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98 posts categorized "10) Picnics, Barbecues & Grills"

05/20/2016

~ Thai-Style Chicken or Pork Satay w/Peanut Sauce~

Get out the turmeric and attire yourself in something you don't mind discarding because we're making satay today. If your manicure is French, put on a pair of latex gloves too. Why? Because, in case you don't know, turmeric (TER-muh-rihk), that earthy-colored, pleasantly-fragrant powdered-spice (that rarely gets used in American cooking) will permanently paint your world a vivid yellow-orange. Made from grinding the rhizome root of the curcumin plant and a close relative of ginger, it's a prime ingredient in curry and mustard powders, and, it's used to give many of the rice dishes, soups and sauces of Indonesia, Malaysia,...... View full recipe for "~ Thai-Style Chicken or Pork Satay w/Peanut Sauce~"

05/17/2016

~ Cold 'Chicken Noodle Salad' w/Thai Peanut Sauce~

Planes, trains and automobiles. I get my inspiration for recipes in the darndest places. In the Summer of 1986, there was a day trip from San Diego to Tijuana in a rental car on our agenda. I ordered a Baja Fish Taco at a taco stand as a snack to eat en route -- I wish I'd ordered six. In the Winter of 1990, there was a train ride from England to Wales. I ordered the Cottage Beef Pie for dinner -- I licked the casserole clean. In the Spring of 1993, on a flight from Taipei to Tokyo, a...... View full recipe for "~ Cold 'Chicken Noodle Salad' w/Thai Peanut Sauce~"

04/22/2016

~Stick It: Sweet & Sour Shrimp & Pineapple Kabobs~

Everyone loves to eat food on a stick. Hot, cold, raw or cooked, it's pre-portioned, super-easy to serve, and, it's portable too. Just take a walk around the world. Food-on-a-stick is street food, and, everyone eating it has a happy look on their face. When it comes to grilled food on a stick, I think people get a spring in their step. Be it thin pieces of meat threaded onto a skewer or bite-sized chunks of meat, vegetables and/or fruit all in a row, folks will stand in line for a kabob. It's been going on for centuries. "Kabbaba" is...... View full recipe for "~Stick It: Sweet & Sour Shrimp & Pineapple Kabobs~"

03/21/2016

~It's Not Easy Being Green: Me & Creamed Spinach~

"Why can't you be more like your friend Melanie?", said the mothers of many of my childhood friends. A long, long time ago, middle-class mothers all cooked, and, when you were invited to a friend's house after school, it was common practice to be asked to stay for the evening meal. Those were hospitable times, and, that was my life during the 1960's (age 5 thru 14). If you are old enough to remember June Cleaver, Margaret Anderson and Donna Stone (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best and Donna Reed), the image of each of those TV moms serving...... View full recipe for "~It's Not Easy Being Green: Me & Creamed Spinach~ "

01/27/2016

~ The NYC Pushcart Onions & Sauerkraut Hot Dog ~

Hot dogs -- one of my favorite subjects. I relish eating them, never tire of discussing them, and, whenever we travel, if our destination is known for a style of hot dog, it's one of the things I make a point of eating while I'm there. The New York-style hot dog is one I've not chatted with you about yet. That said, had I not had advance, concise, clarification of what "dirty-water-dog" means (the affectionate but unappealing nickname New Yorkers have given their dogs), cuing up in line at the closest pushcart would not have happened and I wouldn't be...... View full recipe for "~ The NYC Pushcart Onions & Sauerkraut Hot Dog ~"

01/02/2016

~ Chimichurri: The Sauce Steak Can't Live Without ~

The first time I ate steak with chimichurri sauce drizzled over it I was in my latter twenties and in a Houston steak house. It was amazing -- the steak too. I remember odd foodie facts like this because I tagged along on many of Joe's many business trips during the 1980's and '90's. On this one, our only trip ever to Houston, we ate in a steak house one night and a fish market the next. Sometimes, the secret really is in the sauce, and, chimichurri is one such example. This bright-green, herb-driven condiment, similar in appearance to Italian...... View full recipe for "~ Chimichurri: The Sauce Steak Can't Live Without ~"

