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/

Let the Grilling Begin!

I Love Outdoor Cooking
Can you think of anything better than grilled food? We barbeque as much as the weather allows; and sometimes it’s in the rain. Back in 2006 Randy and my son, Daniel, tore apart our dilapidated backyard deck and built a new one. Our deck sits 8 feet off the ground and I didn’t want any railings around the deck, but rather counter tops, cabinets, a sink with running water, a refrigerator, and a barbeque with side burners! Yes, I wanted an outdoor kitchen. I drew up the plans and Randy and Daniel delivered.

We have 16 feet of counter space for entertaining and a movable island to top it off. We have really enjoyed this outdoor kitchen and many meals have been made and enjoyed out there. I have learned that when you want to barbeque something, you should make at least twice as much as you plan to eat that night for 2 reasons, 1 –you never know who will show up for dinner, and 2 –leftovers are yummy and convenient to have on hand.
You can grill just about anything as long as it doesn’t fall through the grates. Thankfully our grill has a lot of cooking space so we can grill pretty much our whole dinner. We’ve shopped the Big Box hardware stores for accessories to make grilling even more easy. We bought a wok with holes in it for the veggies and a griddle for the flakey fish that wants to fall apart upon flipping.
When spring comes, I can’t wait to get outside and wash away all the winter grime and get my outdoor kitchen and barbeque gleaming and ready for summer grilling. I usually jump the gun every season and hastily clean it before all the springs storms have made their way through, and then I have to clean it again. We are surrounded by many oak trees and their pollen pods continually drop and make a mess. I get so impatient that I forget to wait for the pollen pods to drop before giving the outdoor kitchen its annual scrubbing.
Once the outdoor kitchen is cleaned and the spring storms have made their way through, welcoming in the summer, I get to moving out all the essentials to successful cooking outdoors. I plant my herbs in pots and make them easily accessible, I take out my appliances, spices, utensils and cookware and have my garden nearby for my fresh ingredients. This is a very exciting time for us and now that Randy has retired we can create together.
Two years ago we introduced a smoker to our outdoor kitchen. We did a lot of research and shopping before we came to the decision to buy a Camp Chef Smoke Vault. We bought this brand because I wanted to be able to cook large quantities at a time and looked forward to being able to fit our Thanksgiving turkey in it. Now this smoker is pretty cool. You can make a couple of pizza’s at a time, bake bread, smoke fish and pork butt, and it has all kinds of accessories and gadgets to go with it. What could be better? There are a lot of great smokers to choose from and the prices range from economical to expensive. Each has its own qualities and conveniences, but in the end the essential reason for owning one is to enhance the flavor of food. If you’re on the hunt for a smoker, make sure you do a lot of research so that the smoker you buy fits your needs.
Let’s talk barbeques. We have a gas grill. It’s easy and convenient for cooking quick meals and gives the food great flavor, but something’s missing, --that true flavor that you get from cooking on wood or charcoal. Why didn’t we buy a charcoal grill? –Because we are a family who has had trouble in the past making fire. Whether it be a campfire or a charcoal grill, we just couldn’t seem to get the dog-gone thing lit. We even had a little gas grill for our motor home to ensure that we’d be able to eat. A couple of years back I discovered the charcoal chimney lighter. This thing is great. You put your charcoal on the top and light newspaper or paper trash bags underneath and VOILA, you have fire! Well now that we know how to make fire, I want a little charcoal Webber grill to add to my outdoor kitchen collection, but ssshhh, don’t tell my husband because I have to ease him slowly into the idea. My husband’s motto is “A man’s gotta have two of everything”, (when it comes to tools) and I’ve taken that motto and brought it to the forefront of essential barbequing. Women can’t live with just one barbeque, right? –In another blog I will be writing about our time in Napa Valley with our Sis-In-Law, Christy, when we were grilling over an oak campfire and pairing with champagne and premium wines. It was truly a memorable and delicious experience. –I’ll link it when I get it written.

I just came across this article from HGTV and found it interesting when it comes to outdoor kitchen design. http://www.hgtvremodels.com/kitchens/outdoor-kitchens-grilling-and-chilling-in-the-great-backyard/index.html
Now let the grilling begin!

1 comment:

  1. Who wouldn’t love outdoor cooking, particularly grilling? It is one of the things that most people enjoy. And it will be more enjoyable if you have big grill equipment outside. Or, if you’re going camping, a portable grill is the best. -> Dominic Pablo