Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco

Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco is a new recipe in the Ample Bites grilling portfolio. The tangy romesco sauce highlights the beef without being overpowering. Serve along side a baked potato or Sweet Potato and Apple Latkes.


Grilled Short Ribs with Sesame-Chipotle Romesco
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of, June 2015)

Makes 6 servings

2/3 cup unsalted, roasted almonds
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 cups roasted red peppers from a jar, drained
3 canned chipotle pepper, in adobo, seeded
4 Tbsp sherry vinegar
3 lbs boneless beef short ribs (roughly 1 1/2-inch-thick)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Pulse almonds and sesame seeds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add red peppers, chiles and vinegar and puree until well-combined; season romesco with salt.

Prepare grill for medium-high direct grilling. Season ribs with salt and pepper and toss with 2/3 cup of the romesco. Set remaining romesco aside for serving. Grill the ribs, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides, about 8-10 minutes for medium-rare.

Let ribs rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain and serve with the reserved romesco.

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Smoked Brisket with Coffee-Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

It is the 4th of July so it is ample time for Ample Bites do another Smoked Brisket recipe. This time it is Smoked Brisket with Coffee-Balsamic Barbecue Sauce. The sauce is so easy to prepare and the brisket gets hours of smoking and slow cooking love after sitting in the refrigerator with a hearty, spicy rub on it for a couple of days.




Smoked Brisket with Coffee-Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

Serves 8 – 12

For the rub:
3 Tbsp chile powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp ground coriander seed
1 Tbsp ground mustard seed
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 (4- to 5-pound) beef briskets with 1/4-inch fat layer
2 cups apple juice, in a spray bottle

For the barbecue sauce:

3 cups ketchup
1 1/3 cups balsamic vinegar
1 1/3 cups honey
3/4 cup lower sodium soy sauce
4 Starbuck Dark Roast Via packets
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced

Thoroughly mix the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Place the first brisket fat side down on a plastic wrap-lined rimmed baking sheet. Rub the exposed side of the brisket with a quarter of the rub mixture. Flip the brisket over and season the fat side with a quarter of the rub. Repeat with the second brisket. Stack one on top of the other and wrap completely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least one day and up to five days before smoking.

To make the sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined. Bring to a bubbling boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1o minutes, stirring occasionally.

Prepare a large foil packet of thoroughly soaked cherry wood chips. Pierce the packet in several places to allow the wood smoke to escape. Heat the grill to between 225 and 250 degrees using one of the side burners only of your gas grill. Place the wood chip packet over the active burner. Place a large drip pan filled with 2 cups water and one lager beer on the side away from the active burner. Close and allow the smoke to build for 10 minutes. Place the briskets on the cooking grate above the drip pan. Cover and smoke, spraying the brisket every 30 minutes with the apple juice until the brisket is tender and reaches 165F, about 6 hours. Moisten the wood chips as necessary.

Preheat oven to 225F. Place the briskets in a large foil pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for an additional 2 to 3 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 185F. Remove and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving. Reserve juices.

Warm the barbecue sauce. Slice and serve with the sauce and reserved juices.

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Mexican Style Spicy Pickled Carrots and Jicama

Ample Bites first enjoyed Mexican Style Spicy Pickled Carrots and Jicama at the Chicago-area Lalo’s restaurant chain and then friends, relatives and Ample Bites followers Laura Rice and Patrick Roche shared a batch they made last summer. This inspired me to make my own. Here is the result and how I went about it.

These spicy pickled vegetables can be served atop tacos or eaten alone as an appetizer of sorts. The carrots and jicama soak up the tang of the jalapenos and pickling juice resulting in a pleasantly spicy kick.


Mexican Style Spicy Pickled Carrots and Jicama
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes 8 cups

1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced on diagonal about 1/4-inch-thick
1 lb. jicama, peeled and sliced into pieces of similar size to the carrots
2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 quarts warm water
7 oz. sliced canned jalapeno peppers, with liquid
1 Tbsp dried oregano
12 whole garlic cloves
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp Kosher salt

Put carrots and jicama in a 4-quart pot. Add warm water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Add peppers, onions, oregano, garlic, vinegar, bay leaves and salt to the pot. Let cool for 2-3 hours.

Divide between jars and refrigerate. The pickled vegetables will keep for a week after each jar is opened.

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Lamb-Turkey Burgers with Kimchi

Lamb-Turkey Burgers with Kimchi is a new Ample Bites recipe in which grilled burgers made with 50% ground lamb and 50% lean ground turkey are topped with a little crispy bacon and a healthy dollop of Spicy Napa Kimchi. Serve these burgers with a side of Parmesan-Garlic Fries and you have yourself an awesome Sunday dinner.


