Creole Spice Blend

It’s that time of year again where I concoct a spice blend to give away as gift to my coworkers. As I put some thought into what type of blend I was going to make, I decided on making a Creole spice blend. I wanted something that could be diverse enough to add to most any grilled item, while at the same time provide a subtle kick. Now I know what you might be thinking, why not just user Emeril’s spice blend and be done with it, right? Well, no. I actually put time and effort into making these spice blends as I have done so probably for last six years or so, and I think that my coworker appreciate the handcrafted seasoning, plus I love making them!

I make a big batch of seasoning every year, so this probably made about 5 cups total.

Creole Spice Blend Recipe
Creole Spice Blend Recipe

Let’s get started, and if you have a spice shop nearby, source from them. The quality is so much better. These spices came from The Spice House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz mild paprika
  • 1 oz garlic powder
  • 1 oz salt
  • 1 oz onion powder
  • 1/2 oz dried oregano
  • 1/2 oz dried thyme
  • 1/2 oz cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 oz fine black pepper

I took the advice years ago from one of the employees of the Spice House when making any spice blend, and that is to mix, and mix until you think you can no longer mix. That’s where my KitchenAid mixer comes into play. If you do not have a mixer, then simply get a whisk out and whisk for about 5 minutes.

So the process is simple. Add everything to a mixing bowl, and mix for 5 minutes. Once done, pour into sealable bottles, and give away as gifts. Again, this roughly made about 5 cups, so I had some reserved for myself as well.

Creole Spice Blend Recipe
Creole Spice Blend Recipe

The result is pretty darn delicious. It was so addicting that I kept poking my finger in my personal batch and found myself going back to it. I’ve only used it on some eggs thus far, but I cannot wait to use it on things like shrimp and crayfish! Hope you enjoy.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Creole Spice Blend
Author: 
Recipe type: Spice
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 oz mild paprika
  • 1 oz garlic powder
  • 1 oz salt
  • 1 oz onion powder
  • 1 oz dried oregano
  • 1 oz dried thyme
  • 1 oz cayenne pepper
  • 1 oz fine black pepper
Instructions
  1. I took the advice years ago from one of the employees of the Spice House when making any spice blend, and that is to mix, and mix until you think you can no longer mix. That’s where my KitchenAid mixer comes into play. If you do not have a mixer, then simply get a whisk out and whisk for about 5 minutes.
  2. So the process is simple. Add everything to a mixing bowl, and mix for 5 minutes. Once done, pour into sealable bottles, and give away as gifts. Again, this roughly made about 5 cups, so I had some reserved for myself as well.

 

Read More

Mustard and Dill Smoked Salmon

This past Thanksgiving was pretty darn good. As you recall I made a couple of different turkeys, including a smoked turkey breast that was out of this world. My mother-n-law laid out a few appetizers before the big feast, and one of them was this great smoked salmon she picked up from Empire Fish in our area. Everyone surrounded that smoked salmon like they have never eaten in days, it was that good. So the following week, I remembered I had purchased a salmon that was on sale not too long ago, and I brought it up, only to be placed onto the smoker.

Mustard and Dill Smoked Salmon Recipe
Mustard and Dill Smoked Salmon Recipe

Any time I can mask mustard into a recipe, as my wife does not like mustard, I do, and this was one of those occasions. This recipe uses a dill and mustard spread over the top, that almost builds this awesome smokey crust on the salmon, and impart packs a bunch of additional flavor.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole salmon filet, bones removed, skin on
  • 1/2 cup of yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • Cherry wood chips, soaked in water
  • Smoker
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Start by getting your smoker started. Again, I use my Weber grill with the Smokenator 1000 accessory, which works really well, but use what you have.

In the meantime, rub the meat side of the salmon with the yellow mustard, then sprinkle on the dill. That’s it.

Mustard and Dill Smoked Salmon Ingredients
Mustard and Dill Smoked Salmon Ingredients

Before placing the salmon onto the smoker, I liked to brush a bit of oil on the grates where you are going to place the salmon to prevent the skin from sticking. Place the fish, skin side down onto the oiled grates, cover, and let smoke until your internal temperature of the salmon reads 150 degrees on your food thermometer.

