Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roasted Red Potato Fries With Po'dunk Sauce


It's usually used as a term for a small, backwoods, in the middle of nowhere place.  So when Alexis suggested I name the dipping sauce for these oven roasted fries "Podunk Sauce" I looked at her like she was crazy. 

But she clarified, "You know, you 'dunk' your 'po'-tatoes in the sauce."

Okay, she was right, cute name.  But don't tell her that, she'll be impossible to live with. 

As far as the potatoes, this is a basic way we do our roasted potatoes.  Sometime we quarter them, sometimes we do them as fries like this.  The herb mix I used tonight was half fresh thyme and half fresh oregano. 

Roasted red potato fries with po'dunk sauce

Roasted Red Potato Fries with Po'dunk Sauce
Servings:  4 

  • 2 lbs red bliss potatoes cut into sixths
  • 1 Tbsp fresh herbs, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp oil
For the sauce
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients together and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450f.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the potatoes and then when it returns to a boil, cook for 1 minute.  (This step may seem unnecessary but it gets you the tender inside and crispy outside.)
  4. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet flesh side down or use a preheated cast iron pan for extra crispy crusts.  Roast for 12 minutes.
  5. Flip the potatoes and roast another 12 minutes.
  6. Turn onto the skin side and roast 5 more minutes.  
  7. Remove and serve with the Po'dunk sauce
Cut your potatoes in half, then each half into three wedges.
fire roasted red potato fries with po'dunk sauce

[Standard Disclaimer]  I received a variety 4 pack of hot sauces from Cholula for free.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast

I found a new favorite cut of beef today - the boneless top sirloin petite roast.

Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast, tennessee beef, tenderloin roast, grill dome beef recipe
Barely medium rare at 132f, perfect for us!

And get this....it is extra lean.  Yeah, I know, that "extra lean" would normally make me assume it is "dry and tasteless" too but nothing could be further from the truth.  Earlier this year, the American Heart Association certified three cuts of beef as "extra lean", meaning they have met the AHA's criteria for low cholesterol and saturated fats.
  • Boneless top sirloin petite roast
  • Top sirloin fillet
  • Top sirloin kabobs
I was checking out a "boneless top sirloin petite roast" at Food City when a nicely dressed woman asked if she could ask me a few questions.  At first I thought she was hitting on me because that happens all the time (ha ha!).   She was conducting an in-store survey about consumer views on lean beef and related marketing.

She and I talked some after the questionnaire and I learned a lot more about the nutritional value of these cuts.  I was going to buy the boneless top sirloin petite roast anyway because I thought it looked fresh and perfect for the grill.  Knowing they were lower in saturated fat AND cholesterol than a boneless skinless chicken thigh made that decision even easier.

I was wary of the "extra lean" factor but wanted to avoid covering it with a lot of sauces that would just add fat back in.  Instead I threw together a "Cajun-ish" flavorful wet rub and fire roasted it.

Fire Roasted "Cajun-ish" Top Sirloin Petite Roast
Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 to 2 lb boneless top sirloin petite roast
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
For the au jus
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • sprig of fresh thyme (optional)
  1. Preheat your grill to 350f.  Have the grill set up for a two zone fire so you can switch from indirect to direct heat.
  2. Whisk the oil and seasonings together into a "wet rub" and slather this rub all over the roast.
  3. Combine the au jus ingredients in a pan.
  4. Roast the beef over indirect heat on a rack directly over the au jus pan until it reaches your desired degree of doneness.  We prefer rare/medium rare so I cooked mine for about 50 minutes until it reached an internal temperature of 130f.  I also like to flip my roast about half way through the estimated cooking time for even cooking.
  5. Sear roast over direct flame for about 1 minute per side to crisp and darken the outer crust.  Whisk and strain the au jus into a warm bowl.
  6. Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve with the au jus
You could cook this in an oven and then pan sear it at the end or just crank the oven temp up to 500 for the last 5 minutes.

