Archive | June 2013

Pickled Grape Pizza

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I had some leftover pizza dough and decided to make a quick pizza in my trusty skillet. I raided the fridge for toppings and voila, a star is born. Toppings were fontina cheese, capers, shaved asparagus, scallions, asiago cheese and lastly and most importantly, pickled red grapes.

My niece, Danie, made the grapes and somehow one of the jars was deep in the fridge. Lucky for me. It was amazing. Do it. Photo: Becca Henry.

PICKLED GRAPES

The Fast and the Furious: Chicken Spiedies

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It is simply not summer without spiedies. I grew up near Binghamton, NY, home of Spiedie Fest. Spiedies trace their origins to Italy’s spiedini and were introduced long ago to this area by Italian immigrants. This technique has become so popular, a few local entrepreneurs have bottled the sauce and it’s sold online and in local stores. I do like the pre-made marinades, but homemade is always better, less salt and lots of fresh basil and mint.

Okay, enough of the history lesson, all I care about is grilling the vinegar and herb marinade on cubes of meat creating a charred masterpiece. It’s really simple. Make the marinade with the best vinegars, olive oil and fresh herbs. Cube up your favorite meat, you can’t beat chicken thighs for taste and cost. Let the meat sit in the marinade anywhere from 2 to 48 hours. Grill over charcoal (on or off skewers) until meat is cooked, hopefully with crusty edges and enticing grill marks.

Serve plain on just a roll or dress it up with your favorite toppings. Pictured here are last night’s efforts with a ciabatta roll and pickled cucumber/red pepper relish and a little hot sauce. Yummers. Photo: Danie Woodward.

SPIEDIES  |  SPIEIDIE FEST

Pulled Pork with a Red Chile Sauce

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I endeavored to make a red chile enchilada sauce with some dried poblano and other chiles. It was a quite an ordeal with the roasting, stemming, steaming and puree-ing. What I got was a beautiful red earthy sauce with a slight bitter taste. Drat. When I searched the net to find out why, I got all sorts of reasons: not being diligent with getting all the seeds and membranes removed, letting the water boil, and stirring the sauce counter-clockwise. Okay, that last one is not true, but jeesh.

I proceeded to try to sweeten the sauce, adding tomato paste, honey, agave syrup, and who knows what. It did help, yet that bitterness was still slightly there. Double Drat.  So, here I am with this huge pot of sauce and a lost afternoon. What to do?

Well, make pulled pork sammies is the obvious answer to that question. I theorized a sweet pork butt would take my slightly bitter sauce and wear it like a mink coat. And I was right. This was the tastiest mistake ever, and I want to make it again. My no-longer-bitter baby is shown here on a multi-grain hoagie roll, with red cabbage slaw and jalapenos. Photo: Danie Woodward.

RED ENCHILADA SAUCE SLOW COOKER PULLED PORK