Main Course

The Home Depot Garden To Grill Project

June 18, 2021
This is where it all began.

Well, spring is in full bloom here in beautiful SoCal and one of the best ways for me to get the spring cleaning bug going is to start outside while the weather is just about as perfect as could be. Unfortunately the days will get much much hotter and hotter (last years high was 118f!! crazy) as the season grows slowly into summer I eventually find myself cleaning, organizing, and fixing my way back into the cool air conditioned spaces, but for now It’s time to take full advantage of some much needed work to get done. Of course the driving force behind this idea of “Garden To Grill” with my project is hospitality, food, hosting, and a good dose of glass half full perspective when observing my current living environment. I wanted to walk you through how I pieced things together as the project progressed and my mindset going into it. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder for anyone reading this post to take another hard look at the spaces around you with a more inviting and comforting vision. I have been wanting to make this awkward sort of space (see below) that’s tucked away towards the garden area of my house into a garden/grill hangout spot instead of the 90’s red brick jacuzzi area (jacuzzi was removed years before we bought the house) and I new it was going to need to some serious love and attention from me and a my good friends over at The Home Depot…they’re basically my second home and are helping me out BIG TIME for this one. Time to strap in for a stick-to-your-bones hardy blog post cause I got a lot to go through, so as usual, lets dive into it!

I love updating, but the building part can be tedious! I ordered most of the items from Home Depot online and will make sure to link everything that I used for this project along with in-store purchases as well in case you’re interested. Big thanks to Home Depot for providing me with these wonderful upgrades to my place! They literally had everything I was looking for with my custom patio furniture and decoration ideas #GardenToGrill.

I started this project a few months back with a half painted white brick wall that I just never ended up finishing for various reasons, but it gave me the base idea for what I wanted the bricks to look like overall. This was too white for me so I decided to add in a 1/3 cup of dark brown masonry paint to the white masonry paint to tone down the bleached white look. Plus I’ve been needing to put some fresh concrete and new bricks on the corner…minor details, but they have such a big impact on the finish.

These planters are getting a fresh revamp as well. I love the succulents, but since we have more than 50+ around the property it’s time for something a little different in this area. Those string lights have seen better days….eek!

This old garden table needed a fresh look and some straightening along with the string lights that have fallen several times because I didn’t tie up proper cables to hold them… I swear I live and work by the saying “never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it again”. One day I’ll learn to do it right the first time as much as possible instead of repeat work, but bad habits do indeed die hard.

Look out for the glass bulb variteies when purchasing string lights…they’re pretty but a pain in the butt if you’re not thought out like I was. I broke about 30 bulbs so far, so make sure you buy theses string lights from Home Depot that don’t have glass bulbs for a much easier install process.

Mixing paint for what I felt like was the right color for this space. I wanted it to be pretty darn white for a clean modern sort of look, but a splash of brown masonry paint really helped to soften the overall brightness of the white masonry paint.

like most folks, I’m not the cleanest of painters in the world, so making sure to majorly overlap surfaces with masking tape/paper (the wider the tape the better) makes life a whole lot easier for me when it comes to spray painting. Especially when there’s a slight breeze working against you which there always seems to be. I gave myself at least 12+ inches of coverage for areas I didn’t want spatter, but just make sure to focus on straight clean tape lines that come directly in contact to the desired painting area and undesired painting area for a clean finish. *Preferred paint sprayer for future painting projects.

I even had a piece of cardboard on hand that I could use in awkwardly tight spaces to try and avoid misting paint spatter which really worked out better than I expected. Another good tip when painting large surfaces it to always have a pale of fresh water with a rag on standby in case the project gets a little (or a lot) out of hand and mine did from time to time. A little fresh wipe up after a misting mistake makes all the difference in the end. Fresh paint cleans up fairly easy as long as you get to it before the initial drying stage so having everything ready beforehand is key to successful painting.

Got the lights hung up without breaking a single bulb!! The cable hardware I got from Home Depot made all the difference in this NOT being a nightmare again.

Next Phase of the project was putting everything together (30+ items in total) with all the joy of instructions and extra hardware that always makes me second guess my build…lol

Can I just say I LOVE when my wife gets involved with these projects! I ordered some unfinished wood side tables from Home Depot that needed a little bit of love and she got right to it. The wood stain was literally the perfect match to compliment the other wood tones in the chairs, bench, and planters. Teamwork makes the dreamwork baby!

