Archive for the ‘Ramblings’ Category

Party Cheese Ball

Monday, December 8th, 2014

My mom is not a cook.

For our wedding (I think I’ve mentioned this before), our friends and family put together an awesome cookbook of their favorite recipes. Since my mom is not a cook, however, her contribution was a little…simple.

Spinach Dip

Submitted by Mom

Ingredients:

  • Money of some sort
  • Your local grocery store
  • 1 round loaf Hawaiian bread
  • 2 lbs deli spinach dip
  • A car

Directions:

Drive to the store. Purchase spinach dip and Hawaiian bread. Drive home. Carve hole in middle of Hawaiian bread. Place spinach dip in hole. Serve with pieces of bread from hole around it. Enjoy!

_______________

It was still a wonderful contribution, since it makes me laugh every time I think of it. Plus, it’s a classic “Mom” dish that she takes to most parties that she has to bring an appetizer. Who doesn’t like Spinach Dip? Even though I love to cook, and would likely make spinach dip from scratch if I were going to take it somewhere, I love this recipe from my Mom.

The other recipes she included is a little more useful. It also happens to be her other appetizer recipe. It’s a classic cheeseball, a popular party snack. Here’s how it goes.

Cheeseball

Submitted by Mom

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar Kraft Pimento cheese
  • 1 jar Kraft Old English cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • Chopped pecans
  • Assorted crackers, for serving

Directions:

Soften the cream cheese. Mix 3 cheeses together, blend well. Shape into a ball. Roll in chopped nuts. Wrap in wax paper and foil, store in refrigerator overnight. Serve with crackers.

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

Apparently recipes from Mom are about 30 words long. Nothing wrong with that. I make this one often, because it’s easy, and a family favorite. The hardest part is finding the little jars of cheese–I swear they move around the grocery store every time I go. They’re never in the same place twice!

This Thanksgiving, I dressed up Mom’s classic Cheeseball recipe–like a turkey!

Gobble Gobble!

Gobble Gobble!

This is one of those rare Pinterest projects that turns out better than the inspiration. I love this little guy! To adjust mom’s general recipe, I rolled the cheeseball in crushed Ritz crackers to help it hold together, chilled overnight as directed, and then added the other garnishes once I got it on the platter the next day. The back feathers are crackers, I stuck pecan halves in the cheeseball in a feather pattern, rather than using chopped pecans, and the face is a strip of red bell pepper. The beak is cut out of a slice of cheddar cheese, and the eyes were made from a thin slice of string cheese, with a couple of whole black peppercorns stuck into it. I stuck a few toothpicks into the cheeseball and through the pepper, eyes, and beak. The whole process took about 5 extra minutes, and was a great addition to my Thanksgiving appetizer spread!

Better late than never…

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Better late than never…

Here’s Make A Whisk’s top 10 posts of 2010.

1)      Coconut Cake (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/01/coconut-cake/)

If you like coconut, this cake is not to be missed. A lot of trouble, but worth every second. You have no idea how good real coconut can be until you try this cake.

2)      Easy Cheese Danish (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/02/easy-cheese-danish/)

A quick and dirty recipe for cheese Danish at home. A lot of the ingredients are things we have on hand anyway, so easy to throw together for a crowd in the morning.

3)      Wizarding World of Harry Potter Food Preview (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/03/wizarding-world-of-harry-potter-food-preview/)

No recipes, and I’d almost forgotten I’d written this one. But back in September, I got the chance to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and am happy to report that the initial reviews got it right, everything was fantastic. The Pumpkin Juice was yummy, the Butterbeer (better frozen than not) was good, though too sweet for my personal tastes. We got cauldron cakes at Honeyduke’s, in addition to acid pops and sugar quills. For lunch, we ate at the Three Broomsticks and feasted on Roast Chicken, Turkey Legs, Fish and Chips, and more. Universal did a great job with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, right down to the food and drinks.

4)      Caramelized Corn with Fresh Thyme (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/04/caramelized-corn-with-fresh-thyme/)

Such a great, simple side dish, with so few ingredients. Fantastic.

5)      Lost Finale Party. (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/05/well-lost-is-over/) So sad it’s over. But the food was good.

