Archive for the ‘Main course’ Category

I saw some cedar wraps from on sale and thought “Man, I gotta try these”.  For those that don’t know what they are here’s a link from amazon:
Click me for cedar wraps…

Another key ingredient, agave nectar, to be used in place of syrup or honey, all natural too.
Click me for agave nectar…


Lime juice
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Agave nectar
Old bay seasoning to taste
Baby carrots sliced lengthwise
Chopped chives.

Soak cedar wrap planks in liquid for at least 20 mins, I used apple juice.  If you’re using 6X6 wraps, you’ll get about 4 shrimps per wrap.

Shell and devein a pound or more of jumbo shrimp.

Mix in bowl the cilantro, baby carrots, chopped chives, soy sauce, olive oil, a few shakes of old bay, a few squirts of lime juice, and a few squirts of agave nectar.

Add shrimp and toss, let sit for 20 mins in fridge.

Line up shrimp in the middle of wrap (make sure to include some of the marinated chives and carrots, or add any other veggies you may like), wrap and tie lightly with green onion or butcher string.

Grill indirect for 6-10 mins until shrimp looks pink.  If you want to try with fish, like tilapia or grouper, just cook about 5 mins longer.

Serve hot right on the plate and eat food out of wraps.

Peaches and pears, (wrapped): 

Two to 3 cups of peaches and pears, cut into bite sized pieces

1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite baking  liquor, i used naVan and amoretto

2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vanilla bean sugar

Flaked coconut.

Mix all ingredients except coconut in bowl and let sit for 20 mins.  Take four peaches (depending on the size) and lightly roll in coconut until covered.  Line up fruit in the cedar wrap (pre-soaked in apple juice), wrap and then tie with butcher string or clip with metal paper clip.

Repeat with pear and remaining fruit.  Grill indirect for 10-15 mins until coconut looks nice and toasted on the edges.  Serve hot on plate in wrap along with ice cream or whipped cream.

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Tried out some salmon, and I’m always looking for a new way to incorporate some flavors.  I’d heard about teriyaki & pineapple on the internet and never really tried it yet. Then one night at a party I was drinking amaretto when there was salmon served… and brain started clickin… Toya came up with the garlic and pepper, and I added the sugar and krazy salt for good measure. A few friends of mine have requested this recipe since having it at a cookout of ours (one in particular has been threatened by his wife that he must get this recipe, LOL).

A nice sized flank of salmon will do. And you will also need a cedar plank, found in most grocery stores near the seafood section or on amazon. Since the summer months are coming up, keep an eye out for to sell the planks, they are much cheaper. (They also have cedar plank wraps which I’ve grilled shimp in and I must say, I endorse).

Soak in your salmon in Disaronno Amaretto overnight. Soak your cedar plank in water also, (that’s what the instructions say, if you want to twist it up like I do, soak it in apple juice instead). Fire up the grill and with a rub down the top side of the cedar plank with a few dabs of olive oil. You don’t want it oily, just enough to make the fish slide a little. Place the salmon on the plank and season with minced garlic, Janes Krazy Salt, pepper, vanilla bean flavored cane sugar. Top the salmon with pineapple rings. Grilled covered until the edges start to turn white and the fish is flaky. It is preferred to grill this indirectly but if you have alot happening on the grill as I did in the photos below, direct grilling is fine.  The olive oil helps the fish slide off the place with out losing precious fish they may stick to the plank. Try it out for a light taste. (Its not as sweet as you guys are wondering)

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Tried out a new way of grilling shrimp. Used some Lawry’s Havana garlic and lime marinade with some shell-on butterflied colossal shrimp. It’s real simple and quick.
Click me to see the marinade!

Most of the time if you buy colossal shrimp, they are split and deveined, if not, butterfly and devein the shrimp. Wash the shrimp and place them in a large ziplock bag. Pour about 3/4th bottle of the garlic and lime marinade into the bag, shake and let marinate for at least 20 mins, but not for more than 4 hours.

