Friday, July 24, 2009

No Fail BBQ Chicken

I had some chicken breasts that I wanted to BBQ up to use in some wraps I planned on making for a picnic on Saturday. This is just a loose recipe so feel free to change anything up to suit your personal tastes.
Take one pkg of chicken-any cut will do. Marinate it in your favourite flavourings. I used garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and fresh thyme. Let it marinate for a few hours in the fridge or overnight.
Preheat your BBQ and put the chicken on. Let it cook a few minutes and flip to get those great BBQ char marks. Have your favourite BBQ sauce on hand but you will see later you don't really need it. Now is the time to close the lid and walk away. Go unload the dishwasher, get your toddler ready for bed, watch Jeopardy and clean up some toys. Maybe start some laundry while you are at it. The key to this recipe is to completely forget your chicken, for say an hour.
That should be enough time. Do you smell that? Your chicken should be totally burned to a crisp. Black right through. You know it is done when there is smoke billowing out of your BBQ and the chicken looks like charcoal. Mmmm. Like I said before, the BBQ sauce wasn't really needed as you may choose to forget the chicken just before it is time to put it on.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guinness Pork Ribs

When I returned from my vacation I wanted to do something to salute the 'black stuff' beverage from the emerald isle. I had a few racks of pork ribs and thought, what better than Guinness Marinated BBQ Ribs. Here's what I did:
  • I seasoned the pork ribs with sea salt and pepper and placed them in a roasting pan
  • I rough chopped 1 yellow onion and 5 cloves of garlic and tossed into the pan
  • 3 full bottles of Guinness were added so the meat was thoroughly covered
  • The ribs were in the fridge for 2 days (soaking up the good stuff)
  • The BBQ was ready and the ribs were on medium heat until crispy
  • 2 of the racks I added a bit more seasoning, 2 racks I added some BBQ sauce

The ribs turned out great ! The Guinness flavour wasn't super strong, but it was there in the background.

Be careful when you BBQ these as they can burn easily, especially when the BBQ sauce is added.

A fresh green salad and roasted potatoes finished off the meal.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Cook Book Project

So The Cook Book Project. We have stacks of cook books that we hardly ever use. We have decided to try our hand at cooking a new recipe out of each and every book between now and Christmas. So that is it in a nut shell. We will try to blog 3 new recipes a week. Looking forward to trying new recipes!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cookbook Project: Blueberry Crumb Cake

Source: Martha Stewart Living 2002 Annual Recipes
Classic Crumb Cake with Blueberries

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 tbsp butter-room temperature plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups blueberries

Crumb topping:
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
12 tablespoons butter-room temperature
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350f. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside. Grease a 9 inch round pan with butter; set aside.

Cake: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. About 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined. Add vanilla and then the reserved flour mixture. Mix until just blended. Stir in 2 cups of the blueberries. Don't over mix. Spoon into the greased pan. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.

Crumb topping: Mix the cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, flour together. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two butter knives or your hands until you get a crumb consistency. Toss in the cup of blueberries. Sprinkle the crumbs in to the batter.

Martha's Recipe says to bake for 50-60 minutes in a 9 inch cake pan. Testing the middle to be sure that a toothpick in the centre comes out clean. In my experience it took closer to 85 minutes until the toothpick came out clean. So definitely double check if it is cooked through do not count on the timing on this one!

Our thoughts on this one is that it is good. Really nice taste and consistency. I would make it again but I would add a little lemon zest and a table spoon or so of fresh lemon juice.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Seafood - Howth, Ireland

During my brief visit to Ireland, we left the hustle and bustle of Dublin's Temple bar for the coastal town of Howth and their seafood. We strolled up the pier taking in the sights and smells from the restaurants and cafes. It was a difficult decision as each place had a unique look and menu. We settled on the Oar House .

The menu looked fantastic, and the smells coming from the kitchen were amazing. I wasn't feeling over adventurous so I figured I'd stick to the tried and true (it would also give me something to compare against).

We ordered the Calamari to start. Then for a starter I had the steamed mussels and my friend had the Chowder. For mains we both had the fish and chips.

The crispy Calamari came on a nice white rectangle plate, neatly presented, with two dipping sauces. It was perfectly cooked and the sauces (plumb and tatziki) complemented nicely.

Next, a large bowl of chowder and a huge plate of steamed mussels. I was a bit surprised as I ordered the tapas size (I wonder what the large bowl looks like). The mussels were fantastic. I assume the chowder was too since it didn't last long.

Lastly was the fish and chips. These again, were presented cleanly on a square wood plate and were perfectly cooked and I must say, came with the best mushy peas I have ever had.

All in all, a great dining experience. The service was exceptional and a nice treat on a lazy afternoon.

The Oar House is highly recommended if you ever get to Howth.

(my only minor complaint was a server grabbed our bread after the starter so neither of us had any to get the last bits of mussel sauce or chowder...oh well...I guess we could have just asked for more ;-) )