6)      It’s so hard to pick just one post from June. I got a grill for my birthday, and all we did was grill all month long, maybe all summer long. I guess I’ll go with the grilled pizza (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/06/grilled-blt-pizza-with-blue-cheese/ ), but really, I was just so excited to be grilling!

7)      Not something I cooked, but someplace we went—Girl and the Goat finally opened their doors, and we were there for the opening week! I’ve really been wanting to go back lately, too. (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/07/the-girl-and-the-goat-worth-the-wait/)

8)      For August, though there were lots of grilled recipes, and plenty of things to celebrate (like Kat and Jeff’s wedding shower), I’m going to have to go with the Two-Corn Polenta with Tomatoes & Basil, since it successfully brought polenta back into our lives. And our lives might be better for it. 😉 (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/08/two-corn-polenta-with-tomatoes-basil/)

9)      To highlight the grill, which was really the focus of our summer cuisine, I want to mention these Flank Steak Skewers from Everyday with Rachael Ray. I know we made them twice, but we might have actually had them three times. They were that good. And because they’re skewers, would be perfect for a crowd, as they cook  up quickly and can be prepped in advance. I’d almost go stand in the snow to make some more. Almost. (http://makeawhisk.com/2010/08/dry-rubbed-flank-steak-skewers-with-basil-butter/ )

10)   This copycat recipe for PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef was definitely one of my favorite new recipes this year. Just the right amount of spicy, rich and meaty, crisp around the edges. And the kind of sauce that demands to be served over rice, just so you don’t miss a drop.  http://makeawhisk.com/2010/12/copycat-mongolian-beef/

Christmas Round-Up and A Look Ahead

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Hey everyone, it’s been awhile. I apologize for that. Things have been busy, blah blah blah, excuses, excuses. The truth is, I haven’t had time to try very many new recipes, so I’ve been lacking in the inspiration department. I’ve also been trying to figure out how to take better pictures, which I think I’ve gotten a handle on. Finally, we got a dog, and she takes up a lot of my time (in a good way!).

Obligatory Picture of the New Pup

I’m going to go ahead and make an early New Year’s resolution to get back to blogging more in 2011. That means making a point of trying more new recipes, which I’m also excited to do. Our old standbys are good, but we’ve been relying on them a little too often lately. I’m ready to be a bit more adventurous.

I thought it might be nice to mention some of the foodie Christmas gifts I got, since they’ll likely feature heavily in my future recipes, one way or another. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook: From Cauldron Cakes to Knickerbocker Glory–More than 150 Magical Recipes for Muggles & Wizards
  2. A new Cupcake Courier, that holds up to 36 cupcakes, but also, Bakerella assures me, Cake Pops!
  3. A Swissmar-Borner V-Slicer with Mandolin (I’ve wanted a mandolin for so long–can’t wait for an excuse to use it!) Also with a cut-resistant glove, for safety.
  4. The Pioneer Woman Cooks. Love that Pioneer Woman!
  5. A whole slew of Cooking Light’s annual editions, ranging from somewhere around 1987 to 1995. Lots of great hidden treasures in there, I’m sure!
  6. Glittery pinch bowls from Crate & Barrel. So cute!
  7. A big set of colorful, nesting mixing bowls from JC Penney. I love mixing bowls. Especially nesting ones. Always useful.
  8. A new crockpot. I love my old 3-in-1 Hamilton Beech, and have no intention of getting rid of it, but the new one has a timer, which is definitely helpful sometimes. I’ll keep ’em both!
  9. A GIANT cupcake-shaped baking pan, to make GIANT cupcake-shaped cakes. Just need an excuse to try this one out!

I’m very excited to get in the kitchen and play with all of my new toys. And to share the results with all of you. Hope your holiday was great, and have a Happy New Year!

P.S. I seem to have missed a blogiversary! Make A Whisk has been here for two whole years. Keep an eye out for a year-in-review post of all my favorite recipes from 2010. You can also look forward to recipes for Cider-Glazed Chicken, Pecan Rice Pilaf, S’More Dessert Bars, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, a very successful copycat recipe for PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef, and Cooking Light’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread. See you soon!

What’s for Dinner?

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Thanks to the holiday weekend, we didn’t have too many dinners to pick for this week. Yay!

Tonight, based on a conversation last Tuesday, we’ll be having Sloppy Joes. I’m going to try my hand at The Pioneer Woman’s version, which looks pretty close to the kind I grew up with, anyhow. Sounds simple, but I’m looking forward to it. Go figure. We’re also making bruschetta, with awesome tomatoes from my cousin Becky’s garden. So that should be good!

