Tomatoes are Thriving

I will have some cherry tomatoes soon thanks to AeroGarden.  They are doing much better than the strawberries.  Only have two strawberry plants left… wahhhh…I think I may have killed them.  But the tomatoes area thriving.  Thanks, Dad, for your inspiration.  I loved that you always brought me tomatoes when you came to visit me.  I can still see in my mind how you would go into your garden and check your corn, tomatoes and sweet peas.  You never thought you could grow sweet peas and that was because your young trouble makers were eating them right off the vine.  I still love eating sweet peas to this day and remember fondly of you when I do.  But, today and forever your tomatoes will be my favorite!

Lunch Today – Grilled Veggie Soup with Turkey

I’m on a soup kick because my husband will not eat soup unless its clam chowder or French Onion soup.  At lunch is my chance to try something different.  I’m still using up that leftover turkey but didn’t want to make exactly the same soup.

Today I grilled up the vegetables on the indoor grill.  You could grill outdoors or sear in a hot skillet.  Cast iron would work nicely, or maybe sear in a wok.

Put about 3cups turkey broth and as much turkey as you desire into a medium size saucepan.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Heat over medium heat.

The vegetables on the grill.  
one small baby red sweet pepper
one small potato peel then quarter
one-fourth onion separate out the sections so they lay curve side down on the grill
one section of carrot about 5 inches long and 1/2 inch wide so that it stays on the grill

Cook until they get sear marks and begin to get tender.  Then cut accordingly and add to the broth.  Cut the cut into bite-size pieces and add to the broth.  Remove the top of the pepper and seeds.  Dice the onion and pepper and add to the soup.  Lastly cut the carrot on a diagonal about 1/8 inch thick.

The soup will cook for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are completely tender.  As the potatoes cook they will absorb broth so make sure to watch and add more broth as necessary.  Mine cooked down so that it was a thickened broth.  Add as much broth as you desire.

I thought I had enough soup that I wouldn’t be able to eat it all, but NO and ate every last drop.  Though I did share a few bits with my Yorkie, Gismo.  She liked the soup too.

 

 

 

Lunch Today – Turkey Vegetable Soup

I’m still on my healthy eating path to reaching several goals; better food menu for healthy eating, losing weight (a few more pounds) and exercising to have more muscle tone.  There it is.  The reason for coming up with this variety of Turkey Soup.  It’s the first time I’ve made it and didn’t use a recipe.   It was invented by thinking of other dishes I’ve made and how to adapt them without rice or noodles.

This soup is an Asian version of Turkey Soup.  Normally I would add a ton of noodles and thicken with flour.  This time, I started with Turkey Stock that was from the roast turkey breast leftovers earlier this week.  For a single serving: start with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan and bring to medium heat.  Add chopped onion, slivered carrot, zucchini slices and chopped baby bell peppers.  Sauté until tender.  Add potsticker sauce (hoisin sauce) and cornstarch sprinkled to thicken.  This could be used as a sauce over meat, but I used it to create a soup base.  Add turkey stock to fill the pan to as much soup as your desire.  Continue to add cornstarch until desired thickness.  Add chunks of cut up turkey and simmer until thickened and the cornstarch is cooked.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour into serving bowl and enjoy.  Or, if in a hurry, just eat from the pan. 😀

Grilling Chicken for Dinner

Tonight for dinner I’m grilling a simple skin on the bone-in chicken breast. I like leaving the skin on and bone in so that the chicken is really moist. We’re at our Ironworks cabin so we almost always grill.  The spice I use is Boswell’s Blends – Fowl-n-Feather Seasoning.  I bought it at one of those home shows in Phoenix AZ and use it all the time.  The ingredients in case you want to try something similar are:
salt
dehydrated garlic
dehydrated onion
other spices (the secret ingredients)
sugar
dehydrated red bell pepper
dehydrated parsley

Rub the spices into the chicken breast & spray with olive oil, butter oil or coconut oil.

