Hot Wheels Pasta – Your Taste Buds Will Be Rollin on Dubs

Wheels PastaIt only happens once every couple years or so, but sometimes I’ll think of the name of a recipe before I actually have the recipe. This summery, hot wheels pasta is one such dish. Not sure how “hot wheels” popped into my brain, but pop it did, and the next thing I knew I was at the market buying a box of rotelle.

So the “wheels” part was easy, but what about the “hot?” Just as easy, thanks to an assortment of hot and sweet pepper rings. I used about two-thirds hot peppers to one-third sweet, but you’ll obviously adjust to your personal tolerance. The zucchini provided a nice balance, although this is the kind of pasta that will accept any and all other summer veggies.

Wheels Pasta
Besides what to add, you also have a lot of flexibility when it comes to the final taste and texture. I tend to like my peppers and squash just barely tender for this, but if you cook the sauce a few extra minutes before adding the pasta, you will get a softer, sweeter sauce. My version was a little more bracing, with some bite left to it.

On the other hand, you could cook everything even less, and have what would basically be a hot pasta and vegetable salad. Regardless, no matter what you add, or how long you cook it, I hope you’ll be driven to try this great recipe soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 generous cups dry rotelle pasta
2 zucchini, sliced
2 to 3 cups of sliced pepper rings, seeded
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup green onion
1 anchovy filet
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups prepared tomato sauce (use a pinch of sugar if sauce needs it)
3/4 cup chicken stock
Italian parsley
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

“Minute” Chocolate Mug Cake – Can You Really Make Cake in 60 seconds?

Chocolate Mug Cake
No, it actually takes 45 seconds! Turns out I was wrong about mug cakes. I’ve had the belief over the past few decades, that a decent mini chocolate cake from a microwave was impossible. I based this on the fact that every example I’d come across had the texture of a hockey puck.

I assumed the cause was the microwave’s ultra-violent thermodynamics, and that there was nothing anyone could do about it, but then I got to thinking. Maybe there was a way to tweak the existing recipes out there to minimize this problem. Long story short, I tweaked an existing recipe, which minimized the problem.

The secrets were using smaller amounts of batter, and cooking for way less time than has been suggested by others. Once you’ve boiled off all the water in the batter, you are totally screwed, so the idea here is to just barely get to the point of doneness, and stop. For me that was exactly 45 seconds.

“Minute” Chocolate Mug Cake – Can You Really Make Cake in 60 seconds?
I’ve included the power data here, so you can compare it to your microwave. Apparently, I have a 1,100-watt model, which is a very common rating, but of course, if yours is much more or less powerful, you will have to do a few tests to figure out your ideal time.

Now, is this as good as a traditionally baked chocolate cake? Of course not, but it’s certainly close enough. And when you consider the fact it literally takes only a few minutes to make, this should find its way into your summer dessert recipe rotation. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 chocolate mug cakes:
1 large egg
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp melted butter
1/8 tsp vanilla extract (I forgot to add, and it was fine, but I’d put a few drops to be safe)
- Stir well, then add:
1 tbsp shredded coconut (I used unsweetened)
2 tbsp toasted sliced almonds
1 or 2 tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 1, but it could have used a few more chips)
3 tbsp milk
- Stir well, then add:
1/4 cup flour mixed with 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Pour into 2 coffee cups and microwave on full power for 45 seconds

A Friendly Barbecue Chicken Reminder

A Friendly Barbecue Chicken
I saw some almost completely black barbecue chicken recently, which is such a shame, since it's so easily avoided. This happens when people brush on their usually sweet bbq sauce too early, which quickly burns as soon as it's turned towards the hot coals. 

Some believe the solution is only brushing on the sauce during the last few minutes, but that doesn't allow enough time for the flavors to penetrate and pick up the desired smokiness. There has to be a better way!! There is, keep reading.

The video below shows my preferred method for having your barbecue chicken and being able to eat it too. If there's a time of the year to tighten up your chicken barbecuing game, it's right now. Enjoy!

