Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Favorites

Get Grilling

It’s the end of July; summer is in full swing in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.  I've been grilling for weeks now.  It helps to cut down on the heat in the kitchen.  I use a Weber grill, occasionally I purchase charcoal, however most of the time I use small chunks of wood from branches that have been trimmed.  My husband uses spruce sap as a starter, it works really well.  You also don’t get the chemical taste from starter fluid.  Cooking over wood is just the best.  Even when I use charcoal my husband puts some pieces of green wood atop it so as to get the nice smoked flavor.

Potatoes and Chive Side-Dish for the Grill

Since I am picking a bunch of chives today, it seems only right to have some for dinner.  I don’t have potatoes yet but they had a pretty good deal on them at the co-op today.  This recipe is quick and easy, it has taken me longer to type this then it will take to prepare. 
You will love this side-dish for the grill; cube 5-6 medium potatoes, sprinkle with zesty country seasoning, salt and pepper, then top with lots of chopped fresh chives and dot with 3 tablespoons butter (unsalted). Wrap up the foil you are ready for the grill. Takes about 20-25 minutes, turn after 10-12 minutes.  Yummy!

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I make my own BBQ sauce.  I've been using this recipe for over 20 years.  I originally found this recipe in an old cook.  At first it just appeared to be an old newspaper clipping.  Then it turned into our family BBQ sauce recipe.  I have made a few adjustments over the years to the original newspaper clipping.  One side of the clipping has a date, 1957, my birth year.  The original recipe is for making “Beef in Barbecue Sauce”.  And it is very good like that… pulled beef.  If you want to make the pulled beef just add 1 cup stock to the recipe, and your beef of course. 

In a skillet heat 4-6 tablespoons of grape-seed oil (I like this oil because it has a very light flavor and you can turn the heat up without burning), add 1 heaping cup of chopped celery, 2-3 large diced onions.  Simmer until celery is tender and onions are translucent. 

Add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (this will de-glaze the pan), now add 4-6 tablespoons of brown sugar (depends how sweet you like your BBQ) and 2-3 cloves of garlic, simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. 

Then add 1 ½ cups of ketchup, 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and a teaspoon of salt.  Simmer for about 20 minutes to combine all the flavors.  This sauce is quite zippy, the vinegar zippy that brings a sweat on, but not spicy.  Like your sauce spicy?  Add a dash of cayenne pepper.

I made it ahead of time and put it into the fridge.  Today I am putting it on grilled chicken. It is awesome on Burgers with an onion ring (we call it a cowboy burger).  This sauce makes a great dipping sauce for chicken tenders and onion rings too.  

I would love to be able to can some of this up for the pantry.  I will have to experiment with the recipe and quantities.  Surely all that you would need is a boiling water bath.  I have pinned some recipes for ketchup.  So I think that that would be a good place to start.  If I am going to be making enough to can I surely will need quite a bit of ketchup.

The Rock Quarry

About 25 minutes from our house, nestled in a wooded area, on private property, that everyone enjoys. I am pretty sure that it adjoins a large area of state land.  And for the most part it is taken care of by its’ patrons.  Most people don’t leave trash behind.  I know that every time we go there we leave with more than we arrived with.   We make it a point to look for litter. 

The swimming is great!  Not much fishing to speak of, it has been over fished; you might find some catfish in the deep water.  We have caught and released 3” blue gill.  Kids love catching those little fish.  There are some crayfish too.  The kids catch them on willow branches.  Silly crayfish to greedy to let go… so the kids capture and carry them in buckets all afternoon, only to be set free before departure.  I wonder how many crayfish have been brought home to fish tanks.  I know my kids took a few home, only to find that they will snatch up a gold fish.  Poor Fishy!  

So peaceful!