Grilling at Glover Gardens: Spicy Jerk Game Hens

fullsizeoutput_29c4Tender, 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.


fullsizeoutput_29bcFor 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”.

bon-appetit-magazine-may-2006-173465l1The 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.

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Spicy Jerk Game Hens

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 4 Cornish game hens, rinsed, patted dry
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (juice from about 4 limes)

Jerk Marinade

  • 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

Jerk Sauce

  • 1/2 cup reserved marinade
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey

Cooking Instructions

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.

Notes

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. 


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Image in Bon Appétit by Scott Peterson

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”.

In Pictures

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Fresh ingredients ready in the food processor
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Hens marinading
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Reserved marinade; not pretty but fantastic as the base for the sauce
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Simmering the sauce for a few minutes to thicken
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Getting a nice char on the rotisserie; don’t forget a cookie sheet to prevent flare-ups
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Just off the grill, steaming and smelling of Caribbean flavors

Those Sides

cilantro/lime/jalapeño rice
Rice from the Pleasant Peasant; doesn’t it look good?

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.

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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.

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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.)

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The other side was in my head from the moment the Grill-Meister requested the jerk chicken for dinner: grilled pineapple.

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Grilled pineapple goes with summer grilling like peanut butter goes with jelly

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?

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Citrus and Tequila-Glazed Chicken Thighs

bon-app-cover-julyAs the weather gets hotter, we do more and more grilling here at Glover Gardens.  I’m really happy with the on-the-grill recipe I’m sharing with you today, a citrusy and piquant take on the ever-moist chicken thigh. It’s the product of a decades-long subscription to Bon Appétit. That venerable magazine and I have been friends for a long, long time.

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Photo from Bon Appétit by Con Poulos

In August of 2007, the Tequila-Glazed Chicken with Jalapeño recipe caught my fancy. I made it for years, adjusting this and that, playing with the spices, making it hotter, making it mine. Yum!

Then Bon Appétit’s 2013 recipe for Citrus-Marinated Chicken Thighs came out, looking like it was from another page of the same playbook. Of course it was also delicious.

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Photo from Bon Appétit by Hirsheimer & Hamilton

The methods were different, though. The first recipe benefits from a dry rub for a few hours and then gets a glaze on the grill, and the second soaks in an “aggressively seasoned” marinade before being broiled.

But I wanted it all – the seasonings, the marinade, and the glaze. The best of both. So I played around with the ingredients and the concepts, and here’s the result. I think you’ll like it. There’s a long list of ingredients, but this is a really easy recipe.

Oh, and since the grill is already hot, sometimes I like to go one step further and throw on some pineapple and peppers for an easy side dish. I’ve included the instructions for that, too.

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Throw on some pineapple after the chicken thighs
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I was too generous with the garnishes and you can’t really see the chicken, but that’s ok because we love our garnishes here at Glover Gardens: Just Gotta Garnish

Citrus and Tequila-Glazed Chicken Thighs

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch cilantro, long/leafless part of stems removed (about 1 1/2 cups, loosely packed)
  • 5-6 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper, stem removed, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups juice: a combination of orange, pineapple, lemon or lime – I primarily use orange and pineapple
  • 1/2 cup tequila (omit if you don’t cook with liquor and increase the juice)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-5 lbs. of chicken thighs, skin on
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Optional garnishes: cilantro, sliced jalapeños, sliced green onions

Cooking Instructions

Combine the cilantro, garlic and serrano pepper in a food processor and process until they are finely ground. Add the cumin, nutmeg, red pepper flakes and sea salt and pulse again until combined. Pour in the juice, tequila and olive oil and mix again until blended.

Reserve and refrigerate 1 cup of the marinade, which will be used for the glaze later, or 1 1/2 cups if you’re planning to make the grilled pineapple and peppers side dish. Split the chicken thighs between two large food-safe resealable bags and distribute the remaining marinade on the chicken. Squeeze the air out of the bags and seal them, turning to ensure that the marinade covers all of the chicken pieces. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2-6 hours, turning the bags at least once.

Prepare the glaze by combining the honey and cayenne with 1 cup of the reserved marinade mixture in a small nonstick saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir and lower the heat to medium-high, keeping the glaze at a simmer until it thickens (about 5-7 minutes).

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place in a dish or cookie sheet. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for about ten minutes, then turn and brush with the glaze on the cooked side. Turn again and add glaze to the first side. Continue grilling until the chicken is done to your liking, about 165° in the thickest part. Remove to a clean platter and either spoon on the reserved glaze, or serve it separately. Throw on the optional garnishes and serve.

