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.

Smoked New York Steak Valentines Dinner
Smoked New York Steak Valentines Dinner
Parsley and Butter Sautéed Potatoes
Parsley and Butter Sautéed Potatoes
Toni's Super Salad
Toni’s Super Salad

What’s for dinner tonight? Smoked New York Steak Roast again.   See the recipe here.  I keep coming back to this one.  It’s so easy and entertaining friendly.  While the Roast is smoking away in the Cookshack and then the oven I’m able to visit with friends without feeling stressed.  Lots of time to do everything necessary for a nice Valentine’s dinner.  There is still plenty of breathing room to figure out the sides and get them going too.

I’m fixing it up again today for friends who have escaped the minus 9 F South Dakota freeze that has moved into the north and northeast.  They are here in sunny Arizona for an extended visit.  Mrs. T is one of my best friends and the special lady who made up Grandma Olga’s Homemade Noodles with Chicken for me last year when they were visiting then.

Smoked New York Roast
Smoked New York Roast

This time we’re cooking it with 2 ounces of cherry wood instead of apple wood.  Also, I needed to watch the bold spice due to an onion allergy for Mr. B.  I’m not worried about how it will turn out though because it’s all in the smoking.  The roast was liberally coated with simple salt and pepper and is now in the smoker.  It’s a Cookshack Smoker that been getting a lot more use this winter.  Here are more Cookshack Recipes direct from the Cookshack website.

A little later:

Mrs. T is putting together a dinner salad of fresh lettuce, sliced mushrooms, slivered carrots, cucumber, sliced tomatoes, bacon bits and whatever else is in the vegetable bin.  Idaho russets are resting in water ready to boil later for twice cooked potatoes.  First the potatoes will be boiled in salted water and then pan sautéed in butter and parsley.  Yum.  We can smell the aroma of the smoked roast as it is now slow cooking in the oven at 170 degrees for 1 hour and then let to rest for 1 1/2 hours. It should all come together in another 2 1/2 hours.

It seems that I always buy too many potatoes.  I love them and think that I can go through the 5 pound bag before they start to wrinkle up and get those little root like growths.  It always starts out with a few really good twice baked potatoes, a batch of potato soup, potatoes grilled with onion on the BBQ or a pan of parsley fried potatoes.

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Good Baked Potatoes

Put several weeks later I go to get a couple of my treasured potatoes to mix up with another meal and they’ve lost their charm.

So, I thought… why not bake up half a bag of those lovely large Idaho russets.  Let them cool.  Wrap each in parchment so that I could pluck one from the freezer when the time was right.  Yesterday, I took two potatoes from the freezer, placed them still on the parchment, directly on a large cutting board.  Several hours I took a break from my office to check on my thawing potatoes.  There they were…  resting on a layer of water that was dripping down the side of that large cutting board and leaving a layer of potato water on the counter.  Had I brought out the entire batch of potatoes it could have created a mini water fall.  The potatoes… they were mushy and spongy.  I could have rung one out just like a sponge. Mushy mess to say the least.

 

 

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Banana Bread Failure

This whole ordeal reminds me of the time that I ruined a perfectly good batch of banana bread by trying too hard.  I foolishly decided that more was better.  The batter was mixed, mixed again and mixed the dough with such vigor that when  the little loaves were baked the bread never did rise or brown.  They sort of looked like these lumpy baked potatoes.

 

Not to give up on my frozen bakers, I decided to take another potato from the cooler and try another method.  That’s the potato below with the ice crystals already forming from it reaching the warm air.   The oven was preheated to a hot, very hot 425 degrees and one treasured potato was placed in a ceramic baking dish.  Just in case of the water fall theory, I used a dish with a one inch rim.  This time the result was better but not still perfect.   Or, even close to perfect.  There was a slight layer of water in the bottom of the pan but the potato did not have the same mushy appearance while cooking.  It did take me over an hour to heat/thaw the potato at this extreme temperature.  It’s a good thing I had time to waste.


When finished in the oven at this Arizona Style temperature, the potato was baked crispy on the outside and baked almost through to the center.  There was still a stringy mushy center so it should have stayed in the oven a bit longer.  I almost hate to put my name on these pictures but I would hate for anyone else to get blamed.  I still have at least a dozen more potatoes in the freezer so I’ve not given up the experiment.  Next try will be with a lower oven temperature.  Maybe.

