Buttermilk Waffles

Waffles,  a weekend breakfast treat!   I like to do things with waffles–things like turn them into a sandwich.  You know, slather them with peanut butter, or almond butter, sliced bananas, and honey.  Add chocolate chips and they get even better.  Whoa!  IMG_6128

If you think I’m going a little waffle crazy, you’ve come to the right place.  Check out these former posts for waffles:  Banana Bread Waffles, Sweet Potato Pecan Waffles, Citrus Waffles with Orange Compote.  I am so not done with waffles yet.

Waffles are supper easy to make.  A good waffle iron does most of the work for you.  Just mix up dry ingredients,  add the wet ingredients and mix together.  A few lumps are an added bonus,  they build character.

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Here’s a question for you….. What’s a waffle without chocolate chips?    Still a waffle.  HA HA!

Prepare the waffles and lay out the prepared toppings.  The waffles are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with melted chocolate.  Add a sweep of almond butter,  sliced bananas, and drizzle with honey….perfect toppings.

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Take any that are left over and freeze for the week ahead.  Pop in the toaster to rewarm.  That’s real meal planning in my book.   Indulgent breakfasts on demand!

BUTTERMILK WAFFLES WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Yield:   Makes 6 generous waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1  1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, or chopped dark chocolate
  • toppings:  almond butter, sliced bananas, honey

Directions:

1.  Set waffle iron on a level surface and turn on to preheat.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together melted buter, eggs, vanilla extract, and buttermilk.  Add wet ingredients, all at once to dry ingredients.  Stir until just incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Do not over mix the batter.  If a few lumps remain in the batter that’s ok.

4.  Cook each waffle according to your waffle iron instructions.

5.  Serve waffles warm topped with almond butter, bananas, and a good drizzle of honey.

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Note:  For leftover waffles,  allow to cool completely.  Place them in pairs in ziplock bags and store in the freezer.  In the morning, gently reheat waffles in the toaster or toaster oven.   Best breakfast ever!!

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Roast Chickpeas

Roast Chickpeas

Roast Chickpeas

This is something you may not have noticed, but there are very few recipes for bean dishes on this blog.  That’s because beans in general are not one of my favorite foods.  Sure, I include beans in soups where I like eating them, or I enjoy baked beans at a cookout, but for the most part I’m not a big fan of beans, and most especially I don’t use chickpeas.  I think it has to do with their mealy texture.  Therefore it has come as a hugh surprise to me that I LOVE these Roasted Chickpeas.

A crunchy and nutritious snack.

A crunchy and nutritious snack.

Say hello to my new favorite snack.  I could eat these almost every single day, one by one out of my hand, or added to salads.  They make everything so much more crunchy.  Besides the pure enjoyment of eating them, there’s the nutritional value of chickpeas:  good quality carbohydrates by way of their fiber, and valuable proteins, plus, not a fat or sugar anywhere except if you add some.  So how about getting on the bandwagon with me and trying out these healthy, nutritious, snacks.  This is how I make them….

First, I want the oven to be HOT.   Partly because I have no patience waiting for them, but also because I want them to be as crispy as I can get them.  So crank that oven up to 425*F.  Hot, hot, hot.

Most of the time I use canned chickpeas, but I have also soaked and cooked them myself.  So the chickpeas are always cooked to start with.  If using canned, be sure to rinse and drain them well.   Then place them in a dish towel or paper towel and really dry them off.  Roll them around to get them super dry. This may loosen the skin on some of them.  No worries, just pick off what’s loose and continue.

Drain well, roll in a towel and pat dry.

Drain well, roll in a towel and pat dry.

Next I spread them on a baking sheet that is lined with foil, because—it just makes life a little easier.

Pour onto foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer.

Pour onto foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer.

Then I give them a quick spray of olive oil.  Olive oil in a spray can or a misto works best, but if you don’t have either, a teeny, tiny bit of olive oil sprinkled on works too.  Toss to coat well.  Using a very small amount is key.

Spray lightly with olive oil.

Spray lightly with olive oil.

After that, I season the beans with whatever I feel like.  My first version included salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sweet paprika.  This has become my go-to standby.  I don’t measure anything, just do a few shakes of each, then toss them around to coat.  Other seasonings have included cinnamon, nutmeg,  dried herbs, chili powder, and whatever else is in your spice cupboard.  It’s fun to play around with the flavors!

