Glover Gardens “Everything Rub” – Make It Now and Keep It On Hand for … Everything!

Honey-Chipotle Ribs with Chipotle-Fennel SlawI created a spice rub for ribs way back in the spring when I got brave and decided to tackle that venerable barbecue staple (read about them here). They turned out!  I’ve made them several more times and always have a little of the rub left over. I’ve started using it on other dishes, and wow, it is very versatile! A couple of nights ago, it made grilled ahi tuna steaks roar with flavor, and last night, it dressed up simple baked acorn squash. This was an epic accomplishment, because the Grill-Meister, who is not a fan of squash, had two portions!

I’m going to start making up batches of this all-purpose rub for holiday gifts – it’s that good! Spicy from the ground ancho chili peppers and the one-two punch of black and white pepper, slightly sweet from the brown sugar, southwest-tasting from the cumin and rounded out by the touch of nutmeg and coarse sea salt, this rub is a winner! Here are some other uses for Glover Gardens Everything Rub (or any good meat rub that you really love):

  • Mix with a little olive oil, then toss with vegetables before grilling them (think thick slices of onion, rings of bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, corn on the cob – yum!)
  • Toss with Brussels sprouts and olive oil, then roast them in the oven
  • Dust onto thick rings of pineapple, then grill or broil them
  • Season chicken wings
  • Mix with sour cream or cream cheese for a quick dip or spread
  • Spice up pimento cheese
  • Mix with olive oil and walnuts or pecans, then toast them
  • Sprinkle on bacon as it’s cooking to kick it up a notch
  • Mix with ground beef, eggs and some diced onions for a quick meatloaf
  • Toss with olive oil, chopped red onion and halved cherry tomatoes for a quick salad, or mix with oil and cider vinegar for a salad dressing
  • Mix with a stick of softened butter and then chill in a pretty dish for a spicy seasoned butter you can serve with bread or rolls
  • Use as a seasoning for eggplant, as my blogger friend the Pleasant Peasant did
  • And of course, as a dry rub on steaks, pork tenderloin or chops, chicken breasts, or even turkey

Glover Gardens Everything Rub

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This is the brand of ancho chile I use
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp ancho or chipotle chilé powder (use paprika if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a small mixing bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients.

Store in an airtight container for up to six months (although it won’t last that long!)

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If you make a batch, let me know what you do with it!

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Chipotle Chicken Salad

I first tasted Chipotle Chicken Salad on a multi-family road trip to the Rio Frio area of West Texas.  It was a marvelous concoction by my friend Theresa on her day to make lunch for the crowd. I never got her recipe, and she is cooking with the angels now.  I miss her every day.  But I devised my own recipe based on that taste memory, and it’s pretty darn good.  It’s also very easy, and quick. I made it recently as an appetizer for a football-watching party and aw, shucks, there was abundant praise.  This recipe is as foodie-worthy as it is appropriate for a tailgate party.  Hmmm, there’s a big game coming up…

 

Chipotle Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chicken, white and dark meat, skin off, roughly chopped (one regular-sized rotisserie chicken should yield about 3 cups when deboned)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (red, white or yellow based on your preference or mood)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup jalapeño jack or jalapeño cheddar cheese
  • 1 minced chipotle chile and 1 1/2 tbsp. of the adobo sauce (from a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can of mild green chiles (4 oz.)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ancho chile pepper (ground)
  • bread, rolls or crackers for serving, or you can put it on a bed of mixed greens
  • pepper jelly spread (optional), if you make little slider sandwiches
  • chopped cilantro for garnishing

Cooking Instructions

Combine the chicken, onion, cilantro and cheese in a medium bowl and toss.  In a small bowl, mix the chipotle and adobo sauce, yogurt, mayonnaise, green chiles, salt and ancho chile powder, then pour over the chicken combination.  Stir well to mix, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.  You can also add more mayo or yogurt if the mixture is too dry.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with crackers, slider rolls or on a bed of mixed greens.  Pepper jelly is a great condiment; I like the Inferno Sauce from Just Pure Flavors, a regular at our local farmers’ market.

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I took this batch to a football playoff party and let the guests make their own sliders
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We donated the (scant) leftovers of the first batch to the gracious party hosts, and were so sad to leave it behind that I made some more for us the very next weekend

About the Ingredients

I use a rotisserie chicken for this recipe, both the white and dark meat, which provides a broader range of taste and texture than just using chicken breast.