I couldn’t believe how much these planters made such a huge impact on the patio. These were not originally suppose to be hanging planters, but with a few holes drilled out and some dainty black chain, it turned out perfect. Eventually I’ll run an auto drip irrigation line from my garden to keep them on a regular water cycle, but for now they’ll just get a little extra attention until I get to it.

I also got a few funky old world style lanterns that I might end up hanging, but for now they’ll be used with an artificial candle as a flickering background piece that ads a pop of character to the space along with some soft light. Also, I’ll be using that mini half wood barrel for some incredible succulents that need a permanent place to live from my front yard. On a side-note Our family chicken nicknamed ‘Fluff Butt” by our kids was seriously considering using them as a nest box. She’s an absolute character of a bird that quite possibly was a person in her past life…lol!

As most of you know that follow me on social media I can’t live without my fresh grown veggies, herbs, and fruit whenever possible, so for me this patio needed a few additions from Bonnie via Home Depot to make it a little more green and cozy for my taste. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about decorative plants here and there, but peppering in a few fruitful plants that are useful in the kitchen can add a serious sense of life and vigor to your seasons. These rectangle wood planters were the perfect sizes for varying plant growth too!

My main focus for this back patio area was Jalapeños, Beefsteak tomatoes, and a medley of herbs. I use Jalapeños in a wide array of things including the red sweet ones for dried red pepper and chicken feed later in the season. I usually NEVER have enough chilies on hand, so the more the merrier. Plus the white garden cart is a MUST HAVE. It’s super lightweight and can be used as a bar/grill cart after a good wipe down

Here’s a better look at the garden cart with a little photo bomb from my youngest boy. This thing has endless uses.

How AWESOME ARE THESE PLANTERS! Jalapeños and Beefsteak tomatoes from Bonnie are in the works!! Plus I have around 15 more different varieties from Bonnie in my big garden for family and friends during summer.

I love how this old raised garden bed turned out! I used super cheap whitewood with a good amount of wood stain for water protection and it just looks a thousand percent better. A little addition of fresh soil and some Bonnie herbs (basil, purple basil, oregano, and Italian parsley) made all the difference in slowly adding ambience to the grill/patio space.

Here’s another look at the new raised bed with the Bonnie herbs planted! Loads of character with a sprinkle of greenery is what makes this piece so special.

Last but definitely not least in the assembly process was buidling this incredibly gorgeous and beast of a cooking machine the Timeberline 1300 Traeger grill from Home Depot. Super easy to put together, but just make sure you have a helping hand for a few of the heavy lifting parts. My little boy was seriously into building this thing so we could get lunch started and boy did we have a good lunch….AND dinner. Keep reading and you’ll see what we came up with and you’ll start to get a real feel for why I really wanted this “Garden To Grill’ area done right.

The two favorite methods I really like to take advantage of with Traeger grills are smoking and long cooking times since its so consistent with temperature and smoke. Here I wanted to lightly cold smoke this cured salmon that has equal parts sugar and salt along with fresh lemon zest and chopped dill. I cured it in the morning for about 4 hours before smoking.

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp sliced lemon zest
  • 2-3lb Salmon filet

*Mix everything in a bowl until aromatic then cover the salmon filet and let it sit in the fridge covered for around 4hours. The longer it cures, the saltier it gets.

After its cured, I smoked it at 175f on Traegars‘ “super smoke” mode for 30-40 minutes to give it a kiss of smoke flavor without affecting the texture of the salmon. I wanted to avoid cooking the fish AT ALL in order to get clean thin slices for this particular recipe. If you do attempt this, just make sure that the salmon has a solid chill on it from the fridge before you put it on the grill otherwise you’ll risk cooking the exterior of the salmon filet.

Toasted baguette split in half, dill cream cheese spread, sliced cured salmon, pickled red onions, and candied lemon zest made for a fitting lunch during this “Garden to Grill” build out. Slice it up and pass it around!