Grilled Pineapple and Peppers

Ingredients

  • A mixture of sliced pineapple and bell and/or poblano peppers
  • 1/2 cup reserved marinade

Cooking Instructions

When you’re ready to grill the chicken, arrange the pineapple and peppers in a pie plate and drizzle with the marinade. Grill them after you cook the chicken until you have a nice char on each side. Serve with the chicken.

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Gathering the ingredients ahead of time makes everything go faster
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Grind up the cilantro, garlic and serrano first, then add the spices
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Now with the tequila, juice and oil
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Divide the chicken in plastic bags and split the remaining marinade between them (after reserving 1 cup for the glaze)
Chicken Marinading
Seal the bags and turn them to distribute the marinade evenly
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Add the honey to 1 cup of the reserved marinade
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Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened
Chicken Ready for Grilling
Chicken ready for grilling; it benefits so much from the soak in that spicy, tequila-laced marinade
Pineapple and Peppers Ready for the Grill
Pineapple and peppers make a quick side dish and taste great with the marinade, too
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Ready for grilling
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Getting a nice char on the chicken
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Have a clean platter ready for the finished product; this Glover Gardens dish was a Christmas gift from our newlyweds, The Girl Who is Always Hungry and The Best Eater
Garnishes
Glover Gardens is all about the garnish
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My food styling was lacking in my hurry to get to the eating and my picture is out of focus, but this sure was a tasty meal!

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Leftover Steak Makes an Easy but Sophisticated Sandwich

We had a lotta leftover steak recently, because we tried this recipe from the Food Network’s show, The Kitchen. It involves huge porterhouse steaks, a cast iron skillet, and a unique method. Our foodie-senses were intrigued when we saw this, and we just had to make it.

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Photo from the Food Network

It was good, but more work – and more food – than we anticipated. The instructions called for porterhouse steaks that were 2″ – 2 1/2″ thick, so of course I went for the thickest (wouldn’t you?). The butcher thought I was crazy.  Turns out, he was right! And in looking at the picture above from the Food Network, there’s no way that’s a 2″ steak or bigger.

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A 2 1/2″ thick porterhouse is a huge steak at about 3 1/2 lbs. (each)
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We didn’t have a cast iron skillet that was big enough for both steaks, so we had to use two. Geez!

I gave up the idea of getting photos mid-recipe because it was a bit overwhelming; just suffice it to say that we had steak for days. Steak salad, steak quesadillas, steak burritos, steak tostadas and steak sandwiches. (Did I say it was a lotta steak?)

Well, Gentle Reader, in this Steak Week Odyssey, the steak sandwich was the best. Sautéed onions and jalapeños enhanced the flavor of the steak, and we dressed the sandwiches with ripe red tomato, fresh mint from our herb garden, and shreds of crisp raw cabbage, serving them on onion rolls. Double-Yum! Creating this Steak Sandwich for 2 recipe more than made up for the somewhat disappointing experience of the original steak dinner.

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It wasn’t just tasty, it was pretty!

Steak Sandwiches for Two

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb. of leftover steak, cut in very thin slices
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (I used part red and part yellow)
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, sliced (leaving in the ribs and seeds for the heat unless that doesn’t work for you)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded raw cabbage
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, sliced in ribbons
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 onion rolls
  • optional condiments of your choice – I used stone ground mustard

Cooking Instructions

In a medium skillet, sauté the sliced onions and jalapeños in the olive oil over medium high heat until they are soft. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  Heat the steak briefly to warm it without overcooking it; the microwave is fine for this. Try 1-2 minutes on half power. Assemble the sandwiches on warm onion rolls or other buns of your choice by starting with the steak on the bottom, adding freshly ground pepper, then the sautéed onions and jalapeños, then the tomatoes, cabbage and mint.


This sandwich was delightfully easy, with a very sophisticated taste. The crunch of the fresh cabbage and brightness of the mint were the perfect compliment to the juicy earthiness of the onions and steak. Pair it with potato salad and a quick black bean salad for an easy weeknight meal whenever you’re wondering what to do with leftover steak from the weekend’s barbecuing. Here’s a recipe for the black bean salad.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Sandwich Wednesday, Bavarian Bistro Series #1 – Der Red Baron

Hello friends!

Panini Time!If you’ve been following Glover Gardens, you know that Sandwich Wednesday is a thing. Ever since our blended family was established nigh on ten years ago, the Grill-Meister has been the Sandwich-Meister on Wednesdays. It might just be my favorite weekday.

