blistered tomato salad with feta and arugula 

last night I busted out my favorite skewers.  

 

 

They are flexible! 

I also have a set of straight skewers, so dug those out 

I am lucky enough to be able to grill all year ..  But there is something extra special about grilling on a warm summers’ night. ( well, summer-like) 

 This recipe is uber simple..  But sometimes simple is simply fantastic. 

 

 

blistered tomatoes with feta and arugula 

bunch of cherry tomatoes

Handful of basil

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar 

A few handfuls of arugula 

Slivered almonds for garnish 

Sea salt * I’m currently obsessed with smoked sea salt *

 

Skewer tomatoes and place over medium coals ( alternatively you could us a grill pan or place under broiler watching carefully so that they don’t burn

Grill for 2 minutes, then rotate.  Repeat this until the skins blister 

 

 Sprinkle feta on a bed of arugula.  While tomatoes are still hot, scatter over feta. ( the heat starts to melt the feta and makes the texture ah-maz-ing! 

Drizzle balsamic and olive oil atop salad, sprinkle with slivered almonds and sea salt.

Toss and serve! I literally devoured this salad! I might make it again tonight! 

  

And a repeat of this 💞

What’s on your grill this weekend? 

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salsa-stuffed grilled avocados

say what?  Yup. The ever- loved avocado is tasty in more than just guacamole 

  

( but let’s face it, guac is pretty darn awesome!) 

I first had grilled avocado when Scott was living in Denver alone and I was still back in Massachusetts. 

my denver visit

We ate a a restaurant that sadly, is no longer in business 😓

  So I had to learn to make it myself! 

Grilled avocado 

1 avocado ( or 10…  These are addictive ) 

Olive oil

Seasoned salt ( I’m currently crushing on smoked sea salt ) 

Start by halving your avocado and removing pit. 

Brush avocado flesh woth olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt 

  

Place avacodo (skin on) right side down on preheated grill

  

Grill for about 4 minutes on one side,then rotate avacodo 45 degrees and grilled for a few more minutes 

  

 And there ya have it!   I stuffed mine with fresh salsa 😎

  

These are equally tasty on a salad ( using a small spoon, scoop out avocado flesh in one piece and slice )

Or turn into a smokey guacamole! 

Quick… Go get avocado and try this! 

Oxox

Colorado whiskey-peach glazed smoked turkey breast

friends. I have a recipe for you. I have a recipe that has SO much flavor, it’s crazy.

 

Last summer, Scott and I bought a Big green Egg. For those who don’t know what that is, Its a Grill/smoker/pizza oven.

It’s a dream.  I’ve wanted one for years. 

It’s my personal ‘Green Monster’ … a little bit o’ Bosssston right here on my back porchbig green egg

Since owning this sweet little darling, I have become more adventurous with my outdoor cooking. I actually cook outdoors all winter long.

 

Snow storm? Kewl…. let’s fire that baby up a get a steak on there!

I was slow to start to smoke things, but since I’ve actually learned, I’m hooked.  ( or as my friend from River Cat Chili says, I’m smokin’ crazy)

Since Scott was home doing taxes this weekend ( big time boo 😦 ) I was able to get out of the house to go food shopping ( must be something wrong with me,becauseI REALLY enjoy grocery shopping! )

I didn’t have a plan

I didn’t have a list

I was just so excited to get out of the house after being pup-bound all week

( our girl is healing really well 😉 Fenwayall decked out in her Easter-inspired bandana 🙂

 

I stumbled upon a half turkey breast and that was it. I knew what I was doing.

sort of.

I began by brining the turkey ta-ta.

I used kosher salt,( 1/2 cup)

agave ( 1/8 cup ) ( you can swap out for sweetener of your choice)

pepper (dash)

and herbs de Provence ( 1 tablespoon )

If you want to make this, use what you have, just start with the salt/ water/ sugar mixture

 

I boil about 1/2 cup water, mix with the salt and agave , then add about a gallon of ice water to chill mixture and spices of choice.

