Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Guinness BBQ Sauce Recipe

Much to my chagrin, Bull's-Eye Brand BBQ sauce discontinued my favorite flavor; Guinness. This was a staple in our households and was used in everything from chicken and ribs, to cole slaw. I am determined to recreate the sauce myself. I found a few recipes on the internet, but none of the ones found were the flavor I was going for (especially as a cole slaw enhancement. 

Epicurious Guinness BBQ sauce: Tired this because it looked super easy, even though I knew it wasn't going to be the flavor profile I needed. This sauce has kick, and would be excellent atop a pulled pork sandwich.

Cooking with Curls Blog: Good sauce, although I did simmer it longer than the recipe called so it wouldn't be so runny. A little kick with some sweetness. Not a match to the Bull's-Eye Brand, but getting closer.

Bombchelle's Guinness BBQ sauce: Closer to the flavor profile of the bottled sauce, not exact, but very good. It's got a bit more heat than the Bull's-Eye brand, but is still smooth. Looking forward to tweaking this a bit more, but for now it's good to go for summer grill season.
  • 1 11.2 oz Bottle or Can Guinness® Draught
  • 1 cup all-natural ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup of dark molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups organic dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

  1. Put Guinness® in sauce pan, boil, then simmer; reduce by half
  2. Add rest of ingredients and whisk, bring to boil, and then simmer for 40 to 45 minutes or until your desired thickness.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

2013 52 Recipe Challenge

Recipes 36, 38, 39, and 40
The 52 recipe challenge is a way of bringing together our friends far and wide who love to cook and share their successes and failures in the kitchen. The challenge; to make 52 new recipes in a single year. We had so much fun chatting online about food, recipes, kitchen catastrophes, and culinary creativity that we decided to take on the challenge again in 2013.

  1. Shellfish and Tomato Stew on Soft Polenta **
  2. Cappesante al Forno (Baked Scallops with Parmesan) -
  3. Baltimore-Style Crabcakes *
  4. Remoulade Sauce
  5. 40 Garlic Clove Chicken ***
  6. Crab and Butternut Squash Gratin *
  7. Cozze Al Forno (roasted Breaded Mussels)
  8. Bobby Flay Sausage Jambalaya
  9. Buttery Crab Bread Pudding
  10. Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
  11. Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
  12. Sweet Cream Cake
  13. Asparagus with Pancetta
  14. Buffalo Pot Roast 
  15. Hershey's Chocolate Cake 
  16. Dry Brined Roasted Turkey  *
  17. Crab Lasagna
  18. Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Red Pepper *
  19. Sesame Grilled Asparagus *
  20. Roast Provençal Chicken *** 
  21. Greek Chopped Salad *
  22. Steak Fajitas *
  23. Adobo Chicken
  24. Butter Braised Onions -
  25. Grilled Maple-Chile Chicken *
  26. Homemade Almond Butter
  27. Red Lettuce Salad with Balsamic Onions *
  28. Spiced Grilled Chicken with Duck Sauce *
  29. Summer Panzanella *
  30. Pesto Genovese -
  31. Rolled Flank Steak with Prosciutto and Basil *
  32. "Sun"-Dried Oven-Dried Tomatoes *
  33. Sautéed Swiss Chard with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Feta *
  34. Grilled Carrots *
  35. Tomato, Watermelon, and Cucumber Salad
  36. Guinness BBQ Sauce *
  37. Cucumber Fennel Salad with Yogurt Dressing -
  38. Alton Brown's Smoked Pulled Pork *
  39. Steven Raichlen's Texas-Style Smoked Brisket *
  40. Jalapeno Corn Bread *
  41. Brown Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies *
  42. Coq au Vin *
  43. Spiral Baked Potatoes -
  44. Damn Fine Paleo Chicken *
  45. Lamb Osso Buco *
  46. Cucumber Salad
  47. Zinfandel Braised Beef Brisket -
  48. Basic Breakfast Potatoes *
  49. Pasta in Creamy Crab and Wine Sauce -
  50. Risotto with Butternut Squash and Sausage *
  51. Chardonnay Braised Chicken Thighs with Parsnips *
  52. Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars *
  53. Baked Oatmeal *
  54. Winter Squash Overload
  55. Braised Veal *
  56. Crock Pot Apple Butter *
  57. * denotes a dish I'll make again
    - denotes a dish we didn't like

    Top 5 of 2013:
    1. Shellfish and Tomato Stew on Polenta
    5. 40 Garlic Clove Chicken
    20. Roast Provençal Chicken (Picnic Chicken)
    33. Sautéed Swiss Chard with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Feta
    54. Delicata Squash Oven Fries

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Severance Sabbatical

Getting laid off has become a rite of passage. Gone are the days where loyalty and knowledge outweigh Wall Street's love of a good layoff and its short-term impact on the bottom line. Somehow, despite a sluggish economy, I made it over 16 years in Corporate America without receiving a pink-slip, but all good things must come to an end. My position was recently eliminated, and I have another month to transfer my many job responsibilities to others before my final day on the payroll. My reaction to the news surprised me. I wasn't devastated, upset, sad, angry, or scared; emotions I would have felt if I loved my job. After getting over the initial shock, I was enveloped by a feeling I didn't expect; excitement.