Homemade Hamburger Buns – Oh, My, God. Becky, Look at Her Bun!

Homemade Hamburger Buns
Finding high-quality hamburger meat at the market is a lot easier than it used to be, but the same cannot be said for the buns. They’re never the right dimensions for a decent sized patty; and they’re either made from some insipid white sponge with seventy-three ingredients, or from high-fiber, whole grains, which in many ways is even worse.

A proper bun should be nothing more than a light, buttery, airy delivery system for getting a hot, juicy hamburger into your mouth. Oats, spelt, and flax seeds have no business getting anywhere near this type of operation. That's what turkey sandwiches are for.

Homemade Hamburger Buns
Above and beyond taste and texture, the bun needs to be the right diameter to fit a classic half-pound burger, and should be twice as thick as the patty. I guess you could drive all over town looking for these magic buns, but it would be a lot easier just to make them yourself.

They do take few hours, but most of that is rise time, and when you see and taste the results, I’m sure you’ll agree it was well worth the investment. By the way, don’t worry if your buns are slightly irregular in size. We’ll assume you’ll form your burgers with the same precision, so in the end they should match perfectly. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy! 

Editorial Note: Today’s title will only make sense if you watch the video, and are familiar with Sir Mix-A-Lot’s "Baby Got Back."

Ingredients for 8 large hamburger buns:
1 package (2 1/2 tsp) dry active yeast (I used Fleischmann's “RapidRise” Yeast)
1 cup very warm water
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
Note: add a 1/2 cup of the flour to the yeast and water, and then the remainder before kneading
for the tops:
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp milk
sesame seeds
*bake at 375 degrees F. for 15-17 minutes

Spicy Peach Coleslaw – An Apple Is an Excellent Thing – Until You’ve Tried a Peach

Spicy Peach Coleslaw – An Apple Is an Excellent Thing – Until You’ve Tried a Peach
You may remember this peach coleslaw from such video recipes as, Grilled Coffee and Cola Skirt Steak. It was a beautiful match, and as I ate, I couldn’t help but wonder why you don’t see peaches used in these cold cabbage salads more often.

People have no problem loading up their ‘slaws with grated apple and diced pineapple, so it can’t be an anti-fruit bias. I think the real reason is that a perfectly ripe peach is such an incredible experience, that it seems almost criminal to consume it any other way.

I think George du Maurier put it best when he said, “An apple is an excellent thing – until you have tried a peach.” So, is that it? Just too good to not eat as is? That could explain some of it, but just in case the real reason is that you simply hadn’t thought of it before, I’m posting this. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6-8 portions:
1 pound thinly sliced cabbage
2 diced peaches
1 tbsp thinly sliced chives
for the dressing (everything is “to taste”):
2 generous tablespoons mayo
1 rounded teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sambal chili sauce
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and cayenne to taste

Grilled Coffee & Cola Skirt Steak – Two Great Drinks = One Fantastic Marinade

Grilled Coffee & Cola Skirt Steak – Two Great Drinks = One Fantastic Marinade
I’ve made hundreds of different marinades over the years, but for some reason, cola had not appeared in any of them. One reason is that I never drink soda, so it’s simply not around, but above and beyond that, it always sounded more like a gimmick to me, invented by some marketing guru at Coke. Boy, was I wrong.

This coffee and cola marinated skirt steak was the most delicious thing I’ve grilled all year. The cola provides a unique sweetness, which is balanced beautifully by the bitterness from the coffee and dark grill marks. The marinade (probably technically a brine) made the already uber-juicy skirt steak even more so, as well as absolutely fork tender.  There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this recipe.

Grilled Coffee & Cola Skirt Steak – Two Great Drinks = One Fantastic Marinade
Speaking of fork tender, this is dependent on two key things – that you slice the meat against the grain, and you don’t cook it too rare. As you’ll see in the video, it will be very obvious which direction you need to slice, so that shouldn’t be an issue. As far as doneness goes, I really think that somewhere around medium produces the ultimate skirt steak texture.

