Special equipment: 4 to 6 cups hickory or apple wood chips, soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, drained
Pop the tab off the beer can. Using a church key style can opener, make a few more holes in the top of the can. Pour out half the beer into the soaking water of the wood chips. Set the can of beer aside.
Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place a large drip pan in the center. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat the grill to high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium.
Remove the packet of giblets from the body cavity of the chicken and set aside for another use. Remove and discard the fat just inside the body and neck cavities. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water, drain, and blot dry inside and out with paper towels. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the rub inside the body and neck cavities of the chicken. Rub the bird all over on the outside with 2 teaspoons of the rub. If you have the patience, you can put some of the rub under the skin being careful not to tear it.
Spoon the remaining 2 teaspoons of rub through the holes into the beer in the can. Don’t worry if it foams up, this is normal. Insert the beer can into the body cavity of the chicken and spread out the legs to form a sort of tripod. Tuck the wing tips behind the chicken’s back.
When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss all the wood chips on the coals. Stand the chicken up in the center of the hot grate, over the drip pan and away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the chicken until the skin is a dark golden brown and very crisp and the meat is cooked to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 12 fresh coals per side after 1 hour.
Using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken in its upright position on the beer can to a platter and present it to your guests. Let rest 5 minutes, and then carefully remove the chicken from the beer can. Take care not to spill the hot beer and burn yourself. Quarter or carve the chicken and serve with Cola Barbecue Sauce.
Basic Barbecue Rub:
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to blend together. Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat or light and it will keep for at least 6 months.
Cola Barbecue Sauce:
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy non-reactive saucepan and gradually bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat slightly to obtain a gentle simmer. Simmer the sauce until reduced by 1/4, about 6 to 8 minutes. Use right away or transfer to a large jar, cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several months.
You can also barbecue a chicken on a can of cola, lemon-lime soda, or root beer.
Lumpia is the Philippines’ version of Egg Rolls. Like so many other Asian countries the Filipino Lumpia comes in many varieties.
There is Lumpiang Sariwa or “Fresh Lumpia” that are very thin crepe like wrappers that are filled with stir fried vegetables, shrimp, meats, or a combination of them. Lumpiang Shanghai are meat filled deep fried egg rolls that are tightly wrapped to look like thin cigars or are cut into smaller pieces when served as appetizers, they are usually served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. Then there are fried lumpia that closely resemble spring rolls. Fried Lumpia can be filled with just about anything including ripe bananas which are actually called Turon or Banana Lumpia.
Fried Lumpia is a favorite in my house; I make them by the dozen and freeze them so we always have some on hand. Making fried lumpia is pretty easy since I usually toss in whatever I have on hand including ground beef, green beans, tofu, carrots, bean sprouts, potatoes, and onions. You can put any combination of meats, seafood, and veggies in a fried lumpia, it’s really not complicated. Whatever ends up as my filling I always serve it with a garlic vinegar sauce, my family loves it!
Today I’ll share my version of Fried Lumpia. I’ll list ingredients just remember they’re all pretty much optional and you can toss in whatever you prefer; but use at least 3 of the optional items in your filling. You can buy frozen egg roll wrappers at any Asian Market, most packages contain 25 wrappers.
1 or 2 Package Egg Roll Wrapper – thawed
1 Lb. Ground Beef – but you can use pork, chicken, turkey, or shrimp instead
1 Small Onion Chopped
1 Tbs. Garlic Minced
2-3 Potatoes – Cooked and cubed (optional)
2 Cups Bean Sprouts (optional)
1 Package Firm Tofu – cut into small cubes
1 Cup Shredded Carrots (optional)
1 Cup Fresh String Beans – Thinly sliced (optional)
1 Cup Shredded Cabbage (optional)
1/8 Cup Soy Sauce
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Egg slightly beaten (to seal wrappers)
Oil for frying
1/2 Cup White or Rice Vinegar
1/2 Tsp. Garlic Minced
1/4 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp. Chili Pepper Flakes (optional)
Heat about 1 Tbl. of oil in a wok or large skillet.
Saute chopped onions until they start to turn translucent.
Add minced garlic and saute for about 1 minute, be careful not to burn the garlic.
Add ground beef or whatever meat you are using. If you are using shrimp add them later after veggies have cooked as shrimp cook quickly and will over cook if you have to cook veggies.