When I sampled the first slice off of the cutting board I was immediately impressed.  It is melt in your mouth tender like beef tenderloin but has the rich flavor of a strip loin steak.  The flavor of the beef really shines and the little spicy kick of the rub didn't overpower the tastes but added to it.   The family readily agreed.  We will definitely be adding this rich yet healthy cut o' beef to our shopping list regularly.

Did I mention...it is steak and has less saturated fats than a boneless skinless chicken thigh!?!  (Learn more at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com)
See why I was going to buy it anyway before I knew the health benefits?

Look for the "Heart Check" symbol on your meat aisle.

A loaf pan sized foil pan fits perfectly to add the drippings to the au jus.

Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast, tennessee beef, tenderloin roast
Searing direct at the end helps form a flavorful crust.

Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast, tennessee beef, tenderloin roast
Make it a meal - Fresh green beans, garlic/rosemary roasted potatoes, and the au jus.

[Standard Disclaimer] I received no compensation for this post although I did receive a $20 Food City gift card for participating in their questionnaire at the store.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011


A cold steady rain arrived in East Tennessee today and 3/4ths of our clan are also figuratively "under the weather".  

It is one of those days that you just want to crawl up under a blanket with a good person, a captivating book, or hell, even something good on TV.    You just don't want to be spending hours in the kitchen after working all day.

Those circumstances call for soup.  It's easy to make and it heals & warms from within.  I decided to go with an egg drop soup from Rome called Stracciatella.  Several recipes I saw said that it is named after an Italian word for "little rags" for the pieces of egg but others said it simply means "torn".   Alexis had some left over yeast roll dough in the freezer so we baked them in small balls and tossed these mini rolls in some garlic butter. 

The bowls are hand made by Benji and Melissa at Stony Clay Station in Lenoir City

adapted from Joy of Cooking (1997)

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat a large sauce pan over medium high heat.  Add butter and saute the shallot until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  3. Mix the eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, and garlic together.  
  4. Steadily pour the egg mixture into the simmering chicken stock, stirring rapidly for 30 to 60 seconds.  Don't worry if it looks like someone boiled a paper towel to shreds at this point.  Remember the name?  
  5. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper.  I used 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper

 It was just what the doctor ordered! Alexis said it reminded her of the Sopa de Ajo we often make when feeling under the weather.

[Standard Disclaimer]  We pay full price for the Stony Clay Station products that we use and receive no compensation. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Upcoming Gameday Giveaway

I saw something cool on the NatGeo channel this morning on a show called "Brain Games" that explained why humans enjoy being spectators so much.   They looked at a key reason behind things like:
  • why we get so worked up over a football game, 
  • why we subject ourselves to scary movies, or
  • why we tease ourselves, drooling over someone's food blog (I added this one).
The show attributed our voyeuristic enjoyment on mirror neurons.  When we watch one of these activities, inside our brain our neurons are firing similarly ("mirroring") to as if we were participating in the activity ourselves.

So when you are reading a food blog and see a picture like this for example.... (click for recipe)

In your brain, some neurons are firing just like mine did in real life when I was tasting the sweet, smoky wings and mouth watering beans.  

Relax, there is no such thing as "mirror calories".

October is a big month for spectator sports.  Baseball championships are underway, football is in full swing, and NASCAR is in the chase for the points.  To help you enjoy your mirror neurons, the fine folks at Bush's Baked Beans are sponsoring my October "Gameday Giveaway" with this prize package!

It includes 2 Bush's Beans chairs, enough beans for 20 tailgaters, hotdog/brat griller, hamburger press and a fun cooler with built in powered speaker system to play your MP3 tunes or listen to the pregame show (MP3 player not included).  

Bush's also sponsored a tailgate party for my friends and family this week at one of my son's football games.  We had "bulldawgs", stacked burgers, Bush's Baked Beans and more.  I'll post about that AND the giveaway details next weekend.  