Cream Cheese Spread:

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • Juice from half a lemon

Candied Lemon:

  • 4 tbsps thinly sliced lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Pickled Red Onions:

  • 3 cups thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1tbsp sugar

Now that lunch is out of the way it’s time to keep pushing on to the finish line. I planted a bunch of jasmine around the border of the patio and needed a trellis/fence line to help support them as they’ll hopefully grow out of control over the next few years. These round wood fence posts and wood garden stakes worked out so well I’m considering doing this elsewhere on my property for some of my roses.

Whenever I’m at the Home Depot garden center I find myself always making up random reasons why I need to buy more of those half whiskey barrels for different projects and I finally found one that really made sense LOL! I splashed in an old archway that was hanging out behind my shack and headed for the giveaway section in a few months and boy am I glad I saved it. Grow jasmine grow!

For the most part everything is built, painted, stained, washed, and organized the way I envisioned and it is time to put this “Grill to Garden” patio to good use! I have two extra of these lounge chairs that I’m storing behind the wagon wheel swing for when there’s more guests. They fold up PERFECTLY for storage. I love it!

The fire pit I chose has an incredible cooking edge that can be use as a “plancha” or flattop for burgers, kebobs, grilled veggies, and much much more. So many ways to cook in this space it’s making swirl with a million recipe ideas!

Here’s another look at how I organized some of the patio furniture for it’s first time use! Also, you can see the folded up extra lounge chairs behind the wagon wheel swing for reference. Now it’s DINNER TIME!

Traeger time baby. I know tomahawk ribeyes are very very trendy, but I just had to shell out the cash for this one to christen my new Traeger Timberline 1300 the way I imagined. I seasoned it with salt, fresh cracked black pepper, rosemary, and thyme then its going into the Traeger at 375f for 20 minutes to break the initial chill and give it a good rare-medium rare internal temp.

Once its to the proper temp, I remove it from the grill and let it rest for about 20 minutes with butter, spring garlic (from the garden), thyme, and rosemary. After that I turn the grill to 500f and cook it for another 2-3 minutes on each side for a really nice caramelization then back to the resting tray again and its ready to slice.

I made a simple Chimichurri sauce made up of chopped cilantro, garlic, lemon zest, red onion, jalapeño, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked black pepper.

Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp chopped lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
These smokey hasselback potatoes are insane! I love using the Traeger as a one stop cooking station when I can and theses tots worked beautifully in the grill.

This might be one of my favorite salads in the entire world and is such a great fit to this meal. Crispy wedges of iceberg lettuce, juice slices of beefsteak tomatoes, crumbly smoked bacon, pickled red onions, and a homemade “ranch” dressing that beats any store bought brand by 10 miles. This is my kind of meal to finish off a long outdoor project.

Ranch Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Well, that’s it folks! I really hope you enjoyed the process of this backyard “Garden To Grill” update with some MAJOR HELP from my good friends over at Home Depot. They literally had everything I could have wished for and more when I went to HomeDepot.com and started to brainstorm this project. I can’t wait to embark on my next indoor/outdoor project and if you guys enjoyed this post, leave a comment and let me know what you’d like to see me do next! If you want a more visual feel for how this project went, go check out my IG story Home Depot highlights to see how this all went down!

Main Course

Whole Roasting for the Holidays Traeger Pro 575 pt.4

December 19, 2019

When you have a smoking Traeger Pro 575 loaded up with hickory and some beautiful whole roasting ingredients ready to go, it is truly the most wonderful time of year. I have been using my Traeger for about a year now and I fall in love with it more and more every time I get something new to cook with it…this time its whole roasted prime rib, salmon, and the unbelievably delicious celery root. I’m going to walk you through how I go about whole roasting these three items with my set-up, but if you don’t have a Traeger Pro 575, I’d highly recommend getting one as a early x-mas present because it is truly the gift that keeps giving… PERFECT GIFT FOR THE HUBBY! Also, to make things WAY easier, The Home Depot includes FREE delivery when you purchase from them online, and free-assembly when you purchase in-store…I’m all about that free-assembly life.

One last thing before the recipes! I’m GIVING AWAY a brand new Traeger Pro 575 to one of you lucky folks and all you have to do is comment on this post (or on my Traeger Instagram post) letting me know what would be the first thing you’d cook in your grill if you win! OK, enough said, recipe time.

