At the last moment we decided to spend Thanksgiving at the Cabin and all the fixings for dinner were done in the Two Butt Kitchen.  It took a little more imagination and timing as I only had one oven instead of my three ovens at home.  I know… oh poor me only three ovens.  I do love my kitchen at home but the cabin was a real treat too.  

It did get a little crowded in my little two butt kitchen when we added the third while Gus was carving the turkey but all survived the last minute timing to get the Turkey and trimmings on the table.  Dinner was started at 10:00 am and was served 6 hours later.   My legs were getting tired but my tummy was ready for the feast.  I don’t know if it took longer to cook or to clean up but all was worth it. 

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Turkey and Sweet Potatoes Cooking in the Oven
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The Messy Kitchen

While dinner was cooking we stepped outside for a breather just in time to see three mule deer who had been sleeping in the lower brush wake up and head out for the day. Oh,.. I wish my camera had been in hand instead of the potato peeler.  Then, as the turkey roasted away in the oven we went for a walk with our small legged pets in 50 degree sunny weather.  It was the beginning of a wonderful day. 

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Apple Pecan Bread and Rice Stuffing

Tip for a moist turkey…. make sure to pick out a fresh young turkey. I’ve found that they cook up more moist than most. After stuffing the turkey with my favorite Apple Pecan Rice and Bread Stuffing, I spread a packet of Knorrs chicken Homestyle Stock over the outside of the turkey and then seasoned it with Greek spice, salt, celery salt and pepper. This was a new way of topping off the turkey for me. Another surprise since our cabin is a new experience is that I forgot to bring the turkey pan. So, instead we adapted a flat sheet cake pan and lined it heavily with heavy duty aluminum foil. It worked perfectly except that I’ve never stuffed a turkey into the pan so tight.  I hope you all had as great a Turkey day as us.  We’re off now to take a hand at learning a new card game with our good friends.

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Turkey Breast, Potatoes n Gravy, Apple Pecan Dressing and Green Beans with Mushrooms and Almonds
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Sweet Potatoes, Turkey, Dressing, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

If you like this recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. ūüėÄ I‚Äôll try to give you more fun recipes.

Welcome Aboard – Smitten Kitten at St. Martin Simpson Bay.

Even though we arrived in St. Martin a few days early, our first night on the Smitten Kitten Catamaran was Saturday, the 16 of November.¬† One would think that it would be cold in November but the weather was a balmy 80F average during the day, the water around 83-85F, and the nights in the high 60’s to low 70’s.¬† Perfect for the snow dwellers or even for us desert dwellers from hot Arizona.

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The feature image of the Festiva Sailing¬†trip was taken of¬†Sandy Beach near Anguilla .¬† The aerial of St. Martin below is not my image.¬†¬†Stop at this¬†Official Website for St. Martin.¬† There you can learn a lot about the island and exciting events, activities, hotels, island life, etc.¬† St. Martin and the nearby islands¬†have been one of our favorite vacation destinations and as you will see in future posts it’s evident why.

 

First rule of thumb, off with the shoes and you hardly see them the rest of the holiday.  Drop the minimal number of bags in your

Arial of St. Martin

cabin.¬† Don’t¬†over pack as this is a 4 cabin Catamaran with limited storage.¬† All you need is swim suits, a few wraps, shorts, light tops, sunglasses and suntan lotion. For some of the gents a hat would be a very good idea to stop the burn on the top.

We were greeted by our hosts Jenny and Stuart with a splendid happy hour set up a waiting for our 5:00pm arrival on board with along with our good friends, Fred and Basia.¬†¬†This was a special trip and¬†adventure as Basia was celebrating one of her “big one” birthdays but we’re not telling which one.¬†¬†Stuart greeted us with a¬†traditional island cocktail;¬†a Rum Punch with plenty of local rum.¬† Dinner was a Shrimp and Couscous dish with chopped fresh vegetables.¬† I hadn’t thought at this time of posting about the holiday, so I’ve only one picture to share from dinner and it’s just one small piece of Jenny’s Kiwi Cheesecake.