I have no problem with rare meat, but rare skirt steak can be chewy, and you also want enough heat to melt the marvelously marbled meat’s fat. In fact, I’d take a medium-well piece over a rare piece any day, and I can’t think of another cut of beef where I’d say the same thing.

So, if you’re looking for something a little different at your next backyard barbecue, I really hope you give this grilled coffee and cola marinated skirt steak a try. It was amazing. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
1 whole beef skirt steak, about 1 1/4 pounds (no need to trim, except for any obvious large chunks of fat)
salt and cayenne to taste
For the marinade:
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tbsp freshly minced)
1/4 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup strong, freshly brewed coffee
1 (12-oz) bottle cola

A Touching Video on Chicken Doneness

Although I’ve had many requests for it, I’ve not done a video on how to tell the doneness of steaks using the old “press test.” It does work once you get a feel for different cuts of meat and thicknesses, but these variables make it trickier than some chefs would have you believe.

However, when it comes to chicken breasts, it can be a reliable guide, especially when you don’t have an instant read thermometer handy. Hey, it’s a long way from the backyard grill to the kitchen drawer when you’re lugging around a full beer.

Anyway, my new YouTube buddy, Ariyele Ressler, just did a fun video on the subject, and since we're right in the middle of grilling season, I thought I’d share. Life is just way too short for dry chicken breasts, so check it out. Enjoy!

Mexican Grilled Corn “Elote” – The Last Grilled Corn Recipe I’ll Ever Need

Mexican Grilled Corn “Elote” – The Last Grilled Corn Recipe I’ll Ever Need
I know a recipe came out well when my wife Michele says something to the effect of, “we can never have this made any other way, ever,” which is exactly what she said after tearing through two ears of this amazing Mexican-style grilled corn. She wasn’t kidding.

I have no idea how authentic this is, as I’ve never had this in Mexico, or even prepared by actual Mexicans, so let’s play it safe and just say this was inspired by “elote,” as it’s called. I’m sure there are hundreds of variations, but the one constant seems to be the final step, which consists of grating copious amounts of Cotija cheese over the seasoned ears.

Cotija can be found in any large grocery store (at least in California), and for me it’s like a bland, slightly drier Feta cheese. I know that doesn’t sound especially appetizing, but when combined with the creamy chili mayo, and the smoky grilled corn, it’s absolutely to die for. In a pinch, Parmesan or Feta would work, but I can’t imagine it being as perfect.

There should be no shortage of fresh corn on the cob this time of year, so I highly encourage you to get some (twice as much as you think you are going to eat), and give this amazing recipe a try soon. Enjoy!

corn on the cob, boiled in salted water for 5 minutes, drained
melted butter, as needed
grated cotija cheese, as needed
For the chili mayo (makes enough for about 8 ears):
generous 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp ground ancho chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
juice of one lime
salt to taste if needed

B.L.T. Pasta – I’ll Have the Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato…Hold the Sandwich

B.L.T. Pasta – I’ll Have the Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato…Hold the Sandwich
I love Twitter for many reasons, but stumbling upon recipe ideas is probably my favorite. I recently saw a picture posted by my friend, Mardi from eat. live. travel. write, for something called, “BLT Pasta,” and I immediately had one of those, “why didn’t I think of that” moments. By the way, I have four or five of those moments a day.

Since I get so many food wishes for pasta recipes, I figured I would give it a go. Plus, as luck would have it, I had some arugula in the fridge just begging to be used. I knew that this combination would taste great, but I wasn’t prepared for just how great.

I decided to use crème fraiche as the main sauce ingredient, and it worked beautifully. It was just rich enough, and the fermented cream’s subtle nuttiness was an excellent foil for the smoky meat, sweet tomatoes, and bitter greens.

