Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's summer in Texas! Woo!

And even though we are having an extraordinarily wet one, I am GRILLING, BITCHES!

Tonight we had fajitas. I made them in the usual manner, grilling the veggies on a wire screen sort of deal that sits on top of the grill.

I drank loads of beer while we were out of town over the weekend and got totally sick of it, so tonight's dinner was washed down with SANGRIA! Here's how I made it:

2 cups red wine
1/2 cup cognac
1/2 cup orange liqueur (I used Patron Citronge; you could use Cointreau or whatever)
the juice from one orange
one orange, sliced
one lemon, sliced
one lime, sliced
club soda

Combine the booze, juice and sliced fruits in a pitcher and chill. For each (Collins) glass, fill with ice, then fill halfway with wine mixture and top off with club soda. Stir and serve.

Sangria just screams "summer" to me for some reason. I make a mean white version as well, but my local supermarket doesn't have nectarines yet and they are VITAL.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mixed grill

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled boneless pork chops and chicken leg quarters
  • chuffed potatoes
  • caramelized brussels sprouts with toasted almonds
  • leftover salad
I KNOW! I have not been posting. Sorry about that. It's mostly been same old, same old around here (except that the other night I made spiced pork tenderloin with grilled stone fruits -- apricots and peaches -- and it was FABULOUS).

Anyhoo, I finally made a trip to the natural food store for the GOOD chicken so I decided to grill tonight. I sprinkled both chicken and pork with Jane's Krazy Salt and garlic pepper (the chicken got a coating of EVOO beforehand). I grilled the chicken for 10 minutes per side over medium-high heat, then turned off the burner they were on (gas grill) and left them there while I grilled the chops for 4 minutes per side on the other burner. Other than the chicken catching fire multiple times, it all turned out swell.

Chuffed potatoes were the usual deal -- red potatoes cut in half or quarters, parboiled then chuffed up in a hot pan with some butter, seasoned with salt and pepper.

I have made the caramelized brussels sprouts before. This time I made the recipe exactly except I substituted toasted almond slivers for the pistachios.

Vinho Verde was a nice accompaniment to the meal.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Low & slow

Tonight's Menu

  • oven-braised beef brisket
  • ranch beans (from a can)
  • big-ass salad (made fresh last night by DH)
Tonight's dinner required a little advance planning but not much actual work.

First I made a dry rub for the brisket with brown sugar, garlic powder, dry mustard, chili powder, dried oregano, salt and freshly ground pepper. I rubbed it generously onto both sides of the brisket, then put the brisket in a foil-lined roasting pan fat-side up. I poured most of a bottle of Abita TurboDog (a dark beer, you use whatever but make sure it's something you'd actually drink) around but not ON the meat, covered the pan VERY tightly with foil, and cooked it "low & slow" -- four hours at 275 degrees F. It came out wonderfully flavorful and tender, but still held up to slicing (instead of shredding). Yum!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Tonight's Menu

  • cold boiled shrimp (peel & eat)
  • chuffed potatoes made by the boy child
  • coleslaw
  • leftover big-ass salad
The girl has been asking for cold boiled shrimp lately, and the extra-large ones with the split shells were only $5 per pound, so I went ahead and made some tonight. And she actually ate some this time! Four of them, I think! It's a miracle!

We were out of both cocktail sauce AND horseradish, so I dipped my shrimp in a mixture of melted butter and Trappey's Red Devil. Mmmm!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mmmmm, beef!

Tonight's Menu

  • NY strip steaks on the grill pan
  • sourdough bread (frozen, heated in the oven)
  • leftover steamed artichoke (re-nuked)
  • leftover big-ass salad
Sometimes you need a little red meat, y'all.


Tonight's Menu

  • grilled boneless pork chops
  • steamed artichoke
  • big-ass salad
Sometime last week, out of the blue, the girl child asked if we could have an artichoke for dinner sometime. I have no idea what put that into her head, but it prompted me to explain how I grew up eating artichokes steamed and dipped in lemon butter, and her dad grew up eating stuffed artichokes, and never the twain shall meet so I rarely make them.

But hello, my GIRL CHILD was ASKING for a VEGETABLE. So I made one. MY WAY.

I gave it a good rinse, cut off the stem and the very tippy top, then took kitchen shears and snipped the tips off the rest of the leaves (that's where the pointy spine thing is). Then I stuck it in a steamer basket and steamed the hell out of it for like half an hour. It STILL wasn't quite done (it was a BIG 'choke, y'all) so I stuck it in a bowl with a bit of water, covered it tightly with plastic wrap, and nuked it for a couple of minutes more. Finally the leaves pulled away easily.

I had forgotten how yummy they were. We only ate about half of it so we'll have the rest tomorrow and then I'll cut out the yummy heart and scarf it up all by myself. Well, I MIGHT share with DH.