09/26/2015

~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~

Coleslaw, one word, or, cole slaw, two words. It's a humble side-dish. It doesn't pretend to be flashy. It just sits in its bowl, patiently waiting for someone to take a scoop. What's sad is the quotes and jokes that get made about coleslaw, which, in my opinion are 100% unwarranted. When it's properly prepared, and correctly paired with the right entree, it is the master of crunchy cabbage goodness. It amps up the volume, of many meals, from ordinary to extraordinary. A bit about coleslaw: The words "cole" "slaw" come from the Dutch word "koolsla", meaning: "cold" "salad". Coleslaw...... View full recipe for "~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~"

09/22/2015

~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~

For those who home cook more than their fair share of Tex/Mex fare, you likely have your pico de gallo recipe committed to memory -- I do. You also know that pico de gallo is much more than a condiment to dip tortilla chips into or plop on your tacos. In my kitchen it's a tasty topper for grilled or broiled chicken and fish, it's great on thinly-sliced flank, skirt or flat-iron steaks, and, a spoonful on fried, poached or scrambled eggs in the AM will change your outlook of the day ahead. Here in Central PA, my garden is...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~"

09/17/2015

~ Hot Diggity Dog: New Jersey's Italian Hot Dogs +: Mel's Version of the NJ 'Pizza Bread' Hot Dog Roll ~

I think I was a hot dog in a past life -- that's how much I love hot dogs. If that is true, I was a Jerzey Girl in a past life, because, New Jersey is hot dog heaven. If a hot dog can make it there, it can make it anywhere. There are more hot dog stands, carts and trucks there than anywhere on this planet -- and I mean anywhere. I've heard NJ referred to as "the cradle of hot dog civilization", which pretty much sums up the hot dog universe as I know it. That said, I...... View full recipe for "~ Hot Diggity Dog: New Jersey's Italian Hot Dogs +: Mel's Version of the NJ 'Pizza Bread' Hot Dog Roll ~"

08/25/2015

~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~

"I could have had a V-8." If you've ever leisurely sipped on a chilled glass of traditional gazpacho you wouldn't say that, even in jest. It is the ultimate vegetable smoothie. Here in my Happy Valley kitchen, me making gazpacho is a sure sign that Fall is around the corner. Our vegetable garden is producing almost more stuff than I can use efficiently. Gazpacho is a bright, refreshing, cool way for me to put a bounty of produce to a delicious use. Gazpacho is quite easy to make, but if you're under the impression it's as simple as throwing some...... View full recipe for "~ My Traditional Gazpacho: Fresh from Our Garden ~"

07/19/2015

~ Sweet and Savory K.C.-Style Cherry BBQ Sauce ~

I'm a huge fan of real-deal barbecue, and, I'm well-acquainted with most of the conventional, regional styles too: North and South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee (Memphis), Missouri (St. Louis and Kansas City). That said, I neither pretend to be nor want to be 'a player' in this particular sport. I'm merely in awe of the people I know who have mastered and excel at its preparation. My participation is happily limited to being a free-thinking, cocktail drinking, fair-weather fan. I'm content to stand on the sidelines, watch intently and learn -- independent of the ever-present, my-way-or-the-highway, holier-than-thou: barbecue police. I...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet and Savory K.C.-Style Cherry BBQ Sauce ~"

07/15/2015

~ Butter-Browned & Broiled BBQ'd Chicken Thighs ~

Real-deal outdoor-grilled chicken, the bone-in kind, juicy on the inside with crispy skin on the outside, all slathered in sweet and savory barbecue sauce, served with a crisp green salad full of garden-ripe tomatoes and a cob of in-season sweet corn -- this is perhaps my favorite Summertime meal. I fantasize about it -- I don't care who grills it, if I'm invited, I'm showing up. The bar I've set for my ideal grilled chicken with barbecue sauce is high, but make no mistake, I'm completely capable of making a perfectly-good version under less than ideal circumstances -- indoors. In...... View full recipe for "~ Butter-Browned & Broiled BBQ'd Chicken Thighs ~"

07/12/2015

~ Sweet Treats: Sour-Cherry-Pie Cookie Squares ~

When it comes to cherry desserts, these sweet little easy-to-make cherry treats hold their own amongst the heavy hitters. I can't lie either, this is not an original recipe of mine, it is my amped-up version of one that came straight from the pages of Taste of Home magazine, which, as most home cooks know, is one of a handful of reliable sources for good-tasting, easy-to-make, family-friendly, kitchen-tested recipes made from readily-available or on-hand ingredients. When it comes to baking fruit pies, tarts and galettes, with few exceptions, I never consider using pre-cooked, store-bought, canned pie filling (which is what...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Treats: Sour-Cherry-Pie Cookie Squares ~"

