Crunchy Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli Slaw

Huge thanks to SmittenKitchen for this delicious, crunchy and addictive slaw.  We loved it!  I’ve tried a few recipes out, but this one hits all the notes and it will be on repeat all summer long.

Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or if you are like me, and always have some pickled red onions in the fridge, use those ….. so pretty!)

Using a jar, combine all dressing ingredients and shake vigorously to combine.  Set in fridge while you prep the salad.

Peel the broccoli stems and either use a mandolin on a fine setting, or dice quite small.  Separate the broccoli florets into bite size pieces, slicing the larger bits.

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, cranberries, and red onion.  Pour dressing over, and stir to mix well, sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Enjoy!  This works exceptionally well as a side to any grilled meat – tonight we served it with smoked baby back ribs.

Smoked beans in electric smoker

Hey, your smoker is going with either your pork or chicken anyway, why not put that extra rack to use?  This recipe came from one of the ladies at my office, Karen Benn, and she adapted it to her smoker.  It is such a hit that the beans were gone before either the pork or chicken …. I know that seems weird, but it’s true!  For vegetarians, leave out the bacon and you have an amazing bean dish even without that bacon ….

beans

Pull out a large fry pan and saute until carmelized:

2 cups chopped white onions

1 pack bacon (partially frozen so you can easily slice it thinly)

Take your time with this step,the richer the color you get on your onions the more flavour your beans will take on.

In a large disposable foil tin, stir in 4 cans of beans.  This is really your own preference, feel free to use any combination of kidney, canelli, black or baked beans.

In a separate bowl stir together:

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dry mustard

Combine beans, carmelized onion and bacon mixture and the seasoning blend.  Stir well, tightly cover with foil (using a sharp knife poke holes in the lid) and smoke in your electric smoker at 275 for about 3 hours.  Yes, they will be runny when they come out, but allow to sit for a few minutes and you won’t believe how quickly they disappear.

 

smoked beans

Smoked Chicken in electric smoker

Pulled pork is incredible, and all the rage everywhere …. I understand that, and love it.  However, a few of my faithful friends and family that love me cooking for them, and I love cooking for them …. aren’t into pork.  So, my response is always to do a smoked chicken at the same time.  Usually all the pork eaters gobble down the pulled pork as their main meal, and then they just can’t keep their fingers from snacking and grabbing at bits of the smoked chicken.  Not only is it incredibly moist and delicous, that remaining carcass makes delicious soup stock!  I think the secret is in the brine.  Always an extra step, but if you are cooking for the love of it, you won’t mind this step at all.

This recipe works well for a 4-6 lb chicken.  I always recommend cutting the chicken in half, it allows for better brining and smoking.  Get your butcher to do it if you like!

Chicken brine

Brine:

2 cups chicken broth (homemade if possible)

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup local honey

2 tbsp raw sugar

2 tsp black peppercorns

4 long sprigs fresh rosemary

4 cloves garlic, smashed lightly to open up the aroma

2 dried chipotle chiles

2-3 bay leaves

Start by bringing 4 cups water to a boil in a pot, stir in the salt first, and dissolve that.  Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.  If that doesn’t cool it down enough, add enough ice cubes to completely cool the liquid.  You do not want to put a cold chicken in warm liquid.  Make sure your chicken is completely covered with liquid (adding more cold water if necessary) and put in the fridge for 12 hours.

Remove from brine, rinse well and pat dry.

Mix together:

  • 1½ tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1½ tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt

 

Feel free to play around with these spices and herbs, come up with your own blend!

Give the chicken a generous massage with this rub – treat it well ….. I usually like to wear disposable gloves for this – I find it helps the rub to adhere to the meat better than my hands …

Chicken ready for trhe smoker

At this point, put the chicken on your smoker rack, in the fridge (I put it on a cookie sheet so any remaining drips don’t end up in my fridge)  Allowing the chicken to completely dry out in the fridge, while soaking up these spices makes for a crispier skin.  Honestly, if you are doing this in an electric smoker you may find that the skin still doesn’t get crispy but you can always finish it up on the bbq or the broiler if you desire.

Place in electric smoker, which has been preheated to 250, and smoke for 3 hours.  *Usually I’ve had my pork in there for 4 hours already …*  Check the temperature – you ultimately want to end at 165 degrees, and do not go beyond that.  Usually this takes about 4 hours at 250.  When you reach that temperature, remove from smoker and tightly wrap in foil, allowing to rest for an hour.  At that point it will usually shread easily from the bones.  Make sure to reserve those bones for soup stock!