Prepare grill for direct grilling and get the grates hot. Brush the grates with olive oil on a napkin (keeps the shrimp from sticking, but only do this after the grates are hot). (If you’re feeling funky, use half an onion dipped in olive oil and slide across the grates for a smooth oniony flavor)  Toss them boys face down (butterflied open) for about a minute on hot coal, let ’em sear, then flip and keep brushing them with the remaining marinade until they are slightly firm to the touch. Yeah I said touch, you gotta become one with the heat. lol.

Butterflied on the Grill

Direct Grilling

Turned over to cook

So ummmm, yeah, I ate one of them before taking them inside. Had to make sure it was “OK”.  :o)

2 part dish


Vanilla Lobster

2 fresh lobster tails, shelled, and cut into lil chunks
one sprig, or twig or whatever you call it of vanilla bean cut into 1 inch pieces (not extract, the real bean)
olive oil
fresh diced chives (or green onions, or spring onions, depending on where you’re from)
old bay seasoning

Coat medium sized pan in olive oil, on med/hi heat, add chives and vanilla and after a minute, add lobster meat and stir continuously. As you’re tossing the lobster meat you’ll see the specks of black over the lobster, these are the vanilla bean “seeds”. Once the lobster gets a lil opaque (maybe 5 minutes), add a light dusting of old bay, just to give some kick. You don’t want to over power the vanilla.


10 Large Fresh Scallops cut in half
5 pieces of peppercorn bacon cut in half
20 toothpicks

5 Way Bacon Wrapped Scallops
Simple recipe, 5 different flavors. I’ll show the main setup and then the different flavors afterwards. This can also be grilled (I know you’re shocked its not grilled this time)

Pre-Heat broiler. After flavoring the large scallops (see below) roll in bacon and then hold in place with toothpick. place in middle rack under broiler for 6 mins, turn and broil for six minutes on a broiler tray.
If bacon isn’t done, cook for a lil bit longer.

a. marinate/toss scallops in olive oil, vanilla extract, chives, pepper

b. marinate/toss scallops olive oil, honey, old bay seasoning

c. soak scallops in naVan, then roll with cane sugar (i used sugar in the raw)

d. soak scallops in Malibu coconut rum, then roll with lime-pepper seasoning

e. soak scallops butterscotch schnapps, then roll with seasalt

From left to right:
olive oil / vanilla / chives
olive oil / honey / old bay
naVan / cane sugar
Malibu / lime-pepper
Butterscotch Schnapps/ sea salt

I apologize in advance, I forgot to take pics. Please don’t hold it against me.

I actually made this up myself, just taking bits and pieces of crab chowders that I’ve enjoyed at different restaurants and adding different things that I like to it.
(feel free to sub out what you don’t like, I know everybody can’t like everything! I just added things I like, almost turned chowder into gumbo, lol)

6 servings (manly servings that is)

* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 4 fresh spring onions chopped (aka chives or green onions)
* 3 tablespoons of garlic powder
* 3 1/2 cups (1-inch) cubed red potato (about 1 pound) (skin on)
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
* 8 slices of cooked bacon, sliced into 1cm thick pieces
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 turkey smoked sausage cubed (i prefer EckRich Skinless turkey smoked sausage, its skinless)
* 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
* 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
* 8 ounces lump crabmeat (or more if you’re crabby)
* 3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning (i’m a little heavy handed on this one)


Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add onion, and garlic powder; sauté 4 minutes.
Add potato; sauté 1 minute.
Sprinkle with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Stir in milk, pepper, corn, and broth.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally.
Fry turkey in separate pan without grease until browned to your liking liking.
Stir in crab, bacon, spring onions, Old Bay, and turkey; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


I’ve always cooked fried rice several different ways. Lately I’ve tried out Thai fried rice at several different food spots and thought that I should be able to expand upon my fried rice repertoire. So I asked Nariah what kind of meat, fruit and nuts she wanted in her fried rice and she suggested turkey sausage. pineapple, and cashews, I felt we had a winner, especially since we had honey roasted cashews. Should be enough time to have dinner ready before mommy comes home from work. The ingredients will be broken down into “types” based on entry points for you to alter food to your liking. In parenthesis I’ll put the type so you can know to put different meats such as shrimp, bacon, etc… or what type of veggies. Let’s cook shall we?

