An Off The Cuff Post (and Best, Easiest, Tastiest Grilling Recipe So Far This Summer)

Green Things

One of the things I love about summer is the spontaneity inherent in the season.  Grab something and throw it on the grill!

(Even better if it’s flavored with an impromptu compound butter…)

In this particular case, I was trimming haricot verts on the veranda when my step-son mentioned his “pork chop packets” — fresh green beans, carrots, and compound butter, topped with a boneless center-cut pork chop.  Oh my!  I took it a step farther and seared the chops before encasing them in foil.  Sorry, no “after” photo… they were devoured in a heartbeat.  (Vegetarian version expounded on below…)

Summer Veggies with Compound Butter

As for the compound butter, anything goes.  Key words:  have at it… spontaneous… impromptu!

This batch included softened butter smashed with sliced green onions, basil, parsley, garlic, thyme, and freshly ground pepper — but use whatever tickles ya or whatever’s on hand.  Throw it in the fridge in plastic wrap for a bit to let the flavors “marry,” then add a dab to the packet before adding the veggies (to keep them from sticking), top with a seared chop and a generous dollop of compound butter, seal, and you’re good to grill.

(Note:  Be sure to seal the foil packet well.  Turn once during grilling.  If in doubt about “doneness,” test chops with a meat thermometer before consuming.)

Compound Butter

Regarding the off the cuff portion of this post, I’m finally home again.  Missed ya bunches.  Couldn’t resist writing.  Plus, I’m making these again for supper tonight.  So, so good.  I also imagine they’d be good with chicken.  Or salmon.  Or steak.

Or, just veggies for my vegetarian pals. :)  Use your imagination…

On a personal note, I need to restructure myself and my blog a lil’ bit.  So many ideas, so little time — up until now!  After spending the equivalent to two months away from the place that makes me happiest since January, I’m feeling out of sorts.  Off my game.  Sluggish.  Can we say move it or lose it?!  (Photos may or may not be forthcoming, lol.)

More good things to come though, including the winner of my giveaway later this week.  (Giveaway is closed.)

Happy grilling and stay tuned for transformation…

Enjoying unpremeditated meal planning, writing, and rediscovery,

~Kimby

Fire and Ice

Well, the wind chill was 5° this morning (yes, in Oklahoma!) so I figured I better do a “heartwarming” post with Valentine’s Day just around the corner…

The first thing that came to mind was Southwest Chicken Satay.  (I took that photo in January mind you, while the weather was a tad warmer and I was manning — womanning?! — the grill.)

Actually, we have more of a “smoker” than a grill now, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Our winter has been pretty mild so far — no complaints from this former Minnesotan — especially when the lake looked like this a couple of winters ago:

(It came as a pretty big surprise to see ice along shore — we moved here to be warm.)

But then, life is full of surprises…

Take gift-giving, for instance.  The Man Of Few Words is a spontaneous soul when it comes to presenting tokens of his affection.  Rather than giving gifts on “expected” days (like birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day… ), he prefers to surprise me the other 362 days of the year.

Like the day he hauled home this:

A bouquet of roses it ain’t, but now instead of firing up the ‘ol Webber wanna-be, I get to “grill out” the Okie-fashioned way — yeehaw!  I love it!  (And him.)

Getting back to the food part of this post…

Southwest Chicken Satay with Lime Rice

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (which don’t dry out like chicken breasts potentially do on a “grill” the size of a Volkswagen…)

1/3 c. honey

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix (click here for a fabulous homemade version — thanks, Isabelle!)

1 T. freshly grated lemon zest

1 T. freshly grated orange zest

2 green onions, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

Wooden skewers

Combine all ingredients (except skewers) in a large zip-top-style bag.  Seal and shake.  Refrigerate 2 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of marinating, soak skewers in water and make Lime Rice (see below.)  Now would also be a good time to fire up your grill (or smoker) — unless you have a gas grill.  (I’ll trust you to know how long it takes to heat to medium-high.)

When the chicken is done marinating, take it out of the bag (discard marinade), remove the skin, and slice the meat into thin strips.  (Yes, I know — it’s probably easier to slice the chicken into strips before marinating it, but I do it this way so the marinade doesn’t overpower the meat — I like my chicken to taste like chicken.)

Thread the strips onto the skewers; grill over medium-high heat, turning several times until cooked through.  (Watch closely so the honey in the marinade doesn’t burn, unless you like blackened chicken…)  Serve with Lime Rice.

Lime Rice

2 cups hot, cooked rice (prepared without salt)

Grated zest & juice from 1 lime

Kosher salt, on the side

Combine rice and grated zest.  Drizzle with lime juice and salt to taste.  Easy peasy.

As for the Valentine’s portion of this post…

The photographer in the spoon wishes y’all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Enjoying the warmth of true love and surprises,

~ Kim