Salmon – Bone-in Prime Rib – Celery Root

First thing on the list is the Prime Rib and this one is about 6-7 lbs. If you notice there’s almost ZERO moisture on the meat because I let it sit in the fridge uncovered for 24 hours before cooking and I also diligently pat it dry with a few paper towels before seasoning. You can basically tell that the meat is “dry” enough when salt can barely stick to the surface.

Once you start to season the meat and work with it a little, the seasoning will stick to it just fine, but the goal is to try to avoid a soggy cut of meat that will end up wanting to boil rather than caramelize. With a cut this big, you want to heavily season it since there’s actually very little surface area compared to its volume.

Fresh cracked black pepper

So here I’ve seasoned it with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, rosemary leaves, and crushed garlic. I tend to stay away from stuffing the garlic and rosemary into the meat since I really am a stickler for clean slices of prime rib. The more you stuff, the more a cut like this starts to morph into something too complex than it needs to be.

I set my Traeger Pro 575 to 275f˚ with their hickory wood pellets (the aroma is incredible) and will be cooking this for about 1 hour to break the chill and start the “slow and low” cooking process for an even colored slice of prime rib later on. Now its on to my celery root!

I’m sure there’s quite a few of you who know what this awkward looking root is, but I have a feeling that there’s more folks out there that have no clue what this is and even more so, how to cook with it. It’s incredible as a puree, soup, and mashed, but today its all about whole roasting.

Thoroughly wash your celery root before using. Use the tops for stock or broth.

This is about as simple as it gets. Pour a generous amount of kosher salt into a small sheet tray, put the cleaned celery root on top of the salt bed and its time to cook these beauties.

Before you add the celery root to your grill, turn the heat up to 400f˚ and you’re going to cook them for about 2 hours or until they’re fork tender. Just make sure to remove the Prime rib about 1 hour into cooking the celery when the internal temperature is around 120-130f˚ (medium rare – medium). Now it’s salmon time!

For this whole side of salmon, I’m going to do almost like a light curing before I cook it by seasoning it in advance and letting it sit for about an hour or so before cooking. This helps firm up the meat ever so slightly and the sugar gets a chance to even out and melt into the flesh.

Salt, brown sugar, lemon zest, and rosemary for the win.

It’s been about an hour or so since I added my celery root to the grill and it’s time to remove it from the heat and let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing which will be the perfect amount of time to cook up the salmon.

Resting allows everything inside to even out. Temperature, coloring, and moisture.

I really wish I had a proper wood plank to cook this salmon on, but I improvised with an old pizza stone and it turned out great. Ideally you don’t want to cook a whole filet of salmon like this straight onto the grill because it has a tendency to stick and is a pain to move around after that happens…it can get really ugly, really quick. Also, I had to put the top rack back into my Trager grill to continue cooking the celery root alongside the salmon FYI.

I’ll be cooking this for about 20-30 minutes (depends on thickness) and I’ll be keeping the temperature at 400f˚ throughout.

This 5lb filet took about 25 minutes.

Ok, so everything is off of the grill, rested, and ready to be put onto a plate. Just be carful with the celery root because it retains an insane amount of heat (just like a baked potato), so watch out for a burst of steam if you decide to cut straight into even a few minutes after its been off the grill.

I finished these thick beautiful slices of roasted celery root with some melted butter, parsley, Maldon salt, and cracked black pepper. This will give any whole roasted meats a good run for there money…replace the butter with olive oil and this is a perfect vegan “substitute”.

The salmon can and should be served whole for family and friends to portion as they please, but I wanted to show just how beautiful it is once its on a plate…plus I roasted a few lemons as the prefect company to this whole roasted salmon.

Last but definitely not the least, its time to carve up the prime rib. I will admit that my prime rib was a tad more rare than what I was shooting for, but when that happens, I tend to indulge in its rarity.

I finished the slices with some cracked black pepper, crunchy Maldon salt, and a few rosemary leaves to garnish. Normally I would make some creamy horseradish sauce to dip it in or maybe even some savory beef jus, but I’m also a fan of simplicity. I hope you enjoyed these recipes and like I said at the beginning of this post, if you’re looking to get someone a gift that they’ll use for a lifetime AND that feeds you, go grab a Traeger Pro 575 from your local The Home Depot or online… I promise, you will NOT REGRET IT.

