Grilled Baby Bok Choy Stalks with Miso Butter

Grilled Baby Bok Choy Stalks with Miso ButterThe Veggie Challenge
Vegetables can be polarizing…most people have at least one vegetable that they like or at the very least can tolerate. And, in my family, there are more vegetables that people dislike than like. The hard part is that we don’t all like the same vegetables and finding common ground when preparing meals for more than one person can be challenging.

For example, I have one son who loves potatoes of all kinds, won’t eat peas or corn, will only eat carrots raw, but is okay with broccoli. The other son likes potatoes, loves butternut squash, corn, and broccoli, but won’t touch much else. My daughter would live on artichokes if she could, hates potatoes of all kinds (unless it is a potato salad), tolerates broccoli, but will eat just about everything else.

Needless to say, we eat a lot of broccoli.

Now if you are cooking for more than one person on a regular basis, you will eventually learn people’s hard limits. (In my house that would be okra.) The danger is finding yourself in a veggie rut—making the same things over and over. And, no matter how good they taste, you get bored. See broccoli.

It is this boredom that prompted me to go in search of “The Different”. I have been challenging myself, and by default my family, to try new vegetables that I would not typically choose outside of a specific recipe. And also taking the go-to veggies I would normally use and prepare them in a different way.

Case in point, I love bok choy but I don’t usually eat it outside of a stir fry or Asian style dish. So, I went in search of a new way to prepare bok choy and I found this recipe for Grilled Baby Bok Choy Stalks with Miso Butter. It blew me away not just because it was tasty but because of the reaction from the rest of my family.

I grill a lot of vegetables but it never occurred to me to put bok choy on the grill. So, I had to give it a shot if only because it was just so outside of what I ever imagined of doing bok choy. It’s by no means revolutionary. People have been putting food over fire since the dawn of time but it still blew my mind. Maybe it was the miso?

I admit to being concerned about using butter on the grill as it can burn quickly or start a grease fire if the grill is too hot. But, the results were amazing! And, when the people gathered around your table give you that “Wow! This is really good” look, you know you have a keeper.

Grilled Baby Bok Choy Stalks with Miso Butter
Yields 4 servings

The original recipe on Food 52 uses both the bok choy stalks and greens. I decided to reserve the greens for another dish and go with the grilled stalks. Read more…

Weeknight Favorite Grilled Mixed Vegetables

Weeknight Favorite Grilled Mixed Vegetables Lighten Up
As a general rule, my husband and I try to enjoy our vacations to the fullest. This means that we don’t really worry too much about the calories when we are on our adventures. Eating the good stuff is all part of the fun, right?

Once we get back it’s a different story…time to pay the piper. In the last couple of months, we have had the chance to travel and have some great adventures and plenty of good food. Now that we are home, I have been preparing more and more veggies to go with our meals (and less of the starchy carb-type things) to get us all back on track. The easiest way I have found to do that is to throw a whole mess of veggies on the grill.

When it is as hot as it has been lately, I grill almost everything we eat. So, grilling some Grilled Mixed Vegetable along with it is no biggie. And, it helps use up whatever you have in your garden. Grilled peaches also make for a great dessert.

What I do with the veggies once they are grilled is entirely decided by my mood and energy level. Sometimes I just toss ‘em in olive oil with salt and pepper, grill them then eat them. Other times I toss them in a vinaigrette after grilling for a bit more flavor.

One of my favorite vinaigrettes for the Weeknight Favorite Grilled Mixed Vegetables is below. It’s basic and goes with anything you serve. And, feel free to change up the veggies. There is no right or wrong mix.

You can also substitute some soy sauce for the balsamic. If you choose to do that, substitute 1/2 a tsp of fresh rosemary or 1 tsp fresh thyme for the parsley.

Weeknight Favorite Grilled Mixed Vegetables 
Read more…

Berry Trifle Recipe and Memorial Day Menu Ideas

Berry TrifleRemembering
Memorial Day weekend is coming. We can slow down and remember those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country. It is a time to celebrate those brave men and women—but it is also a time to celebrate the freedom that their sacrifices ensured.

Chances are your Memorial Day celebration will include a BBQ, either at your place or with friends and family. It’s just how we do it in the good ‘ole U. S. of A. Of course, what constitutes a BBQ is different for everyone. For some, it’s burgers and dogs. For others is slow-cooked ribs or juicy chicken. Perhaps it’s your favorite sausage. And don’t forget the rib-eyes…

To help you choose your BBQ, we have compiled a list of some of our favorite BBQ recipes for you to look over while preparing for the big day. Remember there are no hard and fast rules as to what should and should not be at your Memorial Day BBQ. You want to throw some shrimp on the barbie? More power to you!

