Friday, February 25, 2011

Volcano Grills Collapsible - Easy Fajitas. Cmon SUMMER!

Where I live, Utah County, Utah, Winter came back with a vengeance today.  Snow, snow and more snow. Yuk. Yuk. Yuk.

I wanted to try something that would cheer me up and remind me of summer. For me, summer foods are: sea food, BBQ and sunshine. 
Since it was too snowy to BBQ and sunshine seemed like it was only a dream, I wanted sea food.. I also wanted easy.
I tried this. 

2 Tablespoons olive oil (Any oil will do, well maybe not 10-30, if you don't like olive oil.) 
1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and de-veined
1 red onion sliced halved and then sliced 
1 Package Taco Seasoning mix
6 (10 inch) flour Tortillas
Optional: Jalapeno Peppers

1. Use 12-13 briquettes in your Volcano, Open the Vent Ring ALL the way. Let the Briquettes get a nice white color before starting.
2. In your Dutch Oven Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add the Bell Peppers and onion. 
3. Cook, stirring frequently until the peppers are hot, but still somewhat crisp, (maybe 5 min) (You will want   to put the lid of your Dutch Oven on.. You will need it hot for the tortillas) Remove this mix and put aside.
4. Put the 2nd tablespoon of oil into your Dutch Oven and add the Shrimp. Cook, stirring once in a while, until pink and opaque. Close the Vent Ring ALL THE WAY and put the peppers and onions back into the skillet. Stir in the Taco Seasoning. Add a little bit of water if needed so that everything evenly coated with the Taco Seasoning. Simmer until peppers are heated.
5. Turn the lid of your Dutch Oven over. Use this to warm your tortillas. 

Anyway.. It made me think of summer.. and how much I would like to be eating these on a beach somewhere close to the equator..

Friday, February 11, 2011

My new & improved Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Since I am still home with a mending wing.... I decided to experiment.. This being Valentines weekend...Something not too hard, that my wife would love..Had to be tasty.. She Loves Italian Food.. Spaghetti, especially.The idea came to me.. why not try to build a GREAT spaghetti sauce to go with some capellini? I dislike almost every single from the store Spaghetti sauce I have ever tried... too sweet.. Too much garlic.. Not enough of this... too much of that.. I thought.. I can't do any worse.. (well maybe) and I've got all day see what I can do. (Beats Netflix!) 

I stole from several recipes.. and came up with this:


  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage, sliced- I cut it up into chunks. To me, it should be part of the flavor, not a showcase.
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef. I like organic from Smiths..
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed. I like garlic, I crushed 3 smallish ones.( I should have used more)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into bits.
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Dubonnet wine (also good for Marsala sauce)
    (Factoid: Dubonnet was originally invented to get French Foreign
    Legion soldiers to take their quinine.)
    (use water if you don't cook with wine)
  • DO NOT add ANY Sugar. Dubonnet is a fortified wine.. And will make this sweet enough.
    If you use water, you may want to add a little bit. (2 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed (makes for an authentic Italian flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt to gusto. (I used just a pinch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.
  • Optionally, add about 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms. 
In your Volcano, use a 12" DEEP Dutch oven over medium heat, (I used 12 briquettes) cook the sausage, beef, onion, and garlic until well browned; drain fat. Stir in the tomatoes you cut into bits, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with basil, fennel seed, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low, (take out 4 briquettes) cover, and simmer (close the vent ring ALL THE WAY after you take out the briquettes) 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  

Here are some tips on cooking pasta... The rest.. is up to you.


Pasta should be cooked in rapidly boiling water. Add long pasta, like spaghetti, in a bunch, gradually pushing it down as it softens; add other types of pasta to the rapidly boiling water in a stream.

A brisk boil seals the pasta and is the best way to cook pasta al dente, meaning slightly firm to the bite. Use 1 tablespoon of salt in the water for each ½ kilogram of fresh or dried pasta. As it begins to soften, stir the pasta gently. For pasta to cook evenly without sticking together, it is important to use plenty of water and a pot that is large enough to allow for swelling (good-quality pasta will expand to 4 times its initial size). Use 12 cups of water per ½ kilogram of pasta, adding 4 cups of water for each additional ¼ kilogram of fresh or dried pasta. Too much water is better than too little when cooking pasta.