A variety of bread-ensconced offerings have come my way on Sandwich Wednesday, and nary a one has disappointed. The Grill-Meister is great about taking requests, and I recently realized that I hadn’t experienced most of the sandwiches he used to produce at his restaurant, the Bavarian Bistro. This phase of his career was before my time, but I don’t want to miss out on the sandwichy goodness. The only Bavarian Bistro sandwich I had experienced to date was the U-Boat Sub, and it was worthy.

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The U-Boat, a perfect party presentation; click here for the recipe

So we decided that there should be a Bavarian Bistro series for Sandwich Wednesday, until I have experienced every sandwich. Lucky me! The Grill-Meister rooted around in his computer and dug up the 15-year-old menu, and let me pick.  The first one was:

Der Red Baron: A triple decker of real breast of turkey, lean corned beef, imported Swiss cheese, crisp lettuce, tomato, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing.

Yum!

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The Grill-Meister gets going with the Red Baron makings
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Der Red Baron: a big and beautiful sandwich

So there isn’t really a “recipe”; it is all assembly. The list below is ingredients without specific amounts.

Ingredients

  • Pumpernickel, dark rye or other sandwich bread of your choice, 3 slices per person
  • Thinly sliced turkey breast
  • Thinly sliced corned beef
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • Sauerkraut
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Sliced ripe tomatoes
  • Sauerkraut, room temperature or warmed
  • Thousand Island dressing, mustard, or other tangy condiment of your choice

Cooking Instructions

To assemble each Red Baron, slather a piece of bread with the condiment of your choice, then top with a Swiss cheese slice. Mound a generous amount of corned beef atop the cheese, then add another slice of bread. Repeat with another slice of Swiss cheese, a mound of turkey breast, and a generous dollop of sauerkraut.

Place the sandwich(es) on a panini press and cook on medium high until the bread is nicely toasted and the cheese is melted. (You can also cook in a skillet if you don’t have a panini press – press down on the sandwiches with a spatula to compress them.)

When the bread is toasty and the cheese is melted, remove the sandwiches from the heat. Open them up and add the lettuce and  tomato slices. Serve immediately, potentially with more of your preferred condiment on the side.

© 2018 Glover Gardens

 

Haiku: Homemade Soup (NaHaiWriMo)

I’ve been doing this National Haiku Writing Month thing now for a couple of weeks, and it will come to a close as February transitions into March. Today, I’m going to utilize the daily prompt from NaHaiWriMo: homemade soup. It’s a reference to a post from two years ago at around this time when some of my European colleagues made a fantastic soup at Glover Gardens during an open house for my team.

pot luck perfect
in-the-moment lentil soup
my colleagues rock

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The Europeans were the first to arrive and breezed into the kitchen with overflowing grocery bags, tons of energy, and a plan to create a homemade masterpiece. The ringleader is wearing the chef’s hat.

To read the whole story and check out their kick-butt (that’s a technical term) recipe for lentil soup, click here.

And if you want more soup recipes for a cold and rainy winter’s night, I’ve got a couple:

© 2018 Glover Gardens

Sandwich Wednesday: Pesto Mozzarella Paninis for Two

Another Wednesday, another sandwich! The Grill-Meister continues to kill it on Sandwich Wednesday; last week it was a vegetarian offering, a Pesto-Mozzarella Panini. The bright flavors of the pesto is perfectly balanced with the melty-creaminess of the fresh mozzarella and the righteous crunch of the toasted bread. Yum!

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This panini is very quick to pull together. The Grill-Meister gets everything prepped and then turns it into a do-it-yourself project, which means I can have exactly the right amounts of goodies on my sandwich. My recommendation is to go heavy on the pesto, because in this panini, it’s not just a condiment, it shares the main ingredient spotlight with the mozzarella.

The Panini Makings

  • Four slices of sourdough bread
  • 3/4 cup of pesto (the Grill-Meister makes a mint-basil pesto from one of our cookbooks, but you can use a good quality purchased one)
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella, in thick slices
  • 1 very ripe medium tomato, sliced
  • several slices of red onion, separated
  • salt (optional) and freshly cracked black pepper

Cooking Instructions

Slather pesto on both slices of bread, then top one with slices of mozzarella, tomatoes and onions. Add a liberal amount of freshly cracked black pepper. You may also want a bit of salt, unless your pesto is already just right, salt-wise. Top with the other slice of bread and cook in a panini maker on medium high until the bread is toasted, about 5-7 minutes. You can also cook this sandwich on the stove like a grilled cheese, for about 4 minutes on each side.