It seems like eternity since I’ve posted a new recipe to KCinAZ.  Originally, my posts were all about food and then I ran out of newly created recipes.  Sometimes, the old noggin just doesn’t think up new goodies.  But, leave it to the hubby, he requested that I smoke chicken for a dinner party and this recipe was the result.  Apple Wood Smoked Lemon Chicken stuffed with quartered golden delicious apples and white onion.

Take one 3-4 pound  whole chicken

Place herbs and dried lemon peel under the breast skin.
Place herbs and dried lemon peel under the breast skin.

Season Hen Under Skin:
1 teaspoon lemon peel fo season under skin
4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt & Pepper to season inside of hen

Have all your ingredients ready and season the inside of the hen.
Have all your ingredients ready and season the inside of the hen.

Season Inside the Hen:
1 teaspoon lemon peel to season inside of hen
2 small golden delicious apples (not ripe) quartered
1/3 yellow onion cut in thirds

I like plenty of seasoning!!
I like plenty of seasoning!!

Season Skin on Outside of Hen:
sprinkle outside of hen with lemon peel, garlic salt, Tuscan Style dried herbs

Removed from Smoker and Placed on Grill.
Removed from smoker and placed on grill.  Looks done but it’s not!

Smoke It First:
Pre-heat smoker with apple wood at 225 degrees. Place hen in smoker and slow cook for 1 hour. It will begin to turn brown. I put mine breast side up in a large pie pan to hold in the juices.  Remove from smoker after at least one hour.  You can then finish on your grill or in the oven.  I’ve finished mine on the grill.  If you prefer the oven then place the smoked whole chicken in a baking dish with enough room to catch any drippings.  Bake at 375 until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F.  This will probably take at least another 1-2 hours depending on the size of the hen.

smokedChicken1
Slowly grilled for another hour. Let’s eat.

Finish on Grill:
Pre-heat your grill so that the hen will sear when placed on the grill.  Place the hen in the center of the grill breast side down and turn off or down those center burners so that it continues to grill with indirect heat.   Turn hen over every 15-30 minutes and check often to ensure that you have enough heat but not too much heat as to burn or over cook the outside of the hen.

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

We had eight of our closest friends at our home to celebrate and ring in the New Year.  Cocktail and appetizer hour started at 7pm and dinner was ready to serve an hour and half later.  The twice baked potatoes were prepared the day prior and were ready to place in the oven for the final baking one hour before dinner.  The tenderloin smoked for 1 hour, grill seared for 15 minutes and then slow cooked in the oven (on and off) for the balance of the day before carving to serve at a delicious medium-rare.

Oh how I wish I were better at remembering to take pictures.  The appetizer table was adorned with so many good foods brought by our friends to share while we enjoyed each others company.  There was a splendid crudités platter.  I just learned this phrase when my friend who just returned home from living in Italy asked if she should bring crudités or humus and chips.  I had to asked what crudités was and learned that it’s vegetable tray.  Another friend brought smoked salmon served with several very tasty spreads and toasted French baguette.   We provided a cheese platter, beef and salami slices and an assortment of crackers for additional noshing.

The table was preset so that it was easier for serving buffet style and so that I was not so rushed at last-minute.  I’ve found that this makes life much easier, less stressful and then I’m able to enjoy the company of my friends without looking frazzled when they arrive.

Again, I forgot to take pictures of the food as it was set out  but did remember to snap on quick photo of my own dinner plate with the perfectly cooked beef tenderloin and twice baked potato served along with sautéed green beans seasoned with chipotle pepper and praline pecans.  The green bean dish was a quick change-up from my standard sautéed green beans with mushrooms and slivered almonds.  I’m still not sure which I prefer to serve.  The chipotle dish was a hot and sweet dish while the other is savory.

Beef Tenderloin:

Let the tenderloin set out on the counter until it comes to room temperature.  Remove all fat and sinew from the outside of the beef with a sharp knife.  Turn the small end of the tenderloin under and then tie the meat so that it cooks evenly.  Season the tenderloin liberally with a robust rub like the A1-Bold or Barbarian’s Steak Rub.  Liberally add ground salt and ground pepper.  Make sure to cover all the surface of the beef (top, bottom, side and ends).  Place in smoker uncovered at 225 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from smoker and place on hot BBQ grill at 500 degrees and sear top and bottom for around 7-8 minutes per side.

