Chicken Bratwurst with Grilled Mango & Red Onion

Chicken Bratwurst with Grilled Mango & Red Onion

Some might say that grilling season ended yesterday (at least in the States), but quite frankly it’s hotter than hell here at the moment. I have no intention of turning on the stove or oven until this heat wave and gross humidity are over and done. There is something more bearable about standing in front of a 400 degree grill on a hot day than dealing with a 400 degree oven.

I usually don’t buy bratwurst because it’s generally made with meats I don’t care to eat, but I’ve found a delicious chicken bratwurst at Von’s/Safeway. It is gluten-free, no strange meats I don’t like, and it’s extremely tasty. It’s Von’s/Safeway’s own Open Nature brand, which is their store brand of  healthy/organic/natural/etc foods.

The grilled mango and red onion really stood out and brought so much extra flavor to the bratwurst. I combined the mango and onion with a teaspoon of oil, a generous dash of cayenne powder and garlic powder and a dash of lime juice. I think this ‘relish’ would have been delicious by itself, but grilling the mango and onion brought out so much flavor and the spice really complemented that. I topped mine with chili sauce just for a little extra flavor. It was the perfect accompaniment.

I made gluten-free buns from Chebe and then toasted them on the grill before topping them with the brats and grilled mango and onions. I have used Chebe for sandwiches and many other things before, but I never as buns. I was pretty impressed by how they held up to both the brat and to the grill.

 Chicken Bratwurst with Grilled Mango & Red Onion
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens.


  • 1 large fresh mango, seeded, peeled, and halved
  • 1 small red onion, cut in 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 package of bratwurst links
  • buns


  1. Heat grill to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss mango and onion with oil, cayenne, garlic, and lime juice.
  3. On grill rack place mango halves, onion, and brats directly over flames. Grill for 8-10 minutes, or until mango and brats are browned and cooked through and onion is crisp-tender, turning once halfway through cooking. Lightly toast buns for 1 to 2 minutes on grill. Set aside mango, onion, and brats.
  4. For relish, chop grilled mango and onion. Serve brats in buns with mango and onion.

Grilled Skirt Steak & Peaches

Grilled Skirt Steak & Peaches

This is another fast meal you can make on the grill instead of in a hot kitchen. The marinade/dressing for the steak is phenomenal. It really brings out the sweetness of the peaches and helps the flavors meld together perfectly. My peaches took a while to grill, so I would suggest putting them on the grill before the meat, which will cook quite quickly. You could easily add the peaches and steak to some lettuce, with a sprinkle of blue cheese and you would have any amazing salad.

Grilled Skirt Steak & Peaches
From Food & Wine

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1 jalapeño, halved and seeded
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup very hot water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 peaches, halved and pitted
  1. In a blender, puree the garlic, bay leaf, shallot, jalapeño, lemon zest and juice, soy sauce and thyme until combined. With the blender on, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the canola oil and puree until smooth. Season the marinade with salt and pepper. Pour half of the marinade into a shallow baking dish, add the skirt steak and turn to coat. Let the skirt steak stand for 20 minutes. Add the Dijon mustard to the remaining dressing and blend. Transfer the dressing to a small bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, light a grill. In a small saucepan, combine the water with the honey, cinnamon and ginger and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl along with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the peaches.
  3. Drain excess marinade off the skirt steak. Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper and grill them over high heat, 6 to 7 minutes, turning once, for medium-rare meat. At the same time, grill the peach halves, turning them frequently, until they are charred in spots and softened, about 8 minutes. Cut the peaches into wedges and thinly slice the steaks. Transfer to plates and serve, passing the dressing on the side.

Texas Caviar

My wonderful friend Amanda moved to Texas not so long ago and being the wonderful friend that she is, she sent me the perfect postcard!

Seriously, more places should sell postcards with recipes on them. Such a cute way to share regional recipes. I love it.

You can totally tell that I live no where near the south. It was so hard to find black eyed peas. Well the canned kind, not the boom boom pow kind. I definitely removed a couple ingredients from this that I am not particularly a fan of, like bell peppers and celery, aka the 2nd most disgusting food on the planet (bananas would be number 1 obvs.). It’s not too late to whip this up as a Labor Day side dish, or keep it in mind for you next barbecue. I highly recommend you do!

Texas Caviar (adapted from Amanda’s postcard)

  • 1 can black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 fresh medium jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 small red onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl; cover and refrigerate 2 hours (or up to 2 days). Before serving, adjust seasonings to taste, adding extra vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve and enjoy!

Gluten Free Jalapeño Cheddar Scones

I have to admit, I am still pretty unsure of my gluten free baking skills. Gluten free flour is kinda weird. It either cooks way too fast and burns or is still a goopy mess after a billion hours of cooking.

I decided to use a recipe that I knew was good. I made these scones before, last New Year’s in Poland with my friend Ksenia. I knew if they could turn out well in Eastern Europe, they would turn out great any where. I just had to factor in the gluten free flour issue now. It’s always something…


These scones turned out perfectly. They were light and fluffy and the chiles and cheddar were such a good combination. Definitely make sure you use sharp or extra sharp cheddar. I totally forgot about the egg wash from Deb’s original recipe, but luckily the scones didn’t dry out or get too burnt on top. You should definitely make these soon.

