Friday, January 2, 2015

My Traeger & cook area

Below you see my cooking equipment, my Traeger 07E, to the left is a gas cooker w/cast iron skillet & to the right is a fish friar on the cabinet.
Since this photo I have added a Weber Q100 gas grill. Below that you see a photo of me & my faithful companion. Click on any photo to view larger size it opens in a slide viewer with all the photos in the post.

My Smokin Deck,I can cook rain or shine.

Set up for winter weather

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Let's Talk BBQ, One Great Forum

Let’s Talk BBQ; no matter what you cook on this is one great forum for discussing BBQ and learning about BBQ. Whether you use a grill, smoker, or other type of cooker, using gas, wood, charcoal, or electric for fuel there is a place for you there.

Their rules are pretty simple; just treat others the way you want to be treated. Leave your ego at home and have fun learning and discussing cooking and food in a family way.

Most members are from the USA but they are slowly getting some international members. I know of two from Australia and one each from Germany and S. Africa. There may be some from England. I like this since we can learn about other recipes and ways to do BBQ than in our own country.

The forum is laid out well; there are different sections for each style cooker, a recipe section, a general section, a place for sausage making and a place for other hobbies. There are a lot of knowledgeable members there now.

I do most all my BBQ on my Traeger wood pellet smoker; but can adapt most recipes from other types of cookers. I use it year around and do most all of the cooking for my wife and I.

So; if you want to talk BBQ get over there sign up and join in the fun of cooking and eating some good BBQ.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Polish Sausage, Pierogies and Cabbage

Nov 20 2014

I thought tonight’s meal was one of the best tasting comfort meals I have cooked lately; if I do say so myself! I looked forward to cooking this meal. For one thing I had some homemade pierogies my daughter’s mother in law and church ladies made. They were frozen with a little cup of their onion butter sauce about ¼ cups.

The other thing I had read the proper way to cook polish sausage was to poach it in liquid, water, beer or broth, for 35 to 45 minutes and then browning. It said to not boil but just a slow simmer. I had usually done them close to this by covering half way and boil until the liquid was gone and let brown.

My Polish sausage was some fresh ones from my butcher that were frozen. I had a take home and bake Tuscan Boule for my bread and would steam some cabbage for a side. The steamed cabbage made the meal sound a little healthier to me!

I had the sausage and pierogies thawed. I did the sausage the slow way in beer and turned half way through then poured off the beer and browned them up.

The pierogies I boiled for 5 minutes and then drained them. I heated my 12 inch steel skillet on med. high, with 5 Tbs. butter, chopped onion and the sauce that came with the pierogies. I turned the heat to med. and browned the pierogies about 8 minutes per side. The pierogies were served with some of the onions over and some grated parmesan, Romano, and Asiago cheese blend. I had some sour cream with mine and bread and butter.

Did that ever taste good, the sausage was just right, tender and moist. I finally learned the right way to do fresh Polish sausage. The homemade pierogies were definitely better than the frozen ones I usually have!

My Bread

Cabbage in steamer

Kah Meats Polish sausage

Simmering in beer

Pierogies, one side browned

Sausage browning

Pierogies ready to serve

My supper, I ate it all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Winter Comfort Food Time

Nov 18 2014

Knowing it was going to be extra cold today I slept in. My wife and I were both up and she said school was canceled today. She asked if it was going to snow more and I said no. She said I may call Gavin, our grandson, and see if he wants to go to Lima to a movie this afternoon. Lima is about 20 miles away. I said no, when they cancel school because of cold that means 72 year old grandmas stay home!

I was not sure what we were going to have for supper. I thought about getting carry outs but didn’t want to go out in the cold to get it, the high today was 18 deg. F I told the wife I thought I had enough to throw some chicken and noodles  together.

I checked the freezer and had a backbone and a large breast half. I had a half pound of good noodles, onion, celery, carrots and about a cup of chicken broth. I threw the backbone, and onion and two stalks of celery in a pot of water and boiled for 45 minutes. I strained it and added the little bit of broth I had, salt and pepper and poached the breast about 20 minutes. I removed the breast to cool and added the noodles and some diced carrots. After the noodles had cooked about 40 minutes I diced up the breast and added it back in. After it came to a boil I covered and turned down to simmer until time to eat.

I had some potatoes that needed used so I made mashed potatoes with butter and buttermilk. I had some Grand’s biscuits I baked for some bread and butter. My wife wanted soup so she had it as soup with some crackers and butter. She always adds some ketchup to her chicken and noodle soup; I won’t try that it sounds awful. I used a slotted spoon and had mine over mashed potatoes. It tasted pretty good for just throwing some stuff together, especially on a cold night!