The breast was still partly frozen so I started with a 350 grill and put it in a cooler area to thaw out. Then as it came up from the frozen state the grill was upped to 375.

I’m cooking it fairly slow as we’re enjoying happy hour on the patio. Nothing spectacular…. just a Blue Moon with an orange slice for me and a Malibu rum and Diet Coke for Gus.

When the chicken is done we’ll enjoy it with a good sized green salad with lots of goodies.  Internal temperature should be 365 for chicken breast.

It’s done so were hungry and ready to eat.

This is my first post in a long long time.

What’s for Dinner – Smoked Turkey Breast

Smoked Turkey Breast
Smoked Turkey Breast

Here’s the scoop on how to make this Smoked Turkey Breast. It’s still in the oven roasting at 325 degrees but before that it was in the smoker at 225 for 1 hour.

We started with a 6 pound turkey breast and seasoned it inside and outside with celery salt, Greek spice, sea salt and then sprinkled with Italian dry seasoning for a rub. Mess up your hands and rub the seasoning into the outer skin and inside of the turkey.

It was smoked in my CookShack easy electric smoker for one hour at 225 degrees with a little applewood. I don’t smoke anything the entire cooking time in the smoker because it seems to be too heavy smoking for me. I like to start with the smoker every time and then finish in the oven or on the grill.  This is done for any type of meat I smoke.

Next, bake the turkey in a 325 degree preheated oven until the turkey breast registers at 170 degrees on a meat thermometer.  Once the turkey reaches the right temperature, let it rest for a 10 minutes or so after it finishes and then slice away.  Serve warm with dressing, gravy and a nice side dish.

While the turkey is cooking, I’ve got my Apple Pecan Rice and Bread Turkey Stuffing slow cooking in the oven too. You would think I’m making another Thanksgiving dinner but this is a “For Company” dinner and for the hubby who just loves smoked anything.  Along with a side salad and stuffing we had sautéed green beans with mushrooms and slivered almonds.

Update on this slow cooking turkey:  For the last 45 minutes we turned up the oven to 350 degrees.  Hungry.  Hungry.    Everyone was getting hungry and the stubborn turkey was still gobbling.  Dinner was finally done at 8:45 and was planned for 7:30.  The dinner salad was served to waste a few moments while waiting for the darn turkey popper to pop.  We finally took the turkey out of the oven and draped the turkey breast with two heavy towels to continue cooking while we had the salad.  This was a newly learned suggestion from my guest, Britt.  I will never forget it!  By the time we were done with salad the turkey was ready.

As a hint the turkey may not have been totally thawed which caused it too cook more slowly than I would have liked.  Plus, the package called for 325 degrees to cook the turkey but 350 might have been better.  Regardless, it was juicy and smoked to the right amount.

 

Cranberry Meatball Sauce

I looked in the pantry and there was no BBQ sauce for my meatballs. Panic! I’m taking meatballs to a birthday party tomorrow and wanted to get a head start.   So, I decided that I would try a new type of meatball sauce similar to one I found on BigOven.  This recipe is a twist on the grape jelly meatball sauce where cranberry sauce is used instead.  It was changed it up in a big way to make it my own and get the taste I wanted.  The only thing I didn’t do was make it a “Drunkin” dish.  It was posted on BigOven just now.  Visit there to see more of my recipes and those of many others.  The cooked meatballs are now marinating in the thick sauce in the fridge.  Into the crockpot they will go tomorrow to finish up for a few hours before the party.

IMG_0294

 

Ingredients

12 ounces Cranberry Sauce; or Cranberry Jelly 2 tablespoons Chili powder
16 ounces Tomato sauce 1 teaspoon Chili Spice; Carroll Shelby’s
1 tablespoon Sugar 1 teaspoon Onion powder
1 tablespoon Honey 1 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons Dark Corn Syrup 1/4 teaspoon Pepper

Preparation

Combine all ingredients in mediums size saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and smooth. If you are using leftover Cranberry Sauce instead of jelly, then use a masher to reduce the size of the berries. Pour hot sauce over pre-cooked meatballs in a crockpot. Stir occasionally to coat. Keep warm on low until ready to serve.

