We like the spatchcock method for turkey these days. Spatchcocked turkey is everything you want in a turkey: moist on the inside, with crispy, savory, mahogany skin on the outside. Check out our experiences with it here: Spatchcocked Turkey. Say What?
Lots of the meals at Glover Gardens are graced with some kind of yummy bread, and this recipe from the Café Christina blog showcases the perfect approach to garlic bread. When someone has done such a good job documenting a fundamental recipe, I’m happy to share rather than try to create my own version. This is the stuff, y’all!
Photos from the Café Christina blog; recipe below.
If I’m making garlic bread, (which isn’t very often) I’m going all out. I’m not skimping on the salty butter or the chunks of garlic. I want this bread to be swimming in an …
With its unexpected and delightful crunch of whole peppercorns and spicy beef flavor, this easy-to-make home-cured sausage will wow your party guests.
It Started with Mom
My Mom was my Kitchen Mentor and a wizard at finding great recipes from great cookbooks and then refining them to fit our family’s tastes. This one for Peppercorn Beef Sausage is a recipe she adapted and made fairly frequently, and I’ve taken it a step further.
Growing up, this “home-smoked” sausage from Terry Thompson-Anderson’s classic cookbook Cajun-Creole Cooking was always on offer at parties and for holiday meals, no matter the season. The “home” part comes from using curing salt, a great trick and something every home cook should know about. The “smoked” part comes from the ingredient liquid smoke.
Mom’s update to the recipe for Home-Smoked Sausage with Horseradish Sauce (found on page 24 of the first edition of Cajun-Creole Cooking and page 27 of the second) was to add more peppercorns (a must!) and a teaspoon of dried sage to the sausage, and a simplification of the accompanying sauce to amplify the horseradish flavor. Then she stopped making the horseradish sauce altogether and served the sausage with a marvelous blue cheese dip. Great idea!
I Picked Up the Tradition
I just started making this sausage again after a 20-year hiatus and have put the Glover Gardens southwest spin on it. As with Mom, adding more peppercorns is a requirement. I also have decided never to use liquid smoke, because it tastes artificial and chemical-y, so I replaced it with smoky chipotle powder. I tweaked the ingredient amounts and switched Sriracha for Tabasco. Mom’s addition of sage doesn’t fit with this flavor profile, but I think she would have really liked my version. I’ve renamed it Peppercorn Beef Sausage because the peppercorns really are the star in this recipe, and I don’t serve it with the same sauce every time. It’s great without a condiment, too.
The Grill-Meister is a sausage connoisseur and he gives the Peppercorn Beef Sausage a big thumbs-up rating.
Peppercorn Beef Sausage is Party-Worthy
I’ve taken this sausage out to play several times recently, for three very different parties – a ladies’ luncheon baby shower, a Big 5-0 birthday party for a guy and a wine-and-cheese going-away party for close friends who are moving out of the big city. It was a hit with all three crowds. That’s when you know a recipe is a keeper!
Peppercorn Beef Sausage Recipe
3 lbs. lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tsp. dried chipotle powder or ancho chile powder
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons Morton’s Tender Quick Salt
1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Divide into six equal portions, and then roll each portion tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper without leaving air bubbles. Store in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 12 hours before cooking (24 – 36 hours is even better).
Preheat oven to 300°. Line a cookie sheet with foil and top with a wire rack. Spray well with cooking spray, then unwrap the sausages and place them on the rack. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove and turn, cooking for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely, then refrigerate. To freeze, wrap individual sausages in foil and then place in a freezer bag.
To serve, slice the sausage into rounds.
Join Me in the Kitchen
Peppercorn Beef Sausage is super-durable and easy to take to parties. If you make a big batch early in the holiday season and freeze it, you can grab a couple of logs from the freezer any time you need a throw-down party dish.
The original recipe is served with a horseradish dip. Peppercorn Beef Sausage is is great with any creamy savory dip like this from the Glover Gardens Cookbook archives:
It is also nice with a fresh, herbaceous dip like Churrasco’s Chimichurri. But you don’t have to dress it up with a dip – one of the best things about this sausage is just grabbing a slice or two as a quick snack. And it is perfect on a charcuterie platter.