Add salt and pepper. Cook until meat is well done and crumbly.
Add beans, carrots, cabbage if you are using them. Cook until soft.
Add Bean Sprouts and cook until soft.
Gently stir in Tofu and soy sauce.
Remove from heat, drain liquid from pan, and set aside.
Thaw egg roll wrappers and remove from package.
Separate wrappers being careful not to tear. Place on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. You will be using one wrapper at a time so keep the others under the damp paper towel to keep them from drying out.
Take one wrapper and place on flat surface.
Place about 1 to 1 1/2 heaping tbl. of filling along one side of the wrapper.
Fold over both ends and roll like a burrito.
Brush some beaten egg on the wrapper to seal.
Place on a plate if you will be frying the same day or place in freezer bag if you plan on freezing them for later.
Repeat until you use all the wrappers.
When you’re ready to fry heat about 2″ of oil in a pan or use your deep fryer.
If you are frying the ones you just made, fry them in hot oil until they turn dark golden brown.
Place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
If you are frying frozen lumpia, carefully place FROZEN lumpia in the heated oil. Do not thaw them as they will get too soft and fall apart. Fry them until dark golden brown.
To make the sauce just add all the sauce ingredients into a bowl and stir.
Other options for the fillings include shredding sweet potatoes, chopped water chestnuts, sliced bamboo shoots,and pretty much anything you like.
Paella is probably Spain’s most popular dish. It originated in the Valencia region located in Eastern Spain but can be found worldwide specially in countries that were once part of colonial Spain namely Cuba and the Philippines where it is also call Arroz Valenciana.
The word Paella mean “pan” in the Valencian dialect. It is usually made and served in a “paella” pan which is basically a somewhat flat shallow skillet with or without a cover. It is typically made with Bomba rice, a short grain rice variety cultivated in Spain’s eastern region. Traditional Valencian Paella includes some type of meat such as chicken, duck, or rabbit, and some type of green bean. It’s iconic yellow colored rice is achieved by adding saffron threads while cooking.
In modern time Paella has been adapted to use ingredients easily found in different areas of the country. One of the most popular, an my favorite is Paella de Marisco which is seafood mixed with the rice. This usually has shrimp, mussels or clams, squid, and sometimes lobster; is usually omits the vegetables. Then there’s Paella Mixta which combines meats including Chorizo (Spanish pork sausage), seafood, and vegetables. In short these days you can pretty much put whatever you want in a pealla. My husband prefers chicken or vegetarian Paella.
When I was growing up surrounded by grandmothers, aunts, and uncles many of whom were fantastic cooks, Arroz Valenciana or Paella was a treat. It would certainly be on a party menu, specially at Christmas. These days I usually have to get my Paella fix in Spain. It’s always one of our favorites when we’re in Barcelona, Majorca, or any part of Spain.
But since our yearly visits to Spain will not be possible this year we’ve found ourselves missing our favorite Spanish foods. That’s why I’ve been making tapas boards lately. I’ve also been making Paella. In fact I’ve been making it often enough that’s I’ve recently decided to order a paella pan.
Today I’ll share my recipe for Chicken Paella because it’s ingredients are probably the easiest to find. In fact you may already have it in your kitchen pantry. I mentioned that Paellas are typically made with Bomba rice, but it’s not always easy to find in the US, at least in Hawaii. I usually use Japanese short grain rice, the type you use to make sushi which is always found at any Asian market. Saffron is not easily found in regular supermarkets because it’s pretty expensive. I usually buy Saffron when I’m in Turkey or the Middle East where it’s readily available at the local spice markets at a reasonably lower price. If you don’t have Saffron you can use ground Turmeric to tint the rice yellow, but don’t use too much as it will leave a different flavor than what you want to achieve. I’d use no more than a teaspoon of turmeric powder dissolved in a cup of chicken stock.
1/2 Tsp. Crushed Saffron Threads
1/2 Cup White Wine
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
6-8 Chicken Thighs Bone-In with Skin
1 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Onion Chopped
2 Tbl. Minced Garlic
1 Tbs. Fresh Thyme chopped
1 1/2 Cup uncooked Bomba or other short grain rice
3 Cups Chicken Stock
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Small Bag Frozen Peas
1 Red Pepper cut into strips
American Parsley – chopped (optional)
Lemon Wedges (optional)
Stir Saffron into wine and set aside.