07/02/2015

~ Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup (Hideg Meggyleves) ~

In my opinion, sour cherries are one of the most regal, refined fruits you will ever eat. My grandmother simply referred to these ruby-red jewels as "pie cherries", but, if you are on a quest to purchase them, they are sometimes marketed as "tart cherries". Joe and I live at a high elevation here in Central Pennsylvania, which I have come to learn is ideal for them, which is why our tree thrives, and thrives, and thrives. That said, even in this ideal environment, the sour cherry season is quite brief, with the cherries being ready to pick at the...... View full recipe for "~ Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup (Hideg Meggyleves) ~"

06/26/2015

~ GrandMa's Incredible Edible Classic Deviled Egg ~

We grandmothers of today are much different than the grandmothers of past generations. I know. I've been GrandMel for eight years, and, when I look around my kitchen, I see a sea of countertop appliances that make my work a whole lot easier: grind my coffee beans, blend my smoothies, chop my vegetables, mix my cake batters, steam my rice, make my pasta, bake my bread, press my sandwiches, fry my fritters and freeze my ice cream. The list goes on. By the time I was born in 1955, my grandmother had acquired a toaster, and, a fancy-schmancy Sunbeam stand...... View full recipe for "~ GrandMa's Incredible Edible Classic Deviled Egg ~ "

06/24/2015

~ Jamaican Curried Deviled Eggs w/Mango Chutney~

The incredible edible egg. That four-word sentence is Don Draper-esque advertising genius. Joe and I have been starting our days with eggs several times a week for almost thirty-five years -- even during 'the dark period' when the food police were patrolling the streets proclaiming the cholesterol in eggs was going to lead to the early demise of us American egg eaters. When it comes to food I love, I believe in living dangerously, and, eggs are the perfect eggs-ample. If you scout around Kitchen Encounters, you'll find all sorts of really good egg recipes from all over the world,...... View full recipe for "~ Jamaican Curried Deviled Eggs w/Mango Chutney~"

06/22/2015

~ My Devilishly Hot-Russian-Mustard Deviled Eggs ~

When you get invited to a backyard barbecue or a neighborhood picnic, what do you get asked to bring -- a dessert, a side-dish, an appetizer? Nine times out of ten, I get asked to make these deviled eggs. Amongst friends they're simply called "Mel's Eggs", and, they have a reputation for being egg-strordinary, which makes me chuckle because when I was growing up, they were quite ordinary. It's how my grandmother made them and taught me to make them. Horseradish is one of our most beloved Eastern European 'secret weapons'. Like any other deviled egg recipe, you can make...... View full recipe for "~ My Devilishly Hot-Russian-Mustard Deviled Eggs ~"

06/14/2015

~ My Sweet 'n Spicy, Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~

If you're looking for a change of pace to spice up your Summer menu, my tropical fruit salsa is your answer. While I love it served atop grilled white fish (like grouper and sea bass) on a bed of steamed jasmine rice, it is delicious on cheesy Tex-Mex nachos and chicken quesadillas. That said, it pairs equally as well with Thai-Asian fare like my ~ Crunchy Thai-Style Deep-Fried Coconut Shrimp ~ as an appetizer (recipe found in Categories 1, 11, 13 & 14), and, my East-meets-West fusion main course ~ Thai Turkey Patties & Rice w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~. Newsflash...... View full recipe for "~ My Sweet 'n Spicy, Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~"

06/09/2015

~ My Moist, Juicy, Grilled Thai-Style Turkey Burgers ~

I raised three boys. When I was making cheeseburgers, chili, tacos or spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, no one had to be called to the table twice. On those nights, our dinner conversation was downright pleasant too. It was smooth sailing for lasagna, stuffed peppers, meatloaf and sloppy Joe's too. You could say, ground beef brings out the table manners in boys growing up in America. From my perspective, ground beef made me happy for a lot of years too -- it was budget friendly, and, meals made from it were relatively quick and easy to prepare as well. About...... View full recipe for "~ My Moist, Juicy, Grilled Thai-Style Turkey Burgers ~"

