How To Spice Things Up When Cooking

Large collection of metal bowls full of herbs and spices -How To Spice Things Up When CookingHerbs and spices are used to enhance the flavor of food, either it be for cooking spaghetti carbonara or baking an apple pie.

An herb or spice can be a seed, fruit, root, bark, berry, bud or leafy part of the plant. They are principally used for flavoring food among other uses. They can be used fresh or dried.

Herbs And Spices Through The Ages

It is said that by the Middle Ages, the most common spices and herbs being traded and used were black pepper, cinnamon (including the alternative cassia), cumin, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.

Herbs and spices are useful for many things, among others are medicinal uses, cosmetic or perfume production uses, and of course they are used add flavor to a meal.

By 1000 B.C. medical systems based upon herbs were found in China, Korea, and India. Also the Egyptians used herbs and spices for their embalming practices and their demand for exotic herbs and spices helped stimulate world trade.

Extracting A Spices Flavor

The flavor of an herb or spice is derived by exposing the volatile oil compounds of the seed or leafy part, that oxidize or evaporate when it comes in contact with air.

As an example, fresh ginger is usually more flavorful than its dried form, but fresh spices are more expensive and have a much shorter shelf life.

Flavor of herbs and spices can be maximized by storing them whole and grinding when needed, as grinding greatly increases its surface area and so increases the rates of oxidation and evaporation.

If you decide to use dried spices, be sure to use them within 6 to 8 months of purchase. Ground spices are better stored away from light, as it also increases the oxidation of the volatile oils.

metal bowls filled with spices

How To Use Herbs And Spices

When using herbs and spices you’ll want to pick flavors that complement each other, such as the spice mix known as “pumpkin pie spice.” The ratios of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg add great flavor to the pie, and each spice doesn’t over power the other.

The key or rule of thumb to spicing things up is that less is more. Avoid adding too much all at once. Instead, add a little at a time and add more to taste.

A good example of over spicing and unable to fix it, is when you use oregano or cloves. Their volital oils are great for flavoring culinary and pastry dishes, but they are strong in flavor, and only require a small amount.

When using spices to flavor your meat or vegetables, use only 3 different types at a time. You can even use herbs and spice to replace salt. Choose your spice or spices, add a little lemon juice and unsalted butter.

Which spices pair well together for the best culinary dishes you can make? Let’s examine some of the most commonly used spices and which spices pair well with them.

National Meatball Day

raw meatballs on a cutting board with vegetables and herbs on wooden rustic background - National Meatball DayCloudy with a Chance of MeatballsWho remembers the movie – Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs? We personally seen the movie, as we enjoy movies with a twist of culinary action in it (other greats: No Reservations).

A meatball is a small or large ball of ground meat, especially beef, often mixed with other ingredients of choice, like breadcrumbs, eggs, and seasonings

The preparing of meatballs is an individual’s expression of culinary creativity. Everyone who loves cooking has a different meatball recipe. 

There is no rule to cooking meatballs, as they are cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce.

The meatball dates back all the way to between 221 BC to 207 BC in China, with their culinary – Four Joy Meatballs.

Yes, there really is true love for a meatballs. How so? Just look at the different ways of taking ground beef (or meat of choice) and preparing them into little balls.

This list is not complete, but there are many meatball recipes out there.

Do you question the hedgehog meatballs? Well, it really isn’t hedgehog, but as Anglea Day Kitchen says, “This recipe is so called, because when cooked, the rice sticks out, making them look like hedgehogs.”

Hedgehog Meatballsceramic baking dish with Hedgehog Meatballs

2 1/4 pounds ground beef (can also use chicken, turkey, lamb, or pork)

3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice

1 onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

salt and pepper

Sauce:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 40 ounce can of chopped tomatoes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

salt and pepper

pinch of sugar

Combine the ingredients for the meatballs and mix well. Shape into balls about the size of a golf ball. Prepare sauce, and place meatballs into an ovenproof baking dish, then pour sauce over the meatballs.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

SAUCE:
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, herbs, seasoning and sugar.
Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pour into a blender or food processor, and puree to a smooth sauce.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs.

Meatballs Are Not Only For Spaghetti

Spaghetti with meatballs is not an authentic Italian dish. As is bowls of olive oil set out for for dunking bread at Italian restaurants (USA), so is spaghetti served with a red sauce and topped with meatballs, both an American creation. The pasta recipe may have made its appearance in New York or New Jersey (USA) in the late 19th century.

