Category: grill

Grilled Chicken with Chimichurri Sauce

I love supermarkets. They are my inspiration, at least for regular food shopping. I just don’t think I’ll ever be a digital food shopper who logs in the order, or lets the fridge do so, and sends a driver-less car to pick them up. Tonight’s inspiration was chimichurri.

It sat gracefully poised in a beautiful jar on a shelf in the middle of the condiment aisle, gleaming with its bright green color. I paused and wondered, why would anyone buy this in a packaged, processed state when you just need to mix up fresh parsley and cilantro with some oil? The metaphorical dinner bell clanged and I had dinner plans: grilled chicken with chimichurri sauce.Chimichurri sauce in serving dish

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • Avocado oil
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Salt
  • Parsley
  • Cilanto
  • More avocado oil
  • Kosher salt
  • One vine tomato
  • Two cloves of garlic

Trim chicken and place in large plastic, zippered storage bag with lemon juice, about a quarter-cup of avocado oil and a liberal amount of seasoning. I actually spilled Cajun seasoning into the marinade bag and that worked out fine. Tightly close bag seal and place in fridge. Marinade at least a half-hour.

For the chimichurri sauce, place the following in a food processor or hand-crank salsa maker:

Making chimichurri sauce in a food processor.Rip off a handful or two of parsley and cilantro (each)

  • Drizzle in a lot of oil
  • Shake on some salt
  • Add tomato quarters
  • Thinly slice garlic and place in the mixing bowl

Let it spin! If you live in Texas, you might just have a hand-crank salsa maker like mine. I got mine at either a home & garden or a hunting show at the Reliant Center in Houston. I always get the coolest gadgets at these events.

Place your chimichurri in a bowl or keep in the processing bowl and put in fridge while the chicken cooks. Light your outdoor grill; use a propane gas grill to maintain an even temperature. Grill chicken for approximately 20 minutes to a half-hour at about 350 degrees. Because of the oil, it will take a bit for the meat to brown, but rest assured it is cooking on the inside. My boyfriend also had to take pains not to accidentally cook a lizard that normally lives in the grill but was temporarily evicted during the dinner preparation. Once done, bring to table on platter and serve sauce in separate dish with serving spoon.Grilled chicken on platter

You can serve this with a variety of sides. We had leftover risotto and I freshly made sautéed vegetables: mushrooms with chopped red pepper and asparagus (all cooked together in a covered non-stick pot).

The moral of the story: do not buy anything in a jar you can easily make yourself.

Cheers!

The Sage Leopard

 

Venison & Beef Burgers

This biog often extols the virtues of venison as a lean, healthy meat, but there’s one thing it cannot do alone: be a burger.

Venison-beef burgers

Venison-beef burgers

For that, you need to blend the ground venison with another meat. I have previously tried to bind ground venison into burgers using beaten eggs, but they fell apart while cooking.

Someone already took a bite of this burger

Someone already took a bite of this burger

For our first foray into mixing ground venison, we opted for ground beef chuck with a 85/15 ratio for added fat. As for the amounts of each meat, I just used 1 pound venison to 1 pound chuck. In a large mixing bowl, I combined the meats with a single beaten egg, 2 tablespoons truffle oil, a sprinkle of dried thyme and a combination of garlic salt, onion salt, Cajun seasoning and black pepper. I had wanted to add Worcestershire sauce, but did not realize it was hiding in the refrigerator.