I go back and forth between using red, white or yellow onions – they are all good for their own reasons.  Red onions are apropos in Southwest dishes, and pretty.  Yellow onions are sweet and mellow.  White onions are crunchy, sharper and more pungent.  It’s all dependent upon your onion mood.

The Greek yogurt really gives the chicken salad a tart and tangy taste, while the mayo provides a sweet creaminess.  I like using them together for the balance.  You can use nonfat yogurt and light mayonnaise without impacting the taste, in my humble opinion.

If you have never used chipotle chies, it’s easy.  Just pop open the can and use the amount you need, saving the rest for later.  For this recipe, fish out a whole chipotle pepper, then mush your measuring spoon in the adobo sauce to get the 1 1/2 tbsp. you need.

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I like McCormick’s Ancho Chile Pepper for the dried spice-it-up kick.  If you can’t find it, cayenne will do, but it won’t be as multidimensional, taste-wise.

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As the “delivery device” for serving the Chipotle Chicken Salad, I used King’s Hawaiian Rolls this time, both jalapeño and regular-flavored, and of course the jalapeño ones went first – bring on the spice!  The slider-sized sandwiches are just right for a hearty party like the football-watching event we attended.  160212-jalapeno-rolls-framed-w-pkg-300x300

Wheat Thins or water crackers are also a great delivery device, more appropriate for snacking or an appetizer for a cocktail party.

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Creamy Jalapeño Dip, AKA Stephanie’s Green Dip – Great for Game Day

My colleague and friend Stephanie makes the most marvelous dip, and we pester her to bring a batch to us at least monthly.  It’s ‘formal’ name is Creamy Jalapeño Dip, but we mostly refer to it as Green Dip.  And sometimes, Crack Dip (because it’s addictive).  It’s that good!

Stephanie brings a big ol’ batch of Green Dip to work with a couple of giant bags of tortilla chips and some veggie dippers, puts it all out in a common area, and backs away slowly: then we attack it like we’ve been starved for months.

Stephanie makes the Green Dip / Crack Dip with her son Josh, and together, they won the dip category of our Halloween Dips and Desserts competition at work, a bit of team-building fun we had together last month.  Our contest was patterned after the Food Network’s show Chopped, and yours truly was a judge.  Fun!

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The award-winning Green Dip in our Halloween Chopped-style competition

A self-described “Team Mom, Stephanie is generous with her time and her Green Dip, and has provided the recipe so that I can share it with all of you.  It is PERFECT for a post-Thanksgiving football weekend (add it to your tailgate party!), and great on a turkey sandwich.  In fact, there are tons of ways you can use this dip – see the list at the end of the post.

Stephanie was the food stylist for this post, providing the photo below.  I think she might need to be a guest blogger in the Glover Gardens Cookbook!

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The “official” photo for the Green Dip

Creamy Jalapeno Dip, AKA Stephanie’s Green Dip

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1-oz. packet of ranch dressing mix
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (mild or hot, depending on your taste)
  • 2-4 fresh jalapenos (depends on pepper size and desired heat), cut into pieces; remove and save seeds and spines
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, pulled off of stems
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 pinches cumin

Cooking Instructions

Throw all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth.  Add jalapeno seeds and spines to increase heat as desired. Serve as an appetizer with chips or fresh veggies.

And there’s more…

The best thing about the Green Dip is using the leftovers.  It will keep for about 10 days in the fridge, which is good, because this recipe makes a large batch.  Since Stephanie started gifting us with this dip (including once as a get-well gift after a hospitalization), I have used it in various and delightful ways:

  • As a spread for a turkey sandwich, chicken breast sandwich, or just about any sandwich (think Green Dip BLT)
  • Whipped into leftover mashed potatoes for a whole new take on them
  • In scrambled eggs, before scrambling – a couple of tablespoons provides a creamy richness, and just the right bit of spice
  • Swirled into creamed corn
  • As a condiment on fish tacos, shrimp tacos, any tacos, fajitas
  • Tossed with chopped chicken breast and minced red onions for a quick chicken salad
  • As a dip for boiled shrimp in place of – or addition to – cocktail sauce or remoulade
  • As a salad dressing – it’s great with romaine and crisp, brightly colored bell peppers
  • As a base for a Southwest-style white pizza
  • In potato salad, as the creamy base
  • Swirled into or dolloped on top of a vegetable soup like my Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with a Hint of Cumin
  • As a spread for my Tuna or Salmon Burgers
  • In place of mayo, plain yogurt or sour cream in a variety of other uses

The final say…

There are tons of recipes for dips like this out there on the internet, but Stephanie’s is The BOMB.  It’s the only version of a creamy jalapeño dip I need, because she and her son Josh have fine-tuned this recipe over the years they’ve been making it.  Trust me on this.