Sue, owner and writer of “The View From Great Island” says, I love meatballs.  They’re like little soldiers, all lined up, just waiting to be of service…” She even like’s these little bite sized Bourbon Meatballs which are drenched in apricot chili bourbon sauce, and she says, “They’re perfect for the cocktail hour.”

Bourbon Meatballs on a small white plate with dipping sauce

Image credit: The View From Great Island

3/4 pound ground beef

3/4 pound ground pork

1/2 cup  Ritz Cracker, finely crushed into crumbs (you can opt for plain bread crumbs)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

lots of fresh cracked pepper

1 egg

2 tablespoon olive oil

Bourbon Sauce

1 jar apricot preserves

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoon hot chili sauce

1/2 cup bourbon

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

1/4 cup water

Set oven to 350F

Put the above ingredients, except the olive oil, in a large mixing bowl, breaking up the meat as you put it in. Mix together, using the tips of your fingers to gently combine everything without compacting the meat. Form into small 1 inch balls.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs, working in batches. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until cooked through, about 160 degrees.

Place cooked meatballs into the sauce, and let heat through until ready to serve. Serve on a plate with toothpicks, a drizzle of sauce, and lots of napkins. Serve a bowl of sauce on the side for extra dipping.

To make the sauce, combine all the sauce ingredients in a skillet and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes until thick.

Sue even makes Herbed Meatballs and says, “You can eat these meatballs on pasta, on a split French roll with sauce and melted mozzarella, or all by themselves in a little bowl.”

Yes, meatballs are not just for topping a plate of spaghetti any more.

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball SoupOrange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup

1 lb. ground pork

2 green onions

3 clove garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch) peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped

4-5 teaspoons of orange zest

4 cups vegetable broth

8 oz. snow peas, cut into thirds at an angle

1 cup of cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked black beans

Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler on high. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a medium bowl, combine pork, green onions, garlic, ginger, orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper (both optional). Form pork mixture into bite-size meatballs (about 1 inch each).  Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Broil 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.

Meanwhile, in covered 5-quart sauce pot, heat broth to simmering on high. Once the broth is simmering, add snow peas, rice, beans and cooked meatballs. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and snow peas are tender.

There’s even a – Meatball Stuffed Baked Potato – recipe found here at Homemade By Elle.

Enjoy some meatballs however you choose, this day – National Meatball Day!!

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The Have To Know Food Preparation Techniques

college of hands of chefs in the process of cooking Sometimes preparing food to either cook or bake can seem like a tedious job. Yes a job which takes up far too much time that you just don’t have.

But there are ways to save time with your food prep so you can spend more time doing other things you like or want to get done. Check out these creative food preparation techniques to help you save time in the kitchen.

Peeling Garlic Cloves

Image GIF Credit: America Cooks For Health

Peeling Garlic Cloves – Lay the clove on the cutting board and place the side of your knife over the garlic.

Place the knife on the garlic clove and with the palm of your hand push lightly over the glove, and the papery skin will peel fight off.

Need to peel multiple garlic cloves? Hit the head of the garlic with the palm of your hand, and then put all the cloves in a large jar.

Place the lid on tightly and shake vigorously. Remove lid, and pour garlic cloves and paper skin into a large bowl. You’ll have these cloves peeled in less than ten seconds.

How To Soften Frozen Butter Fast – You know putting the frozen butter in the microwave can often end up melting instead of softening. You can never get it quite right. So instead, take a cheese grater to the frozen butter and shred it. It will be softened before you know it.

Peeling Pearl Onions – These little devils can be a royal pain to peel. Well, not anymore. Chop off the tip of the onion – the end opposite the root end.

Cook in boiling water for two minutes and drain. When they’re cool enough to touch, simply squeeze each one at the root end, and they’ll slip right out. Chop off the remaining roots, and you’re done.

Shucking Ears Of CornCorn on the cob is the perfect summer side dish, but preparing it can be a shucking mess. No longer do you have to sit there and peel ears of corn and pull off every little hairy strand.

Some individuals do, but if you don’t have any concerns using a microwave, than put two ears of corn in with the husks still on and microwave for 8 minutes – that’s 4 minutes for each ear of corn place into the microwave. Remove with a pot holder, cut off the end without the stringy parts, then simply squeeze the ear of corn right out of its husk, silky pieces and all.