Sprinkle on seasonings of choice.

Sprinkle on seasonings of choice.

If you would like a sweeter version you can add some sort of sugar ( brown sugar, white sugar, honey) and it will make a caramelized outer layer.

Anyway, after seasoning, toss, toss, toss.  Make sure they are in a single layer while baking.  Bake for 15 minutes, remove and do a quick mix-around with a spoon or spatula, and bake for another 15 minutes or so till crispy.

Roast till crispy.

Roast till crispy.

My gosh, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love these chickpeas.  Unfortunately, they don’t stay real crispy for more than a day or so, so what I do is make 2 cups at a time ( 1 can of chickpeas), eat about half of them right away, and store the rest in a small plastic container lightly covered with foil, on my counter.  We then eat them for dinner in salad, or I give some to my husband in his lunch.  He loves them as a afternoon snack when he’s starting to feel lethargic.

HOW TO ROAST CHICKPEAS

Yield:  2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (if canned, rinse and drain)
  • 1-2 tsp. olive oil, or olive oil spray/mist
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.   Line a baking sheet with foil.

2.  Place chickpeas on a paper towel or dish towel and pat completely to dry.  Remove any loose skins.

3.  Place on the prepared baking sheet and mist with olive oil.  Roll around to coat.  Sprinkle with seasonings of your choice and toss well to coat.  Make chickpeas are in a single layer.

4.  Bake for 15 minutes, toss well and flip, then bake for about 15 minutes more.  Let cool and eat.  Enjoy!

And that’s all there is to it.  😀

Roast Chickpeas, you gotta love them.

Roast Chickpeas, you gotta love them.

Pizzazzy Sausage Crescent Sandwich

Pizzazzy  Sausage Crescent Sandwich

Pizzazzy Sausage Crescent Sandwich

This sandwich is part pizza, and part sandwich, thus the name.  It contains a sausage filling nestled inside a crescent dough pocket.

I came across the recipe in a book that is published by Pillsbury called Pillsbury Christmas 2011.  I think they put out an edition every year for the Holidays.  All the recipes contained in it use a Pillsbury product in some way.  Crescent roll dough is extremely popular as a basis for what seemed like “hundreds” of recipes.  This is just one of them that I thought sounded good and looked like it would be easy to make.   I was correct on one count;  they are very tasty and can be eaten with the hands or a knife and fork.  While they are not difficult to make, working with perforated crescent dough, that needs to be pinched together can be a bit fiddly.  I never seem to be successful at keeping it all together.  Even though mine did not turn out looking as perfect as the picture in the book, we enjoyed them non-the-less with a bowl of soup on a very cold evening.

Pizzazzy Crescent Sandwich with hot soup.

Pizzazzy Crescent Sandwich with hot soup.

PIZZAZZY SAUSAGE CRESCENT SANDWICH

Yield:   Make 8

Crescent Rolls provide the dough for this filled sandwich.

Crescent Rolls provide the dough for this filled sandwich.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • 2 cans refrigerated Crescent Rolls
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, each halved crosswise

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  In a skillet, cook the sausage, chopped pepper and onion until the pork is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender.  Drain.  Stir in 3 Tablespoons pizza sauce.  Allow to cool slightly.

2.  Unroll crescent dough.  Make 8 rectangles, pinching seams together to seal.

3.  Put about 2 – 3 tablespoons of sausage mixture at one end of each rectangle.

Place filling on one end of dough.

Place filling on one end of dough.

Take each 1/2 slice of cheese and fold it in half again.  Place it on top of the sausage mixture.

Top with a square of mozzarella cheese.

Top with a square of mozzarella cheese.

Fold the dough over the filling, and press the edges with a fork to seal.

Fold dough over filling and press edges to seal.

Fold dough over filling and press edges to seal.

4.  Place the sandwiches on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake 15 – 18 minutes till golden brown.  Serve with additional warmed  pizza sauce on the side.

