Welcome to my BlogSpot. I have created this blog in hopes of inspiring everyone to cook. I have found my inspiration from living in both Southern and Northern California. My influences in flavors have come from family recipes and meals with emphasis on healthy foods, marrying into an Italian family and the ethnic flavors throughout California. There are so many wonderful memories connected to our family dishes as well as new memories in the dishes that have been recently created. My husband, Randy who is recently retired, has been my biggest supporter and inspiration in our kitchen. He is my taster, my sous chef, and has created some really great dishes himself, which will be added to this blog. It is my hope that you too will be inspired to cook and create your own dishes for your loved ones and enjoy the craft of cooking.

One thing I ask of you is if you print out, email and pass out my recipes, please include my name and link.

Be sure to check out my Sweaty Equities blog about the ups and downs of crafty projects and our DIY remodels.
You can find it at http://sweatyequities.blogspot.com/

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Smoky Chicken Breast Buffalo Wing Strips

I know I’ve already given you 2 versions of great Buffalo Wings to try out but why not shake things up a bit and add at least one more. Some people don’t like the mess of the actual kind on the bone, but love the flavor, and many people have different tastes when it comes to good wings. This one is super easy to make and would be great for get-togethers and parties. You will need to prepare this the day before to make sure that your chicken has a chance to really soak in the marinade. I cook mine in the smoker but if you add smoked paprika to the marinade you can easily bake them and still have that great smoky flavor.
Smoky Chicken Breast Buffalo Wing Strips
8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, thawed
½ Cup Olive oil
*1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika (only if not using a smoker)
1 Bottle of Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce
Recipe for Chive and Roasted Red Pepper Ranch Dip. –See below
To make the marinade, mix together the olive oil and spice rub. (and smoked paprika if not using a smoker) Thoroughly coat each piece of chicken with the marinade and store overnight (24 hours) in an airtight container or vacuum sealed bag.
Preheat your oven or smoker to 325 degrees. Cut each breast into thin strips and reserve your marinade to give the strips one last toss before baking off in a shallow baking dish. (You may need to shallow baking dishes for this amount.) Bake until golden and thoroughly cooked. Toss with Franks Red Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce and serve with Chive and Roasted Red Pepper Ranch Dip.
This appetizer pairs nicely with Peju Province, a Rose Wine, or a Sauvignon Blanc.
Chive and Roasted Red Pepper Ranch Dip
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Feta Cheese
2 Tablespoons Chopped Chives
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper
1 package of Ranch Dip Mix
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
Susie Tronti
Click here for my other 2 buffalo wing recipes. -Let me know which one you like best.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Juicy, Fall of the Bone, Smoked Baby Back Ribs

Randy and I have been super busy with remodeling our home's exterior. I haven’t been able to cook as much because we work until there is no sunlight, or when the mosquitoes come out, whichever comes first. One thing we are taking advantage of is the barbeque and the smoker for cooking bulk meats so we can grab a quick something to eat while laboring in the hot sun. I like to have some fresh veggies and homemade beans on hand with the meats for a fast meal.
2 days ago, we bought a big package of Baby Back Ribs from one of those big box grocery stores. I brought them home and generously sprinkled some of my red spice rub (Click for recipe) on both sides of the ribs, stacked them on top of each other, then vacuumed sealed the ribs with the Food Saver for 2 nights. When you vacuum seal them, it forces the flavors into the meat, making the meat tender and juicy. I have also learned that when you buy the ribs from the big box store, they’re much meatier than regular grocery stores.
So here’s the scoop for making these Juicy, Fall of the Bone, Smoked Baby Back Ribs. I’m giving you directions for smoking them, but if you don’t have a smoker you can always use the oven. If you go the oven route, buy some smoked paprika and sprinkle it on the meat before applying the spice rub so you can still have a smoky flavor.
I’m also recommending the use of a vacuum sealer, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have one. Just store the rubbed ribs in an airtight container for a couple of days and that should do the trick.
You will need:
1 Large package of Baby Back Ribs from a big box store.
A Generous Amount of Susie’s Red Spice Rub (click for recipe)
A Smoker
Hickory and Oak Wood Chips
A Rib Rack (for stacking the ribs)
Your Favorite Barbeque Sauce
Heavy Duty Foil
Time on your hands to smoke all day
Generously apply the Red Spice Rub on both sides of each rib, using your hand to pat the rub into the meat. Stack each set of ribs on top of each other and place in a vacuum bag. Vacuum seal the bag and be sure it is completely sealed so no air gets in. Leave in the refrigerator for 2 nights.

In the morning, get your smoker ready. I used both hickory and oak wood. Cut each rib slab in half and place on a rib rack. You can get a rib rack at any barbeque cooking store and even some hardware stores that sell barbeques and smokers. Place the rib rack on a shallow baking pan to catch the fatty drips that will fall off the ribs during the cooking. Place in the smoker for 5 hours at 250 degrees. Keep your eyes on the temperature to make sure it maintains 250. Add more wood if needed during cooking process.
After 5 hours, take the ribs off the smoker. Generously brush the ribs on both sides with barbeque sauce and wrap tightly in Heavy Duty Foil. Place the wrapped meat on the shallow pan and put back on the smoker, only this time turn the heat up to 300 degrees and continue to cook for 2 more hours.
That’s it. It’s really that easy. Unwrap the foil and you have tender, moist ribs that will fall of the bone. 

The most important thing about making these ribs is to know your smoker.  I have a section in my blog dedicated to Barbeques and Smokers that may help you in shopping for the right smoker. This website was also very helpful to me in researching smokers: http://www.deejayssmokepit.net/
-Susie Tronti