Thank you, Stephanie!

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with a Hint of Cumin

It’s fall!  Our local farmers’ market is laden with seasonal vegetables, and I picked up a nice medium-sized butternut squash with the intent to create a soup that even the vegetable-hating Grill-Meister would eat.  (I love the challenge presented by his picky taste buds!)  butternut-squash

If the soup turned out well, it would be a candidate for Thanksgiving and / or Christmas dinner.

I baked the squash first, with some whole garlic cloves and small boiling onions.  Then I puréed it with the garlic and onions and started adding stuff, tasting after every addition and stopping just when it was juuuuuust right.  I was really happy with it, and the Grill-Meister ate it two nights in a row.  Success!

The spices I used were simple:  nutmeg, white pepper, salt and cumin.  They were a perfect complement to the richness of the squash and the heavy cream.  With its hint of cumin, the finished product tastes slightly Southwestern, and I garnished it with a swirl of jalapeño-flavored olive oil and a handful of cilantro.  You could just as easily go with a plain olive oil and Italian parsley, or even mint.  Or get fancy with the garnish – I just saw a recipe that garnished butternut squash soup with chopped, crispy bacon.  Yum!

This creamy soup was a great main course the first time we had it, and worked really well in a soup and sandwich combo the next night.  And it definitely qualifies for a holiday meal.  We’re thinking of serving it as “soup shots” with an aperitif for Christmas dinner.

Ingredients (Serves 4 as a main course, 8 as a first course)

  • One medium/small butternut squash
  • 5 whole cloves of garlic, skins on
  • 4 small boiling onions, peeled and halved, or one small white onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (for the squash)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chicken stock / broth (or vegetable stock if you want a vegetarian soup – but not water)
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Olive oil for drizzling (I like to use jalapeño-flavored oil)
  • Chopped cilantro (can substitute parsley, mint or other fresh herbs)

Note: like people, squash come in all different sizes, and the ingredient ratios in this recipe were perfect for my individual squash. Have some extra heavy cream and chicken or vegetable stock on hand in case your squash requires a bit more liquid, and be ready to adjust the seasonings.

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the squash in half longwise and remove the seeds.  Cut in half again longwise.  Place cut side up in an ovenproof casserole dish, and then arrange the garlic and onion around the squash.  Drizzle olive oil over the squash, garlic and onions, then season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Pour water into the casserole dish and place in the oven.  Bake for about 40 minutes until you can pierce the squash easily with a fork, but before it is completely mushy.  Remove from oven, cover with foil and let cool slowly.  (This step can be done up to 3 days ahead of time; refrigerate until you are ready to finish the soup.)

Remove the skins from the garlic.  Use a spoon to scoop the squash out of its skin and place in a blender or food processor along with the baked onion and garlic and puree until very smooth.  Add all other ingredients and blend again until well mixed.

Transfer the soup to a saucepan on the stove and heat over medium/low heat for about 15 minutes; it will thicken slightly.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

Serve hot; drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cilantro.

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After baking
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Pureed squash, garlic and onions
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After the addition of stock and cream
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Heat thoroughly
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The result is creamy, comforting cool-weather soup (my presentation is a bit crude here, but I was in a hurry to get to the eating part!)

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Avocado and Arugula Tostadas

Avocado and Arugula Tostadas are a quick and easy dish you can throw together in these long, hot days of summer.

These vegetarian tostadas are very satisfying and also quite versatile.

I like to serve them as a combination salad / vegetable / starch alongside one of my Southwest soups, but you can add chopped chicken, pork, steak or even tofu before the broiling step (under the cheese) to elevate it to a main course. They can also be served as a first course.  The tostadas are already high in fiber and low in saturated fat, but you can make them even healthier by using no-fat refried beans. You can also shorten the cooking and assembly time by using pre-crisped corn tortillas and packaged shredded cheese.

Ingredients

  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup homemade or 1/2 can refried beans
  • 4 oz. grated cotija or Jack cheese
  • 2 cups arugula
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • Optional additional garnishes:  Pico de Gallo, pickled jalapeños, sour cream

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray and arrange tortillas on it in a single layer. Bake for about 5 minutes, checking often, then turn the tortillas over and bake until toasted and crunchy, about 3-5 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside, leaving the heat on.

