Category Archives: Grilling

Fennel-Spiced Salmon with Gazpacho Salad

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So for the second day in a row we decided to cook out of our new Weber cookbook and it did not disappoint.  The weather was so hot here yesterday that I was unsure if I would even be hungry for dinner.  We went to a local park and had a picnic for lunch and you would have thought we ran a marathon how we looked when returned home.  This is probably why we chose a light fish dish for dinner.  All the rage now on the cooking shows is deconstructing dishes and therefore I was a little skeptical when I saw a gazpacho salad.  Now I love gazpacho and knew I would enjoy all the flavors, but my worry lied with whether the hubby would enjoy it or not.  The salmon was perfectly seasoned and the gazpacho salad was cool and refreshing.  These two components on their own may not be my favorite, but together we both agreed they were the perfect bite.

Fennel-Spiced Salmon with Gazpacho Salad

from “Weber’s Charcoal Grilling – The Art of Cooking with Live Fire”

Salad:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup  1/4 inch-diced red onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 cups  1/4 inch-diced tomatoes

1 cup  1/4 inch-diced zucchini squash

1 cup seeded, 1/4 inch-diced cucumber

1 cup 1/4 inch-diced red bell pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

Tabasco sauce

Rub

1 teaspoon ground fennel seed

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure chili powder

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 skinless salmon fillets, about 8 ounces each and 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick

Extra virgin olive oil

1.  In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, warm the oil.  Cook the onion until translucent but not golden, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring occasionally.  Add the tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, and the red bell pepper.  Cook the mixture for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally, to draw some liquid from the tomatoes.  Remove the skillet from  the heat.  Add the vinegar and dill.  Transfer the salad mixture to a large bowl and chill in refrigerator for about 1 hour or as long as 8 hours (more liquid will draw from the vegetables during this time).  remove the bowl from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.  Taste the salad and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, and Tabasco.

2.  In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients.  Brush each of the salmon fillets evenly with oil.  Season them on both sides with the rub.  Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

3.  Prepare a two-zone fire for high heat.

4.  Brush the cooking grate clean.  Grill the fillets over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until cooked to your desired doneness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare, turning once after 6 to 7 minutes.  Swap their positions as needed for even cooking.  Serve warm with the salad, using as much or as little of the vegetable juices as you like.

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Mojo Marinated Chicken Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

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We are loving summer, but have really not started to enjoy our grill to the fullest since we have been traveling so much.  Well, we decided this weekend that we need to start grilling out more!   Weber grill has some of the best cookbooks, and the new one we purchased is no exception.  Chicken tacos sounded amazing and this recipe did not disappoint.  I would put the fresh salsa on fish tacos or even a shingle to be honest it is that good.  The first bite and we both looked at each other declaring that these were the best tacos we have ever had.  Everyone definitely needs to try these right away they are worth it.

Mojo Marinated Chicken Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

from “Weber’s Charcoal Grilling – The Art of Cooking with Live Fire”

Marinade:

¼ cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno chile pepper, including seeds
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (without tenders), about 8 ounces each

Salsa:

1 medium yellow onion, cut into ½ inch slices
extra virgin olive oil
10 medium tomatillos, about ½ pound total, husked and rinsed
1 small jalapeno chile pepper, stem removed
¼ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 medium clove garlic
½ teaspoon dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt

12 flour tortillas (8 inches)
3/4 cup sour cream

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag, and pour in the marinade. Press out the air and seal the bag tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Prepare a two-zone fire for high heat.

3. Lightly brush the onion slices on both sides with oil. Brush the cooking grate clean. Grill the onion slices, tomatillos, and jalapeno over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until lightly charred, 6-8 minutes, turning once or twice and swapping their positions as needed for even cooking. Be sure the tomatillos are completely soft as you remove them from the grill. Combine the onion slices, tomatillos, and jalapeno in a food processor along with the remaining salsa ingredients. Process until fairly smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour the salsa into a serving bowl.

4. Check the heat of the grill. You may need to add more charcoal to the fire for medium heat. Remove the chicken from the bag and discard the marinade. Separate the tortillas into 2 piles of 6 tortillas each. Wrap each pile in a sheet of aluminum foil. When the fire is ready, brush the cooking grate clean. Grill the chicken over direct medium heat with the lid closed as much as possible until the meat is firm to the touch and completely opaque in the center, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once or twice and swapping their positions as needed for even cooking. At the same time, grill each packet of tortillas over indirect medium heat until warm and soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and tortillas from the grill. Keep the tortillas in the foil while you slice the chicken as thinly as possible.

5. Put some sliced chicken in each warm tortilla. Pass the salsa and sour cream for toppings. Serve right away.

A Perfect Pairing

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There are not many nights during the summer when my hubby and I can just grill out and enjoy the weather.  Our summers always seem to fill up quick with Cubs games, road trips, and weddings.  That is why tonight with how gorgeous it is outside we decided to take advantage of the weather.