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SOURCE:  Pillsbury Christmas 2011

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

The polar vortex has arrived here in the Northeast, reaching its icy fingers right down into my neck-of-the-woods. Many of you across the U.S. know what I’m talking about as you-all are having it too.  What never ceases to amaze me is how abruptly the weather can change.  Someone  ( ?who) once said ” if you don’t like the weather around here, just wait a minute.”   As an example yesterday morning when I got up it was pouring rain and the temperature was 60*F.  All the snow from a few days ago had melted.  This morning when I got up the temperature was 11*F. with a wind chill of -15*, and there was a dusting of snow back on the ground.  BRRRRR!!

This was one day I was so happy to stay indoors.  Since I had gone to the library yesterday,  I had some good reading waiting for me, plus I’m so behind on my magazines I haven’t finished reading about Thanksgiving yet!  A good day to spend under a quilt trying to stay warm, reading and getting caught up…..and thinking about what’s for supper.   Actually, it didn’t take much thought; on a day like this one, I want hot soup.

There's nothing like a warming bowl of hot soup.

There’s nothing like a warming bowl of hot soup on a cold winter’s day.

After rummaging around in the refrigerator I found a large bunch of broccoli that immediately made me think of cream of broccoli soup.  This didn’t exactly fit into my plans for eating “lighter” meals because of the cream content, so I searched through my cookbooks for a more suitable recipe for broccoli soup.  This is what I came up with……

BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP

Yield:   Serves 4 – 6IMG_6075

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch of broccoli, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  •  2 shallots or 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth, preferably low sodium   (vegetable broth may be substituted for a vegetarian version)
  • 2 cups shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Boil or steam the broccoli until tender.  Drain and set aside.

2.  While broccoli cooks, melt butter in a soup kettle.  Saute shallots and garlic in the butter until tender.

3.  Sprinkle flour into the kettle and stir over low heat until blended.  Add chicken broth and continue stirring until mixture is smooth.

4.  Add the broccoli to the broth mixture.  Using an immersion blender or regular blender puree the soup mixture until uniformly blended.

An immersion blender makes quite work of pureeing the soup.

An immersion blender makes quick work of pureeing the soup.

5.  Add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth.  Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

  Add in the grated cheese and stir to melt.


Add in the grated cheese and stir to melt.

This soup is surprisingly thick, because of the flour added to the broth, and because of pureeing the broccoli.  Be sure you use a large head of broccoli so there is adequate to thicken the soup.  The cheese also adds some thickening, and its flavor is a nice addition.  I also added a pinch of nutmeg to my soup though it is not included with the ingredients. Though this is a lightened up version of cream of broccoli soup, it still has a rich taste and texture.   I didn’t miss the cream at all!

Note:  If broccoli is not available,  cauliflower may be used instead.

Hot soup and a go-with sandwich.

Hot soup and a go-with sandwich.

Stop back again tomorrow for directions for making the filled sandwich you see in the above picture.

SOURCE:   The Flavor of New England,  Soups, Chowders, and Stews

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Like me, you probably did your share of holiday indulging ( no, we weren’t counting those pigs in a blanket per se), but now it’s time to try to undo the damage, i.e., unwanted pounds, by walking that straight and narrow path of good intentions known as New Year’s Resolutions.  I resolve to eat my meals on smaller plates, and to make those meals healthier.  Ha!  Here goes….

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Hopefully that will be a little easier with this incredible salad dressing.  It’s creamy and seems quite indulgent, but its thick texture and rich taste come from healthy avocados.  Toss it with lettuce, cucumbers, and halved cherry tomatoes for a simple salad, and you’ll feel like you’re being bad, when you’re really being so good!

Makes a simple salad feel indulgent.

Makes a simple salad feel indulgent.

CREAMY AVOCADO DRESSING

Very few ingredients.

Very few ingredients.

Yield:   Makes  1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted  (I used 1 large Florida avocado)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1.  Scoop the avocado flesh into the bowl of a food processor.*  Add the garlic and lemon juice and process until coarse.

2.  Add the vinegar and process until the mixture begins to look smooth.  Gradually add the olive oil and mix until totally smooth.  The texture can be thinned by adding a little water of desired.

