Category Archives: Grilling

Bruschetta

We are up to our ears with fresh tomatoes, and that is never a bad thing. What I love about planting tomatoes, is really the excitement I see when I bring a large bowl into the kitchen and watching my wife’s expression. See, she is really the one who loves tomatoes. I stepped in my grandfather’s shoes where I’m not the biggest fan, but I do eat them. It took me years to actually love eating tomatoes, and when I say that, I mean in my late twenties when my wife and I were together. She is the one who gave me the nudge, and I probably started to really enjoy them when she turned me on to serving sliced tomatoes with a bit of soy sauce, and cracked black pepper, along with rice. With that said, we are sitting on a load of tomatoes, and it has been my goal to create recipes with them. That’s where bruschetta comes into play.

Bruschetta Recipe

I know people who simply love bruschetta, pronounced as Brusketta, and it is some of the simplest and pure things to make. Perfect for this time of year when you have an abundance of tomatoes. You can go as far as you want when making bruschetta, but to me, it’s the simple route. Tomatoes, a bit of basil, garlic, salt, and pepper, all topped on a crostini.

I am not adding amounts here as you basically want to have a substantial amount of tomatoes on each crostini. You could make 3 or you can make 20 if you know what I am saying. I fed a party of 8 adults and used about 12 small tomatoes, and 5 leaves of fresh garden basil.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Italian loaf of bread, sliced into 1 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 leaves of fresh basil, torn
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

Start by heating a skillet on low heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and garlic. Melt and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. The goal is to infuse the butter and oil with great garlic flavor. Now you can skip this step if you want, and simply rub some of the toasted bread with fresh garlic, but I really enjoy the butter and oil combination, with just a hint of great garlic.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced bread. Brush both sides with the garlic butter and oil mixture. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and toast for about 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

How to make bruschetta

During this time, quarter the tomatoes, and then chop into a small dice. Add the tomatoes to a bowl, and add in the torn basil, not chopped basil. Season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about one hour.

You will notice juices extract from the tomatoes. That’s fine. Reserve that if you want and use it in some sauce, or bloody mary’s. Your call.

Take a crostini, and using a slotted spoon, add the tomato and basil mixture on the top of each crostini.

Plate and serve.

The result is nothing more that pure greatness. It’s simple. It’s fresh, and delicious, and you get everything you could ever want in fresh garden ingredients. Are you a fan of brushcetta? Do you ever change it up from the basics? Hope you enjoy!

Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

I often think of making Filipino cuisine on a more regular basis, much like when I make Mexican food, or Thai for that matter.  The reality is that I have not been exposed to many of the diverse dishes that Filipino food offers. Now sure, I’ve rocked out many of the go to comfort dishes such as tinola, arroz caldo, lechon manok, crispy pork belly, giniling, and my wife and kids favorite, lumpia shanghai. As you can tell, I’ve done plenty, however this year, I want to be able to explore more cuisine and get some lessons from my father-n-law, who is from the best part of the culinary parts of the Philippines, the town known as Pampanga.  With all of this said, there is one go to dish that my wife, and kids always agree, and that is grilled pork chops. That’s right, it’s not Filipino (just yet), but if I were to ask my wife what she wanted for dinner, the default almost is always ‘pork chops and rice’. I’m down for that, and that’s why I turned the boring pork chop into something magical; the Filipino adobo pork chop.

Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

If you have never tried Filipino adobo, well, in my opinion it is a must. My wife grew up eating Adobo chicken, so you can pretty much use the basic marinade (which is amazing) and use it with probably any protein.

Let’s get started.

  • 5 pork chops, bone-in, medium cut
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp Filipino vinegar, or white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • Cooked rice

Combine all of your ingredients and place in a large, sealable bag. Seal, and swish everything around. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or my preference, overnight.

You can bake these if you want, but I preferred to grill the pork chops just to get some smokey flavor introduced.

Pork Adobo Ingredients

When you are ready, heat your coals in your grill until they become nice and white.  During this time, remove the pork adobo from the refrigerator and let them come up almost to room temperature, or at least get some of the chill off of them.

Lightly oil the grill grate.

Add the pork chops to the grill, removing any peppercorns that might stick to them, if you desire, and cook until they are just a bit under temp, turning over along the way to get some nice grill marks. Once cooked to your liking, remove and place them onto a plate.

Let these rest a few minutes before serving.

Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

The result is awesome. Now generally you would stew this within the marinade, however not for this guy. The result is very similar to what you would get with the stewed version, but with just some great smokiness from the coals. It’s sweet, slightly sour, and slightly spicy. A winning combination in my book. Give these a shot if you are looking to explore a bit in your kitchen and outdoor grilling. Hope you enjoy!