The required cooking time for pasta is partly a matter of taste and partly a matter of the size and quantity of pasta and of the hardness of the water. The best way to know when the pasta is al dente test it regularly during cooking. The initial moisture content of the pasta will also influence its cooking time:

  • Pasta made from hard wheat flour must be cooked longer than pasta made from soft wheat flour.
  • Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta.
  • Pasta that is to be cooked a second time or frozen should be cooked for a shorter time.
  • Drain pasta as soon as it is cooked or it will continue to cook and become too soft.
  • Rinse cooked pasta in cold water only if it is very starchy (in the case of soft wheat pasta, for example) to prevent it from sticking if it is to be used cold (as in a salad), or to halt the cooking process immediately (for example, in the case of pasta to be cooked a second time with other ingredients).
  • Some types of dried pasta intended for use in baked dishes (lasagne, manicotti and cannelloni) do not have to be precooked. However, these dishes usually require a greater quantity of liquid or sauce, as the pasta absorbs much of it as it cooks.
Enjoy - and Happy Valentines day. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Buy a Volcano Get a free Volcano Lid $149.00 plus shipping!

Buy a Volcano and get a free Lid. Offer good
while supplies last.
Use your Volcano for baking, and, in most cases,
no top heat needed..
Use less fuel. In some cases way less fuel.
$149.00 Plus shipping
(and sales tax if you live in Utah)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Since I am home with a Broken Arm and Bored to Death..

One of my favorite foods is Sushi.. is this related to the Volcano? least not until I start doing tempura Sushi.. But if you were ever afraid of making sushi.. Because it was too hard.. It took too much time.. Blah blah blah.. Not true.
First.. I went out and looked at the traditional kits.. These consist of, basically, a spatula, a bamboo Sushi mat and some good luck wishes from the manufacturer.  I thought about several things, one of them being the mess that I would make in the kitchen and my untimely death if my wife saw it.. I thought there must be an easier way..
I went out on ebay (Where else?) and found this For about $20.00 shipping included. My kit did not include the chopsticks or the pasta looking fork.
So, I bought some Nori sheets (I wanted to make Maki Rolls)
Then I went to 1rst Oriental Market and bought some pickled ginger, 15 lbs of Sushi Rice ($23.00 for all of it) Note - Sushi Rice is a special SHORT GRAIN rice.. You CANNOT use long grain rice. It is NOT sticky and your rolls will fall apart.
This is the best kind of rice. The most important part of of making Sushi is the rice. You can put whatever you want in the roll.. but, the rice is the key.
I did not use a Rice Cooker.. I could have.. but this turned out well, so why bother?
1.5 cups of Dry rice + 2 cups of water. Put in a pan and bring to a boil. When it is at a boil, cover it and turn down to simmer for about 20 min.. until the rice is dry. It will be STICKY! (As in good luck scraping all of it off the bottom of the pan)
I used 4 cups of rice.. so I took 1/2 cup rice Vinegar, 1/2 cup of Splenda (you can use sugar if you don't like splenda and don't mind the calories) and 2 tbl of salt.
Take all of the rice out of your metal pan (you don't want a reaction with the Vinegar) and put it in a glass (or wood, if you're traditional) bowl and fold in the Vinegar mixture. This takes a little time because you don't want to smash  the rice.
Once it is mixed, I took the part of the mold to make round maki rolls and put in a Nori Sheet.
From here, fill about 1/2 way up with rice.. and then add whatever you want.. We used avocado, Smoked Salmon, Surimi and cukes. Once you have the filling in.. fill the rest up with Rice..
and use the supplied top/shaper (I used the round one and the heart one) and press down.
That's all there is to it. I wanted put them in the fridge.. However, I was out voted on letting them stay there overnight.. (So I could take pictures of the rolls) and, they were mostly devoured. However,
Here is what the finished product looked like: (Actual stuff I made)
I cannot believe how easy this way.. Next time, I will put two rows of something in the heart ones so that there is something on each side and I will add A LOT more "stuff"  and way less rice. Each roll, as I did them last night, took about 1 cup of UNCOOKED rice per each. (Can you say BIG maki rolls?) My next expedition (As soon as I can get out.. Will be to try this with some fresh caught Trout from an ice fishing escapade and, use the volcano so I can do Tempura.