Saturday, July 25, 2015

Spice Rubbed Chicken Quarters with Alabama White Sauce

This past weekend the course of my life was forever altered. How, you ask? If you must know, I experienced Alabama White Sauce for the first time. It was one of the most joyous, yet saddest moments of my life, knowing that for 38 years, I have been missing out on this secret that Alabama had been keeping from the rest of the country until the past couple of years. If people have known about this longer than that, please don't tell me. It will break my heart.

Have you guys had this stuff yet? I swear it's liquid heaven. Honestly, I would consider eating a sock if it had been drenched in this tangy, zippy sauce.  Who knew that mayo, vinegar and horseradish could become something that I would dream about. 

But this spice rub.... It's the perfect compliment to the sauce. Smokey, slightly spicy and delicious. You don't even need the sauce (you actually do. You don't want to miss out on this). 

Chicken leg quarters are one of my absolute favorite meats to grill. It's simple, straightforward and super delicious, and not to brag, but I'm really good at grilling them. I don't know how or why this has happened but after 18 years of grilling I finally caught on. Here is where I add my disclaimer: I only cook on a gas grill. I don't have patience for charcoal even though it tastes so much better. Also, use a meat thermometer.  Always. Unless you're truly a pro. <end disclaimer> Here's how simple it is. Heat both sides of grill. Turn one side off. Place leg quarters on cool side of grill skin down. Go distract yourself for 20 minutes. Flip chicken. Go distract yourself for another 20 minutes. Remove chicken from grill. Let rest for about 5 minutes. Anyone can do this. As long as you're an adult capable of lighting a grill, you got this. Promise. 

What's your favorite thing to grill in the summer? Do you have any fantastic tips that you'd like to share? Leave a comment and let us know!  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to run to the store to pick up more chicken leg quarters. While I'm doing that, you can throw together this rub and some white sauce and make your own chicken. Save me some!! 

Spice Rubbed Chicken

2 chicken leg quarters
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of white pepper
Pinch of cinnamon
Fresh cracked black pepper

In a small bowl combine salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, white pepper, cinnamon and black pepper. Rub on chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Preheat both burners of a gas grill on high. Once grill has preheated, turn off one side of grill. Place chicken, skin down, on side of the grill with no flame. Grill on the first side for 20 minutes. Flip and grill for another 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

Big Bob Gibson's Alabama White Sauce

Courtesy of Big Bob Gibson and Paula Deen

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Mix well

Dunk Chicken in Alabama White Sauce and change your life immediately!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca

The dog days of summer have arrived here in Kentucky.  At this moment, I have to say, I'm not mad at it.  After all the rain we've had lately it's kind of refreshing to see and feel the sun.  Speaking of refreshing, this Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca is a drink you will definitely need to help you cool off in this heat and humidity.  

Last week at the Lexington Farmers Market I picked up a beautiful, sweet, farm fresh watermelon.  I was overjoyed with my purchase.  Until I got home.  Looking at this monstrous melon sitting on my counter, I began to wonder what I was thinking when I bought an entire melon.  I'm only one person! Normally when I make these food faux pas, I just end up sharing with my parents or some friends.  Of course they had just bought one too.  Just my luck!  Never fear.  I can figure out how to use this.  It's what I do.  I can't stand letting anything go to waste.  I chopped up half of it and ate it for breakfast for a few mornings.  I have to tell you.  It was the perfect way to start the days.  What to do with the other half though....  Decisions, decisions.

I contemplated cutting it into wedges and grilling it because I have seen that repeatedly on Pinterest.  I just couldn't get excited about it though.  Hot watermelon doesn't sound appealing to me.  Especially right now.  I am absolutely sure that I will try it at some point this summer because it does intrigue me.  Plus, I am constantly being proved wrong when I find something I don't think I'll like, i.e brussels sprouts and lima beans.

As soon as I heard the forecast for this weekend, I immediately knew how I would use the rest of this beautiful fruit.  I would need something to keep me cool and hydrated this weekend and what better than a flavored water?  Simple, thirst quenching, delicious.  Did I mention simple?  Water is my drink of choice.  I drink it all day, every day, but sometimes it's nice to mix it up a little with citrus, berries or melon.  The best thing about this recipe is that you can just throw everything into the food processor or blender.  See?  Easy.  I just chunked up the melon, squeezed a few limes and threw in some sugar.  Pour it into a pitcher, add water and top off with some fresh mint.  Are you salivating yet? 

I know you just read the word sugar and I'm guessing you gasped out loud.  Everything in moderation.  I used free trade organic cane sugar.  Feel free to substitute honey or skip the sugar all together.  Whatever floats your boat.  Or your pool raft.  I could use a pool right now.  I guess I'll just have to settle for a cold beverage.  What are you waiting for?  Go hydrate yourself!

Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca

4 cups watermelon, roughly chopped
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar, more or less to taste
4 cups water
Mint, for garnish

In food processor or blender, pulse the watermelon, lime juice and sugar.  Pour into a serving pitcher. Add water.  Stir.  Garnish with sprigs of mint.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

White Truffle Mashed Potatoes

Today's post is sponsored by Epicurean Butter. 

Decadent, delicious, sinful, dreamy, delightful..... Oh hey there. I'm just jotting down some words that describe these white truffle mashed potatoes. These are the things dreams are made of. Seriously. And it's all because of butter.  

