Beer Can Chicken

I’m not a big sports fan, but I sure do love game day/tailgating eats.

Half Beer Can ChickenLike this Beer Can Chicken.  Kosher salt, brown sugar, paprika, cayenne and black pepper get rubbed on first.  Then, the chicken takes a seat on a can filled with light beer, onion, garlic, lemon zest and thyme.  Cooked upright on the grill, this brazen bird gets infused with flavor from the inside out.  I like to serve simply with  lemon wedges.  And beer of course ;)

If you’d like to take this recipe on the go (to your next tailgating party), prep everything in advance for easy game day execution.  The bulk dry rub can be made a week in advance, and stored at room temperature.  Give your bird a rubdown at least one hour in advance, allowing the flavors to get into the meat.  The thyme, onion and garlic can be prepped and stored together; however, don’t zest the lemon in advance.  If not used immediately, the flavor of the lemon oils will diminish quickly after zesting.  Finally, when transporting chicken, make sure it’s well-wrapped in plastic and well-chilled on ice.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Tomato Confit Pasta

With just 3 fresh ingredients and minimal effort, you can have a plate of this seasonal pasta on the table in under 1 hour.

Tomato Confit PastaI know the word confit may conjure up some feelings of worry and anxiety, but I assure you, the process couldn’t be easier.  The term confit is typically associated with meat (especially duck), but can also be applied to fruits and vegetables.  Confit simply means to cook something in fat at a low temperature for a longer period of time.

Here, I’m tossing cooked pasta with slow-roasted tomato confit and chopped fresh basil.  To make the tomato confit, simply toss cherry tomatoes, garlic and basil in olive oil, and slow-roast for 45 minutes.  The resulting tomatoes will soften and blister, releasing some of their juices on to the pan.  The tomatoes and juices will have a wonderfully concentrated tomato flavor.  The pasta cooks up while the tomatoes are in the oven, keeping cook time to a minimum.  For best results, give this recipe a try while tomatoes are in season.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Grilled Dry-Aged Steak [Giveaway]

I’m giving away some beef today.  Are you ready for this?

Grilled-Dry-Aged-Steak2And not just any beef.  I’m giving away a WestRidge Big Steaks package, including two Boneless Ribeye Steaks, and two T-Bone Steaks.  We’ll get to the giveaway details in just a bit.  First, let’s talk MEAT.  WestRidge Beef specializes in high-quality, dry-aged, antibiotic-free, hormone-free beef products.  Raised outdoors in a stress-free environment, their cattle are fed only natural products like grass, grain and hay.  I’m giving you these details, because they all have a major positive impact on flavor.  I got to sample a number of different steaks from WestRidge, and they are all so, so delicious.

This recipe for Grilled Dry-Aged Steak features two of WestRidge’s beautiful t-bones.  These steaks are dry-aged for 21 days, concentrating the flavor (as a result of moisture loss), tenderizing the meat, and adding rich notes of nuttiness and umami.  The dry-aging process also modifies the aroma of the steak, amping up the beefiness while adding a funky note similar to blue cheese.  I should also mention that these steaks are reddish-brown, rather than the bright, vibrant red you see with supermarket steaks.

Seasoned simply with flaky sea salt, these dry-aged t-bones are quickly seared on a screaming hot grill, adding savory flavors of caramelization, smoke and char.  The steaks then rest for 10 minutes in a golden butter bath infused with garlic, rosemary and thyme.  I need to tell you that these are some of the best damn steak I’ve ever had.  Tender, juicy and incredibly flavorful.  Once you learn this technique, you’ll want to cook all of your steaks this way moving forward.  Continue reading for the recipe plus a WestRidge Beef giveaway.

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Grilled Tri-Tip with Green Garlic Salsa Verde

I’ve got some exciting news to share!

Grilled Tri Tip with Salsa VerdeFor the next few months, I’m partnering with the new Jimbo’s… Naturally! located at Westfield Horton Plaza on some seriously tasty and organic recipes.  Jimbo’s… Naturally! is a local San Diego business that focuses on high quality organic and natural food.  Their new location at Westfield Horton Plaza is a beauty!  In addition to a juice bar, deli, and bakery, they’ve got a sizable selection of organic produce.  The green garlic I discovered in the produce department was the inspiration for this Italian salsa verde.

To showcase some of the products found at Jimbo’s… Naturally!, I put together this recipe for Grilled Tri-Tip with Green Garlic Salsa Verde.  Organic, grass-fed beef tri-tip is quickly marinated in a sharp blend of garlic, rosemary, lemon and olive oil.  The roast is then placed on a searing hot charcoal grill to develop a wonderfully charred, caramelized crust, and finished over indirect heat to keep the center tender and juicy.  After a brief rest, the tri-tip is sliced against the grain, and served with a Green Garlic Salsa Verde.  This vibrant condiment is made with fresh parsley, garlic, red chile, capers, lemon and olive oil.  Bright, fresh flavors permeate both the beef and the sauce, making them a perfect combination for any summer barbecue.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Jorge’s Bacon Cheeseburgers

Ok so I have a fun little treat for you all today.

Jorge's Bacon CheeseburgerIf you weren’t already aware, my sweet, adorable boyfriend is Jorge.  One might think that because I am a food blogger, I do all the cooking in the relationship; however, that is not the case here.  Jorge loves to cook as well, and today, I’m sharing one of his best recipes for Bacon Cheeseburgers.

