Friday, May 27, 2016

Round Up: BBQ Bonanza!

Let's face it - BBQ or Bar B Q or Barbeque can have all sorts of various definitions, depending on who you ask. In some parts of the country, it's practically a religion or even a sport. Others, it's merely a flavor or style or referred to as a type of sauce. Regardless of what BBQ means to you, I've dug up some BBQ recipes... which are dishes that incorporate BBQ sauce, BBQ flavors, or even a BBQ style. So whatever triggers you when it comes to BBQ, hopefully you can find something that just might inspire you as we head into the unofficial start of summer this Memorial Day holiday weekend! Here are 20+ BBQ inspired recipe links for you to check out...

Peach BBQ Pork Ribs

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

Honey BBQ Wings

Shredded BBQ Pork Sandwiches

Chinese BBQ Spareribs

Smokey BBQ Ribs with Spicy Sriracha Sauce

Skillet BBQ Pork Chops

BBQ Ranch Chopped Salad

Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs

BBQ Chicken Flatbread

BBQ Beef & Chorizo Tacos

Buttermilk Brined BBQ Pork Chops

BBQ Pork Chops with Corn Relish

BBQ Chip Chicken Strips

Memphis BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Asian BBQ Pork Chopped Salad

Smoky Mesquite BBQ Meatloaves

Bourbon BBQ Baby Back Ribs

BBQ Roasted Salmon

Peach BBQ Chopped Pork Sandwiches

BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese

Honey BBQ Beef Ribs

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Green Machine Cocktail

Last weekend, my husband and I had a glorious 'staycation' in Chicago. To kick it off, we met up with our friends from Tanqueray for a wonderful and delicious brunch at the Godfrey Hotel's IO Rooftop Lounge. It was a gorgeous Saturday morning with perfect weather to relax and enjoy the open views. If you're in Chicago, definitely make a stop at the IO Rooftop Lounge - the city views are awesome!

Brunch included a great variety of dishes from the IO Rooftop Lounge menu. But first, we had to start off with a cocktail! This 'Gin Gin Mule' made with Tanqueray No. Ten is a delicious spin on the Moscow mule. It's a nice cross between a mule and mimosa that's extremely refreshing with passion fruit juice, elderflower liqueur, ginger juice, coconut cream and a splash of water . It's so good that IO Rooftop Lounge has added it to their cocktail menu - if you're in the area,it's a must try!

For brunch, I had to whet my palate with a fresh Green & Berry salad, made with mizuna, mustard greens, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. To tie it all together, a shallot & honey vinaigrette dressed the salad.

 If you know me well enough, I can't pass on the opportunity to have a benedict for brunch! That said, I ended up ordering the Steak Benedict which I loved. This twist on the classic was made with free-range beef, two poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce.

Do you know the best part of any benedict is? It's that moment when you break open that delicately poached egg to let that rich yolk run all over... yesss!

And if you've noticed that refreshing green cocktail in the background of the above photos, that's The Green Machine. Another featured cocktail by Tanqueray No. Ten made combined with 'green juice', cucumber, lime and mint! I really enjoyed it and if you're looking for a new cocktail to try out this summer, I have the recipe to share too...

Tanqueray No. TEN cocktail: The Green Machine
recipe from Tanqueray

1.25 oz. Tanqueray No. TEN
3 oz. Naked Green Machine Juice

Cucumber slices
Lime wheel
Fresh mint leaves 

Combine Green Machine juice and Tanqueray No. TEN in a shaker and stir. Strain over ice and garnish with cucumber slices, lime and mint sprig.

* You can also make your own green machine juice by combining fresh kale, spinach, apple and lemon in a blender until smooth and using 3oz for the cocktail above.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Coconut Ginger Chicken Skewers

This past weekend was nothing short of gorgeous weather here in Chicago! The sun was shining, light breezes flowed through just when it was needed and for a brief moment, it felt like summer. I'm anxiously awaiting more of those beautiful days very soon because it had us outdoors enjoying every opportunity to get some of that vitamin D. And with this kind of weather comes the exciting moment of taking off the grill cover and firing up the grill. If you're like us in the Midwest, lighting up the grill to unofficially kick off summer on Memorial Day is a big deal lol. We especially love skewers because it combines fresh veggies with meat on a stick - what's not to love?! These Coconut & Ginger Chicken Skewers are perfect for the grill and bring on the taste of the tropics. A tenderizing, flavorful marinade of coconut milk, fresh ginger and a blend of spices really elevates the typical chicken skewer to something special and healthy too!...

