Blackened Chicken

Someone asked me recently for more “real food” recipes. The meals I make at home always seem so simple. I wonder if I should even be posting them. It is all about preparation. That does not necessarily mean exact meal planning. But if you have precooked meat on hand, there are hundreds of dinners you can make in a matter of minutes (See here for one idea). I have embraced southern/coastal living in full force since moving to North Carolina. I am blackening everything. There is a misconception that blackened seasoning has to be spicy. You should make your own blackened seasoning, calibrate it to your level of spice. Decrease or increase the cayenne in this recipe to your taste.

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Blackened seasoning is traditionally used for fish. Typically you would dip the fish in melted butter, then dredge it in blackened seasoning, and cook in a cast iron skillet. You can use this for pretty much any meat: chicken, steak, shrimp, scallops, pork, all varieties of fish. And you don’t have to use cast iron, this will work especially well with grilled foods. Once you try this seasoning recipe, you will be doubling and tripling so that you always have some on hand. If you are already lighting the grill for dinner, you should blacken some chicken or shrimp and throwing that on the grill too. You will have it ready to serve over pasta, with jambalaya, or in a casserole. With your blackened dishes (whether it is chicken or seafood) serve El Prado Tempranillo Cabernet from Spain. This has to be the best wine you can by for $5.99. This is a medium bodied red wine, 70% tempranillo and 30% cabernet sauvignon.

Blackened Seasoning
1 tbsp paprika
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme

Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container in a dark place.

Blackened Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 recipe blackened seasoning
2 tbsp butter, melted

Heat your charcoal grill with an even layer of coals. Prepare a medium-heat fire.

Place chicken breasts between two sheets of saran wrap. Pound the chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Dip the chicken in melted butter and then dredge in the blackened seasoning.

Grill the chicken for approximately 4 minutes per side, depending on how hot your grill is. Make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Pizza on the Grill

IMG_2413 My husband and I are basically obsessed with our Weber Kettle Grill. We are grilling anything and everything. I was previously obsessed with my pizza stone but it has unfortunately fallen out of favor. I have also been excited with the opportunity to repurpose my 8 inch parchment rounds that I bought for all the cakes I never made. Cupcakes are just superior to a layer cake! The parchment really makes the shaping of the pizzas and the transfer to the grill much easier. The recipe below is just the basics to get you started. You can be creative with toppings. Unfortunately my pictures are not the best because we could not help but to immediately slice and taste these pizzas. Be careful here, it is easy to overcook the pizzas. It takes just 2-3 minutes for each side of the pizza. This technique of grilling one side and then placing the toppings on the grilled side allows you to cook the pizzas evenly. Use plenty of olive oil to prevent sticking. We enjoyed our grilled pizza night with a bottle of Chandon Blanc de Noir. This is a rich sparkling made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. It really complements the flavors of grilled foods. You can serve this light pink sparkling wine with any food that you might traditionally serve alongside a still pinot noir wine.

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Grilled pizza

Makes 3 x 8 inch pizzas

One recipe pizza dough
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey (sugar or agave can be substituted)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups bread flour

Your favorite pizza sauce – tomato based or otherwise
(The white sauce recipe pictured above can be found here.)
Fresh or shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Red pepper flakes
Pepperoni
Sliced mushrooms
Any toppings you want!
Parchment paper

Make the dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and honey with warm water (110 degrees). Wait 10 minutes until bubbles form and it gets foamy (see bubbly yeast to the left). Add in salt, oil and half the flour. Using the dough hook, mix to combine.

Once the flour is mixed in, add in the rest of the flour bit by bit until combined. The dough should be tacky but should not stick to your hand. You may need to add more flour, add this 1 tbsp at a time.

Knead the dough with the mixer on a medium to high setting for 7 minutes. The mixer bowl will be clean after 7 minutes. Use olive oil to lightly grease the dough and the bowl. Cover with a warm towel and allow the dough to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Make the pizzas
Light the grill. When using charcoal, you will want this to be a “hot” fire. You should not be able to hold your hand over the heat 5 inches from the grill for more than 3 seconds. Prepare a pizza peal or baking sheet with sprinkled corn meal.