Gluten Free Jalapeño Cheddar Scones (adapted from this Smitten Kitchen Recipe)

  • 2 cups gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Mix)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • 1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, diced
  • 1 can diced chiles
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain can of chiles. then place them in a small bowl with the cheddar cheese and coat them with one tablespoon of the flour. Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and salt. Cut in the remaining butter with a pastry blender, fork or two knives, until the butter bits are pea sized.
  2. Lightly whip two of the eggs and cream and add to the flour-butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together. Add the cheddar-jalapeño mixture to the dough and mix until everything is incorporated.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough out to a 3/4- to 1-inch thickness and either cut into 8 triangles or the shape of your choice with a biscuit cutter. Place on a parchment-lined (or well-oiled) baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Summer Vegetable Potato Salad

This salad is one of the prettiest dishes I have ever made. And one of the tastiest too. We had a midweek barbecue for dinner one night this week and I wanted to make a quick and easy salad to go with the rest of our meal. Green salad seemed a little lame, potato salad seemed a little much. This recipe seemed to balance out the two perfectly. The ingredients made for a perfect summer salad.

The potatoes made a great base for the rest of the salad. The corn, tomatoes and arugula just screamed ‘summer!’ to me and were perfect with the vinaigrette and feta. This salad would be perfect for any late summer barbecues you might be doing this Labor Day weekend.

Summer Vegetable Potato Salad (adapted from this Better Homes & Gardens recipe)

  • 1 pound small yellow or red new potatoes, sliced
  • 2 fresh ears of sweet corn, cooked, or 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, sliced or cut into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup fresh arugula leaves, torn
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2-4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot or red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. In medium saucepan cook potatoes, covered, in enough boiling salted water to cover for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and cool. Cut corn from cob. On large serving platter arrange the potatoes and tomatoes. Sprinkle with corn and 1/4 cup basil.
  2. For dressing, in a screw-top jar combine oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and shake well. Pour dressing over potato mixture.* Sprinkle salad with feta cheese and basil leaves. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

*Make Ahead: Refrigerate salad up to 4 hours. Sprinkle with feta cheese and basil leaves, and let come to room temperature before serving.

Chicken with Balsamic BBQ Sauce

Stop what you are doing and make this barbecue sauce right now! It will change your life. It might be my new favorite barbecue sauce.

I used less ketchup and brown sugar than was called for in the original recipe because I hate overly sweet barbecue sauces and I really wanted the tang of the balsamic to shine through. I really love vinegar and balsamic in particular, but if you aren’t such a diehard vinegar fan, you might want to keep the full amount of brown sugar in the recipe.

The original recipe also says the barbecue sauce could be used over steak if that’s your thing. You also have a couple different options for cooking the chicken. I used a grill pan on the stove, but you could also use a real grill or bake it in the oven and it would be just as delicious. Luckily we had a ton of sauce left over and I ended put it on many various things and it just made everything so much better; grilled veggies, potatoes, it was all delicious.

Balsamic Barbecue Sauce (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the Balsamic Barbecue Sauce:
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.
For the Chicken:
Prepare the chicken. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place grill pan over medium heat. Pour a bit of the barbecue sauce into a small bowl to avoid contamination from raw/cooking meat (yep, we’re a bit paranoid about getting salmonella in these parts). Lightly coat with some of the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush. Place the chicken on the grill. Cook the chicken about 8 minutes per side. Brush the chicken with BBQ sauce from the small, separate bowl every few minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the heated BBQ sauce alongside.

Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad

At the moment, I’m currently obsessed with corn. There’s something about it that’s just oh so summery. I threw this quick and simple salad together for a last minute dinner side dish. Excellent decision. It turned out to be really tasty. Something I would definitely make again. It can stand alone or fill in as a side dish or salad topper. I really loved the colors of this salad and the ingredients all accompanied each other very well.

Roasted Corn & Tomato Salad

  • 1.5 cups corn, fresh, canned or frozen (I used Trader Joe’s frozen Roasted Corn)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 pint baby tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Heat olive oil in pan over medium high heat. When heated, add corn and garlic powder. Sautee until corn is defrosted and/or warmed through. Remove from heat and pour into medium bowl. Add red and green onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Top with vinegar and mix all ingredients together. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

4th of July!

I love the 4th of July. It’s my second favorite holiday of all time (Thanksgiving is number 1, duh). There is just something about America, summer days and bbqs that gets me all excited and happy. Mama and Papa CC moved to America 30 years ago this year and I will never be able to put into words how grateful I am that they decided to come to this amazing country and work their asses off to provide me with the life and opportunities I have had. I really think most Americans don’t realize how lucky they are. Being an American is such an amazing thing. Traveling around the world and living in former Communist countries will help you realize all this quite fast; hence my proclivity for American national holidays.

