22 August 2008

Summer BBQ "CT Style"

"CT style" barbecue means meat cooked on a gas grill by a bunch of New Englanders who have no idea what the hell they are doing.

I know about real barbecue because I've been to Texas and I've seen the ways. I've eaten the tasty business and I dream about eating tender, juicy, mesquite-smoked brisket again someday. Thankfully, I have some friends who know a thing or two about barbecue who live in the area. A particular buddy, a certain someone from Missouri, can cook up a mean piece o' pork on the campfire.

I know for sure that I won't find that kind of tasty business in CT. However, I will find my family there and every summer we venture out to the deck and fire up the grill only to confirm that we just can't barbecue. Thankfully, we had lots of tasty side dishes and plenty of wine and beer.

I dedicated a fair amount of time to making my own barbecue sauce. The sauce was good. The grilling was a disaster. Burnt chicken on the outside, raw meat on the inside. Nothing tasty about it.

Chicken pieces on the grill (don't be fooled, it only looks tasty because it hasn't been grilled yet):

Potato salad (light and tasty with lots of fresh herbs):

My mom made this orzo salad with chick peas (yah!), feta and green onions:

Overall, not too bad. My brother kicked it up a notch with a fancy birthday cake. But no worries, I rose to the cake challenge at the the next picnic. Pictures of that coming soon.

Herbed Potato Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light

2 pounds potatoes
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic
Chopped fresh parley
Chopped fresh dill

Peel, chop & boil potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and cool.

In large bowl, mix yogurt, sour cream, oil, onion and garlic. Gently fold in potatoes. Add parsley, dill, salt and pepper to taste.

Chill for several hours before serving.

BBQ Sauce

1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup tomato paste 1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 T. crushed red pepper flakes

In a large saucepan on low heat, sauté the onions and garlic with the vegetable oil for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes. Use immediately or store in the fridge, or freeze.

10 August 2008

Quick Sunday Night Tastiness

I decided to start this thing off with a very easy dinner - hardly cooking really, just tasty business. It was a late Sunday night in my new home and there was not much time for preparation. There was a crazy thunderstorm outside. I decided to swing by Trader Joe's (so happy to be living close to one now!) and see what I could throw together. I saw some fresh ravioli and was sold. To start, I toasted sage & garlic in melted butter.

I tossed the boiled ravioli with the butter, garlic and sage, topped it with some parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper and voila! Tasty business dinner in no time.