Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

We’ve had a major breakthrough in the house!  I have now gotten my son to eat….hamburgers!  Cue the trumpets.  I’ve been working for several months to broaden his food horizons.  Seems like he’s finally starting to grow out of that picky toddler phase.  Lately, he’s eaten mostly the same food we have for dinner – or some variation of it that doesn’t require me to cook a separate meal.  What a relief!  He doesn’t quite love burgers; more like he tolerates them.  For him it’s just the burger and the bun – no ketchup, mustard, or cheese. And he’s such a carbaholic that I still catch him trying to eat the bread out from around the meat.

It’s too bad that Tyler won’t eat other toppings along with a burger, because everything on this one makes for a tasty mouthful.  The meat is seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, and sesame, and topped with grilled spam, pineapple, and red onions.  All that is drizzled with a creamy hoisin.  So, while I wolfed down this towering sandwich, my son sat next to me eating…just the turkey burger.

original recipe

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

Ingredients

Burgers
1 ¼ lbs. ground turkey
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 ½ Tbs sesame oil
1” chunk of ginger, peeled and minced
2 green onions, light green and half the dark green, finely chopped
Black pepper
Sandwich
Half a cored pineapple, cut into thick rings
1 can Spam, cut into ¼” slices
Few slices of red onion
Four hamburger buns
Lettuce
Sauce
3 Tbs hoisin sauce
2 Tbs mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Combine ground turkey, soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger, and green onion in a bowl. Divide dough into four equal patties, making them wider than the hamburger bun and pressing the center a little thinner than the edges. Season the top of the patties with black pepper.
  2. Heat a grill to high. Cook burgers, pineapple, Spam, and red onion slices on the grill, flipping once. The burgers will take 4-5 minutes per side; the other items will take between 3-4 minutes per side.
  3. To assemble the burgers, slice the hamburger buns in half. Layer with lettuce, burger, 2 slices of spam, a pineapple ring, and a few onion rings.
  4. For the sauce, whisk the hoisin and mayonnaise together in a small bowl. Drizzle sauce over the burger and top with remaining half of the bun.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/08/hawaiian-turkey-burgers/

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Cuban Chicken Skewers

I’m kinda posting and running this week.  I’m back to work, and scrambling around to get all my classes started up.  This dish is perfect for when you need something quick for dinner.  The recipe is so easy, I almost didn’t post it.  That’s the great thing about grilling, though.  Keep it simple.  Two items on the skewer.  Minimal fussing.  Okay, I did brine the chicken.  Because as much as I’ve improved my grilling skills, I still live in fear of overcooking the meat.

original recipe

Cuban Chicken Skewers

Cuban Chicken Skewers

Use the lime to squeeze onto the chicken when eating.

Ingredients

2 c water
¼ c kosher salt
¼ c sugar
1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 limes
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs Cuban seasoning (I used a McCormick blend)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir the water, salt, and sugar until all crystals have dissolved. Place chicken breasts in mixture, cover, and let chill for 30 minutes.
  2. If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Cut chicken into 1-inch chunks. Halve limes lengthwise, then cut into thick slices.
  4. Heat grill to medium-hot.
  5. Thread chicken and limes onto skewers in an alternating pattern.
  6. Rub oil onto the chicken and limes. Sprinkle all sides with seasoning.
  7. Grill until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/08/cuban-chicken-skewers/

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Jambalaya Kabobs

One of my goals for this summer was to become better at grilling.  Usually, that’s a task I’m happy to hand over to Joey.  However, most weeknights, Joey is working. So if I want to use the grill, I decided it’s high time to learn.  We only have a charcoal grill – no fancy gas or electric one for us.  I’ve gotten the hang of lighting the coals and using the chimney starter.  I just wish they heated up faster.  Two things I’m still struggling with – how to know when the coals are ready, and keeping the food from sticking.

For these kabobs, I ended up making them twice.  The first time, I waited too long to put them on the grill, so the coals were not at their optimum strength.  Everything cooked, but the veggies were more than a little raw, and nothing had anything resembling a grill mark.  The second attempt came out much better. I used chicken thighs because they were a lot more forgiving if I overcooked them.  I was a little leery of grilling celery, but it became one of my favorite parts of the dish!

