Remember when you were a kid and your mom was baking something and when she was done she’d let you lick the beaters and nobody freaked out because it might contain raw eggs? Good times…..
It’s finally here – the REAL start of summer! I’ve got my shorts and flip flops on and am planning our first big BBQ bash and marshmallow roast of the season. And the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a BBQ is salad. So many salads to make for picnics, family reunions, BBQs and lunch or dinner when it seems just too hot to cook!
This year for our first BBQ I’m smoking up a big, juicy brisket, and nothing goes better with it than this Sweet ‘n Tangy Broccoli Slaw. Not everyone is fond of mayonnaise-based slaw dressings, so I created this to appeal to a variety of tastes. besides being delicious, it’s VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN-FRIENDLY! There’s a great balance of sweet and tart – sweet from the dried fruit and sugar, and tart from the vinegar. You can use rice wine vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar in the recipe for a more subtle taste, but cut back on the sugar a bit as it’s not as tart. I also found that using half the paprika gives it more vinegar bite, but that may not be a hit with all of your diners. This is quick and easy (see my speedy hint below), and I also make it during the week to go with fried chicken, meatloaf or pork chops.
Let the BBQ’ing begin!
Sweet ‘n Tangy Broccoli Slaw
My time-saving, speedy hint: There are those die-hard chefs/cooks who insist on doing everything from scratch – I’m not one of them. Save all that time with the vegetables by buying a bag of broccoli slaw in the refrigerator case of your supermarket’s produce department – you’ll need a 12 to 16 oz. bag.
One of the things that got pounded into my brain when I attended culinary school was the idea of multitasking and prepping to cut down on time and have ingredients on hand when you need them. Whether that means roasting two chicken breasts rather than one, stacking vegetables together to spend less time cutting or melting butter in the oven while it’s pre-heating in order to use one less pan, the small things you save time on really can add up to big savings.
A favorite trick I have – or “food hack” as it’s currently trendy to call it – when I’m using the BBQ grill, is to make sure I get the most out of my briquets. Just because the burger’s done, doesn’t mean I can’t keep them working! People think I’m crazy when I tell them this, but I love to use those dying embers to grill BACON – yes, really! It’s so simple, you don’t have leftover grease to deal with, and it gives a wonderful smokey flavor to the bacon you don’t get from a frying pan.
WARNING! The theory with this is you’ll have super crispy, delicious bacon to use in recipes for the next couple of days, but the reality is that it’s so ridiculously good cooked this way, you may end up eating it before said recipes ever come together. Just so you know.
Rule #1 from my brother Todd who helped with this project: Buy thick-sliced bacon. Trust our mistakes in coming up with this important rule – you’ll be glad you did.
You want to wait until the coals have cooled a bit, but are still hot enough that you can’t keep your hand over them for more than a few seconds. If your coals are piled in the center, spread them out evenly on the bottom of the firebox. Lay as much bacon (as you want on your grill and put the lid on. I like to close the air intake about 70% so the coals last a bit longer and I’ve found it helps prevent flare-ups from the grease. Check them in about 10 minutes and turn them over.
You’ll be able to tell how hot your coals are by the bacon’s doneness at this point, and you may want to adjust the air flow to make them hotter are cooler.
Put the lid back on and check again in 10 minutes. You may have to/want to do this again a couple more times until the bacon is done to your liking.
You’re going to love the taste and texture of the bacon done this way. And now it’s perfect for a BLT, club sandwich, to add to chowder, or my favorite, to include in my “Almost Homemade Baked Beans”, which you can find the recipe for here.
Give it a try – I guarantee you’ll start cooking bacon like this whenever you can!
Technology is a wonderful thing – until it isn’t. Somehow the tech gremlins deleted over a year of blogs from my site, which I just discovered today. The bummer is that I often refer to my own blog for certain recipes when I can’t find it in my file of “make this more!” food, so I’m missing a couple things I’d like to make again. But if I look on the bright side of it, I have NO IDEA what I wrote about over the last 14 months, which means I don’t have to worry about repeating myself!
And with that said, let’s move on! Tomorrow I’ve got a great idea to share with you for some summer bacon feasting….
Asparagus is one of those vegetables I didn’t like until I was an adult. Growing up in eastern Washington there was always a lot of fresh, local asparagus in the spring, but the general idea of cooking it at the time was that it was boiled for 20 minutes until it was a greeny-gray, mushy, stringy thing with not much life left to it and a horrible flavor. Maybe that’s why there were always ladles of gloppy hollandaise sauce being poured over it to disguise the unappetizing taste. Fortunately somebody figured out it looked AND tasted better with less cooking that kept flavor, nutrients and bright green color alive.
