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Valentine’s Cooking Tips with Quick and Easy Recipe for Chocolate Lovers

 Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Many people opt for a private home cooked meal on Valentine’s Day instead of spending too much on dinner out with possibly inflated prices. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a big dinner out with your Valentine if the budget and schedule allows it. However, many may find a romantic dinner at home more affordable and equally desired. The trick is to make sure the romantic event is different from a normal meal Here are some suggestions followed by a quick and easy recipe for Chocolate lovers! Simple is the ticket during the month for lovers. You want to impress your dinner partner. But that does not mean picking a dish that requires you spending all your time in the kitchen. Nothing says love like waiting for hours while food is cooking. Keep it quick and simple… but new. Keep it fresh. This applies on two levels, fresh foods and a fresh recipe. Avoid bland frozen items and choose a dish that is not something the two of you would eat on a regular basis. Comfort But try to stay in both of your comfort zones. This is not the time to try an exotic recipe for the first time. One, make sure you can cook the dish. Don’t pick something that takes more skill than you can muster, or time than you can dedicate to it. Two, don’t go crazy on something that neither one of you would really enjoy. Portions Size. Dishes are smaller, everything is easier, cooking time is reduced and both of you are more likely to enjoy each other’s company more if you don’t feel the need for a nap after dinner. Clean Up! Are you kidding me? Save the dishes for later. In short, make it simple, realistic and something you know you can cook but don’t all the time then try to add a twist. And even if you just whip up a regular favorite for dinner, which is fine, add something special and fun. Quick [...]

By |2020-01-25T21:20:13+00:00January 25th, 2020|Fruits, Valentine Day|0 Comments

Three Spring & Summer Grilled Fruit Hacks!

By Kent Whitaker Nothing seems to beat the wide variety of fruit that comes into markets during Spring. Everything from fresh picked strawberries to apricots and even Kiwi! Then, the flavors keep coming as peaches, oranges and even bananas at their peak flood into grocery stores and produce stands. So, it stands to reason that grilling gurus across the land should add some of these tasty fruit flavors to our recipe collection! It could be a simple as a quick-and-easy fruit flavored infused sauce to grilling a couple of slices of your favorite fruit. Here’s three spring & summer grilled fruit hacks~   Grilled Coconut Rum Bananas I have a buddy that’s a rum expert!  He knows classic rums, white, dark, brands, history and even enjoys the new fruit flavored rums that are gaining in popularity. He suggested using some coconut flavored rum for a Caribbean inspired recipe! This recipe hack is inspired from Cuban and Caribbean style grilled plantains. Slice the banana lengthwise and keep them in their peals, brush with melted butter or use butter flavored non-stick spray. In a small bowl, combine some coconut rum, melted butter and little bit of honey. Grill the sliced banana – in their peels – over medium high heat. Fee free to use foil or a grilling griddle. The banana will start to cook and pull away from the peel around the edges. Baste evenly with your rum mixture. Remove from the peel and serve with your favorite ice cream topped with toasted coconut shavings.   Grilled Fruit Cobbler Chances are that you probably have a favorite cobbler recipe. Don’t worry if it’s a quick-and-easy recipe or one that requires more than just dumping a few ingredients in a baking dish. Both will work on a covered grill. Basically, all you’re doing is using your covered grill like an oven. You can use foil pans, cake pans or even cast iron – but, I would avoid using glass baking dishes! Make your recipe, cover with foil, cook on an upper rack in a covered grill, and rotate the pan as needed to ensure even cooking. The last few minutes you can uncover, baste the crust with butter and sprinkle with sugar and allow the edges to become golden brown.   Grilled Peaches and Cream I live in East Tennessee just a few feet away from Georgia, Alabama and a day drive through the mountains to South Carolina. Why am I telling you this? Because every summer regional fresh [...]

By |2019-01-31T20:37:38+00:00March 11th, 2018|Fruit, Fruits, Grilling|0 Comments

Three Grilled Fruit Desserts You Must Try… with Ice Cream!

By Kent Whitaker Summer grilling is a fantastic opportunity to expand your grilling repartee beyond traditional meats, veggies, and hotdogs. Why not look towards the fruit bowl in your kitchen for some inspiration. There are a bunch of fruits suited for great grilling that can be used as a side dish, a garnish as well as an ingredient in a recipe such as grilled mango salsa or pineapple with a nice hamburger! Then there’s always the dessert consideration. Fruit is naturally sweet, so why not take that attribute and put it towards good use when you’re thinking about your after-dinner dessert? Here’s my top-three pieces of fruit that I love to grill and serve with ice cream. Consider these starting points for your next family favorite recipe. Make these starting points your own with your own flavor additions. Grilled Peaches and Cream Something about a grilled peach says summertime! Just like a grilled apple reminds me of fall! Select several nice peaches that are not too soft. You’re looking for something that will hold up well when on the grates and when turned. Rinse the peaches off, slice them in half, remove pits, brush the tops with soften butter, and grill butter side down over medium high heat. Allow them to cook for a few minutes, then turn, and continue to grill for only a few minutes more. Brush with additional butter if desired, sprinkle with brown sugar, and serve hot with cinnamon crisps from the deli if available and a scoop of ice cream. NOTE: You can use peach slices as well with a grilling basket! And, why not grill up some peaches for your next peach cobbler? Give it a try. Grilled Honey Coconut Rum Bananas Here’s an idea that’s steeped in one of my friends Cuban background. They loved using traditional plantains but turned towards the banana as the main ingredient because bananas were easier to find. This is probably one of the easiest grilling recipes around when it comes to fruit. Slice the banana lengthwise, keep them in their peals, brush with butter or use butter flavored non-stick spray. You can use a griddle, on prepared grates, in a grilling basket, and even on foil. Grill the bananas with the peel over medium high heat just long enough to add grill marks and brown the edges slightly. The banana will start to cook and pull away from the peel slightly. Drizzle with a bit of honey and a dash of coconut flavored rum. [...]

By |2019-03-15T00:11:56+00:00July 20th, 2017|BBQ, BBQ Recipes, Fruits|0 Comments