3.  Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer it to a storage container.  The dressing will keep for up to three days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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*  No food processor?  Don’t feel like getting your big processor “dirty” with this small recipe?  Do this instead.  Make this dressing much like you would make guacamole, by using your trusty potato masher.  Be sure to mince the garlic well first, and add both the vinegar and oil gradually until the texture is smooth.

Another use for this mixture is to toss it with cooked quinoa or bulgur for an easy grain salad.

SOURCE:    Pure WOW

Wicked Chicken

Wicked Chicken

Wicked Chicken

Wicked Chicken is wicked good and wicked easy to make.  Seriously!  It’s made with just 3 ingredients plus seasonings, so this chicken dish is a piece of cake to put together.   You can make it as spicy as your taste buds will allow, or go the milder route if you are feeding childen or anyone who cannot tolerate too much heat.

I was in need of a super simple meal to make as we had just come home from our holiday trip, I was faced with unpacking, doing laundry and trying to get over a cold that I picked up somewhere along the way.  Without much effort, I was able to whip up this easy dish.   When you’re faced with the need to get a meal together this recipe  will save you on a busy day.

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This is the easiest meal you will ever make, and your family will love it.

WICKED CHICKEN

Yield:   Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce and pasta twists.

Roasted Garlic Alfredo Sauce and pasta twists.

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (I used bone-in thighs.)
  • 1/2 box any shaped pasta
  • 1 jar Alfredo sauce ( I used roasted garlic, but if you like spicy, use one with green chiles in it.)
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper flakes to taste.

Instructions:

1.  Cook and drain the pasta.   Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and garlic powder to your liking.  Brown in a hot skillet for 3 minutes on each side.  Sprinkle the chicken with red pepper flakes, if using.

3.  In the baking dish layer the pasta,  spoon on about half of the Alfredo sauce and mix to coat the pasta.  Place chicken pieces on top of the pasta.

Layer pasta, sauce and chicken in the baking dish.

Layer pasta, sauce and chicken in the baking dish.

Pour the remaining Alfredo sauce over the chicken.

Pour remaining sauce over the top.

Pour remaining sauce over the top.

4.  Bake at 350*F for 30 minutes.  If using chicken with bone -like thighs-, bake  until cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Bake till chicken is browned and tender.

Bake till chicken is browned and tender.

Serve with a green vegetable or a salad, and garlic bread sticks.

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SOURCE:   My Casserole Connection

Poached Pears

Poached Pears

Poached Pears

Necessity is the mother of invention.  You’ve heard that saying before haven’t you?

Well, in my refrigerator were four pears that had gotten quite ripe while I was away, and it was necessary that I find a way to use them up.  I had read an article some time ago about poaching pears in red wine, and thought at the time that they were very pretty because they became tinted pink.  Not having any red wine readily available, I “invented” this recipe for poached pears using cranberry ginger ale.  Since orange is also a good match-up with cranberry,  I added some orange slices and threw in some whole cloves.  The results, as you can see, were tender pears, tinted a nice pink, and further flavored by the orange and cloves.   And the best part?   There’s no sugar in this recipe.  I just relied on the sweetness of the ginger ale and the pears themselves to carry the dish.

After being cooked they are a lovely pink color.

After being cooked they are a lovely pink color.

This is an easy-peasy dessert.  It can be served warm or chilled.  Mr. D. loved these pears, and I must say that I find them pretty darn good too.  If your New Year’s resolution has something to do with weight loss or eating less sugar, these pears are for you!!

This is everything you will need.

This is everything you will need.

POACHED PEARS

Yield:   4 -6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium pears, ripe, but not too soft.  I used Anjou pears
  • 1 orange
  • several whole cloves,  about 6
  • a bottle cranberry ginger ale, or cranberry juice

Directions:

1.   Peel and core the pears.  Cut each one into eighths.  Place into a medium-size sauce pan.

2.  Slice 3-4 slices from the orange, and cut each one in half.   Juice the rest of the orange and add the juice to the pan with the fruit.

Cut-up pears, orange slices and cloves in the saucepan.

Cut-up pears, orange slices and cloves in the saucepan.

3.  Add the cloves to the pan with the fruit.

4.  Pour in the ginger ale just to the point where the pears are not quite covered.   Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the pears are tender when pierced with a knife.  This took about 15 minutes.

