Grilled Salmon with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze…..

This recipe for salmon couldn’t be more simple.   My friend Mickey shared her recipe years ago and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since.

Amazingly, there are only three ingredients.  Salmon, whole grain mustard and brown sugar.  That’s it.  It is best prepared on the grill.  You’ll want to flip the salmon onto a piece of non stick foil to finish the cooking otherwise you will lose all the goodies in the grill.

Preheat the grill.

You will need:

4 6-8 ounce salmon fillets
8 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
8 tablespoons brown sugar

Start by rinsing the salmon and patting dry with a paper towel.  Place on a plate for grill transport.  Spread 2 tablespoons of mustard evenly over each piece of salmon.  Add the brown sugar, patting it into the mustard.

Gently place the salmon fillets on the grill, skin side down.  Close the lid and let them cook for about 8 minutes.
The fillets should now look opaque.
Gently slide your spatula between the flesh of the salmon and the skin and flip onto the non stick foil.  You can see that I’ve turned the edges of the foil up to keep the topping from dripping into the grill.  Close the lid and cook for  5-7 minutes.  Discard the skin.
 The salmon is done and you can see that the mustard and brown sugar have caramelized.  Carefully remove the fish/foil from the grill.  It is easy to slide onto a flat cookie sheet.  Turn the salmon over onto a clean serving plate and spoon the mustard/sugar mixture over the salmon.

Serve with sweet potato and parsnip latkes  and oven roasted asparagus.  Elegant and delicious!

Have a great evening!


Perfectly Grilled Pork Chops…..

We had grilled pork chops tonight and everyone cleaned their plates!   I thought I’d share a few tips on grilling pork chops.

1)  First and foremost, buy a whole boneless pork loin.  Watch the sale papers as whole pork loin often goes on sale.  Buy a couple and freeze one for later, they thaw beautifully.    I usually figure 6-8 ounces per serving.  Remove the loin from the store packaging and wrap with cling wrap.  Wrap with heavy duty foil, label and date.  When you want to thaw it out, you can do so in the refrigerator for a couple of days or I put the wrapped loin in a zip bag and let it sit in a large bowl of water.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator to keep it safe.  It will take several hours but will be much quicker than thawing in the refrigerator.  Give it a turn after a couple of hours.
2)  With a very sharp knife, cut the loin into equally sized chops to your desired thickness.  I like  1 1/2″ chops.
3)  Season however you wish.  Tonight I used Penzey’s Chicago Steak Seasoning but you could season very simply with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and a little granulated garlic.
4)  Allow the seasoned chops to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
5)  Preheat the grill.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Place the room temperature chops on the grill and close the lid.  Resist moving them around, allow them to sit.  For a 1 1/2″ thick chop, cook on medium low for 5 minutes then give a quarter turn for nice grill marks.  Close lid and cook another 5 minutes.  You should be able to see that the meat is cooking up from the bottom and it’s becoming opaque.  Flip the chops and cook another 5-8 minutes.  An instant read thermometer should read 140′.  Allow the meat to sit covered with foil for 10 minutes before serving.  Spoon those lovely juices that accumulate on the plate over the chops when serving.  Cooking lean pork over high heat will dry them out quickly.  Also, know that it’s ok for the center of the pork to be slightly pink.  Some restaurants even serve it medium, not my personal preference.

There you have it.  Moist, juicy, tender, inexpensive and most of all, delicious and perfectly grilled pork chops.  Serve with grilled onions and mushrooms, a simple baked potato and steamed green beans.  Simple perfect dinner.

Have a great day!


Simplest Barbeque Ribs…..

This recipe uses very few ingredients and a very simple cooking technique called braising.  Slow roast the simply seasoned ribs in the oven with low heat for a couple of hours and finish on the grill for 10-15 minutes.  Feeding a crowd?  Cook the ribs ahead and refrigerate (you’ll want to use within a few days).  Grill for 10-15 minutes and add BBQ sauce and serve.

Here we go….

There is a skin on the underside of the ribs, you’ll want to remove it.