Tomorrow, we’re having steak fajitas. Instead of our normal recipe, we’re starting with a fajita marinated skirt steak from Costco. I’m going to make up a knock-off of Chipotle’s cilantro-lime rice to go with.

Thursday, I’m making stuffed peppers. We haven’t had them in awhile, and we’ve got bell peppers from my cousin’s garden, too, so I figured it was a good time to do it.

That’s as far as we’ve planned. I might make a trip down to my sister’s new apartment and there was talk of making lasagnas. If it happens, I’ll take pictures and report back.

Congrats to Kat & Jeff!

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Since I usually post pictures of my cake pops, I figure I might as well post these:

Devil’s Food Cake with white chocolate on the outside and sparkly silver crystal sugar (Courtesy of Duff, a.k.a Ace of Cakes). I made them Friday night for Kat & Jeff’s wedding shower on Saturday.

I’m especially proud of the little tags, actually. I thought they were a nice touch.

Thanks to Sarah and Leah for their help (mostly with tying those adorable little bows!).

Finally, a quick public service announcement: When it’s hot outside, cake pops melt. That is all.

Review: McDonald’s Real Fruit Smoothies

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

This isn’t the kind of thing I would normally review, because it’s not the kind of thing I would normally buy. I’m not that into sweet drinks, and I’m not a big fan of drinking your calories. But I’m recovering from multiple root canals and a wisdom tooth extraction, which has put half of my mouth out of commission. It’s also had me eating a lot of soft things, like oatmeal, yogurt, pudding, applesauce, and, well, smoothies.

I had the Strawberry Banana flavor, and I have to admit that the taste was surprisingly good. It tasted like “real fruit,” as advertised. Mostly strawberry, but with a touch of banana. This created a good balance of tart and sweet. There were strawberry seeds in the mix, and tiny bits of fruit, so it seems as though there’s some actual fruit in there somewhere. Not something I’m going to order all of the time, but I was surprised at how much I liked it.

The nutritional information wasn’t THAT bad, either. For the small size, the smoothie is 210 calories, only half a gram of fat, and 2 grams of fiber, (or 4 Points, for those counting). That’s a little on the high side for a snack, and a disaster if you buy a burger and fries to go with it, but if you were craving something cold and creamy like a milkshake, this is a pretty reasonable substitute. Just to compare, the same size Triple Thick Strawberry Shake will cost you 420 calories, and 10 grams of fat (9 Points) and a Strawberry McCafe Shake is even worse at 570 calories, 17 grams of fat, or 13 Points. In comparison, the smoothie seems downright angelic.

So do I recommend it? If you’re there, and looking for a cold treat, this is a pretty good option. I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to get to McDonald’s for one of these smoothies, but I’m not a big smoothie fan in the first place. The small costs $2.29 here which seemed pretty reasonable, but again, I’m not a regular at Jamba Juice or other smoothie places, so I don’t know how that compares. I liked the Strawberry Banana, but I’ve heard that the Wild Berry is a lot sweeter, which certainly wouldn’t be to my tastes.

The Girl and the Goat: Worth the Wait

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

As you’ve probably noticed if you’ve been following the blog at all, if I have a favorite celebrity chef, it’s got to be Stephanie Izard. She won season 4 of Bravo’s Top Chef to become the first (and so far only!) female Top Chef. She’s from Chicago. And ever since she won “$100,000 to help make her culinary dreams a reality, furnished by the Glad family of products,” I’ve been waiting impatiently for her restaurant to open.

If you remember, we got the chance to meet Stephanie at a little get together at her house, thanks to a contest in the RedEye. And you may or may not know that David and I traipsed all over the city trying to get our hands on tiny little goat buttons, hoping to win tickets to a premiere party for the new restaurant. The whole goat button thing didn’t really work out for us, but David was kind enough to make us reservations after the restaurant opened a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s my rundown:

The decor

The restaurant has high ceilings, and a kind of rustic decor. The kitchen is open, and you can see Stephanie hard at work with the whole kitchen staff. We sat in the center of the floor, so had a good view of the kitchen and the bar. The kitchen is dominated by huge wood-burning ovens–the better to wood-fire some pizzas, my dear. Overall, the restaurant has a comfortable feel. The servers were dressed in jeans and sneakers, which is fine by me, but the patrons were fairly over-dressed for the decor, on the whole. Probably because of the whole new-and-trendy aspect.