Punchline: I don't think the girl even tried the damn thing. She put ONE leaf on her plate but I didn't see her eat it.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Crock-Pot pork

Tonight's Menu

  • Crock-Pot barbecued pork on buns
  • homemade coleslaw
  • sweet corn on the cob
Super easy dinner tonight.

For the pork, all I did was slice an onion in half lengthwise, reserving one half and slicing the other half cross-wise. I put the onion in the bottom of the crockpot, stuck a pork roast on top (I used loin because it's lean, but you could use whatever), dumped in a bottle of barbecue sauce and cooked it all on low for 8 hours or so before shredding and serving on buns.

The coleslaw was just shredded cabbage tossed with a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and celery seed.

The corn was fresh, cleaned and then wrapped in wax paper before being steamed in the microwave.

If you make the coleslaw right after you start the meat and just stick it in the fridge all day, you can have this dinner on the table in 10 minutes.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Tonight's Menu

  • chicken roasted in the usual manner
  • leftover garlicky green beans
  • leftover big-ass salad
I'm not sure what went wrong, but tonight's chicken was not quite as yummy as usual. The skin was not as crisp, and the flesh was not as flavorful. I suspect it was due to either (a) the chicken being larger than normal and me failing to adjust the cooking time/temperature accordingly, or (b) the chicken being HEB's so-called "natural" chicken instead of my FAR preferred Buddy's chicken. Or maybe both.

But you totally don't want to get me started on the whole HEB "natural" vs. Buddy's thing, so let us never speak of this again.

Except to say that Buddy's chicken is SO MUCH BETTER than HEB's crappy "natural" chicken, and I SO resent that they have stopped carrying the former in order to try to FORCE us to buy the latter, and I swear to God, I am SO shopping for chicken at Sun Harvest and/or Whole Foods from now on. Suck it, HEB!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fishy some more

Tonight's Menu

  • trout fillets sauteed in EVOO and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • garlicky green beans
  • big-ass salad
Look! It's me! Posting again even though our dinner was kind of boring!

The green beans were good, though. I'm determined to duplicate the garlicky green beans at our favorite Italian restaurant, Andiamo. They are BEYOND delicious. I could eat a whole plate of them, seriously.

Tonight I parboiled fresh green beans for about 10 minutes, then minced a couple of garlic cloves, sauteed them in EVOO for a bit (being VERY careful not to burn the garlic, which would suck), then tossed in the beans and sauteed the whole lot until everything was infused with garlicky goodness. DH thought there was too much garlic; I thought there wasn't quite enough (or that I hadn't sufficiently infused the oil). But still, YUMMY. Hopefully the leftovers will be even better!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Tonight's Menu

  • garlic-ginger shrimp stir-fry
  • steamed basmati rice
I used to make stir-frys all the damn time, but I don't think I've recorded one here since I started the blog. I guess it's been a while!

Here's how I made this one, and keep in mind that as with most of my recipes, I have no emotional investment here. I picked up a few things that looked good at the store, threw them together, chose a couple of complimentary seasonings, and that was that. Feel free to use this as a loose guideline. It ain't the stir-fry Bible, y'all.

1 pkg (about a pound, maybe? I dunno) large frozen shrimp (normally I'd use fresh, but they didn't look so hot today)
half an onion that was cut lengthwise, not cross-wise
1 orange bell pepper
about half a pound of fresh snow peas, more or less
1 knob (about thumb-sized) fresh ginger
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 Tbs. or so of pineapple juice
canola oil

Okay, first you want to thaw the shrimp and remove any shells. The ones I bought today had tails on only so this was pretty easy. Set them aside.

Cut the onion lengthwise into thin wedges. Cut the bell pepper into thin strips, about the same width as the onion wedges. Trim the stem ends and any tough strings from the snow peas. Mince the hell out of the ginger and the garlic.

Heat a large high-sided skillet or wok over medium-high to high heat. (If high heat is north and medium high is northwest, you want NNW.) Add maybe 1 Tbs. canola oil once pan is hot and then immediately add onions. Stir like hell for a few seconds until you can tell they're starting to cook a bit, then add the bell pepper and snow peas. Stir, stir, stir. When the veggies are just shy of the crisp-tender stage, dump in the minced ginger and garlic and STIR YOU FOOL, STIR! You do NOT want these to burn. Add the shrimp once the garlic and ginger have released their fragrance and stir like hell until the shrimp just start to curl. Stir in maybe a tablespoon of pineapple juice just to deglaze, then remove from heat and serve over rice or noodles or whatever you're into.

This was really good and I would definitely make it again! You could spice it up a bit with a minced serrano pepper if you like a little heat (add it with the garlic and ginger), but DH isn't into it so I left it out. I'd probably put it in if I were making this just for me, though.