatever rate and temperature that you allow it to. Briquettes tend to burn slower as they were designed to be used in an uncontrolled environment.

There are 2 types of charcoals:
the first type comes from natural wood which has been cut and made into charcoal. This is as natural as you can get. The wood comes from trees, branches and scrap pieces from saw mills. The second type comes from using processed scrap wood and tuning it into charcoal. Processed scrap wood tend to burn faster since its density is lesser than natural. This is mainly because there is less moisture into the wood at the time it is transformed into charcoals. This wood comes from wood flooring scraps, building material scrap and furniture scraps and others.[1,3]

How was it made originally?
Wood charcoal productions origin is very remote however the method of producing it consisted generally of piling billets of wood on their ends creating a conical shaped pile with openings at the bottom to admit air and a shaft in the middle to act as a flue. The whole pile is covered with turf or moistened clay or even additional lumber. A fire is lit at the bottom of the flue and gradually spreads outwards and upwards. The success of the operation depends upon the rate of the combustion. Under average conditions, 100 parts of wood yield about 60 parts by volume, or 25 parts by weight, of charcoal; small scale production on the spot often yields only about 50%, large scale was efficient to about 90% even by the 17th century. The operation is so delicate that it was generally left to professional charcoal burners. These often worked in solitary groups in the woods and had a rather bad social reputation, especially traveling ones who often sold a sack (priced at about a day's wage) with lots of rubbish mixed in to farmers and townsfolk. [4]

How is it made today? In the modern method, wood is raised to a high temperature in an iron retort, and industrially important byproducts, e.g., methanol (wood alcohol or wood spirit), acetone , pyroligneous acid , and acetic acid , are saved by condensing them to their liquid form. Air is not really needed in the carbonization process, and advanced methods of charcoal production do not allow air to enter the kiln. This results in a higher yield, since no wood is burned with the air, and quality is improved. Charcoal is also obtained from substances other than wood such as nut shells and bark; that obtained from bones is called bone black, animal black, or animal charcoal.

Charcoal yields a larger amount of heat in proportion to its volume than is obtained from a corresponding quantity of wood and has the further advantage of being smokeless. The greatest amount is used as a fuel. Charcoal is often used in blacksmithing, for cooking, and for other industrial applications. One of the most important applications of wood charcoal is as a component of gunpowder . It is also used as a reducing agent in metallurgical operations, but this application was diminished by the introduction of coke . A limited quantity is made up into the form of drawing crayon. Bamboo charcoal is the principal ingredient in sumi-e, a form of Japanese ink painting that uses only black ink in various concentrations.

Because of its porous structure, finely divided charcoal is a highly efficient agent for filtering the adsorption of gases and of solids from solution. It is used in sugar refining, in water purification, in the purification of factory air, and in gas masks. Wood charcoal can remove coloring agents from solutions, but this is accomplished more efficiently by animal charcoal. By special heating or chemical processes the absorptive property can be greatly increased; charcoal so treated is known as activated charcoal.
Information in this blog post has been paraphrased from text but not limited to the references herein:
[1][2] “charcoal.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, Houghton MIfflin Company, 2004, 03 Apr.2008 and taken from[3] Author not available, CHARCOAL., The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2007[4]