The linens were minimal, and in keeping with the rustic feel of the space. Water is served in re-purposed wine bottles, which looked cool, but didn’t exactly keep the water cold.

P.S. We had a decent view of the kitchen, but the restaurant layout has two two-seater tables actually IN the kitchen, so if you want to spend your date that close to the fire, try to reserve one of those spots! I tried not to geek out about seeing Stephanie at work in the kitchen, but we saw that at least one women went up and got her menu autographed, so I guess she’s used to the attention by now.

The drinks

I really should let David tell you about this, since he was the one to order a drink. The bar menu was loaded with great wine selections, by the bottle or the glass, something like 30 different craft beer options, and some very meticulously designed mixed drinks. David ordered something called a “Smoking Jacket,” which featured smoked bourbon or something of the sort. I didn’t taste any, but he enjoyed it. His only “objection” is that it was probably the first pink-colored drink he’s ever ordered in public. We didn’t expect it to come out pink!

The food

This, of course, is what we came for.

Everything is served as small plates, and they recommend two to three plates per person. The menu is sorted into Veggie, Fish, and Meat sections, though as our server warned us, those aren’t strict categories. He offered to make accommodations if we were vegetarians, but as a couple of carnivores, we weren’t too worried. We skipped the oyster selections (we felt brave, but not that brave) and started instead with the “veggie” version of the bread, which was a fresh-baked loaf served with chimichurri and sweet onion butter. All delicious.

From the Veggie plates section, we chose a salad made with fresh mozzarella, yellow cherry tomatoes, and yellow plums. These were served over greens with a vinaigrette and a cilantro-herb paste. Very tasty. And our server told us that that particular dish made the menu that day because Stephanie had been inspired by the cheese and tomatoes at the Green City Market that morning, which was a nice touch.

From the Fish section, I ordered seared scallops, served with braised veal and caponata over marcona almond butter. It was awesome. David’s not a seafood fan, so I didn’t even have to share, but I did get him to try a bite. Even he agreed it was kind of tasty. The scallops were seared perfectly, with an awesome crust on each side. Nestled between the scallops was a very flavorful tender veal. I would order the veal on it’s own any day. The saltiness of the veal, the creaminess of the almond butter, and the subtle sweetness of the scallop melded together perfectly. Can we go back yet? I want this dish again! (If you’re not familiar, caponata is a kind of vegetable salad. Don’t worry, I had to look it up, too. I’m not sure exactly what was in Stephanie’s, but it was very tasty, and definitely added to the dish texturally).

From the Meat section, we ordered two plates: ham frites, with swiss cheese dipping sauce and a sun-dried tomato aioli for dipping, and a skirt steak with pickles, beets, carrots, and cilantro over a salted goat’s milk caramel sauce. The ham frites were basically bacon french fries, and they were as delicious as that sounds. Yes, they were glorified cheese fries, and yes, every bite was delicious. The skirt steak was cooked perfectly (for David–I’m one to over-cook my meat, but I know he was pleased). I enjoyed the pickles so much more than I expected, and the carrots were crunchy and sweet, but my favorite part was the caramel sauce. It was an unexpected sweetness, but a great contrast to all of the other flavors.

Then came dessert. On the one hand, we were stuffed. On the other hand, we were intrigued by most of the selections on the menu. We ended up ordering something called a fudgecicle. It was aptly name, as the foundation of the dessert was frozen chocolate mousse that tasted like a fudgecicle, but with so much more depth. The fudge mousse was topped with a sweet wafer, which was in turn topped with…Olive Oil Gelato. A couple of spoonfuls of a warm sauce made of Dragon’s Milk stout and other goodies softened the frozen bits around the edges and brought all of the flavors together perfectly. And I’m not a beer fan, by any stretch.

P.S. About that gelato: David and I were amazed by the flavor. I can’t describe it to you except to say that it tastes exactly like it sounds, really, but also, so much better than it sounds. Sweet, creamy, with a clean, clear taste of olive oil. I might not have predicted beforehand that I’d like such a thing, but I can tell you now that it was delicious. I’d absolutely order the dessert again.

