Cookin’ for one of my BFF’s

One of the things I have learned deeply since moving to Chicago is that friends are truly as important as family.  I love my friends and in my transitional, depressing, exciting moments of moving from LA to Chicago – I have been able to truly see who my friends are and I cherish each one of them.

My friend told me that she needed to spend some time with me and I was more than happy to accommodate her.  Since I have been here visiting her I realized I needed her as much as she needed me.  It has been really nice and relaxing.  She has been spoiling me.  The best way I thought I could spoil her would be to cook one of my favorite meals for her, and her family.

It’s rare that I have had a chance to do that over the years because we always lived in different cities.  We became friends through our employer, and have maintained our friendship regardless of the distance. I think one of the warmest ways to express your feelings and love for family and friends, is through cooking.

Today’s menu was BBQ – ribs & chicken, corn on the cob, baked beans, potatoe salad, and deviled eggs.  It came out really GOOD!!

BBQ – Meat

I seasoned the meat two days ago! I always use old bay seasoning, Johnny’s seasoning, garlic, pepper, chili powder.  One addition this time which adds more flavor – fresh cilantro – ummm ummm good…I always use wood chips during the bbq process as well.  Do not bbq on top of the fire – at least the ribs.  I will put the chicken over the fire, turning often, but I stack it away from the fire as well to get that smoked flavor.

Beans

I use Bush brand beans.  I always combine at least two different types.  Drain the juice, save a little bit of it.  Add brown sugar, mustard, and bbq sauce.  Taste it and make any adjustments.  Bake at 325 for about an hour – covered.

(Some people like ground beef in it.  Depends on my audience, but that can be added after it has been browned and drained)

Corn on the cob

See my previous post about the cheese corn.

Potatoe Salad

I use Yukon Gold potatoes.  Boil until soft but not mushy.  Cut up celery, bell pepper, onion, green onion, garlic.  Cut up boiled eggs.  I usually will have 2 less eggs than potatoes to give you an idea of potatoes to eggs.  Add mayonnaise, relish, a pinch of sugar, mustard, and season to taste.

Deviled Eggs

Boil the eggs.  When they are ready, put cool water and a lot of ice.  The ice will keep that green tinge from being around the boiled egg – a lil trick.  Slice them the long way and put the yolk in a seperate bowl.  Mash up the yolks with a fork.  Add relish and a little bit of mayonnaise.  Add a pinch of sugar.  Tip:  Only put a little bit of mayonnaise at a time and stir.  I like mine sweet so I will put more relish in it.  I like it a the yolk a little stiff, but not too much.

Again, take the time to cook for those that you love…It truly is a way to one’s heart!

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Corn on the Cob – Bacon Wrapped Cheese Corn

Hangin out in Atlanta with my parents has been cool.  It’s the 4th of July and my favorite BBQ’r cooked.  I helped with the sides, macaroni salad, corn on the cob, and deviled eggs.  They love cooking shows like I do and found and found a very good corn on the cob recipe.

sh0513_corn1_medSo what’s so good about this you ask – it was just different and easy to make.  This one truly falls under “efficient” for cooking !  Quick & Easy….Once I prepared it, it was cooked on the grill.  I made it exactly like the recipe for taste.  Tomorrow, we are going to have the same thing, but I am going to add a twist to it.  I am going to add some melted butter to the mix and bake in the oven.  Can’t wait to taste it!  Gonna add a link for this one…Hope you like it – very easy and tasty – Get Recipe Here!

Update 7-5 – I made these again today to go with our left over bbq..I added 1T of unsalted butter to the mayonnaise and then added the cheese….Wow it really added to the consistency for easier spreading and added a lil more flavor!!

Havin’ a lil steak – marinade, marinade, and seasoning

A client asked about a marinade for a London Broil.  I haven’t fixed one in a long time, but I think I will soon when the weather is better and I get my grill shipped from California.  This lead me to research, and reminded me that I wanted to post about seasoning.

First, let’s talk about marinades…One of the recipes I found I like, OF COURSE – I have to add my own spin on it.  You can pretty much use this on any beef that you are going to grill or broil…The quantity should be adjusted depending on how much meat you want to marinade.  I am going to use much of this when I marinade ribs for bbq as well – I just bought some St. Louis ribs that I cannot wait to cook.

In this case I am going to recommend:

1/2 c of sweet Italian Seasoning dressing

1 T of salad oil/canola

3 cloves of garlic chopped

1/2 c of Heinz 57 sauce

1/2 c of Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 tsp of seasoned salt (Johnnys I LOVE find it here)

1 T of balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp of lemon pepper

1 tsp of italian parsley

1 whole onion – sliced thin (red)

Fresh thyme, basil, oregano, chives

Mix all the ingredients together – let sit for about 10 minutes.  Poke the meat in a few places with a fork.  Place the meat in a plastic storage bag and pour the marinade over it.  If you don’t have a storage bag large enough, I would use either a plastic container or a deeper glass dish.  Marinade overnight.

The next day grill the meat.  As for the marinade  – I would cook it in a pot and make a very thin gravy.  Taste the mixture and make adjustments by adding more seasoning if needed.  Pour a small amount in to a class with water and mix quickly with a little bit of flour using a fork making sure there are no lumps and pour back into the pot with the rest of the marinade and bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer.  If it’s too thick – add water or a little bit of beef stock for flavor.  Once that is complete – I would add mushrooms as this recipe suggest.

Here is a recipe that I built mine from

Seasonings

I am not a fan of recipe’s that only speak of salt & pepper…I love well seasoned food.  My pantry has a full shelf of just seasoning – my staple seasonings are:

Johnny’s Seasoning, Lemon Pepper, Chili Powder, Mesquite seasoning, Ground Pepper (variety), ground garlic, cumin, basil, italian seasoning, old bay.

Just about anything I cook will get these seasonings.  I may add more or less depending on what it is I am seasoning.  Of course I am constantly trying new seasonings and marinades.  One I just found that I am learning to use correctly is Chef’s Blend Spices – Ultimate Steak Rub.  I have been using it on all of my meats.  I used it on steaks I pan broiled last nite – YUMMY!!  You gotta try it.  Here is a website where you can find it – I am definitely going to buy all of the other seasonings they have.

Hope you enjoy and please share if there is a new seasoning out there that you love…