If you can’t find or make some, just use heavy cream along with a squeeze of lemon juice to mimic that essential tanginess. Thank you Mardi (and Twitter) for the inspiration, and if you’re looking for a quick, easy, and very summery pasta idea, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz bacon
2 garlic cloves minced
2 tsp lemon zest
2/3 cup crème fraiche
2 cups halved cheery tomatoes
3-4 cups roughly chopped arugula or other salad greens
2 cups macaroni, cooked, drained
grated Parmesa

Summer Squash & Sausage Stew – Supply and Demand

Summer Squash & Sausage Stew – Supply and Demand
This simple squash and sausage stew represents my idea of the perfect summer supper. It’s very comforting, relatively fast, wonderfully flavorful, and helps solve a problem that’s existed since neighbors started planting gardens; what to do with all that squash.

If you’ve ever planted squash, you know that there’s no stopping this force of nature once it starts producing. Just a single row of plants will yield enough for you, your immediate family, your extended family, your secret second family, your neighbors, traveling salesmen, and anyone else who happens to cross your path.

Far from simply hiding the humble vegetable, this recipe lets the squash be the star. As long as you follow my pleas to let everything get nice and soft and tender, a very fine bowl of food awaits you and your crusty hunk of bread. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 tsp olive oil
1 pound Andouille sausage, or other spicy, smoked sausage
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves minced garlic
1 cup crushed tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth, or as needed
2 pounds summer squash, cut in 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut in 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
grated parmesan cheese, optional

Extra Mayo

I'm back in San Francisco, and tomorrow I'll finally post the long-promised, updated homemade mayonnaise technique. Homemade mayo was one of our earliest and most popular videos, and I've wanted to do a new and improved, high-res version for years. Stay tuned!

Extra Mayo

Shrimp & Pasta Shells Salad – And They (incorrectly) Called It Macaroni

Shrimp & Pasta Shells Salad Miela Tahril
Shrimp & Pasta Shells Salad - I really wanted to call this a "macaroni salad," since that’s what people sitting around picnic tables call it, but I decided to be technically correct (for once) and call it a shrimp and pasta shells salad. Hey, I'm no slave to Google's algorithm.

Macaroni is a specific type of elbow-shaped pasta, so while all macaroni is pasta, not all pasta is macaroni. Raise your hand if you missed that one on your SAT. Anyway, now that I have enough “macaroni’s” in here for the search engines, we can move on.

Actually, there’s not a lot left to discuss. This is a very straightforward, and quite adaptable recipe. I list a few potential additions in the video, but this is the kind of thing you can really make your own. Hey, you could even do it with macaroni. I hope you give this easy, and crowd-pleasing summer salad a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 8 portions:
For the dressing:
1 1/4 cups mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp ketchup
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp salt, or to taste
cayenne to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
The rest:
12-oz package pasta shells
1 pound bay shrimp, or other small cooked shrimp, drained well
1/2 cup small diced red bell pepper
3/4 cup diced celery
salt and pepper to taste

No-Bake Cheesecake Flag Cake – Let Your Fruit Flag Fly!

No-Bake Cheesecake Flag Cake Miela Tahril
I’ve been avoiding doing a no-bake cheesecake recipe, despite the many food wishes for it, simply because I love the dense, rich texture of the traditional baked version so much that it seems almost a crime to do something like this instead.

That’s a silly attitude, as these are two entirely different desserts, and since I needed a white canvas on which to demo the fruity, 4th of July flag design seen herein, I decided to go for it. The fact that we just had our first real heat wave of the summer didn’t hurt either.

No-Bake Cheesecake Flag Cake Miela Tahril
That you can make this lovely, sweet treat without turning on the oven is probably enough of a reason to give this serious consideration. Besides the taste and texture, I think your guests will enjoy the iconic stars and stripes design provided by the fresh blueberries and strawberries.

Everyone knows that if you eat enough fresh fruit with a dessert, it cancels out the negative effects from the sugar and the fat, or at least that’s what I’ve always assumed. Anyway, there is no greater tribute an American cook can pay to this great democracy of ours, than to make a shortcut dessert that looks like our flag. USA! USA! USA! I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 12 portions:
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
6 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
For the filling:
2 cups (1 pound) cream cheese (I used half regular and half mascarpone)
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups cold heavy whipping cream (36% fat)
1/3 cup white sugar

Cold White Bean & Herb Salad – Mmm, Good Stems!

