Posts Tagged ‘agave nectar’


A common question I get is “Where in the world do you come up with this stuff?”. There really isn’t a method to this madness. It just happens. Sometimes tasty dishes kinda come out of nowhere. I like to do things spur of the moment perform better when I’m rushed. This particular evening I lost track of time before the family got home from school/work and I knew if something wasn’t cooked by the time the Mrs. got home, there was a pretty good chance I’d be in trouble. I remembered we had some Colossal shrimp in the freezer. Hmmm… As I walked up the stairs I noticed a bottle of Southern Comfort sitting on the bar in the basement. “Hey SoCo! Do you want some shrimp today too? Come on! we’re in a hurry!”
Upstairs in the fridge, SoCo and I find some bacon. “Well that makes everything better doesn’t it?”. SoCo didn’t say anything back, I took it to mean he was too overly excited with the thought of bacon on some shrimp. Now we need something to “hold” the seasoning. Since honey is our normal staple, decided to go with the dark agave nectar and switch it up this time. If you’ve read some of the past shrimp/lobster posts, they normally use a heated sauce I brush on while grilling. This time we’re letting it soak, no brush. (All SoCo’s suggestion)

Colossal Shrimp peeled and deveined
Agave nectar (or honey (or maple syrup if you’re short on the first 2 options))
Garlic Powder
Old Bay seasoning (or if you’re in the deep south area try Swamp Fire)
Southern Comfort
Bacon (a half strip for each shrimp)
Toothpicks
DisAronno Amaretto in a spray water bottle (this is extra credit, I pulled this out at the last minute as I walked outside)

Get your grill started and ready for direct grilling.
Place your shrimp in a bowl and (I’m sorry I really didn’t measure this at all, I was in a rush remember?) pour on some Southern Comfort and Agave nectar. Enough to let the shrimp sit in it but not be covered. See the pics in the slideshow below for an idea. Definitely use more Southern Comfort than the Agave nectar, as too much “sugar” will burn when cooking. Toss the shrimp, mix it up, get the juices all in the shrimp. Generously add garlic powder and Old Bay and toss again. I say generously add because a lot of the seasoning will come off into the liquid. Wrap each shrimp with bacon, hold in place with a toothpick on each end, and return to the Southern Comfort Agave nectar bowl.

Brush the hot grates with a napkin dipped in olive oil, (or if you have time and feeling funky fresh, cut an onion in half, and dip that in olive oil and brush the grates with it). Place the shrimp on the grill and cover. Let grill for about 4-5 minutes. Turn the shrimp (if you are using the amaretto, spray each shrimp before turning. note that amaretto is flammable and will cause a flare up but it should be real short lived). Cover and let cook another 5 or so minutes. Spray with amaretto again and turn if needed until bacon looks done to your liking.

ENJOY!

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Always trying  to outdo previous years, I decided to experiment this Valentines day with a new lobster dish. I will try my best to go with the measurements since this was a game time decision attempt at grilling excellence.

4 Lobster Tails (Shelled with meat carefully removed and cleaned)
4 Strips of your favorite bacon
Garlic Powder
Old Bay seasoning
Agave Nectar

Basting Sauce:
1 cup Southern Comfort
1/2 cup Butterscotch Schnapps
50mL of maple syrup (Grade B preferably) (one of those little small sampler jars is what I used)
A few shakes of garlic powder
Even more shakes of Old Bay
1/2 stick of butter or margarine
A couple of squeezes of a honey bottle

Heat the basting sauce ingredients in a sauce pan, letting it come to a calm boil. Pay attention to it, because depending on how much Old Bay you use, it can bubble up and over. Once all of the butter is melted and it has boiled for a couple of minutes, reduce heat and let simmer. Taste and add honey to your liking.

Season the lobster meat with the Old Bay and garlic powder. Then lightly drizzle the agave nectar over the meat. Carefully wrap each tail with bacon, securing the ends with toothpicks.

Prepare grill for direct grilling and brush hot grates with olive oil. Over medium to high heat add the lobster tail. Be ready to maneuver quickly, as this basting sauce is pretty flammable. After about a minute, start basting the the lobster tails. As the flames flare up, just gently move and rotate the lobsters. Close the grill and repeat this cycle every minute or two.

The goal is to cook until the bacon is done. Normally when I cook lobsters in the shell, they take only 10 minutes on the grill. I don’t know the science of it, but this method actually took about 20 minutes as I had to make sure the bacon was done. The bacon will take longer to cook with the constant turning, but it seems to protect the lobster and this was the juiciest lobster I have ever eaten in my entire life!

Enjoy!

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At a baby shower last weekend, my cousin Paula mentioned this strawberry and fig salmon dish and how it was incredible. Well we’re not to much on fig (not that I wouldn’t try it), but I thought we’d try our own strawberry salmon dish on the grill. Now I know normally you’re supposed to either take off the skin or just not eat it, but this recipe does something to the skin, where it just… I don’t know, I can’t describe it, it just becomes like part of the fish, you can’t even tell you’re eating it. Awesome. Also added pics of the strawberry cobbler I made for dessert too.

Ingredients:

Decent amount of strawberries, I started with 11 and then added about 6 more later on.
Water (2 cups)
Lemon juice (3 shakes)
Basting oil (3-4 second pour, LOL. I used Wegmans)
Agave nectar (3-4 second pour.  You can also use honey)
White vinegar (3 second pour)
Southern Comfort (3 second pour)
Cracked peppercorn
Sea salt (I used Trader Joes Himalayan Pink Salt Crystals)
Olive oil
Cedar wood plank
Sliced almonds

Steps:

Chop up the strawberries and move to a small sauce pan with about 2 cups of water. Turn on high heat and add the lemon juice, vinegar, basting oil, and agave nectar. Once you get it boil, reduce heat to low/med and stir with wooden spoon and every so often, mash the strawberries. As it starts to break down, taste to see if its “strawberry” enough for you. If not, cut up and add more strawberries. If it is to your liking, add the Southern Comfort, stir, and remove from heat.

Season the salmon with the sea salt and cracked pepper. Place in ziplock bag and after the strawberry marinade has cooled some, pour into bag, seal, and refrigerate overnight. Soak your cedar plank overnight in water as well.

Prepare grill for indirect grilling and while the coals are heating, toast the almonds in a small pan with a small dab of butter, and the salt and pepper used above. Toast for no more than 3 minutes, if they start getting brown, remove from the heat as they will cook further when on the grill. Using olive oil, coat the top of the cedar plank and place salmon on top, skin side down. Pour remaining strawberry marinade into a cup to use while grilling if you’d like. Drop toasted almonds on top of salmon and place on grill for indirect grilling. If you want more strawberry marinade, gently pour some on top of the salmon before closing the lid.  Grill for about 20 minutes and check for doneness. Be careful when cutting to check, as the fish will be very tender and flaky due to the overnight marination. I served this over a bed of rice but you can use whatever suits your tastebuds. Enjoy!

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I saw some cedar wraps from woot.com 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…

Shrimps:

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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