Ingredients:

6-7lb bone in prime rib

3 tbsp cracked black pepper

3 tbsp kosher salt

3 tbsp rosemary leaves

3 cloves garlic

5lb salmon filet (skin on)

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp salt

2 tbsp chopped rosemary

1 tsp lemon zest

2-3 large celery roots

2 cups salt

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp chopped parsley

salt and pepper to tast

Main Course

Hot Wings & Herbaceous Drumsticks for Game Day Traeger Pro 575 pt.3

October 17, 2019

IT’S GAME TIME!! I have to say, aside from holiday feasts game days are the absolute BEST excuse to roll out the red carpet for all your favorite snacks, sides, dips, sauces, meats, drinks and everything in between. If there’s any game day traditions that I have, making sure to have PLENTY of sauced-up barbecued things within an arms reach and lots of paper towels ready to go is 100% one of them. In this post I’ll walk you through two recipes that have been on my mind and have my stomach raring for me to finish this post to get back to the game… Before we get into the post, I’d love to know if you guys have any fun game day traditions or tailgating essentials that you would like to share with me and maybe I’ll put it/them in a future game day themed post! leave a comment down below or on my instagram page to let me know! Ok, lets do this!

I present to you the some seriously beautiful chicken.

Hot Wings
Herbaceous Chicken

Ok, now that you’re hooked and have seen just how incredible the chicken is, it’s time to show you how this all came to be with a little help from The Home Depot and my Traeger Pro 575.

We’re first going to tackle the “Herbaceous Chicken”, so start out by slicing up the red onions, cilantro, Italian parsley, and a lime.

Season with a generous amount of salt, cracked black pepper, and a splash of olive oil, then add in the chicken drumsticks and give it a vigorous mixing of flavors with your hands…

After they’re massaged to perfection, lay the seasoned chicken down on a tray and let them sit for 1 hour in the fridge, covered. Repeat this process with the chicken wings and its respective flavors. > check ingredient list

Now that the chicken is ready to go, I’ve fired up my Traeger Pro 575 with their applewood pellets (perfect for bbq ribs btw) to 450f and will be grilling these beauties for about 30-45 minutes. 30 minutes for the wings and about 35-45 minute for the drumsticks depending on their size.

side note: The Traeger Pro 575 has a “WiFIRE” feature that allows you to control the grill through your smartphone! This is very very helpful when game day gets way too exciting to be stuck outside grilling and especially for long cooking times that need adjustment half way through. I knew the future would be delicious…lol

The holland long red peppers are have such an incredible flavor, especially after they’ve been grilled up! You better be ready for that heat though…just saying.

SAUCE TIME! Ok, chicken is on the grill getting all smokey and golden, this is the perfect time to get the tossing sauces RTG (ready to go). First up is the herb sauce for the drumsticks. Both of these sauces are insanely easy btw… For the green sauce, add in the cilantro, parsley, olive oil, avocado, a lime slice, and salt to taste.

Blend on the highest setting on your blender to achieve and smooth green puree.

FYI, add garlic and red pepper to this and you’d have an incredible chimichurri.

Next up is the “Hot Wing” sauce. I’m not even going to make this one difficult because it really shouldn’t have to be for a sauce like this, but I understand that there are people out there that really take hot wing sauce to another level…this sauce is just what the doctor ordered, but won’t win an award with it…OK! Now that that’s over with, get a saucepan on medium heat and add in your apple cider vinegar and reduce by half.

add in the butter, smoked paprika, chili powder, honey, and tobacco sauce. Continue to cook on medium heat for 3-4 for minutes until ingredients blend together.

This will need a bit of salt, so just give the sauce a taste as you season.

Now that the sauces are done, its time to coat up the chicken! The amount of sauce that you put on the chicken is totally up to you and your love for sauce…I tend to go a bit overboard, but that’s just me. Just make sure that every piece of chicken at least gets a solid kiss from the sauce. Hot wings are up first!

Add a little chopped parsley and it really sets these off.
HOT WINGS!

Time for the green sauce! Go green baby!

DONEZO! I love me some hot wings, but these herbed-up drumsticks really are a winner. Imagine this all shredded up and thrown into a taco? Maybe even a tostada OR warm chicken salad? I'm a big fan of versatility in recipes, so this recipe in particular is major keeper for that reason alone. The wings on the other hand are just a downright essential.