Grilled New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

Finally. Yes, finally we are back to a few good months of weather in Wisconsin. Let’s face it, this past winter was brutally long, and finally everything is blooming. The smell of late spring and summer is here, and well, it’s just plain awesome. It’s funny how something so simple that mother nature provides makes us all cheer up a bit.  With that said, it is also that time of year where grilling becomes part of the everyday ritual. Whether it is lunch during the weekend, or by default the dinner cooking method during the work week, my little grill is getting it’s workout week, especially during this long holiday weekend.

As I got the ‘house’ ready for the long weekend, meaning, cut the grass, plant the vegetable garden, etc, I was really hungry and I knew I was going to want to fill up on a good meal. So with that said, about 80% through my cutting of the grass, I lit some coals in my charcoal chimney starter, and took a small break to season a New York strip, generously with salt on both sides, and cracked black pepper on the other. Then I thought, after having a recent conversation with a friend regarding morel mushrooms, that I would throw together a bit of blue cheese butter. Yes, blue cheese, and butter are amazing with steak if you have never had it, now then, please try.

New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

After I cut the grass, the coals were finally heated, and so I placed the grate onto the grill, cleaned it, heated it, and got pretty darn excited for lunch. Steak for lunch? Hell yes. It wasn’t that I was so excited as the steak, as it was for the blue cheese butter. Trust me.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 New York Strip, to your liking
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp softened, unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 tsp chopped chives

That’s it. And TRUST me, the combination is out of this world.

Start by seasoning both sides of your steak with salt. Pat it into the steak. Season one side with the cracked black pepper. Let this sit on the counter, at room temperature for about 30 minutes. During this time, heat you grill. I always prefer charcoal, but do what you want on this step.

Take the butter and add it to a small bowl. Add the blue cheese, and chives. Mix well and set inside the refrigerator to cool.

How to make New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

Once the grill is preheated, clean your grates, then take the steak, and place onto direct heat, cracked pepper side down. Sear the steak for about 4 minutes.

Turn, and cook until your desired tenderness. I go medium, to medium-rare nowadays.

Remove from the grill, and place onto your serving dish. Top with the blue cheese butter, and gently spread onto the top before slicing into it.

Yes, this is what I had for  lunch, and after 3 hours of working outdoors, it was well deserved.

The result is a perfect flavor combination. My brother-n-law turned me onto the blue cheese and steak combination years ago, and to this day, it’s one of my favorites. As much as I love cooked mushrooms with my steak, this one tops it. The grilled New York Strip with blue cheese butter has this creaminess, along with that great kick from the blue cheese that will just blow your mind. Trust me, it’s a good one. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Cucumber Salad

It’s official, it’s spring time in the United States! For you warmer climate states, that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to you, but to us Northerners, it means a great deal. It’s the first time we can see our yards, granted they are littered with winter debris, and the color of brown grass is not appealing, but we will take what we can get! With spring time said, it is that time where the chili dishes take a step to the side, and where other brighter dishes take a step forward, for example, this dish, the Thai cucumber salad.

I’ve made this recipe numerous times and I’m surprised I have never posted on the matter, as after all this salad is bright, diverse, easy to make, and super delicious. Need I say more?

Thai Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole cucumber, partially peeled, sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Thai chili sauce
  • Fresh mint leaves, optional
  • Fresh cilantro, optional
  • roasted peanuts, optional

Start by adding the sugar, salt, rice wine vinegar, and water to a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, add the chili sauce, and let cool.

How to make Thai Cucumber Salad

Once cooled, add the cucumbers and red onion to a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and gently stir. Let this sit for about 30 minutes, or overnight.

When you are ready to serve, feel free to sprinkle with roasted peanuts and fresh herbs such as mint, or cilantro, however without these, this salad stands tall.

The great thing about this salad is that you can serve it with practically anything. It is really perfect as an accompaniment to pretty much everything. It’s flavors are sweet with just that subtle amount of heat from the chili sauce. You can use the cucumbers and onions on sandwiches, as a side to grilled meats for vegetables, on omelets, or what I did, and serve with a side of seared tuna.

However you decide to serve it, I’m certain you are going to love this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Cucumber Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole cucumber, partially peeled, sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Thai chili sauce
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the sugar, salt, rice wine vinegar, and water to a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat, add the chili sauce, and let cool.
  2. Once cooled, add the cucumbers and red onion to a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and gently stir. Let this sit for about 30 minutes, or overnight.
  3. When you are ready to serve, feel free to sprinkle with roasted peanuts and fresh herbs such as mint, or cilantro, however without these, this salad stands tall.
  4. The great thing about this salad is that you can serve it with practically anything. It is really perfect as an accompaniment to pretty much everything. It’s flavors are sweet with just that subtle amount of heat from the chili sauce. You can use the cucumbers and onions on sandwiches, as a side to grilled meats for vegetables, on omelets, or what I did, and serve with a side of seared tuna.