Spring is the season for asparagus and it’s still plentiful at farmer’s markets and in the grocery store, and this quick side dish for lunch or dinner will please a lot of palettes. A wonderful side dish for a lot of different meats, my current favorites to serve it with are pan-seared pork chops or pan-roasted chicken. The fact that it’s vegetarian/vegan friendly makes it great for a gathering with different dietary restrictions to accommodate, and the recipe can be easily increased. Actually, this is one of those things I don’t really even consider to be a recipe because the amounts of the ingredients are so easily adjusted to your tastes. But here’s the basic way to create it and you can play around with it until you get the version down that you like.
Roasted asparagus and mushrooms with rosemary
Hey gang –
I’m in the process of constructing a new, bigger and expanded blog/website! The new site will still have cooking tips and recipes, but I’ll also be adding videos, an events calendar of where I’ll be doing food demos or judging a food contest, products I like and have mentioned that you’ll now be able to shop for with a simple click, a question forum and more.
The plan is to have this all up and running April 1st – so check back for the NEW – and lots more fun CookWithScott – Let’s get ready to EAT!
I love learning new things about cooking and discovering easier/better ways to do things and save time in the kitchen. So I was very happy to come across a web page from the editors of Epicurious, called “57 Things You Can Do to Be a Better Cook Right Now”. I liked it because I already do lots of things on it so I had that “Oh, I’m so smart!” feeling, and secondly, there were so many new ideas to pick up, and better yet, SHARE!
On their list that I’m already a fan of are using parchment paper, putting a damp towel under a cutting board to keep it from sliding around(one of the first things I teach private cooking clients) and getting knives professionally sharpened, which I’m always preaching you do BEFORE the holiday cooking season, or at least before a big dinner where you might be carving a ham, roast or bird at the table.
A couple of new things I spotted that I’m adding to my own “Kitchen 101” list, are caramelizing extra onions, doubling the batch of brown rice I make and mastering quick pickles (because I LOVE pickles).
Check out all 57 great ideas here:
then let me know, So many other great hints and reminders on this list – what are some favorites that you already do or are going to try?
So here we are going into halftime with our beloved Seahawks (I live in Seattle) in a tight game with the ball deflaters, and we’ve run out of dip! A house full of hungry 12th men and women with loads of chips left and no dip – what will we eat while watching Katy Perry’s halftime show? And what could I possibly have left to eat in the kitchen to make something with?
I spy an avocado and a lime – yes it could be some more plain guac, but this is the SUPER BOWL and I need to serve SUPER FOOD! Quick fridge and pantry check and I see the makings of a good play –
Start by mashing one ripe avocado…
…add the zest and juice of one small lime…
add two slices of crisp-cooked, crumbled bacon and a tablespoon of minced chipotle peppers in adobo…
…finish it off with a thinly sliced green onion and a pinch of salt…
TOUCHDOWN! The smokiness of the peppers is unexpected in guacamole and it works great with the bacon. Rave reviews from the fans and the game can go on…GO HAWKS!
Chipotle Bacon Guacamole
Mash the avocado, then add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and adjust to taste.
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with activity this time of year – Christmas and Hannukah celebrations, the friends and family who may be in town for the holidays, kids on winter break back from college, end-of-year doctor appointments before insurance runs out or to meet deductibles….what a list! For those of us who like to cook and entertain, the challenge is to create delicious food that also allows us to take part of the festivities. But I’m here to tell you my friends that it can be done.
That brings me to this delicious goat cheese appetizer with pistachio and cranberries. It’s perfect for last-minute, unexpected company stopping by (because you know that will be happening from now and through New Year’s, right?), or the start of a more planned get-together. This appetizer comes from my work colleague Linny, who brings it in often and it’s always devoured quickly. The colors are beautiful and it looks as delicious as it is to eat. A few simple ingredients and not much prep time – what’s not to love about that?!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Coarsely chop the pistachios….
…then roll the goat cheese in the chopped pistachios…
…place it on the plate or tray you’ll be serving it on, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup of dried cranberries, pushing some of the cranberries into the cheese….
…and finally, drizzle 2 tablespoons of honey over the whole thing…
Let the cheese come to room temperature and serve it with some crispy crackers – you’re done!
So what quick and easy appetizers do YOU have ready for the holiday season? I’d love to hear from you!
This might not be for everyone, but everyone knows somebody who should get this mug! I’ve already ordered two for co-workers!
So, tell me in the comments, who will YOU give one to? The best comment will get one for free! Enter as often as you like, and Merry Christmas to naughty and nice alike!