Thursday, February 28, 2013

My New Badge

I have a new sporty badge on my blog - the Char-Broil All-Star Blogger badge. I like it soooo much better than that vacuuming badge in third grade. I've been blogging for Char-Broil for a couple of years but this year it's much more official. For one, I'm getting paid for my work, which is really cool because I get to write about outdoor cooking, which is what I do anyway. I also will be getting some grills and products to review over this next year and share with y'all.

I just made that sound like I hadn't yet received these items, but I have. There are three large boxes, unopened, in my living room. Quite large and the children have started to notice. The other day I put a tablecloth on the large box to dress it up a bit.

So maybe I have a little fear of assembling products and owner's manuals. I do know that I'll be testing something soon for you and reporting it here at She-Smoke Central Command. I also have my own little page on their Char-Broil Live website and from time to time I get to offer you, dear readers, a discount on grills and accessories. Pretty cool, eh?

Well that's enough horn tootin' for one day. Here's a little video of baby girl tooting a horn in her first concert:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chinese New Year: Whole Grilled Golden Trout

Abundance to you for the New Year! Cooking a whole fish for Chinese New Year symbolizes abundance. We can all use a little of that this year, right? Serving the fish with its head and tail also signifies "good beginnings and endings". I shopped at Central Market the other day and found this gorgeous golden trout. How perfect! The meat in this variety of trout is a red meat, much like salmon, and the skin color is truly golden. Kinda shimmery. Trout is one of my favorite fishes to throw on the grill, though I tend to smoke it, as seen here and here.

The entire dish took about 25 minutes from prep to platter. Not bad, eh? Here is the recipe, though it's so easy I can hardly call it that.

1-2 whole fish. Trout, golden or rainbow, works nicely, but any fish that is a little under a pound will do.
Kosher salt
One bunch fresh herbs. I used thyme.
Sliced citrus
High heat vegetable oil

Step 1: Preheat your gas grill. I turned on my little Char-broil Infrared Quantum grill. It's a little two burner grill that lives on my deck outside the kitchen. I really love it for grilled fish because the infrared system, while it can get super hot, is somehow gentler on the skin. The whole science of it has all be explained to me in manuals at official Char-broil meetings, but I just like how it handles a fish. With a gentle touch.

For those on the staunch "up with charcoal, down with gas" team, make a medium hot fire with an indirect space.

Step 2: Prep your fish. Leave it whole. I left the bones in and removed them once cooked. Dust the inside lightly with kosher salt. Stuff with fresh herbs and sliced citrus. I used whole stems of thyme and sliced tangerine. Sage and lemon are lovely too. Give the outside a light coating of high temperature safflower or other vegetable oil.

Step 3: Once grill is fully preheated, turn it down to medium high and place the whole fish on the grill. Close the lid. After about 4-5 minutes (I had a pretty good sized trout, so less time for smaller fish, depending on it's size, carefully lift and turn it two clicks on the clock for some nice crosshatch marks. When it's ready fish should lift fairly easily off the grill. If the skin is really stuck, it may be too soon. If the skin is falling off, it's too late. I gently lift up a part of the fish to check if it is ready.

Step 4: Carefully flip the fish over. Turn heat down to low. Grill for another 2-3 minutes until the red meat just about turns to pink, or the clear meat just about turns to white. Take off and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Serve whole, cutting portions for your family at the table for good luck and abundance in the new year.

You will need to remove the bones. My kids really enjoyed this part of the meal. I took the entire spine out in one swoop. We had a short science lesson on fish anatomy, then dug in. They loved it. Even Eric said "Good job, honey," and I don't get a lot of cooking compliments from him. It's not because he's mean. He just doesn't gush gratuitously. And he wants to make sure all this She-Smoke business doesn't go to my head. God forbid!

Happy Year of the Snake! May it be a great year for all of you.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Chinese New Year Tea Smoked Chicken

Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Snake is upon us and I've put together two recipes for you to try. The first is a Tea Smoked Chicken recipe I did for Char-broil. The next is literally on my infrared grill as I write this. Hopefully I won't get too sidetracked with this post and burn the darn thing!

Whole chicken and whole grilled fish are both traditional dishes for Chinese New Year. Keeping them whole, to be cut at the table, represents good fortune, abundance and health. Read the Tea Smoked Chicken recipe and let me know what you think. It's really simple, which starts with "S", like snake. Check back tomorrow for the fish.

Right! The fish. I'd better get out there and take it off the grill. I'm sure it's ready.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Game Day Nosh: Pulled Pork-n-Mac Egg Rolls

I'm going through an egg roll phase. Once you realize how easy they are to make, you will too. You can put anything into these perfect little wrappers. Forget about traditional Chinese fillings for the moment. We'll get to Chinese New Year dishes next. Put anything that you would put into a tortilla, bun, or pastry. Leftovers work great, but don't stop at savory. Ricotta, chopped nuts and Nutella are cannoli with extra hail Mary's (on account of the sin).

For the Super bowl, I think sticking to stick to your ribs fare is best. Pulled pork and macaroni and cheese, which a squirt of barbecue sauce make a perfect appetizer for watching football.

Here is what you'll need:

Egg roll wrappers
About 2 lbs of mac-n-cheese
About 1 lb of pulled pork (If you barbecue regularily, you have baggies of the stuff in your freezer. If not, I suggest paying a visit to your local barbecue restaurant).
Barbecue sauce
Vegetable oil
Stock pot
Paper towels
Makes about 24 full egg rolls/48 pc

The key is to not overstuff each wrapper. Put a scoop of warm mac-n-cheese and spread out in the center of the wrap, leaving an inch at each end clear, and a little more than an inch on either side.

Put a layer of pulled pork on top of the mac. Spread a spoonful of barbecue sauce on top.

Wrap in a circle: Fold bottom flap first, then one side, then fold the top. Wet the last open side with water and tightly roll it closed. Wet outside as well to seal it. Place each roll on a plate.

Heat oil to medium high. It's important that the oil is hot enough, but not so hot as to burn the rolls too quickly before the insides are warm. Once oil is fully preheated, put one roll in the oil for a tester. If you are happy with the oil temperature, add another 4-5 to do at a time, depending on the size of your pot.
Remove and let cool on a paper towel. When cool enough to touch, cut in half on a diagonal, arrange on a platter and serve with barbecue sauce.

Hope your team wins!