2013-11-24T07-00-30_8I’m hoping to get recipes from Jenny to share with you.

The Cheese Cake was a creamy no bake dish with slices of local fresh kiwi.  Melt in your mouth delicious.

This is a much enjoyed appetizer that can be made a variety of ways.¬† My friend, Mariette, uses a much sharper cheese and it’s just a delicious.¬† It just has a different twist.¬† Many recipes include spinach, but somehow, someway, I’ve not acquired a taste for spinach in large doses.¬† Another fun addition is sun dried tomatoes but if doing that do so in small doses too.¬† For a sharper more flavorful¬†taste use Asiago Cheese, Gruyere¬†Cheese or an¬†Italian blend.

Artichoke dip is¬†one of my regulars to¬†take to take to a Pot Luck dinner. It’s a warm dish served with crackers, toasted baguette slices or tortilla chips. Or, if you have left overs or prefer a cold dish it makes a great tapenade for crackers, toasted bread, etc. I often used my left overs from a party for a Happy Hour cold dish appetizer the following day.

This recipe calls for only 1 1/2 cups of artichoke hearts but if you’re feeling a little frivolous you can always go with more.¬† Depending on the size of the group and how far I want it to go, I would opt for more chopped hearts.¬† If I were downsizing to a smaller group then there would still be as much artichoke and then less mayo and half-and-half to make it a thicker richer tapenade.¬† Feel free to experiment.¬† I always do.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Artichoke hearts; quartered and then chopped 1/4 cup Half-and-half cream
1 cup Mozzarella; shredded 1/2 teaspoon Salt; to taste
1 cup Parmesan cheese; shredded 1/4 cup Baby spinach; shopped; optional; I never add
1 cup Mayonnaise

Artichoke Dip Appetizer or Tapenade Preparation

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Quarter and then chop into bits
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Mixed up creamy texture ready for the hot oven

Take 32 ounce jar of whole artichoke; Dry weight is 19.5 ounces. Drain of all liquid. If the artichoke has been marinated in olive oil then rinse under running water until all or most of the oil has been removed. Chop the artichoke until diced or slightly larger size. I find it easier to quarter the artichoke heart and then cut those pieces into thirds with the cut side facing up.

Place in 2 quart baking dish. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Continue to add cream or mayonnaise until easily mixed but with not too much liquid.  If you want it more firm add less mayo.

Bake in 350 degree oven for around 20-30 minutes, remixing occasionally so that it heats evenly throughout. Remove when cheese begins to toast slightly on the top layer.

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Ready and hot from the oven

Serve with crackers, French baguette (sliced and toasted) or corn tortilla chips.

French Baguette:

Slice French Baguette. Place on baking sheet. Spray or brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with slight layer of garlic salt. Sprinkle with slight layer of Italian spice. Place under hot broiler until lightly browned. Remove from oven and serve immediately with spread.

If taking to a party to serve later then remove from baking sheet and let cool on cookie rack. Place warm artichoke dip in crockpot and reheat on low to serve after you arrive at the party.

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

Recipe updated 9/22/2014: I wanted to make a fun party size Ceviche to take to a Halloween party. The picture of the Halloween version is so creepy that I hesitate to show it. But, alas here it is anyway. Don’t let it freak you out!

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Creepy Seafood Ceviche
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Serve with mini cup size Tostitos.

This ceviche is made with medium size shrimp and imitation crab that makes up a 4 quart party size batch. It yields enough to serve 30 or more guests depending on how many appetizers are served along with it.  I never thought I would stop chopping and it was time consuming.  2 hours of slicing, dicing and sneaking bits and bites of shrimp and tomato as I diced along.