Lamb-Turkey Burgers with Kimchi
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes 6 Large Burgers

10 oz. lean ground turkey
10 oz. ground lamb
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
12 strips thick-cut bacon, cooked to crisp
6 slices cheddar or colby-jack cheese (optional)
Large hearty burger buns
Spicy Napa Kimchi (see previous post for recipe)
Parmesan-Garlic Fries (see previous post for recipe)

Combine the ground meats, egg yolks and breadcrumbs to form burger patties. Season the patties with salt and pepper. Allow the patties to come to room temperature before grilling.

Heat grill for medium-high direct grilling. Grill the patties for 4 minutes. Flip and grill for another 4 minutes for medium-rare. During the last 4 minutes of grilling toast the buns. During the last 2 minutes of grilling top burgers with cheese.

To serve: place the burgers on buns and top them with two strips of bacon and a large dollop of Spicy Napa Kimchi. Serve with Parmesan-Garlic Fries.

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First Attempt at Kimchi

Kimchi, fermented cabbage, is a popular Asian condiment that adds depth and flavor to a variety of dishes ranging from a stir-fry to grilled lamb burgers. Kimchi can also be made into a form of pancake that resembles a spicy zucchini cake. Some variations of kimchi can be complex and involve the use of ingredients not readily found in a typical American grocery. Try making this fairly simple recipe as a first attempt like Ample Bites did.

Keep in mind that kimchi takes at least 5 days to make and that it only keeps for about 3 weeks after it is done.

This batch is destined to be a topping on this Sunday evening’s lamb burgers.


Spicy Napa Kimchi
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Smoke & Pickles, Edward Lee, 2013)

Serve with Fatty Meats right off the grill and Bibimbop

Makes 1 Tightly-packed Gallon Jar

1 large Napa cabbage (4 to 5 pounds)
6 quarts water
1 cup Kosher salt

3 cups water
¾ cups sweet rice flour
¼ cup sugar

1 cup chopped onions
2 ½ cups Korean chile flakes
10 ounces daikon radish grated
1 4-ounce piece of ginger, grated with a microplane
6 garlic cloves, grated with a microplane
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 cups chopped scallions

Slice the cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Cut out the core and discard it. Put the cabbage in a large container and add the water and salt. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, drain and rinse.

Coarsely chop the cabbage into approximately 2-inch strips. Transfer to a large bowl.

To make the paste: Combine the water, rice flour, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Allow to cool while you make the guts.

To make the guts: Combine the onions, chile flakes, daikon, ginger, garlic and fish sauce in a food processor and process until well combined.

Fold the guts into the cooled paste. Add the chopped scallions.

Wearing clean latex gloves, mix the guts mixture thoroughly into the cabbage. Transfer to an airtight plastic container. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours, then refrigerate. The kimchi will be ready in 4 to 5 days, and it will keep for another 2 weeks.

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Grilled Chicken Tacos

Grilled Chicken Tacos is a delicious alternative to the Ample Bites favorites Carne Asada and Fish Tacos. To make the chicken extra flavorful and tender pound the chicken breasts flat before marinating. This same tip will work for flank steak, too.

This recipe includes a pico de gallo that is laced with a bit of chipotle peppers and a little adobo sauce and used as a marinade. This marinade gives the chicken a nice smoky-spicy kick that is not over-powering.


Grilled Chicken Tacos

Serves 6

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch-thick strips and then pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 large jalapeno, diced
1 large red onion, diced
4 large garlic cloves, minced
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 limes, juiced
1 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
2 yellow zucchini, halved crosswise, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 large green onion, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
Whole wheat tortillas
Chihuahua cheese
Cojita cheese
Sour cream

Prepare a large batch of pico de gallo by combining the jalapeno, onion, garlic, tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro. Season generously with salt. Mix thoroughly and divide into two separate portions. Add the chipotle and adobo to one half of the pico de gallo. Reserve and chill the remainder of the mix.

In a large pyrex dish place a single layer of chicken breasts, season with salt and top with a layer of the chipotle-pico de gallo. Add another layer of chicken, season with salt and top with chipotle-pico de gallo. Repeat until all of the chicken is in the dish. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Place the zucchini and green pepper in a large zip top plastic bag and toss with olive oil.