Whisk the lime juice, vinegar, olive oil and cilantro in a bowl large enough to hold the arugula, then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Heat the refried beans in a small dish in the microwave, then spread a generous amount on each tortilla and top with the grated cheese.

Return the tortillas to the oven and increase the heat to broil, cooking for about 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Meanwhile, toss the arugula with the lime/cilantro vinaigrette. After removing from the oven, top the tostada with the arugula salad, then avocados, and serve with Pico de Gallo, pickled jalapeños and sour cream on the side.

Avocado and Arugula Tostadas
Avocado and Arugula Tostadas are satisfying and pretty

Copyright Glover Gardens Cookbook, 2016

What’s in a Name? Turkey Cevap on a Pita

Turkey Cevap by the Pool
Turkey Cevap is as appealing as it is tasty.

It Started with the Lamb Patties from Epicurious

I found a recipe recently for grilled Middle Eastern lamb patties, which I shared with you here.  They were really good, and I started wondering if the really-goodness was about the ground lamb, or if it was the spices and preparation.  So I started experimenting and concocted a turkey version that we like even better.  More Southwestern than Middle Eastern, these grilled turkey patties pack a wallop of fiery flavors and are nestled in a soft pita with bright, fresh garnishes and a cooling avocado-yogurt sauce.

We loved them so much that I made them three times in two weeks.  They’re that good.

What’s in a Name?

I struggled with what to name this recipe, though.  “Patties” just didn’t sound right to me – that word is synonymous with burgers and their customary round shape.  My ground turkey delights, like the predecessor lamb version, are shaped like a fat cigar, a short sausage or a lumpy hot dog.  What to call them???  Kebabs?  No, because kebab signifies a skewer.  Sausages? Dogs?  Not quite right.

Cafe Pita Introduced Us to Cevap

The Grill-Meister rose to the naming challenge and came up with the winner, Turkey Cevap.  Brilliant!  We first learned of cevap when we found a marvelous Bosnian restaurant in Houston a few years ago.  It had been featured on the TV Food Network’s show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and the host Guy Fieri was a big fan.

Cevap at Cafe Pita
Beef cevap sandwich on lepinja bread at Cafe Pita; photo from their web site.

The dish that wowed Guy, the Grill-Meister and I was the beef cevap on lepinja bread. The Cafe Pita segment is worth watching. Cafe Pita is worth a visit, too, if you are in Houston.  Yum!

The Grill-Meister was right.  Cevap is the right name for our little turkey pieces, although the traditional minced or ground meats are beef, lamb or pork.  Click here to read about the history of cevap, or cevapi, which has its roots in the Ottoman Empire (1300s) and is considered the national dish of Bosnia.  I like to think that our turkey version honors those roots, with a Glover Gardens twist.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

Cevap

  • 3 lbs ground turkey (relatively lean is best)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, pressed (use more if you are mincing; the garlic is important)
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried chili pepper or cayenne (if you like it spicy like we do; if not use 1 teaspoon the first time you make it, then ratchet it up)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, about 1/2 cup

Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 5 large mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup lowfat plain greek yogurt
  • salt to taste

12 whole wheat or white pita breads

Garnishes: chopped or torn mint, cilantro, sliced fresh jalapeño, red onion, halved grape tomatoes

Cooking Instructions

Turkey Cevap Before Grilling
Shape the cevap into 4-5 inch long fat cigars

Mix together the salt and spices for the cevap in a small bowl, then add to the ground turkey in a large bowl along with the garlic and cilantro, and mix with your hands.  Shape into 12 sausage-shaped patties, about 4-5 inches long.

Refrigerate the sausages for 30 minutes while the grill is heating up.

To make the avocado sauce, blend all ingredients except the salt in a mini-processor or blender briefly, then add salt to taste.  You can also just mash the avocado and combine with the other ingredients in a bowl if you a prefer a sauce that is chunky rather than smooth.

Grill the cevap sausages until they are done, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove and cover with foil.  Briefly grill the pita to warm it, then serve the cevap on the pita with the garnishes and sauce.

 

Turkey Cevap Plated
With its bright and flavorful garnishes of mint, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, tomato and creamy avocado yogurt sauce, the cevap is almost one-dish meal – all four major food groups are represented.

I can’t emphasize enough how quick, easy and absolutely stellar this dish is – absolutely perfect for summer outdoor entertaining when you want to spend more time chatting with your guests than preparing and serving the meal.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook