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The Best BBQ Chicken…EVER!

I have fallen in love….with a BBQ sauce.  Yes I have.  While strolling the Appleton market I came upon the Jimmy J’s sauce stand and he had samples (admit it you are a sucker for samples too!).  At first I was like whatever…then he waved a meatball on a stick under my nose.  I caved in.  I went with the XXX it was tasty but the after burn kind of took over and I figured it would be too much for company if indeed I bought a bottle.  So I went a step down and tried the Hot.  Perfect!  Seriously good flavor, good heat (but not too much) and for $4 a bottle, why not.  So I thanked the kind man for the samples and went on my way.

Here is what my $4 got me…

When they say you will lick your fingers, they aren’t joking.  You want to lick the plate too, but I digress… hehe.

I had some drumsticks in the refrigerator that I wanted to put on the grill and figured it would be the perfect vehicle to try this sauce out.  Making BBQ chicken isn’t rocket science, but a lot of people seem to struggle with it. Either it’s burned on the outside and raw on the inside or just overcooked period.  I found the key ingredients to perfect chicken on the grill are low heat and patience.  No par boiling necessary.

I put my gas grill on the lowest setting possible and kept turning the chicken every five minutes.  When the skin started to get brown, I started to baste the chicken with Jimmy J’s sauce.  It took me about 35 minutes to cook the drummies fully.  The chicken was perfectly cooked  (the juices ran clear. If the juices are pinkish…keep cooking) and the sauce was finger-licking sticky. MmmMMmm!

I paid $4 for a 21 oz bottle at the market.    For my Milwaukee (and non-Wisconsin) readers, they do have a website http://jimmyjsauces.com.  They do charge a little bit more on their website, but it’s sooooo worth it.  Shipping is at a fair price as well.  I implore you to order a bottle and defy you to tell me this isn’t some good sauce!

Happy grilling!

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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Simple Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce doesn’t have to be complicated, especially when you have a busy schedule like I do.  With the freshest ingredients you can get and a bit of patience you will be rewarded with you won’t believe you did it yourself and from scratch.

Included in my CSA box were some tomatoes in various sizes and colors.  I particularly like the baby Romas.  Also in the box was some amazing Thai basil.  I decided to make a sauce to compliment the bucatini I got at Glorioso’s (the best Italian market in the state!).

This recipe is inspired by Martha Stewarts Spaghetti 101 episode.  With this recipe, everything is fresh, nothing is canned. I love this recipe for its simplicity.  I’m not stirring sauce all day (not that there is anything wrong with that. I just don’t have the time).  I can get dinner on the table at a decent time and everyone is happy.  I also love how versatile this sauce recipe is.  You can adjust any of the ingredients to your liking. My family loves it when I amp up the garlic and red pepper flakes.

If you are pressed for time and craving a pasta dish.  Try this one out.

Supplies:

  • Fresh tomatoes (I had 4 regular sized and 7 baby romas), pureed (more on that below)
  • 5 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 1 handful of fresh basil, chopped or thrown in whole
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (a little goes a long way, adjust to your liking.  Start of light with a dash, you can always add more later)
  • 1/8-1/4 C good red wine (If it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with)
  • S&P to taste

First thing you need to do is take your fresh tomatoes and turn them into a puree.  I prefer taking the skins off the tomatoes. You don’t have to, but it does make for a nice smooth sauce. Taking the skins off a tomato isn’t as daunting as it sounds; in fact it’s pretty simple and quick.  Take a paring knife and cut an X on the bottom of each tomato.

Place your tomatoes into a pot of boiling water.  You only need to keep them in the water for a minute at most.  When you pinch (very carefully they are HOT)  the tomato and the skins slide, take them out of the water and put into a colander to cool down to where you can handle them freely.  The skins will slide ride off.  Easy!

Place skinned tomatoes into a food processor, food mill, blender whathaveyou.  Puree.  You can do a smooth puree or you can leave it a bit chunky. Your choice.

In a large sautee pan, sautee onions until translucent. Add garlic and sautee until the garlic is soft.

