Wednesday, June 29, 2011


To our loyal readers -

We apologize for our absence. We are in the process of moving into a new house and our lives have been filled with paint swatches, carpet cleaners and takeout boxes. Half of our kitchen has made the move already, leaving us with limited supplies and ingredients. We will soon have a larger kitchen to test our recipes in.

Thank you for being patient and we'll be back again soon.

(We're also working on a couple blogs for recipes we did ages ago, but need to find time to put it all together!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Spaghetti Pie

We have to thank Michelle's sister and brother-in-law for this recipe. It's become a household favorite for us. You can also vary this recipe by replacing the pepperoni with other toppings. Grilled chicken and peas are another favorite version.

Here's what you'll need:
2 ok's worth of spaghetti (picture below)
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan

Preheat your oven to 325.

Cook the spaghetti to al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain.

Spray a round casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Add half the spaghetti to the bottom of the casserole. Pour half the alfredo sauce over the spaghetti, add pepperoni, half the mozzarella and some Parmesan.

Layer on more spaghetti, alfredo, pepperoni, mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Bake for about 20 minutes - until the cheese gets nice and melty.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Biscuits & Gravy

Zack loves biscuits and gravy, so I make it for him for breakfast every month or two. It's not difficult at all, you just have to be motivated to stand over the stove for a bit. This only happens at our house on the weekends.

Here's what you'll need:
1 pound country sausage
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
freshly ground black pepper

I don't make my own biscuits, sorry. So, bake according to the directions on the package.

While your biscuits are cooking, brown the sausage. Make sure it's thoroughly cooked.

Now, remove the sausage from the pan, put into a bowl, and set aside. 

You should have some drippings left in the pan from the sausage. On medium-low heat, add the flour and whisk to create your roux. If your roux is too tight, add in the butter (you may not need butter at all depending on the sausage drippings). You want it to look like this:

Work that around the pan and cook for a couple minutes to get the raw flour flavor cooked out. Next add the milk to the pan, and whisk to combine the roux and milk.

Add some pepper and whisk to combine everything.

Continue whisking occasionally. Simmer on medium-low heat until the mixture thickens up. You still want it to be a little runny when you add the sausage back in.

Stir in your sausage and drop the heat to low and let sit until your biscuits are ready.

Split your biscuits in half and top with gravy.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Grilled Pork Loin

One of our favorite things to grill is pork loin. It takes a little bit of time to prepare, but it's worth it in the end.

We start off by trimming the silver skin off the pork loin and then rubbing with a dry rub the night before.

Here's what you'll need for the rub:

  • 8 Tbsp light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
Mix all that together in a bowl and then rub on the outside of the pork loin. This rub also works great on baby back ribs.

Wrap the loin in foil, place on a cookie sheet, and sit in the fridge over night. 

We cooked this on charcoal with applewood chips. Soak your wood chips in a bucket of water for at least an hour.

We pull the pork loin out of the fridge about the same time we start the charcoal to bring it up to room temperature before placing it on the grill. 

Create an indirect heating zone on your grill by placing the coals toward the outside of the grill and leaving a channel in the center. Place a handful or so of wood chips onto the coals - be sure the chips are not soaking wet. We place a drip tray in the center to attempt to keep our grill clean.  Note: If you don't want a lot of smoke, place a few hot coals in the drip trays and put your wood chips in the drip trays.

With about 5 minutes left, we brushed on some of our homemade barbecue sauce and put on direct heat to create a nice glaze over the loin. The sugars in the sauce will carmelize a bit - the result is magical.

On our grill, it took about 40 minutes to come up to temp. The internal temperature of your pork should be at least 145 degrees. We took ours off at 150 degrees and it was still juicy and tender.

Let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting it!!!

Now, but on the bias, plate and enjoy!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Homemade Barbecue Sauce

We are busy cooking away this weekend, so look forward to lots of posts coming up. The grilled pork loin we're making has a lot of description, so we decided to do a separate blog for just the BBQ Sauce.

We started with another recipe, but put our own twist on it.

Here's what you'll need:
1 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tsp mesquite flavored liquid smoke (or your favorite flavor)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp cinnamon (ground)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 shot bourbon (Zack's bourbon of choice is Buffalo Trace)

Combine all of the ingredients in a cold, large sauce pan. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.

Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about a half an hour.

Remove from heat and let it cool. 


Monday, June 6, 2011

Homemade Mac & Cheese

We went to a cookout on Memorial Day and made our Homemade Mac & Cheese. The recipe is based off Alton Brown's Macaroni & Cheese recipe, but of course we switched it up a little bit.

Unfortunately, there was too much going on to take step by step pictures, so you'll have to settle for our detailed description. Sorry!

Here's what you'll need:
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp ground mustard
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced (we actually used Vidalia to counteract the Pepperjack)
3 cups milk
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (You can use 1/2 of regular paprika if you want)
1 bay leaf
1 large egg
6 oz sharp cheddar, freshly shredded
6 oz pepperjack, freshly shredded

3 Tbsp butter
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Start off by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.

Now, make your roux. In a medium high-walled saute pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and whisk in the flour. Whisk that around for about 5 minutes. 

Your whisking muscles are going to get a workout here...

Also, this would be a great time to get your water boiling for your pasta. Remember to cover the pot to get things moving faster!

Ensure that your roux is lump free, then add the onion, bay leaf, paprika, smoked paprika, mustard, and milk. Keep whisking to combine everything.

Let that simmer for 10 minutes, whisking frequently. About halfway through this, you'll want to drop your pasta. Cook it to al dente, because you're going to bake the pasta too.

When your 10 minutes are up, remove the bay leaf. You may have to search around a bit - your mixture will have thickened up by this point.

Now, temper in your egg.

Don't know how to temper an egg? Simply add some of the hot sauce mixture to a bowl with the beaten egg to slowly raise the temperature. Do this a few times. Trust us - you don't want scrambled egg in your Mac & Cheese!

Stir in 3/4 of your shredded cheese. It should melt in fairly quickly, but whisk away until it's combined. Now, salt and pepper to taste and stir in your macaroni. 

Pour that into a 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

In a separate bowl, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and toss the Panko in to coat it. Add that to the top of your casserole.

Bake for 30 minutes. The breadcrumbs will turn nice and golden brown and you will see the cheese on top nice and melty.

Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then serve.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Newest Addition to our Kitchen: The Tagine

We've been talking about getting a tagine for ages, but weren't sure if we would use it enough to justify the cost.

Zack & I ran across this beauty at a rummage sale a while back. It was $2.00. We couldn't pass it up.

So, what exactly is a tagine?

The traditional tagine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving.

Thanks, Wikipedia, for that succinct definition.

We're excited to test it out, but we may wait until the cooler months of the year, since it requires oven cooking for an extended period of time. You never can tell with us, though. We may try it out tomorrow. It may just get cold enough her in the Midwest to justify cranking the oven on!