In the mean time, here are a few quick & fun tailgating tips that I use:
  1. Small bites = quick cooking and convenience.   Sure ribs & roasts are great but burgers, hot dogs, wings and brats cut down on prep time, cook a lot faster, and let you spend more time socializing.
  2. "Smoke the competition" with game themed food names.  Have fun with your menu and eat your competition.  For example, if you are playing against the Falcons, serve hot wings and call them "grilled Falcon wings". (or Blue Jay, Orioles, Eagles, etc)
  3. House Rules:  If you are tailgating onsite, find out the stadium rules BEFORE you go.  Many places are now enforcing strict rules for tailgating including WHEN you can start and whether open flames can be used. 
I have to run.  The Jaguars game starts in 30 minutes.  We may stink this year but I still like to watch the games and get my "mirror neurons" fired up.   

[Standard Disclaimer]  I received compensation from Bush's Beans for this post but any opinions are my own.  I have used and posted about Bush's Beans long before ever entering a sponsorship with them. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mini Chimichangas

These little guys are perfect for appetizers or tailgating. 

mini chimichanga, leftover pulled pork, grill dome pork recipe, big green egg pork recipe

When you smoke a lot of BBQ like we do, you often find yourself blessed with leftover pulled pork. It is easy to vacuum seal, freeze and reheat. It is hard to top a great pulled pork sandwich but sometimes I look for other creative ways to use that smoked pork. Tonight was one of those times and I came up with these mini-chimichangas, or “mini-changas” as my 12 y/o coined them.

The great thing about these is if you don't have leftover pulled pork (stay OUT of my freezer, smoke your own) you can use leftover grilled chicken or just about any cooked meat. I couldn't believe how the drizzle sauce had so much smokiness and flavor for just two ingredients.

Nibble Me This Mini-Changas
Servings: 6 (24 mini-changas)

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
½ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
½ cup poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
¼ cup green onion, chopped
½ cup pulled pork, chopped
½ cup shredded cheese
2 teaspoons southwestern rub (I used Albukirky's Green Chile Rub)
24 wonton wrappers
¼ cup agave nectar or honey
1 oz chipotle hot sauce (I used Cholula's Chipotle hot sauce)

Preheat a skillet over medium high heat. Preheat a deep fryer to 350f (or you could do stove top).

When the skillet is hot, add the oil.

Add the onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. You aren't trying to fully cook them since they will go in a deep fryer. Add the red bell pepper and cook another minute.

Add the poblano and garlic, cooking for one more minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the green onion and cilantro so they will wilt from the residual heat.

Place the pork, cheese and southwestern rub in a bowl. Top with the hot veggie mixture and toss together.

Top each wonton at one end with some of the mix. I use a melon baller to get a good scoop but you could use a little less than a tablespoon. 

Wet the opposite end with water. Roll the wonton up and seal the joint.  Pinch the ends.

Deep fry the mini-changas for 1 minute until crispy and golden. For most home deep fryers, you will need to do this in batches of 4 to 6 mini-changas.

Mix together the agave nectar and hot sauce.

Serve the mini-changas with the agave sauce drizzled over them.

mini chimichanga, leftover pulled pork, grill dome pork recipe

The crispy crunchy shell, savory filling, and the spicy sweet sauce rocked! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Food Blogger Forum Nashville

We are back at home and my head is still spinning from all of the information that got crammed in there at the Food Blogger Forum in Nashville yesterday. I left there with 9 pages of notes and a full brain, now I just have to sort it out and apply it.

It wasn't just learning valuable insider information from a combination of successful bloggers, public relations firms, and food companies. The seminar and sessions were also inspirational, which is something I didn't expect.  

Jaden of Steamy Kitchen and Diane and Todd of White on Rice Couple opening the conference.  These people aren't top notch food bloggers by accident, they are dynamic and motivated.

First was a panel discussion of Public Relations 101 with Steamy Kitchen (blogger), The Andrews Agency (PR firm), and OXO (food tool company).  Very insightful.

I got some great tips and tools for cleaning up my recipe writing from "the published" and a publisher. 

There were giveaways about every 30 seconds throughout the day....or so it seems.  They were serious prizes too, KitchenAid, Calphalon and more.   Jaden said, "I feel like Oprah!  You get a blender!  You get a toaster!"