06/06/2015

~ Know the Pros & 'Cons' of Ground Turkey vs Beef ~

Between you and I, Joe and I are not lovers of ground turkey, turkey franks, turkey kielbasa, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, etc. We do, however, love real-deal roast turkey with all the trimmings, and, adore turkey sandwiches. I in particular get really annoyed by television chefs and advertisements that peddle these products as "just as good as" ground beef or pork, sausages and cured bacon products. In my opinion, they are a disparagingly dry, bland, boring "look alike" alternative for folks who can't or won't eat beef or pork. They're usually marketed as being "healthier" or "lighter" -- which, in...... View full recipe for "~ Know the Pros & 'Cons' of Ground Turkey vs Beef ~"

06/01/2015

~ GrandMel is Not a Campfire Girl: S'mores Indoors ~

I hate camping. Camping caused me to quit the Girl Scouts in 1965. I was nine. Hiking into the woods, pitching a tent, building a campfire, singing songs, telling ghost stories, sleeping on the ground in a bag with a zipper, gazing at the stars, listening to the crickets, smelling the night air -- I hated it all. All it took was one night in the woods and I quit -- the very next day. I gave my green uniform to my girlfriend Brenda and went AWOL. I did, however, enjoy the s'mores. You don't have to love the lifestyle...... View full recipe for "~ GrandMel is Not a Campfire Girl: S'mores Indoors ~"

05/28/2015

~ For the Love of Vanilla: Double-Vanilla Cupcakes ~

Vanilla is easy to love -- its scent is enchanting, its taste is exotic. It can be used in an array of sweet and savory culinary applications, but, it is indisputably the number one flavoring in baked goods. For my taste, most published recipes don't add enough vanilla. Be it vanilla beans, paste, extract or powder, I typically double the recommended amount -- yes, I double it and I have never once been disappointed. There's more: I'll bet a lot of you do the very same thing. Not being a professional baker does not mean I'm not a good baker...... View full recipe for "~ For the Love of Vanilla: Double-Vanilla Cupcakes ~"

05/22/2015

~David's Devilishly Dark & Dense Devil's Food Cake~

Tell someone to "name a chocolate cake". Nine out of ten times, the answer will be devil's food. This iconic childhood-memory-of-a-cake has a place in the hearts and minds of everyone who loves a forkful of rich and moist chocolate cake. I'll take it one step further: I'm willing to bet that nine out of ten times, if you ask, "what was the first chocolate cake you baked from scratch", the answer will be the same. It was indeed the first chocolate cake I baked from scratch, and, there was a period in time when I had the recipe committed...... View full recipe for "~David's Devilishly Dark & Dense Devil's Food Cake~"

05/03/2015

~ Sweet Heat: Strawberry Salsa for Cinco de Mayo ~

Strawberries to make salsa? If you are a skeptic, all you'll need is one taste and it will make perfect sense to you. Just like tomatoes, they are full of naturally sweet and tart flavor which makes them terrific used in savory ways. Simply substitute them for tomatoes in almost any Tex-Mex-flavored salsa recipe, and, add the usual suspects: a bit of acid (lime juice), an herb (cilantro), spices (salt and a bit of sugar to bring up the flavor too), and, of course, the always-necessary onion (or green onion). If it's heat you're craving, mince up a jalapeno pepper...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Strawberry Salsa for Cinco de Mayo ~"

05/01/2015

~ A Versatile Tex-Mex Condiment: Chile-Lime Mayo ~

Today is the unofficial start to barbecue and grill season here in Central Pennsylvania. Whether your preference is the low-and-slow barbecue pit (Eastern or Western North Carolina-, Texas-, Kansas City-, or Memphis-style), or, the fast-and-furious charcoal or gas grill, from Cinco de Mayo to Labor Day, there will be plenty opportunities for all of us to show off and share our smoke and fire skills. We Americans love to cook, eat and drink in the great outdoors. Joe and I don't pretend to be pit-masters or grill-masters, but, we do turn out some very tasty stuff, and, amongst our favorite...... View full recipe for "~ A Versatile Tex-Mex Condiment: Chile-Lime Mayo ~"