What can I say about butter that hasn't been said before? It's my opinion that butter is proof that God loves us. Well, butter and bacon. Mmm... Bacon. I should stop before I get side tracked and make this about bacon. Nothing should even attempt to upstage these butters. I mean it. Nothing.  There are a plethora of flavors to choose from, both savory and sweet you're bound to find at least 1 or 15 to fall in love with. 

I had never tasted anything truffle flavor until earlier this year when I experienced truffle fries and oh my goodness where had these been all my life? They were so good that I cried a little. And then I was disappointed that I had lived without this awesomeness for 38 years. Well, no more! Truffles for everyone! We can all splurge occasionally, right? 

I definitely recommend splurging on the white truffle butter from Epicurean, or any of them, for that matter.  Tuscan Herb, Tomato Chipotle, Scampi, Maple Syrup, Orange Honey, Black Truffle, Garlic Herb and many more. I was beyond excited when I came home to a delivery on butter sitting on my front porch.  I'd say I was on cloud nine--if that cloud was made of butter.  As of publishing this post, other than the white truffle, I have only used the Tomato Chipotle and I have used it on everything.  I mean, everything.  I've scrambled eggs with it and oh my goodness!  Ridiculously delicious doesn't even begin to describe it.  I also spread it on bread, toasted it and made a tomato sandwich which was simply mouthwatering.  I just drooled.  Last but certainly not least, I slathered some of it on farm fresh, grilled sweet corn.  It sent that corn into another universe.  I am so excited to create recipes with the rest of my shipment!

Sometimes I get very particular about the texture of my mashed potatoes, depending on my mood. There are times I like them with the peel which I think takes them to the rustic side. However, with these white truffle mashed potatoes, I wanted them silky smooth so I peeled them and ran them through my food mill. A ricer or mixer would work also or just mash the holy crap out if them by hand.

I'm betting that these mashed potatoes will be the perfect addition to your holiday meals.  Or tomorrow's dinner. Or lunch. Or breakfast. What I'm saying is, you need these white truffle mashed potatoes in your life and you shouldn't wait until the holidays to try it. 

White Truffle Mashed Potatoes

6 cups white potatoes, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup whole milk
3 ounces white truffle butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-2 teaspoons salt, or more to taste
Pinch of white pepper
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with water, about 10 cups. Bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil until potatoes are fork tender, about 25 minutes total. Remove from heat and drain. 

Return to pot and mash in white truffle butter, butter, milk, salt, white pepper and black pepper.  Transfer to a serving bowl and top with another pat of butter. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Simple Summer Living

Summertime and the living is easy.  I find it to be true that the simple things are the best things--the dew on the early morning grass, the Orange, pinks and reds of a sunrise or sunset, a light breeze with the windows open, the smell of the rain, the bright blue sky on a summer day, the laughter and squeals of children playing.  I could go on. For a while. But I'll stop.

I'm not quite sure what it is about summer that makes life seem so simple. Is it the extra hours of daylight? The fact that you don't have to spend 10 minutes layering outerwear so you can avoid frost bite? Have you noticed that no one seems to be in that big of a hurry during these warmer months?  I wish I could bottle this feeling into some sort of elixir to enjoy in February when I'm nearing my breaking point of snow and winter. 

Not only does life seem to slow down and become simpler in summer, but so does the food I eat. The abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables are stunningly beautiful with their bright, bold colors. Again, the simple things are sometimes the most beautiful.  It's so easy to light the grill and throw on some chicken, beef or pork. To roast corn on the cob over an open flame and chop up a quick salad.  Easy peasy.  Can't get much simpler than that!

During the course of this year, I have been making an effort to eat in season, organic and to grow some of my own food. At times it can be a challenge but just when you think you can't eat another Brussels sprout, the citrus pops up in season.  I have fallen madly in love with kale and it's many health benefits. I rekindled an old affair with broccoli and even managed to choke down some beet juice which actually isn't too bad as long as you include some apples and can get past the "earthiness" which in reality I assume means "tastes like literal dirt", which I haven't found appealing since the age of five.   I have no qualms about in season eating during the summer months though.  Fresh, sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and don't even get me started on the zucchini and green beans

I think it's time for a challenge. Try living off the "land" for a week. Visit local farmers, roadside stands and farmers markets. If these places don't inspire you to make creative, healthy dishes, well, then I don't know what will. Just try it. Please? And report back. I'm pretty sure you'll be on the road to feeling like a million bucks!

My absolute favorite summer meal consists of fresh green beans, corn on the cob and a sliced tomato. It screams summer to me. They are the quintessential foods for the month of July.  Simple, colorful, delicious.  Saute onions and garlic in butter, or even better, bacon grease, until soft.  Throw in green beans and simmer in a little chicken broth until beans are done to your liking.  If you're like my mom, you'll left them go for hours.  If you're me, 30 minutes will do ya.

I can't get enough of summer and I wish it would stick around forever.  How do you live simply?  Are there summer traditions that you keep? What are those must have summer foods for you?  Do you grow your own garden and if so, what are your favorite crops?  Leave a comment or drop me an email to share!  Enjoy the remainder of your summer and remember to take time to smell the roses, to sip iced tea on the patio and enjoy your friends and family during these lazy, hazy days of summer when the living truly is easy.