Lunch was provided by three Nashville food trucks.  It was my first time eating at a food truck and I loved my lunch from the @Happy_Eating truck.   Knoxville so needs food trucks.  We're years behind every trend here.

After lunch, Todd and Diane delivered a hilarious and informative presentation and demo on food photography and styling.  See my crappy picture of my mongolian taco below.  They did the same ingredients and came away with a magazine quality shot of the same product. 

There was the ubiquitous socializing and networking between breaks.

The day ended with your 4 choices of 10 available mini-sessions with topic experts.  These were nice because the small size let you have more direct discussions with the expert.  Jaden took her "Blogging As A Business" session outside because it was so gorgeous (and not freezing) outside.

I also opted for
Food Styling - Diane Cu
Working With Brands - Arianna Bastianini of OXO
SEO for Food Blogging - Geoff Allen of ZipList

It was an exceptional event but I am glad to be home this morning.  I haven't cooked in two days and I'm ready to fire up the grills. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Food Blogger Forum Nashville: Pre-Party

I'm sitting in downtown Nashville on an unseasonably warm October Friday evening overlooking a tranquil pool.

The pool is tranquil but nothing else is. Six floors down the sidewalks and streets are alive with boisterous folks, bustling cars, and the occasional siren.

Funny but true fact....we are staying in room #666. They changed the outdoor room # to 668 but it is right next door to room 664 and the interior sign on the door clearly shows.....

I told Alexis, quit worrying, it's not like it's room 237 at the Overlook Hotel. 

Excuse the lack of photos in this post but I left my SD card AND my back up SD cards in the hotel room.  I blame that on room 666.

So yeah, I'm at the Nashville Food Blog Forum. A bunch of my BBQ buds might laugh and picture me at a seminar about how to take the best picture of a cupcake with frills and ribbons and stuff.

I could understand why someone who focuses on grilling and BBQ like I do might seem out of place here. But I actually found a lot of smoke here on the first night. So all you smokers out there, quit knocking cupcakes, truffles, and latest food trend....because you are becoming a food trend. Smoke is the new black.

A Beer Named Sue
Local Yazoo Brewery has added a kick butt brew to their line up. Meet Sue, a dark deep bodied beer that uses malt smoked with cherry wood. Any bbqr that reads my blog knows my love for cherry wood. It brings a nice color to smoked meats while giving a light smoke flavor. The flavor of this beer delivers and I can't wait for it to arrive here in Knoxville shortly. I have several ideas in mind for using it as an ingredient.

Are You Kidding Me Smoked Chocolate?
Southern artisan chocolate magicians Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company sampled their products including a smoked chocolate brittle that was specfreakingtacular. This company already grinds their own cocoa for their chocolates but for this one, they have Benton....YES the famous East TN bacon folks....smoke the “nibs” first. I don't like sweets and was skeptical but dayum, this stuff was off the charts good. I won't tell you how many times Alexis went back to their table.

Triple Smoked Whiskey
Corsair Artisan was on site with their micro brewed spirits and I sampled the Triple Smoked Whiskey. The mellow charcoal flavor comes through and I asked if they sold their used barrels for smoking wood. Not yet but you can buy the whole barrel (a mini costs $70). I am going to buy one to convert to be my cold smoker.

Hickory Salt
Top Chef contestant Arnold Myint gave a cooking demo for us tonight and we bought a jar of hickory smoked salt from him. Yeah, I smoke my own during the winter but I'm out right now.

Bathtub Gin TN Whiskey & Tomato Jam
This specialty jam maker makes “prohibition era jams” and this was one she incorporated into a mini tart with caramelized onion, roasted tomato, the jam, and some artisan cheese that was very good. But my immediate thought was how great this would be used in a BBQ sauce for pork. 

Tomorrow the actual forum begins and I have a lot to learn from some incredibly successful and wicked smart people.

I might leave a light on in room 666......just in case :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Appetizer: Steak Panzanella Kabobs

My parents hopped across the Great Smoky Mountains for a visit two weekends ago. I didn't blog about any of the food because I wanted to relax and just enjoy the visit. It was fun improvising dishes and not worrying about writing down what I did. We just talked in the kitchen while I threw things together.