Using your fingers, grip the skin and pull away from the ribs.

If it’s too difficult to grab ahold of the skin with your fingers, use paper towel.  This will help to grip the skin.

Once the skin is removed,  halve the slabs to make them more manageable when cooking.  Choose a meaty spot between two bones and slice with a sharp knife.

Preheat the oven to 275′.  Foil line a deep pan that will hold the ribs without too much crowding.

Now we’re ready to season.   I  season simply with salt and pepper.  I think salt and pepper bring out the natural flavor in the ribs and of course, you get tons of flavor from BBQ sauce.

Place in prepared pan.

Cover the pan tightly with foil.  Roast for 2 1/2 hours.

They’re done.  They don’t look very appetizing at this point but believe me, they’re tender and ready for the grill.  I find that they are more manageable when you allow them to cool a bit before grilling.  Preheat the grill to medium high.  Place ribs on the grill.  Grill until they’re heated through.   Add your favorite BBQ sauce at the very end.   I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s, it’s sweet, thick, and a bit spicy, so good.

Best BBQ Ribs

1-2 slabs of baby back ribs, skin removed and halved
salt and pepper
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, or your favorite BBQ sauce

1)  Preheat the oven to 275′.  Foil line your pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.

2)  Remove the skin from the back side of the ribs and halve the slab.  Season generously with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning or rub.  Place into prepared pan.

3)  Cover the pan tightly with foil.  Place in 275′ oven for 2 1/2 hours.  No need to peek.

4)  Remove from oven and cool or refrigerate to grill later.  Preheat grill to medium-high.  Place ribs on the grill for about 15 minutes.  Liberally add BBQ sauce to the ribs and watch carefully as to not burn the BBQ sauce.  Serve immediately.



Grilled Vegetables….

It is officially fall, but we still have plenty of time to grill.  Zucchini, yellow squash, onions, mushrooms, are in season and of course, you can still get your hands on asparagus.  Not only do they make a beautiful presentation for guests, they are simple and extremely delicious.  The onions take the longest.  I think it best to cut the onion into wedges and skewer.  They cook evenly and they won’t fall through the grill so easily.  Balsamic vinegar compliments grilled vegetables nicely.   I’ve included a nice vinaigrette recipe that is wonderful on salad and will add a burst of flavor to your grilled vegetable bounty.  Serve with simple steamed brown rice, grilled steak, chicken, or fish.  Delicious, simple, and healthy.
Grilled Assorted Vegetables
1 lb. button mushrooms
2 large onions, cut in half, then into wedges
2-3 small zucchini, cut lenghwise into quarters
2-3 small yellow squash, cut lengthwise into quarters
1 small bunch of asparagus with the tough ends snapped off
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dijon mustard or 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1)  Give the mushrooms a quick rinse and drain well.  Toss into a large bowl.  Add onion wedges.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper.  Skewer mushrooms and onions on their own skewers.  Set aside.
2)  Place prepared zucchini and yellow squash on a large platter, drizzle with olive oil to coat and season with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper.  Toss to evenly coat.  Do the same with the asparagus.
3)  Grill the skewered onions and the mushrooms first.   The onions will take about 20 minutes, the mushrooms about 10.  Turn often.  Place on platter when done.
4)  Grill the zucchini and yellow squash.  Cook on each side 3-4 minutes. (cook on all 3 sides)  Grill asparagus for about 4-5 minutes, rolling on grill often.  Arrange vegetables on a serving platter. 
5)  Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together until well blended.  Drizzle a couple of tablespoons over the grilled vegetables.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Grilled Margarita Flat Bread Pizza….

Grown up pizza anyone?  This is extremely delicious with the flavorful tomatoes and fresh basil available at this time of year.  This goes together in minutes.  Enjoy with a salad or serve as an appetizer at your next deck party.