Coconut products are quite popular these days, not only for their flavor but because it's great for those who are lactose intolerant. I grew up watching my mom use coconut milk in several Filipino dishes and I appreciate it's flavor and healthy attributes in dishes I now cook as an adult. This one in particular is one of our favorites. 

The coconut milk tenderizes the chicken while imparting a sweet, rich flavor and a touch of creaminess. Paired with ginger, it adds a nice bite to balance out the richness. The marinade is also great for pork and seafood, but chicken is our favorite!

Coconut Ginger Chicken Skewers
recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into one inch pieces
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons crushed coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablesoon soy sauce
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
bell pepper, cut in squares
yellow squash, cut in rounds
zucchini, cut in rounds
Soak wooden skewers in water for 1 hour prior to grilling.
Prepare marinade by combining oil, coconut milk, ginger, seasonings, brown sugar and soy sauce in a large storage bag or storage container. Add chicken, toss to coat and refrigerate 1-2 hours, or even better, overnight.
Preheat grill to 375°F (a medium-hot fire). While grill is warming up, remove chicken from marinade allowing excess marinade to drain back into bag (do not discard marinade). Thread chicken and vegetables onto skewers, alternating chicken and vegetables on each skewer.
Transfer marinade in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer until sauce is reduced to about one half. Set aside and keep warm.
Spray or rub grill grates with oil. Place skewers onto prepared grill. Sprinkle chicken lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and grill until cooked through and golden brown, turning often, about 8 minutes. Do not over-cook.
Allow chicken to rest 2-5 minutes. Serve with steamed jasmine rice. Serve with sauce drizzled over top or on the side for dipping. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Round Up: Burger Love

Memorial Day is around the corner and for us, it marks the day to fire up the grill to welcome summer! One of our favorite grilled meals is a good, juicy and flavorful burger. I'm sure we won't be alone this coming Memorial Day holiday grilling up some burgers! If you're planning on doing the same, here are some burger ideas to make things a little interesting and a lot more tasty...

Smashed Burger Sliders

Blue Cheese Mushroom Burgers

Oklahoma Fried Onion Burgers

Big Mac Burgers

Grilled Cheese Hamburgers

Juicy Lucy Burgers

All in One Burgers

Mushroom Veal Burgers with Pesto Mayo

Philly Burger

LA Burger

Turkey Cobb Burger

California Chicken Burger

Bratwurst Burgers on a Pretzel Bun

Trattoria Burger

Cheyenne Burger

Garlic Butter Burger

Buffalo Burger

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

June Classes - Open for Registration!

We've been quite busy lately and our summer season of culinary classes is ramping up! And with that, it's the perfect time to share the wonderful platform that I use for my classes - Dabble. I've been working with Dabble since the fall of 2011 and the past few years have been nothing short of an amazing opportunity to share my passion and skills while encouraging others find their own through food.

Dabble is a site that allows you to learn new things, teach others about whatever you are knowledgeable about and even host a class to help promote your business or venue space. The affordable and wide range of classes really allow you to pursue your interests, meet new people and have fun in the process. Dabble's online marketplace has allowed me to offer unique in-person classes and experiences for students to learn about culture and cuisine. They may be a growing startup...but they currently have over 2,000 teachers and 50,000 Dabblers on board with classes being offered in numerous cities across the country. Some classes offered through Dabble include:
As an established Dabble instructor here in Chicago, I'm excited to share the classes I offer through Dabble and as a What's Cookin, Chicago reader... you'll receive a 20% discount towards any Chicago Dabble class you sign up with using THIS LINK! The classes we'll be teaching next month include the following...

Sushi Made Easy

Aloha! Mai Tai Mixer

Filipino Fiesta Kamayan

Paella & Sangria Party

We hope to have you in our kitchen and join us in creating some culinary adventures! And if you're unable to make our kitchen studio classes, we're happy to bring the culinary adventures to you with our private events. We'll create a custom menu, bring all the ingredients and equipment needed while you gather your friends and family... and together we'll create some culinary adventures of our own. Contact us directly for details and to book your culinary adventure with us:
Email -
Phone - 773-991-6550
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