Stir Fry on the Big Green Egg

Stir Fry

 In an effort to try to eat healthier (and after seeing some really cool stir fries frys (?) that people have done on the Egg forums), last week we ordered a wok and a spider from The Ceramic Grill Store  (great guy and excellent customer service). Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to play around with it until last night. Mrs. G found an all-purpose stir fry sauce (brown garlic sauce) that she wanted to try.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, broth, rice wine, sugar, sesame oil and white pepper.
  2. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup water.
  3. Heat a pan over high heat; add the cooking oil, swirling to coat; add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
  4. Add the soy sauce mixture; bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens.

Along with the sauce, we had 2 chicken breasts, some shrimp, half a red onion, some diced jalapeno, broccoli, baby bella mushrooms, baby corn, bamboo shoots and some rice noodles (prepared following package instructions). Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures of the ingredients prepped and ready to go. It’s very important that you have everything prepped and ready to go (mise en place), as once you get started, it goes pretty fast and you don’t have time to stop.

The Setup

 Searching around and asking questions on different forums gave me various ways on exactly how to set up the Egg and how to cook stir fry on it, so I ended up taking some advice here and there and just went with what made sense to me. I stabilized the Egg at 400F, then used the spider (rack that holds the wok) in the up position and then placed the wok on top of that. When doing stir fry, you want the wok to get hot, before you add the oil, as the pores in the metal will open up and allow the oil to penetrate creating a non-stick surface. So we closed the lid, waited a few minutes. When a few drops of water hitting the wok vaporize instantly, you are ready to go (so I’ve been told).

Chicken in

 Once the wok is hot enough, add a few teaspoons of peanut oil. The reason I used peanut oil, is that it has a high smoke/burn temp and we are cooking hot. You don’t want your oil to burn on you and ruin your meal. Next, add in your chicken. You want to do this part in batches. If you add too much chicken at one time, the temp of the wok will cool down and you will be steaming your food rather than frying it.

Notice the welders glove? Talk about some heat!

After the chicken is done, it is time to start on the vegetables. You want to start with the hardier veggies, the ones that take more time to cook. We added in the broccoli, red onions and jalapenos and cooked those for a few minutes.

'Shrooms up

 The baby bellas were next to go in the mix for a few minutes.

Rest of the veggies

 Then we added the last of the veggies, some snow peas, baby corn and  bamboo shoots. This is already starting to look like way too much food for two people. Guess it will be leftovers for tomorrow.

Gettin' Saucey!

 I know this seems like a lot of steps, but it really goes quickly, trust me. Next add in the shrimp and a few heaping spoons of the brown garlic sauce. Cook until shrimp are almost done.

Add the chicken back in

 Almost done now, the end is in sight. Add the chicken back in to the wok.

Rice noodles

 Final step, add the rice noodles and cook until they are just warm.

 

Ready to eat!

 For a first attempt, we did pretty good IMHO. It was definitely a fun and interesting cook. The veggies came out just right, they still had a nice bite to them, not at all mushy. The rice noodles were an excellent addition. We didn’t over cook the shrimp, which is so easy to do. My only complaint was I thought the sauce was a little bland. Might need to adjust the recipe with some red chile flakes or peppers or maybe some Sriracha. We’ve already decided that we’re going to try to do stir fry again tomorrow night, but I think we are going to increase the temp a bit more, maybe 450-500F.

If you are on the fence about doing stir fry, I hope this post pushes you over and convinces you to try your hand at it. There might be a lot of steps, but it really is a fast, quick and healthy way to cook.

 

 

 

Pizza with a South of the Border Twist

Mexican Pizza

     Mrs. G went out of town yesterday. If you’ve been following along, you know what that means….diet goes out the window and I play around with food!! Usually something I think she won’t like (like grilled cheese hamburgers) or something she’s nixed in the past like this version of pizza.

     I remember seeing Mexican pizza when I was growing up. Never had it, oh no, we were more of a traditional pizza family. Pepperoni or maybe a supreme, meat lover’s if I got lucky. So I’d stare over at other tables and watch people eat their Mexican pizza and wonder what it would taste like. I’m not even sure if Mexican pizza was a nation wide thing or maybe it was just regional to South Texas. Seems like it’s not really around anymore, at least not that I’ve seen, but for some strange reason it popped up in my head the other day and no matter what I did, I could not shake the idea of making one. So after work yesterday, I got the necessary ingredients (at least the ones I thought should go on a Mexican pizza, but never having one I could be wrong) on the way home and fired up the Egg.

