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Delicious Dish – Oriental BBQ Chicken

July 30th, 2009 No Comments

This is one of my friends’ favorite dishes I prepare because the chicken is so tender, and the sauce so unique.  You wouldn’t believe it, but a little of the sauce goes a long way.

Actually, I made this in Dallas and used the leftover pineapple salsa (that I made to top halibut the night before) over cold sauteed green beans (from Whole Foods).


4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
½ cup hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped.

Very Simply:

  1. Set oven to broil.
  2. Either leave chicken as breast or cut into smaller strips.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients and brush over chicken.
  4. Broil on broiling pan 4-6 inches from heat for 7-8 minutes or until brown.
  5. Turn chicken over, brush with sauce.  Broil 4-5 minutes longer or until no longer pink in center.
  6. Meanwhile, heat remaining sauce in a pan and bring to boil for 1 minute.  Serve with chicken.

**I usually double the sauce just in case.

(Recipe via Betty Crocker – seriously! – one of my first cookbooks)

DELICIOUS DISH – Apple-Glazed Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

June 18th, 2009 No Comments

This recipe from Food+Wine seems less intimidating if you’re hesitant to “smoke the meat” for 16 hours!

According to Food + Wine:

These sticky, apple-scented ribs are cooked in the oven, then finished on the grill. They’re a simpler version of a recipe by champion pit master Chris Lilly, author of the new Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book, who cooks his ribs entirely on the grill. To follow Lilly’s example, use a thermometer to keep the temperature at a steady 250 and wrap the ribs in foil after adding the apple cider mixture.


  1. 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  2. 4 teaspoons garlic salt
  3. 4 teaspoons pure ancho chile powder
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  9. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  10. 1/2 cup apple cider
  11. 1/4 cup apple jelly, melted
  12. 1/4 cup honey
  13. 2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 pounds total)
  14. 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 250°. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of the sugar with the garlic salt, chile powder, salt, black pepper, celery salt, cayenne, cinnamon and white pepper. Transfer 1 tablespoon of the spice mix to a medium bowl and whisk in the cider, apple jelly, honey and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.
  2. Pull the membrane off the underside of each rib rack using a towel to grasp the corner. On a rimmed baking sheet, rub the ribs with the remaining spice mix; bake, meaty side up, for 2 1/2 hours. Pour the cider mixture over the ribs and turn to coat. Tightly cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Light a grill. Uncover the ribs and brush with the barbecue sauce; grill over moderate heat, turning and brushing, until glazed, 15 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes, then cut between the bones and serve.

For more grilling recipes from Food + Wine, click here.

Did You Say dip my meat in cold water?

June 18th, 2009 No Comments


Here are the basic steps to grilling beef ribs if you’re new to the open flame:

  1. Light a grill. 
  2. Cut in between the bones to separate the rack into individual ribs. 
  3. Grill the ribs over moderate heat, turning, until crusty and sizzling, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Brush generously with the barbecue sauce and grill, turning, until deeply glazed, about 5 minutes longer. 
  5. Serve the ribs, passing the extra sauce on the side. 

As Scott from Salt Lick says on our TMI grilling episode, you can use any tomato-less bbq sauce with a high sugar content. If you’re not making the sauce yourself (Click here for Tom’s Sticky BBQ Beef Rib recipe), I highly suggest ordering the sauce from Salt Lick – it’s my all time favorite.

(Photo via Food+Wine)

Did you say dip my meat in cold water?

June 18th, 2009 No Comments

I loved discovering these 20 Smart Tips For Everyday Grilling list in this month’s Food + Wine Magazine.  I learned some helpful tricks for keeping meat juicy and veggies crunchy.

April 30th, 2009 No Comments


I’m honestly not sure if this has been done before, but the idea came to me in the shower.  I needed to impress the guests at my friend’s dinner party with some hors deurves, and instead of looking in my massive book of recipes collected from friends; I decided to take a risk.  Guess what, it worked…big time.  People LOVED these little guys.

·   Cherry tomatoes

·   Fresh mozzarella

·   Fresh basil

·   Aged (very important) balsamic vinegar**

·   Toothpicks

WASH YOUR HANDS (I know you do, just a friendly reminder for this one.) Chop basil into little squares.  Pull apart mozzarella into dime-size pieces.  Sprinkle balsamic vinegar over cheese.  On a little plate, make a little puddle of balsamic vinegar.  Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.  Then scoop out the middle juicy part with your pointer finger.  Take a piece of cheese – if it needs more balsamic, dip it in the little puddle.  Stuff cheese in one half of a tomato.  Then add a square of basil.  Top it off with the other half of a tomato and secure vertically with a toothpick.  Repeat.  Put in refrigerator until you need them.  Serve with a side of the aged balsamic in a dish/glass.

