Roasted Brussels sprouts are one of my very favorite side dishes, especially for Thanksgiving. This recipe gives a twist to this classic dish with the addition of barbecue rub, which doesn’t solely have to be used to add flavor to meats — rubs can also be used as an all-purpose spice mixture to jazz up side dishes. Many contain various blends of dried chilies, dry mustard, cumin, salt, pepper and other spices that can add a flavorful kick to your food. (I’ll even sprinkle barbecue rub on my scrambled eggs for breakfast!)
There’s nothing like a ending a weekend with an indulgent brunch, be it sweet French toast, savory quiche, or a simple yet hearty meal of scrambled eggs and bacon (and mimosas, of course). A Southern gal by birth, I have to say my all-time favorite go-to for brunch is shrimp and grits. I’ll take them any which way you serve ’em — with a creamy gravy, Creole-style or even in casserole form — and at any time of the day.
Living deep in the heart of Texas, where breakfast tacos and scrambled egg migas reign supreme, I rarely see this dish on restaurant menus, so I end up having to make it myself. If you’ve read any of my recipes, you know that I have a penchant for taking standard dishes and putting my own spin on them. So when I recently had a craving for shrimp and grits, I wanted to include another favorite ingredient of mine: barbecue sauce. (Trust me, it works.)
Hence, I ended up with this smoky, spicy and slightly sweet Texas twist on shrimp and grits. The sweet and spicy barbecue sauce — in this case, Stubb’s Sweet Heat — adds an added layer of flavor that takes the dish to the next level, and it’s further enhanced by the addition of the smoked cheese, Serrano pepper and smoked paprika. For an added Texas influence, replace the shrimp with smoked brisket or pulled pork. And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can always make a batch of your own ’cue sauce.
So the next time you’re in a brunching mood — whether it be noon on Sunday or 7 p.m. on a Tuesday — whip up this satisfying, simple-to-prepare dish. It’s written for two but can easily be multiplied to feed 20, and you may want to make extra because I guarantee you’ll want a second helping.
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Being that I’m always experimenting with food, I’ve been on a Korean kick lately. Korea’s food obviously has some similar elements to Chinese and Japanese dishes, but as a whole it’s nowhere near the same. Japanese food seems to be more on the minimalist side of things — with simple, clean flavors — while Chinese cooking (in most regions) uses many ingredients and flavors. Korean cooking lies somewhere in the middle.
Korean cuisine is based on vegetables, meat and rice, and often includes garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, sesame oil, black pepper, vinegars, doenjang (fermented bean paste) and gochujang (fermented red chili paste) — yielding an array of tangy, savory and sometimes spicy dishes.
For my experiment, I took inspiration from two popular Korean dishes: bulgogi and bibimbap. Bulgogi is traditionally thinly sliced beef sirloin that has been marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic and other ingredients. It is then quickly grilled or stir-fried and served with lettuce (to wrap the meat in) and a dipping sauce.
Bibimbap is a staple of Korean cooking comprised of a bowl filled with rice and topped with meat, usually beef, gochujang, varying combinations of vegetables and a fried egg. The contents in the bowl are typically mixed together while being eaten, which is very fitting as the word bibimbap in Korean literally translates to “mixed meal.”
Put the two dishes together and you get this Korean barbecue beef and rice bowl with bok choy. (See recipe below.) I didn’t have any gochujang on hand, so I substituted red pepper flakes in the marinade. As for the beef, I used the flat iron cut, which is a thinner piece of meat cut from the shoulder section, similar to skirt or flank steak. Flat iron, or “top blade,” steak is a tender, flavorful and inexpensive cut that takes well to marinating and should be cooked quickly over fairly high heat. Don’t go much past medium or it will become tough.
Last weekend I was able to fulfill a long-standing dream of mine: visiting San Antonio, Texas. Why San Antonio, you ask? Well, there’s the historic Alamo, the touristy River Walk, and many other cultural and historic sights. But this city has also been the mecca of Tex-Mex food in my eyes (and also a stop on my “BBQ of the U.S.” tour) for longer than I can remember.
I had been planning this culinary pilgrimage for almost two months, as soon as I found out I was going (courtesy of wonderful boyfriend and free airline tickets), and did extensive research on just about every Tex-Mex/barbecue/Mexican restaurant in town. My main goal was to stay away from eating on the River Walk as much as possible, since it contained mostly overpriced tourist traps with bland interpretations of the authentic Tex-Mex food I sought. This weekend getaway made me feel like Giada on one of her “Weekend Getaways” (minus the camera in my face). Read the rest of this entry