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A thick layer of pesto ensures maximum tastiness
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Next goes the mozzarella 
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Then the ripe tomatoes
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We like a lot of onion!
Liberal with the Pepper!
Don’t forget the pepper

Like it? You can find more Sandwich Wednesday recipes here.

I wonder what the Grill-Meister is going to make this week?

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens

 

 

Perfect for a Cold Winter’s Night: Smooth, Creamy, Wonderful Cauliflower Soup

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My parents’ cookbook, a wonderful legacy

Brrrrr! Extraordinary winter (for this area) continues here at Glover Gardens.  We’re breaking out the soups to warm up from the inside out. I’ve had a hankering to make an old classic from my parents’ cookbook, Cauliflower Soup.

I have great memories of making Cauliflower Soup with my Mom, of developing the recipe together, in fact, but when I looked back at the cookbook she created for my Dad’s real estate company years ago, that version was …  well … unenlightened.  Literally.  It had twice as much cream and half the chicken stock, plus extra butter. As an adult, I’ve been making a lighter version, although not lately, because the Grill-Meister is NOT A FAN of cooked cauliflower. He proclaims that he hates the cooked version of most vegetables, but I’ve been working on him for the decade we’ve been married and we’re starting to see that it is OVERCOOKED vegetables that he hates.

I had all the ingredients for Cauliflower Soup when Winter Storm Inga dropped in on us this week, so I took on the Grill-Meister’s cauliflower contempt as a challenge. This warming soup comes together quickly, so on Sunday afternoon I whipped it up and took him a small portion as a late afternoon snack / taste test (I was afraid to plan on it for dinner in case it got two thumbs down).

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Two ounces of yummy, creamy goodness, garnished with sour cream, nutmeg and green onions and ready for the Grill-Meister’s taste test

He liked it! He told me to be sure and mention that he was a cauliflower hater so you’d understand the significance of his appreciation.  The Grill-Meister’s biggest compliment (in his opinion) was: “It doesn’t even taste like cauliflower!” We had cups of this creamy goodness for dinner the next night with a simple green salad, and I’m pretty sure he had two servings.

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Our warm cups of Cauliflower Soup; “Mema” rolls are the perfect accompaniment

So, now that I have the Grill-Meister’s Seal of Approval, I’m sharing this recipe with you.  Cauliflower Soup is easy and quick, warm and comforting, and yet surprisingly elegant. You can serve it in shot glasses as a fun party appetizer, as a first course for a fancy meal, or paired with a salad and crusty bread for a quick weeknight supper. It can be produced as a vegetarian soup with the substitution of vegetable broth for the chicken stock, and vegan if you do that and also use coconut or almond milk instead of the cream / half ‘n’ half.

Cauliflower Soup (serves 6-8)

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, washed and separated into florets
  • 1 bunch of green onions (about 8), chopped into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3-4 cups of chicken stock, preferably homemade (enough to cover the cauliflower
  • and onions in the saucepan but not more)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream (substitute half ‘n’ half for part or all of the cream for a lighter version)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated, if possible
  • Optional garnishes (you can mix and match)
    • sour cream (dollop)
    • pesto (swirl)
    • green onions, thinly sliced
    • chopped parsley
    • toasted nuts, chopped
    • more nutmeg

Cooking Instructions

Combine the cauliflower, shallot, green onions and chicken stock in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a good simmer for 10 minutes or more, until cauliflower is soft. Remove from the stove, transfer to a blender and purée. You can also use an immersion blender. Be very, very careful with the hot mixture and make sure the lid to your blender is on tight.  The purée should be as smooth as possible.

Place the purée back in the saucepan over medium heat and stir in the cream or half ‘n’ half. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to medium low, cooking at a gently simmer until thickened as desired, for 5 minutes or more.  While it is simmering, add the minimum amounts of salt, white pepper and nutmeg, then taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Serve hot, garnished (see options above).  My minimum garnishes for this lovely and comforting soup are a generous dollop of sour cream, some green onions for crunch, and a dusting of nutmeg.