Now we are the first to admit we love our wine.  We took our honeymoon to Napa and Sonoma Valley and cannot wait to return.  My hubby once said to me a great quote, ” You should not need a special occasion to open a bottle of great wine, opening it IS the occasion”.  And i could not agree more, this is why of course we needed a good bottle of wine to go with our dinner tonight.  So I sent the hubby downstairs to pick from our “special” wines, since honestly he is so much better at picking then me.  He came up with with a bottle that I was so excited to see.  I could not believe I forgot we still had a bottle of Carlisle 2007 Russian River Valley Zinfandel.  Now I know what most of you are thinking “Ew gross a Zinfandel”, but this is not the kind your grandmother drinks.  This is a bold, mature red that can stand out to the main star of dinner, a perfectly grilled filet mignon.

So the hubby decided that he wanted to grill us filet mignon after being inspired by Masterchef last night.  Yes I know, I know, that may have just embarassed him, but honestly living in this house it is either food shows or sports most nights.  The recipe is his own melding of several different methods, which is just incredible.

Mr. B’s Fantastic Filet

2 10 ounce filet mignon

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons coarse grey salt

3 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Preheat grill or start charcoal chimney.  Combine all ingredients except the filet and stir well.  Rub each filet with the mixture and ensure even coated.  Leave the steaks at room temperature for 30 minutes with to let the rub distribute.  Once the grill is ready, sear each side over direct heat for 3-4 minutes.***  Then move to indirect heat for 5 more minutes.  Let steak rest for 5 minutes to let the juices redistribute and enjoy!!

 

***The times are for medium rare-medium steaks.  Cook more or less for desired doneness.

 

Homemade Hamburger Buns

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I am always that person running frantically through the bakery section wondering should I get ciabatta, kaiser, or onion rolls for grilling out tonight.  I always end up getting 2 different kinds and then try to figure out what to do with the ones I do not use.  Believe me there are only so many breadcrumbs one person needs!  Then when I was looking through several blogs last weekend I noticed a common theme, homemade hamburger buns.  I thought how perfect! I can make my own buns and not worry about looking like a crazy woman running through the bakery section anymore.  Let me tell you, I was so surprised when I made these.  I could not believe the wonderful consistency and crust on each of the buns.  I also loved baking them on my Silpat, which made them easy to remove and cool.  Last night we really wanted pork burgers and I thought what a perfect time to try out my homemade buns.  They were truly amazing toasted on the grill.  My hubby and I ate all of the bun which we rarely do, since most are so dense.  My next endeavor will be hot dog buns, since these were so delicious!

In other exciting news, my hubby started making me a light box for the blog last night:)  It is definitely a work in progress as we decide the best lighting and also what the best backgrounds.  But, I am so excited that he made it for me and that he is supporting me so much in my blogging.  Look for the pictures to begin evolving since we both taking an active role in the photographing.

 

Homemade Hamburger Buns

from  Annie’s Eats

3 tbsp. warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 tsp. instant yeast
2½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2½ tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

For topping:
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
Sesame seeds

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, water, yeast, sugar, salt and egg.  Mix briefly to combine.  Add the flours to the bowl, and mix until incorporated.  Mix in the butter.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for about 6-8 minutes.  The dough will be somewhat tacky, but you want to avoid adding too much extra flour which will create tough buns.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Using a dough scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal parts.  Gently roll each portion of dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet, 2-3 inches apart.  Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise again, 1-2 hours, until puffed up and nearly doubled.

Set a large metal pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 400˚ F with a rack in the center.  Brush the tops of the buns lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake the buns about 15 minutes rotating halfway through baking, until the tops are golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

 

Burgers, Burgers, and more Burgers

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So this is the burger that I am attempting to perfect to submit to the Sutter Home build a better burger contest.  I have to say I was so surprised that the first try went so well.  My hubby even said it tasted good, but I want him to say it tastes great so I have a way to go yet.  The next month should be plenty of time to perfect this recipe:)

I am so excited for this holiday weekend!! There will be lots of food, friends, and fun.  I will definitely try and post pictures of our adventures!!!

Enjoy your holiday!

Grilled Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus

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If you are anything like me, the minute your farmer’s market is open you rush to see what goodies are in store for this year.  We are fortunate enough to have a great one a couple blocks away.  This last weekend, I found some great produce which included some beautiful asparagus.  I was searching for a different way to prepare it when I came across a proscuitto recipe.  My husband and I love proscuitto so I figured there was no way this recipe could fail.  I was completely shocked by the simplicity of the recipe, yet depth of flavors.  I did use balsamic glaze instead, which created a sweet crust over the smoky proscuitto. 

Grilled Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus

slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:
1 bunch of asparagus, thick or thin
5 slices of thinly sliced proscuitto
Olive oil
Balsamic glaze
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium-high heat, and oil the grate.  Wash, dry and trim asparagus spears.  Lay out one piece of proscuitto on a work surface.  Bundle a few spears of asparagus together near one end of the proscuitto, and wrap them up tightly with the meat.  Lay seam side down on a plate.  Repeat with remaining asparagus and proscuitto.  Brush the bundles lightly with olive oil.  Drizzle with a few splashes of balsamic vinegar glaze.  Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.

Transfer the bundles to the heated grill, seam side down, and cook until nice grill marks have formed.  Flip gently with tongs, and repeat on the second side.  Cook until the asparagus has reached your desired doneness, testing it with a fork.  Remove from the grill, transfer to a platter, and serve.