04/27/2015

~ Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~

One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four -- make enough potato salad, they're coming back for more. While we're playing the counting game, I don't think one can have too many recipes for potato salad -- people love the stuff. Baked, boiled or roasted, gold, red, russet or sweet, potatoes, when paired with the right dressing, can complement a meal from a multitude of cuisines -- in fact, every culture that eats potatoes makes a version of potato salad. Here in America, potato salad recipes vary from region-to-region and our American Southwest is no exception. Today's recipe is the one...... View full recipe for "~ Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~"

04/24/2015

~ Chili Cheddar Cheeseburgers w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~

For me, the only thing that tastes better than a thick, juicy hamburger hot-off-the-gill is: a thick, juicy cheeseburger, hot-off-the grill. I don't grill enough to profess to being an expert, but the stuff I do grill is mighty tasty. I'm cooking these to please me today -- they're my favorite twist on traditional cheeseburgers. I'm mixing the cheese into the burgers instead of placing it on top of them, and, I'm packing the mixture full of bold, spicy, American-Southwest Tex-Mex flavors. Admittedly, it's unorthodox, but, I've been told, often by the critics themselves, "this is one of the best...... View full recipe for "~ Chili Cheddar Cheeseburgers w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~"

12/28/2014

~ GrandMel's Creamy Potato and Egg Salad Recipe~

I have a confession to make. I am a potato salad snob. I want the old-fashioned, down-home, classic, creamy and chunky "grandma's-type" with no hype -- nothing trendy or flashy with a grandiose name or gourmet ingredients. My favorite potatoes for potato salad are: creamy Yukon golds or small "new" reds. I always peel the golds and cut them into bite-sized chunks. I never peel the reds, leaving their soft skins intact, and, cut them into bite-sized halves or quarters. I always boil my potatoes until fork tender on the outside, yet still firm and slightly undercooked in their centers....... View full recipe for "~ GrandMel's Creamy Potato and Egg Salad Recipe~"

10/19/2014

~ For the LOVE of Cheese: PLEASE Cut it Correctly (+ the best tips I can give for wrapping and storing)! ~

Blessed are the cheesemakers. They make hard, dry, grating cheeses; firm, moist, sliceable cheeses, and; soft, gooey, spreadable cheeses. They make blue, white and yellow cheeses. Some cheeses are aged for years, others for a few months, and, some aren't aged at all. They make herby, spicy, fruity and/or nutty cheeses. They make mild, aromatic and strong, stinky cheeses. They make cheese from the milk of cows, goats and sheep -- sometimes it's pasteurized and sometimes it's not. There are a thousand+ varieties of cheese in this food world -- some are mass produced, some are specialty, some are artisan...... View full recipe for "~ For the LOVE of Cheese: PLEASE Cut it Correctly (+ the best tips I can give for wrapping and storing)! ~"

09/02/2014

~ My Bacon-y Bacon-Lovers Baked Beans & Bacon ~

The food world is swarming with bacon lovers. Despite all attempts by the food police to curb our enthusiam for bacon, it is here to stay in a big way. For example. I have three recipes for baked beans: Boston, Hilda's and Bacon-y. All are wonderful recipes, but, Bacon-y are the ones everyone always asks me to make for picnics and tailgates. They are savory and sweet, loaded with smoky bacon goodness, and there is never a morsel left in the casserole. This is great for me, because of the three recipes they're the easiest to make (no bean soaking)....... View full recipe for "~ My Bacon-y Bacon-Lovers Baked Beans & Bacon ~"

08/31/2014

~ My Rich & Creamy Baked Sweet Corn Casserole ~

It's Labor Day weekend -- the unofficial end of Summer! Here in Pennsylvania, it is also the unofficial end of our local sweet corn and tomato season. We've had a banner year for both this year, and, this past week, I've posted a few of my favorite ways to use fresh corn kernels after they have been removed from the cob: corn off the cob! To learn ~ How to Shave Corn Off the Cob ~, make ~ Creamed Corn ~, & ~ Cheesy Creamed-Corn Dip ~, click on the Related Article links below! Today, I'm making my corn casserole...... View full recipe for "~ My Rich & Creamy Baked Sweet Corn Casserole ~"

07/21/2014

~ Tequila-Lime Skirt-Steak Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~

To a carnivore like me, tacos al carbon (skirt steak fajitas) are as close to food perfection as Tex-Mex fare gets. They are the very first fajita I ever sunk my teeth into and the very first fajita I learned to make (even before fajita fever hit our nation during the 1980's). The years were 1974 thru 1979 and our neighbors in our very first Happy Valley apartment were a Texas cowboy and his beautiful Mexican-American wife (who hailed from San Antonio): Tom and Toni (Antoinette). I was only in my twenties and had absolutely no previous experience with any...... View full recipe for "~ Tequila-Lime Skirt-Steak Fajitas (Tacos al Carbon)~"