One of the things I made up was a beef appetizer that we thought was rather good. It reminded me of panzanella (bread salad)....with steak....on a stick.

I made a few tweaks to it this weekend. The beefy taste, the acidic bite from the tomato, the crunch of the bread and the sweet sauce combine for a great appetizer. Alexis declared them to be the perfect “one bite”.

Note: I am basing the counts marked with an asterisk* on that I got 24 cubes from one large ribeye. You might get a little more or less depending on the size of your steak. 

Steak Panzanella Kabobs
1 ribeye steak, cut into bite sized pieces (about 3/4” cubes)
12* cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
24* cocktail skewers
½ loaf of French bread
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
pinch salt

½ shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 dried red pepper, finely chopped and seeded (you could substitute 1 tsp of red pepper flake)
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
½ shallot, finely chopped
1 clove, finely chopped
¼ cup marsala wine
½ cup beef stock
2 Tbsp demi glace
1 Tbsp chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter, cold

Mix the marinade ingredients together and marinate the steak cubes for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Marinate the tomatoes in the vinaigrette.

Tear the bread into 24* bite sized chunks and place on a sheet pan. 

Drizzle a little olive oil (maybe 1 Tbsp) over the bread and toss to coat. Toast in a 425f oven for 8 minutes or until crispy. Season with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

About 15 minutes before you are ready to grill, make the sauce. In a pan over medium high heat, saute the shallot in butter for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute, reducing the heat if necessary to keep from burning the garlic.

Deglaze the pan with the marsala wine and let it simmer until it reduces it's volume by about half. Add the beef stock and stir in the demi glace until it is dissolved. If you don't have demi glace you could try substituting beef base but I would start with 1 Tablespoon and add from there. Taste for seasoning. I added a pinch or two of salt and about 4 twists from a pepper grinder. Set aside.

Place 1 piece of steak on the end of each cocktail skewer. 

Preheat your grill to medium high heat.    Use a kabob shield (you can make one by folding a piece of heavy duty foil over several times) to protect the exposed skewer. Grill for 5-6 minutes, turning every minute or so. 

Remove from grill and add 1 half tomato to the skewer. Return to grill for one more minute. 

Remove from grill. Add 1 piece of toast to each skewer.

Reheat the sauce over medium low heat. Add the chives and stir in a cold tablespoon of butter until it melts. (This will help re-emuslify the sauce and keep it from splitting when reheating.)

Serve the kabobs warm, topped with the sauce. 

Don't sauce them until ready to serve, the bread needs to be crisp, not soggy.  If serving for a crowd, plate them something like this and then let people sauce their own.

I am adding this to my short list of "signature dishes".  You could make this with other cuts of beef.  this would be perfect for using the trimmings from a beef tenderloin.

Tailgating, Grilling, and Prizes
If you need ideas for tailgating, don't forget to check out Grilling.com.  Check them out every week and enter for a chance to win a $500 Carnivore Kit.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pork Roast with Bootlegger Apple BBQ Sauce

Brrr!  This weekends early cold front was a slap in the face to summer.  When life gives you lemons....so last night we loaded up the fire pit and enjoyed its radiant glow.

Crappy phone picture....

The cool beautiful weather yesterday had me craving pork and apples so I decided to make a version of Grilled Pork Loin with Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce from Chris Lilly's book, Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue Book.  

I went to the stupidmarket to buy a roast but just couldn't do it.  I couldn't pay $3.99 a pound for a roast when I knew I could by a whole boneless pork loin for $1.99 a pound at Sam's Wholesale Club.  Even if you have absolutely no butcher experience, this is the easiest subprimal cut to break down. You just cut straight across it at whatever size cuts you want.  I cut mine into two 3 lb roasts and 6 1" thick pork chops.  Alexis sealed and froze the chops and one roast.

I score the fat cap before tying the roasts.

The "rib end" will have more marbling and actually be two different shades of color.  I save that end for roasts and if I am slicing pork chops, I start from the other end. There's nothing wrong with it, it would just give you chops that look odd.