In the past I’ve added various citrus, fresh herbs.. use what you have.. make it your own!

 

Brine turkey breast for 24 hours in the fridge.

about an hour or two before cooking, soak wood chips in water ( you need the water to create the steam to create the smoke 😉 )  I found pecan wood chunks and that was what I used. Check your hardware store, they are lousy with different flavors…. all of which I want to try

I set up my smoker so that it was at a steady 225 degrees

NOTE * if you do not have a smoker, you can bring your grill to this low temp or your oven and soak wood chips of choice and make a foil packet with      the chips and a bit of water. this will create the smoke and as long as you grill top is closed and over door is shut, the smoke will create a smoky taste in your food. Just make sure that the temp stays low.. 250 max.

I inserted a meat thermometer ( an absolute necessity )  

 

and place turkey breast on grill, add the soaked ships to the fire and shut the lid… and inhale.

( your neighbors will come out of the woodwork 😉 )

smoked turkey breast

 

The finished temp on the turkey ( or any poultry, including ground) needs to be 165 degrees.

When the temp reached 155, I placed some Peach- whiskey jam in am oven safe stoneware dish and place next to turkey so that it can melt a little

 

colorado peach whiskey jamthis is what I used. Scott and I picked this up at the farmers’ market this summer ( along with some other fun flavors  jalapeno-tequilia anyone ? )

 

you can buy it Here or you can use peach jam and add your own whiskey.

It is a bit on the pricey side, but trust me, this is like no other jam that you’ve ever tried. And a little bit goes a loong way.

 

smoked turkey and baby carrotsafter about 5 mintues, baste the trukey with the melted jam, ( reserve a little for the carrots )

remove stoneware and add some carrots

I  peeled baby carrots , tossed them in olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de Provence  and place around the turkey

 

close lid and when temp comes up to 165, using tongs, remove turkey from smoker ( don’t pull the thermometer out just yet )

 

Place under broiler for about 4 minutes to get a final crispy crust

 

place on cutting board to rest and close lid to finish cooking carrots ( I like mine al dente.  cook to what your preference) when cooked to your desired crunch, glaze carrots with remaining melted jam

 

Colorado peach whiskey glazed turkey breast

 

look at that baby!

When ready to serve, cut the entire breast off of the bone by carefully insert knife along the breast bone, then slice horizontally so that each piece has a small bit of that amazing glazed crust

 

peach glazed turkey breast

 

here’s a napkin for you 😉

 

A friend asked me recently what was the biggest thing that I took  away from culinary school

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this.  The number one thing that I learned?

 

I love to write. One of the core classes that I had to take was English Lit and I was scared to death. I hadn’t written since high school ( I was 32 when  I attended J & W )  My first paper that I had to write was about myself.  I approached it in the 3rd person and wrote a summary of my life on 2 pages

When the professor handed it back to me he said, ” I’ve been teaching for over 30 years, this was one of the best papers that I have ever had the pleasure of grading”

those were his exact words. I’ll never forget them.

From then on  I looked forward to every writing assignment.

 

The second thing that i took away.. not so much recipes, but Flavor Profiles. I understand what flavors complement each other. How to take simple ingredients and bring them together to make some tasty food.

 

Like here.. you notice that I used the herb de Provence in both the turkey brine and the carrots. I used the same glaze on both.

I made a kale salad to go along with this, and added golden raisins and slivered almonds, adding about a teaspoon of the jam to the dressing to bring the whole dish together.

 

I learned how to make a dish mine and to have fun in the kitchen!

So go ahead, use some of my recipes as a guide, but fins a way to put your personal touch on them. You’ll start to see how much fun it can be and you’ll go from making dinner to making a little bit of love on a plate.

bon apetit!

smoked tofu tacos with chipotle lime sauce

Howdy, friends. How have you all been ? Miss me much?   I’m happy to report that I’m successfully recuperting from knee surgery. It’s been difficult having restrictions, but I’ve done everything that I was supposed to, and although I’m still in rehab ( and will be for awhile) I can do just about anything ( with restrictions)     but not ski   until the FALL!