07/18/2014

~ Tex-Mex Campstove or Stovetop Chicken Fajitas ~

Fajitas (fa-hee-tas) -- oh so delicious and oh so easy to make too -- I never had to call my three boys or Joe to the dinner table twice on fajita night. That was back in the mid-to-latter 1980's when close-to-authentic versions of fajitas surfaced nationwide on good Tex-Mex restaurant menus. The poor and unpretentious fajita had 'gone Hollywood' -- flamboyant skillets of sizzling steak or chicken served tableside with warm flour tortillas, sauted vegetables and mounds of condiments were a delicious and fun dining experience for the entire family. Like a wild fire in a dry forest, this meal...... View full recipe for "~ Tex-Mex Campstove or Stovetop Chicken Fajitas ~"

07/12/2014

~ Lemon-Pepper Pear-Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette ~

I rarely write a post that requires readers to search for a specialized ingredient not readily found at the market, and, when I do, I usually include a uncompromising substitute for that item (or items). I am what I refer to as an equal opportunity recipe developer. From time to time it's my job to work with unusual or extravagant ingredients from around the world. Sharing them in my recipes is fun, but, it's also my responsibility, via a substitute ingredient, to make sure the recipe is user-friendly and economical for all -- we are all in this food world...... View full recipe for "~ Lemon-Pepper Pear-Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette ~"

07/10/2014

~ Luscious Lemony Strawberry Almond Coffeecake (Quite possibly the best strawberry shortcake ever!) ~

On Monday, when I said, "happiness comes in many forms", I had no idea just how many forms. On Monday I was referring to my delicate, moist, almost-creamy ~ Simply Splendid Lemony Pear Almond Coffeecake ~ (you can get the recipe by clicking on the Related Article link below). I was, and still am, posting a few pear recipes, because I was given a box of organic bosc pears last week. The beat goes on -- I am still most contented to eat my way through the remainder of my lovely pears and write another one or two pear posts,...... View full recipe for "~ Luscious Lemony Strawberry Almond Coffeecake (Quite possibly the best strawberry shortcake ever!) ~"

07/05/2014

~My Carolina-Style Pulled-Pork BBQ (Oven Method)~

About the only thing Americans love more than a parade is a barbecue, and, no barbecue comes close to being as familiar, beloved or nationally recognized as Southern pork barbecue. Apologies to you barbecuer's of beef -- I love your stuff, but, pork fat rules. Period. That being said, I'm marching to the beat of a different drummer with this post. Why? Experts have published so much material on the art of outdoor smoking on pits and grills, I couldn't begin to add anything of substance that hasn't already been said in a million different opinionated ways. This post is...... View full recipe for "~My Carolina-Style Pulled-Pork BBQ (Oven Method)~"

07/03/2014

~ Mel's Creamy-Crunchy Seriously-Good Coleslaw ~

It is amazing to me how many people say they don't like coleslaw, then admit they've never tried it because they don't like cabbage or anything made with cabbage. Seriously? I am at a loss for any understanding of this mindset. I grew up loving my grandmother's pepper-slaw, my mother's stuffed cabbage rolls, my dad's ham and cabbage, and, sauerkraut. Whenever someone says "no thank you" to coleslaw, for some reason, I find it hard to resist the urge to change their mind. In the instances when I can successfully coerce someone into trying my slaw, the reaction to my...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Creamy-Crunchy Seriously-Good Coleslaw ~"

06/25/2014

~ One Recipe = Two of Mel's Favorite Citrus Salad Dressings: Pink Grapefruit or Sun-Kissed Orange!!! ~

It might be melon season right now but I've just spent the past week focusing on main-dish "citrus fruit in salad" recipes. I love citrus fruit and rarely does a week pass by that I don't use its juice and/or its zest as an ingredient in something I'm cooking. On almost a daily basis I eat it or drink it for pure, unadulterated enjoyment -- although I do adulterate it into a refreshing cocktail or two from time to time. I especially love it worked into salads that contain chicken or seafood. From appetizer to dessert, citrus fruit is a...... View full recipe for "~ One Recipe = Two of Mel's Favorite Citrus Salad Dressings: Pink Grapefruit or Sun-Kissed Orange!!! ~"