His burgers start with a mix of freshly ground beef chuck, short rib and bacon.  Sharp cheddar cheese is then worked directly into the burger blend, allowing the cheesy tang to permeate the burger.  These handcrafted patties are then thrown on a hot charcoal grill where they get wonderfully charred.  As the burgers cook, the bits of cheese throughout get all melty and gooey.  Stacked between a toasted brioche bun, this bacon cheeseburger is finished with our favorite toppings: butter lettuce, heirloom tomato, red onion, pickles, mayo, mustard and ketchup.  Let.  me.  tell.  you.  This burger is ridiculously delicious.  Each bite is incredibly juicy with big, bold flavors that can easily stand up to all of the toppings.  This is your burger for summer 2014.  Continue reading for the recipe plus some comments from Jorge!

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Carne Asada

April is one of my favorite months in San Diego.

Carne Asada Tacos

Often characterized by its warm to hot days, and crisp, vibrant sunsets, April in SD is just beautiful.  It’s like a taste of summer months in advance.  I take every opportunity I can get to engage in backyard grilling, drink cocktails as the sun dips into the Pacific, and escape to the beaches on Coronado for an afternoon getaway.

Recently, I’ve been obsessed with making my own Carne Asada.  Spanish for “grilled meat,” Carne Asada is a traditional Mexican dish, and recipes can vary greatly from region to region.  After asking several of my Mexican friends and co-workers how their families prepare Carne Asada, I came up with my own method, using different parts from each family recipe.  Thin steaks are marinated in a flavorful bath of garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, spices, citrus, vinegar, olive oil and Mexican beer for 4 to 8 hours.  The marinated beef is then thrown onto a searing hot grill, and cooked until tender and smoky.  The finished meat is incredibly flavorful with a bold citrus punch.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Rustic Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Rustic Gnocchi

Tender potato dumplings flecked with bits of browned butter, red pepper confetti, Parmesan cheese and crispy fried sage leaves.  My Rustic Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce is pure comfort food.

Growing up, I used to love to eat gnocchi tossed with melted butter and grated Parmesan.  The light, squishy texture is what I remember most.  Fueled by nostalgia, I’ve attempted to make gnocchi at home many times over the years.  Sometimes with fantastic results.  Other times, not so much.  The deceivingly simply ingredient list (potato, flour, egg, salt) may lead you to believe that this is an easy recipe.  But this is not an easy recipe.  Nor is it a hard one.  Mastering the art of gnocchi-making simply takes practice.  You may fail on your first attempt, but I urge you to keep trying.  It’s all worth it once you take that first bite of pillowy potato deliciousness.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Top 10 Recipes from 2013

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Before I dive into a fresh batch of recipes for 2014, I wanted to take a moment to share the most popular Kitchen Konfidence posts in 2013.  The list below is ranked based on view counts from Google Analytics.  I always love taking these delicious trips down memory lane :)  So many tasty moments.  Did your favorites make the Top 10?

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Zinfandel Short Ribs with Goat Cheese Polenta and Mixed Herb Gremolata

Zinfandel Short RibsCan you even believe that Christmas is just 3 days away?  Where did the Holiday season go?  Well, I’ve managed to get most of my gift shopping done; however, I have yet to bake a single cookie or prepare any edible gifts for my coworkers.  AND I’m just finishing up all of my cards today.  Luckily they say “Happy Holidays”, so they are still relevant if they show up some time between Christmas and New Years ;).  I know you’re probably thinking: #firstworldproblems, but I have certain traditions I like to do each year, and it makes me a little sad if I don’t get to all of them.

This year, Jorge and I will be going up to LA on Christmas Eve to have dinner with his family, and then we’ll be driving back to SD on Christmas day.  Christmas dinner will be for just the two us.  Even though I’m not hosting a blowout party (like Thanksgiving), I still want to make our Christmas dinner special.

It’s during times like these when I need to prepare a standout meal with minimal effort, that I’m glad I have this Zinfandel Short Ribs recipe in my back pocket.  Zinfandel Short Ribs are fairly easy to prepare, the ingredients aren’t fussy, and the beef can be cooked a day in advance.  Goat Cheese Polenta and Mixed Herb Gremolata, the all-star accompaniments, come together easily an hour before dinner.  And really, who doesn’t love a good braised short rib?  Continue reading for the recipe.

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4th of July Recipes

Beer Marinated Tri TipThe 4th of July was one of my favorite holidays growing up.  Each year, my parents would take me and a few of my close friends to Philadelphia for an afternoon of eating, sightseeing and celebrity spotting.  One year, we saw Rosa Parks!!  She was actually getting on a bus.  I was always so enthralled with the energy coursing through that city on the 4th of July.  You could feel the excitement.

Later in the evening, my friends and I would watch our hometown fireworks from someone’s backyard.  Fireflies blinking in the warm, dark summer air.  The back patio wet with pool water.  Hot dogs sizzling on the grill.  Tradition.  That’s what the 4th of July means to me.  I love the sense of tradition with friends and family.

Since moving to San Diego (far far away from my hometown and Philadelphia), I have had to establish some different traditions.  Summer flavors, backyard grilling, afternoon cocktails and bayside fireworks.  Cooking for friends and loved ones.  I do miss those old traditions, but I am also excited for the new ones.  Below is a collection of recipes perfect for a 4th of July bash.  Some of these recipes are from Independence Day celebrations of years past.  Some are recipes I’ll be making again in a few days.  I hope you enjoy :)

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