Removing Tough Stems – You don’t even need a knife to separate those tough stems from vegetables like kale, collard greens, and chard. With one hand, hold a leaf at the bottom by the thickest part of the stem. Use your other hand to gently pinch the leaf with your index finger and thumb, and then pull it up and off along the stem.

Removing An Avocado Pit – Slice your avocado in half, lengthwise. Take your knife and chop into the exposed pit, then twist and pull. Out comes the pit. Watch your fingers when you remove the pit from the blade of the knife. Now you can scoop out all of the yummy avocado goodness.

How To Peel A Hard Boiled Egg – Soft boil the eggs for about 12 minutes (or until eggs are hard boiled) with about two inches of water above the eggs and one teaspoon of baking soda.

How to cool boiled eggsRemove eggs from water. While still warm, give one end of the egg a tap on the counter and remove the shell pieces from the tip. Repeat with the other end of the egg.

Now cup your hands with the egg, raise your cupped hands with the egg to your mouth and blow. The egg falls right out of the shell! No peeling necessary.

Be sure to get your hard boiled eggs into cold water right away. If not you will have some issues as demonstrated here in the image to your right.

Peeling A Potato – Simply cut the peel lengthwise with a knife, all around the potato. Put in a pot of boiling water and boil until it’s soft inside. Then immediately remove from the water into ice water. Allow to soak in the ice water for 10 seconds and remove. Rub between your hands and the peel falls right off.

a womans hand squeezing a lemonHow To Get All Of The Juice Out Of Citrus Fruits – No need to purchase expensive juicing tools. Get all of the juice out with a simple pair of tongs.

Cut the fruit in half, place between tongs over a bowl or pitcher with the cut half down, and squeeze. You’ll be amazed at how much juice you have been missing from your fruit.

You can also place the palm of your hand over the citrus fruit while rolling it back and forth over the kitchen counter-top. Cut the fruit in half and see all the juice squeezed from it.

How To Peel A Kiwi – Slice both ends off the kiwi. Put a tablespoon between the flesh of the fruit and the skin and move the spoon all around the kiwi. This will ease the kiwi right out of its peel.

Fishing Out Egg Shells – We’ve all accidentally dropped a small fragment of egg shell in the mixing bowl from time to time. You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to fish this minuscule piece of shell out of the yolk, but it can be one of the most frustrating moments of cooking when it happens.

Simply wet the tip of your finger with water and lightly place your finger over the egg shell, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly that piece of shell will stick right to your finger.

cutting round vegetables Cutting Round Vegetables – Nothing can be more frustrating like chasing down that carrot, or potato to chop it up.

Next time you have to cut a round vegetable, cut a thin slice along the length of the vegetable to create a flat side, turn it cut-side down on the cutting board and slice away.

When you get to the point where it starts to roll again, flip it onto the flat side from your last cut and continue to slice.

Separate Egg Yolks From Egg Whites – This might not be a time saver, but it’s a fun way to separate an egg. Crack an egg into a bowl. Gently squeeze an empty plastic water bottle and hold it over the egg yolk. It should suck up just the egg yolk, allowing you to transfer it to another bowl.

Prevent A Pot From Boiling Over – They say a watched pot never boils, but if you don’t watch it then you have a mess on your hands. So to keep that pot from boiling over. Simply place a wooden spoon over the top of the pot. Any spoon will do really, but a wooden spoon won’t get scalding hot.

These are just a few food preparation tips we have used. There are many more. Tell us, what are some of your  Food Preparation Techniques?

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Pork – That’s What’s For Breakfast Lunch And Dinner

Pork - That's What's For Breakfast Lunch And DinnerThe Washington Post wrote an article in October of 2014 about the Tudor Place that housed 6 generations from 1816 to 1983.

Tudor Place became one of the first 70 U.S. properties designated a “National Historic Landmark” in 1960, when the designation was created.

Tudor Place

Image Credit: City Profile

Tudor Place in Georgetown Heights (Washington D.C.) was built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Curtis Peter and her husband.

Residents of Tudor Place had a small smoke-house that all 6 generations relied on to smoke their meats.

Can you guess what meat they smoked most often, and ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? If you guessed “Pork,” you guessed correctly.

When touring the residence, you are able to see displayed, a cookbook that served 6 generations providing the kitchen cooks with recipes that only included pork as the main ingredient.

The Washington Post wrote stating that communications officer for Tudor Place, Mandy Katz says that pork was on the dinning table 3 times a day.

