Welcome to Get Sauced!

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I am a PR pro, marketer and fundraiser. I enjoy writing about food, wine, and craft beer. I'm a social media junkie who is always looking for the next great app. Follow me on twitter.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What I'm Eating: Easy Peasy BBQ Chicken

Michigan made Easy Peasy Foods promises the end of boring chicken.  Do they make their case?  Let’s try some.

I took a package of chicken thighs and legs, and marinated them in ¾ bottle of Easy Peasy ‘Chicken Insurance’ marinade for a good 60 minutes—turning every 15-20 minutes or so. 

The marinade itself has a nice flavor profile, almost Asian, with an emphasis on soy sauce and garlic. Because there was so much flavor, I didn’t bother with any other seasoning.  After just over an hour, I fired up my gas grill and waited for it to get nice and hot.

Placing chicken pieces on the grill, I turned the heat down to avoid any flare-ups, and monitored progress a little more carefully than I would have if I was using the usual dry rub.

With the reserve marinade, I basted the chicken about half way through cooking.  The chicken grilled up with a nice color, and I was able to avoid any oil induced flames or burning.

We served our chicken with some cornbread, baked beans, sweet potato fries and broccoli.  The consensus among three pre-teens and two adults was an enthusiastic thumbs up. The chicken was moist and tender, and tasted great. I’d definitely use this marinade again, and feel good about that, because it’s made right here in Michigan with natural ingredients and no corn syrup.

You can find Easy Peasy ‘BBQ Insurance’ products around town at specialty stores and big boxes like Meijers. You can order online as well, and grab a cool t-shirt while you’re there!  Follow Easy Peasy Foods on Facebook and Twitter too.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cooking Matters challenges bloggers to food makeover

Is there anything more ‘American’ than the hamburger?  Just like a good helping of apple pie, few dishes say America like our beloved burger—whether it’s from Smashburger or McDonald’s, a trendy new restaurant, or your own backyard grill.

For the Cooking Matters Michigan Extreme Food Makeover, five local bloggers were asked to come up with a healthier version of foods that everyone loves.

My assignment was the burger. Whether it’s done up with sautéed mushrooms, bacon and cheddar, or just some lettuce, tomato and onion, a good burger is a thing of beauty.

When I saw the secret ingredients available to us (fennel, curry powder and plums), I was inspired by the option of curry powder, which reminded me of a new Indian restaurant I visited last week.  I decided to take the classic burger and fries, and give it an Indian inspired spin. 

Here’s the recipe:

Combine the following in a bowl:

1 tsp fresh minced garlic or garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup frozen corn
Chopped onion (small)
Squeeze of lemon juice

Fold mixture into one pound of fresh ground turkey (I purchased at Hiller’s –they grind their own).  Depending on your taste, feel free to add a bit more of any of these spices.

Form four patties, and fire up the grill or a cast-iron skillet.

Grill approximately seven minutes each side, or until internal temp reaches 160 degrees. I put a nice sear on the burgers to start with, turn for grill marks, and then flip. 

I served the burgers on whole wheat buns, with greens, tomato and a dollop of curried mayonnaise*.

Curried Mayo
1/8 cup of mayo
1/8 cup Greek yogurt
2-3 teaspoons Curry powder (adjust to your liking)
Squeeze of fresh lemon
*substituting Greek yogurt for half the mayo brings down calories and makes this a healthier alternative. It tastes good too! 

A side of fries
Thanks to McDonald’s, we’ve been programmed to think that eating salty deep fried white potatoes is a good thing. They may be tasty, but a large order of McDonald’s fries packs in 500 calories!  For this make-over, I decided to make my fries with sweet potatoes. Rather than deep frying and loading on the salt, I seasoned them with some garam masala and allspice, and baked them. You get a dish exploding with flavor, and packed with anti-oxidants, vitamins A and E, and fiber.

Preheat oven to 450. Wash and peel the potatoes. Make ½ inch slices and toss in a bowl with a little drizzled olive oil. Lay out evenly on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, allspice and garam masala. Bake approx 30 minutes, or until tender.