2 pounds Medium shrimp; each piece of shrimp quartered
2 medium English Cucumbers; peeled and chopped
5 large Tomatoes; diced
10 ounces Crab Meat; Imitation or real, diced
2 tablespoons sea salt
4 large Fresh lemons; Reserve 1
1/2 cup Clamato juice
1/2 cup +/- Catsup to thicken
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
8 medium Fresh Limes; Reserve 1
2 teaspoons Cilantro; dried, or 1 cup fresh
3-4 tablespoons horseradish

Preparation

Start by squeezing 3 large lemons and 7 medium lines into a large bowl. Add salt. Dice the Mahi Mahi and add to the juice so that it will begin to process (cook in the juice). ¬†I’ve removed the Mahi Mahi from the ingredients list because I found it to be too fishy for my taste. ¬†Add it if you like??

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Mahi Mahi in lemon-lime juice
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Lemons and limes quartered to juice

I used pre-cooked shrimp but you could also use raw shrimp and let it “cook” in the lemon/lime juice.¬† However, you would need to double the lemons and limes to have enough fresh juice to cover this large amount of shrimp. When using fresh fish, allow it to rest in the juice, refrigerated for 3 hours.

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Quartering the shrimp

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If you are short on time you can slightly cook the diced Mahi Mahi over medium low heat for a few minutes then cool and add to the juice. Since I was short on time as usual, I had to pre-cook the Mahi Mahi and use pre-cooked shrimp. It was still 2 hours in prep time using this method but was worth the time. I started with 2 pounds of shrimp less the few that I ate while prepping. I was hungry!

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Imitation Crab legs
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Chopping up the legs
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English cucumber is the best
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Chopped up cucumbers

Mix remaining diced ingredients as they are prepared and toss as you add the batches. Prepare the tomatoes last to keep their shape. When adding the tomatoes lift them away from the excess tomato juice before adding to the mixture. Discard the excess tomato juice and seeds.

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Couldn’t resist sneaking a few bites of tomato
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Diced tomato

Lastly, mix in the Clamato juice, catsup, tabasco, horseradish and cilantro, then add any additional salt or pepper to your preference.  Add enough catsup so that you get the thickness that you desire otherwise it may be too soupy.  Garnish with final lemon and lime. Halved and then sliced.

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Slicing lemon and lime for garnish
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Serve with mini cup size Tostitos.

One of the pictures that I took of this dish was for Halloween. The lemon and lime slices were eye-brows and Halloween style eye-ball ice cubes were added for a eerie look.

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Very creepy version

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

Mr. C is 100% Greek and is always wanting something a little on the Greek side, but not overly Greek’ish. I would never be able to get him to eat something like Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) or Moussaka (similar to a lasagna). He’s talked about sitting around the table at his aunt’s house…. and she would dish his plate up heaping full of his least favorite Greek food and say; “Eat!!..eat!!, you’re too skinny!!” Yet, when it comes to a dish like these Greek style roast potato he’s dishing them up himself plenty.

This is a potato side that is easy to make and flavorful. Use as much or as little seasoning as you desire. Spice and seasoning measures are approximate as most come from sprinkle containers.

Ingredients

5 pounds Red potatoes; quartered
1/2 teaspoon Cavendar’s Greek Spice
1/8 cup Canola Oil; Use Spray Can
4 sprigs Fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt; sprinkled to taste
1 tablespoon Parsley
1/4 teaspoon Pepper; sprinkled to taste
3/4 cup butter melted

Preparation

Add water to 5-quart pan about 1/2 full.  Add salt to water and set on stove at high to begin warming water. This will shorten your cook time.

Rinse potatoes under running water then quarter. Add potatoes to water on stove as you gather a few potatoes on the cutting board. Make sure water covers potatoes when they have all been added to the water. Bring to boil and then turn down to medium heat and simmer/slow boil around 10-15 minutes depending on your elevation. Some areas take longer to cook potatoes than others. Par-boil until just slightly tender. Remove from stove and drain.

Layer skin side down on large low sided roasting pan or heavy cookie sheet (see picture for example). Spray potato tops evenly with canola oil or olive oil. Sprinkle generously with Cavendar’s Greek spice, salt and pepper. Remove fresh rosemary from stem and then chop into smaller bits. Sprinkle over potatoes. Sprinkle dried parsley over potatoes for light covering. Seasoning measures are approximate and all are sprinkled on from the containers.

