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Magnificent mains

By Angie Sutton

www.mothersapronstrings.com

I’m rounding out this month’s focus on utilizing your outdoor grill for the flame-kissed flavor and ease it can add to your daily menu routine with a few magnificent main dishes.

This month we’ve explored how green salads can be hearty meals when paired with steak and adding grilled appetizers and desserts can complement the meaty dishes on your menu. Most of these meals are truly a simple solution and can easily be altered to fit your family’s tastes.

So fire up some fun food and frolic in the backyard. Take a few brief moments to relax during this busy season of trips to the ballpark, summer camp and 4-H activities. Add some special moments in your children’s memory banks by slowing down and sharing a simple seasonal meal.

Buttermilk Pork Chops with Corn Relish

Trust me, you do not want to skip the corn relish on this dish!

Source: Food Network Magazine

2 c. buttermilk
3 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
6 cloves garlic, smashed
6 bay leaves
2 tsp. hot sauce
12 black peppercorns
1 lemon
6 bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (1 inch thick; about 3 lbs. total)
Vegetable oil, for brushing
6 ears of corn, husked
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

Make the brine: Combine the buttermilk, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons salt, the garlic, bay leaves, hot sauce and peppercorns in a large bowl. Remove 4 wide strips of lemon zest with a vegetable peeler and add to the brine; squeeze in the juice of half of the lemon. Pierce both sides of the pork chops a few times with a paring knife. Add the pork to the brine, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat a grill to medium high and lightly brush the grates with vegetable oil. Remove the pork from the brine, letting the excess drip off and transfer to the grill. Cover and cook until marked, about 7 minutes. Flip and continue cooking, uncovered, until the other side is marked, about 7 more minutes.

Meanwhile, rub the corn with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt. Wrap each ear in foil and place on the grill. Grill, turning occasionally, until charred, about 10 minutes.

Remove the pork from the grill; let rest 5 minutes. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs. Combine the corn, the juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the parsley and chives in a bowl and toss; season with salt. Serve with the pork chops.


Southwestern Catfish

This rub on this catfish makes it a recipe to clip and save. The kids preferred to have hot dogs when we tested this recipe, but the adults definitely enjoyed it! As always, anytime you work with peppers, you’ll want to use disposable gloves. I served this with a green salad.

Source: Taste of Home

3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 tsp. salt, divided
3 tsp. paprika
3 tsp. chili powder
1 to 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 to 1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3/4 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 catfish fillets (6 ounces each)

For salsa, in a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Combine the paprika, chili powder, cumin, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder and remaining salt; rub over catfish. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill fillets, uncovered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat for 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with salsa.


Bratwurst Meal-in-One

Who doesn’t love a simple to prepare, quick to serve and easy to clean up dinner? The adults in our home like to use the spicy bratwursts to add flavor to this dish on a summer night.

3 lbs. uncooked bratwurst links
3 lbs. small red potatoes, cut into wedges
1 lb. baby carrots
1 large red onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 jars (4-1/2 oz. each) whole mushrooms, drained
1/4 c. butter, cubed
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

For each of two foil packets, arrange a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 17- by 15-inches) on a flat surface. Cut brats into thirds. Divide the brats, potatoes, carrots, onion and mushrooms evenly between the two double-layer foil pieces. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with soup mix, soy sauce and pepper. Bring edges of foil together; crimp to seal, forming two large packets. Seal tightly; turn to coat. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 23-28 minutes on each side or until vegetables are tender and sausage is no longer pink.


Timeless grilling tips

How to use a sauce

When grilling with a barbecue sauce, be sure your grill is at the proper temperature before placing the food on the grill rack. With thick or sweet sauces, wait until that last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking before brushing it on. Continue to baste and turn the meat every few minutes to avoid burning the sauce. Source: Jeff Sutton.

How to use a marinade

Most marinades are made with a mixture of herbs, spices, oil and vinegar or citrus juice. The goal is to tenderize and add moisture in addition to flavor as the meat soaks it in. The oil you add can help prevent the meat from sticking to the grill as it cooks, but you’ll still want to coat the cool grill top with cooking spray for best results. Marinades work best when the meat has at least four hours to soak. Marinades that are exposed to raw meat should be disposed of.

How to use rubs

Rubs are a blend of dry spices and herbs that you work into the surface of the meat prior to grilling. For best results you’ll want to let the rub sit on boneless chicken breasts for at least 30 minutes and large cuts of meat taste best when they sit for three or more hours.

How to grease a grill grate

As you can guess, foods that have a sugary marinade are likely to stick to your grill along with fish and lean cuts of meat. For your safety, its best to grease the grill while it is still cool. You can spray cooking spray directly on the grates but I recommend folding a paper towel and soaking it with cooking oil to wipe the grates down.

How to make clean up easy

A foil lining in the drip tray to catch the cooking juices makes clean up a breeze. Add several layers and simply tear them off as needed. Clean the food grate with a stiff wire brush after cooking and about once a month do a deep cleaning. Put the grate (when it is cool) inside a large clean trash bag and then spray it generously with oven cleaner. Close the bag and leave it overnight. Simply rinse the grate off with your house the next day.

How to cook safely

Use two platters when transferring food—one for raw food and one for prepared food. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of your meat to ensure it has reached the proper temperature. Charts are readily available to guide you. Safely store your leftovers in a timely manner and keep them only as long as recommended.

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