Kitchen Must Have – Sur La Table “Dizzy Dog” Cutter

dizzy dog

Stay with me here because I know this sounds like a silly and useless kitchen gadget but believe me when I tell, this just took my hot dog to the next level of perfection! I love my grilled dogs nice and charred, the darker they are cooked the better in my opinion. I love the crispy skin and slight crunch when you bite into them. The problem is, the inside of the hot dog remains the same no matter how long you grill the outside. Until now.

The Dizzy Dog® cutter cuts a spiral into each hot dog that when grilled, expands and allows the heat to get into the dog and cook it as evenly as the outside. Not only you do end up with a delicious charred skin but now the inside is perfectly cooked as well. Trust me when I say, they are absolute heaven! Even my kids, who don’t like hot dogs at all, eat these because they love the way they are cooked. And let’s be honest here, who doesn’t love a fun spiraled hot dog to boot? The other nice thing about the spiral design is that you can get condiments into all of the nooks and crannies and you can even stuff the spiral with yummy things like cheese or bacon. Mmmmmm.

“Spiralizing” the dogs only takes a few seconds each. You just pop them into the plastic cylinder and spin the cutter mechanism, it couldn’t be any easier. Even cleanup is a cinch, just toss it in the dishwasher when you’re all done. I highly recommend this nifty little gadget, I don’t think you will be disappointed. If you’re interested in getting one for yourself, just click here to be linked to the Sur La Table website. Act quickly before they are all gone for the season! Normally priced at $9.95 they are on sale for only $4.99! They would make a great stocking stuffer for the grill master in your life. Enjoy!

Fresh Summer Corn Salad

corn salad

A few summers ago a friend of mine brought this amazing fresh corn salad to a BBQ and it was love at first bite! This dish is everything a summer salad should be, it’s light, fresh, and so flavorful. It’s a great side dish for burgers, sausages, steak, and other grilled meat. I really enjoy it because it’s a nice change of pace from the standard grilled corn on the cob and it’s also very easy to pull together.

This recipe for Fresh Corn Salad comes from Ina Garten and in all the times that I have made this dish I have followed it exactly except to also add in a small, finely diced, red pepper. I like the extra little crunch and flavor that the pepper brings to the salad. You can also try substituting in other flavored vinegar however, I think the sweetness that is added from the apple cider vinegar is perfect so I’ve stuck with that.

When making this salad, be sure to not overcook the corn, you’re just looking to cook out the starchiness but you want it to stay nice and crisp, not mushy and chewy. Three minutes in boiling water is all you need and then immediately place the cobs of corn in ice-cold water to stop the cooking and set the color. This dish can be served at room temperature but I think it’s better when it’s nice and cold so that the veggies keep their firm crisp texture.

Ingredients

  • 5 ears of corn
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 finely diced small red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

Instructions

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until all of the starchiness is gone. Drain and place the corn in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and set the color. Once the corn is completely cooled, cut all of the kernels off of the cob cutting as close to the cob as possible.

In a large bowl, toss the kernels with the red onion, red pepper, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil and combine. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

homemade bbq sauce

There is nothing better in the summer than grilled meat dripping in thick, sticky BBQ sauce and while there are plenty of great tasting ones to choose from in the supermarket I’m not always thrilled about the ingredients that they contain. So instead of resorting to the bottle variety of BBQ sauce, I make my own! It’s so simple to make and there are literally countless recipes and variations to choose from.

I adapted this BBQ sauce recipe from one that I came across online by Jamie Deen, he used the sauce on his BBQ Baby Back Ribs . The sauce came out really great, it was a nice mix of sweet and spicy however, it did have a strong vinegar taste initially so I adjusted the seasonings to create a more balanced flavor. I added in 1/2 cup of brown sugar for a little extra sweetness plus a 1/2 tbs molasses. I also cut back on the amount of cayenne pepper that was called for, I added only 1/4 tsp and the resulting sauce was plenty spicy.

The recipe made more sauce than I actually needed so I just stored the rest in a Mason Jar and used it for my next BBQ meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs canola oil
  • 2 tbs finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used only 1/4 tsp)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For adjusted sauce recipe include:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbs molasses

Instructions

Heat the oil over medium high heat and saute the onion until softened. Add all of the other ingredients and simmer on medium low heat until thickened, about 35 minutes. Use immediately or store in a Mason Jar in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

bbqribs

 

Quick and Easy Coleslaw

coleslaw.jpg

True story. I love coleslaw but I hate mayonnaise which is a bit of an issue when you buy a store made coleslaw. They are usually drenched, mushy, soaking in liquid and taste like mayo and pretty much nothing else. I find it wholly unappetizing which is why I’ve tried out countless homemade versions in an attempt to find one that is on the drier side, remains crunchy, and has a flavor profile that extends beyond just mayo. Enter my “Quick and Easy Coleslaw“.

I am not really sure how or where I came across the original recipe but I’ve tinkered with it so many times now using ideas from various other coleslaw recipes that at this point, I’m taking all of the credit for this one! This recipe is super easy, and I do mean SUPER EASY, to make. You can pull it all together in just a few minutes and instead of “who knows how old it is store bought coleslaw” you can serve this crunchy, fresh one at your next BBQ or get together.

Ingredients

  • One bag of coleslaw mix (you can find this with the bagged salad mixes in the produce dept)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

Whisk together the mayo, sugar, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth and well combined. Toss with the bagged coleslaw mix until evenly coated. Let the coleslaw chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors can combine. Serve cold. This will keep about 2-3 days in the fridge.

**TIP** – The bagged coleslaw mixes are great but I have found that on occasion the pieces aren’t shredded enough and I don’t care for huge pieces of cabbage in my coleslaw. To fix this, I simply use my kitchen shears and snip the coleslaw while it’s in the bowl (before pouring the dressing on it) until I’m happy with the size and shred.