Mothers Day 2013 – Make your Mom dinner.

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Its a epic holiday where an overabundance of flowers buffets and cards abound.

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Here are some suggestions on what to give your MOM this weekend:

Start with a cocktail…. 

Seriously this amazing cocktail comes from a kickass MOM – Dee from Cocktail Deeva She rocks the cocktail world, wears fab shoes and knows her stuff inside and out!  Make sure you visit her website often. She is guaranteed to make you laugh and love her cocktail concoctions.

“Love your Mamma”..Martini…with a little slice of peace and quiet…

 

2 oz Watermelon Vodka

2 oz lemon juice 1/2 oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar/warm water)

3 slices cucumber

2 mint leaves

Shake vodka, juice, syrup and mint leaves with ice. Serve in a martini glass with ice. Garnish with cucumber floating on the top of cocktail. This cocktail is best made up ahead of time so mint and cucumber flavours can infuse infuse into the cocktail. So make up a pitcher the day before and invite the other Momʼs over to enjoy some if that TIME you asked for…

Make her dinner & clean up the kitchen. 

Grilled up some Veggies (I ♥ Asparagus) with Roasted Garlic Chipotle Dipping Sauce:

Roasted Garlic & Chipotle Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup                     Good quality Mayonnaise
  • 1                              Bulb of roasted Garlic (approx. 10 cloves)
  • 3                              Chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 3 tablespoons    freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons    freshly chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon      freshly chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon        kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon        freshly cracked black pepper

Place ingredients into a food processor. Pulse till incorporated well.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grilled meats, vegetables or fish.

Serve her some beautiful seafood – planked roasted garlic & tomato scallops

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or some great herb crusted prime rib:

Herb Crusted Smoked Prime Rib

 

Finish the meal with a sinfully good dessert.

 

Nutella Dessert Pizza

(2 pizzas)

For the Crust:

  • 750-g     fresh pizza dough
  • ¼ cup    Cornmeal for dusting

For the Toppings:

    •  
    • 1 cup     Nutella

  • 1 cup     Mini Marshmallows
  • ½ cup    Pecan pieces
  • ½ cup    Strawberry slices
  • ½ cup    Skor toffee bits
  • ½ cup    Chocolate chunks or chips
  • Whipped Cream & icing sugar for garnish

Bring pizza dough to room temperature as per package instructions. Remove from bag; divide into 2 balls.

On lightly floured surface, pull and shape into 2 pizzas, about 9 inches (23 cm) wide. Crimp edges as you would with pie. Prick dough all over with fork tines. Let rest at room temperature 30 minutes.

Spread Nutella onto each pizza, and then layer each with mini marshmallows, pecans, skor toffee bits, chocolate chunks.

Place pizzas onto cornmeal or flour-dusted pizza paddle. Place on a heated cornmeal dusted pizza stone or oiled grill preheated to medium-high (about 550F/280C); close lid. Grill about 5-10 minutes until chocolate is melted. Remove from grill and cool for 1-2 minutes. Top with strawberries, whipped cream & icing sugar.

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After dinner give her a gift certificate for something she LOVES. For me thats the SPA or my favorite BBQ store.  Or heck you could even clean the house without being asked. You can’t give your Mom everything but something as simple as a cup of tea, a favorite book and quality quiet time to read it – may be exactly what she is looking for.

 

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Playoff Party Food- your team may not be winning but at least you will munch well.

So there are so many games on each and every day! For the record…. I am an eternal optimist. I am a Toronto Maple Leafs Fan. For good or for bad its been a long 9 years…..

Toronto Maple Leafs Fan

 

Lots of parties and that means super snacking and of course great munchies!!

Here are some great links to delicious munchies you can serve at your playoff parties…

Diva Q Chicken Wings IMG-20120506-02104 IMG03009-20110814-1733

Diva Q MOINK balls inspired by Larry Gaian from the BBQ Grail

MMM Shrimp & Sausage Bites - pork & seafood come together for a power packed bite of goodness!

4 Cheese ABT’s – stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon and smoked to yumminess!

Diva Q Jalapeno Dip & Grilled breads – so easy to make it should be illegal.

Chevaps – Because meat on sticks makes people happy!

Pizza Pizza Pizza – Everyone loves a good pizza.

 

 

May is National BBQ Month!

May is National BBQ Month

 

 

May is National BBQ Month!!

 

Get out & grill everyone!

A clean grill is a happy grill… Spring cleaning tips for BBQ Season.

I BBQ all year round. I understand there are people that put away their BBQ’s at the end of summer –  (We need to talk people – you can BBQ in winter and fall!) You need to perform ongoing maintenance and grill inspection -remember a clean grill is a happy grill.

 

 

Spring is just about sprung and its always a good time to take stock of your grills, sauces and rubs as the warmer months approach..