If you like the recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.

Arizona BBQ Festival – Frog Leg Appetizer

Last week Gus and I went to the Arizona BBQ Festival and enjoyed some great tastings.  There were BBQ tents and portable kitchens set up throughout the Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.  One of the best features of the event were the chef demos held throughout the day.  I attended two demos; the first being Chef Stephen Jones of Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails.  Each chef was to demonstrate how to make some type of “road kill”.  Chef Stephen chose an appetizer of  Frog Legs and it was delicious.  Since meeting him and a short conversation, I decided to also check out the restaurants website and Facebook page.  This restaurant looks like well worth a visit.

 

Frog Legs Appetizer:

I don’t actually have the recipe for the Frog Legs Appetizer but it begins with a 3-1 pickling sauce with these following ingredients.  There is probably more to the pickling sauce but this is all I could get down before we moved on to the next step.

Pickling Sauce:
1 part Red wine vinegar
3 parts Water
Coriander
Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Vegetable Bed for the Legs:
Take 1/2 of a butter lettuce leaves, cleaned and then quartered.   Drop them into the warming pickling sauce and allow to braise.  Thinly slice 1/4 red onion and add to pickling sauce.  Let braise for around 10 minutes.

Chef Stephen talked about how to skin and prepare the frog legs for cooking.  It is the back legs only.  I’m not sure if I could do it but buying fresh has to be a tastier dish than if you bought frozen.   There is not a lot of meat on the legs so plan on quite a few for even this appetizer.  Pre-smoke for 5 minutes the full piece legs with a probably the pecan wood since it’s also used for the almonds.    Let the meat cool then cut the meat into small bite size pieces.  Toss the bits in Wonderflour and drop them into hot clarified butter.  The chef recommended this over regular flour as it is not as heavy.   Cook legs in clarified butter instead of whole butter.  This browns at slower pace and not burn.

Frog Legs Appetiser with Pickling Sauce
Frog Legs Appetizer with Salad Bed in Pickling Sauce

To plate, remove the greens from the pickling sauce and arrange on the plate.   Drain the meat bits of excess butter and place on the plate.  Garnish with sliced radishes and pecan smoked almonds.   Chef added a few drops of a balsamic vinaigrette glaze to the plate for an added touch.

Chef Stephen has a charming and charismatic persona to match his talent for cooking.  Even at his young age he has a substantial background in culinary expertise.  His ideas for cooking are new and refreshing.  Some even very fattening!  Once of his specialties at the restaurant is his signature Tater Tots which are made from scratch. They begin with shredded potatoes and bacon.  I don’t recall the balance of the ingredients so you’ll just have to visit to get a better idea and a personal tasting.  Anyway, he said that he mixes up the tots, places them in a large (probably very large) decorating tube and squeezes the mixture out on the sparkling clean prep table in the form of a long tube.   Then they are cut into around 1 inch pieces rolled in probably Wonderflour.  They are then placed in the freezer until ready to fry.  Letting them rest in the freezer will also allow them to set up for frying.

Chef Stephen Jones of Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails
Chef Stephen Jones of Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails
Chefs Famous Tator Tots
Chefs Famous Tater Tots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A little more about the festival.  The Arizona BBQ Festival is the largest Honky Tonk in the state of Arizona! There’s live bands, hilarious “redneck themed” games, more beer and booze than you can handle, and (literally) tons of smoked meat like brisket, chicken, pulled pork, ribs, and all the fixin’s.”

The day we attended there were over 20 pit-masters in attendance cooking right on the spot.  They were serving up a variety of “brisket, ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken, shanks of all kinds, and all the sides like grilled corn, baked beans, cornbread, and more”.  We had several favorites; one was a Smokey Mac and Cheese that we tasted from the Memphis Best BBQ (I think) and the best smoked meat and longest line was at Montana BBQ hidden away at the back of the field.