I decided to try Johnsonville andouille sausage for these kabobs.  It was well seasoned without being overly spicy.  And it crisped up beautifully on the grill.  One thing I really liked was that the sausage was packaged as two links, and each link was individually encased in plastic.  If you only use half the package, you can easily store the other half without having to re-wrap it.  So convenient!

Remember there’s a giveaway going on this week!  Winners will be announced during a PinChat live on July 3rd.  I’ve already made a refreshing drink and an easy dessert for the Flavors Of Summer Virtual Picnic.  Here’s some information from the sponsors:

“Celebrate Sweet Vidalia Flavors of Summer with the great tastes of fresh Vidalia Onions, Avocados from Mexico, Gourmet Garden Herbs, Johnsonville Italian Sausage, mangos, watermelon and Stemilt Cherries. Great food and good friends make everyday a party to remember so start entertaining and visit www.flavors-of-summer.com for recipes, coupons and entertaining tips.

AND be sure to check out the delicious recipe contest happening on Flavors of Summer. You could win 1 of 4 cash prizes of $1,000 or the grand prize of a $5,000 Sears Gift Card. It’s time to get cooking!”

original recipe

Jambalaya Kabobs

Jambalaya Kabobs

Ingredients

2½ tsp creole seasoning (from a mix, or homemade )
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thigh
½ medium red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 lemons, cut into thick half slices
2 Tbs olive oil
1 package (13.5 oz) of Johnsonville Andouille Sausage, cut into 1 inch chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill until hot. While grill is heating up, prep ingredients. Sprinkle 1½ tsp of creole seasoning on both sides of chicken thighs. Cut thighs into 1½ inch chunks. Set aside. Place onion, pepper, celery, tomatoes, and lemon in a bowl. Add olive oil and toss until all pieces have been coated. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp of creole seasoning, and toss to coat.
  2. Thread skewers with chicken, vegetables, lemon, and sausage, alternating between meats and produce. Grill kabobs until browned on all sides, about 10-12 minutes total. Remove food from skewers onto a bed of white rice and squeeze lemon over the dish.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/07/jambalaya-kabobs/

Got a great picnic recipe? Add it to the link up! Here’s a list of the other fabulous bloggers participating in the Virtual Picnic. I’m particularly drooling over the country fried chicken from Rachel. And Katie has been posting lots of grill recipes (like these Asian beef skewers), which I need to try so I can improve my grill skills even more!

Disclaimer: Johnsonville Italian Sausage is one of the sponsors of the giveaway.  I did not receive any compensation from them for this recipe.  All opinions are my own.

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Lemongrass Skewers

About two years ago, my husband planted two stalks of lemongrass in our front yard herb garden.  It’s grown to this:

I can’t believe all that from two stalks!  Apparently, this plant loves warm, humid weather. It’s very low maintenance – just a matter of weeding out the dead outer layers.  Every few weeks, I trim off the leafy tops.  Easy!  Even a brown thumb like me can keep these alive.

Because of these thriving plants, I’m always on the search for more lemongrass recipes.  This recipe is even easier than others that use lemongrass, because the stalk stays mostly intact.  Just trim off the nubby bottom, and cut off the leafy top.  The meat tastes great over rice, or as the filling for a banh mi sandwich.  I’m averse to including pictures of raw meat, so here’s one of the meat before being cooked.

adapted from a Luke Nguyen recipe

Lemongrass Skewers

Lemongrass Skewers

Ingredients

Meat
12 oz. ground pork, beef, or a mixture of both
1 green onion, thinly sliced
½ Tbs sugar
1 Tbs fish sauce
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Skewers
8-10 lemongrass stalks, trimmed

Instructions

  1. Place ground meat, green onion, sugar, fish sauce, and black pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Cover and chill for an hour.
  2. Heat grill to high. Press meat around each stalk of lemongrass in an even layer all around. Each stalk can hold about 1½ oz of meat, unless the stalks are very thick. (You’ll be able to feel how much meat the lemongrass can handle.) Grill skewers until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/06/lemongrass-skewers/

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Baby Back Ribs

Yet another pork recipe! This was one of the last times we used the grill during the official summer season. It is currently still reaching the nineties during the day, so we will most likely keep grilling well into November – one of the few perks to living in Florida.