More Experimenting to Do
This recipe is due for more exploration: I’d like to try it with ground pork, ground turkey and maybe even venison, using a variety of different spices. I’d also like to experiment with different liquids instead of water, like maybe a lager. I’ll keep you posted!
I promised to share the recipes with you, and here’s an easy one: Golden Onion Dip. Its slightly sweet onion flavor is reminiscent of the onion dip in the plastic container served alongside potato chips at backyard barbecues, but it also has a jazzy, sophisticated taste and mouth-feel from the fresh yellow onions simmered to golden perfection and a dash of vermouth (which cooks off).
This texture of this dip is really more like a spread, because of the cream cheese. It is fresh, creamy and easy to make, and is good with chips, crackers or fresh vegetables. It serves admirably as the requisite dip in an appetizer buffet. It makes a very nice spread for a turkey or roast beef sandwich – think holiday leftovers! My recipe is a riff on this one from Food & Wine magazine, which is also quite good (but slightly bland).
Make the Golden Onion Dip it the day before you plan to serve it, if possible, because the onion taste develops nicely overnight as the flavors “marry”. This recipe makes enough for a crowd and can easily be halved; the amount in the picture below is about a third of a recipe.
2 tablespoons butter
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (I use the slicing disk of the food processor)
1/8 cup dry vermouth or vodka
pinch of white sugar
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 8 oz. log of cream cheese
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
Set out the sour cream and cream cheese so that they can get to room temperature.
Melt the butter over medium heat in a skillet large enough to sauté the onions, then add the onions and cook until they are golden and very soft, stirring to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. This will take more than 20 minutes, and you may need to reduce the heat. When the onions are done, add the sugar and vermouth, turning the heat up slightly, and cook until the vermouth has evaporated. Set the pan aside and let the onions cool.
Once cool, coarsely chop the onions, either on a cutting board or in your food processor. (If you use the food processor, it will only take a couple of pulses; be sure not to puree the onions.) In a bowl large enough for all of the ingredients, add the onions, sour cream, cream cheese, parsley (reserving a little for the garnish), onion powder, garlic powder, salt and Worcestershire and stir to mix well. Add pepper and taste, adding more salt if necessary. Garnish with the reserved parsley, cover and refrigerate until about a half hour before you are ready to serve; the dip tastes better if it isn’t refrigerator-cold.
Note: yellow onions are the perfect choice for this recipe; white onions are a bit too sharp and red ones would mess with the color.
This spread-like dip has a rich and heavy texture from the cream cheese, making it perfect for fresh veggie dippers; but beware, a potato chip would break in it. You can substitute 1 1/2 cups of sour cream (for a total of 3 cups) for a looser, smoother dip that’s more like the traditional onion dip in texture if you’re planning to serve it with chips.
That’s the onion dip from the party on the bottom right (above); I didn’t get a good picture of it in the party spread before we started diving in! Next time… or, if you make it, please send me your photo!
Real life at Glover Gardens has been a little too busy for the Glover Gardens blog to be active for the past week or two…but I’m revving up for a revival.
I “catered” a friend’s 50th birthday party in the Texas Hill Country this weekend, spending a couple of very enjoyable days chopping, roasting, marinating, baking and garnishing. And hanging out with cool people in a lovely setting.
It was fun! I’ll share some of the recipes with you over the next few weeks, because this is a pretty good fall party menu. A couple of these dishes are going into the regular Glover Gardens rotation. And there was a bonus: the Grill-Meister found and executed a terrific cake called Bailey’s Chocolate Poke Cake. He says he’ll make it again, so you can expect to see it, too.
I like to live on the edge and tried a new recipe or two, including a sangria. I sent the birthday boy’s wife this story from Food & Wine and asked her to pick one. She picked a winner! Any time I get to use star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks and whole allspice berries, I’m happy.
The Rosé Sangria with Cranberries and Apples was a hit. There was a teensy bit left, and I made it the star of a still life when we got home this afternoon. This spicy-sweet sangria will be on the menu over the holidays here at Glover Gardens. I jazzed it up a little bit and will tell you all about it the next time I make it.
Happy Sunday evening!
Update – as I publish the recipes from the party, I’m adding them here.
Tender, succulent bites pack a one-two flavor punch of spicy-sweet and an aroma redolent of the Caribbean – this dish is a keeper. Serve with grilled pineapple and black bean-studded cilantro rice.
