Conjoined Chicks and Caramelized Kielbasa

Fellow Spice Chick Betsy and I finally had a rare opportunity to get together in her hometown of Grayling. We hit the town with hurricane force, going everywhere to include the kitchen sink and it was fantastic! We are both foodies that usually develop our recipes alone, in our private kitchens. However, this was one of a few times in a year that we actually had the opportunity to cook and create together. Why is it so great to incorporate sticks into cooking? We had to ask ourselves that very same question. Perhaps a cave chick thing, post if you know the answer. As you can imagine, this is going to be good! Hold on to your hats, Caramelized Kielbasa coming at you. Here we go….

Pre-magic Prep:
Soak wooden skewers in water for approximately 20 minutes (to prevent forest fires :D)

Skewer Ingredients:
1 package Kielbasa or Smoked Sausage
2 Bell Peppers (your choice of color)
1 Spanish (red) Onion
1 Package Button Mushrooms

Baste Ingredients:

3-4 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
3 TBSP Olive Oil
3 TBSP Honey
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

Assembly and So On….
Cut skewer ingredients into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces and feed onto skewers in an alternate fashion

Preheat grill to mid level heat

In the meantime, mix baste ingredients together in a sealed tight and shake proof bowl and incorporate well

Place kabobs on the grill and baste generously, turning frequently

The kabobs should take on a caramelized look and be browned on the edges

Serve with kicked up corn….and Bam Pow! Dinner is served.

Hope you enjoy as much as we did!



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Kicked-Up Corn and the Life of a PC

Week 8

This week has been completely nuts!  First, I had to step into this millennium by saying goodbye to my trusty Blackberry and start my life anew with a smart phone…which if you know me, you know what a feat that was.  Then my bladder tank died (water, not so much), my tires had to be replaced and my computer is in the backyard awaiting a rendition of taps before I dig a hole and say goodbye to her.  To say it has been a rough week is an understatement!  Alright, enough whining and on to some good food.

I did manage to do a bit of grilling amongst the chaos this weekend and thought I would share one of my favorites of the summer.  Chipotle corn…..can I get an amen?!?  Here is how you make the magic…

Chipotle Corn:

4 to 5 Ears of fresh corn

1/2 Stick of butter 

1/2 to 1/4 TSP of Cayenne pepper (depending on how brave you are)

1/4 tsp Kosher salt

1/8 tsp Fresh ground pepper

And the kicker…..

1 TBSP Fresh chopped cilantro (for those that don’t mind a bit of heat) OR

1 TBSP Fresh chopped parsley (for those that do not)

Preheat the grill to about 350 degrees (note, this is equal to a low to mid temperature setting)

Shuck the corn and rinse to remove the silk

In a microwave safe container, add the butter, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 30 seconds or until the butter is melted.  Stir ingredients together with your basting brush.

Place corn on the grill and baste in a light coat of butter mix.  Rotate the corn with tongs and frequently baste and rotate until the corn is golden yellow with a slight bit of browning and remove.  If any butter remains, baste with the balance once off the grill.  Sprinkle with either the cilantro or the parsley and serve.

Bam Pow!


Is May Really Here?

Week 7

Michigan weather is known for its unpredictability, but this cold snap is nuts!  Mother’s Day with snow falling on my freshly planted flowers has me a little upset, but does allow for one more roasted dinner without the regret of making the house too warm in the heat of the summer. 

One of my favorite chefs is Ina Garten (also known as the Barefoot Contessa).  Her Perfect Roast Chicken is simple, yet amazing.  I view it as a two for one in that it warms up the house and is a wonderful Sunday dinner.  Here is her recipe, along with my twist.

Perfect Roast Chicken:

1           5 to 6 pound roasting chicken

             Kosher salt

             Fresh ground pepper

1           Large bunch of fresh thyme

1           Lemon cut in half crosswise

1           Bulb garlic cut in half crosswise (exposing the cloves)

2 Tbsp Butter, melted

1           Spanish onion, thickly sliced

1 C       Chicken stock

2 Tbsp All-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan.  Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.  Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of the lemon, and all of the garlic.  Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.  Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.  Scatter the onion slices around the chicken.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.  Remove to a platter and cover with aluminum foil while you prepare the gravy.

Remove all of the fat from the bottom of the pan, reserving 2 tablespoons in a small cup.  Add the chicken stock to the pan and cook on high heat for about 5 minutes, until reduced, scraping the bottom of the pan.  Combine the 2 tablespoons of chicken fat with the flour and add to the pan.  Boil for a few minutes to cook the flour.  Stain the gravy into a small saucepan and season it to taste.  Keep it warm over a very low flame while you carve the chicken.

Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve immediately with the warm gravy.

Lesa’s Twist:

I also add fresh rosemary to the cavity and eliminate the second layer of salt and pepper.  In its place, I use Herbs from Province which is a blend of chervil, basil, rosemary, tarragon, garlic, lavender, marjoram, savory, thyme and parsley.  The slight hint lavender is beautiful on chicken. 



Garten, I. (1999). Perfect roast chicken. In The barefoot contessa cookbook (p. 130). New York: Clarkson Potter.

Sweet and Sassy

Week 6

I have a tradition with my sons, for their birthdays they can choose anything they would like me to make them for dinner and I will make it.  Hands down, every year and all three boys choose my ribs.  I would love to tell you that the recipe is very complicated and that only the brave should try this at home (but I’d be lying).  Now, it did take me a while to figure out how to make these and I did go through a very large learning curve but now that it is proven, I am happy to share it.  There are only a handful of marinades that truly tenderize meat, those being soy, citrus, vinegar and salt.  I chose orange for this recipe, I know it sounds weird but believe me… it’s amazing. 

Here we go…

The Ingredients:

Baby Back Ribs

Orange Juice

Barbecue Sauce (I like KC Masterpiece)

Orange Marmalade

Cholula Hot Sauce

The Secret:

Wash the bone fragments off the ribs and cut them into 3 to 4 rib sections.  Place in a roasting pan and add enough orange juice to completely cover the ribs, cover the roaster with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 3 to 4 hours.  Remove from the oven and allow them to cool in the orange juice until they are at room temperature.

The Sauce:

3 parts barbecue sauce

1 part orange marmalade

Hot sauce to taste

Add the ingredients together in a mircowave safe container and heat until the marmalade becomes a liquid.

The Grill:

The ribs will be falling off the bone, so we only need to grill them enough to carmalize the sauce and give them that beautiful smokey flavor.  Use very low heat and be generous with the sauce.  I find it works best to do several layers of sauce, letting each layer carmalize before adding more.

That’s all there is to it.