Cook in 425 degree oven for around 10 – 15 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown slightly and are fork tender. Remove from oven and place in serving dish. Drizzle with melted butter and serve immediately.

Cooking at our house is often food of a Greek nature but closer to the typical foods at the everyday American table but from a Greek influence.

Thinking about smoking something for a New Years dinner.¬† Many of¬† the supermarkets have New York Steak roasts on special and they are great smoked and then finished on the grill or in the oven.¬† In the recipe, it calls for your favorite beef rub.¬† Mine is always, Barbarians Steak Rub from Barbarian’s Restaurant in Toronto, Canada.¬† What are you cooking up for the New Year?

Grilling and smoking most anything is a passion, especially steaks, chicken, lamb and seafood.¬† Grilling¬†is a favorite way for cooking. Originally I had an electric grill because for some reason using gas frightened me. Chicken, and not the food type! Maybe it was because in my early years we had to light the pilot light and I was always afraid it would blow up in my face. Several years later my talented hubby was badgered into converting my electric cook top over to gas. ¬†He took on the task and ran a gas line to the kitchen and installed a gas cook top. Hooray! There’s been no going back.

Mr. Hubby loves smoked foods and has been begging me for over a month to smoke something.¬† Well, since I am going to be deserting him for a long weekend to visit Oklahoma I decided to finally spoil him.¬† I’m off to¬†see how my 97 year old aunt is doing and maybe do a few repairs around her house.¬† It’s amazing at her age that she still lives in her own home.¬† The hubby is staying behind.

So, back to that smoking beef.¬† It’s already been in the CookShack Smoker for an hour and half with apple wood slowly charring away at 225 F.¬†¬† I don’t like as much smoke flavor as the hubby so it’s now been transferred to the heated 170 F convection oven to slow cook for another 1 hour.¬† After that just turn off¬†the oven at let rest for 2 more hours¬†until it reaches medium rare.¬† That will give me plenty of time to cook up some twice baked potatoes, another of his favorites.

This big chunk of meat is way too much for just two people but I figured he would nosh on it for the next few days and not think too much about me being away.¬† You see, he’s pretty much helpless when it comes to preparing¬†food or cooking.¬† But he does know how to make a nice steak sandwich so he won’t starve.¬† Between that and a bagel in the morning¬†at the local bagel caf√© life will still be good.

Smoking is easy the way I do it because I kinda’ cheat.¬† My smoker is an¬†electric Cookshack Smoker¬†and that makes it much more simple.¬† While the roast was in the smoker I was able to go off and run a few errands and get some extra treats for the hubby to enjoy.¬† Now back at home it’s in the oven slow cooking away at 170 F for that hour.

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The recipe itself is quite easy.

1 (6 pound) New York Roast
Season liberally with your favorite beef rub
Season with fresh ground sea salt
Season with fresh ground pepper

Smoke at 225 F for 1 hour. Then roast at 170 F for around 1 hour.  Then turn off oven and let rest for 1.5 hours without opening the oven door.   For medium or medium well just let it cook longer at 175 and then rest for 2 hours.  Then for crisping up and searing the outside, just place on the hot grill for an additional 20 minutes.

A favorite at many restaurants, the twice baked potato is easier that it appears to make.  You just need to allow the right amount of time for them to be perfect.  Made for Memorial Day Weekend for a good-sized group of friends.  If you have vegetarian friends, just set aside enough potato mix before adding the bacon and everyone will be happy.

Ingredients
8  Large russet potatoes
8  strips cooked bacon  cut into slivers with scissors
16  ounces sour cream
1  cube butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1  cup shredded Mexican three blend cheese

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Notice the two vegetarian potatoes in the center that do not have bacon on the top.  These potatoes were gigantic huge russets from Costco and took almost 2 hours to cook.  They were probably double the typical size of a standard russet.  If you have smaller potatoes then you will need more potatoes than 8 to go with the other ingredients or you may not need as much butter, cheese or sour cream.