Carefully lift up, and place on a plate.

Let cool for about 15 minutes or so, and then dig in. The end result is a perfectly smoked salmon that just flakes apart. When I served this up, it reminded me a lot like that Thanksgiving day. Everyone was picking at it and placing on top of crackers. Regardless, it was super delicious, and was way too easy to make. Hope you enjoy, and happy holidays to everyone!

Read More

Franklin’s Smoked Turkey Breast

I don’t know about you, but I am pretty exhausted from the Thanksgiving holiday. As normal, I spent hours in the kitchen cooking up the feast which included a green bean casserole, creamed corn, gravy, a dry brined turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing/stuffing, and this thing of beauty; Franklin’s smoked turkey breast. My colleague turned me onto this recipe and he swore by it. Whenever someone who cooks gets that excited about something, I figured it was worth a shot, and boy was this one ever delicious. As a matter of fact, many said it was probably their favorite, along with my Thanksgiving sausage stuffing.

This turned out awesome, and as I cannot compare as I’ve never had the honor to get to Austin, Texas to try Franklin’s BBQ, I can tell you that this was fall apart tender with just the right amount of smoke.

Franklin's Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
Franklin’s Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 lb turkey breast
  • 2 whole sticks of butter, unsalted
  • 3 tbsp course cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • heavy duty aluminum foil
  • your favorite wood chips for smoking (I used cherry)

Start by mixing the salt and pepper in a bowl. remove the skin from the turkey breast and discard it.

Rub the turkey breast with the black pepper and salt, all over all of the sides. Now get your smoker ready. I’ve been using the Smokenator 1000 for some time now, but you could use your grill if you desire. Once the smoker comes to temperature (I shoot for about 250 degrees), add the turkey breast, cover, and let it slowly smoke for about 2.5 hours. Once the turkey is slightly browned, carefully remove it and place it on a plate.

Pull 2 big sheets of aluminum foil off, enough to easily wrap the turkey breast, and top the breast with the two sticks of butter. Cover with the foil, and return back to the smoker, butter side down. Make sure the breast is completely covered and to not have butter dripping down into your smoker! 

How to make Franklin's BBQ smoked turkey breast
How to make Franklin’s BBQ smoked turkey breast

Continue cooking for another 1-2 hours, or until the center of the breast registers around 160 degrees.

When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the foil from the turkey breast, and pull apart with a couple of forks.

This smoked turkey breast was so tender and juicy from cooking in that butter, and it was perfectly seasoned. I served mine on a couple of toasted buns, along with some barbecue sauce and pickles. I will definitely be making this again and again, plus it is perfect to serve during any holiday season. Hope you enjoy!

Franklin's Smoked Turkey Breast
Author: 
Recipe type: Turkey
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3.5 lb turkey breast
  • 2 whole sticks of butter, unsalted
  • 3 tbsp course cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • heavy duty aluminum foil
  • your favorite wood chips for smoking (I used cherry)
Instructions
  1. Start by mixing the salt and pepper in a bowl. remove the skin from the turkey breast and discard it.
  2. Rub the turkey breast with the black pepper and salt, all over all of the sides. Now get your smoker ready. I’ve been using the Smokenator 1000 for some time now, but you could use your grill if you desire. Once the smoker comes to temperature (I shoot for about 250 degrees), add the turkey breast, cover, and let it slowly smoke for about 2.5 hours. Once the turkey is slightly browned, carefully remove it and place it on a plate.
  3. Pull 2 big sheets of aluminum foil off, enough to easily wrap the turkey breast, and top the breast with the two sticks of butter. Cover with the foil, and return back to the smoker, butter side down. Make sure the breast is completely covered and to not have butter dripping down into your smoker!
  4. Continue cooking for another 1-2 hours, or until the center of the breast registers around 160 degrees.
  5. When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the foil from the turkey breast, and pull apart with a couple of forks.