Serve with the usual pulled meat accompaniements …. creamy coleslaw, extra barbecue sauce and really fresh buns.

Pulled Chicken

 

 

 

Asian Marinade for Chicken or Pork

Asian Marinade for Chicken or Pork

 

I love the balance of flavours in this marinade, it just has the right amount of sweet, heat, sour and salt …. and caramelizes perfectly on the grill.  I find it works really well on pork chops or chicken thighs but I’m sure it would be great on just about anything.

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

1 tbsp chile garlic paste

2 tsp sesame oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

zest & juice of 1 orange

juice of 1/2 lime

Make enough marinade for 8 pork chops or 12 chicken thighs.

Garnish:  lime, roughly chopped cilantro and green onions.

Place all marinade ingredients in food processor and give it a good whiz.  Pour half of it in a ziplock bag with meat and reserve the rest.  Give the meat a massage and allow to marinade for 30 minutes at the least and up to 8 hours.

Put reserved marinade in a small sauce pan and cook over moderate heat until reduced and thickened.

Heat grill, and grill meat, brushing with the reduced marinade.

 

 

Tabouli Salad

This tabouli salad is made with quinoa, so a complete meal for a vegetarian option, or serve alongside a grilled chicken breast …. or tonight’s choice – chicken wings with a Pomegranate Molasses Barbecue Sauce …. yumminess.

Tabouli Salad

1 cup quinoa – rinse well
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn in rustic pieces
1 small bunch kale, very finely chopped (remove stem)
1/2 English cucumber, cut into fine quarters
1 cup finely chopped assorted colored sweet peppers
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (pickling instructions below)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp orange zest and 2 tbsp fresh orange juice

Pickling red onions: Thinly slice red onions and pour boiling water over for 10 seconds – drain off, and cover with fresh squeezed lime juice and a sprinkle of kosher salt. They turn such a great color.

Tabouli
Place the rinsed quinoa in a medium sauce pain, ccover with 1 3/4 cup cold water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat and cook until water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 18-20 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork and let it cool.

In a large bowl toss all prepared vegetables and the cooled quinoa.

Dressing
Combine zest and fruit juices, drizzle oil slowly in to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss with prepared Tabouli Salad and taste …season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Tonight tabouli salad was also made with some grilled zucchini and served on a fresh bed of spinach

Tonight tabouli salad was also made with some grilled zucchini and served on a fresh bed of spinach

Creamy Tahini Salad Dressing

This salad dressing makes a large jar – use it on anything! So great for pasta salads, rice salads, dressed up grilled vegetables, brush it on chicken for grilling, let your imagination run wild. You will love it – something we first had with my “Red Rice Rocks”, also known as a bowl of goodness.

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

2 generous tbsp tahini paste

2 cloves garlic, crushed

red chili flakes (optional)

1 1/4 – 1/2 cups vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil in a blender – blend briefly, and then slowly drizzle in the oil until smooth and creamy.

Pork and Prawn Burgers

These delicious burgers have an Asian twist to them, and are absolutely dripping yumminess!

Pork and Prawn Burgers

1 pound (450 grams ish) lean ground pork

1 bag of frozen RAW prawns (around the same weight as the pork), chopped in small but identifiable pieces

2 eggs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping tbsp fresh ginger, minced

2 tbsp. soya sauce

2 tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup finely sliced chives

In a large bowl mix up the eggs, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Gently toss in the pork, prawns and chives.

Form patties, and allow to rest in the fridge to set up.

Either grill or cook on hot griddle.  These are delicate, so make sure not to try and turn or rotate until they are well cooked on the first side.

Serve on a toasted bun with aioli on the bottom, and pickled cucumbers on top.  To take this on to the most delicious burger, be sure to serve with the dipping sauce.

Sweet Chili Sriracha Aoili

4 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. sriracha (or other Asian style hot sauce)

1 tbsp. sweet chili paste

 

Blend well and allow to sit in fridge for flavours to come together.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

1 cup very thinly sliced cucumber – tossed with rice vinegar, and seasoned lightly with salt, pepper, and a few chili flakes

 

Dipping Sauce

For each person, use a little individual dipping bowl and in each:

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp. rice vinegar

drizzle of chile oil or chile flakes (to taste)

a couple slices of fresh garlic, and fresh ginger

sprinkle of chives or spring onion