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The vegetables ready to be boiled
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Barely cover the vegetables with the stock
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Cook until the cauliflower is soft
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Puree until smooth
Add the Cream
Put back on the heat and add the cream (I used part cream and part half ‘n’ half, since it wasn’t a holiday)
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After the cream, the soup thickens nicely
Adding the Nutmeg to Cauliflower Soup
Add the nutmeg; freshly grated is best
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Rich and satisfying, this soup is a winter winner

References

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

 

 

 

Sandwich Wednesday: The Grill-Meister’s Tuna Steak BLT Panini (the TBLT)

As I’ve said before, Sandwich Wednesday is a thing here at Glover Gardens.  The Grill-Meister breaks out the panini maker for the midweek supper and delivers deliciousness between two slices of grill-marked bread. Read more about it here.

A recent delight was what he calls the TBLT, grilled tuna steaks nestled in a panini with the traditional BLT ingredients plus red onion and a spicy condiment. Oh yes, this was a wonderful winter Wednesday!

Since we are empty-nesters now, this recipe is for two; you can multiply it if you have a larger crowd.  It saves time and is fun if you let everyone assemble their own.  The Grill-Meister does that and I always have exactly the right amount of each accoutrement on my panini. 

Tuna Steak BLT Panini for Two

Ingredients

  • Two tuna steaks, at least 4 oz. each
  • Your favorite spice mix (we use our Everything Rub or Zippy Southwest)
  • Two tsp olive oil
  • Four slices of sourdough or your other favorite panini bread
  • Butter or olive oil
  • A spicy condiment – your choice!
  • Four slices of thick bacon, cooked the way you like (extra crispy for me!)
  • One medium tomato, sliced
  • Two more big leaves of romaine lettuce
  • Salt and pepper

Cooking Instructions

Gather all ingredients and prepare to assemble them for the paninis.

Pat the spice mix all over the tuna steaks.  Preheat a nonstick pan on high heat with 2 tsp olive oil, then add the tuna steaks and cook for about 2 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and set aside. (You could also grill the tuna steaks; just be sure not to overcook them.)

Preheat a panini maker to medium.  Spread the four pieces of bread with butter on one side or brush with olive oil and turn over.  Spread your condiment of choice on the inside of the bread, then layer one side with the onion, bacon slices (2 each) and tuna steaks and top with the second slice of bread. Put the sandwiches on the panini maker, close the lid and cook until the bread is nicely toasted, about 7-10 minutes.

When the sandwiches are toasty and warm, with beautiful grill marks, remove from the panini maker. Open them up and add the tomatoes, then salt and freshly ground pepper, and then the romaine. Replace the top piece of bread and serve.

Note: you can steer the flavor profile of your panini with the condiment – we used Pain Train Green Salsa (from our local farmer’s market) the last time the Grill-Meister produced this scrumptious sandwich, but you could substitute a spicy mustard, a pepper jelly, an herb mayonnaise or some other wonderful condiment. Or just go whole hog and use soft, spreadable Boursin cheese – yum!

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Sear the tuna steaks in a hot pan
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Turn and sear for a couple more minutes
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Have all the ingredients ready before searing the tuna
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Condiments and onions go first
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Layer the tuna and bacon atop the onions
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Give the sandwiches long enough in the panini to get a good crust
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Open the paninis for the crisp, fresh garnishes
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First the tomatoes (we like a LOTTA tomato!), which is a good point to add the salt and pepper
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Then the crispy romaine
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And voila! you have a beautiful TBLT panini

More Panini Intel

For more about Sandwich Wednesday and the Grill-Meister’s perfect paninis, and methods check out:

fullsizeoutput_201aIt’s a Family Thing

One of my beloved nieces has a panini maker now (a gift from the Grill-Meister and me), and sent me this photo of a recent success.  I suspect I’ll be posting her delectable panini achievements and recipes as time goes by.

(Especially if y’all encourage her! Isn’t this photo enticing?)

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens

Chili for a Chilly Night!

I’m leaving, on a jet plane…🎶

The Grill-Meister will be managing Glover Gardens solo while I’m traveling for a week, starting tomorrow. But I like to leave everything in good shape, so I whipped up a big ol’ batch of Glover Gardens Chili tonight. The Grill-Meister will not go hungry!

It has been really cold here (cold for Southeast Texas, at least) – dipping into the low 20s at night. Brrrrrr!  We even had snow here a couple of weeks ago! Glover Gardens looks like it has been dusted with powdered sugar everywhere.

In this “extreme cold,” a big bowl of  this bean-laden chili warms you right up, from the inside out, especially with its mix of fresh chili peppers.