Smokehouse at Tuder Place

Preservation Manager Jessica Zullinger and staff tour newly restored Smokehouse – Image Credit: tuderplace.org

The small smoke-house we made mention of was never on the tour of Tudor Place. But it was renovated and became part of the tour on the 23rd of October 2014.

The newly added structure to the Tudor Place tour was celebrated with, yes you guessed – pork. Little smokies and pulled pork sliders to be exact.

This year, 2016 is Tudor Place Bicentennial. You can read and learn more about Tudor Place by linking here: Tudor Place – America’s Story Lives Here.

Our featured recipes include pork, and they are…

  1. Smoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale Hash
  2. Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup
  3. Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops with Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots

Smoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale HashSmoked Bacon Golden Beets and Kale Hash

2 strips of smoked bacon per serving, cut into 1-inch slices

1 medium golden beet, shredded

1/2 cup kale, remove leafy parts from steam, leaves torn bite size

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until just done. Next add beets, stir in, and cook 1 minute more. Add kale and stir in just until wilted. Plate and serve.

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup

1 lb. ground pork

2 green onions

Orange Ginger Pork Meatball Soup3 clove garlic, minced

1 piece (1-inch) peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped

4-5 teaspoons of orange zest

4 cups vegetable broth

8 oz. snow peas, cut into thirds at an angle

1 cup of cooked brown rice

1 cup cooked black beans

Arrange oven rack 6 inches from broiler heat source. Preheat broiler on high. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

In a medium bowl, combine pork, green onions, garlic, ginger, orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon each of Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper (both optional). Form pork mixture into bite-size meatballs (about 1 inch each).  Arrange in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Broil 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned.

Meanwhile, in covered 5-quart sauce pot, heat broth to simmering on high. Once the broth is simmering, add snow peas, rice, beans and cooked meatballs. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through and snow peas are tender.

Stuffed And Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops With Brown Sugar And Spice Glazed Carrots

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Stuffed and Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Chops with Brown Sugar and Spice Glazed Carrots1 teaspoon dried thyme

3/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic

1/4 cup butter, milted

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)

1 pound pork loin chops, thin cut

8 slices smoked bacon

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 pound carrots, sliced down the middle and cut into 2 inch slices

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Mix sugar and spices in a small bowl and set aside.

Spread some cream cheese on one side of chops. Sprinkle on some sugar-spice mix. Roll chops and wrap with one slice of bacon. Use a tooth pick or two to hold in place.

Arrange prepared chops into a 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish.

Next add melted butter to sugar-spice mix, and incorporate.  Add cut carrots to a 13 X 9 glass baking dish and mix in sugar-spice.

Roast both prepared baking dishes for 30 minutes, or until pork is cook.

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Cast Iron Seared and Broiled Salmon With Fruit And Herb Salsa

Cast Iron Seared and Baked Salmon with Fruit and Herb Salsa

The website Yummly boasts over 493 different pan seared salmon recipes, and we have one for you that you are sure to enjoy.

We pan seared and broiled salmon steaks in a cast iron skillet. The exciting thing about that for us was, the cast iron skillet we used is black enamel coated, so there is no seasoning or special care needed, as there is with a traditional cast iron pot or skillet.

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Read More: How to Care for Your Cast Iron Cookware

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The Science of Cooking explains the purpose of searing meat, noting the process is called  the “Maillard Reaction,” and is not to be confused with “Caramelization.”

When searing meat, hundreds of different flavor compounds are created. When heated, these compounds break down to form new flavor. Each type of meat being seared has a very distinctive set of flavor compounds that are formed during the Maillard reaction.

The important thing about the Maillard reaction isn’t the color—, it’s the flavors and aromas.

The Modernist Cuisine explains that temperatures need to be high to bring about the Maillard reaction, but as long as the food is very wet, its temperature won’t climb above the boiling point of water.

Now for our featured recipe: – Cast Iron Seared and Broiled Salmon With Fruit And Herb Salsa – and here is what you will need.

First prepare the Fruit and Her Salsa, and refrigerate for later.

1 cup diced peaches, fresh or frozen

3/4 cup diced mango, fresh or frozen

2 mini red sweet peppers, seeded and diced

1/4 cup diced red onion

5 leaves of fresh mint, leaves chopped

1 spring thyme, leaves only, discard steams

1/4 cup Italian parsley

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

cast iron cooking with avocado oilPrepare and mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Top and refrigerate until ready to use.

