Fancy Schmancy Frank and Beans

I’m not sure what the weather has been like by you, but this winter has been so ridiculously mild. I’m someone who loves winter for the cold and the snow. Being able to go for a run in my shorts and to relax at home with the screen-door open, well, it throws me off. Despite this, I still crave the big, bold, hearty flavors you would find in winter food; something to warm your insides…even if they’re already pretty warm.

When I was young, on a rare occasion, my mom would put together a quick and simple treat for dinner: frank and beans. No its not fancy and yes, many people will lift up their nose at the thought. I loved it. Not really sure why–maybe it was just how infrequently it was a dinner option, but it was just one of those dinners that hit the spot. So I thought I would totally miss the point and make… click to read more…

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Pomegranate BBQ Sauced Lamb Meatballs over Apricot Cous Cous with Chickpeas

I love meatballs in pretty much any form. There’s something homey and inviting about them just conceptually, no matter how dressed up they are (and yes, I recognize how pretentious the title of this dish sounds right next to my “homey” statement). For this dish, I returned to one of my favorite meats: lamb. Ground lamb always seems to wow me where I least expect it, and these meatballs kept the trend going.

For the meatballs, I wanted them to be relatively simple with all of the appropriate spices and aromatics that would make the lamb sing without masking it–such as touches of cumin, allspice, garlic, and parsley. A bit of creme fraiche helped to enrich them and keep the texture light and delicate.

With that out of the way, onto the sauce. I have always thought that lamb pairs wonderfully with fruit, so the idea of a pomegranate-centric barbecue sauce seemed… click to read more…

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Grilled Beer Bratwurst with Tangy Apple Slaw

While I try to have a lot of variety in my cooking, there’s still a ton I haven’t tried. For some reason, German food has been stuck in this category for a long time and I’ve been meaning to remedy this for…just as long a time. Finally though, after hearing mention of beer brats at work, I couldn’t take it any more and decided to try to dress up this comfort food to be more than what most view it as: a glorified hot dog (so don’t go putting bratwurst in hotdog buns! Its better than that!).

Grilled Beer Brats with Tangy Apple Slaw

This is a simple meal to prepare, and its really big on flavor. The brats are parboiled in a mixture of beer, shallots, and spices (think the sweet but savory, clean flavors of juniper and caraway) before they get crisped up with the smoky flavor of the grill, leaving the beer mixture to reduce to a thick sauce. These are served alongside… click to read more…

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Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Mustard and Swiss Cheese Sauce…and a giveaway!

A while back, I was contacted by the folks behind Saucy Mama, a purveyor of sauces, marinades, and the like. They very generously sent a sizable package of goodies my way, and while I am always happy to have free food sent my way, I tend to approach it with a bit of skepticism. I curiously popped open the jar of chipotle mustard since that caught my eye and quickly had visions of pork chops dancing in my head (ever since trying the chops and more offered by my new favorite pig farmer, it seems that many things prompt me to think about pork chops, lol). After a quick trip to the farmer’s market, I had everything I needed for an amazingly delicious and fast meal.

Grilled Pork Chops with Chipotle Mustard and Swiss Cheese Sauce

The pork chops were massaged with a simple spice rub and kissed with that distinctly smoky flavor you can only get from the grill. While… click to read more…

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Teriyaki Chicken Burger

Summer time is burger time, and now that I have a meat grinder, its that much more fun for me to experiment with different kinds of burgers. After seeing these Pacific Rim Burgers, I knew I had to try something similar. Plus, it had been a while since I did much with chicken (we’ve been eating more beef lately), so it seemed like a fun change. So I took that recipe in a similar direction and made a teriyaki chicken burger.

Teriyaki Chicken Burger

I really enjoyed this–the burgers had a nice, tangy-but-sweet teriyaki flavor, with a good mix of peppers and light heat to them. The texture, something I was curious about (never dealt with ground chicken before), was also thankfully quite nice. The sweetness to the teriyaki also made it easier to get a good caramelization on the outside of the burgers from the high heat of the grill, which made it that… click to read more…

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Thai Curried Beef Burgers

After grinding my own steak burgers, I couldn’t wait to try doing so again. In the name of keeping things interesting, I thought I’d keep my Asian kick going, and sought some inspiration from my recent Thai green curry with beef. I was sad to run out of the stuff, so I thought how could I make it again, but in burger form?

Thai Curried Beef Burgers

I chose two well marbled and very beefy cuts for the burger: ribeye and shortribs (and this is entirely personal preference–you want intense flavor and a good bit of fat). Then, I incorporated other flavors from green curry–green curry paste, peppers, ginger, lime, basil, coconut–and worked all of that into the ground beef. The flavor was a bit more subtle than I’d expected; kind of an upfront aftertaste–a pretaste–before the dominant beefiness dominated. You pick up a hint of coconut, the distinct green curry flavor, a bit of heat, and a green… click to read more…

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