 

Read More

Filipino Kare-Kare

I’ve been married to my wife now for a couple of handful of years, and as she is from Filipino descent, I feel like I’ve only skimmed the surface of Filipino cuisine. I’ve tinkered with giniling, adobo, afritada, lechon manok, the torta, chicharrones with rice, lumpia shanghai, and even a take on sisig, but there is one thing I haven’t tried yet, and that is kare-kare.  You see, my father-in-law is from a province from the Philippines known as Papanga, and they are known for their cooking, and one of their traditional dishes is kare-kare.

Kare-kare is essentially a stew, typically made with oxtail, however other variations do exist. Now I’ve purchased oxtail for my father-in-law in the past, typically from my local Mexican supermarket, but I’ve never smelled, nor tasted this authentic Filipino stew. So as I was at the market a few weeks back, I saw some folks buying oxtail in bulk, and that led me to some interest. I moseyed over there and asked how they were going to make those oxtails. They politely said, that they braise them and serve them with vegetables. That sparked that idea of making kare-kare, and that’s when it began.

Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe

Let’s get started.

Now, let me state that not only was this awesome, but I got two thumbs up, with almost a bit of a giggle (because it was that good) from my father-in-law. That meant a lot to me. I also would state that you can go a number of different ways with kare-kare, but this was my take on it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs oxtail, cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 1/2 lb beef tripe, cleaned, roughly chopped
  • 10 cups of water
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 bundle of snake beans, or green beans cut into 3 inch segments
  • 5 baby bok choy, rinsed
  • 4 baby Asian egg plant, cut in half
  • 3 whole carrots, trimmed, and cut in half
  • 1/4 cup of toasted, ground rice
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 heaping tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 heaping tbsp roasted bagoong (shrimp paste)
  • 1 tbsp annatto powder
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by adding water to a large soup pot. Add in the oxtail, and bring to a boil. When the scum comes to the surface, skim with a large spoon and discard. Continue boiling until all of the scum is removed, about 3 hours or so.

Next add in the tripe, black peppercorns, fish sauce, and bay leaf. Continue to cook at a low boil for about 1 hour, then remove from the stove and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients for making kare-kare

Now you might be wondering why I put it in the refrigerator overnight. I do this, not only because my mother-in-law recommended it, but I knew that it was going to have fat from the oxtail that would surface, and I wanted to remove that for a cleaner stew.

So the next day, remove the pot from the refrigerator and remove the 1 inch hardened fat that surfaced.

Return the stock pot back to the stove, and bring to a medium heat.

The next couple of steps will get you to have a few pans on the stove. Once your stew comes back to a simmer, remove the oxtail from it and place them on a plate.

Next, heat up a small skillet on medium heat, and add in the oil, and the annatto powder. This gives the great color to the kare-kare. Bring to a gentle simmer, then add in the onions and garlic, cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the annatto oil mixture to the stock and give it a good stir.

Add in the roasted shrimp paste as well as the peanut butter and toasted rice. Give another good stir, and continue to simmer the stock.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a bit of oil onto the carrots and egg plants, and cooke until tender, about 30 minutes.

Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe

Next, get a stock pot out and add with water, about half way up. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add in the snake beans, and cook for a few minutes. Once cooked, add them to a bowl of ice water to blanch them. Strain and reserve them for later use.

Do the same with the bok choy.

To a large skillet, bring it to a medium-high heat, and add the oxtail. Brown both sides, and then return them back to the stock.

Now you are ready to serve.

Some will cook the vegetables in the stock, and I went a different route as suggested by our cousin in California. My father-in-law said this is ‘fancy’ kare-kare. I’ll take that.

When you are ready to plate, again, you can go a couple of different routes. I plated mine, arranging the oxtail and tripe, near the rice and array of vegetables, ladling the awesome sauce over the top. However you can add everything to a serving bowl, excluding the rice, mix, and serve. It’s entirely up to you.

Kare-Kare Recipe

When I offered my plating to my father-in-law, I think he was in a bit of shock. Not only how I performed with the classic Papangan kare-kare recipe, but how it was plated. He called me later in the day, thanking me of a job well done. Now I know what kare-kare is, and how awesome this stew was. By the way, have no fear of the oxtail or tripe. It’s a winning combination that will have you wanting more and more.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope to offer you a lot more Filipino recipes in the future.

Read More