Friday, July 29, 2016

Berbere Spice Rub and a #WholeFoods #Giveaway

Grilling season is still here and though I sometimes feel I am the one that's on the grill-it has been so hot outside-usually it's just a piece of chicken or fish. I'm always looking for new ways to liven up my food and boy-have I got one for you! This berbere rub is perfect for seafood, pork, beef, lamb and chicken. Not only that, but it would be great on corn and squash. Rubbed on eggplant, this would take the cake. That just about covers everything, does it not? I even mix it with a bit of mayo and use it on a spread as a sandwich. This stuff really rocks. I love the lemony taste of the coriander, the ginger punches it up, and the garlic and chilies make this outstanding. It is spicy and full of flavor but it is spicy in the not so "hot on the tongue" kind of way.

Whole Foods is thinking marinades and rubs and they can even do it for you. The meat counter has a variety of rubs to choose from; just take your pick. So when to do a rub or a marinade? Marinades are liquid and contain a tenderizer such as wine, vinegar, or citrus juice. Rubs are merely to add flavor and this one sure does. It can also be used as a marinade by adding more oil to the recipe or even some water or beer. It does contain some lemon juice so if you use it on seafood you wouldn't want it to sit to long before grilling, or the juice may cook it for you. I make it as a rub so that it can be kept in the fridge and stored. However it usually doesn't last long!

Berbere spice has origins in North Africa. It is used in Ethiopia and Morocco and each cook has their own version. I left out the fenugreek and the cardamom because I don't often have those spices on hand. I did punch up the chilies and used a combo of Urfa and Aleppo. If you can't find them, feel free to use some red chile flakes. I also added in some smoked paprika because everything on the grill tastes better with it-IMO! Coriander is another spice that I don't use often enough. It really adds depth in any seasoning mixture and gives a great lemony taste. Try this recipe and introduce yourself to some new spices. You won't be sorry.

As usual, Whole Foods is kind enough to offer a giveaway. Follow the directions and maybe you will be a winner. If you need some more tips and ideas on marinades and rubs, check this page out!

Whole Foods is giving away 1 $25 gift card to help fill your basket. This post is sponsored by Whole Foods but all opinions are mine. Open only to US residents. No compensation has been given, but products have been provided. Giveaway closes on September 1, 2016Winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator. 
How to Enter:
· Enter once by leaving me a comment and telling me your favoritemarinade or rub.
· Enter twice by subscribing to This is How I Cook
· Enter again by following me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  

Berbere Rub
Makes: About 1 1/2 cups
Time to Make: About 20 minutes
Adapted From Steven Raichlen, The BBQ Bible
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 t freshly ground black pepper
2 T chopped fresh ginger (I used the kind in a tube)
3 T mild paprika
1 T smoked paprika
1 T ground coriander
1/2 t Urfa chilies
1/2 t Aleppo chilies
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground allspice
1/8 t ground cloves
3 t coarse salt
1 t honey
1/2 c olive oil
1/4 c fresh lemon juice or 1 lemon squeezed
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree to a smooth paste. Taste for salt and pepper. Store in fridge. This should be enough to rub or marinate about 2 1/2 to 3 lbs of seafood, poultry or meat. (I am planning in making shrimp, pineapple and pepper kebabs tonight and this will be on them!)

More to Try:
Grilled Chicken Rub
Thai Peanut Sauce
Chimichurri Sauce
Teriyaki Sauce

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

No Yeast Greek Olive Bread Roll

Gluten free, I am not! I adore bread every which way and no doubt I inherited this gene from my Grandma. Grandma always told me that you could take away her cake, but never her bread. She loved her bread and had many bread cookbooks to prove it. She probably said this...

Or may have said this...

But I say this...

So... whenever I bake any type of bread I am reminded of her. The truth is I love bread probably as much as she did. Growing up we only had one type of bread in the house and that was sandwich bread. My mom once bought the squishy white bread sold in primary colored plastic bags. The squishy white bread contained lard, which we quickly discovered when we proceeded to toast the bread. It seems my dad had no problem eating bacon, but bread with lard is a no-no! After that it was strictly Pepperidge Farm, which I still enjoy to this day.

It's kind of crazy when I tell you what I have on the bottom shelf of my fridge. Besides various left overs, I have a lot of bread. I have corn tortillas and flour tortillas. I have left over foccacia from the farmer's market. I have brioche buns that I used for burgers. I have leftover garlic bread from a party last weekend. I have an unopened box of English muffins that I thought my mom would eat when she was here, but they still remain unopened, and I have an Italian wheat bread by Udi's, that I use for my every day toasting bread. Yesterday when Manservant wanted a sandwich I didn't have regular white bread, so I had to use the brioche bun. But today when he wanted an egg sandwich I was able to make it on bagels, that I bought from Bruegger's last week. I hate to see what is in my freezer because I know I could add to this list!

