The Chicken From Heaven

You may think that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s really not all that far off. We had a pretty much¬†do-nothing day around here today, and I really wanted to grill for dinner. So I picked up some chicken thighs so we could do some barbecue chicken on the grill. We decided to use the marinade that husband put together for pork ribs awhile back on the chicken, to see how it would turn out. We swapped out the whiskey for some rum, after happening upon a mini bottle of dark rum lurking on the back of our pregnancy-neglected bar cabinet. We let it sit in the marinade in the fridge for a few hours, then husband grilled it. We decided not to use any wood smoke on it at all. I served it with baked beans, though in reality, I would’ve been just fine with a giant plate of this chicken. It is the best chicken I have ever had in my entire life. I love chicken, any way – fried, baked, in casseroles, in pasta, boiled, roasted – you name it, I probably like it. But if I had to choose just one way to eat chicken for the rest of my life, this would be it. It is that good. Out of the five pieces we grilled, I ate three. Probably in under thirty minutes. I am one happy mama tonight. ūüôā

A Lazy Sunday

I’ve been working long days at the office over the last week, and gearing up to do another week of early mornings starting tomorrow, so we needed a low-key weekend to recover. And somehow we still managed to do too much. Saturday, we needed to stop by the bank and post office, so we did that first thing after breakfast (nothing elaborate this week – scrambled eggs with bacon). And we went by the Edgewater Community Yard Sale, hoping to find some good stuff for the baby, or the canning jars and Saveur magazines I’m always looking for. Well, for all that walking around in the heat, we came away with three things and spent four bucks – a fleece sleep sack, a screenprinted short sleeved onesie and a bilingual French storybook.¬†Pretty much a total bust. We escaped the heat by ducking into Indie Cafe (our favorite Thai place) for a quartert of appetizers and some water for lunch. We got chicken satay with peanut sauce and cucumber salad, spring rolls, baby egg rolls and gyoza, which was a a perfect light lunch. I also picked up the newest Saveur while we were¬†out. Being tired and overhot, we then headed home, but the damage was done, especially since we¬†had to rearrange the bedroom and build the crib, since our shower is next weekend. Husband did the heavy lifting and moving, but¬†it was another couple of hours¬†on sore feet. So¬†my feet are a total wreck today – completely sore, blisters from my sandals (why does this happen to me every summer!?) and swollen ankles. And I’m exhausted.

So today, we vowed to do next to nothing. We had another low-key breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and some leftover jalapeno cornbread and then stopped by the farmer’s market to pick up a few things. We ducked into the dollar store real quick¬†to grab four citronella candle buckets to create a bug-free perimeter on the deck (adding $16 to our deck expense tally). And we’ve been home and sitting ever since. Miscellaneous leftovers for lunch. Reading my new Saveur on the back deck. And lots of time on the couch surfing the internet with my poor suffering feet elevated. They certainly feel better than yesterday, but I’m thinking an epsom salt and rosemary oil soak is in order before the day is out.

For dinner, we’re doing some low key grilling – Italian sausages and grilled polenta. I’ll whip up a quick pasta sauce using fresh oregano and bay from our garden to serve alongside it. We’ll relax on the deck while grilling and eat out there if it’s not too cool – some severe thunderstorms passed along to the south of us today, so it’s only been in the low 70s and mostly overcast so it’s cool in the shade. And that’s it – a lazy Sunday at Apartment Farm.

Marinated Barbecued Ribs

I love grilling and I love pork – it’s the perfect marriage of goodness. We picked up some pork ribs at the market yesterday to throw on the grill, and husband came across a delicious-sounding marinade for them at Allrecipes. We modified the ingredients slightly for what we had on hand, and reduced the quantities since we only had one pound of ribs, and this is what we came up with –

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/8 cup whiskey

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

a few generous grinds of pepper

We combined everything in a large zip top bag and let the ribs marinate for about three hours in the fridge, flipping the bag over once during that time. Then we grilled them! We brought the leftover marinade to a boil on the stovetop and then used it to baste the ribs as they cooked.

They were so good, they might put my home made barbecue sauce out of business… they don’t need a dipping sauce at all. The flavor penetrates all the way through the meat and the outsides caramelize nicely. I served my potato salad and jalapeno corn bread alongside, and it was a great Saturday night dinner on the deck.


The Roasted Potato

There is nothing better than coming home from a long day in hell, I mean – at the office, to the wonderful aroma of the grill all fired up and ready to go. Tonight we’re having steak that’s been marinated in a little bourbon and worcestershire sauce along with balsamic vinaigrette crimini mushrooms and roasted yellow potatoes.

Roasted potatoes are the way to go if you’re grilling – they don’t need much in the way of butter, salt or other dressings – the smoke from the fire perfumes them in such a way as to make them irresistable. I’ll take a grill roasted potato over mashed, baked or boiled any day – and I love potatoes no matter how they’re prepared.

Doing potatoes on the grill is super easy. Waxy potatoes seem to work better than russets, and we favor the yellow ones. Choose smaller sized potatoes, at a couple of inches diameter so they will roast evenly and not take forever. Wash them well, bu don’t dry them – a bit of moisture will help steam them ever so slightly. Prick the potatoes in a few spots with a fork so they don’t explode during cooking. To serve two people generously, do 12-16 potatoes total. Place them all in an aluminum foil pouch, and place the pouch directly on top of the coals. You can then replace the grill grate and cook your steak and mushrooms (or whatever dinner happens to be at your house) at the same time. They should be done in 15-20 minutes, depending upon how hot your grill is.

Now if you can excuse me, I have to go eat mine. ūüôā

Firing Up the Grill

This weekend, we have done nothing – absolutely nothing. Life has been exhausting lately – work stress, allergies (including the fact that I found out I’m allergic to chamomile tea!), annoying neighbors… it was a week just past that I’m glad is fully in the past. So I decided that I earned some do-nothing time. I’ve spent the whole weekend lounging on the couch in some comfy clothes catching up on forums and blogs I like to read, or reading in bed with a good book or soaking in¬†a warm bath. I slept in until almost nine o’clock both days. No writing (until now). No cooking projects. No crafts. No gardening.¬†And I don’t feel a bit guilty about it.

One thing I did rally for was good dinner. The weather still isn’t as warm and sunny as we’d like, but we have to take what we can get. It was warm enough to grill out, with a jacket. Last night my husband grilled some delicious rib eye steaks. We marinated them in red wine and¬†worcestershire sauce, which I also reduced into a sauce with the addition of some sauted shallots. Served with green beans and croissants, it was simple and low key.

Tonight, we’re grilling again. We’re going to do bourbon glazed pork chops. The glaze is made from bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic. We might do them over a little apple smoke. And I’ll probably serve something ultra simple on the side, like couscous or buttered egg noodles.

I’ll probably bake up a coffee cake so we can have something tasty for breakfast, but other than that, all of my other food projects (bread baking and working with a whole duck) will have to wait. After enjoying some time by the grill, back to the couch I’ll come. Every once in a while, it’s just the weekend I need.