Now prepare your salmon steaks. You will need the following for two servings.

2 salmon steaks, skin on

3 to 4 tablespoons avocado oil, smoke point to 500 degrees

3-4  cups Arugula

Salmon steaks in a cast iron skilletHeat oven on broil. Next, lightly drizzle avocado oil (heat safe to 500 degrees) into a cast iron oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.  Add salmon steaks to heated skillet and sear on each side for 2 minutes.

turning salmon steaksPlace skillet in pre-heated oven under the broiler for 7 to 10 minutes, turning steaks about every 3 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook. As the skillet is close to the broiler element, keep a close eye on your salmon steaks so they do not burn. We baked our salmon steaks to about 155 degrees, as you need to remember the fish continues to cook even after you remove it from the oven.

Cast Iron Seared and Baked Salmon with Fruit and Herb Salsa - close upIt is important to remove the salmon from the skillet soon after removing it from the oven. Have plates ready with arugula, and top each with a salmon steak. Next spoon some fruit and herb salsa over the salmon, and enjoy!

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Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

Your diet has a large impact on nitric oxide (N-O) production. Beets, spinach, kale and any leafy greens are rich in nitrates. As you chew these foods the good bacteria in your saliva converts the nitrates into nitrites. Once in the stomach, the digestion continues acting on the nitrites and converts them to nitric oxide, among other compounds.

The antioxidants contained in these vegetables react with the nitrogen dioxide produced by the digestion process, scavenging the oxygen molecule, to reduce it to still more nitric oxide. Once completely digested, the N-O is then absorbed through the intestinal tract and pasted into the bloodstream.

Why should all of this be of interest to you? Because nitric oxide circulates through your body helping to keep it alive.  Your heart uses it to keep pumping vital nutrients and oxygen throughout your body.

N-O is also produced in the lining of our arteries, but as we age the body does not produce as much nitric oxide. Studies show as you complete your 4th decade of life, your body is only making about half, if not less then half of what it made when you were 20.

That is why it is important to eat a variety of nitric oxide containing plants, and our featured recipe fits the bill.

Our featured recipe is: Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette, and here is what you will need.

Sweet Cilantro Lime VinaigretteWe’ll start with the vinaigrette. 

1 cup packed cilantro

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice ( 1 small lime)

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt (or sea salt)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch of minced garlic or 1/8 teaspoon of powered garlic

2 – 3 teaspoons of coconut sugar (optional)

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend or process until smooth.

Place into a jar with a tighten lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

For the salad you will need:

2 cups red kale, about 3 steams

1/3 cup beets, steam, and diced ( 1 small beet or 3 baby beets)

2 -3 tablespoons pine nuts

3 – 4 tablespoons goat cheese

Remove leaf parts of kale from steams and wash under fresh cool water. Next cut kale into smaller bite sizes portions with a pare of kitchen shears and arrange on a dinner plate.

You have the option to use canned beets (preferably organic grown), dicing the sliced beets into 1/2 inch squares. If you chose to use fresh beets, slice the beets, about 1 inch slices, and place into a steamer, until slightly soft. Remove, and cool a bit, and dice into 1/2 inch squares, making a 3rd of a cup. Arrange the beets over the kale.

Next add the pine nuts and goat cheese. Drizzle with Sweet Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, and enjoy with slices of olive bread (we used an olive bread made with olive oil and black olives, no canola oil) or your favorite bread .

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Quick and Easy BBQ Recipes The Whole Family Will Love

Quick and Easy BBQ Recipes The Whole Family Will Love

Quick and Easy BBQ Recipes The Whole Family Will Love

Just hearing the word barbecue can make one think of a social gathering about to take place, either in your backyard, in the mountains, at the beach, at a friends place, or at the park. Where there is a barbecue, there is always food served.

friends make barbecueBarbecuing is most always outdoors, and either in the late afternoon or evening, and most of the time on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Have you ever wondered about the term BBQ or barbecued? Well, this term is used in two ways, as an adjective that refers to this method of  cooking the food, and secondly used as a verb for the act of cooking the food.

Barbecuing food is cooked either using wood chips, charcoal, or propane gas, and there are many different regional variations depending where you are at in the world.