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Tonight’s “bowl of red,” topped with grated cheese, chopped white onion and a bit of avocdo
Glover Gardens Chili
My original photo of Glover Gardens chili; I must have had time to style the photo…

Click here for the recipe for Glover Gardens Chili, and stay warm!

Copyright 2018, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Comfort Food Alert: Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread

A friend posted a picture of his Mom’s Mexican cornbread on Facebook, and started something. Dave’s peeps (including me) took notice of this good-lookin’ comfort food, with loads of comments, like:

That looks heavenly ~ I’ll be right over ~ Can almost smell it from here ~ Moms make the best food because they really don’t want us to move out!

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Doesn’t that meat-studded cornbread in a cast-iron skillet just call out: “Comfort Food! You need this now!” photo credit to Dave Smith

So of course I begged for the recipe. And lucky for all of us, Dave’s Mom shared! We decided on Mary’s Mexican Cornbread as its moniker. But now that I’ve made it, I’ve changed it to Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread. Why? Well, I’ve had lots of really good Mexican cornbread in my day, but never one with meat in it. The ground beef is added as a filling between two layers of jazzed-up cornbread batter.  This adds a welcome heartiness, kicks it up a notch on the comfort food scale, and elevates the dish to a main course that’s easy and quick enough to make on a weeknight.

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See the layers in the finished dish?

The meat layer in the middle sinks into the bottom layer of the cornbread and creates a strata with different textures from the bottom to the top; the result is almost like a tamale pie. In fact, you could substitute masa for the cornmeal and it would be very close to a tamale pie. The dish is so filling that all you need to finish out your dinner plan is some fruit or a quick salad.

Note: I made two minor additions to the recipe. First, I preheated the cast iron skillet; I learned to do that years ago from the back of a cornbread mix package. The preheating gives the cornbread a really brown crust, and we like that here at Glover Gardens. The second minor change was to use a bit of chorizo with the ground beef (this got the Grill-Meister really interested).

There are lots of other things you could do with this marvelous recipe – use fresh corn shaved off the cob instead of creamed corn, use canned green chilis or poblanos instead of (or in addition to) the jalapeños, or go a different direction with the peppers and use canned chipotle chilis, or substitute diced pork or venison for the ground beef…but don’t get me wrong, folks, this recipe is just right as-is. And trust me, it is so easy, so good and so versatile, you might just want to make two while you’re at it. As you’ll note at the bottom of this post, there are lots of other ways to serve Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread, and you’ll wish you had leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 ½ lbs. of hamburger meat (or a mix of 2/3 hamburger and 1/3 chorizo)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped Vidalia or 1015 onions
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 can cream corn (14.75 oz.)
  • 4 chopped jalapeños peppers (take out seeds and ribs if you want mild)

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Optionally, put a 10″ or 12″ cast-iron skillet into the oven once it is preheated, and let it get really hot while you’re assembling the rest of the ingredients (don’t grease it until after you preheat it). Otherwise, spray a 9 x 12 baking pan (glass or metal) with cooking spray and set aside.

Fry the hamburger meat (and chorizo, if you’re using it), drain, and set aside. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil and milk and stir well. Add the chopped onion, grated cheese,  chopped jalapeños and creamed corn and stir until just blended. If you’ve preheated your cast iron skillet, pull it out of the oven and spray generously with cooking spray.  Pour half of the cornbread batter into your greased pan or iron skillet and spread it out smoothly, then sprinkle the meat evenly on top. Pour the rest of the cornbread batter on top of the meat, spreading it evenly. Bake in the oven at 400° until brown, about 40 minutes. Serve hot.


 

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Goodies are added to the cornbread batter which jazz it up
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The batter, with the goodies mixed in
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Pour half of the cornbread batter in the hot skillet first, then sprinkle the meat evenly before pouring the rest of the batter on top
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Use a spatula to spread the top layer evenly
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This looks just like the picture Dave posted of his Mom’s cornbread!
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This recipe is so yummy! and would be good with sangria

The Grill-Meister is a big of Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread, and had some great ideas about other ways to serve it. How about topping it with some of my Glover Gardens Chili? Brilliant! It made a great one-dish lunch.

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The flavors of the chili and cornbread are complimentary but different, and jalapeños added a nice kick

Or how about transforming this into Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread Breakfast, with a fried egg? Double brilliant!

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Mary’s Magical Mexican Cornbread rocks a fried egg for a quick brunch dish with some refried beans on the side

Try this rockin’ recipe, and let me know what you think. I’ll be sure to pass your compliments along to Dave and Mary.

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook (except the original recipe, which belongs to Mary)