Why am I excited? First, I knew I needed a change and getting laid off was the kick in the pants I needed to push me out of the cocoon. Now I have the opportunity to take my skills to a new company, a new industry, or a new career altogether. With the layoff came placement assistance; someone else paying the tab for career counseling and resume improvements. However, the biggest opportunity comes in the form of a 4 month severance package. After number crunching, marital discussions, and soul-searching I decided to forgo finding a transfer opportunity and instead take the summer off to focus on time with family and friends, tackle a host of home improvement projects, extend an already planned trip to Germany, write more, recharge my batteries before the next chapter in my career journey, and embrace new adventures. 

First Adventure: Roadtrip. After receiving news of my job elimination, we decided to drive to New York for my 20th reunion rather than fly. Normally, I wouldn't want to waste precious vacation days in transit, but I had time built up that I would not get paid out for upon leaving; use it or lose it. The road adventure to New York was shared with my husband, but today he flies back to Minnesota and I begin the drive home with my canine co-pilots. We are taking the slow road, visiting friends who had life-changes thrown at them that make my getting laid off seem like a walk in the park. I plan on using this time to reconnect with old friends, gain a deeper perspective on life, and spend those countless hours on the road getting into my own head to begin figuring out the answer to the age old question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Buffalo Pot Roast Recipe

Recipe 16: Buffalo Pot Roast
We looked up a bunch online, but didn't like any of them, so per usual created our own.
5 lbs. Buffalo Chuck Roast
4 Shallots - minced
1 Head of Garlic - pressed
16 oz. Beer
2 Tbls. Worcestershire
1 Tbl. Soy Sauce
Salt and Pepper your roast(s) liberally. Sear on all sides. Saute shallots and garlic until they just start to take a little color.

Add everything to crock pot and set to low. Cook 8 hours. Remove and cool roast(s) until you can shred it. I chose to reduce the liquid/shallots/garlic in a pan, but this isn't necessary. After shredding recombine all ingredients and heat up for serving. 

It was good... but not great. It was missing something. Perhaps some mustard. Or hot sauce. Either way I will try again, but tweak the recipe. Consider this a good base to build off of.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Crab & Butternut Squash Bisque- Gratin Style

A recipe of my own devising that turned out great.
2 medium butternut squashes
1 lb. lump crab meat
1/2 large onion (chopped)
1 head of garlic
6 tbls. Cream cheese
2-3 tbls. Olive oil

Dozen strands of saffron (optional)

  • Halve squashes and place face down on sheet pan with 1/4 inch of water in the pan. Roast for 45 min to one hour, until soft (can be done well in advance).
  • Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent and starting to brown. Add garlic (diced or put through garlic press). After a few minutes add squash (scraping the squash out of the skins) and the saffron. Mix until combined.
  • Add cream cheese and continue to cook/mix until hot and fully combined.
  • Add crab, mix until combined. Put into casserole dish ( I actually did my sautéing in a cast iron skillet so I left it in there instead) and put into 300 degree oven for one hour. You could probably add some shredded Parmesan cheese to the top too. Eat with salt, pepper, and tabasco or hot sauce of your choice

Friday, January 04, 2013

New Year's Resolutions: Minnesota Style

Minnesota is a state rich in natural and cultural beauty, brimming with so many places to go, things to see, and people to visit that it's hard to squeeze it all in. If I had a dollar for every time I muttered "I want to see that" to a billboard or an add in the paper or magazine... and then not followed through, I'd have enough money to pay for the first thing on my ten eleven things I want to do in Minnesota in 2013:

  1. Eat at La Belle Vie: It is possible that I am the only foodie in Minneapolis who hasn't been to our most acclaimed and highest rated restaurant. I will fix that this year and let you all know if it's worth the hype.
  2. See China's Terracotta Warriors at the Minnesota Museum of Arts: Seriously, the Terracotta Warriors are here!!! In Minneapolis!!! Only till the end of January!!!
  3. Explore the Hmong Market in St. Paul: St. Paul has the largest concentration of the East Asian Hmong group than anywhere in the world... and a place to experience the culture and food.
  4. Tour a Minnesota Brewery: There are so many to choose from now, it's hard to pick one. Maybe I'll have to hit a few. And then take a field-trip to Wisconsin for a few more.
  5. See an outdoor Movie or Show: Minneapolis, and many of the suburbs, have a fantastic lineup of outdoor entertainment, including the very popular showing of the Twins World Series winning games in '87 and '91.
  6. Food Truck Gourmet Meal: Take an afternoon off, head downtown, and sample my way through a few of the mobile eateries.
  7. Historic Minnesota Tour: Do one of the Minnesota Historical Society tours (preferable one of their historical pub crawls!)
  8. Do the Zoo: I've lived in MN for over 12 years and still haven't visited the Minnesota Zoo. I love animals and need to see the Polar Bears Penguins this year.
  9. Classic Date: I played the violin for 10 years and dabble on the strings from time to time and really enjoy a good concerto. Hopefully the musicians' labor dispute is resolved so I can go support the Minneapolis Orchestra.
  10. Embrace Winter: Do a winter activity, outside, rather than just hibernating. Learn to snowshoe, cross-country ski, see an ice castle, attend an outdoor beer festival, just do something outside.
  11. Throw it in Park: There are nearly 80 state parks in Minnesota; I've been to one. Me and my dogs or bike need to take a day trip to visit one of these local treasures.
What's your favorite Minnesota experience? I'd love to add to my list!