Last week we had a friend over for dinner and it was so hot I didn't feel like cooking. I decided to grill a Greek chicken and while doing that I remembered I had two rolls of this Greek olive bread in the freezer. It was perfect with the chicken and Greek salad and I'm so glad I remembered them. It is often that my food that is relegated to freezer land, meets freezer doom. Especially now because I am afraid to open the freezer as it is still collecting water at the bottom, which means a thick sheet of ice is forming. Manservant will fix it any day now I am sure, because soon he will get tired of walking through the puddles of water that leak out of it.

But let's forget the freezer and talk about Greek food. I adore Greek food and people often ask me if I am Greek. (I am not...but they do have beautiful women, do they not? Hence, make me Greek!) Every year in Kankakee we used to attend the annual Greek picnic. Or maybe it was the stops we often made going home from Chicago in Greek town. We always ate at Greek Islands and I still can never get over the fact that we don't have a Greek town in Denver. We have Greek restaurants, but I've never found one quite the same as those in Chicago.

  I love reading Greek recipes and  discovered this one and pinned it years ago from here, who found it here! Check out this site for some great Greek recipes! I finally found  time to bake it and  am so glad I did. It is easy to make and roll and would work perfectly with a variety of fillings. It would make a perfect appetizer also and with chocolate would make a great accompaniment with tea or coffee. I love that it made 4 rolls because that way I was able to store several in the freezer. The orange juice in the recipe made the dough quite tender, but it did not give off a strong orange taste. In fact, I could not detect any orange taste.

Have fun with this and let me know what variation you came up with. And also I'd really like to you keep as much bread around as I do?

No Yeast Greek Olive Bread Rolls
Makes 4
Time to Make: About 60 minutes
Bread Dough Pastry
4 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t kosher salt
1 c olive oil
1 c fresh orange juice
Olive Filling: Enough for 4 rolls
4 T olive oil
2 c scallions, finely chopped
3 c olives, pitted and coarsely chopped (I get mine from the olive bar)
1 1/2 t oregano
8 T fresh mint leaves, chopped
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2/3 c sesame seeds
2 c water
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Prepare the topping by soaking the sesame seeds in water and set aside.
Make the pastry: In the bowl of a stand mixer add  flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Mix together the olive oil and orange juice in a large mixing cup. With mixer running, add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and knead with the dough hook until the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.
Make the filling: In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the scallions and sauté until they soften, about 4 minutes. Add in the olives and oregano, and sauté for 1 more minute. Remove from the heat, and add the mint. Season the mixture with pepper flakes.

Roll and fill the pastry: Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Lightly flour your surface. I use a sheet of waxed paper. Flatten the first piece into a rectangle that is about 5 inches wide by 10 inches long. Fill with your preferred filling. Using the waxed paper, slowly slide the paper off the dough as you roll the pastry dough over the filling as you would a jelly roll. Make sure to pinch the sides in and under, and lightly pinch the seam to ensure that the filling is enclosed. Using both hands you can shape the roll by pressing in on the ends or slowly pulling the ends out.You should have a tight log.
To make the topping, drain the water from sesame seeds on a colander, and spread them on a tray. Lightly roll the log on the tray to cover with the sesame seeds. Place the log on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the other dough and fillings, to make 4 logs.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the logs are a light golden brown. Move the logs to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife.

More to try:
White Beans and Red Peppers Mezze
Honey Glazed Chicken with Lemons and Olives
15 Minute Greek Baked Shrimp with Feta
Lemon Thyme Biscoti Crackers

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Berry and Dark Chocolate Studded Summer Cake

It seems July is more than half over and here I am feeling like it's not even begun. No sooner had I made it through the 4th, than my mother arrived shortly there after. It was kind of her to take pity on me and pay me a visit. Let's face it. It has been awfully quiet around here. Even the dogs were getting excited at the sound of the TV being turned on. My mom and I kept busy doing some real gourmet eating. I managed to eat at two restaurants I've never been to before. Wings N' Things is certainly not my idea of eating, but Mom preferred that over a burger, well, that is until she saw a Steak and Shake sign and we had to go there too. Seems it reminds her of the good old days. You can see she looks like a kid in a candy store as she happily ordered her favorites. I was planning on grilling shrimp, but steak burgers and a chocolate shake stole her heart!

So then 2 days after my mother left, Manservant returned for a 2 week "visit". He's been gallivanting around Vienna, Holland, Dusseldorf and London for about  7 1/2 weeks. Yes, he is going back and I am hoping to accompany him for some of it. Let's hope he gets this figured out fast because our China trip is less than two months away!

In the meantime I've managed to get two car batteries replaced, 4 yards of dirt spread, killed two wasp nests, destroyed Japanese beetles and managed to maintain the yard and the house and I guess, myself. Being away from someone is never easy and one quickly realizes what that person contributes even when it seems like they aren't. However then one gets used to said person being gone, and life is turned upside down when they return. I imagine that's what keeps us on our toes.

During these 7 1/2 weeks I've still been cooking and photographing, but somehow I've found myself busier than when he is home. Perhaps it is the extra jobs being thrown at me. Perhaps it is because I've occupied myself in different ways. Whatever the reason is, if you figure it out, please let me know.

