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Monday, June 17, 2013

Best.Sandwich.EVER

It's been a busy and stressful weekend, but today is Monday and it's been a GREAT day! I met a wonderful friend for lunch...I washed my car and made it look pretty and we made an incredibly good sauce/smoked chicken sandwich that I would like to share with you today!
We got a Bradley Smoker for Christmas from our son, Patrick, and his wife, Melissa, and we have been experimenting with smoking all different kinds of meats. Kevin is NOT a fan of a whole chicken, but he relented and we decided to smoke a whole chicken just to see what happened.
So, although I didn't take any photos, you can use your imagination.
Take one whole 3-4 lb. chicken and brine it overnight. Don't know how to brine a chicken? Take 1/2 gallon of water, 1/4 cup of salt, 10 peppercorns, 1/4 cup of candied ginger, 1 cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Cool. Take the 'guts' out of the chicken, rinse it with cool water, pat it dry and place it in a bowl big enough to submerge in liquid. When the brine is cool, cover the chicken, and add enough ice to completely submerge the chicken. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse thoroughly. Pat it dry and place it on a tray. Sprinkle Santa Maria Seasoning in the cavity. Don't have Santa Maria Seasoning? Take equal amounts of garlic powder, kosher salt and black pepper and mix together. Presto! You have Santa Maria Seasoning!
Stuff the chicken with 1 small apple quartered, 1 small onion, quartered, 2 whole garlic cloves and 1 stalk of celery chopped. You can also add 1 small lemon, chopped if you want. (I didn't have any lemons so I didn't use it this time)  Make sure you close the openings- I just used skewers to keep the stuffing inside.
Rub the exterior of the chicken with oil (I used grapeseed oil) and sprinkle a generous amount of Santa Maria Seasoning all over, rubbing it into the skin.
Smoke until the breast is at 165 degrees and thighs are at 175 degrees. (about 4 /12 hours for us for a 5lb. chicken) Make sure to flip the chicken over at about 2 hours into the smoke.
In the meantime, make the sauce. Well, the smoked chicken does not actually NEED sauce, but this is pretty darn good!
I adapted this Big Daddy's Carolina Sauce since I didn't have liquid smoke and I actually cut the amounts in half. It was sweet, spicy, and tangy- just what we love in a BBQ sauce!
I also substituted the mustard with half Dijon mustard and half Apostolic Apricot Ginger Mustard from Mt. St. Angel Benedictine Sisters which is probably one of the best sweet mustards I've ever tried! Check them out!
Make the cole slaw. Kevin and I prefer a cole slaw made without mayo- take 1/4 cup of your favorite oil, 1/4 cup of your favorite vinegar, 1 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of pepper and blend well. Toss with 6 cups of thinly cut cabbage (mixed with bell peppers, celery, onion, carrot or whatever else you like in your cole slaw) and drain.
Remove the chicken and let it cool slightly. Chop the chicken into quarters, and then, remove the skin (well, eat it, it's pretty darn tasty!) Shred the meat. (Save the bones for a smoky stock!)
Pile the chicken high on your favorite roll, and top with cole slaw. Add the warm sauce.
Enjoy!!!
We used freshly baked french rolls from Safeway....fresh from the oven. Still steaming in the bag.....These were DELICIOUS! And- we have enough chicken and sauce and slaw to eat this for...at least two days :)
Of course, we had corn on the cob, zucchini and a salad with homemade ranch dressing along with the sammies! Enjoy!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Garden

I know I've been pretty quiet lately. I'm working through my feelings of grief over the loss of Gretchen. While I still have my moments of tears, I'm feeling better. Part of the reason is that since the weather has been fabulous, my garden is taking up more time.
This was the 'tomato' garden a couple of weeks ago. You can see the 'walls of water' protecting the plants from a couple of nights of frost. Oh, and the little red wagon is loaded with swiss chard. Bridget is making her rounds to help keep the chickens out of the tomato garden!



Here's part of that garden today...the tomato plants are all loaded with flowers, and the peppers are doing quite well. I got a terrific deal on some cages for the determinate Roma style tomatoes- they were $14 last year and bright red- this year, they were $3 and faded pink...but still sturdy and tall enough for the Romas.
You can also see that we finally got the drip system in on this side of the garden. It's working quite well!
The plumeria 'stick' that I bought in Hawai'i is sprouting beautiful huge leaves. The one downside of being able to leave it outside all day is that the chickens decided they wanted to sample the leaves. Fortunately, only one leaf was eaten and they have left it alone since. It's not poisonous for chickens, so it must taste horrible....as bad as the lemon leaves. They learned to not eat those leaves the hard way last year!
The other bad news is that the beet protection plan has been defeated by hungry chickens. Nearly all the tops of the beets in the raised bed planter are nibbled down to the roots. The girls learned that if they sat on the net, it lowered enough so they could get their greedy little beaks in and pluck all those tender green and red leaves. Argh.

I guess it's a small price to pay for the joy that these funny girls bring to both of us...as well as eggs and LOTS of poop. This is Squirt, the Light Brahma, eyeing the numerous Meyer's Lemons on my dwarf tree.