REMINDER: You should always check with your Manufacturers Owners Manual prior to cleaning, replacing or refinishing anything on your grill. Not all grills are created equal and what works for one many seriously damage another.

BBQ Tip:

Clean all of your BBQ’s exteriors with hot soapy water. You can also use a store brand degreaser.  Wipe down with cotton towels (Not the good ones from the bathroom – consult your spouse on this)

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill

 

BBQ Tips:

Inspect all hoses and lines for cracking and fraying. Replace if necessary and consult your manufacturer’s operation manual and warranty on instructions.  Tighten all nuts and bolts to make sure your grill is solid.

There are types of tube cleaning brushes that are designed to help remove debris, spiderwebs and clogged lines. Check if your type of BBQ needs this type of cleaning brush.

Flaking paint is not tasty. If your grill hood is flaking you may need to sand it down and use some high heat touch up paint. Consult your owners manual.

Replace any knobs, dials and thermometers on your grill. Most manufacturer’s have many of these instock and available for order. This will help refresh your grill.

 

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill
BBQ Tip: Spring Buy a new good quality cleaning brush preferably with a replaceable head.

BBQ Tip: Inspect your propane tanks. They have a shelf life make sure yours is current and where necessary replace.

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill

BBQ Tip: Spring Check out your wood chip, chunk & charcoal levels. Stock up so you are always ready to get your grill on !!

BBQ Tip: Some types of grates need to be seasoned often and ongoing (ie Cast iron) Check with your manufacturer owners manual for recommended instructions for seasoning.

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill

BBQ Tip: Spring Check your rubs and sauces out make sure to replenish and replace any that are out of date or stale. Try some new ones!

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill
BBQ Tip: Spring Along with maintaining a safe grilling/bbq area inspect your fire extinguisher gauge to make sure you are in the green area. Recharge if necessary.

BBQ TIP: Level your BBQ. This only takes a minute but is really important to make sure your heat is evenly distributed.

BBQ Tip: SPring is the ideal time to remember to check your thermometers for accuracy and calibrate if necessary.  Boil a small pot of water and insert the thermometer. The temperature should be 212F or 100C

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BBQ Tip: Spring Buy a few large boxes of baking soda and have them handy- great to use for cleaning and snuffing out grease fires.

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill

 

 

BBQ Tip: Spring Invest in a small notebook or online recipe database – keep a cooking log of food you make. That way if something is a success you can repeat the results!

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill

BBQ Tip: Spring is a great time to try some new recipes check out Youtube, BBQ forums, and of course recipe sites for new inspiration!

BBQ Tip: Find a good butcher & get to know your meat. They can provide you with tons of tips, advise on deals & share knowledge
BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill, beef chart
BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill, Pork Cut chart

 

 

BBQ Tip: Spring is an excellent time to invest in a new grill or BBQ. Get out & buy something new- Pellets, Charcoal & Gas all have different unique features.

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill

BBQ Tip: Spring is a fantastic time to kick it old school with a stick burner. Imagine cool nights, thin wisps of smoke & the smell of wood & meat… awesome !

BBQ Tip: Check out a BBQ Class – you just never know what you can learn! I am biased but ill recommend this .

Roc CIty, BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill

 

Above all keep your grill clean, well oiled and full of tasty food!! Enjoy !!

BBQ Spring Cleaning Tips, How to clean your grill

 

Char-Broil 2013 All Star Event Atlantic Beach Florida

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It was a lot of fun to be once again be invited to the Char-Broil all star event. (Seriously does anyone ever turn down an opportunity to be in the sun for a few days>?) This year’s event was held in Atlantic Beach Florida at the beautiful One Ocean Resort. Glorious beach views and top notch amenities was the theme for the weekend. Really – this was pretty lovely to work and learn in this environment.

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My fellow all star Char-Broil Bloggers were once again a blast to be around. You really need to check these folks out:

Meet the All-Stars

  • David Olson – “A Bachelor And his Grill”David Olson – “A Bachelor And his Grill”
    David the the author of A Bachelor & His Grill. His food blog is a mix of crazy delicious grub & original recipes, a travel log for his worldly adventuring, littering of semi-appropriate/sarcastic humor, & connection point with some of the most amazing, inspirational, & engaging people he has ever met….

    Read more →

  • Curt McAdams – “Live Fire”Curt McAdams – “Live Fire”
    Curt McAdams is an award winning competitor in all categories of several Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctioned competition events and a certified barbeque judge (CBJ) in that respected organization. Curt shares his passion for cooking over an open fire in photographs of his food on his web log Livefire. …

    Read more →

  • Julie Reinhardt – “She Smoke”Julie Reinhardt – “She Smoke”
    Julie Reinhardt is the author of She Smoke a Backyard Barbeque Book and hands-on partner of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Seattle, a place she lovingly calls “a joint.” The fragrant aroma of smoke lingers in Julies clothes as she races between her duties as restauranteur, wife and mother….

