Sour Beer and Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Sour beer has burst onto the scene as of late as the “new” style but has actually been around for a pretty long time.  Originating in Belgium it can be made from any style of beer but the difference is wild yeasts were allowed into the beer during fermentation.  Today that is also achieved by using tart fruits to obtain the sour or tart qualities.

Sour Beer and Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Sour Beer and Chipotle BBQ Sauce

I recently enjoyed my first sour beer and me being me, thought how can I use this in cooking.  It has the acidity which can work as a nice balance in food and flavors to compliment many different dishes.

So my first recipe with a sour beer I thought should work with something that needed both of those, BBQ sauce.  I used chipotles in this one because of the smoky sweet flavor that they bring.  Try this with grilled chicken but it would work with pork and grilled root vegetables as well.  The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Sour Beer and Chipotle BBQ Sauce

1 C Sour Beer
¼ C Onion
2 Garlic cloves
2 Chipotles in adobo sauce
1 Dried New Mexican chile pepper
¼ C Ketchup
2 T Honey
1 T Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Salt
1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree on high until smooth, about 1 minute
2. Adjust seasoning if needed
3. Enjoy on grilled chicken, pork or vegetables

It’s Time to Start Cooking Our Own Food Again

Isn’t it time to put some energy into our food and cook for ourselves?  We take cooking classes or watch celebrity chefs cook on TV in record numbers, we buy magazines and spend countless number of hours online looking up recipes.  That’s great and it’s exciting to see the Couple cooking fishenthusiasm around cooking but we need to get back to cooking for ourselves and not watching someone else make dinner.

We only spend 30 minutes on average per day total preparing food but spend almost 10 times that watching our favorite episodes on TV.

Instead of cooking we rely on the fast, frozen, boxed, prepared foods that are full of preservatives and a lot of ingredients that you can’t pronounce.  I don’t know about you but if I can’t say it on the first try, I’m going to question whether or not I want to eat it!

It’s not entirely our fault that we are picking up the readymade meal from the grocery store or ordering take out.  The food industry has done a great job of marketing to us and making it feel like a great idea to buy their food.  The problem is that the majority of this food is full of preservatives and ingredients that aren’t doing our bodies any good.

We can change this with some planning.  In the restaurant industry, most of the work is done before the first diner walks in the door in the form of prep.  This is the time when the cooks get their stations ready for service.  Without this prep time, restaurants would not succeed.  It would take too long to get the food out to the customer.

Follow these simple guidelines to help get you started.

  • Cook large pieces of meat or whole chickens on one day, either by braising or roasting.  I usually roast 2-3 whole chickens and will use them in different recipes during the week for both lunch and dinner.  Add some shredded chicken to lettuce and your favorite dressing for a quick meal.
  • Cut extra vegetables that you will need for the week.  Things like onions, carrots and peppers will hold up for a few days.
  • Make double or triple the amount you need.  Especially when making soups, stews or tomato sauce.  These can be easily frozen and used later in the week or month when you are running behind.
  • Wash and dry your herbs and greens when you bring them home.  Having them ready to go will save time when making dinner.
  • Soak and cook a different dried bean at the start of each week.  I usually will cook enough to use in a couple of different ways during the week.  Try turning chickpeas into hummus or black beans into a salsa for a change of pace.
  • Make your own salad dressings and vinaigrettes.  The store bought ones are packed full of preservatives, plus I’ll bet yours taste better. Try this recipe for fresh herb vinaigrette to help get you started!
  • Make sure to write up your plan and list for the week even if you don’t buy everything in one trip.  Having this written out will help keep you on your path to success.

 

If we take the time to set ourselves up before the week begins, we too can find ourselves having the same success in our kitchens and cooking our own real food again.

 

Summer Grilling

There is so much to summer grilling, from quick cooked vegetables to slow smoked meats, they are all great.  Come on in and find out more about successful grilling.

Check out this episode!

Adventures in Grilling

I don’t know about you, but we grill a lot and not just in the summer.  We are year round grillers.  Whether it’s a rainy spring day or or a winter snow storm, once we decide we are grilling, not much will slow us down.

That is until earlier this summer when both of our grills went down.  That’s right, within a few weeks of each other both of them kicked the bucket.

Will, you would think that maybe we would run right out and pick up new ones, you know, just replace them right away.  But we didn’t. And we are not even sure as to why.  Now we did have a very busy travel schedule earlier in the summer and were not at home much but we still haven’t replaced our grills yet.

This is where the adventure begins.  How do we grill our food.  I mean, we are smack dab in the middle of the grilling season when there is an abundance of food just waiting to be changed into grilled bliss and we are missing it.

Tiny Little Grill Working Hard

Tiny Little Grill Working Hard

Well, we are not missing it.  That seems like an odd thing to say since I just spent the last few sentences telling you how much we grill here.  But we are not missing it because I brought in “old faithful”, our trusty tiny little camping grill.

Now it does make it a little more challenging to cook a lot of food on this tiny little grill, but it also makes us think more about what we are cooking.  I’ve looked at this as a metaphor about how we should be eating.  Sometimes you just need to slow down and enjoy what it is that you are cooking.  Savor it.

Now, we will replace our grills sometime in the near future, but for now I’m going to cook just how you would think someone would move in the heat of the summer, slow.

Enjoy this recipe for Grilled Summer Vegetables with Herb Vinaigrette

It’s time to get back into the kitchen

 

Curried Lamb Meatballs with Lentils & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Curried Lamb Meatballs with Lentils & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

During the week do you find yourself running through the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant? What about ordering take-out? Do you find it easier to open a box or can and heat it up rather than to make real food? If you answered yes to any or all of these, then you are not alone.  Like millions of others it just feels easier than preparing food for ourselves or families.

The problem is that eating food this way is taking a toll on our bodies.  Obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses have skyrocketed in the last 60 years.  The one thing that everyone points to is the amount of processed food we are eating.  As a society, we are cooking far less now than the last generation and even more so than the generation before that.  It is not a coincidence that health problems have dramatically been on the rise ever since.  Fast and processed foods are not the answer, real home cooked food is!

If we start small we can reverse this trend over time and get back to preparing most of our own food and meals.  Set a goal to cut back on that processed or fast food at least once a week less than what you do now.  Plan ahead so that you don’t feel rushed or overwhelmed and fall back on the quick bite.  Once you feel like you have that down, add another meal and then another until it becomes second nature to us.  We just have to reprogram ourselves to where making our own food isn’t a burden but just what we do.

Isn’t it time to get back into the kitchen and cooking for ourselves again?