Cold White Bean & Herb Salad Miela Tahril
Cold White Bean & Herb Salad - I’m showing this quick and easy white bean and herb salad for several reasons, not the least of which is to give you a perfectly delicious way to use up the end of that already used once bunch of parsley or cilantro. 

You told yourself you were going to add them to your next stock, forgetting you don’t make stock, and the sheared remains end up in the back of the vegetable crisper where they die a slow, slimy death. Well, this may be the answer.

Both cilantro and Italian parsley have tender stems that pretty much taste exactly like the leaves. By slicing the last half of the bunch thinly, across the stems, you have a perfect addition to any simple, cold bean salad. Besides herb stem recover and utilization, this recipe deserves to be in the rotation for two other very good reasons. It only takes like five minutes to makes, and goes beautifully with any and all of the traditional grilled or barbecued summer meats.

This video also reminds me that you wannabe food snobs need to stop making fun of people that don’t like cilantro. For about 10% of the population, due to certain receptors on the tongue, cilantro tastes nasty, which explains why so many people detest the stuff. The good news is that parsley works even better, so everybody wins.

On a spice note, I used Aleppo pepper here instead of cayenne or pepper flakes, and I hope you do the same. I only discovered this pepper recently, and just love it. It’s hot, but not too hot, and has a bright, fruity flavor I think you’ll really enjoy. Please note: In the video I said it was my new favorite pepper, but I only did that to make cayenne jealous. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
1/2 bunch (the stem end) Italian parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 can (15-oz) white beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves minced garlic
1 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Aleppo pepper to taste
2 tbsp white wine or champagne vinegar (or rice vinegar if you want it a little sweeter)
3 tbsp olive oil

Root Beer Lamb Ribs or Whatever You Got

Root Beer Lamb Ribs Miela Tahril
You know I always feel a little uneasy when I use a cut of meat that you may not be able to easily find, but in this case I’m posting guilt free, since this will work beautifully on whichever animal’s ribs you happen to use. I’ve never actually had this on anything other than lamb, but I’m going out on a limb. There’s just no way this isn’t going to be great on a rack of baby back ribs.

The root beer and sesame combination really works beautifully here, which is no surprise since we used that same one-two punch in a braised lamb shoulder recipe a few years ago. I’d just returned from foodie nirvana known as the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, and was anxious to share a recipe adapted from one I learned from chef Richard Blais.

He originally used lamb ribs, and as great as my shoulder chops were, I remember promising myself that I’d try it on ribs someday. It took a while, but it was worth the wait. The subtle gaminess of the fatty rib meat is a perfect foil for the sweet and spicy glaze, which seems even richer scented by the toasted sesame.

Root Beer Lamb Ribs Miela Tahril
By the way, these are lamb ribs from the breastplate of the animal, NOT a rack of lamb from the loin, which also has a sort of similar row of bones attached to the meat. Rack of lamb is crazy expensive, and if you want to waste a lot of money, cooking it for 3 hours would be a great way to do it!

You’ll notice I didn’t slash the membrane on the back of the ribs this time. I’ve decided on small ribs, like these and baby backs, that it really doesn’t make much of a difference. Also, I forgot and didn’t realize until I was doing the voiceover! Anyway, I hope you find some lamb ribs (call a butcher and they will hook you up), or wimp out and use some pork ribs, but either way, I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 racks of lamb ribs (aka bone-in lamb breast)
salt and pepper to taste
For the marinade:
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 to 2 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce, or other chili paste/sauce
2 tsp salt
1 (12-oz) bottle root beer
For the glaze:
reserved marinade, boiled down by about half
3 crushed garlic cloves
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp sambal or fresh minced hot red chilies
*Roast lamb wrapped in foil at 250 F. for 2 1/2 hours, or until almost tender, then uncover and glaze with sauce every 5-6 minutes at 400 F., until tender and gorgeous.