    Read more →

  • Scott Thomas – “Grillin’ Fools”Scott Thomas – “Grillin’ Fools”
    The Grillin Fools are husbands, fathers, sons and good employees during the work week – but evenings and weekends their nearly-a-century of outdoor cooking experience blossoms and they become grilling super-heroes. OK – that may be stretching it a bit but they are busy grilling year-round grilling. …

    Read more →

  • Jane Bonacci – “The Heritage Cook”Jane Bonacci – “The Heritage Cook”
    Jane Evans is the author of The Heritage Cook, a web log celebrating the traditional ingredients and recipes of American family life. Jane hails from the San Franciso Bay area and her attention to the ingredients is influenced by the farms, orchards, ranches and nearby access to seafood providing an unending source of inspiration. …

    Read more →

  • Chef Christo – “Chez What?”Chef Christo – “Chez What?”
    Chef Christo Gonzales or simply “Christo” hails from New York and manages a busy schedule as private chef for individuals as well executive chef for two catering companies. A prolific cook and writer he shares his thoughts on food by contributing to more than a dozen web and social media outlets including photos of his creations….

    Read more →

  • Catherine Mayhew – “The South In My Mouth”Catherine Mayhew – “The South In My Mouth”
    Catherine Mayhew is the author of The HandyMom’s Guide to Grilling (Cool Springs Press) and the sassy southern lady behind the web log The South In My Mouth.  In her own words: “I think about lunch just after breakfast and dinner right after lunch.”…

    Read more →

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The time was packed with information sessions on Char-Broil grills and accessories for the 2013 season and future plans as well. We learned a lot about presentations, TRU Infrared technology and photography.  Plus how can you resist marketing materials and information when it is held with the cutest paper clips ever.

Pig Paper Clips, Diva Q

Char-Broil is also one of the sponsors of the HGTV SMART Home located a short distance from our hotel in Jacksonville Florida.

 

HGTV SMART Home Cha-Broil

 

We got to tour the house and check out the really interesting Technology they use.

Of course we had to check out the grill station! (I need to get that lamp light over the grill it was gorgeous)

HGTV Char-Broil SMART Home Grill area, Scott Thomas

After the house tour we travelled to Mayhew Florida to visit a fish market. We had enjoyed some of the terrific Shrimp thats available locally and it was great to see cases of fresh shrimp and trawlers.

Christo Gonzales, David Olsen Char-Broil All Star Weekend Diva Q  Char-Broil All Star Blogger Weekend

There was a deep sea fishing trip booked as well but unfortunately due to high seas it was cancelled. Darnit. I was really looking forward to that.  However we all headed to the SPA instead. I know it was a tough call but I made the sacrifice and got a really cute pedicure instead.  The ocean views from the One Ocean SPA were gorgeous.

Char-Broil Spa

 

After the relaxation we had a very serious event. It was the 2013 Char-Broil All Star Throwdown Competition.  This is an annual event with no monetary prizes but bragging rights.  We randomly pull numbers to find your partner and then you get grilling. My partner this year was the lovely Jane Bonacci “The Heritage Cook” She was an excellent partner and we worked very well together.

Blackbox Competition Char-Broil 2013

 

 

The black box competition contained: Calamari, Semi Sweet Dark Chocolate, blood oranges, Prawns, Snapper, sun dried tomatoes & Collard greens. We were required to use every mandatory item.

We had old Bay seasoning, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, olive oil, lemons and hot sauce as pantry items. Plus wood planks if we wanted.

I think we made something spectacular. We had 22 minutes. Thats all the time we had from start to finish to grill, photograph and present to the judges. Our judges were the VP of Char-Broil Marketing Michelle Zeller, a ONE Ocean team representative, and hosted by Marketing Specialist Mary Eitel from MKE Communications.

This was our entry titled Bounty of the Sea:

Bounty of the sea. Planked seafood entry

Our entry included:

  • Smoked Calamari stuffed with grilled shrimp, charred collards, finely minced sun dried tomatoes and seasonings
  • Louisiana grilled shrimp
  • Shrimp stuffed sea shells
  • Blood Orange chocolate reduction
  • Thyme grilled snapper

Jane made the absolutely amazing Blood orange,chocolate reduction for the plank that paired beautifully with the snapper.  Make sure you check out her Chocolate Monday post next week for the recipe.

The competition was intense and all of the teams put out some incredible food. Very glad to report that Jane and I won the competition and the bragging rights for the next year. Trophy widget will be coming soon from the always helpful Michael Williams Char-Broils Multi Media Content Specialist and Community Manager.