Another great day thanks to a little bit of creativity, some elbow grease, hungry friends and family, game day essentials, and my Traeger Pro 575. I also got a chance to play around with the Google Home Hub (on the right) that I got from Home Depot and its perfect to keep track of stats from other games without draining my phone battery! Plus like a million other things, lol. I hope you have a GREAT game day and next time you’re at your local Home Depot for an extra pair of wrenches or roses for the patio, check out what they have to amp up your game day essentials too!

Hot Wings:

  • 4-5lb whole chicken wings
  • 3 holland red pepper split lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 4 tbsp paprika
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp canola or olive oil

Hot Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 5-6 tbsp tobacco sauce
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • salt to taste

Herbaceous Drumsticks:

  • 4-5lb Chicken Legs (Drumsticks)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 tbsp chopped cilantro and Italian parsley
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp canola or olive oil

Herb Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley and cilantro
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • 1 lime slice
  • salt to taste
Main Course

Grilled Herb Garden Chicken Sandwich pt.2 Traeger Pro 575

June 10, 2019

 

Grilled Herb Garden Chicken Sandwich

 

 

Well, I’m back at it again with my new Traeger Pro 575 grill from Home Depot and as you can see, the results are quite delicious. Sandwiches are kind of funny because they can almost tell you a little bit about yourself or of someone else if you pay close attention to how it’s ordered. Do they like it saucy or dry? Do they like more meat and cheese or more veggie leaning?…White or Wheat? THERE’S SO MANY CHOICES!! Pickles, oil and vinegar, mustard, or some sort of sour/salty/spicy sauce is always a big one with me personally when it comes to a stellar sammy, but what does it all mean? I have zero clue, but everyone likes their sammy a special way for some special reason and this one has it’s own sort of vibe and feeling to it right? It most likely represents how I love to enjoy food with my family in my backyard to put it simply. This is a super duper simple recipe and is a perfect way to spend Father’s Day afternoon racking up forearm grill marks to brag about later…

 

 

If you don’t know already, I’m sort of an herb fanatic and tend to use lots and lots of them in almost everything I eat other than dessert hence my need for a herb garden…but even then there’s quite a few to choose from if I put my mind to it. Anyways, this sandwich really starts out right here with some beautiful picking from the garden… Garlic (needs a wash), onion tops, cilantro, and thyme (in flowering season!) all ready to be prepped.

 

 

One thing I love to use in my kitchen is a blender… I love, loVE, LOVE a good blender. Maybe it’s just the commercial cook mindset that I still have from the “old days”, but blenders can do things that a mortar and pestle can’t. BUT WITH THAT SAID, a good m&p can do things to ingredients that blenders simply cannot, so I decided to really get the most out of my herbs by grinding them up in my stone m&p with little olive oil and salt.

 

 

The goal is here to grind grind and grind some more. Once the oil is super infused with the green chlorophyll and the garlic cloves start to turn into a paste then you’re on the right track.

 

 

Take almost all of the herb oil and coat a few butterflied chicken breasts (more sandwich friendly) with sliced red on, salt, and a good helping of black pepper 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to grill…This will give you some time to heat up the grill and for this one you’ll want it as hot as you can get it.

 

 

Depending on the size of your chicken breasts, they should only take about 10-12 minutes at 450f on the Traeger Pro 575 (hopefully not as dusty as mine! lol) to cook all the way through, but if you like your charred edges like I do, stretch it out a little to get the desired results. I also threw on a few dogs for my boys because a smokey grill translates into “give me hot dogs NOW” in crazy rapidly growing boy language…plus, I love me a good hot dog loaded with everything you could imagine. 😉

 

 

             

 

As soon as the chicken is at its prime, top it with a good amount of shredded mozzarella or jack and cover the lid with all the buns toasting happily alongside. One thing to note here is that if you’re not comfortable cooking “quickly” at high temperatures, just be mindful that cooking times will run longer the lower the temperature and thin cuts of meat tend to not hold up all that well in those conditions…. if you need a smaller (or larger) heat source to work with, Home Depot actually has a pretty big line-up of Traeger Grills that may suit your comforts a little better.