Add red pepper flakes, tomato puree and red wine to onions and garlic.  Stir until thoroughly mixed, simmering on medium heat.   Now is a good time to season with salt and pepper.  This is the stage when I determine if I need to add more red pepper flake or not.

Add the oregano and basil and let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat. It will start to thicken up (but not much) and look and smell amazing.

This sauce won’t be a thick sauce like you get in a can or jar. It will be on the thin side and will coat pasta nicely.   If you aren’t comfortable with a thinner pasta sauce, you could use a tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken it up a bit. I personally don’t think it needs it.  Again, preference.

The taste is incredibly fresh.  You really get flavor of the tomato.  I love the kick of heat you get and all that wonderful garlic.  Sprinkle some fresh parm on top and serve with piping hot garlic bread and enjoy!

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Ground Cherry Hot Sauce

I’ve never really cooked with these beauties until I became a CSA member.

I’ve made a pie. I tried and failed at making preserves. This season I decided to go big or go home.  I had found an old recipe for a cherry hot sauce using Door County cherries.  Granted, ground cherries aren’t as sweet as a Door County cherry; they still have great flavor.

The recipe also called for a habenero pepper. I used the jalapeño pepper that was in my box.  This recipe is easy, quick and you can control how hot or mild you want your hot sauce.  This recipe calls for granulated sugar, but I find that honey gives it a richer under tone. Besides, honey is natural, granulated sugar is not.

Supplies:

  • 1 C white vinegar
  • 1/2 C cider vinegar
  • 1 lb or so for ground cherries (give or take), husked, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and cut up (I like my sauce on the hot side so I left the seeds in)
  • 1/4 C honey (more if you want your sauce on the sweet side)
  • 1 glass bottle, cleaned and dried

In a sauce pan add the vinegars, ground cherries and pepper.

Boil until the cherries and pepper are soft.  This took me on a gas stove about 15 minutes.

Let cool then add to a food processor and puree.

Put puree back into the sauce pan and add the honey and salt. Bring back to a soft boil and reduce until desired consistency.

Funnel into clean jar and et voila!

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Seared Portobello with Mustard Greens Over Barley

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Aaaaaah CSA season is finally here.  I was able to get a preview of the mustard greens HighCross Farm will be putting into the first CSA box of the season.  Let me tell you, they are fantastic. 

Greens were never a part of my diet, and I really didn’t know what to do with them.  I came across a recipe found here that looked like an interesting way to incorporate greens into a meal. 

This recipe also made me a new believer in using barely as a grain side dish.  This dish is delicious, easy, fast and most of all good for you.

(Recipe copied and pasted)

Seared Portobello with Mustard Greens Over Barley

3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3/4 c barley
2 large portobellos, stems trimmed
1/4 c marsala wine
2 c vegetable broth
2 t chopped fresh rosemary
1 lb mustard greens, stemmed and chopped
1 T unsalted butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

– Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat with 1 T olive oil, add onion and stir until just browned.
– Add barley to saucepan and stir frequently until toasted, about eight minutes.
– Add about one teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 c water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes; remove saucepan from heat and keep covered.
– Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 T olive oil, add portobellos, tops up, cover, and cook for eight minutes; turn portobellos and cook eight minutes more; transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
– Add marsala to skillet and cook while stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pan; increase heat to high and add vegetable broth, rosemary, and several turns of a pepper grinder; cook until liquid has reduced to 1/2 c, about 12 minutes; taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
– Add greens to skillet and cook, stirring, until greens have wilted and softened, about three minutes; transfer greens to a plate.
– Add butter to skillet and stir to incorporate.
– Spoon barley onto the center of each of two plates, top each with half the greens, slice the portobellos and place on top of greens, spoon sauce over top, and sprinkle on extra chopped rosemary if you’d like.

This is a very earthy and hearty dish.  I really liked how the barley and mushrooms complimented each other.  The sauce is sublime.  I really hope you try this recipe out and enjoy it as much as I did.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2009 in greens, mushrooms, sauce

 

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Spinach Fettuccini w/ a Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

My daughter is going to help out at HighCross Farm this season.  This pleases me so.  When I went to pick her up this afternoon, Farmer Steve invited me to grab a bunch of  spinach that had come up on the farm.  Who am I to turn that down?!  Look how gorgeous it is.