Baby back ribs is a dish whose success has eluded us. We have tried a few times before. They either ended up chewy instead of tender, or lacking the caramelized barbecue coating and therefore not flavorful enough. This time, the ribs scored on both counts. The recipe utilized oven for slow-cooking, and then the grill for the finish. One day I would like to find a satisfying recipe that uses only the grill, but these ribs work well enough.


Baby Back Ribs
From Meat
By John Harrison with Frederick J. Simon

1 rack of baby back ribs (about 1.5 lbs)
1 small onion, sliced
1 bay leaf, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 ½ c barbecue sauce of your choice (we used Stubbs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place ribs in a large roasting pan and add enough water to come about ¼ inch up the sides. Add the onion and bay leaf to the water; season with salt and pepper. Tightly cover the pan with foil. Place the pan in the oven and braise for about 1 hour, or until the ribs are tender but not falling off the bone. Remove the ribs from the pan, drain on paper towels, and cut into smaller 3 or 4 rib mini-slabs. Discard the cooking liquid.

While the ribs are baking, prepare the grill. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce and grill over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes on each side, until dark and crisp. Baste frequently with the barbecue sauce. Serve ribs with more barbecue sauce.

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Grilled Peaches With Arugula And Goat Cheese

(recipe and photos updated July 2013)

 

To accompany our grilled steak, we made this salad. Peaches are one of our favorite foods to grill. Usually, we just chop them in half, pull out the pit, and stick them on the grill. They always ended up slightly mushy, although delicious. Slicing the peaches into sixths was a little more labor-intensive during the cooking process, but the texture more than made up for the extra work. Plus, the grill marks showed up better on the slices, making for an attractive presentation.

The sweet balsamic reduction, the spicy arugula, and the creamy goat cheese combined fantastically with the peaches. All in all, this was a very satisfying meal.


adapted from Cooking Light, June 2008

Grilled Peaches With Arugula and Goat Cheese

Grilled Peaches With Arugula and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs honey
3 peaches, pitted and cut into 6 wedges
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
6 c arugula
3 Tbs crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer until vinegar has reduced to about 2 Tbs. Remove from heat, and stir in honey. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Prepare grill to high heat. Place peach wedges on grill rack; grill for 30 seconds on each side or until grill marks appear but peaches are still firm. Remove from grill.
  3. Toss olive oil with arugula, and arrange on a platter. Top with peach wedges. Sprinkle with goat cheese, and drizzle with the balsamic syrup.
http://kokocooks.com/2009/09/grilled-peaches-with-arugula/

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Grilled Fish with Tomato Butter

Thanks, everyone for all the comments on the previous post! I think the ratatouille tart has been my most popular entry by far. Too bad all my food doesn’t turn out as impressively.
This is a dish hubs and I made a few months ago, during my blogging drought. I saw it in the then-current issue of Food and Wine. Tarragon is not an herb that I usually cook with, and the slight licorice flavor was intriguing.
The tomatoes were fun to cook. The popping sound they made as they heated up was oddly satisfying.

We served the fish with a medley of grilled red potatoes and zucchini.

Grilled Fish with Tomato Butter
adapted from Food and Wine
April 2009

1/2 c chopped parsley
1/4 c chopped tarragon, plus 5 Tbs of whole tarragon leaves
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Four 6 oz snapper fillets
Olive oil for drizzling
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

In a medium bowl, toss the parsley, 1/4 c of tarragon, and lemon zest. Rub the herbs all over the fish; Cover and chill 2 hours.

Light the grill, and let heat up. Drizzle fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill fillets over moderate-high heat until just cooked, and slightly charred – about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer fish to plates.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add remaining tarragon and cook over moderate heat until fragrant. Reduce heat to low, and add tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes burst and the butter is browned, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon butter sauce over the fish, and serve.

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