Grilled Margarita Flatbread Pizza

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh clove garlic, halved
1 package whole wheat flatbread (5 pcs.)
4-5 ripe plum tomatoes
2 large fresh mozzarella balls, sliced thinly, or 4-6 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 small bunch fresh basil

1) Place olive oil and sliced garlic in a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
2) Preheat grill on high for 8-10 minutes, lower to medium heat and turn off half of the grill for indirect cooking.
3) Collect all ingredients on a tray and have ready at the grill. Place flatbread on the part of the grill without heat. Close lid for 2 minutes. Open, flip flatbread and brush with garlic infused olive oil, add a few slices of fresh mozzarella, and sliced tomatoes. Close lid for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add fresh basil leaves. Enjoy as a vegetarian entrée or an appetizer.

Grilled Pepperoni Flat Bread Pizza….

Who doesn’t love pizza?  How about wholesome pizza, made with real ingredients on a whole wheat flat bread?  No fussing with the dough.  I love to make homemade pizza dough, but working with a potentially sticky anything when it’s so hot is completely unappealing!!!  We will go there in the fall, when we have agreeable temperatures.  Oh, did I mention you make this on the grill?  No need to heat up the house.  Top with your favorite ingredients.

Grilled Flat bread Pepperoni Pizza

1 package whole wheat flat bread (5 pieces)
2 cups homemade pizza sauce or canned (recipe below)
1 package sliced pepperoni
4-6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1) Preheat grill on high for 5-10 minutes. Turn heat off of one section of grill for pizza.
2) Have all ingredients ready at the grill for quick assembly.
3) Place a flat bread on indirect heat, close lid for 2 minutes, give a flip. Spread a generous layer of pizza sauce over bread leaving a ½” boarder. Carefully top with shredded cheese and pepperoni. Close lid and allow to bake indirectly  for 8-10 minutes.  Makes 5 servings.  (if you have teens, this could be one!)

Citrus Marinated Jerk Chicken with Fresh Mango Salsa….

Are you enjoying all of the beautiful fruits presently available?  This is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.  I love the contrast of the spicy chicken and the cool, fresh taste of the salsa.   Make plenty of chicken to enjoy later in the week.  Try a nice chicken sandwich with a slice of sharp cheddar and avocado slices or top a fresh crisp salad for a light supper.

Citrus marinated Jerk chicken
with Fresh Mango salsa

2 lbs. boneless chicken breast cutlets
Juice of one naval orange, one lemon, and two limes
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1) Place marinade ingredients in a gallon zip bag. Add chicken and marinade 30 minutes to one hour. Discard marinade.  Mix all spice mix ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside.
2)  Prepare salsa, refigerate covered.
2) Preheat gas grill for about 10 minutes. Season each piece of marinated chicken with spice mixture.
3) Grill on medium high heat for 6-8 minutes or until juices run clear.  Top with fresh salsa.

Spice mixture:

2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sweet basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon cayenne


2 naval oranges, cut away rind and pith, dice
2 ripe mangos, peeled and diced
½ fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon fresh or bottled lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch salt

Gently mix all ingredients well. Refrigerate immediately.

Tequila Lime Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri, my version….

This is an incredibly delicious combination of heat, sweet and savory.  The steak is juicy and is very much complimented by the spicy chimichurri sauce.  The cool cucumber simple salad is slightly sweet and the roasted yuca is a very nice understated starchy vegetable.  Enjoy with a salted rimmed margarita on the rocks with fresh lime….mmmmm good!


2 large cloves fresh garlic
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tequila
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice or bottled
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 ½ lb. flank steak

Place all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth.  Place flank steak in a large zip bag, pour marinade over steak.  Marinate in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.  Discard marinade, preheat grill, cook over medium-high heat medium to medium rare.  For one inch thickness, cook 7-9 minutes per side.  Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.  Slice thinly across the grain or on a diagonal.  Serve with chimichurri.


3  tablespoons fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
½ medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
½ medium sweet red pepper, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil
2 large cloves fresh garlic
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 jalepeno pepper, (or seranno pepper for more heat), seeds included
½ teaspoon cumin

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator, allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.  Serve a generous portion over the grilled flank steak. Delish!