Heat Olive Oil in Paella pan or large skillet.
Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
Place thighs in heated oil skin side down and cook until golden brown, about 6-7 minutes.
Turn over and cook another 4-5 minutes.
Remove chicken from pan and set aside. (You may have to cook chicken in batches depending on how big your pan is and how many thighs you are using.)
Add onions, garlic, and thyme to pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, stir constantly to keep it from burning.
Add Rice and cook another 2 minutes while stirring constantly.
Add wine and cook until liquid is reduced by half.
Stir in lemon juice and chicken stock.
Place chicken skin side up on top of rice, cover, reduce heat to medium.
Simmer about 18 minutes until rice is almost cooked, it should be “al dente”.
Remove cover and add peas and pepper evenly over the pan.
Turn up heat to medium high and cook another 5 minutes or until rice begins to brown on the bottom and sides.
Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley.
Serve hot with lemon wedges.
This dish pairs well with a pitcher of Sangria or a nice bottle of fruity red wine or a Chardonnay for white wine lovers.
Filipino cuisine is a melting pot of several different types of cuisine, but it is said that 80% of Filipino dishes have been influenced by Spanish cuisine. The Philippines was a Spanish colony from 1521 to 1898. Almost 400 years of Spanish rule certainly left its mark, many Filipino specialties are local adaptations of Spanish dishes.
One of our family favorites is Escabeche, or a Sweet & Sour Fish dish. Escabeche is a common Spanish dish that is popular in Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine. Typically it refers to a dish of poached or fried fish that has been marinated in an acidic sauce before serving. It can also composed of other meats including chicken and pork, or vegetables. The Filipino version of Fish Escabeche is fried fish in a Sweet & Sour sauce. It is a favorite Filipino party food, specially when it’s made with a whole fish that’s artfully arranged on a platter and topped with colorful veggies and sauce.
I’ve made it the traditional way using whole fish, but my grandsons have difficulty with the small fish bones. To make it easier for them to eat I have started making Escabeche using fish fillets than have no bones. Any kind of white fish will work. We have used Tilapia, Flounder, Orange Roughy, and other white fish we find in the market.
Like many Filipino dishes Escabeche isn’t difficult to make, but it is “fussy” meaning its preparation requires several steps; in this case dredging, frying, chopping, and making the sauce. It takes about an hour or so tho cook so it’s not something I make very often, but when I do my family loves it!
6 – 8 Fish Fillets (any white fish: Tilapia, Flounder, Halibut, etc.)
1 Large egg – slightly beaten
1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 1/2 + 1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Ketchup
2 Tbls. Corn Starch
1 Large Onion Sliced into strips
2 Medium Green Peppers Sliced into large chunks
4 Cloves Garlic roughly chopped
Mix flour and spices in a shallow bowl
Place egg in another shallow bowl
Pat fish fillets dry with a paper towel
Heat oil in frying pan
Dip fish fillet in egg, then dip in flour mixture, shake off excess flour
Fry in hot oil until both sides are cooked
Remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain oil
Repeat with the rest of the fish
Keep fried fish warm by placing it in the oven at about 200 degrees
Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 cup water and set aside
Place sugar, vinegar, water, and ketchup in a medium pot and bring to boil
Stir in garlic, peppers, and onions
Make sure cornstarch solution is still dissolved, if not stir until it is
Slowly stir in cornstarch solution until you get desired thickness. Sauce should be the consistency of gravy.
Place fish fillets on serving dish and pour sauce over it
Serve right away. It goes great with steamed white rice.
Escabeche - Filipino Sweet & Sour Fish
Popular Filipino dish featuring fried white fish in sweet & sour sauce.
Combine flour, garlic powder, salt & pepper and place in a shallow dish.
Heat oil over medium - medium high stove.
Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with paper towel.
Dredge fillets in flour mixture and place in heated oil.
Fry fish until cooked and turns golden brown - about 4 - 5 minutes per side depending on the thickness
Remove from pan and place on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb some of the oil. Set aside.
Combine sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and 1 1/2 cups water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. About 10 minutes.
Mix 1/4 cup water with corn starch until smooth.
