I adore a good barbecue sauce. One that sticks to your fingers and cheeks while balancing sweet, spicy, smoky, and tangy flavors. When I stumbled across a 7-minute recipe for Chipotle-Maple Barbecue sauce in the June 2013 issue of Food and Wine magazine, I thought it had potential. And with chipotles in adobo and maple syrup in the cabinet (two ingredients that I always keep on hand), it didn’t take much convincing for me to whip up a batch for grilled chicken.
A couple of years ago, my grilling underwent a giant shift. I learned about brining and gone were the days of dried out chicken breasts and cardboard-like pork tenderloins. Soaking the meat in a liquid with salt and, often some sugar, for just a few minutes before cooking transforms the end product keeping it juicy and succulent despite the dry and scorching heat of the grill. The discovery of brining was a game-changer for me and since learning about it, I have always gone to the trouble of this extra step.
Posted in BBQ, Dinner, Grilling, Uncategorized
Tagged BBQ sauce, brining, chicken, chipotle en adobo, Comfort Food, Grilling, maple syrup, Memorial Day, Recipe
Last night’s steaming bowl of chili came about because I did not want to go to the grocery store. Instead of wheeling a shopping cart through neatly stacked rows of food, I rummaged through the pantry, the freezer, and the refrigerator to find the bits and pieces necessary to make dinner.
I always have canned tomatoes in the cabinet and was happy to find a lone chipotle pepper in adobo as well as a scant tablespoon of tomato paste in the towers of Tupperware that fill my fridge. A lack of beans in my pantry was a disappointment to me, but a gift to my husband who hails from Texas. We don’t have time for the beans or no-beans debate here, but suffice it to say that if you are from the Lone Star state you have extremely strong feelings about NO beans in your chili.
Posted in Beef, Dinner, Wild Game
Tagged Chili, Comfort Food, Food, Football Favorite, ground venison, Harold McGee, lone star state, Recipe, thawing meat, venison chili
You may have plans for a candlelit dinner in a swanky restaurant this Valentine’s Day. As I write this, you’re dreaming of how you’ll woo your sweetheart through bubbling champagne in tall flutes, juicy bites of filet mignon, and the inevitable dessert that oozes dark chocolate as you and your special someone gaze into each other’s eyes. It sounds wonderful, but I’d like to propose an alternative. I’d like to suggest that you braise something.
Now don’t scoff in disgust at my seeming lack of romance. Braising, while not nearly as sexy-sounding as lobster poached in vanilla butter or dark chocolate molten cakes, is a culinary technique that practically guarantees a night of love.
You won’t find chunks of lobster, cheeses with French names, or even bits of bacon in this macaroni & cheese. It’s certainly not virtuous (whole milk, butter and cheese are used with abandon) and it’s far from elegant. Yet this recipe is one of my favorites. It’s fun to make as it takes a little finesse, it makes your home smell wonderful as it bakes, and one spoonful will bring back lots of memories. In short, this recipe for macaroni and cheese yields good food.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged butter and cheese, cheese, Comfort Food, creamy consistency, grainy texture, How-to, macaroni and cheese, medium saucepan, pasta, Quick and Easy, Recipe, wooden spoon
After a week of overcast days and dismal weather, today blue skies and a warm sun are making me want to put on shorts and eat ice cream. A steaming bowl of belly warming, cream of broccoli soup couldn’t be further from my mind. Unfortunately, that bowl of soup is exactly what I whipped up this morning for a segment on WCNC’s Charlotte Today show. Let it be known that I’ve never claimed to have good timing.
While the weather has been far from warm the past couple of days, spring is approaching. I feel it in my perpetually scratchy throat and I see it in the buds that are blooming early after several weeks of above average temperatures. In my kitchen, I’m rushing to cook my favorite cold weather dishes before warmer temperatures banish my cravings for hearty, comfort foods in favor of the sun-kissed fruits and vegetables and grill-marked meats of spring and summer. That’s where this hearty stew comes in to the picture.
Brrrrrr! While we don’t have snow, it’s pretty darn cold in Charlotte today. The temperature is just above freezing and I’ve spent the day in woolly socks and a bulky sweater. Our dog, Lady, has been my only impetus to go outside and I’ve consumed far too many cups of peppermint tea. In short, it’s soup weather.
My friend Jon requested a soup recipe from Minced last week and I had plans to make a hearty chili or an elegant bisque today. However that would require going to the grocery store and frankly I would prefer to stay inside. Thankfully, I remembered my mother’s recipe for French Soup that was one of my favorites growing up.
For the past two weeks, I’ve limited trips to the grocery store and tried to subsist solely off of food in my home. Putting the idea of a well-stocked pantry to the test, I’ve done my best to make creative and delicious meals from what’s on hand. I prepared my last snapper fillet (from a Florida fishing trip this past June) using a bit of rosemary, a couple of garlic cloves, and a little red wine vinegar. An impulse purchase of red lentils from several months ago was put to use in a spicy Indian dal. I even made hamburger buns to go with a pint of Carolina BBQ that I found in the recesses of the freezer.
Like a little black dress a recipe for a good breakfast casserole is a must in any cook’s repertoire. After all, there are few things better than waking up with a hot cup of strong coffee, your local newspaper, and a plateful of eggs.
I’ve been breakfast obsessed my whole life. My parents, who did so much to prepare me for life after them, did me a huge disservice in the breakfast department. My father, short-order cook extraordinaire, made a hot breakfast for us every morning. Apple pancakes, scrambled eggs, and red-eye gravy were the breakfast of champions growing-up. Waffles weren’t just for Saturdays.
It happens every time. After frying a batch of okra, I promptly burn the roof of my mouth. I can’t help it. Fried okra is irresistible; confronted with it still glistening with oil on a paper towel I lose all self-control. Despite being too hot to touch let alone eat, I pop them, one after another, into my mouth.