I have just one request. Don’t forget Dessert.

Dessert for a crowd can be difficult. I have always been a fan of the Berry Trifle at outdoor gatherings. It’s pretty. It’s tasty and you make it as big or little as you want. I like Tyler Florence’s recipe a lot. Feel free to substitute some good vanilla pudding for the lemon curd or, heck, use both!

Here’s our list of recipes
Mains
Cherry Cola Ribs
Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade
Spicy Beer Marinated Flank Steak
Grilled Chicken Thighs with Peaches, Mint & Almonds

Sides
Tri-Colored Orzo Salad
New Potato Salad
Gam’s Bacon Potato Salad
Green Chili Rice Casserole
Jumbo Pico Salad
Amy’s Spicy Slaw

Desserts
Peach Cobbler
Lemon Meringue Pie
Texas Sheet Cake
Overstuffed Nutters

Berry Trifle
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Yields 4 servings
You can adjust it up or down depending on how many you are feeding. It is also lovely when assembled in individual serving glasses. Read more…

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori ChickenLucky Thirteen
Every year at this time I get a little crazier than normal…it’s birthday week. In the span of 6 days we will celebrate the Boys’ birthday, my birthday, Mother’s Day and my Daughter’s birthday—all on top of our usual insane schedule.

Not surprisingly, food plays a big role in our celebrations. Birthdays, at least for the kids, start in the morning with the Donut Cake which is basically a bunch of donuts piled on a plate with candles in it. Not complicated, but still awesome. And, as always, the birthday boy or girl, gets to pick what they would like for their birthday dinner. Sometimes we go out to eat. Other times we stay home and eat whatever they request. This year we had scheduling issues so we did a little of both. Gotta love Birthday Take-out!

When I was pregnant with the boys I craved Indian food 24/7—the spicier the better. I guess it should come as no surprise how much they love it, too. So for their birthday dinner, we ended up with container upon container of their favorite Indian dishes from our go-to Indian restaurant. This was followed up with some awesome (if not a little bit smashed) ice cream cake.

At 13, the days of the boys’ bouncy house parties are behind us. And, I am okay with that even though it means that they are growing up. It also means that have progressed beyond chicken nuggets to the good stuff like this…

Tandoori Chicken
Yields 4 to 6 servings
Tandoori Chicken is surprisingly easy to prepare for a weeknight dinner. The trick is to prepare the marinade the day before and set it in the fridge overnight. If you want to get fancy, you can purchase the red tandoori coloring from an Indian grocer. Ours isn’t as colorful, but it is equally delicious!

Read more…

Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers

Amy's Juicy Lucy BurgersBaseball Habit
When our kids first started to play little league, my husband and I swore we would not become those parents. You know who I am talking about. The almost obsessive, uber-involved people who live for game day, and volunteer for everything. We were convinced that would never be us. We were too laid back and easy going. No way would that happen to the two of us. Besides, we didn’t really even like baseball…

I’m not sure where it all went wrong. At first, it was just a little bit of tee ball a couple of nights a week. Just one or two innings here and there. No big deal. As the years went on, we found ourselves at the fields more and more often watching more and more innings. We just couldn’t get enough. It got so bad we even (gasp) starting watching baseball on TV! (Go Giants!)

Baseball was just the beginning, though. Softball came along and we were caught up in its tangled web of fast pitches. Now it’s to the point where our weekends are devoted to tournaments and our vacations are scheduled around potential plate appearances. I’ve even joined the league Board. We’re out of control. Can no one save us?

All kidding aside, this past weekend it was my pleasure to watch the sunrise at our fields as our league set up for our Annual Opening Day Parade and Ceremonies. Every year on Opening Day, the 1800 or so kids in our league and their parents gather to watch the teams parade through our city and end up at the fields where we are treated to a day of sunshine  (not always) and some great playing. It’s the one day of the year that you can bet that you will see literally everyone you know in the bleachers and it is a day that most of us look forward to with great anticipation.

It takes a lot to put something like that together, so dinners last week were not complicated. Friday night we had burgers ‘cause they are awesome. For me, I am all about the cheeseburger—the cheesier the better. This is why I am a big fan of Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers. (Juicy Lucy Burgers are a thing in Minnesota. You can Google it.)

If you have never tried your burgers this way, I highly recommend that you do. You may never go back to the ordinary cheese on top. This is one of the only times I will say that American Cheese is a must. But, mild or medium cheddar is an acceptable substitute.

Amy’s Juicy Lucy Burgers
Serves 4

Read more…