The rib end - notice the line of fat cutting across the middle.

I won't divulge the bbq sauce recipe* but I'll show you what was in it. 

I substituted Dr. Pepper for the cola and Apple Pie Moonshine for the bourbon.  I also made my sauce thin instead of the rustic style Chris used.  Chris gave a "cheater version" of this sauce in Food and Wine that is quick and easy to make:  Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce.

I took one of the 3lb roasts and rubbed it with
1 t turbinado sugar
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t salt
1/2 t onion powder
3/4 t dried minced garlic
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t corriander
Tying the roast makes it cook more evenly.  Plus it looks cool.

I added a few chunks of cherry wood to the lump coal in my Big Green Egg and preheated it to 450f.  I cooked the roast with direct heat for 5 minutes per side, just long enough to get good color on in. 

Then I switched to indirect heat and lowered the temp to 400f (was trying for 350f but it's hard to cool a hot Egg down).  I wanted to finish with an internal temp of 150f after resting and wanted to apply the sauce in the last 10 minutes of cooking so my plan was to sauce it at 130f and pull it when it hit 140f. 

Something must have gone wrong because it went almost exactly as planned :)

Cooking temp
Internal Temp



Removed from grill




I posted the data because it shows how really important the rest period is.  After I sliced the roast, I poured the juices from the resting plate and served it with extra Bootlegger Apple BBQ Sauce on the side.

The hole in the roast is from the temperature probe.

You could probably replicate this in the oven by starting with a high temp like 450f-500f for the first 10 minutes (just to start the malliard reaction to get color) and then drop to a roast temp of around 375f. 

The roast was perfectly done and the BBQ sauce was exceptionally good, a taste of fall.  The apple flavor was subtle.  I'm glad I went with a smooth texture although I'm sure the chunky style is just as good.  It's a good thing the whole family liked the sauce so much because I have 3 cups of it left! 

Technical Aspects of The Stall (for BBQ freaks only)
Amazing Ribs is a leading authoritative BBQ website and Meathead has done it again.  If you are a BBQ techno geek like me, you will enjoy his latest article.  He works with Dr. Blonder to explain the technical aspects of the stall.  If you think you already know the reasons behind it, think again.  CLICK TO READ

*c'mon, just go buy the book!  Chris Lilly has graciously given me permission to reprint several of his recipes and I have sworn by this book for two years now. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Broccoli and Carrot Stir Fry

It is one of those fall days that makes me just thrilled to be outside. The temps are cool, a light breeze is rolling across the valley and the sky is so blue it almost hurts my eyes. The only thing missing the the smell of hickory smoke in the fall air but I plan to change that shortly.

I am going to enjoy the day on the deck, smoking. I really don't even know what I am going to smoke this minute but I am going to spend this day outside. Once the sun goes down and the temps drop even more, we will light the fire pit for the first time this fall.

A couple of folks asked me about the carrot side dish that I made with the grilled honey soy chicken the other day. It was just a simple stir fry but here it is. I like to use very fresh carrots for this. Even “fresh” bagged carrots are tough to me.

Broccoli and Carrot Stir Fry

½ tsp sesame oil
2 ½ tsp peanut oil
2 cup broccoli florets
1 cup carrot, peeled and sliced on a bias (this was three carrots)
½ ea sweet onion, cut into 1/2” wide wedges
½ cup beef stock
1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tsp ginger, finely diced
½ cup sweet stir fry sauce
slurry (1 Tbsp potato or corn starch and 1 Tbsp cold water)

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the broccoli, carrot and onion and stir fry for 1 minute, tossing occasionally.

Add the beef stock, cover and let steam for 3 minutes.

Remove the cover and add the mushrooms, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until mushroom is cooked.

Add the sweet stir fry sauce, slurry and toss to coat well. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Sweet Stir Fry Sauce
¼ cup Yoshida's Gourmet sauce (sub terriyaki if you don't have Yoshidas)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp mirin
½ tsp sriracha sauce
pinch of salt

Mix all together. Makes ¾ cup.