Homemade Charcoal Chimney Starter, Burgers Topped with Cheddar and Coleslaw

Recipes in this Post
Raleigh Burger - Coleslaw Cheddar on a Kaiser Roll

Raleigh Burger – Coleslaw Cheddar on a Kaiser Roll

There used to be a wonderful coffee-shop in Santa Monica called Nick’s. One day, I went in there and ordered something called a Nick Burger. It had coleslaw and swiss cheese on it. It was so juicy you had to eat it over the plate. It became my favorite burger, and tonight, I decided to recreate it, with a little zip.

I’ve been becoming very brave of late with my Weber. First I started out with Match Light coals because they were pre-soaked, and easy to get started. Then, I graduated to using charcoal fluid and regular coals. Then today, I realized I had run out of fluid, and the corner store was closed. I knew that there are specially made charcoal chimney starters, and I thought I could make one from scratch. It wasn’t difficult at all making a homemade charcoal chimney starter. No more relying on charcoal fluid for me!

Continue reading

Marinated White Asparagus

Recipes in this Post
Marinated White Asparagus

Marinated White Asparagus

My son and I love asparagus, especially the long thin ones. We like them with butter, lemon and pepper. I’m always excited when they’re in season. Asparagus are good for you, they are have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities that can help with heart disease, diabetes, and may help prevent certain cancers. Not bad for a vegetable that sometimes makes your bathroom smell like asparagus!

When I was a child, my mother would sometimes bring home the white asparagus in the can. That was a big treat – except it didn’t have much flavor. When I saw white spears that looked a lot fresher and nicer than their green brethren, I knew I could so a lot better, so I decided to bring them home and marinate them.

One of the ingredients in this recipe is True Lemon. If you haven’t tried True Lemon yet, do it. True Lemon is crystallized fresh lemon juice and oil. It doesn’t have that bottled lemon juice flavor, and since it’s dry, it won’t affect your recipe in the way that lemon juice can. It’s also great because you can carry it with you and put it in water or other drinks as you desire. Right now, they’re even having a special promotion and will give you a free box if you spend more than $10.00.

Continue reading

Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

Recipes in this Post
Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

I think all of us have been tempted to buy the pesto sauce in the refrigerated sauce section at the supermarket. The one at the supermarket has things in it you will never find in fresh pesto, whey, milk, canola oil, water and 2% or less of garlic puree. Some brands do have pine nuts, others use walnuts. But, there is nothing like the real thing.

Pesto is one of the easiest sauces to make, and can be used on a variety of foods. Heck, it’s good just on a spoon!

When you make pesto, it’s important to have fresh ingredients. If you can find pine nuts in the refrigerated section, those are best. If not, look for nuts that are of a uniform pale cream color, with no spots. Pine nuts are the edible seeds of, yes, pine trees. Please use good Parmesan cheese as well, you don’t have to get Parmigiano-Reggiano, but at least get the cheese in the refrigerated section.

If you’re angry at someone and want to take your aggression out on something, you can use a mortar and pestle, and grind away for a very long time. Or, if you don’t have any aggression, then please use a food processor.

Continue reading

Memorial Day Highway Chicken, BBQ Chips and Coleslaw

Cornish Game Hens on the Grill

Recipes in this Post

A few years ago, for Glendale’s Cruise Night, I had a Route 66 party BBQ, and I made Route 66 chicken which was inspired by recipes at Hot Smoked BBQ. I was wracking my brain this morning, trying to think of how to do the two Cornish Hens I’m making for my cousin’s visit on Memorial Day. I thought of that chicken, and am going to prepare it today.

My cousin made chicken legs to supplement the Cornish hens – sadly, they could not be flattened. As a result, there was not enough room on the grill to make the potatoes, but guess what? I have extra coals – potatoes tomorrow!

I will say this is the best chicken I have ever had. Seriously, it was nice and moist because of the can of beer I had in on the grill, and the flavor was out of this world. It cooked evenly, a definite keeper!


Barbecued potato wedges and grilled peppers

Barbecued potatoes and grilled peppers

Update! Tonight, June 2, 2012, I’m making Highway Chicken again, and the BBQ is in the front of the house, and a neighbor backs into the driveway, to the side, and he’s almost running over my BBQ! And I’m screaming – “CHICKEN! DON’T RUN OVER MY CHICKEN”. Finally, I get his attention, and I tell him the story, and he says, “I didn’t know what you were talking about” as he pulls out a bag of El Polo Loco. Wow, THIS chicken almost WAS a highway chicken!

The good thing is, I got to make those BBQ chips tonight, and there were a hit!
Continue reading

Seafood Stuffed Avocado with Marinated Asparagus

Recipes in this Post

Shimp and Crawfish Nestled in Avocado - Asparagus Flanks Each Side

I am so happy that the warmer weather is here, and salads are the way to go. Composed salads made by stuffing a fruit or vegetable are a favorite in our house. I found crayfish at the store, and bought some shrimp to go with it. Since we usually eat seafood on Fridays, using the shrimp and crayfish to stuff an avocado seemed like a perfect idea. Spane and I also love asparagus, which looks lovely on a plate. It is also the year that Haas avocados are plentiful.

Avocados produce fruit prolifically every two years, that’s why they are expensive one year, and really cheap the next. Did you know that all commercial, fruit-bearing Hass avocado trees have been grown from grafted seedlings propagated from a single tree? The tree was grown from a seed bought by Rudolph Hass in 1926 from A. R. Rideout of Whittier, California. The mother tree stood for many years in front of a residence in La Habra Heights. The tree died when it was 76 years old and was cut down on 11 September 2002 after a ten-year fight with root rot. Two plaques by the private residence at 426 West Road mark the spot where it grew. Because of the avocado, just about any food with California in the name has avocados. I love ’em.

Continue reading

Manicotti Stuffed with Cottage Cheese, Spinach and Pine Nuts

Manicotti Served

Manicotti is a child friendly food. Most kids love spaghetti and pasta. What could be more fun than stuffing tubes and then eating them? Kids can get a little messy, but that’s their job, right?

My friend, Chef John Farion, came over and brought me a large container of cottage cheese. I did not think that Spane and I could eat if fast enough for it not to go bad, so I decided to stuff something with it. Quite frequently, cottage cheese is used for lasagna, but I don’t like meatless lasagna, and I wanted it for Friday. Oddly enough, I had everything I needed already at home, so I bought some manicotti and brought it home.

Continue reading