Hot Honey Shrimp

I was over at my parents’ house and we decided to experiment on grilled shrimp. We were looking for both hot and sweet, so we decided to go with honey and hot sauce. But what sort of heat? For this trial we divided the shrimp in half and used Sriracha in one batch and for the other we used good old Louisiana hot sauce.

The Sriracha had a rounder, more full flavor, although the Louisiana hot sauce was still pretty tasty. Try it with your favorite hot sauce!shrimp in bowls

Hot Honey Shrimp

1 lb uncooked shrimp, look for medium or large
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) hot sauce
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon lime juice

Use scissors to cut the back of the shrimp shells and remove the vein. Place the rinsed and drained shrimp in a quart bag.

Microwave honey for about 15 seconds until it has loosened a bit. Mix with a hot sauce of your choice. Pour over the shrimp and massage to coat. Let marinade for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Set up the grill for direct cooking. Place the shrimp on the grill and baste with melted butter and lime juice. Grill one side and flip over after 2-3 minutes and the shrimp are starting to go pink. Baste again and cook until done through.

You can serve this with rice or make tacos with it or, be like us, and just sit and peel and eat until you’re ready to bust. Mmmmhmmm, good!

Cookie Brittle

I was browsing around the interwebs the other day and came across a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Brittle. Brilliant – brittle plus chocolate chip cookie! Quite yummy!

I switched out bittersweet chocolate morsels for semi-sweet to cut the sweetness a little and intensify the chocolate. I also put in more morsels because it didn’t look chocolately enough with just the one package.

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Cookie Brittle

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups (16 oz.) bitter-sweet chocolate chips (a package and a half)

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a 10×15 inch baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter, vanilla, salt and granulated sugar together until it is well-mixed and fluffy. Add the flour and beat until well-incorporated. Toss in the chocolate chips and mix completely.

Press the cookie dough into an even layer in the prepared baking sheet. Bake the cookie brittle for 25 minutes, or until it turns a nice golden brown color across the top (the edges may be a bit darker).

Allow the brittle to cool completely before breaking it into large chunks.

Grilled Sweet Potato Fries

I’m grilling up another 10lb bag of chicken leg quarters (using the Rosemary Buttermilk soak) and decided that a good accompaniment to the meal would be sweet potatoes. For tonight’s dinner, I’m going to cut them into wedges and grill them. I’m putting a Creole spice mixture on them but feel free to spice them up to your liking – a teaspoon salt, paprika, cumin, chili powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper goes great, too.

You can cook these entirely on the grill – it will take about 40 minutes indirect. However, since most of the grill space will be taken by the chicken, I’m cheating by starting these with a parboil. This way, I can put them on as the chicken comes off and, by the time it is done resting, the sweet potatoes will be ready to serve.

These went so fast, I barely got to grab one for a picture!

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Grilled Sweet Potato Fries

4 medium sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Creole Seasoning, use your favorite or the recipe below
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water, add a pinch of salt and cook until potatoes are tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

Have your grill set up for both direct and indirect cooking.

While the potatoes are cooling, mix together the seasoning and brown sugar. Fingers work best to take the lumps out.

Slice each potato in half lengthwise then slice each half into four pieces to form wedges. Toss the wedges with 3 tablespoons of oil and season with seasoning mix.

Place over the coals for 2-5 minutes a side to get some nice grill marks. Move to indirect cooking and grill until lightly golden brown and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes more per side.

Remove to a platter and serve.

Creole Seasoning Recipe

1/3 cup Kosher Salt
1/3 cup Paprika
1/4 cup Granulated Garlic
4 tablespoon Onion Powder
1/3 cup freshly ground Black Pepper
3 tablespoons White Pepper
2 tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
2 tablespoons dried Thyme
2 tablespoons dried Basil
1 tablespoon dried Oregano

Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight jar or plastic container. Makes about 2 cups and is good on darn near everything.

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Early this morning, more than 100 people were killed or injured at an Orlando, Florida gay hotspot simply for who they loved. The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub is another in a long string of attacks against the LGBTQ community – in fact, there have been more than 10 transgender people murdered in the United States in the first five months of 2016 alone.

As President Obama said:

This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.

So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.

I cannot fathom such hate any more than I understand the fear mongering and ugly lies spread by those who seek special legal protection for discrimination based on religious belief. Not understanding, I have turned to baking and hope that bittersweet chocolate can give me some solace, even if it can’t fill the hole in my heart.

