Why another cooking blog?

I decided to create this blog as a way for family and friends to see what I'm cooking and to share interesting food related tidbits I come across.
I'm frequently asked for recipes so I thought this would be a good place to start collecting the old, new, and funky recipes that I have.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Last weekend our locan German restaurant - Bavarian Grill held their annual Oktoberfest celebration. So my Mom, being a card carrying Stein club member decided to go and I attended with her.

Here is the keg to be tapped

I won my own stend and a t-shirt in the raffle drawing

There was a large crowd, live band, and lots of lederhosen
We had a good time, beer was consumed, and a keg was tapped in the less than 3 'taps'. All in all I call that a successful Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

To grill or not to grill!

A friend of mine recently was asking me about marinating with beer. She had a kitchen fail and was looking for a solution. Here is what I typed to her in response:

You know you can grill on your stove top right? Do you have a griddle?

Simple grilled chicken –

When I grill chicken I always marinate or brine ((http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKr1rByVVCI) <- watch this at home it’s less than 5 min and really helped me understand brining) my chicken.

Marinades tenderize and flavor. Brining helps keep the meat moist, and can also add flavor. Chicken does not need to marinate as long as beef generally speaking. Brining is easy and makes a big difference in your food. All you need a little time and a good container. Brining recipes can use a lot of spices or no spices. If I’m looking for simple I just do salt, water, sugar, pepper (in the proper ratios).

So when using beer - first and foremost you want to make sure you pick a beer that tastes good. If you don’t like the beer, you most certainly do not want to soak your dinner in it.

Rinse your chicken and pat dry, trim any extra fat off. If your chicken is really thick (I’m assuming chicken breast here) then you need to pound them slightly to help flatten them out (helps with even cooking). I use two pieces of plastic wrap on either side of the chicken and then smack it with something heavy.  Season your chicken with some salt and pepper. Just a light dusting on either side. What salt do you use? Table? The correct answer here is kosher ;) Kosher is bigger granules, easier to use and you don’t need as much.

For marinating – get a gallon Ziploc or a large container with a lid. Assemble your marinade ingredients. In this case your beer, oil (NOT olive oil), garlic*, herbs*, salt, pepper. *optional

Pour the beer, oil (couple tablespoons), salt, pepper, and aromatics in the container/bag. Close the container/bag and mix contents (carefully!), then add chicken to the marinade. Close container/bag and move it around to make sure the chicken is completely submerged. If you are using a bad, you can massage the chicken a bit.

Do not use olive oil, as it has a very low smoke point. Smoke point is the temperature at which the oil basically catches on fire. You want an oil that has a high smoke point since you are putting this on a grill = high heat. Vegetable or canola oil is good, better is peanut oil. Peanut oil has a higher smoke point than vegetable or canola. I use all three, generally whatever I have on hand.

Put your chicken in your fridge until about 10-15 minutes before you are going to grill. Meat needs time to rest before and after grilling.

If you choose to add herbs, garlic, spices, etc. you will need to mince/chop them up. They don’t have to be perfect but chopping up herbs/garlic basically activates the flavors of said herbs/garlic.

What I do when making a marinade off the top of my head is smell everything and think about the herb/spice I am adding. Do I like said herb/spice?

Smell the beer, then smell the herb/spice. Do they seem like they will pair well? You will eventually get to a point where you will know what goes well together. I also recommend that you do not go putting a lot of any one thing in the marinade, go conservative at first….. especially with the salt. You can always add more later, you can’t take away.

When you are ready to grill, get your chicken out of the fridge, put the chicken on a platter and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. We want to get the chill out. Discard the marinade. Do. Not. Baste the chicken with the marinade. I fight Jeff AND my Dad over this every single freaking time they grill. You are putting raw chicken germs back on the cooking chicken. Cross contamination! Yuck.

IF you want to use the marinade to baste then you need to put it in a pot on the stove, bring to a boil and reduce the marinade down a bit.

Once the grill is ready, throw your chicken on there and away you go!

Here is a pretty good blog post about marinades.