Blazing Hot

 One of the great things about the Big Green Egg is that you can get it hot. I mean blazing hot. Hotter than your oven hot. I generally cook my pizzas at about 650F. They cook up fast and you get that nice wood burning oven flavor to them. Here the Egg was only going about 600.

The Setup

 There are a few ways to set up your Egg to make pizzas. None of them are wrong, but this is how I like to do mine. Placesetter with the legs down, then use the 3 green ceramic feet to hold the pizza stone up above the placesetter. This allows air to circulate under the stone and allows it to heat up evenly.

Cooking up the taco meat

 Yes, I have a stove and sometimes I even use it. I cooked up the taco meat and used Old El Paso taco seasoning. Not the one we usually use, and I wish I knew how to make taco meat without a packet (maybe I’ll learn me how to do that one day) but for tonight’s purposes it would work.

Dough

Took another shortcut with the dough. Now I’ve made homemade dough before and its come out pretty good, but sometimes I don’t have the time or the will. So for those of you who also don’t have the time, or are a bit timid of the whole process, there’s an easy answer. Go down to your local Mom and Pop Italian restaurant and ask if they will sell you a ball of dough. Most places will. And if you are so inclined, they’ll usually sell you a cup of sauce. I didn’t get any sauce as I was going Mexican with this pizza.

Building the Pizza

 I didn’t roll this dough out very thin. I figured with the amount of toppings it was going to receive, I needed a good thick crust to hold up. Started out by spreading a layer of the taco meat on the dough.

Cheese, or queso for those Spanish speakers

 Next came the cheese. I don’t know what kind of cheese they used when I saw these growing up. I thought about maybe using some queso blanco or queso fresco or Chihuahua, but ended up just using some cheese I found in the fridge. A little bit of Mexican blend, some pizza blend (it is a pizza after all) and finally some extra sharp cheddar. Hey, that’s what this gringo uses on his tacos.

On to the Egg

 After I was done topping the pizza, it went on the Egg which I had stabilized at 500F. That’s a little lower than I usually do pizzas, but this was also a thicker crust than I usually go with, so I wanted to make sure it would cook all the way through without the crust burning on the bottom. You might also notice the paper under the pizza. That’s parchment paper and a little trick I picked up on Greeneggers Forum. It’s a good way to slide your pizza onto the stone without it sticking to your pizza peel (something which I don’t have anyway) or getting deformed. After a few minutes of cooking, you can grab an edge of it with your tongs and it will slide right out from under your pie.

Just about done

 So far the pie looks about normal, except with some taco meat on it. Now comes the toppings. A little bit of lettuce, some tomatoes, green onions and some jalapenos. I suppose you could use some black olives, but I’m not a big fan. Top it off with some sour cream and you are bueno. (like the use of my limited grasp of Spanish?)

Es hora de comer!

I honestly can’t believe how good this came out and I can’t believe I waited this long to try it. I will admit, it was a bit messy trying to eat, but it was worth it. And I got my salad in, so it’s not totally off my diet. 😉 If you are looking for new ideas for pizza, I would recommend this one. Hasta la proxima vez!

 

Scotch Eggs

     Somehow I almost forgot to post up about my breakfast Saturday. Not sure how that happened. Guess I’ve just had a lot of posts this week. Anyway, been seeing a lot of buzz on The Smoke Ring about Scotch Eggs and I thought I had to try them. Of course, this version was going to be smoked rather than breaded and fried.

Boiling the Eggs

 Ingredients

  • 4 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 lb of breakfast sausage
  • favorite bbq rub

Start off by boiling 4 eggs. Then add 1 tsp of your favorite rub to the sausage and mix well.

Add Seasonings

I did all this the night prior. After mixing in the seasonings, I placed it in the refrigerator overnight so the flavors would incorporate. In the morning, divide the sausage into four equal parts. Take the sausage and wrap around your hard-boiled egg. Give then a good dusting of your favorite rub and then put them onto a grill set up indirectly at 350F.

On to the Egg

For smoke, I used a mixture of cherry wood chips and a chunk of pecan. I think I might have actually used to much, as sausage absorbs smoke pretty easily.

About halfway done

 

Honestly, I can’t say how long these took to cook. Somewhere around 30 minutes. I pulled them off when the temperature of the sausage reached 160F.

Done

 

 I let these rest for about 5 minutes to give them a chance to cool down and let me tell you that was hard to do.

Sliced

 I can’t begin to explain how good these were. I might have given them a little too much of the Hell From Texas rub as they had quite a kick to them, just on the border of where I like my heat, especially first thing in the morning. I’ll be doing them again, but I think I’ll skip adding any rub to them the night before and trying out other rubs. Hope you enjoy.

