Smoked Chicken with Herb and Chile Rubs

Hickory smoked chickens with two types of dry rubs | mjskitchen.com

 

It’s the time of year for grilling and smoking, long weekends, holidays, outdoor family gatherings and all those events that scream outdoor cooking. So in celebration of being able to cook outdoors it’s time to introduce Bobby’s smoking, new toy – a Pit Barrel Cooker.  For years he has used his gas grill as a smoker, but, even though the results have been great, the process is rather cumbersome.  The pit barrel cooker has simplified the setup, the cleanup, the overall process, and the results…fabulous.  It’s hard to say what I’ve enjoyed most – the pulled pork, pork ribs, or these smoked chickens.  Everything that comes out of the barrel is mouthwatering, but the herb smoked chicken is the epitome of smoked chicken.

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Pasta with Broccolini, Leeks and Preserved Lemon

A quick, easy, healthy pasta dish with fresh broccoli, leek, herbs and preserved lemon | mjskitchen.com

 

Looking for a seriously quick pasta dish bursting with flavor?  Here it is!  This Pasta with Broccolini, Leeks and Preserved Lemon is so simple, healthy, tasty, aromatic, and pleasing to the palate that you’ll want to have it every week.  Whenever I see young broccoli or broccolini at the market, I make this dish.  It’s just too easy and too good to pass up.  This past dish has a light sauce consisting of olive oil, water from the pasta pot, and a bit of preserved lemon juice. The ingredients are simple and few, and the pasta can be whatever you have in the pantry.  And if you don’t happen to have a jar of preserved lemons in the refrigerator, you can always make a quick small batch in about 24 hours.  Hope you enjoy!!!

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Spicy Smashed Potato Salad

Smashed potato salad made with creamy mashed potatoes and smashed, along with a few savory, sweet and spicy ingredients. | mjskitchen.com

 

Whenever Bobby and I drive through Texas, our route usually takes us through Post, Texas, a one – stoplight town, about an hour south of Lubbock.  If we arrive around breakfast or lunch we usually eat at George’s Family Restaurant, a little cafe’ with good food, service, and prices.  The last time we stopped it was for a late lunch.  We each ordered barbecue which came with a side of potato salad, a creamy potato salad made with a combination of mashed and chunky potatoes, a minimal amount of mayonnaise and other ingredients, and lots and lots of flavor.  We both loved it so much, I just had to give it a go.  This Spicy Smashed Potato Salad isn’t exactly like George’s, but it sure is GOOOOOOOOD, and it’s got a bit of a kick to it, something not included in the original.

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Swiss Chard Pie in Phyllo (Filo) Pastry

A hearty vegetarian meal of Swiss chard, pine nuts, ricotto and feta wrapped in phyllo dough #phyllo #Swiss #chard #vegetarian @mjskitchen

 

One of this year’s goals was to learn how to work with phyllo (filo) dough. I’ve always found it so light no matter what it’s filled with, plus I love the texture, but working with it seemed intimidating. A continuing inspiration to help push me past this intimidation comes from my friend Sissi @ With A Glass who wraps phyllo around everything from curried beef to black pudding, green chile to plums.  So with her assistance, I was able to tackle my fears and use this savory Swiss Chard Pie as my testing dish.

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How to Make Red Chile Corn Tortillas

How to make red chile and corn tortillas #tortillas | mjskitchen.com

After years of frustration trying to find corn tortillas that don’t fall apart when steamed or dipped in sauce, I started making my own.  I tried several methods that worked o.k., but it wasn’t until I tried the method that I found in one of my favorite cookbooks Gran Cocina Latina, that I was able to consistently turn out great tortillas.  I usually make regular corn tortillas, but it’s fun changing them up a bit and making flavored tortillas like these red chile corn tortillas.  The method and the recipes are basically the same. The only difference is that you substitute some of the water with red chile sauce.  The outcome is a beautiful red tortilla with a red chile flavor and a little spiciness in every bite.

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How To Make Honey Butter

How To Make Honey Butter #honey #butter @mjskitchen

Honey… who doesn’t love honey? I’ve always been fascinated by the production of honey and how hard all those little honey bees work. Did you know that the average worker honey bee only produces 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in a lifetime, and that it takes two million flowers for honey bees to make one pound of honey?!   I guess I should feel guilty about eating so much honey, but since it’s the by-product of an activity of nature that has been occurring for 10 – 20 million years, somebody has to keep all that honey from going to waste.

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Olive Brine Hot Pepper Sauce

Pepper sauce made with Pimenta Reaper Peppers and olive brine #hot #Sauce @mjskitchen

 

Last fall my friends from Fords Fiery Foods and Plants sent me some antep aci dolma peppers and Pimenta Reaper Peppers.  If you remember, I made red chile cheese tamales with the antep aci dolmas, but kept you hanging on the reapers. The reapers were smokin’ HOT making them ideal for either a hot sauce or a pepper sauce.  I tried both.  With half of them, I attempted to make a fermented hot sauce like Tabasco.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  However, with the other half of the peppers, I made an olive brine hot pepper sauce which, was not only remarkably easy to make, but uniquely delicious! This hot pepper sauce has the heat and the flavor from the pimenta reapers complemented by the salty flavor of green olive brine.  However, as with most hot pepper sauces, any smokin’ hot chile pepper that you like would work.

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Herb Crepes with Roasted Chile

Crepes with roasted New Mexico chile, pinon nuts and cheese #chile #crepes @mjskitchen

These Herb Crepes with Roasted Chile are a modified and simplified version of the green chile pathiri that I introduced a couple of years ago.  Last weekend I was planning to make the pathiri, but got started late and decided to take a shortcut.  Instead of dipping and stacking the crepes, I made individual crepes using roasted chile, pinon nuts (pine nuts), cheddar cheese, ricotta, and a secret ingredient.  Even though many of the same flavors were there, these crepes were quite different from the pathiri.  They were lighter, quicker to make, had a different texture, and some added flavors.

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Readers’ Favorites of Five Years

Readers' Favorites Recipes from MJ's Kitchen #chile #recipes @mjskitchen

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since I started MJ’s Kitchen.  Originally, I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes for a couple of years then move on.  However, once  I started, it was hard to stop. And why stop when I’m having so much fun!

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