Next, remove from grill and place in a 175 degree pre-heated oven to slow cook for 3-4 hours uncovered.  This will ensure that the tenderloin cooks to a rare – medium rare inside temperature.  If you want the meat to be rare then remove from oven at 130 degrees and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before carving.  If you want it at medium rare then remove from oven at 140 degrees.  The tender loin will continue to cook while it rests and then be perfect when carving.

Cooking Tip:  I had to keep turning my oven on and off  to make sure it didn’t over cook.  This did lead to the crust of the beef becoming a little soft instead of the normal crusty.  If this occurs (check it before serving) then place your oven on high broil and crust up the outside again before removing from the oven.

Entertaining Tips: 

  1. Set the table the day before if you will be having a large number of people.  This can take more time than you think and will cut into your cooking time if saved to the day of the party.
  2. Set up your cocktail bar the day before.  Place a plastic table cloth under any fabric cloth to protect the furniture’s surface if it could be damaged by the drinks or ice.  Set out a few bottles of tonic water, tomato juice, fruit juice and club soda for mixers.
  3. Prepare a cooler filled with soda pop and plenty of water.  Add ice the day of the party around 3 hours before the begin time.
  4. If serving the food buffet style you can set up the buffet table and serving dishes.
  5. Do any decorating and set out centerpieces and/or candles.
  6. Prepare cheese platters, meat platters and condiments for the appetizer table in their serving dishes, cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  7. Set up your appetizer table with any table clothes and decorations.  Prepare cracker platters, cover and set on appetizer table.
  8. Make sure your champagne is in the refrigerator the day before so that it is chilled to perfection.  One bottle of champagne pours 5-6 glasses.
  9. Figuring out how much meat to buy; 1/2 pound per person to ensure there is plenty.  Allows for second servings and ample leftovers.
  10. Figuring out how many pounds of fresh vegetables; 1/4 – 1/3  pound per person.
  11. Use 1 extra-large baking potato for every two people.  Add 2 extra for those that like more or especially when making twice baked.  Often, many of your guests will share a baked potato or a large twice baked.  Bake in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If making twice baked allow to cool before handling.

 

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

Chipotle Shrimp on the Grill
Chipotle Shrimp on the Grill

Who would have thought that I would still be grilling outdoors in the middle of December!  It wouldn’t surprise me as much but we are again at Ironworks and the temperature was a brisk 45 degrees outside when I put the shrimps on the grill.  I cook year round at our home in the Valley of the Sun but never dreamed it would be the same here.  I did not serve the shrimp as a surf and turf which what I first thought of doing.  Instead we enjoyed them as an appetizer before dinner along with a sun-dried tomato artichoke dip and crackers.  Hope you enjoy the shrimp recipe and the cooking tips that follow for grilling times.  Non-vegetarians there is a section for grilling steak along with for a Surf and Turf.

Grilled chipotle shrimp

Dozen jumbo shrimp raw
1/4 c chipotle mayo spicy
couple of shakes of chili powder or chili spice (or more if desired)
couple of shakes of chipotle pepper spice (or more if desired)
2-3 twists ground pepper in marinade
fresh ground pepper at the grill

Place shrimp and chipotle spicy mayo sauce in baggy and mix up.

Let shrimp rest in fridge for 15-30 min then gingerly place on hot grill.

Carefully grill until shrimp turns pink turning once while cooking.  I like to add a little more ground pepper while on the grill to jazz up the warmth a bit.  Place the shrimp carefully on the grill so that they don’t fall through.  Grill on hot flame quickly — 1-2 minutes per side.  Place in foil container that can be also topped with foil to keep warm until ready to serve.  Can be a surf and turf or a pleasant yet spicy appetizer.

Grilling shrimp time table
3-5 min per side jumbo
2.5-4 min per side large
2-3 per side med 

Can pan grill if necessary.  Remove shrimp from grill  and place in fresh foil. Seal foil around shrimp to keep hot until ready to serve.

VEGETARIANS – STOP HERE!!

Sorry for the vegetarians, but I love to serve this shrimp with seasoned grilled beef tenderloin with fresh ground pepper and salt. Add a robust beef rub like A1 bold or Barbarians steak rub from Barbarian’s Steak House  in Toronto, Canada.  You can contact them direct to order.  I love it!  Let the steak come to room temperature while you marinate the shrimp.