06/23/2014

~ Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing + Why I love Danablu cheese & some chive talkin' too!~

Blue cheese dressing is undoubtedly one of America's most popular salad dressings -- especially with men. In any steakhouse you'll be offered their house salad, many times a classic wedge salad, with the option of their in-house-made blue cheese dressing on top of it. Order chicken wings anywhere, and unless you request them served otherwise, they will arrive at your table with blue cheese dressing. I'm proud to say my recipe will rival any blue cheese dressing: Chocked full of chunkly blue cheese crumbles, just the right balance of sweet and savory spice with a touch of heat, I'm reasonably...... View full recipe for "~ Buttermilk, Blue Cheese 'n Chive Salad Dressing + Why I love Danablu cheese & some chive talkin' too!~"

05/23/2014

~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~

Macaroni and cheese is near the very top of the American favorite food list. This ooey-gooey irresistable mixture of unpretentious pasta and cheese has earned a beloved place on tables ranging from your grandmother's kitchen to college dorms to gourmet restaurants. We love it and we serve it year round, indoors or out, at all sorts of gatherings, holidays and celebrations. My guy wants my Mac & Cheese served with our son Jesse's Bone-Suckin, Charcoal-Smoked Spareribs for Memorial Day! I'm sure there is a percentage of you who think Mac & Cheese was invented by Kraft foods (their first version...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Baked Five-Cheese Macaroni & Cheese ~"

02/28/2014

~ Broiled & Baked: K.C. BBQ'D Country-Style Ribs (Pantry Cooking: Kid friendly and mother approved!) ~

Just because it is the end of February does not mean Spring is right around the corner. Especially this year. Unlike Winters of the recent past, this one's agenda has been brutal, with 8"-16" of snow in our current forecast for this Sunday (March 2nd). I can live with old man Winter. It's easy to do from the inside looking out, but, sometimes I yearn for the taste of a grilled rib or a piece of chicken dripping with red, ketchup-y sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. Note: Joe is no slouch. He never puts our grill away for the Winter,...... View full recipe for "~ Broiled & Baked: K.C. BBQ'D Country-Style Ribs (Pantry Cooking: Kid friendly and mother approved!) ~"

11/05/2013

~ Mel's Oven-Roasted Version of PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken a la Deb Pearson ~

I hoped to post this recipe for BBQ'd chicken back in June or July, but, 'the powers that be' took longer than I anticipated to locate this unique-to-PA BBQ'd chicken dish, and, more importantly the proper venue to execute it: Chicken halves or pieces are grilled over a wood fire in a structure made of cinderblocks, called a "blockpit". During the process, the chicken is misted, not brushed, with a mixture of melted butter, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes lemon juice! About six months ago my girlfriend from Ohio, who works with noneother than The Grillmaster himself, Steven Raichlen, called...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Oven-Roasted Version of PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken a la Deb Pearson ~"

11/02/2013

~ Around Town (in search of a blockpit & a recipe for PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken) ~

My search for a blockpit began about six months ago. A girlfriend from Ohio, who works with noneother than The Grillmaster himself, Steven Raichlen, contacted me. Nancy explained that Steven's website had received an e-mail request for a specific recipe for barbecued chicken, cooked over a wood fire in a structure made of cinderblocks. During the cooking process, the half chickens or chicken parts are misted, not brushed, with a mixture of melted butter, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes lemon juice. Nancy added that, in the e-mail, the man said "he had grown up eating this unique chicken in Pennsylvania"....... View full recipe for "~ Around Town (in search of a blockpit & a recipe for PA-Style Blockpit BBQ'd Butter 'n Vinegar Chicken) ~"

09/02/2013

~Eye-of-Round Roast = Back-to-School Sandwiches~

Alert -- There is a show-off in the lunch room! When I was a kid, everyone went back to school the day after Labor Day. We all carried a 'signature' metal lunch box with a matching Thermos inside of it -- mine was a Barbie lunch box. My brother's was a G.I. Joe lunchbox. These lunch boxes took a lickin' and kept on tickin', and ones choice of a lunch box could 'make or break' that entire year of school. Barbie was always a good choice -- who didn't love Barbie? She was a perfect!!! School cafeterias in schools weren't...... View full recipe for "~Eye-of-Round Roast = Back-to-School Sandwiches~"