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This has me super excited for the approaching CSA season. 

Spinach is one of those super foods.  It’s incredibly good for you by contributing to healthy bones, eyes and teeth.  Spinach is loaded with iron and Vitamins K and C.  Can’t go wrong with spinach.

I decided to make some spinach fettuccine with a low-fat roasted garlic Alfredo sauce to top it off.  I couldn’t think of a better way to break in my new pasta making attachment for the Kitchenaid Mixer.

This dish is worth the effort of making the pasta.  The pasta is light with a nice spinach flavor that’s not over powering.  The sauce is rich, creamy and full of flavor.  You will enjoy this immensely.

I started off by slicing the top off a large head of garlic and drizzling it with olive oil.

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I wrapped it up in tin foil and popped it into a 450 oven for about 35-40 minutes.  When you can start to smell the garlic in your kitchen…it’s done.

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Your garlic cloves should be nice and soft and caramelized on top.

Squeeze your head of garlic (once it has cooled off) into a bowl releasing all the yummy roasted garlic cloves.

Set aside for later.

Now for the pasta.  The supplies are as follows:

Spinach Fettuccini

  • 3-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup spinach puree (approximately 8 ounces of fresh spinach steamed and pureed
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • *water used to steam the spinach

Fill a sauce pan up with about an inch of water.  Make sure the water doesn’t come up through your steaming device (either a vegetable steamer insert or a colander).  Place spinach into steaming device, cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes.  You will note the spinach cooks down considerably.  I prefer to steam my spinach rather than boil because you want as little moisture in the spinach when it is all said in done.

Spinach after it has been steamed.

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When spinach has cooled, wrap it in a paper towel and squeeze as much of the water out as you can.  You will not there is a good amount of moisture in the spinach even when it is steamed.  You want your spinach to look like this…

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Put wrung out spinach into a food processor or blender and puree. 

Place the flour and salt in the Kitchenaid mixing bowl. Insert the flat mixing paddle. Mix dry ingredients together on speed 1.  Add eggs one at a time and then the spinach. If the dough looks too dry add the water that you used to steam the spinach in by the spoonful until you get the conistency that you want.  (if you can stick your thumb in the dough and it comes out clean you are good) Continue to mix on speed 1 for about 1 to 2 minutes. Replace the flat mixing paddle with the dough hook and knead the dough on speed 4 for 3 minutes.

Remove dough and wrap in plastic. Allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.

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 Assemble pasta attachment to the stand mixer. Turn machine to speed 1. Run the dough through the machine. 

I like to put my pasta into nests.  It makes for easier storage.

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Either let your pasta dry or cook immediately.  

Note:   It is very important to remove as much moisture from the spinach as possible before adding to the dough. If after kneading the dough feels slightly sticky, knead one tablespoon of flour into the dough until the stickiness disappears.  ** I personally found the dough to be a tad dry, thats when adding the water from steaming the spinach really helped.  But if you find your dough too sticky then go ahead and add more flour.  I found myself adding a little more flour after it had rested since it was still a tad too sticky for me.

Also:  You do not need a Kitchenaid to make this pasta.  You can make it by hand or in a food processor.  You do not need a pasta roller as well.  Just roll out your dough until it is thin enough to your liking and use a pizza cutter and cut it into strips.

Now on to the sauce…

I love Alfredo sauce, but I do not love Alfredo sauce calories.  I decided to try and make it low fat and when it was all said and done, I wound up cutting the calories by almost half.  I used way less butter and half and half instead of cream.

Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce

  • I head of garlic, roasted…cloves removed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/4 C half and half
  • 3/4 shredded paremsan cheese
  • S&P to taste

Melt the butter on low. (But don’t let it brown) Then stir in the other ingredients until the cheese is melted.  How easy is that???

Spoon the sauce over your pasta and you have heaven on a plate.

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I can’t put into words how much I love HighCross Farm!

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2009 in pasta

 

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