Barbarian's Steakhouse
Barbarian’s Steakhouse Ribeye

Remove shrimp from grill and keep warm while grilling sirloin, tenderloin or other steaks for surf and turf.  If your steak is 1″ or less they will cook quickly. 2-3 min per side for medium (or if larger use the grilling table below) turning to score in patchwork pattern before flipping to the other side.

Grilling Tenderloin
2″ thick time table
Rare 3-4 min per side
Medium Rare 4-5 per side
Med 5-6 per side
Well-Done 6-7 per side
Plus standing time of 3-5 min depending on how large of cut

 

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.

KCinAZ's recipes on BigOven menu planner and grocery list app

BigOven is by far my favorite online cooking application.  Now I’m even more thrilled with it since they have implemented several great updates to the site.  I began using BigOven in 2004 when I tired of trying to work with an outdated recipe collection program called Master Cook which has recently had an update too.  One of the greatest advantages to BigOven is it goes everywhere with you since it is internet based.  You can sign up for a free version that is definitely sufficient for the everyday cook.  But if you want to use all the fantastic features you will soon find yourself upgrading to a PRO edition.  In addition to the online version, you can download a Windows-based application to your laptop and then import recipes directly from BigOven to the application.  This makes it convenient for when you do not have an internet connection to reach the online version.

With the new updates there is a top level menu system makes it easier to navigate around and to find recipes.   That is the burgundy colored menu which now includes some 2nd level drop down menus.   The top level menu options are Recipes, My Recipes, Menus, Grocery List and Apps.

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Here is a sample screen shot of the drop down menu for recipes that you have Added yourself to BigOven, tagged from other contributors to your Favorites, or tagged as a Try Soon.  This example is for recipes that I have added and then showing only Main Dishes.  Each of the images that you see are ones that have been uploaded to go with the specific recipe.

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The following screen shot shows recipes that have been marked as My Favorites.  This group can be recipes that are part of my own collection or those that are from other contributors.  There are many fine recipes in BigOven and you could spend hours just checking them out.  I have several favorite contributors and I’m sure you’ll find your own favorites.

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Another great feature is Recent Raves.  You can find them under the menu item Recipes and then select Recent Raves from there.  Or you can select from the other 2nd level menu options of Collections, Use Up Leftovers, Recipes by Course or Add a Recipe.  After you select a recipe you can print it keep for future use, mark it as a favorite, try soon or give it your own rating after you’ve made the recipe yourself.

BigOven

 To learn more about BigOven visit Steve Murch’s About page.  Here are some of the award they have received.  My hat is off to Steve Murch for developing such a great application.  He is surprising approachable, too.  I have sent messages about suggestions or when I might find a slight glitch and often the reply back is directly from Steve.  With over 8 million downloads, it’s no wonder they have received these varied awards and I am sure there are more to come!

Best Apps for New Moms” — Time Magazine

Best Android Apps, 2011 (Honorable Mention)” — New York Times

Best Recipe App” — About.com, Readers Choice Award, 2013, 2012 and 2011

If I only had one cookbook in my library it would be “Timing is Everything by Jack Piccolo”.  There are no pictures and it doesn’t really have any recipes but it’s the best cookbook around for reference.  Want to know how long to cook the tuna in my “Drunkin Yellow Fin Tuna” or the Beef Tenderloin in  “Beef Tenderloin, Port Mushroom Gravy and Red Potatoes –  Date Night Dinner”.

Just turn to the appropriate meat section in the cookbook and look it up.  Tuna is considered a meaty fish found in the, of course, Fish Section.  Then it breaks down in the cooking methods of braise, broil, grill, pan fry, poach, sauté and steam.  For grilling it recommends a 6-8 ounce fillet or steak, then cook 3-5 minutes per side.  I’ll have to recheck my recipe to see if I followed their instructions.  You’ll even find a section on how to cook an egg, vegetables and rice along with storage time for vegetables, fruit and meats.

You won’t find it at the local book store unless it’s a used book store.  I found my second copy to take up to my cabin on Amazon.com and I costs around $4 for a used book and all the way up to $50 or $60 for a new un-used one.  The original price of the book was $16.95 so you can see how rare the new books are.  It’s no longer in print but worth the find.

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