The conclusion

Can you tell I was pleased? We both were. I don’t think we were disappointed by anything we tried, and we saw a lot of tasty-looking dishes being served to our neighbors as well. Much of what was on the menu was outside of our comfort zone, but in the end, I think that’s what made it fun. I feel like I expanded my culinary horizons, and had an excellent meal. Our server was knowledgeable and attentive. The atmosphere was welcoming. The food, obviously, was excellent. And we were pleasantly surprised at the tab—-after a drink, a starter, two plates each, and a shared dessert, we managed to spend less than $100, including tip. That’s more than we spend on most Wednesday nights, sure, but well worth it. Considering I’ve been psyched for this meal for about 6 months now, as I followed Stephanie on Twitter and waited for the restaurant to open, I’d say our meal was definitely a success. I had high hopes, and I wasn’t disappointed.

And even though I would order any of these dishes again the next time we go back, I’m excited to know that the menu will change often, and that the next trip could be a completely different meal. That’ll be worth the wait, too.

The details

Girl and the Goat; 809 W Randolph St, Chicago IL; Cost: Varies, menu is small plates, two to three plates per person are recommended, and range in price from $6-$17/plate.

Taste of Chicago

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

David, Leah, and I went to the Taste of Chicago yesterday and had a great time. For awhile, we were going every year, but we never made it out last year, so I was excited to go again. We picked up most of our tickets in advance at Dominick’s, which saves you $2 or $3 per strip. Doing that, and sticking primarily with the taste portions, we usually manage to get through the day without spending TOO much money.

The weather was beautiful yesterday, and the crowds weren’t too bad either. But of course, this being a food blog, I’m here to talk about the food.

We had plenty of our old standbys, including ice cream from Original Rainbow Cone, Eli’s Cheescake (Frozen, on a stick!), Baklava from Pegasus, and Ricobene’s Breaded Steak Sandwich.

We try to focus on things we can’t really get anywhere else or don’t get to eat that often. So no burgers, corn on the cob, or potato chips. We can get that anywhere.

Some of the more interesting tastes:

  • A surprise hit to all of us: Upside Down Caramel Cupcake from Abundance Bakery. Ridiculously good!
  • A fun fusion of two classics: Irish egg roll from Abbey Pub (corned beef, cheese, cabbage, and mashed potatoes in an egg roll. I wouldn’t normally eat corned beef and cabbage, but inside an egg roll is one of the very few ways I will eat cabbage, so it worked surprisingly well).
  • Coconut Rice and Sauteed goat from Iyanze. As Leah commented, goat is much more tender than I would have expected.
  • Leah had Mango Rice Pudding with Dried Cranberries from The Grill on the Alley. I’m not a fan of rice pudding, but even I had to admit, it was very tasty.
  • The Fire-Grilled Steak Taco from Carbon made us wish we had actually gotten around to eating there when we lived further south. We ate nearby at Ricobene’s pretty often, and they would’ve delivered to us when we were in the South Loop. Based on what we tried yesterday, we missed out!
  • The good news is, based on the Cheese Empanada from Adobo Grill, we still have good Mexican food close by. We’ve often considered eating there when we were at The Second City, but have never made the time. Now that we’re closer, we should.

Other solid choices:

  • Grilled Shredded Tandoori Turkey from Vermillion. Very moist, tender turkey with a delicious sauce on some kind of crispy flatbread. It sounds heavy, but was surprisingly refreshing thanks to the cool, green sauce.
  • Toasted Cheese Ravioli from Tuscany
  • Tempura Veggie Platter from Summer Noodles & Rice. Carrot, Asparagus, Eggplant, and Green Beans given the tempura treatment. The veggies were good, nothing special, but the spicy peanut sauce was awesome.
  • Key Lime Shortbread from Shokolad Pastry and Cafe
  • Cheese Perogi from Polka Sausage & Deli
  • Watermelon Italian Ice from Franco’s

Not everything was great though, here are our biggest disappointments:

  • Sweet Potato Hashbrowns from Hashbrowns. What happened here? They tasted like greasy, steamed, sweet potatoes. Maybe it was the heat or the outside service or whatever, but there was nothing even remotely crispy about these hashbrowns, and I think that’s the key to good hashbrowns. You’d think a place called Hashbrowns would know that. We threw it away after one bite.
  • Macaroni & Cheese from Manny’s. I hate to say anything bad about Manny’s, because we actually like it a lot. So much so that we looked at the taste menu and said “No, we’re going to just take you there soon, Leah, because we can’t do it justice here.” We tried the taste portion of mac & cheese anyway, and we should’ve passed. It was mushy and bland. Barely any cheese flavor. I’d rather have Easy Mac. No kidding. (We did like the picture of Obama eating at Manny’s though).