Basics :
salt, pepper, garlic powder
butter, favorite cooking oil
3 eggs, 4 cups steamed rice, (regular or minute)
soy sauce

First stage : (mostly meats, nuts, and veggies that take longer to cook)
turkey sausage diced, (the kielbasa type)
celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms

Second stage : (veggies that are somewhat precooked, canned, chives (scallions), baby corn, etc…)
sweet corn

Third stage : (mostly fruits,anything that will get soggy when heated)

Lightly oil your wok or large frying pan and pre-heat medium high and dice turkey sausage (or other meats, shrimp, bacon, chicken, etc.)

When heated, add butter to the pan, and quickly stir fry the egg with salt and pepper, remove egg and place to the side in a bowl.

Add a little oil, and cook the meat(s) and mushrooms, stirring constantly.

Add carrots, celery, and onion and stir constantly.

Add honey roasted cashews, stir constantly and season to taste with  salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and set aside to large bowl or pan.

Add a little oil and then add the rice.

Add a few shakes of soy sauce, not too much as you’re using salt already. Stir.

Add corn, and stir.

Add egg, and stir.

Add meats that were put aside earlier and stir. Taste and add more seasoning to your liking.

On the last 3-5 minutes of cooking, add pineapple, and stir.

Serve and let cool, it will be very hot! Experiment with your own ingredients. For me this method ensured the level of crispness I like in my veggies. The whole cooking process should take no longer than 10-15 minutes.

So it has been awhile since I’ve made this dish and Toya made a request in the form of “You know what you haven’t made in a long time???”. And before she could even answer the question, somehow I knew she meant Shrimp a la Ryan, even though there’s plenty of other dishes I need to dust off the shelves again.  If you don’t have much time for dinner, this will definitely help as it is a quick dish. Ingredients needed are :

A pound or two of jumbo shrimp, (I used tiger shrimp from Sam’s)
Spaghetti noodles
1/3 to 1/2 bag of broccoli florets (I used frozen ones for this dish)
Green, red, orange, and yellow peppers, or any combination of your liking (chives also work well here)
Old Bay Seasoning
Cracked peppercorn
Garlic Powder
Alfredo Sauce
Malibu coconut rum

Wash your shrimp

De-vein and shell your shrimp

Cut the shrimp in halves

Start preparing your noodles, when they are halfway done, add frozen broccoli to the water and return to boil.

Cook on med-high with butter and a little olive oil until pink on bottom

Flip and cook till pink on the other side

Add peppers (these are previously chopped up fresh peppers then frozen)

The special ingredient.  Add Malibu to just “bathe” the shrimp, you don’t need to drown them.  Try to aim for a level of 1/3 the height of the shrimp

Add your seasoning here, stirring lightly. The amount depends on your personal taste.

The later in the cooking process you add the seasonings, the more likely they “stick” to the food as the alcohol forms a glue-like glaze while it cooks

When noodles are done, place noodles and broccoli on plate. With a spoon, lightly spread some Alfredo Sauce over the noodles. You don’t want to use too much here, just enough to give the noodles some “Ummph”.  I know you’re thinking Alfredo sauce and Malibu????  Trust me on this one.

Add shrimp to top of noodles and broccoli and any remaining “residuals”

Overall, this meal should take about 20 minutes or less if  you’re boiling the noodles while you’re cooking the shrimp.