My Supper

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Smoked Pistachios and Cajun Crackers

Nov 14 2014

My oldest daughter from a first marriage and her husband are coming over tomorrow. We have kept in close touch over the years but don’t get to see them as often as we would like. They live in Indiana about 3 hours away. She will be 54 tomorrow so we are taking them out for some good Mexican food. It is hard to believe I have a 54 year old daughter!

Today after I had a Navy bean pie in the oven I smoked a batch of my Cajun crackers and a pound of pistachios for my daughter to take home. They both like hot stuff so I did a different recipe for the pistachios. I usually just coat the pistachios with olive oil or a mix of olive oil and butter and sprinkle on some Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle and smoke them. I liked the pistachios and probably could stand a little more heat.
For the pistachios

On my smoker

Cajun Crackers


Friday, November 14, 2014

Brats, Pierogies and Fermi Slaw

Nov 13 2014

Tonight’s supper would be pretty simple and easy; brats on the smoker; fry some Mrs. T’s cheese and potato Pierogies and some of my Fermi slaw. I call it Fermi slaw because it came from salting my cabbage for kraut and letting it set overnight before putting in a jar or fermenting crock. I always had to have a taste and the slightly salty taste that had started the first step of fermenting was good. I decided to take some to this step and make some slaw with it.

I had a half medium head of cabbage shredded, added 2 teaspoons of sea salt and stomped. It set overnight in a covered tupper ware bowl. I added 2 good tablespoons on Hellman’s mayonnaise, 3 good tablespoons of Marzetti’s slaw dressing and 3 good teaspoons of sugar. Mixed all together well and it set in the fridge over 5 hours before serving.

 Our Canadian friends decided to share some of their cold air early this year. It was a cold 31 deg. F today and looks like it will be 20 deg. below normal for at least a week.

For my brats I had some pre-cooked garlic and cheese brats thawed out. I did them on my Traeger at 180 deg. and was running about 200 deg. grill level for 45 minutes. I then went to 275 deg. grill level for 45 minutes. The last 15 minutes I fried the pierogies. I had them thawed out and brushed with some melted butter. They were browned in a Lodge steel skillet sprayed with some olive oil 5 minutes per side. When I turned them I added some sliced onion.

My wife had ketchup on her brat sandwich; she doesn’t know mustard goes with brats! She did put some of the slaw on her brat. I had some Dijon mustard on my brat and ate the slaw on the side. It all tasted good! Mrs. T’s pierogies are always good and a lot easier than making my own. I did like the slaw and will make it that way again.

Brats on the smoker

Frying pierogies and onions

My supper

Monday, November 10, 2014

RouxBDoos Cajun Stewed Chicken

Nov 09 2014

I have had this recipe saved for a long time wanting to try it. It is true comfort food best enjoyed in cool weather and it is time now. RouxBDoo is a food critique and blog writer and has some great recipes at RouxBDoos Cajun and Creole Food Blog, Nola Cuisine and New Orleans Cuisine.

I had a recipe from Food52 that would go good with the chicken, Cornmeal Flatbread. It called for using Manchego cheese in it and on top. I could not find Manchego or Asiago locally so I used some 4 cheese Mexican blend instead. Mine did not turn out that great, it looked good but was more like baked mush or polenta. I didn’t get it cooked down thick enough and I had it too thick to bake right. It did taste good though.

If you want to try cornmeal flatbread just search on it and there are plenty of different ones to choose from. Mine was mainly just milk and cornbread cooked and supposed to be ¼ inch thick. Some have flour added and baking powder or yeast.

I followed RouxBDoos recipe for the chicken pretty close, for the seasoning I only used 1 Tbs. of Cajun seasoning and no cayenne, dried garlic flakes some onion flakes, a little heavy on the Italian seasoning blend and black pepper. I only had time for the chicken to be seasoned and in the fridge for an hour instead of two. I used chicken stock in place of the water and chicken bouillon cube. I browned the chicken and left out of the pot, removed some of the grease, sautéed the onions and garlic then added a little stock to deglaze the pan then the chicken went back in with all else.

After the chicken had been in the oven I set it on a burner and let it simmer while I made some mashed potatoes with a half stick of butter and a little buttermilk to thin some. I nuked some frozen buttered Brussels sprouts for a side. I skimmed off some of the fat before serving; it had plenty in with the oil and butter I fried the chicken in and the fat from the chicken skin.

I had the chicken on the side and some of the broth over mashed potatoes, the sprouts and the cornmeal flat bread. The chicken was fall apart tender and delicious as well as great broth. I will be making this again but may opt to take more time and remove the chicken when done, pour the fat off the broth and make good gravy. I may even debone the chicken to add back in. I don’t think many would eat the skin anyway.
The flatbread

Done baking

Seasoning for the chicken

Onions and garlic

Flouring the seasoned chicken

Browning the chicken


Onions sauteed and stock added to deglaze

Ready for the oven

Ready to serve

My supper