Michael

Smokin’ Weekend

Over the weekend we got to try out our new Traeger smoker!

Saturday

We had another couple over for dinner to have ribs. Michael started the ribs at about noon and then we ate at 7-ish.

Michael has been really good at BBQing ribs, it’s one of his specialties, but smoking them for several hours first made them out of this world!

He used a combination of a BBQ seasoning rub and a recipe that the Traeger book recommended (honey, mustard, brown sugar) and then for the last hour of the cooking he added the BBQ sauce.

The ribs were absolutely perfect! The meat fell off the bone. The flavors were so rich and smokey. It was like nothing we’d ever had before. Smoking the ribs was sooo good.

Michael said next time he does ribs he’d do the timing a little different. I think he was saying it was a 3-2-1 process where you smoke them for 3 hours then cook them in foil for 2 hours then the last hour is cooking uncovered on the grill and using BBQ sauce. He said he wanted to play with the time a little bit next time.

Our friends brought a delicious Asian-inspired cucumber salad. The cucumbers were from her garden. The salad was really tasty and went so well with the ribs.

Sunday

Michael bought a giant hunk of brisket at Costco and started the Traeger at 7am. He followed the recipe in the Traeger book for the first time. A few years ago I bought him Franklin’s BBQ book so I think he’ll use that in the future, too.

This was definitely an all day process and he said he should have started it a bit earlier in the morning.

I picked the first batch of jalapenos from the garden and Michael pickled a bunch and then saved a few and made poppers as an appetizer. SO TASTY!

Michael’s mom and stepdad, sister and friend Jeremy came over to be guinea pigs for the first ever brisket.

Once the brisket was done, we wrapped it in foil to rest for almost an hour.

More wine:

And the unveiling!

Michael’s mom made potato salad from scratch and Michael’s sister made a delicious salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. It was all really tasty and went perfectly with the meat.

For a first attempt, the brisket was really, really good. There were a few tough pieces but for the most part it was great! The flavor was outstanding. We are all super excited to try again!

Hoppy Birthday

On Saturday night we had Michael’s mom and stepdad over for her birthday dinner. I opened a bottle of the Stoller Chardonnay and I prepped a little bit of the veggies while Michael prepped the chicken.

I found this recipe.

Garlicky Greek Chicken

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 lb. chicken thighs
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, ends removed
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano. Whisk until combined then add chicken thighs and toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 425°. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season both sides of marinated chicken with salt and pepper, then add chicken skin-side down and pour in the remaining marinade.
  3. Sear until the skin becomes golden and crispy, about 10 minutes. Flip chicken and add asparagus, zucchini and lemons to the skillet.
  4. Transfer pan to oven and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=54632

The recipe needed a little tweaking, which we figured out after the fact. But I think it’s a good idea. The execution was just a little off.

What attracted me to the recipe was that it sounded refreshing and good for a spring dinner. The asparagus was great and I loved the zucchini in it, too.

Michael marinated the chicken thighs in the lemon juice/garlic/herb mix. Then he cooked the thighs in the skillet, then put everything in the Dutch Oven and baked it. I still don’t understand how this recipe was “Greek”??

The flavors were all great. But like I said at the start, the recipe needs to be changed. First, we’d cook the chicken entirely in the skillet (like usually do). Doing it in the skillet then the oven made the skin not crispy–which is the best part. The veggies were good in the oven, but the cook time in the recipe for the oven portion was not correct, either. We had to bake it longer. So next time, all skillet!

Dessert was Baskin Robbins ice cream! Yum.

On Sunday I went swimming and took care of some stuff around the house and then Michael and I got to have a little afternoon date. A friend had offered to babysit for us and we finally were able to take her up on it!

We got pedicures first. It was nice to just relax back in the massage chair and be pampered. Michael commented that he didn’t understand why more men didn’t do this because it’s a luxurious, relaxing experience. I laughed and said I know. It’s not really about getting your nails done! 😉

Then we went to happy hour for dinner at Hop Jacks in Happy Valley.

We’d never been before but I’ve seen it a million times on our way home from Mount Hood and was curious. They bragged about the coldest beer in town. Michael got a Long Island Iced Tea (what?!?) because he hadn’t had one in years. (I think it’s been at least 15 years for me.) and I got a Boneyard RPM and yes–it was very cold!

We got some nachos and queso for dinner. It was pretty good! The place felt kinda like a Red Robin I guess? We got there about 4:30 and it wasn’t very crowded but by the time we left an hour later it was packed with a line out the door. They have happy hour every day from 4-6.

It was a nice way to unwind after a busy weekend!