5.   Drain the pears reserving the juice, but removing the cloves and orange slices.  Cool and serve pears with some of the juice.

Serve warm or chilled for a low calorie dessert.

Serve warm or chilled for a low calorie dessert.

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

Gnocchi with Bacon and Tomatoes

Gnocchi with Bacon and Tomatoes.

Gnocchi with Bacon and Tomatoes.

With this recipe I would like to introduce you to gnocchi- light and tender potato dumplings-a Northern Italian classic.  They can be made “from scratch” at home or purchased in a shrink wrapped package from the super market especially one with a large Italian imported foods department.  Those are the ones that I use most of the time, as making them myself can be somewhat time consuming.

Prepackaged gnocchi from the supermarket.

Prepackaged gnocchi from the supermarket.

Gnocchi can be used in a variety of ways.  The simplest is to cook them and serve with melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese on them.  Another way would be to serve with any type of spaghetti sauce  that you would normally use with pasta.  This recipe features the gnocchi with crisp bacon, fresh tomatoes, and lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Served with a side salad, this makes a very filling and satisfying meal.

GNOCCHI WITH BACON AND TOMATOES

Yield:   Serves  4

Ingredients:

Light little potato dumplings.

Light little potato dumplings.

  • 5 slices thin cut bacon
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced medium
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • coarse salt and black pepper
  • 1/2  (1-pound) package gnocchi
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • shaved Parmesan for topping

Directions:

1.  In a large skillet, cook the 5 slices of bacon over medium-high heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels;  pour out all but 2 teaspoons fat from the skillet.

Bacon crisped, tomatoes, onions and garlic chopped and pan ready.

Bacon crisped, tomatoes, onions and garlic chopped and pan ready.

2.  Meanwhile bring a pot of water to boil and cook the gnocchi as package directs.  Drain and keep warm.

3.  To the fat remaining in the skillet, add the onions and garlic.  Sautee lightly just to soften.  Add tomatoes, basil and red pepper flakes;  season with coarse salt and ground pepper.  Cook until tomatoes begin to break down and sauce is chunky, about 6 minutes.

Saute onions and garlic, then add tomatoes.

Saute onions and garlic, then add tomatoes.

4.  Add the cooked gnocchi and the bacon broken into pieces.

Once gnocchi are cooked, add to sauce with bacon.

Once gnocchi are cooked, add to sauce with bacon.

Toss until gnocchi are heated through and coated with sauce. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and shaved Parmesan and serve immediately.

Sprinkle with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

Sprinkle with parsley and grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

SOURCE:   Everyday Food,  Martha Stewart

Fruited Baked French Toast

Fruited Baked French Toast

Fruited Baked French Toast

Even though I already have several recipes  for  baked french toast here on the blog, I just had to include this one too. It is a little out of the ordinary because it includes fruit(s), and I had never encountered a recipe like it before.  Thanks to my daughter, who we visited over the Christmas holidays, we had this for breakfast on Christmas morning.  Everyone agreed it was just delicious.  Some of us liked it with a little (read, a lot of) maple syrup on it, others thought it was just right without any added sweetener on it.  What I particularly liked was the “tang” from the berries that you get in every bite.  And the cinnamon crumb topping on it is an added bonus.  This is definitely a recipe you will want to save and make again and again whether it be for guests or a special weekend breakfast.

As I’ve said before, this type of breakfast casserole is perfect for a late breakfast or brunch when you are entertaining, because you can make as much or as little as you need.  Slice up the bread the evening before and soak it overnight in the egg/milk mixture.  Then in the morning, make up the crumb mixture, sprinkle on the berries and the crumb topping and bake until golden brown.  Pretty simple to make really, and awesomely good.  This one just became my new favorite recipe for baked french toast.

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FRUITED BAKED FRENCH TOAST

Yield:    8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 small loaf day-old French bread (8-9 oz.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries ( We used mixed berries, and cut the larger pieces in half.)

Directions:

1.  Grease 13″ x 9″ baking dish.  Slice the bread diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices. Pack them tightly into the baking dish.

Cut up bread and fit tightly into the baking dish.

Cut up bread and fit tightly into the baking dish.