After the contest we celebrated with some refreshing cocktails and a wonderful Grouper dinner oceanside.  A great time was had by all. Its really great to hear of all the Char-Broil All Star’s successes. These are some seriously talented people that make amazing food!! Make sure to check out their blog Posts on Char-Broil and their own personal websites.

BBQ Cocktail

This event is always jam-packed with information, interesting education sessions and lots of laughter with my fellow Char-Broil All Stars. Looking forward to seeing them all sooner than later.

Just a reminder: 

As one of the Char-Broil All star bloggers I get to share a really great deal for my readers & followers.  Char-Broil has given me a code to post for the year for 25% off. Thats a big chunk of change to save.

Diva Q Big Deal

 

This code will give  25% OFF All Grills and Cookers on charbroil.com.  Pls note it is not applicable to parts but to grills & accessories only. This code & link below is valid until December 2013. Just use the code when you are checking out and click the link below:

 C13DD25

 

Char-Broil 4 out of 5 say its better

How to make a simple Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

 Simple Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

Ingredients
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in saucepan.
  2. Simmer until smooth and thickened to desired consistency—approximately 15 minutes.

How to make Memphis style Pulled Pork – YUMMY!

BBQ Crawl – How To Make Simple Texas-Style Ribs

Here is a different recipe as well:

Diva Q Texas Beef Ribs
Ingredients:
• 1 large rack meaty Texas beef Ribs (4-5lbs)
• ½ – ¾ cup Montreal Steak Spice
4 cups hickory or mesquite wood chips/chunks (for charcoal or gas grills)
Preheat your grill to 225/250F creating an indirect heat zone.
Pull the membrane from the bone side of the ribs.
Season both sides of the ribs generously with Montreal Steak Spice
Place ribs on grill indirect.
Add 1 handful of hickory/mesquite woodchips to the charcoal grill. Use hickory/oak pellets for a pellet grill. Or use a smoker box of hickory/mesquite wood chips if using a gas grill. Repeat adding wood chips or chunks to the grill every hour.
Grill indirect for 5-6 hours until the meat has pulled back from the bones and is tender.
Montreal Steak Spice
Ingredients
• 3 tablespoons Kosher Salt
• 3 tablespoons Butcher Grind Black Pepper
• 2 tablespoons Granulated Garlic
• 2 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
• 2 tablespoon Granulated Onion
• 1 tablespoon Dill
• 1 tablespoon Ground Coriander
• 1 tablespoon Thai Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
• 1 tablespoon Dried Mustard
Instructions
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl then transfer to a grinder.
Grind for 10-15 seconds until fully mixed and finely ground.
Store in an airtight container.
Use on pork, and beef.

This is GOING to make you HUNGRY!

BBQ Crawl commercial

coming to Travel & Escape

April 9 at 10:30pm EST

Crispy Smoked Duck

I think duck doesn’t get used nearly as much as it should be. Its an incredibly rich dark and forgiving meat that lends itself well to many applications.

 

 

Recipe

  • 5lb Whole Young duck
  • 3/4  cup maltose (or you can substitute honey or molasses)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Salt & Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat your smoker to 225F
  2. Rinse & pat dry the duck.
  3. Using your fingers separate the skin from the breast. This will help render out more fat.
  4. Spatchcock the duck. See this easy step by step tutorial from Martha.
  5. Use a jicard all over the duck. This will help release a lot of the fats from the duck.
  6. Sprinkle Salt & Pepper on the duck and place on grill. PLEASE Note: I used my traeger wood pellet grill with hickory pellets.  It is indirect heat with a slanted heat shield that pours the fat out into a drip pot. If using a gas or charcoal grill you will absolutely need to place a pan under the grates of the duck to capture the fat and grill indirect.
  7. Smoke duck for 2 hours.
  8. In a small bowl mix the maltose, soy sauce, ginger, 5 spice powder, salt & pepper together. Set aside on counter.
  9. After the 2 hours of smoking Turn up the grill to 300F
  10. After 2 hours start saucing the duck with the soy mixture. Every 10 minutes re sauce the duck. This will bring a beautiful rich color to the duck.
  11. Repeat this step until there is no sauce remaining (Approx 40 minutes)
  12. After the saucing turn your grill up to high (400-450F)  for the last 10 minutes to help crisp the duck even more.
  13. Remove duck from grill and let rest uncovered for 20 minutes
  14. When the duck is cool enough to handle segment into portions or shred the duck chopping the crispy skin and mixing in.

I served our duck shredded with sauteed finely chopped shiitake mushrooms, chow mein noodles, chives and thin cucumber slices for crunch. Served beside a pile of iceberg lettuce cups with a side of hoisin sauce for dipping. It was a fun family meal that my kids loved.

Crispy Duck Lettuce Wraps all ready for dinner.

 

 

http://divaq.ca/

Yummy fun dinner.

 

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