Cut the parchment paper into 8 inch circles and coat them lightly with olive oil. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces, you can use a scale for accuracy. Shape it into a ball and stretch the outer edges with your hands forming it into a disk that is almost the size of your parchment circles. If the dough is too stick, use some olive oil on your hands. Place the dough on the parchment and continue to stretch it to the edges. Lightly coat the surface of the dough with olive oil.

Flip the dough onto the hot grill, remove the parchment paper. Replace the lid and let this cook for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, check the dough, it should be crispy with grill marks. Transfer the dough to your prepared pizza peal, grilled side up.

To the grilled surface of the pizza, apply your sauce, red pepper flakes, parmesan, toppings and mozzarella. Yes, in that order. Be careful not to overload the pizzas with sauce and toppings.

Transfer the dough back to the grill with the uncooked side facing the coals. Replace the lid and cook for 2 more minutes, or until the bottom begins to char.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Barbecue Chicken

I think that the secret to this chicken is in the brine. It’s really not all that difficult to brine meat that you plan on barbecuing. When you get up the day of your event, just throw the chicken in the brine and forget about it. For parties I prefer to buy all drumsticks. The other key step in this recipe is the slow cooking. Time allows the development of the flavor. I finish these on a charcoal grill and coat them with KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce. If you do not plan on grilling the chicken legs and want to finish them in the oven, cook them at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until their internal temperature is 165 degrees. I wish I could take the credit for this dry rub recipe, it is from Smitten Kitchen.

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The Best Barbecue Chicken

5 Lb chicken parts
Your favorite barbecue sauce

Brine:
4 cups water
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped onion

Dry rub:
6 tbsp packed brown sugar
4 tbsp sweet paprika
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground red pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

Brine the chicken

Mix together all brine ingredients in a large tub. Add the chicken. Allow this to sit in the fridge for 6 hours. (If you are short on time, at least one hour.)

Prepare the chicken

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Mix together all dry rub ingredients.

Prepare two jelly roll pans fitted with wire racks. Cut two large pieces of foil that you can fold your chicken up into. Remove the chicken pieces from the brine and pat dry. Rub the spices on. Be generous! Place half the chicken in each of your foil packets. Place these on the prepared jelly roll pans with racks.

Bake the chicken for 1 hour and rotate the pans, bake for another hour. Transfer the chicken to the grill and cook until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. All grills are different, but on a medium heat charcoal fire this should take 15 minutes.

Brine and dry rub recipes adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Hamburgers with caramelized onions

Here is an easy way to jazz up burgers for your summer cook out. The onions should be caramelized low and slow so plan in advance to get these cooking on the stove. They do not require much maintenance once they are going, an occasional stir.

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I never start summer barbecues without popping bottles. But a crisp rosé or sauvignon blanc on the patio is also fabulous. The possibilities are endless. With these hamburgers though, you should enjoy a glass of Ravenswood Zinfandel Sonoma.

Hamburgers with Caramelized Onions

2-3 large vidalia onions, sliced into thin half circles
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb ground beef (93% lean is what I use)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns (recipe coming soon)

In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Add in the sliced onions. Cook them until they are starting to sweat and reduce in size, stirring occasionally. Cover with lid, cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes until they are deep brown in color.

Place the rest of the ingredients excluding the ground beef into a large bowl and whisk together. Now add in the ground beef and mash this all together with your hands. Allow this to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Form the patties to your preferred size. Cook over a charcoal grill, flipping once, to an internal temperature of 130 degrees for medium rare. The cook time is going to vary based on the grill. If you do not have an outdoor grill, you can cook these in a cuisinart griddler. Preheat the griddler to sear, grill 4 minutes for medium rare.

Serve with the caramelized onions, your preferred cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, ketchup and mustard.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Macaroni salad

I only made this macaroni salad to use up leftover macaroni for a fun experiment. But I’m not sorry about it. Oh having a party, someone invited 5 extra people, just make this in 30 minutes in case there isn’t enough food. And then forget to serve it and eat it all. The magic here is really in the pickles. I don’t think this would be what it is without pickles. It could also be the Dukes mayonnaise. I once listened to a woman talk for an hour about Dukes mayonnaise. I feel obligated to use it now.

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Macaroni salad

1 cup macaroni
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped hamburger dill pickles, specifically Boars Head
4 ox jar pimentos

Prepare the macaroni as directed and rinse with cold water.

Whisk together the mayo, mustard, lemon juice, and sugar. Add in the macaroni, celery, pickles, and pimentos.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.