I’ve spent the last couple years celebrating the 4th of July and Thanksgiving overseas. Celebrating national holidays overseas, regardless of your home country, brings a whole different sense of national pride. Today was not my typical 4th of July celebration, I was back in America and the threat of work was looming large… I, fortunately, did not have to go into work, unfortunately my boss did. We were hoping to get in a quick lunch BBQ today, but the threat of holiday traffic meant that my dad headed back down to LA much earlier than expected and me and Mama CC were left to fend for ourselves.

The day ended up comprising of a lot of this…

Some of this…

A whole lot of these…

And a lot of this type of thing…

It was pretty much an awesome day.

There will be some appetizer and cocktail recipes up shortly. I have a grill and some tuna to attend to in the mean time.

I hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July!

A Father’s Day Feast! Side Dish Edition: Broccoli Salad & Potato Salad

For our main Father’s Day meal, I ventured out and grilled up two things I had never attempted before, Cedar Plank Salmon and Tri-Tip! Despite a minor setback and the loss of a cedar plank, both of them turned out to be absolutely delicious. I also made some side dishes to go with our meal. My all-time favorite broccoli salad and my mom made an awesome eggless potato salad (I’m allergic to eggs, which is fine by me, because eggs are a bit gross in my book).



This broccoli salad is absolutely amazing. I LOVE it. I first had this salad several years ago when I was back visiting family of some kind in Ireland. One of my aunts always takes me to lunch at Avoca, which is kind of like the Irish version of Anthropologie, but more expensive and with a garden center and a grocery section and cafes, but it’s basically the same (same, same, but different, if ya know what I mean…). It’s really hard to say what makes Avoca so great. I’m a little more than casually obsessed and if I could get away with living in one of their stores or if I could afford to just buy everything in their store, I would be a very happy camper. The one of the few things I was able to afford buy, and to this day remains one of my best purchases to date (yes, I keep track in a very elaborate and detailed spreadsheet) is the Avoca cook books.

Broccoli, Feta, Hazelnut & Cherry Tomato Salad

  • ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 lb. broccoli florets
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • French Dressing – recipe below

Toast the hazelnuts in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, while still warm rub off skins.   Allow to cool, then put the hazelnuts in a bowl with the broccoli, cheese and tomatoes.  Gently toss with the dressing and season with pepper.  Salt may not be required, since the feta is usually quite salty.

French Dressing

  • ½ pint sunflower oil
  • ½ pint olive oil
  • ½ pint red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Will keep in refrigerator for several weeks.  Shake well before serving.

Perfect Potato Salad (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 pound of small red-skinned potatoes (our skins weren’t that nice, so we peeled them)
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 3 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook potatoes 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain potatoes. Peel and chop into 1½-inch pieces. Add peas, 2 Tbsp dill, and red onion. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, horseradish, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Gently toss dressing with salad. Spoon into serving bowl. Sprinkle with remaining dill. Before serving, taste; add extra salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve and Enjoy!

BBQ Pulled Chicken with Cauliflower Casserole and Easy Potato Salad

It’s officially summer here in Southern California and while the stereotype brings about imagines of sun, surf and sand, the reality, as many disappointed tourists discover, is a bit different. June means lots gloom. Many days you would be hard pressed to find the sun before the afternoon. Today, the sun finally showed up at 5.30… Which is totally perfect for working on your tan if you’re two shades above casper like me.

While I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner, the gray weather did not provide much inspiration. Something warm and comforting seemed very appealing. I also wanted to take a walk on the wild side and test out this whole crock pot business. Enter Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken! Despite the sun coming out, the BBQ pulled chicken and cauliflower casserole I had planned on making were delicious. I decided to make it a little more barbecue-y/picnic-y and made a super simple, super delicious potato salad. I must say that I am quite pleased with my first crock pot endeavor!

Barbecue Pulled Chicken (I followed this recipe)

  • 1 8-ounce can reduced-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 3 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. ground chipotle chile
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Stir tomato sauce, chiles, vinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ground chipotle and salt in a 6-quart slow cooker until smooth. Add chicken, onion and garlic; stir to combine. Put the lid on and cook on low until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5 hours. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce, stir well and serve.

Cauliflower Casserole (This recipe is a family favorite around here. We just substitute Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Panko Bread Crumbs.)

  • 1 large head cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cauliflower, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain, and place in a 2 quart casserole dish.
  3. In a small bowl mix together butter, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle mixture over cauliflower, and top with Cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Easy Potato Salad
This is one of my favorite potato salads. It’s very tasty and very easy to make. And there is no heavy mayo or dressings you have to worry about refrigerating, which makes it perfect for summer.)
  • 6 medium or large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 C olive oil (the original recipe called for more, but I found it to be WAY too oily)
  • 1/2 C fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • Salt and Fresh ground pepper
Bring potatoes to a boil over medium heat and cook until done. About 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Add onions and toss.

Make the dressing, in a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper with a whisk.

Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. When ready to serve, pour on the dressing and toss.