Biggest rip offs:

  • Still the potato chips from Harry Caray’s. We’ve never been to HC’s, and the chips are good, but I hear they don’t even charge for them in the restaurant. If that’s true,  the $4-5 price tag on these chips at the Taste is even more criminal. We skipped them.
  • Also, any drinks. It’ll run you 8 tickets for even a bottle of water or soda, and a lot more than that for a beer or mixed drink. Bring your own water bottles, hit up the water fountains as needed, and save your tickets for food, I say.

Anyway, if you’ve never been to the Taste, I think it’s worth going. Be sure you dress appropriately (it gets hot out there!), wear/bring plenty of sunblock, stick to the taste portions (unless it’s something really special), take a group, and share the food, otherwise there’s just way too much. And try to avoid the 4th of July weekend. The crowds are INSANE then.

Product Review: Chobani Greek Yogurt

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

I’m going to put aside my grilling recipes to plug one of my favorite treats these days: Greek Yogurt.

If you like yogurt at all, you HAVE to give Greek yogurt a try. It’s so much richer, creamier, and more substantial than the watery old yogurt you’re used to. I’ve tried Fage, Trader Joe’s, Stoneybrook Farms, and Dannon’s greek yogurts, and they’re all good, but my favorite is Chobani’s fruit flavored varieties.

I’ve tried the Raspberry, Strawberry, Blueberry, Strawberry-Banana, and Peach flavors, and they’re all delicious. They’re fruit on the bottom, which I never used to be a fan of, but the fruit actually resembles fruit, unlike the blended yogurts I’d gotten used to. Most of them avoid artificial sweeteners, but also manage to not be loaded with sugar. Have you checked the label on your current yogurt lately? If you aren’t buying fat free or light yogurts, there’s sometimes upwards of 40 grams of sugar in that tiny little carton. There’s only 28 g of sugar in a Snickers bar, by comparison. Just something to think about.

Not to get all “nutrition nutrition nutrition” on you all, but there’s also way more protein in Greek yogurt than regular yogurt–twice as much.

Like I said at the beginning, if you like yogurt–you’ve got to try Greek yogurt. It’s popping up all over the place, and it’s worth the extra few cents.

P.S. I don’t think this needs to be said, but in case you’re wondering, no one is paying me or asking me to talk about any of the brands or products I write about here. I just write about things I love. :)

What’s for dinner? Something grilled!

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Well, we’re in the new place. Most everything is set up, except for the dining room. I’m really happy with the way everything lays out. Even the kitchen. :)

For my birthday, David bought me a grill. This one! It’s beautiful. Works wonderfully. And we’ve been grilling ever since.

Saturday, we had a little housewarming/birthday get together with some of my friends, and so of course, we fired up the new grill. We picked up a pork loin, cut it into cubes, and skewered it for kebabs. I used Alton Brown’s pork brine, with a handful of Alton Brown’s rib rub, and they turned out great. Tender and juicy, with just enough seasoning to highlight the pork.

I also grilled some chicken marinated in Italian dressing with garlic and herbs de provence. Kebab style as well.

We grilled up some of the first sweet corn of the season, and made a variation of my parmesan pasta salad, but with salami and tortelloni. Still very tasty. :) Finished it off with grilled pineapple. Yum!

After all of that, you’d think I’d be tired of grilling, but so far, so good. Sunday night, we grilled some chicken with the Rub with Love Chicken spice rub and finished it off with some barbecue sauce. Monday night we had burgers made with garlic and fresh thyme. Tonight, we grilled a pork tenderloin with a Hoisin-Bourbon glaze. If the weather cooperates, we plan to grill chicken sausages tomorrow, and follow it up with grilled pizza on Thursday.

Maybe next week we’ll move the cooking back inside, but for now, I’m thoroughly enjoying my birthday present. Happy grilling, everybody!