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  And believe it or not, the day I got my brace off, guess who was diagnosed with a torn ACL and lateral miniscus?     Image     My sweet pup.   She he had her surgery on Friday and is home recuperating, just like her mama did  image     She’s such a little copycat!

I’ve been cooking a lot again.  Trying to cook healthy meals.

and I’ve been sharing them with my friends   and out of the blue, it hit me today , duh? Why am I not writing about all of this?

My mama taught me that it’s nice to share, and I should share more.

So here’s what I made today smoked tofu I didn’t have a recipe, I just had an idea   I already had had my grill set up for smoking a pork shoulder so I thought, why not use the extra space  for smoking something else?   image     I pressed the the water out of a block of tofu, then broke it up  in an oven safe dish and placed it on the grill. I “scrambled” the tofu about once every 20 minutes and after 1 1/2 hours, I had this !

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which I turned into this!

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I simply used a very low flame to toasted a corn tortilla

IMG_3822then I topped with a red cabbage slaw that I made using the homemade vegan mayo recipe that I found last week ( and Im overly impressed by this )

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Im a mayo snob, and I was so impressed by this that I will never buy mayo again.  Plus, since its vegan, it has no cholesterol, which makes it healthier for those who have to monitor that.

And the white sauce is non fat Greek yogurt with chili powder and cumin and lime juice mixed in

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If you think you don’t like tofu, you probably haven’t had it prepared properly.

This was AMAZING! and super healthy!

If you don’t have a smoker, you can easily soak some wood chips in water for an hour, then add the chips and a little bit of the water in a small foil packet and place on your grill ( heated to a low temp.. 250degrees max) and cover the lid on the grill and the smoke will circulate and create the fantastic smokey flavor.

whelp, friends… I have a certain someone that needs a little love…  but I’ll be back.  up next is a tasty casserole featuring this bad boy IMG_3829

ciao, bellas!

roasted beet and goat cheese salad

friends, I was having a bad day today.

some days are just like that

But I had a great conversation with a couple of friends, and a nice text from an old friend that I haven’t chatted with in awhile, and just like that… I’m feeling better 🙂

and that brings me back into the kitchen. ( barefoot, of course 😉 ) to make this salad for you. IMG_0577

look intimidating? I promise you, it isn’t. In fact it’s quite simple.

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you’ll need

2 beets ( red or yellow, I used one of each)

1 tsp olive oil

2 ounces of goat cheese

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 red onion

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

fresh thyme sprigs

I was inspired to make this after we went to the Farmers’ market and found a bunch of beets that had both the yellow and red in it

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( I’m still in shock that I can walk to the market from my front door)

start by roasting your beets  ( you can do this a day ahead of time)

cut the greens off of the beets and wash the bulb under cold water to remove any excess dirt. dry.

add  each beet to a piece of aluminum foil , drizzle with olive oil and wrap up like a Hershey’s kiss

* just like we did when we roasted the onions *

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*** side note… as you may have noticed I use a lot of foil ‘ packets’ especially when I’m grilling which is like every day these days.  I used foils from the beauty supply store. ( the kind used to highlight hair).. they are pre cut and make the perfect size for packet making.  One box will last you years, I promise 😉 ***

roast the beets either in a 375 oven or on the grill for about 20-30 minutes or until tender ( the smaller the beet, the faster they will cook.)

remove from heat and cool.

once the beets are roasted, the skin will pretty much slip right off of the beet without skipping a beat 😉

HA! I made a funny!

* dead silence*

Ok.. I’m a 7 year old at heart.

annnyhow… have a bowl of soapy water handy, of using red beets your hands will get red.

meanwhile, slice red onion very thinly and place in a small bowl and pour red wine vinegar over. toss to coat and let the onions marinate.

chop the cashews ( I would have liked to use pistachios, but didn’t have them.. thus the cashews)

roast the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant and beginning to toast

next, slice the goat cheese. ( slice the cheese before you slice the beets, because your cutting board will get as red as your hands 🙂

next, assemble salad.