Grilled Sea Bass with Chili Lime Dressing – More Than Just a Nice Piece of Bass

Grilled Sea Bass with Chili Lime Dressing Miela Tahril
While this is technically a recipe for sea bass, it’s really much more than that. This tasty technique represents a glimpse into my warm weather culinary habits. At least three times a week, I’ll toss some kind of lean protein on the grill, and finish it doused in some sort of dressing or vinaigrette.

When you consider the wide variety of meats and seafood, and the countless combinations of herbs, peppers, vinegars, and spices, you’re not just looking at a summer’s worth of stellar dishes; you’re looking at a lifetime’s worth.

Grilled Sea Bass with Chili Lime Dressing Miela Tahril
This kind of operation always suffers from over-thinking. Don’t try too hard to come up with these adaptations, just let it happen. By the way, this is always a fantastic way to use up the last tablespoon of whichever bottled vinaigrette is languishing in the back of the fridge.

I always get concerned comments when I use sea bass, since there have been over-fishing issues, but this was labeled “Sustainably Produced” at one of those well-known, national markets. I didn’t do any independent research to verify, but if you can’t trust a giant corporate grocery chain, who can you trust?

Like I said, this will work with all kinds of things, and the more you use this style of cooking, the more you’ll want to use it. The dressing took five minutes, and the fish took maybe ten. That leaves plenty of time for savoring the long days ahead, which is why I hope you try this soon. Enjoy!
4 (4-oz each) sea bass filets
vegetable oil and salt to taste
For the dressing:
1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced, mashed or grated of microplane
zest of one lime
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp sambal or other chili paste/sauce
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
cilantro leaves
roasted parnips,

Sweet Hot Mustard Chicken Thighs – Good to the Bone

Sweet Hot Mustard Chicken Thighs Miela Tahril
I don’t make a lot of Indian food on this blog, but I do borrow a lot of techniques inspired by that cuisine. Things like toasting spices in fat for stews, marinating meat in yogurt, and slashing chicken down to the bone, as I did with these sweet, hot mustard thighs.

I know it’s a bit controversial, since some say you lose moisture, but any technique that's been practiced for a thousands years is okay by me. I think it helps permeate the chicken with the sweet, hot mustard marinade, as well as gives the final product some fairly cool “racing stripes.”

Sweet Hot Mustard Chicken Thighs Miela Tahril
As I mention, if you insist on using boneless-skinless thighs, this will still work, but it is really is a recipe where the bone is key. You may have heard the expression, “the closer the bone, the sweeter the meat,” and it’s so true. There are many ingredients you can substitute for, but bones aren’t really one of them.

Imagine a chef boning out a rack of ribs before barbecuing them, so that they’re easier to eat? …actually, don’t imagine that, but I think you get the point. Anyway, I hope you try this very easy and delicious sweet, hot mustard chicken thigh recipe soon. Enjoy!

(consider all the spices “to taste” and adjust to your liking)
8-10 chicken thighs
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground dry chipotle
cayenne to taste
1 onion sliced into rings
4 cloves minced garlic
vegetable oil for the pan and top of chicken

Curly “Q” Sausage – Get It Twisted

Curly “Q” Sausage Miela Tahril
Someone sent me a video link last summer, showing someone spiral cutting a hot dog. The wienercision was done by Blake Smith from, and I remember wondering if this technique would work with parboiled Italian sausage.

Oh, it worked. It worked real good. By the way, I was going to provide a link to the aforementioned video, but Blake ended the demo by putting ketchup on his hot dog, so forget it. Okay, fine, since I did steal his technique, here you go.

Curly “Q” Sausage Miela Tahril
Not only does this look very cool, the technique also provides a significantly greater amount of surface area, and when you’re talking about grilling meat, it’s all about the surface area. You could brush barbecue sauce on an un-helixed Italian sausage, but here you’re literally flavoring the sausage inside and out. 

And if you're skeptical about how well barbecue sauce goes with Italian sausage, take it from someone who ate one; it’s a match made in backyard barbecue heaven. I’d like to wish all you a safe and very festive Memorial Day weekend, and I hope you “spring” these curly “Q” sausages on your guests. Enjoy!