Bought some sugarcane from Harris Teeter and decided to come up with some way to grill with it.  A good friend suggested pork chops and my wife added the pineapples, and viola, I’m experimenting again.  Analysis following the recipe.

pork chops cleaned and ready for injection

Seasoned with Jane’s Krazy Salt, paprika, cracked peppercorn, and garlic powder

Injected using Madhava’s Agave Nectar

Injected til they burst at the seams

Sugarcane, cut around the joint as the “meat” is really inedible there

Using a heavy knife, slice the sugarcane 4 ways

Then slice each 4th into inch long strips

Top the pork chops with pineapple and the sugarcane

Grill on med-high heat

close up grill cam

Flipping takes a little extra time, you have to remove all the pineapple and sugarcane, then flip and return the pineapple and sugarcane.

grill-cam shot of the other side

And we’re done, you just need about 5-7 mins on each side.  The pineapple is removed to show how it looks.  Translation : I actually lost the pineapple, it fell on the ground, there was a casualty.  :o(

Mmmm, juicy!

The only thing I would change in this dish, is maybe using a little more seasoning, or rather pressing/rubbing the seasoning into the meat.  outside of that, very tender.  I will definitely enjoy my leftovers as lunch tomorrow. The pineapple did overpower the sugarcane a bit. Which brought Toya to suggest phase two of the experimentation; making a marinade/brine out of pineapple juice and Disaronno Amaretto as I do with my salmon when I grill it. I definitely will be trying this! But… don’t just discard that sugarcane, chewing/sucking on the inside after it was osmosisized with the meat and seasoning on the grill was some kind of good. Even my daughter was trying to steal the sugarcane off my plate.

Its superbowl time, and my fellow chef Michele and I ready to tackle this new pizza that my coworker Sara found in her travels through the outer banks of NC (OBX).  This is a white sauced pizza (be’chamel sauce) with crab, bacon and corn.  For the sake of integrity without purpose of slander, I will keep the recipe in tune with the events which occurred during this creation.

Ingredients, (for three 8″ pizzas) :
2 1/2 cups milk
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
1 lb of crabmeat (I used backfin for this take)
Old Bay seasoning
A small bowl of melted butter with brush
pepper (cracked peppercorn pepper preferred but not necessary)
Corn (fresh cut, frozen, or canned)
16 oz mozzeralla cheese
Garlic powder
8-12 slices of bacon (brown sugar or maple preferred)
3 8″ Boli pizza crusts (or your fav brand or homemade)

Preheat oven to 450

The plan for this pizza was for Michele to do the be’chamel sauce, and I cover the rest. In my rush to the superbowl party, i did forget my pizza stone to cook the pizza on, as well as my corn.  So now we’re waiting on Michele to bring the corn and sauce.  However to means beyond her control with another baking order, she’s running late, and people are getting restless at the superbowl party for food.  Grabbing the nearest available soon-to-be-helper, we get started on this be’chamel sauce. First things first, cook the bacon, chop into half inch pieces, and drain.

Drain your crab meat and mix in a few Tbsp sugar and Old Bay to taste.  For extra credit you can cut up some chives and add here. Refrigerate Crab until ready to use.

In a sauce pan, heat the milk to just below scalding, (when you get that film on top of the milk).  While the milk is heating up, melt the butter and add flour to melted butter and cook, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes without letting it brown.  Add the milk, continue to stir, and bring to a boil as it thickens.  Lower heat and add pepper, garlic, and Old Bay.  I didn’t measure the Old Bay, just kind of shook it until it looked good. Continue stirring and remove from heat.

Brush pizza crusts with melted butter and sprinkle garlic powder to taste over the crust.
Spread be’chamel sauce evenly.
Add crab
Add bacon.  “IF”  you have corn at this time, add it here as well.  We didn’t.  :o(
(We still love you Michele! I still take some of the blame for leaving corn at my house)
Add your cheese, (the cheese in the pics is a little excessive, but all part of the learning process of making your first pizza)

Bake for 8-10 mins and enjoy!  Note a pizza stone would be awesome to use here!

Oh wait!  We have some corn now!  Made it in time for the last pizza!