Preparation

Wash and then oil with olive oil each potato.  Then generously sprinkle each potato outside with sea salt.

Bake at 375 until can pierce easily with fork.  Time approx. 1.5-2 hours depending on elevation and size of potatoes.  These potatoes were so big that it took 2 hours until potato felt soft on inside when squeezed lightly.  Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes or until you can handle to touch.

Cut each potato in half with sharp knife.  Scoop out potato inside into large bowl leaving a small amount of potato in the skin.

Reserve the best 8 potato skins to be filled.

Using two knifes, cut¬† potatoes in the bowl into fluffy bits with like you we’re working with pastry.¬† Add remaining ingredients a little at a time mixing gently as you go until you reach¬†the right¬†texture of filling.¬† If you add too much butter or sour cream the potatoes may end up mushy. ¬†(reserving a little cheese and bacon for garnish).

Mix with large spoon until blended but do not over mix.

Fill each potato skin to the top and then heap over top with any remaining potato  mixture so that each potato has about the same amount of filling.  Place filled potatoes onto foil lined cookie sheet; skin side down potato filling up.

Garnish with extra cheese and bacon and could also shake a little paprika on top for extra coloring.

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Optional: chives in filling and parsley for garnish.

Cook in 325 oven for 30 min in middle if oven until cheese is fully melted and potato is completely heated through.

If you want the top browned then broil on high at top of oven for 2-3 minutes.

Get ready for Memorial Day Weekend with these spice rubbed¬†BBQ Baby Backs¬†with homemade barbecue¬†sauce.¬† This is one of our favorites for a summer¬†barbecue just¬†like Memorial¬†Weekend.¬†¬† Many¬†BigOven reviewers have raved about how good they are.¬† One of my personal¬†favorite reviews was from¬†the crew of a fire station where they said, “THE FELLAS AT THE FIRE HOUSE COULD NOT GET ENOUGH.¬† THE BBQ SAUCE WITH THIS RECIPE IS A MUST.¬† I HAVE TRIED SOME BOTTLED SAUCES AND THE RIBS WERE JUST OK¬† INSTEAD OF BEING ‚ÄėGREAT‚Äô! tonyparT.”

These ribs¬†are sure to please your family and friends this holiday weekend.¬†¬†¬†If you don’t want to make the sauce, just substitute one of your personal favorites instead.¬† However, the sauce is superb and simple to make.¬† Click Here for the full¬†recipe.

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BigOven Reviews:

New Review just receive Memorial Day Weekend 2013:  Thanks for the recipe. First time making ribs and they were a hit!!! the whole family asked when we were having them again as they were eating them and licking their fingers! The sauce is WELL worth the time to make.  lisatracy

Without question the best ribs that I’ve ever had. Worth making the sauce. Wow..my wife and I were sucking the bones cause it was so good lol. Thx for sharing this recipe. My now staple rib recipe for sure. Patg73

These were a hit at the annual 4th of July BBQ. I had four different families tell me they were the best they’ve ever had. I’m definitely making these again!! Ncrisp24

Watch out Famous Daves. This recipe is awesome. Maderacopy

This is a GREAT recipe, everyone in the house loves it!  Very tender and a fabulous sauce.  I’ve made it again and again by request. NR

THE FELLAS AT THE FIRE HOUSE COULD NOT GET ENOUGH.¬† THE BBQ SAUCE WITH THIS RECIPE IS A MUST.¬† I HAVE TRIED SOME BOTTLED SAUCES AND THE RIBS WERE JUST OK¬† INSTEAD OF BEING ‚ÄėGREAT‚Äô! tonyparT

We loved these ribs!  We might reduce the chili powder a bit next time.  They certainly have a robust flavor.  I didn’t have the tomato sauce so pureed a tomato instead. You’ll notice our sauce looks a little chunky in the picture..but ohh soooo good!  cbigovenp