Pan-Roasted Marble Potatoes – A Short Post About Little Potatoes from a Small Town

Pan-Roasted Marble Potatoes Miela Tahril
Pan-Roasted Marble Potatoes - You’ll have to excuse the smaller than usual blog post, but I just flew across country, and boy are my arms tired…sorry, not arms, I meant jokes. 

Anyway, I’m back at my mom’s for a few weeks to help her out after some shoulder surgery, and despite a very late, turbulent, and sleepless flight, I had just enough energy left to post this marble potatoes video.

Pan-Roasted Marble Potatoes Miela Tahril
I generally try to stick with ingredients that can be found at any large grocery store, and I hope that’s the case here, but to be honest I really didn’t care, as these were just too damn cute not to film. If at all possible, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

4 stripes bacon, sliced
1 pound marble potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tbsp rice vinegar, or any vinegar

Smoked Turkey & Spring Pea Fettuccine – A Pasta From My Salad Days

Smoked Turkey A Pasta From My Salad Days
This rich and creamy, smoked turkey and spring pea fettuccine recipe is inspired by a pasta I learned long ago, working at my first real chef job in San Francisco. 

You may have heard me mention Ryan’s Café in the past, especially if you’ve tried our famous chicken Marsala, and it was at this same restaurant where I learned what I still consider one of the best pasta recipes ever.

As I mention in the video, the original was done with smoked chicken, but for whatever reason smoked turkey is much easier to find at the market. I blame the sandwich industry, but no worries, as the turkey is just as good. There’s just something very special about the way the creamy, slightly sweet, aromatic sauce pairs with the smoky meat. Which reminds me, this is also wonderful with leftover ham.

Regarding what many would consider the dangerously large quantities of cream, I’d like to take a moment to do some math. The recipe makes four appetizer size portions. There’s about 1 3/4 cups of cream used, which is roughly 350 calories worth of butter-fatty goodness per serving. To put that into perspective, those two small ladles of dressing you used during your last trip to the salad bar had about the same amount. So, long story short, relax.

Anyway, now that I’ve armed you with a comeback for when your (probably too thin) friend questions your copious cream usage, I hope you give this very simple, but extraordinarily delicious pasta recipe a try. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 small or 2 large portions:
8 oz dry fettuccine noodles, boiled in salted water
For the sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced shallot
1 3/4 cup heavy cream (about 34-36% fat)
6 oz smoked turkey, sliced
1/2 cup green peas, frozen or fresh shelled
2 tbsp minced fresh tarragon leaves
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
1 tsp lemon zest
Parmigiano-Reggiano to garnish

Baked Goat Cheese “Caprese” – Hot and Not

Baked Goat Cheese Miela Tahril
No salad will break your heart like the “Caprese.” It always sounds great; creamy mozzarella, fragrant basil, and sweet, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes…what’s not to love? Well, false advertising for one. With very few exceptions, the tomatoes used on these Caprese salads are not sweet, juicy, ripe tomatoes; they’re the opposite.

They’re almost always your standard, conventionally produced, picked green and left to redden (not ripen) in the case, tomatoes. They’re mealy, flavorless, and completely undeserving of being paired with ingredients as perfect as mozzarella and basil.

Baked Goat Cheese Miela Tahril
While I’m invariably disappointed by the execution of this classic salad, I do love the combination of flavors, and by using cherry tomatoes, I thought it would translate perfectly for a baked goat cheese appetizer. Did it ever. When you take into consideration the taste, appearance, and ease of preparation, there’s a real chance this could become your new favorite summer appetizer.

By the way, as long as you are using high quality, oven safe ramekins, you can also do these on the backyard grill. Place a piece of foil on the grates, set down your ramekins, close the cover, and cook until the juices are bubbling, and the cheese is heated through.

I hope you give this delicious, and so not disappointing “Caprese” a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
8 oz log fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 equal pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp basil chiffonade
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne, to taste
*bake at 400 degrees F. for about 15 minutes

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