What’s cooking? Smoked Chicken!

A bit of a funny story, as I had wanted a smoker for quite a while and had even bought an inexpensive hotplate and picked up a couple of refrigerator wire shelves to build a wooden smoker. It turns out I didn’t have to, as while I was on an epic roadtrip across the SouthWest, I stumbled into a sale at a sporting goods store that had an terrific sale on a very nice smoker. I picked up this Cajun Injector Electric Smoker and it’s been awesome.

You simply set the temperature and time and that’s it. Computer temperature contolled, no fires to worry about, no fancy pellets to feed. I preheat it to temperature, put in the meat and the wood chips and I can move on to other things, checking on it once every 20 minutes or so just to see how the meat’s internal temperature is coming along.

My system is very simple. I brine chicken breasts for 18 hours or so in a basic brine. I then rub it with a nice bbq rub. I use Gorilla BBQ rub or LaRue Rub with a bit of brown sugar and, optionally, ground hot (habanero or ghost chili) pepper for kick. I preheat the smoker to 235 Degrees and pop them in until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. I then take it out and it’ll impulse cook another 10 degrees on it’s own. Time wise, that’s roughly an hour. For wood chips, I favor hickory chips soaked overnight in water. I use a good handful and this smoker is so good at retaining smoke, I really don’t feel a need to add any more.

I highly recommend smoking meats for a nice protein treat to go with veggies or on a salad and heartily recommend the Cajun Injector as a goof proof smoker.

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Change in diet…

I’Healthy Saladve had to take a turn towards the extra healthy. Doc’s orders 😉 So I’ve laid off carbs and most fatty things and have instead gone to dinners like this… Superfood salad, chicken on the side, bit of eggs, mushrooms and fat free dressing. I’m also going to start adding sprouts (home sprouted) to the diet.

Ah the foods I miss…

I’ve been neck deep in work at a new job lately, so it’s really impacted my ability to keep up with the blog and for that I apologize. I was going through some photos this morning and was really missing Khao Soi Chiang Mai style. Similar to a Laksa, it’s a coconut curry sauce over noodles dish that’s simply delicious! Here’s a photo of what I made while in a cooking class in Thailand. I’ll be back soon with even more photographs and a recipe for the dish.

Beef & Mushroom in a Red Wine Stroganoff Sauce

Had a wonderful day off cooking with my daughter. I decided to blend a couple ideas together and we made oxtail stroganoff. The stroganoff sauce was based on the oxtail, assorted mushrooms including porcini for deep, intense, earthy taste, and red wine. The sauce was finished with sour cream to balance out the strong and potentially bitter flavors of the wine and mushrooms. It worked out pretty well.

We started by marinating the oxtails overnight in soy sauce, garlic, and a bit of onion. In the morning, I rolled the oxtail in flour and then put them in the broiler. I often will use a dutch oven to sear them and then make stew in the dutch oven, but today I wanted to try a broiling technique I had seen in a facebook foodie group I’m in. It worked pretty well. Continue reading

My favorite breakfast :)

I try not to have this more than once a week or two, but my favorite breakfast is this version of corned beef hash. It’s really a shredded potato patty, with bits of fresh corned beef folded in, accompanied by an egg, easy over, sprinkled with cheese. It’s that perfect combination of salt and starch and fat in the morning 🙂 When I grew up, my father used to make the potato pancakes, so for me, this is that taste of nostalgia, the remembrance of a happy time when growing up. Fattening, but everything in moderation, right? 🙂

What’s cooking…

I’ve been so busy lately that even regular home cooking has dropped off. Work days are 10 hrs so by the time I get home I’m ready to have a half dinner and then relax.

Today I had a day off, so I decided to go Thai (yes, no surprise, lol) and make a couple favorites, plus something new.

The usual dishes, Som Tum Talay … my usual papaya salad with squid and shrimp, and Pad Kaprow Moo (the spicy basil pork) … and something new to me.

Instead of a large starch we made a Thai dish that’s apparently not often seen here. The dish is quite simple, and the elegance lies in clean execution. Cooked sticky rice is mixed with raw pork, some thinly shredded vegetables and sesame seed. It’s lightly seasoned with just a little white pepper and salt, rolled, dipped in egg and then fried.

The result is a ball that’s soft and sticky inside and crispy and crunchy outside. It’s the perfect complement to anything with a sauce, as you can pinch and dip with the sticky rice.

I found the recipe at one of my favorite sites, importfood.com. I didn’t vary it by enough to justify writing my own recipe, so it’s better to ask you to get it directly from their site.

All in all, it was a delicious dinner and the family was pretty happy with it 🙂

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