Cheddar Beer Bread and some Pork Chops

 

Ingredients for Cheddar Beer Bread

      I have a weakness for bread. There….I’ve said it. I love bread. Sourdough bread, French bread, Ciabatta bread, croissants, bagels, focaccia, corn bread and don’t even get me started on that Brazillian cheese bread Pao de Queijo that they serve at churrascarias that my wife loving refers to as light, fluffy clouds of goodness. Nothing beats piping hot bread, especially with some butter slathered on top. Mmm…yum!!

Adding Dry Ingredients 1 tsp oregano

      Seems like there’s been a lot of bread making going on over at the Green Eggers Forum this past weekend. Saw some wonderful posts about ciabatta and focaccia. Got me wanting to make some of my own. Then I saw Jamie’s post on Our Eating Habits for a Cheddar Beer Bread and I knew that’s the one I wanted to do.

1/2 tsp basil
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 can beer (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. Mix together all dry ingredients in medium-sized mixing bowl. Add Cheddar and beer. Stir until combined.

This Texas boy had to go with Lone Star

2. Place in a greased loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees. I did mine on the BGE. It took a bit longer, maybe 45-50 minutes, but you have to expect those kind of differences when you are cooking over a live coals I’m guess.

Going on to the Big Green Egg

3. Eat and Enjoy!

Done!

       Now man cannot live on bread alone…at least not this man. And since we had the Egg fired up, we threw together some dinner to go with the bread.

Pork Chops

      Stubbs used to be my go to rub. I first found it in college and used it for many, many ( I won’t say how many) years afterwards. The past few years, I’ve been branching out and trying new rubs, but sometimes its nice to go back to an old favorite. These pork chops got a liberal dusting and then went on to the grill at 450.

Grilling away

   After I flipped them (maybe 4-5 minutes in), I noticed they were starting to curl up a bit, so I grabbed my Lodge Cast Iron press and set it atop to prevent that. What you say? You don’t have one of those? A brick lined with aluminum foil works just as well.

Dinner is served

      The pork chops were pulled at 140 F and allowed to rest for 5 minutes. During that time, I grilled up some asparagus that Mrs. G had seasoned up. That was served along with a nice salad.  I have to say the bread was pretty darn tasty. It had a savory flavor from the oregano and the basil and the beer. I didn’t detect much of a cheese flavor, though. Might add a bit more next time….along with some jalapenos or diced green chiles for some heat. Pretty simple bread to make and I’ll do it again…with a bit of tweaking for my personal tastes.

Family Dinner – Ribeyes

Beef....it's what's for dinner!

      Friday night, we had a little family dinner over at my parents house. Momma G had bought some lovely ribeyes for the occasion. Knowing what was going to come, I came armed with a batch of spices so that everybody could flavor up their own steaks. When my Mom pulled the 6 steaks out of the fridge, all of our eyes widened in surprise. These things were huge! Everybody quickly agreed that they would not be able to eat a whole one and we decided that I would only grill up 3 of them and we would split them. Doc G, Mrs. G, Brother G and his girlfriend all decided that they want the Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express (which is a coffee infused BBQ rub) and Momma G and I decided on Dizzy Pig Raising the Steaks ( a Canadian style rub based on Montreal Steak Seasoning).

My Old Gas Grill

 Friday night’s dinner was not to be cooked on a Big Green Egg. Instead, we fired up my old gas grill. I got this gas grill way back in 2006 and it served me well for many years, but soon after I got my BGE, we quit using it. In fact, for a long time I  used it to store charcoal and bbq accessories. Last year, it made the journey over to my parents house as their old gas grill was falling apart and I figured it would get more (any) use. So we fired her up and set the burners on high and let it preheat for about 5 minutes.

Steaks on!

 One thing I will admit, although I do love my Big Green Egg, I do miss all the square footage this grill had to offer. And it was nice to just turn some dials to get it fired up and be ready to cook in 5 minutes.

Halfway done

 When set on high, steaks don’t take long to cook on this grill. I think they went about 4 minutes per side, turning them 90 after 2 minutes to get those nice sear marks.

Doc G and Mrs G

 Doc G and Mrs G watched on and kept me company during this cook as they enjoyed a glass of wine.

Done
Done

 Momma G baked some potatoes and served a nice salad to go along with this meal. Perfect accompaniments to a steak dinner.

Relaxing after dinner

 Left to right we have Momma G, Mrs G, Brother G, his girlfriend (? Not quite sure if that term is being used yet) and Doc G. All in all, we had a relaxing and quiet evening with a few bottles of wine. Always nice to spend time with the family. Hope everybody had a great weekend.