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Beetroot Hummus with Tortilla Wedges

Yum! Is all I can say. I love eating buttered beets and I have always prepared them one way. Now, I found another reason to grow even more this summer. Beet hummus with baked, salted tortilla wedges.

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Cedar Planked Salmon on the Grill

Enjoying Cedar Planked Salmon on the Grill

My husband loves salmon and orders it frequently when we go out as his meal. When grocery shopping on Monday our regular store had a one day special closeout on salmon. While I was browsing the selection another gentleman (who is the chef at an upscale restaurant) and I were talking. I told him that my husband loves salmon but I had never made it before. He helped me chose my salmon and explained a unique way to make salmon on the grill. Cedar plank salmon on the grill was his recommendation.

cedar plank

Chosing Your Boards
There are two ways to purchase cedar boards. Most big box stores carry them in the grilling section or stop by a local lumber yard. Purchase 1×8, untreated cedar planks and cut them into 16 inch pieces. If you have the time and want to save money, the second method is the way to go. Cutting your own boards allows you to hold larger pieces of salmon.

Prepping The Boards
About 2-3 hours before you want to grill your salmon, soak your boards in water. You can also soak them in wine, it gives your salmon a whole different taste. I chose to use the water method for the first attempt.

Prepping The Grill
While you are boarding up the salmon let your grill warm up to a medium heat.

Prepping Your Salmon
Wash and pat your salmon dry: leaving the skin on the salmon. You can choose to marinade the salmon at this time if you wish or use a rub you have prepared.

Place the salmon skin side down on the planks. If you have marinated the salmon you are set to grill. If not, now is the time to season it. I generously sprinkled sea salt, cracked pepper and rosemary on the skinned side that was facing me.

To Grill
Place the boards on the grill grates. I used a gas grill. As the boards dry out on the grill keep a water bottle handy and spritz the boards occasionally. The boards will blacken on the underside a little but will not catch on fire. You will need to keep an eye on the boards during the grill process; just keep them damp.

Your salmon will take between 15-25 minutes to cook; depending on the thickness of your fish. It is finished when the salmon is a light pink.

Removal From Grill
Transfer the board onto a plate. Using a knife and a fork, remove the under skin; it comes off fairly easy. Plate up the salmon and let rest for a few minutes. The salmon really needs that rest period to meld the flavors.

Re-Using Your Boards
You can reuse the boards as many times as you see fit.  Just be sure to wash them immediately with warm soapy water and rinse well.  Let air dry.

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My Grill Is Fixed – Beef & Bacon Pinwheels for Dinner

My grill is fixed! I certainly have missed it!  Now, you are in trouble because I will be posting more foodie pictures.  Last night we had beef and bacon pinwheels for dinner.

If you ask any of the neighbors that border my backyard the question “Who is the craziest person in your neighborhood?”  They just MIGHT say me.  I have a garden, I grow raspberries and shovel a nice pathway to my grill on my deck all winter long, just to cook in below zero weather.

In my neighborhood, I rarely see people outdoors in winter.  In the summer months, rarely do I see people at all, unless they are cutting their lawn.  Nobody in the neighborhood has a garden and they like to spend their summers camping, on their boats or at their summer homes.  One neighbor man I spoke to last year even told me that he didn’t KNOW you could have a garden in the city.  REALLY?!

Never give up
Last week my husband finally got around to ordering me the new parts for my gas grill.  It took him a few “man tools” like a blow torch, hack saw, shop vac, grinder and allen wrenches to disassemble the entire inside of the grill.  About two hours worth of his time and only $30.00 from our checking account and the job was complete.  Sure beat the price of purchasing a new gas grill.

As a treat to reward him for all his hard work I decide to make him beef & bacon pinwheels.

pinwheels

Beef & Bacon Pinwheels

Ingredients:
8 strips of bacon
1.5 pounds of beef flank steak
4 wooden kabob sticks (soaked in water)

Directions:

1.) If you want crisp bacon I suggest precooking your bacon a little before assembling your pinwheels.  Line a microwave safe plate with paper towelling.  Lay bacon down flat.  Cover the bacon with another layer of paper towelling.  Partially cook the bacon for 3 minutes on high in the microwave. It is not necessary to do this step but skipping it will produce bacon on the chewy side.

2.) Cut steak horizontally (like butterflying a fish) but leave about 1/2 inch uncut on opposite side.  Open meat so it will lie flat like an open book.  Cover with plastic wrap and flatten to 1/4 inch thick using a rubber or wooden mallet. Remove the top plastic wrap when you get  the correct thickness.

3.) Place plastic wrap under the flank steak. Place the grain of the meat left to right.  Place all bacon strips down evenly spaced and roll up tight using the plastic wrap as a guide to help you roll the pinwheels tight in a jelly roll style.

4.) Then skewer steak, crosswise, at 1-inch intervals using the wooden kabob sticks (soaked in water) that you have clipped to 5  inches in length.  Using a sharp knife, cut
between skewers to make 1-inch-thick pinwheels. The pinwheels will end up being about 1 1/2 inches thick when cut separately.

5.) You can grill or broil the pinwheels. To grill – preheat your grill. Grill cut side down and then flip – grilling around 4 minutes on each side.  To broil – broil 5 inches from heat.  Turn at the 4 minute mark and broil another 4 minutes. Please see guide below to cook to the pinwheels to your own perfection.

Medium = 140 to 145 degrees F
Medium Well = 150 to 155 degrees F
Well =160 degrees F and above

If you do not already have one, can I suggest that you purchase a meat thermometer because it takes the guess-work out of grilling.  It is a superb tool to have on hand for yourself and for when you have guests that wish for meat cooked a way you normal don’t personally cook for.

I purchased a fork thermometer (here).  This was my second meat thermometer that I had purchased.  My first thermometer only lasted me one grilling season.  The fork one has lasted over three seasons…still going strong.

I can not say enough good things about the fork thermometer.  It tells me both the temperature of my meat and if it is well done, medium, medium rare, or rare.  At first, I laughed at the size. Then, I quickly understood I wasn’t burning my fingers trying to remove it, like my old one.  WHY DIDN’T I INVENT THIS GADGET!

Now that my grill is fixed, expect more grilling recipes.  I like the fact I don’t have any pans to clean after dinner.  Beef and bacon pinwheels, roasted asparagus and toasted garlic bread …that is what’s for dinner! Good things do come in small packages…

Enjoy!
Nikki