Slowly stir corn starch liquid into the boiling vinegar mixture to thicken. Reduce heat to low and let sauce gently simmer. Keep an eye on it, you don't want it to get too thick. If it gets too thick add a bit of water to thin.
Saute onions in the oil you fried the fish in until it starts to turn a bit soft.
Add garlic, saute until cooked.
Add green peppers and cook until peppers turn slightly soft.
Return fried fish fillets to pan with veggies.
Gently stir fish mixture for about 3 - 4 minutes.
Arrange fish and veggies in a platter.
Pour sauce over all.
The most efficient way to make this dish is to start making the sauce while the fish is frying. Keep the sauce simmering over low heat while you finish sauteing the veggies. Stir the sauce periodically to keep a skin from forming on the top.
When you drain the fried fish and set it aside keep it warm by placing it in a warmer or on the stove top. Don't cover the fried fish, it will get soggy.
When you replace the fish in the pan gently stir it so that the fillets warm up a bit. Transfer fish and veggies on to your serving dish (or you can keep it in the frying pan) and pour the hot sauce over all.
This dish is perfect served with steamed white rice.
Grilling is always fun. We usually have a family barbecue every Sunday. It’s lots of fun and a great way to catch up with each other after a busy week. One of the problems I run in to is finding new recipes to grill. (With recent lock downs and quarantines we’ve had to barbecue for those of us in the household, other family members barbecue at their homes to maintain social distancing. But hopefully soon we can all get together again for this family tradition!)
Sure hot dogs, burgers, and steaks are easy, but every now and then we need a change. That’s why I’m always in search of a new barbecue recipe. I like to try them out during this weekly family dinner, and if everyone likes it we make it part of our menu.
Last month I tried this new marinade, mostly because I had all the ingredients in the pantry. (Again with the pandemic quarantine we try to keep shopping trips to a minimum). But also because I love balsamic vinegar, which is the main ingredient to this recipe. I call it Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade.
The best part about marinades is that it flavors your meat with very little work. It’s simple, just toss the ingredients together, soak the meat, and let the marinade do the rest of the work! I marinate my meat in the refrigerator overnight. The longer is marinates the more flavorful it will be, but you don’t want to marinate it more than a day or so, because when marinated too long the meat starts getting this tough jerky like texture and it may eventually spoil. If for some reason we don’t use the marinated meat the next day I freeze it, marinade and all. That way I just thaw it out when we’re ready to grill.
Just before grilling I skewer the beef cubes on bamboo skewers, but you can use metal skewers if you have them. We do have a bunch of pretty metal skewers we brought home from Turkey one year, but cleaning them after the barbecues is an extra chore I can do without. When you do use bamboo skewers remember to soak them in water for about 10 – 15 minutes before putting the meat on, it keeps them from burning when you pop them on the grill.
Another helpful tip when grilling is to not over cook the meat. Grill meat until it is just about done to the way you want it (rare, medium, well). In short remove it from the grill before it is the desired “doneness”. Place grilled meat in a covered pot or roasting pan and let rest covered for 5 minutes before serving. This allows the meat to finish cooking and to release its juices. Try it out! You’ll end up with tender juicy meat! It works for steaks too!
Having said that here’s my recipe for Vinaigrette Marinade! By the way you can use the same marinade on chicken, lamb, or shrimp. Just don’t mix the meats, make a separate batch of marinade for each type of meat or seafood.
3 Lbs. Beef Tenderloin cut in 1″ cubes (you can use your favorite beef cut)
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs. Finely Minced Garlic
1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Rosemary
1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Oregano
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 Large Onions cut into large chunks
1 Large Green Pepper cut into large pieces
1 Basket Mushrooms, washed and patted dry
Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and seasonings in a large ziplock bag. Seal bag and shake to combine all the ingredients together.
Add meat cubes to the marinade. Seal bag and shake to cover all the meat.
Refrigerate at least 3 hours, for best flavor marinate in the fridge overnight.
About and hour or less before grilling place meat, onions, peppers, and
mushrooms on skewers. Alternate meat with veggies.
Grill over medium heat until meat is just about done the way you want it.
Place skewers in a large pot or roasting pan with a lid. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to allow meat to finish cooking and release its juices.
Serve hot with rice, potatoes, and other sides.
Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade
Tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled meat that's perfect for any cook out.