For the Labor Day holiday meal this year, the Grill-Meister requested “that jerk chicken thing you used to make – it’s been too long”. Good call! I have a favorite jerk chicken recipe that I’ve modified over a dozen years, scribbled on papers dotted with ingredient stains. It’s time to get it into the Glover Gardens cookbook for posterity and family “remakability”.
The recipe was from Bon Appétit in May of 2006, a Special Collector’s Edition called 321 Reasons to Love the Caribbean. I knew when I opened the fat, shiny issue just out of the mailbox and read the Jamaican Jerk Chicken recipe that it would be a taste-bud pleaser. I had a new boyfriend to try it out on, he who would eventually propose marriage and become the Grill-Meister in these pages. It’s just possible that this recipe figured into the proposal…
The original recipe is really good, but per usual, we’ve made it our own, tweaking ingredients here and there, switching from chicken to game hens, using the rotisserie rather than direct grilling. The jerk flavors are very versatile and the sauce and marinade work well not only with various poultry selections but with other cuts of meat on the grill: think jerk pork tenderloin or chops, jerk sirloin shish-kabob, jerk turkey burgers, slow-cooked jerk ribs. Eggplant, tofu, zucchini steaks or portobello mushrooms would hold up well for a vegetarian version. And don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you; the marinade comes together quickly, and the payoff is big.
Spicy Jerk Game Hens
4 Cornish game hens, rinsed, patted dry
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (juice from about 4 limes)
1/4 cup rum
1/8 cup water
3/4 cup malt vinegar
10-12 green onions, chopped in 1-inch lengths (white and green parts)
6 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
3 tablespoons dried thyme
2 Scotch bonnet chiles or habanero chiles with seeds, chopped, or your choice of chiles based on your heat tolerance
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons ground allspice
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 cup reserved marinade
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon malt vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
Arrange game hens in a large baking dish. Pour lime juice over and inside of each hen, turning to coat.
Make the marinade. Boil the rum and water in a small saucepan for 3 minutes and set aside to cool. Put the vinegar, rum mixture and the rest of the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender and puree. The mixture will be slightly grainy. Transfer 1/2 cup of the jerk marinade mixture to a small bowl and set aside.
Spoon jerk marinade over the game hens, making sure to get some in the cavities. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight. Turn occasionally to ensure even distribution of the spicy goodness.
Make the sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, bringing to a boil over high heat and the reducing the heat slightly. Simmer for 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened. Let cool, cover and refrigerate until it’s time to grill.
Remove the hens and sauce from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Preheat the grill and rotisserie burner to medium-high and add the hens to the rotisserie. Put an old cookie sheet on the grill to catch drips and prevent flare-ups. Use a meat thermometer to get the hens done to your preferred temperature, checking after about 30 minutes. Brush a little sauce on the hens for the last 5 minutes of rotisserie grilling to get a nice char.
Remove the hens from the grill rotisserie and tent with foil to keep warm while you assemble the plates.
Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.
And get ready for the compliments.
Other cooking methods: The hens can be cooked directly on the grill, turning occasionally to ensure that they cook evenly. Or bake in the oven at 350° for about 40 minutes (or until done to your liking), basting in the last 5 minutes and potentially broiling a moment or two at end for crispy skin.
Other poultry: the original recipe calls for 2 3-pound chickens, but when using chicken, we prefer legs (with the thigh and drumstick), or just thighs. Substitute five pounds of chicken for the four game hens, and cook on the grill or in the oven.
“Doneness”: the recommended inner temperature for poultry is 165°, but the temperature will continue to rise after meat is removed from the heat source. The Grill-Meister takes poultry off the grill before it gets to 165° and always lets the meat rest in a foil tent for about five to ten minutes.
About the chiles: use your judgment. Going with the recommended two habaneros or scotch bonnets packs a good wallop. We like it spicy here at Glover Gardens, so I usually throw a few different chiles in. For the most recent, perfectly hot but not quite incendiary version of this dish, I used one habanero, one serrano, one hot long red chile, and eight tiny but very hot chile pequins. If you don’t like spice much at all, just use a couple of jalapeños and call it done.