**Aged balsamic is sweeter and thicker than regular balsamic.  It’s a little more expensive, but totally worth it! Here’s the one I love from O & Co.

Presentation note:  I love using wine and martini glasses inside of chip and veggie bowls to serve the dip.

March 20th, 2009 No Comments


Reader Emma directed me to this blog and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.  Not every recipe is super simple, but they have a plethora of healthy delicious dishes I would love to try. ::

I nailed the butternut squash tonight, next stop brussels sprouts.  This Shredded Brussel Sprouts and Applesdish looks better than anything I’ve ever seen, and doesn’t involve a lot of effort.  Yay. (I’ll probably skip the tofu.  Not a fan.) Here’s the recipe:

Shredded Brussels Sprouts & Apples

Feel free to leave out the tofu if you like – I add it to make this a one skillet meal.
I used the Wildwood Organics baked savory tofu here, it browns up nicely and holds its shape – though any extra-firm tofu will work. If you don’t feel like shredding the brussels sprouts, you could do a version of this recipes cutting them into quarters instead – a bit quicker as far as prepping the ingredients goes.

1 large, crisp apple, cut into bite-sized wedges
1 lemon, juice only

4 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into tiny-inch cubes (see photo)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
a scant tablespoon of maple syrup
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped

12 ounces (3/4 pound). brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons

Soak the apples in a bowl filled with water and the juice of one lemon.

Cook the tofu in large hot skillet with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, wait a few seconds, now stir in the maple syrup, and cook another 30 seconds or so. Drain the apples, and add them to the skillet, cooking for another minute. Scrape the apple and tofu mixture out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.

In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.
Stir the apple mixture back into the skillet alongside the brussels sprouts 1/2 of the pine nuts – gently stir to combine. Remove from heat and enjoy immediately sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts. This isn’t a dish you want sitting around, the flavors change dramatically after ten minutes or so, and I think that is part of the reason brussels sprouts get a bad rap. Even I don’t like them after they’ve been sitting around.

SPICED BANANAS – One of My Delicious Dessert Dishes

March 17th, 2009 No Comments

Tonight I’m off to a friend’s house for an intimate dinner party.  Per usual I bring wine and dessert.  This recipe always gets ooo’s and ahhh’s, and it’s SUPER EASY! Think No-Mess Bananas Foster. (Note: This recipe was passed down from my cooking mentor Leslie Weiss) ::

  • 3/4 very ripe banana per guest
  • Cinnamon
  • Light brown sugar
  • Lemon
  • Cookie sheet
  • Vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350.  Slice the bananas vertically and then horizontally (so you have 4 pieces).  Cut a couple lemon wedges.  Rub both sides of each banana piece with the lemon wedge so it’s a little wet.  Sprinkle cinnamon on each side.  Finally rub a little brown sugar on each side of the banana pieces.  Place on the cookie sheet and bake about 5 minutes.  Flip bananas.  Bake until really soft.

Dress it to impress and serve in a martini glass. The dessert is small and doesn’t demand a lot of effort to get a bite. I actually learned this presentation from my Mom who prepares the most amazing tables.  Top it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to cut the richness.

Easy as pie. (Actually pie can be a challenge if you make the crust. Haha)


November 7th, 2008 No Comments

On today’s TMI,  I refer to a fabulous dessert recipe passed down from one of my Mom’s best friends.

I’m a huge believer that if you are going to bring food to a party, you should make it from scratch.

Here’s something so easy to make, very tasty, and even more impressive.


  • 1 normal sized bag of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 1 small can of condensed milk (don’t get the store brand)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups of pecan pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Wax paper
  • Double boiler or two pots

On the stove (easiest on a gas stove), with the heat on medium, start to melt the chips in a double boiler (or place one small pot with chips inside a larger one with water in it). Add the condensed milk.  Keep an eye on the heat, you don’t want the chocolate to boil. Stir and melt until smooth.  Add the vanilla and pecans (you can decide how pecany you want it).  Stir.

Spread out the wax paper on countertop.  Turn off heat but keep pots together.  Take a teaspon and a knife to drop dollups a little bigger than a silver dollar onto the paper.  Let them sit overnight.  The next morning, you should be able to peel them off, if not, scrape with a knife.

Makes…a lot. Put in bags or tins and give to friends!