 

                            

 

One thing I love about this grill is that it’s plug and go, so the only thing to really think about before grilling is what wood (in pellet form) you want to use. There’s quite a few different selections of pellets you can choose from which I love since you can really nail down some solid smoking recipes from salmon to short rib depending on the wood that’s best suited for the ingredients. I used cherry wood pellets this time around which was really nice and I tend to go with mesquite when I go for fast hot grilling, but if you want to check out all the varieties of wood for yourself, click here. Fill, flip switch on, cook, flip switch off, done… doesn’t get any easier folks.

 

 

Everything seems ready to go, so all there’s left to do is set the table, load up the hotdogs for wifey and kiddos, and make one mean chicken sandwich with some leftover herb mixture from the mortar, lime juice, and mayo for a wonderful herb packed sandwich spread.

 

 

Hot dog toppings at the Talbott house always include yellow mustard, ketchup, shredded cheddar/jack, sauerkraut, hand-cut dill pickles, and minced onions…

                       

 

Toasted sourdough, herb garden spread, herb garden marinated grilled chicken, melty jack cheese, perfectly sliced “cado cado” as my 1 year old likes to call it, romaine heart spears, and a dash of olive oil and cracked black pepper to finish….this is a really really good chicken sandwich.

 

     

 

 

 

Pickled red onions (maybe even with some spicy peppers) would be a great addition this sammy….or any savory anything for that matter. Pickled stuff is my weakness.

 

 

This is one heck of a sandwich! I swear, the herb garden spread alone is worth trying out for yourself even if you don’t make the sandwich. It can be use for so many different recipes and would be a really killer pasta salad dressing. I’ll be doing some more grilling through summer with my Traeger Pro 575 and would love to hear from you on what I should use it for next! Drop a comment here or follow me on Instagram and leave your request on a recent pic!

 

 

Ingredients:

Herb Garden Marinade:

2lbs chicken breasts

2-3 green onions

3-4 sprigs of thyme

2 tbsp chopped fennel fronds

1 bunch cilantro

2-3 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 of a red onion, sliced

salt and black pepper

 

Herb Garden Spread:

2 tbsp reserved herb garden marinade

3 tbsp mayo

1/2 lime, juiced

salt to taste

 

Avacado

Shredded Jack Cheese

Soft sourdough rolls

Romaine spears

 

 

Main Course

Ranchera Steak Salad – pt.1 Traegar Pro 575

April 30, 2019

“Ranchera” Steak Salad

 

I’ve always been a big fan of a good steak salad, but it can be hard to find a really satisfying one at most local places. I’ve ran across a few in my life and its always the ones that are a little off the beaten path and always have a good blend between crisp veggies, cilantro vinaigrette, some element of creaminess, slightly spicy, and whatever meat you choose (in this case I went with Carne de Ranchera) it should have a good amount of salt, cumin, complimenting spices, and grilled to absolute perfection. Another great thing about this recipe is that I had the pleasure to execute it with the new Traegar 575 pro and its one of the best grills I’ve ever come across thanks to my partnership with Home Depot. Aside from being bullet proof (hardware and overall build are great) and very easy to set-up and use, the wood pellet grilling system that Traegar grills are known for are really impressive. I used the mesquite pellets and it gave a really nice light smoke on the meats that turned out to be perfect for what I was going with. Sometimes salads can be a bit boring, but if you load them up with loads of contrasting mouth watering flavors, they can and should become a staple recipe in any kitchen. I called it the “Ranchera Steak Salad” because this would be such an easy lunch to whip up for lunch when the grill is hot, meat is seasoned, and you have fresh veggies and herbs in the garden. Alright, lets dive into the recipe!

 

This is the blend of ingredients I’ll be going with to season the Carne de Ranchera. Sliced yellow onion, Clockwise: Paprika, Ancho chili, Chipotle, chili flakes, cilantro (stems and all), parsley, and thyme. You can tell the herbs are from my garden because my little caterpillar buddy followed me in..lol

 

 

Add the ingredients to a large mixing bowl along with the meat and begin to gently massage it all together.

 

 

 

 

Make sure you really get the seasoning in every nook and cranny and blend the red spices as evenly you can. Also, add in a little olive oil blended with canola oil as well.