Here’s a link to the original recipe from Bon Appétit (now in Epicurious): Jamaican Jerk Chicken. If you visit, you’ll see rave reviews, but also quite a few comments about how the recipe was confusing: many folks accidentally combined the sauce ingredients with the marinade. Hopefully, the Glover Gardens version makes it a little more straightforward. You’ll also note comments about the amount of catsup in the sauce. For the Glover Gardens version, catsup is eliminated altogether in favor of tomato sauce, malt vinegar and honey instead. Spices were adjusted slightly, and dry mustard was added for just a bit more variety in the “kick”.
Kitchen shears do the job
Precision cutting with kitchen shears
We made the Spicy Jerk Game Hens last night instead of waiting until Labor Day, to enjoy the leftovers all weekend. Looking around for a second side dish to compliment the spicy-sweet jerk flavors, I visited one of my favorite blogs, the Pleasant Peasant. Sure enough, there was a post about Cilantro/Lime/Jalapeño Rice With Black Beans, which inspired me to make a similar dish. Greg doesn’t publish precise recipes, but includes enough detail for readers to follow his lead and add their own jazzy riffs to his flavor ideas. I didn’t capture the recipe exactly, but here’s basically what I did. (I highly recommend visiting the Pleasant Peasant to check out his rice.)
I started a batch of basic rice by sautéing red onion and garlic in a bit of oil for a few minutes and then adding a cup of rice to brown it lightly. Looking in the refrigerator, I realized I had a zucchini and diced half of it, throwing it in with the rice to brown. To add a bit of color, I added diced red bell pepper, then some salt, pepper and two cups of homemade chicken stock, bringing it to a boil. The next step was to cover tightly, reduce the heat to simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, I turned off the heat and let the rice sit for about 5 more. Then I gave it a big stir.
Greg had mentioned using cumin seeds in his 2nd-day treatment of the cilantro rice, so I added some to the cooked rice, and then some more goodies. These were: a can of drained black beans, chopped jalapeño, more chopped red bell pepper and red onion, and lots of cilantro.
I stirred and tasted – needs more salt! – and then threw in some golden raisins. They made all the difference. Doesn’t it look appealing? It was a great side dish for the jerk seasoning, and the beans and zucchini ratcheted up the fiber. (I always like to sneak in extra vegetables when the Grill-Meister isn’t looking.)
The other side was in my head from the moment the Grill-Meister requested the jerk chicken for dinner: grilled pineapple.
The treatment for the pineapple, jalapeños and green onions was a pre-grill drizzle and toss with olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt and a shake of cayenne. Yum!
Happy Labor Day
Happy Labor Day to my American and Canadian friends, and to all of my international readers, why not use our holiday and “unofficial end of summer” as an excuse to grill?
On the 4th of July, I’m thinking of our beautiful country. We’re smack-dab in the middle of some gorgeous countryside here at Little House in the Rockies. Just off the western edge of Pike National Forest in Colorado, Little House in the Rockies is surrounded by mountains.
It brings to mind America the Beautiful. The song. The poem.
Originally titled “Pike’s Peak,” Katherine Lee Bates wrote the poem in 1893 during a visit to Colorado. She was inspired by the beauty of the country, having traveled by train from the northeast across the plains to Colorado Springs. It was published a couple of years later to commemorate the 4th of July, and later set to music by Samuel A. Ward. I love the first stanza:
O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!
More than a century later, this is still inspiring country. I took this photo on Monday during a picnic in Pike National Forest. I didn’t realize until I looked at it on the computer later that there is a tinge of purple in the mountain range. Purple mountain majesties.
There’s a recent poll that says Americans are less patriotic than we used to be. Maybe so, maybe not. It depends on how you define patriotism (in my humble opinion). My patriotism today is focused on our beautiful country, the way that it was portrayed in that famous poem from so long ago.
Are we doing enough to take care of it?
I don’t think so.
Fires and pollution and global warming are taking their toll.
Will it be America the Beautiful in 50 years?
It depends. On us.
We need to do more.
I need to do more.
I will do more. In my own little way. Here in Glover Gardens with my words and conversations with all of you, and by joining the Palmer Land Trust. And by reducing my carbon footprint and the waste I produce. And most importantly, by voting for candidates who will make choices that preserve our environment rather than pillaging it.
I want it to be America the Beautiful forever. For my kids, and yours.