08/22/2013

~ Copper Carrot Coins: A Super-Simple Side-Dish ~

Our garden is beginning to wane. The cherry, peach and plum trees are bare. Our cucumbers and zucchini are gone. The tomatoes have all be eaten or processed into sauce and I'm back to buying lettuce in the grocery store. Butternut squash, pumpkins and cabbage will be at their peak in a week or two, and, then it will be time to enjoy the Fall and prepare to Winterize! In the meantime, Joe picked a basket full of fine-looking peppers yesterday: bell, jalapeno, hot wax and poblanos -- enough of all to keep me busy for a few days. For...... View full recipe for "~ Copper Carrot Coins: A Super-Simple Side-Dish ~"

08/17/2013

~Russian Red Salad: Potato, Beet, Onion & Radish~

It's 'that' time of year here in Central PA: Mid-August. Joe's two vegetable gardens are gifting me with almost more produce than I can process. His cucumbers, Summer squash and zucchini are finally starting to wane, tomatoes and peppers are going to take up a lot of my time next week, and at present, I'm looking at a few bunches of freshly-picked radishes and red beets! I've been a lover-of-vegetables my entire life, and, growing up in an Eastern European household, root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, radishes, red beets, parsnips and turnips made regular appearances on our dinner table. Most...... View full recipe for "~Russian Red Salad: Potato, Beet, Onion & Radish~ "

08/15/2013

~ Sour-Creamy Russian Cucumber & Radish Salad ~

Most of you already know, but, for those who don't: my heritage is 'White' Russian. My husband Joe's heritage is Italian. We often joke about ours being a marriage made in culinary heaven: blini, borscht, pirogi and stuffed cabbage meets bruschetta, minestrone, ravioli and ossobuco. Thanks to the Russian Orthodox church calendar, for the most part, we get to celebrate two Christmas's and two Easter's too. These and all ethnic celebrations revolve around tables full of fabulous food and plenty of alcohol: Vodka for the Russians, Anisette for the Italians! I have an affinity for Russian fare and the Eastern...... View full recipe for "~ Sour-Creamy Russian Cucumber & Radish Salad ~"

08/03/2013

~ Japanese 'Yakitori' (Skewered & Grilled Chicken) ~

Everyone loves to eat "food on a stick". "Kabbaba" is the ancient Aramaic word for "to char" or "to burn". Medieval Persian soldiers, who used their swords to grill their food over open fires in the field are credited with inventing "kabobs". Over time, every culture/cuisine developed its own time-honored, traditional method for skewering and cooking kabobs: the Greeks have their souvlaki, Peruvian anticucuos are awesome, and, satay is the national dish of Indonesia! Americans are no exception and we Americans love to grill, which is why Americans who love Japanese food love yakitori. Yakitori literally means "grilled chicken", with...... View full recipe for "~ Japanese 'Yakitori' (Skewered & Grilled Chicken) ~"

07/30/2013

~ My Japanese Yakitori Story & All the Facts Jack!!! ~

My Yakitori Story (the long and not so short of it): Back in 1986 I tagged along on one of Joe's business trips and spent ten days in Tokyo. During the day, while Joe was in business meetings, I passed the time in a variety of ways. Besides shopping in the Ginza (one of the most luxurious shopping districts in the world), I took classes in flower arranging and origami, attended an official tea ceremony, and, got to see where the exquisite fresh-water Kasumi pearls come from! In the evenings we were wined and dined by corporate executives in amazing...... View full recipe for "~ My Japanese Yakitori Story & All the Facts Jack!!! ~"

07/21/2013

~ Mel's "Happy Valley" Ranch-Style Salad Dressing ~

A little over 50 years ago no one had ever heard of ranch dressing and now it is America's most popular salad dressing. We do much more than top our salads with it too. It is our dip of choice for vegetables, a marinade for our meat or poultry, and, a flavoring in our favorite brands of corn and potato chips. I buy very little bottled salad dressing in general (although I do keep a bottle of Wish-Bone Light Italian in my refrigerator at all times), but, when my boys were small, I was one of those mom's who kept...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's "Happy Valley" Ranch-Style Salad Dressing ~"