I arrange it in a semi- circle ‘ cause I wanted to make it all purty.

in this order

beet

goat cheese slice

beet

goat cheese slice

etc..

remove onions form vinegar and place alongside.

add balsamic vinegar to a small sauce pan and heat until reduced by half & it should thicken.

drizzle over beets and cheese and top with cashews

voila!

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see.. wasn’t that easy?

I wanted to share this picture just for fun

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thanks for reading!

click for some more salads!

spinach salad & dressing tutorial

prosciutto- cantelope salad

massaged kale salad

grilled watermelon salad

friday smiles

friday smiles

click for link

grilled chicken with blackerry- basil sauce

grilled chicken with blackberry-basil sauce

 

click link for recipe

 

oxo

while the kids are away…

Mom and dad will play!

Well.. Kinda.

Ry and Ali went to visit Jamanda for a week, leaving Scott and I ( and Fenway) with our first * taste* of our empty nest.

What’s really strange is that this is the very first time that Scott and I have lived alone !

We’ve done a lot of this …

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And this….

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And this…..

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We drove up to the mountains , with the hopes of going hiking… but got immediately rained on 😦

We unpacked some boxes…

we went to REI flagship store…

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SOOO cool!

we spent the afternoon each finding just the right pair of hiking boots..

we found an art festival right around the corner from our house

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We took Fenway with us, south to Colorado springs to a place called Gardens of the Gods… beautiful rock formations to ‘hike’ all around..

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we stopped for lunch

we saw a snake… ( yuck)

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I know none of this sounds horribly exciting, but it’s a start.  I did get my new grill this weekend so I have been playing ALOT!  I have a bunch of recipes to share but i am struggling SOOO fsr-eak-en badly with the technology part of this.  I’m researching other options.. this is downright maddening!

I had much more too share with you in this post, but it has taken me almost 2 hours to post this little bit. UGH!

I will leave you with a few more pics of our Sunday… Hopefully I will get this figured out soon..

oxox ~ shel

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grilled pork chops with mango -jalapeño sauce

I’ve found that some of the best recipes that I’ve made have been largely unplanned. Scott & I had bought these beautiful pork chops  but just couldn’t come up with an idea for them.

blindly heading toward my fridge without a clue as to what I was doing, I spotted the Greek yogurt.

Then I opened the freezer so see a lonely bag of Trader Joe’s frozen mango chucnks

Hmmm… I was onto something.

I grabbed my trusty blender &  added the yogurt, mango, 1/2 of a jalepeno pepper, chopped , 1/4 cup brown sugar, some salt & pepper a little bit of good ol’ H2O.. said a quick prayer to the cooking fairies & whirred my little heart out.

yumminess was happening..

I added a little bit more water to get a smoother consistency & tasted it.

perfect!

I set aside some of this yummy sauce ( and kept tasting it.. you know just to make sure that the flavors didn’t change int he 10 minutes since I had made it..)

and marinated the pork in the rest of it.

of course being VERY careful to not cross-contaminate with any of the raw pork..

I covered both of these babies & stuck them in the fridge and let the pork marinade all day long.

Dinnatime!!! I fired up my grill & grilled both chops….

OOPS.. hot spot… darn it 😦

pork chop #2…  now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ ’bout!!

dear pork police…

*no pork was wasted in this burning misadventure, the crust of that one side of burnt pork was cut off & the pork underneath was wonderful*

I grilled it to an internal temp of 145.. then pull of the grill & LET REST!!.. this is very important!

I made a salad with some Arugula from Plato\’s Harvest Organic Farm.. I added some slivered onion, goat cheese & slivered almonds. Tossed with a little bit of the marinade that I set aside..

next to the sliced pork & a bit more magic sauce on top..

I think I love mango 🙂

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