2.  In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Whisk in the milk until well blended.  Pour this mixture over the bread in the baking dish, turning over the slices to saturate well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3.  Heat oven to 375*F.  In a small bowl combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Measure out topping ingredients.

Measure out topping ingredients.

Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs….

Cutting in the butter.

Cutting in the butter.

4.  Turn bread slices over in the baking dish.  Scatter berries over the bread and sprinkle with the crumb mixture.  Bake about 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprinkle fruit, then crumbs over the bread/egg mixture.

Sprinkle fruit, then crumbs over the bread/egg mixture.

Browning up in the oven.

Browning up in the oven.

5.  Before serving, cut into squares and serve with syrup.

This is so delicious.  :D

This is so delicious. 😀

SOURCE:   Unknown.

Smoked Soy-Glazed Flank Steak

Real barbecue is bragging food.  Maybe it’s the great smoky flavor or maybe it’s the praise of the eaters, but somehow all pit masters develop into natural boasters.  They learn to tell tall tales, wear odd clothes, act in wacky ways, and otherwise promote themselves as magicians of meat.

When asked about their secrets, they often dance around their answer, hinting at mysterious ingredients in their own special dry rub, marinade or sauce.  It’s all part of the fun of barbecue, but beginners shouldn’t be deceived about the main secrets of success.  As long as you know your equipment and understand some barbecue basics you’re well on your way to becoming a master barbecuer.  For the newcomer to smoker cooking its important to get yourself a good cookbook on the subject.  One that describes the different types of smokers and the other equipment you would need to get started.  Having some basic recipes for rubs, marinades, and sauces is also a good place to start, then you can begin to modify a recipe to make it your own.

While visiting in North Carolina over the holidays, I was fortunate to experience this succulent flank steak that was marinated over night and then cooked in a smoker with Jack Daniels-flavored wood chips to produce the smoke and flavor.  Tender and flavorful don’t begin to describe the texture and flavor of meat that has been slow cooked in a smoker.  You must experience this for yourself to appreciate how great it was.

Smoked Soy-Glazed Flank Steak

Smoked Soy-Glazed Flank Steak

SOY MARINADE AND GLAZE

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce, preferably low sodium
  • 1/3 cup hot pepper sauce
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar, or more to taste
  • 1  1/2 Tablespoons oil, preferably sesame
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 flank steaks, about 2 1/2 pounds total

Directions:

1.  The night before you plan to barbecue, combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl or lidded jar.  Whisk or shake to combine.  Place the flank steaks in a plastic bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over them.  Refrigerate the steaks overnight.

2.  Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200*F. to 220*F.

3.  Remove the steaks from the refrigerator.  Drain them and reserve the marinade.  Let the steaks sit at room temperature for 25 minutes.**

4.  In a heavy saucepan, bring the marinade to a boil and boil it for 5 to 10 minutes, until reduced by one-third.  Keep the mixture warm for glazing the meat.

5.  Brush the glaze over the steaks and transfer them to the smoker.  Brush the steaks with the glaze again after about 25 minutes.  Cook for a total of 45 to 55 minutes, until the meat is rare to medium-rare.

A view into the smoker.

A view into the smoker.

6.  Let the steaks rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain.  Serve the slices with additional glaze on the top or on the side.

Just removed from the smoker.

Just removed from the smoker.

**Allowing the food to come to cool room temperature before barbecuing promotes quick and even cooking, and with meat, fowl, and fish it reduces the chance that a cool center will harbor bacteria.

The flavor of this steak was deep throughout the meat, not just on the surface.  The smoky flavor from the wood chips penetrates evenly through the meat.  Some of us like our steak med-rare, others like theirs rare.  Using a meat thermometer helped to know the level of doneness, and when it was sliced it was perfectly cooked.  We all got slices that were cooked just the way we like it.

Perfectly cooked at medium rare.

Perfectly cooked at medium rare.

Having meat prepared this way was a special treat for me, as I’ve only had meat prepared this way only once or twice before.

It looks so good!

It looks so good!

Photography done in someone else’s home doesn’t always produce the same quality picture as what I can achieve at my home because of the difference in lighting.  However I hope you got a good idea of what this meat looked like.  So sorry you couldn’t taste it also 😀

SOURCE:  Smoke and Spice, by Cheryl and Bill Jamison