History Of Barbecuing

Most literature on the history of barbecuing points to Haiti as the origin. Some historians on barbecuing write that when the Spaniards who arrived after Columbus (who landed in North America in 1492) a few years later, found the Haitian people roasting animal meat over a raised wooden framework. The fire was built underneath, and the flames and smoke would rise and envelop the meat.

It is also written that Spanish explorers, Gonzalo Fernández De Oviedo y Valdés, were the first to use the word “barbecoa” in print in Spain in 1526. Barbecoa is the Spanish word for Barbecue in English.

As we noted earlier, barbecuing is used as a verb, and the Oxford English Dictionary cites the first recorded use of the word in the English language as a verb in 1661.

BBQ as a Sport

Barbecuing really isn’t a sport, but it is has permeated all of society and is a tradition in much of the world. There are BBQ competitions held yearsly, and almost all competition grillers use charcoal, most often in large, custom designed brick or steel grills.

Barbecue competitions are held in just about every state in the United States during the warmer months, from April through September. These competitive events feature competitions between teams of cooks and are divided into separate competitions, best BBQ pork, beef, chicken, and including the best barbecue sauces.

Here at Splendid Recipes and More, we are not competitive when it comes to barbecuing, we are just happy that the method was ever invited.

Here are some very simple and easy recipes for barbecuing beef and chicken.

The first one is -Mediterranean BBQ Chicken

basting and BBQ the chicken

To a small boil add about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and about 1/8 cup Mirin (a sweet rice cooking wine).

To the bowl add:

1/2 teaspoon himalayan salt

1 teaspoon dried minced garlic

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

Mix spices, mirin, and oil until well incorporated.

Place 1 pound of chicken breasts (about 4) onto a heated foil prepared barbecue (your choice to use wood chips, charcoal or propane).

Next bast each chicken breast with spice mixture, turn breasts and bast the other side. Turn chicken about every 6 to 8 minutes so meat cooks evenly. No need to bast continuously, as the foil protects the meat juices and spices from falling through the grill.

foil tented vegetables on a barbecue

We also have a foil tent of mixed vegetables (you can use what ever type of vegetable you like), this is a great way to utilize the heat from the barbeque without using your kitchen stove top, and possibly warming the house up on a hot day.

mixing in spices and oil

We added about 2 or 3 tablespoons of avocado oil with 1 teaspoon of garlic lemon seasoning, that we purchased at the Whole Foods Market. Cook vegetables until done.

vegetables are being kept warm while meat finishes barbecuing

If the vegetables do finish before the meat is cooked, just leave them in their foiled tent and place them into a cover dish to keep them warm.

Mediterranean BBQ Chicken and a side of Garlic Lemon Vegetables

When everything is cooked and ready to eat…

Plated Mediterranean BBQ Chicken and a side of Garlic Lemon Vegetables and a salad

just plate and enjoy.

Now for our second simple and easy barbecue recipe – BBQ Beef and Sweet Pepper Fajitas –

meat and sweet peppers prepared

Prepare 1 or 2 pounds of carne para asar or carne asada, as it is called in Spanish. It is thin (very thin, less than 1/4 inch thick) cuts of sirloin, which can be found in most meat markets or the meat section of your favorit market to shop for food. Prepare the meat by cutting away any fat, and cutting meat into 1 and half inch long strips by about 1 inch wide. Seed about 7 or 8 sweet mini peppers (use yellow, orange, and red), cut them into strips about 1/2 inch wide.

spices that can be used for making fajitas

Now for the seasoning we had two choices in our spice cupboard. A Mayan Coffee Rub, and a Caribbean Rub, both purchased at the whole foods Market. We used the Caribbean Rub, and how fitting considering the history of barbequing started in Haiti, which is in the Caribbean.

Place 1 tablespoon of Caribbean rub spices into a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup avocado oil, and a small amount of balsamic vinegar (about 1/2 teaspoon). Mix the liquids and spices together.

adding meat and peppers to oil spice mix

Next add the meat and sweet peppers and mix till well coated. Let set, and fire up the barbeque. Line a piece of tin foil to fit your grill.

Barbecuing Beef strips and Sweet Peppers

When the barbeque is heated, add the meat mixture and cook until done, turning about every 5 or 8 minutes.

BBQ Beef and Sweet Pepper Fajitas

When the meat mix is cooked remove to a platter and serve.

juices of cooked meat and peppers

Because we foil lined the grill, look at the juices that did not trip through. After placing cooked meat mixture onto a platter, pour those juices over the -BBQ Beef and Sweet Pepper Fajitas –

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