In the meantime though, while you are pondering this deep thought, please feel free to munch on a slice of cake; preferably this luscious, dark chocolate studded, berry cake. It is a perfect summer cake. Easy to prepare, not overly sweet, can be made with any berry or jam, and is great topped with whipped cream or ice cream. I baked this one with raspberries, but I am now feeling the mood to give it a try with blueberries. Dark chocolate and blueberries sounds pretty good to me. And after all life may be getting kind of blue around here next week, when he departs again. Well, that is unless he takes me with him...

Berry and Dark Chocolate Studded Summer Cake
Serves  8
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Martha Stewart
Time to Make: Active: About 20-30 and Baking about an hour
6 T soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 c plus 2 T sugar
1 large egg
1/4 c skim milk
1/4 c heavy cream
1 t vanilla
2 oz dark chocolate mega chips or a chopped bar (I chopped a Trader Joe's dark chocolate bar)
1/2 c berry jam (your choice)
12 oz fresh berries
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" deep dish pie plate or a 10" spring form or cake pan.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing cup. In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 c sugar until pale and fluffy with a mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and cream, and vanilla until just combined. Add dry ingredients gradually, beating until smooth. Stir in chocolate. Spread into prepared pan. Spread jam on top and swirl lightly into batter. Arrange your choice of berries on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle remaining 2 T of sugar on top.
Bake cake for 10 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 325. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter. I baked my cake for 65 minutes but yours may only take 50-60. Let cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar and chocolate shavings. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

More Summer Desserts
Strawberry Spiral Biscuit Pie
Triple Berry Hand Pies
Blackberry, Blueberry and Basil Browned Butter Cobbler
Raspberry Crumble Tart
Grilled Fruit Pies in a Cornmeal Crust
Old Fashioned Skillet Cherry Cobbler

Friday, July 1, 2016

Grilled Mexican Pork (Oaxaca Style) and #CookoutWeek 2016

I'm not sure about you, but sometimes it is good to be different. I know it's easy to go the market and pick up a package of dogs or some premade burgers, but the truth is it is just as easy to pick up an unadorned pork tenderloin and stick it in a marinade and grill something that surprises everyone! I love the bbq chickens and the ribs, but I also love great Mexican food and grilled meat is a Mexican specialty. It isn't always about tortillas, though this dish could easily be wrapped in one, but this grilled pork is all about the other white meat!

The weekend is upon us and I can already smell the grills smokin'! In my case I was filling it with the savory scent of this grilled Mexican pork tenderloin. Manservant will be sorry he missed it! This super easy to prepare tenderloin is tangy and spicy and perfect for weekend food. I've been munching on it in tacos, over quesadillas and even on salad greens.

Of course I've also been topping it with avocado cream and pickled onions. My grilled salsa tastes superb with this and some elote corn helps round things out. It would be perfect on a rice bowl with lots of cilantro, sour cream and some black beans. Truth be told, I think I've found a new favorite. I keep finding myself heading to the fridge and opening up the zip lock bag and taking a few slices out. It could be worse. I could be taking out chocolate or potato chips or heaven forbid ...cookies. No, much better to munch on this than that!

I'm not going to bore you with details, except to supply you with this recipe. My yard is calling, the dogs want to go out and hopefully the rain is gone. Just want to make sure you have this for the weekend. It is easy and deliciously hearty and perfect for the 4th! Serve this with some avocado cream or guacamole, corn tortillas and some salsa. Of course you could add some grilled cabbage and pickled onions, too!  This will surely set off some fireworks! Have a great weekend!

Grilled Mexican Pork (Oaxaca Style)
Time To Make : About 20 minutes, 4-24 hours to marinate, 6-10 minutes to grill
From: The BBQ Bible
Serves 4-6
1/4 c pure chile powder (I used ancho and guajillo)
1/2 c white vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1 1/2 lbs boneless pork tenderloin
Combine everything, except the pork, in a blender or use an immersion blender to process this to a smooth wet paste. Cut the pork loin into 4 broad, thin sheets, about 1/4" thick. I'm not sure I got mine that thin! Pound to even out the thick pieces! Spread each piece of pork with the seasoning mixture and stack in a non reactive dish, or in my case a big zip lock bag. Marinate as long as you want, but a minimum of 6 hours in the refrigerator.

Preheat grill to high and while grill is preheating bring pork to room temperature. Oil the grill grate and grill, turning with tongs, until nicely browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Pork can be served a bit pink in the middle. Do not overcook! Serve with condiments and enjoy!

Don't forget these!
Pickled Grilled Red Onions
Avocado Cream
Grilled Cabbage
Baja Grilled Tomato Salsa
Elote Corn

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And just a few more hours to enter the giveaway! It's super easy to enter, and one lucky winner will get:
It's pretty much everything you need to host an awesome cookout this summer. It's a prize pack worth over $300! Thank you so much to all of the wonderful sponsors listed above, who have made #CookoutWeek possible.

Enter now:
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