Cool cucumber salad

2-3 cucumbers, washed and thinly sliced
2-3 thin slices of red onion
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Slice cucumbers and  onion into a serving bowl.  Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl, stir often to dissolve salt and sugar.  Pour over cucumbers just before serving.

Grilled Yogurt, Garlic, & Rosemary Marinated Chicken…..

This is a very interesting way to marinate chicken.  The tang of the yogurt with the lemon juice really make for a tender result, and what’s not to love about rosemary and garlic?  Make it a day ahead for the best flavor.    
Grilled Yogurt, Garlic, and Rosemary Marinated Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts with skin and bone, or 2 lbs. chicken pieces of your choice with skin and bone
1 ½ cups plain fat free yogurt
5 large cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or bottled
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6-8 springs fresh rosemary
1-2 large zip bags for marinating

1) In a small mixing bowl, add yogurt through pepper and mix well.
2) Pull skin up from each piece of chicken creating a pocket. With your hands, put 1-2 tablespoons of yogurt marinade and a sprig of rosemary under the skin, rub additional marinade over the back side of the chicken, place in a gallon size zipper bag, add any remaining yogurt marinade to the bag. Place bag of chicken in a large bowl and marinate in refrigerator overnight.
3) Heat grill on high for 5-10 minutes and clean with grill brush. Turn heat down to medium. Place chicken pieces skin side down on the hot grill. Allow to cook for several minutes (5-8) before turning. Adjust heat if it is cooking too fast. Cook approximately 45-55 minutes.

If you’d like to spend less time at the grill foil line a cookie sheet and bake at 350’ for 35 minutes, then proceed to the grill. Cook an additional 15-20 minutes on heated grill.

John Flanagan’s Beef Marinade…..

This is an excellent marinade submitted by John Flanagan.  He recommends using flank steak, which is what I did when I first made the marinade…there was nothing left to photograph!  I made it again, this time with sirloin in the form of kabobs…delish!  I doubled the recipe so that I’d have enough to marinate the mushrooms and onions before grilling.  I skewer like vegetables and meats.  Everything cooks at a different rate, so I don’t like to put say something like tomatoes with onions or beef, they end up falling off before the meat or onions are cooked.  Serve with simple brown rice and grilled asparagus.   Tip-if using bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least an hour before skewering meats or vegetables.  This will prevent them from burning too quickly on the grill.  

John Flanagan’s Beef Marinade

¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon onion, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled

Put all ingredients into a blender and liquefy, reserve a couple of tablespoons before marinating to spoon over cooked meat.  Double the recipe to marinate vegetables.  (I do not recommend cooking this marinade after marinating over night, it breaks too much of the protiens down and will create a “curdled” sauce.)

For Flank steak:  John recommends marinating in the refrigerator overnight, the longer the better!  I suggest putting the steak into a large zip bag and add marinade.  Squish around several times to distribute marinade.  Grill to your preferred doneness.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes, loosely covered with foil before slicing.  Thinly slice against the grain.  Spoon reserved marinade over meat, enjoy!

For meat kabobs:  You can buy lean stew meat that is already cut up, or sirloin and cut it into cubes yourself.  Skewer the meat onto bamboo skewers before marinating, that way you can avoid the mess.  If you use sirloin, no need to marinade longer than an hour or two.  If using stew meat, marinate over night.  For medium cooked meat, grill on medium high about 10 minutes.

For vegetables-Into a large plastic zip bag, add cleaned whole mushrooms and onions cut into wedges.  Pour about 1/2 cup marinade into bag and refrigerate until you’re ready to grill. Give the bag a toss a couple of times to evenly coat veggies.  I use metal skewers for these as they take a bit longer to cook and the bamboo skewers often burn up.  You can marinate these anywhere from an hour to several hours.  To grill asparagus, no need to marinate, simply coat with a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill on medium high heat about 6 minutes, rolling occasionally.

Cook the vegetables first, as they are excellent served at room temperature alongside the grilled meat.  

Thank you John, this one’s a keeper!