 

 

Fire up the grill to your desired grilling temp, in this case I was at the 450f setting on my Traegar 575 pro and preheated it for a good 20 minutes before starting.

 

 

Add in the meat according to its cooking time once the grill its ready to go. Here I also bought some spicy chorizo sausage to go along with the steak and I’m saving some for tomorrow morning for my eggs, but none the less, I gave them a 30 minute head start before I started grilling the steak.

 

 

This meat cooks really fast, but is actually kind of hard to screw up believe it or not… its good rare, well done, or charred, so don’t worry to much about overcooking it per se. I left mine on the grill for about 5 minutes or so on both sides and I was more than happy with the juicy results.

 

 

Always, always, always season your meat with a good amount of salt…that is all

 

 

While the meat is cooking on the grill, its a good time to put together the components to the salad. I just picked this green garlic from one of my beds and it will serve as probably the strongest flavor in my creamy “chimichurri” dressing.

 

 

I reserved some of the herbs (cilantro, parsley, thyme) from the seasoning for my meat to use alongside the green garlic, fresh lime zest & juice, 50/50 olive oil and canola, chili flakes, and a good pinch of salt to forge the dressing.

 

 

After you minced the green garlic, herbs, and chili flakes together, add everything to a mixing bowl along with a few dollops of sour cream and give it a good stir.

 

 

If it gets a little to thick, which mine did, keep adding a little bit of water until it reaches a creamy consistency. This dressing is good for SO MANY THINGS btw.

 

 

For the salad I’m using some baby romaine romaine from the garden along with chunky avocados, vine ripe tomatoes, and sliced red onion. I’m going for a fork and knife feel for this salad since you’re having steak anyway, so splitting the heads down the middle and keeping just a little bit of the root on felt appropriate. Also, the browning on the tips are a result of the warmer weather and me not trimming back the leaves more regularly for new growth…doesn’t really bother me though.

 

 

THE MEAT IS READY!! All in all the total cooking team between the two were about 45 minutes (35 for chorizo / 10 for steak) and its time to assemble the salad,

 

 

 

You can always make this a tossed type of salad if you prefer it that way, but sometimes highlighting the ingredients helps with flavor contrast in my humble opinion. Anyways, start with spreading some of the creamy dressing down…

 

 

Gently toss the romaine, avocados, sliced red onion, and tomatoes with a splash of olive oil, lime juice and salt then place some of the mixed salad down onto the side of the plate.

 

 

Place the sliced steak on the other side of the plate and garnish with a grilled jalapeño and roasted tomatoes that serve as perfectly delicious “condiments”. THAT’S IT! This steak salad will be one to remember, I PROMISE. Big thanks to Traegar Grills and Home Depot for collaborating with me on this recipe and I’ll be showing you a few more recipes with this grill along with some of the digital features it has over the summer, so stay tuned! Brisket Sandwich? Smoked Short Rib Breakfast? Mesquite Salmon for dinner? SO MANY OPTIONS!

 

 

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs Carne de Ranchera

5 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp ground ancho chili, ground chipotle, and chili flakes

1 cup sliced yellow onion

2 tbsp chopped cilantro and parsley

2 tsp chopped thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp salt

 

Dressing:

4 tbsp minced green garlic

2 tbsp minced cilantro and parsley

2 tsp chopped thyme

2 tsp chili flakes

1 whole lime zest and juice

2 tbsp sour cream

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tbsp salt

water too thin…

 

 

Main Course

Winter Garden Salad

February 8, 2019

I’m sure many of you know this already, but I can’t tell you enough how rewarding it is to grow your own food. I know that it’s not always convenient to do it, I totally get it, BUT if you do have the time, space, and will, do it! I’ve always been fascinated with food in general and now that I have the time and space to work the kinks out a little, I’m taking full advantage. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring a different angle to my channel with this new journey, but even if you don’t have the garden veggies for this salad, they’re VERY accessible in most grocery store nowadays. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Begin making a sherry & mustard vinaigrette by emulsifying 1/2 cup of olive oil with 1 tbsp of dijon mustard, 3-4 tbsp of sherry vinegar, 1 tbs of chopped thyme, 2 tbsp of chopped parsley, 1 tbsp of brown sugar (optional for sweetness), and 1 tbsp salt. Continue Reading…