I love plums, and thought it would be a good idea to do something a little different with them. Stone fruit cooks up nicely on the grill, roasted or stewed.

Cut plums in half
Turn open side up on baking sheet
Add a dab of butter (optional) and sprinkle with cinnamon and allspice
Roast 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees
Remove from oven and top with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. There’s enough natural sweetness in the plums to make this work. If you’d like it a little sweeter, add some honey to the yogurt.

And there you have it, an American classic with a flavorful facelift. 

Now here’s where readers get to chime in. You can check out the entire lineup of food makeovers at the Cooking Matters Michigan blog site. Then, cast your vote for the cuisine that reigns supreme!  To cast your vote:

Comment below your favorite post;
Tweet to @cmdetroit with your vote;
Or comment on the Cooking Matters Facebook page.

Vote now through Wednesday. Each vote enters you into a daily drawing for a gift card.

Allez cuisine!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Putting a spin on potato leek soup

I was almost feeling like doing something healthy, so I decided to make some almost vegetarian soup.

A basic potato leek soup is warm and comforting as the nights begin to get cooler. But I wanted a bit more flavor. Bacon to the rescue!

I started with a dutch oven, chopped up five strips of bacon and allowed the fat to render. To the sizzling bacon I added the following—all chopped:

5 peeled potatoes
4 carrots
3 cups of leeks
3 celery stalks

Stir this mixture around for a minute and then add 4.5 cups of chicken broth, along with some salt and pepper, and a little thyme (you could also do this without the bacon and substitute veggie stock).

Bring to a boil, cover, and walk away for 20 minutes or so. If potatoes are cooked through, turn off heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Add some thyme and marjoram.

The smokey bacon, potato and leek combo creates a nice aroma, and tastes so good. I’ve seen some recipes that add cream, but I didn’t want to bother.

Use an immersion blender or standing blender to puree a bit, and you’re done. Taste and add more salt or herbs if necessary. Serve with a warm loaf of  Avalon Bakery Motown Multigrain.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Arts Beats and Eats offers 'eats' for every taste

Arts Beats and Eats, the Labor Day weekend fest is back in Royal Oak where the crowds are soaking up the sun, sounds and plenty of good eats. There is literally something for all tastes, with booths featuring everything from flavorful cultural dishes, to seafood, to summer fun food, to mouthwatering desserts. Additionally, the smoky aromas are sure to pull you in to BBQ Alley on Center Street north of 4th, for some ‘finger lickin’ good’ samples from the likes of Lockhart’s BBQ, Slab-n-Slice, and RUB Detroit.    

The following are some can’t miss favorites:

Try the lobster roll by Mitchell’s Seafood. Chock full of tasty lobster meat on a soft roll. Thought about going back for a second one.

Soaring Eagle prepared a number of great options, including the prime rib sandwich--layers of shaved prime rib topped with sautéed onions and mushrooms, and the Caesar salad in a parmesan cone.

The rib tips at Jackson’s Five Star Catering were good, the tangy sauce was delicious. Better yet, stop at Lockhart’s for their burnt ends or grab the Carolina pulled pork Sammy topped with cole slaw.  My favorite dish of the day.  We wanted to grab ribs at RUB as well, but they didn't seem to be set up yet when we got there.  

5th Avenue’s ‘Bubba Gump’ shrimp was a tasty mouthful and a generous portion, as were the jambalaya and mac-n-cheese at Andre’s Louisiana Seafood. The jambalaya has just a bit of heat, and the mac is nice and rich.  For dessert, Andre’s sweet potato pie completes the comfort food coma. 

One of my favorite Royal Oak restaurants, Bastone Brewery offered Belgian style chicken and waffles, an onion tart, and my favorite dessert of the day, caramel apple pie—sort of an apple tart with layers of goodness. Other dessert standouts include the chocolate mousse shooter at Sheraton Detroit Novi, and ‘Yia Yia’s baklava’ at Kouzina -- Greek 'street food' coming later this month to Royal Oak, in the former Zumba's, across from the Main Art Theater.

There’s still time to get over to Arts Beatsand Eats. What are you waiting for?