Set aside burger toppings

Set aside burger toppings

venison beef burgers

Seasoned burger patties before grilling

To make the blending easier, whisk the egg separately, then pour over ground meat. Mix everything together with your hands. Form patties and place them on a casserole dish. Disclaimer: I cannot tell you exactly how my boyfriend grilled them to perfection because this task was performed outside while I prepared a green bean salad. As for the green bean salad, this is a classic cold salad with red wine vinegar. Trim the ends of your green beans and cook them, either by steaming in a pot or nuking them. I did the latter, and followed the instructions on the bag for the beans. You want them to be cooked, but retaining a little crisp bite. While the beans are cooking, peel and dice 2-4 cloves of garlic.

green bean salad

Getting ready to add garlic and vinegar

Once the beans are done, placed them in a covered dish with the garlic and an ample dousing of vinegar. Keep covered in fridge. This green bean salad can last for days and only gets better on day 2 and 3. Another complementary side for burgers is a classic: pasta salad. This is buttermilk bowtie pasta black bean salad offers a nice tang and is supremely simple to make.

INGREDIENTS
Half a box of mini bowtie pasta
1 can Bush’s black beans
Half a large red bell pepper
3-4 green onions
Huge handful fresh cilantro
One lemon, two limes
Cup of buttermilk
Couple tablespoons mayo
Heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
Cajun seasoning, fresh ground black pepper and pink salt

If you don't like cilantro, use parsley instead

If you don’t like cilantro, use parsley instead

Cook pasta according to box directions. Chop pepper, green onion and cilantro. Then, mix buttermilk, mayo, mustard and citrus juices and set aside. Drain cooked pasta and place bowties back in pasta pot. Drain black beans in the same colander. Put everything in the pot and stir. Season to taste.

What is best about this style of cooking, besides the amazing flavors, is how relaxing it is to prepare. After dinner, we can curl up on the couch and watch the dog watch for possums. The possums walk (or run) atop the back fence almost every night, providing entertainment for The Sage Leopard.

The Sage Leopard awaits a possum crossing

The Sage Leopard awaits a possum crossing

After all, he needed a distraction from the wafting scent of venison-beef burgers. Please enjoy the recipe and your evenings too.

Cheers,

The Sage Leopard

 

Salmon, shrimp & Mexican corn

Summertime means grilling and that’s not negotiable. You can pull together a gourmet meal in short order. Fish is an excellent and traditional choice for a Friday night dinner. Your local grocery store may even stock fresh fish for Friday dinners. Pick out what simply looks good and is reasonably priced. Salmon is often the best choice. For this blog’s recent meal, we enjoyed salmon and Gulf shrimp with grilled corn and steamed cauliflower (cooked in the microwave). We live near the Texas Gulf Coast so fresh Gulf shrimp is always an option.

salmon

Grilled salmon, shrimp and corn

For the sides, my man had suggested cooking the corn in the microwave but I insisted we grill the ears for a nice char. While he worked the corn on the grill, I made the dressing for it: a heaping tablespoon of mayonnaise and the freshly squeezed juice of two limes. Sprinkle into that mixture some chili power and a little cayenne pepper. When it came time to put dinner on the table, I used a silicone brush to spread the dressing over the corn. Finally, it was sprinkled with shredded Manchego cheese and freshly chopped cilantro.

cilantro

Set aside fresh chopped cilantro and shredded Mexican cheese while the corn is grilling

This was served with two other sides: cauliflower and leftover cucumber salad (which tastes better on the second day). For the cauliflower, I cut off the florets and places them in a small casserole dish. I sprinkled it with garden dill spice rub and drizzled on a little olive oil. That cooked in the microwave on our machine’s setting for cooking vegetables.

grill corn

grill corn

That’s all the cauliflower needed. In no time, I had corn, cauliflower and cucumber salad on the table. While I worked the vegetables, my boyfriend grilled wild salmon as well as fresh local Gulf of Mexico shrimp. Before setting on the grill, he sprinkled on his spices (secret ingredients) and brushed on melted butter to keep the seafood moist while it cooks. This meal was fresh while satisfying but not overfilling. The corn and cilantro with the lime-mayo dressing was refreshingly zesty. Best of all, the fresh salmon and Gulf shrimp were delicious. Although casual, this dinner also felt elegant in is simplicity. Pair with a white wine and enjoy your weekend!

Cheers,

The Sage Leopard