This started as a recipe from the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company that I’ve added Creme de Cacao and pecans.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Cookies

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli Bittersweet Baking Chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Creme de Cacao (or vanilla extract)
1/3 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking Chips, for mixing into the prepared cookie dough
1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces
2 -3 tablespoons flake sea salt

In  a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Remove from heat. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. In another bowl, mix together sugar and eggs, combine thoroughly and slowly add the cooled chocolate mixture. Stir to combine. Add Creme de Cacao or vanilla extract and mix. Stir in flour mixture. Cool for a few minutes (if batter is warm, chocolate chips will melt). Stir in chocolate chips and pecan pieces. Chill for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop rounded tablespoons of batter and place on baking tray. Top each cookie lightly with a pinch of sea salt. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 7-8 minutes until the outside looks slightly cracked. Do not over bake cookies as they will continue to cook once removed from the oven. Cookies should be soft and gooey in the center.

Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page taking donations to help the Pulse shooting victims. In addition, I ask for you to please stand with the LGBTQ community and not against us. We are not the demons the religious extremists have tried to make us out to be. We are your brothers and your sisters and we, too, want to live our lives without fear.

Pineapple Sorbets

Pineapples were on sale, so we picked up a couple. The first recipe is for a light, tart and refreshing sorbet. The second is a bit sweeter but just as refreshing.

Both make perfect summertime treats.

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Pineapple Lime Sorbet


1 medium pineapple – about 3 cups pineapple chunks
zest and juice of 2 limes (need 1/4 cup juice)
1/4 cup water
1 – 8 tablespoons sugar, depending on sweetness of pineapple

Place in a blender the pineapple, lime zest and juice and water. Blend together and then add in sugar as necessary. You will need to add some sugar, as the sorbet won’t set properly without it. Aim for something a little sweeter than how you want the final product to be, as it loses some sweetness during freezing.

Put mixture in your ice cream maker until it comes together. Place in the freezer to finish setting up.

Pineapple Mint Sorbet


1 medium pineapple, about 3 cups of chunks
1/4 cup mint simple syrup
4 mint leaves, torn into pieces

To make mint simple syrup: Bring to a boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar. Stir well to dissolve all the sugar. Pour over a handful of mint leaves and let steep on the counter for 30 minutes. Strain out the leaves and store the mint simple syrup in the refrigerator. Use in cocktails and sorbets.

Blend together the pineapple, mint simple syrup and mint leaves. Put in your ice cream maker until it comes together. Freeze for a couple of hours before enjoying.

Chocolate Pecan Torte

For the birthday girl, I did a riff off a Martha Stewart recipe, using bittersweet chocolate and pecans in my recipe instead. I also had no heavy cream, so I made do with milk and melted butter (1/2 cup milk, 4 tablespoons butter, 4 ounces chocolate equals the ganache recipe below).

The end result is a decadently rich, fudgy cake.

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Chocolate Pecan Torte


1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 generous cup of bittersweet chocolate morsels
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 inch round cake pan. Sprinkle in good quality cocoa to flour the pan.

Mix together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate over simmering water. Remove from heat and mix in sugar and vanilla. Add in eggs and buttermilk. Stir in pecans and then mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Let cool completely (about 3 hours) before frosting.

To make the ganache, bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Pour ganache in center of the cake, spread evenly over the top and down the sides. Let set, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the top with toasted pecans.

Brined and Grilled Pork Loin Roast

It is Michelle’s birthday and I’m happy for an excuse to do some grilling. There is a sort of chocolate theme to the day, so the rub I’m using has unsweetened cocoa powder in it.

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Brined and Grilled Pork Loin Roast

5 lb pork loin roast
6 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 bay leaves
12 whole peppercorns
4 sprigs rosemary

5 by 5 rub
1 tablespoonkosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

 

Combine sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and stir. Add bay leaves, peppercorns and rosemary leaves. Bring to a boil, stirrimg to dissolve the sugar and salt. Boil for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat. Let the brine sit on the stove until it cools to room temperature.

Add the pork loin roast to a zip top bag and pour over the brine. Squeeze out all the air and then seal the bag. Set in refrigerature for 12 to 24 hours.

Make the rub by combining all 5 ingredients in a bowl and mix with your fingers to remove any lumps of brown sugar. Set aside until ready to use. Store any extra in an airtight container.

Remove pork loin from the refrigerator about an hour before you want to grill. Pull from brine and rinse off. About 30 minutes before grilling, generously coat the meat with dry rub. Set up your grill for indirect cooking with coals on either side and a channel down the middle. Drop in a couple of wood chips for smoke. Set an aluminum drip pan down the center.

Start by searing the meat over the coals for about 2 minutes per side. After about 10 minutes and after plenty of grill marks, place the pork loin roast in the center of the grill, fat side up, and close the grill. Roast for 60 to 90 minutes, until the temperature of the center of the  meat reaches 145 degrees F. Remove from the grill and lest rest 5 to 10 minutes.

And, because Michelle likes veggies, I grilled some zucchini from her brother’s garden. I used this recipe from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. As someone who isnt a fan of zucchini, the marinade is good but finishing them with lemon salt makes them actually taste pretty darn good.