Shake the pico de gallo from the chicken pieces and place them on a large rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill for medium direct cooking. Place the zucchini and green peppers in a vegetable holder and grill for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. During the last 10 minutes, placed the chicken pieces on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until cooked through and nicely seared. Remove the vegetables and chicken from the grill. Chop the chicken very coarsely.

Serve on tortillas with the cheeses, the refrigerated pico de gallo, sour cream, and a garnish of cilantro sprigs.

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Tebo’s Stuffed Jalapenos

Tebo’s Stuffed Jalapenos is a great appetizer that has been perfected by Ample Bites friend and fellow foodie, Henry “Tebo” Wells. Think about this simple, easy to prepare appetizer if that is your assigned dish for an upcoming holiday party. Ample Bites likes to make the filling a day ahead of time to allow the flavor to develop.

To some a recipe entitled stuffed jalapenos might be a turn-off because of fears that the jalapenos might be too spicy. That is not the case with this recipe. By removing the seeds and white veins the heat is virtually eliminated.

As Tebo notes on his original recipe, any leftover filling is a good dip or spread to use with celery or crackers.


Tebo’s Stuffed Jalapenos
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Henry “Tebo” Wells)

4 oz. chorizo sausage
1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
8 oz. Onion and Chive Cream Cheese
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp dark beer (like Shiner Bock)
2 tsp Louisiana Hot Sauce or Sriracha
Kosher salt
12 medium jalapeno peppers

Saute sausage, onion and garlic over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Set aside.

Combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, beer, hot sauce and a pinch of salt in the food processor and pulse until well-combined. Add sausage mixture and scrapings from the pan. Pulse again until smooth and well-combined. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 300F.

Cut tops off jalapenos and halve them lengthwise. Remove seeds and veins.

Stuff the jalapeno halves with the cheese and sausage filling. Place the Stuffed Jalapenos on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes. Jalapenos should be tender but not limp.

Let the Stuffed Jalapenos sit for about 10 minutes before serving so they are warm but not hot.

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Salmon with Brown Sugar Bourbon Glaze

Salmon with Brown Sugar Bourbon Glaze is a variation on previous glazed or marinated salmon recipes Ample Bites has made before. This recipe uses bourbon and a few Asian ingredients to give the dish a different edge. The other element of this recipe is the extended marination time. In most other recipes the glaze is added just before baking or grilling.


Salmon with Brown Sugar Bourbon Glaze
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Anne Byrn Saves The Day, 2014)

Serves 6 to 8

1 salmon fillet (2 to 3 lbs.)
1/2 cup Jim Beam bourbon
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup chopped scallions, green parts only, plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
Cooked brown rice

Place salmon, skin-side-down in a 9-by-13 Pyrex baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, scallions and sesame oil. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved and the ingredients are well combined. Pierce the salmon with a paring knife to create holes for the marinade to penetrate. Pour the marinade over the salmon, cover and refrigerate for an hour or up to 8 hours.

Remove the salmon from the refrigerator an hour before baking.

Place a rack in the center of the oven; preheat oven to 425F.

Bake salmon until it is cooked through and crisp around the edges but still a little soft in the center, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 – 10 minutes before serving. Serve with rice, garnish with scallions, and drizzle with any sauce remaining in the baking dish.

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Seared Scallops over Potato Cakes with Asparagus

Seared Scallops over Potato Cakes with Asparagus is not one of the simple dishes that Ample Bites normally posts. This dish takes some time and care to prepare but the result is well worth the effort. To save time when serving this dish consider making the garlic oil and potato cakes ahead of time so that you can focus on getting the sauce right and searing the scallops to perfection.


Seared Scallops over Potato Cakes with Asparagus
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of New Orleans Best Ethnic Restaurants by Ann Benoit, 2014)

Serves 2

6 large scallops
2 lbs. Yukon or Idaho potatoes, peeled
1 garlic head, baked
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup chives, finely snipped
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 egg yolks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 medium asparagus sprigs, baked to al dente
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. wild mushrooms
4 bacon strips, cooked to crisp and chopped
Beurre Blanc Sauce (see recipe below)
Chive sprigs, each about the diameter of a scallop

Preheat oven to 300F. Coat the bottom and sides of a rimmed baking sheet with butter and reserve.

In medium skillet over medium-low heat cook the minced garlic in all of the olive oil for 10 minutes. Take care not to brown the garlic. Using a fine-mesh strainer, separate the garlic from the oil. Reserve the oil, separating in to portions of 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons. Allow to cool.

Marinate the scallops in 1/2 cup of garlic oil for at least 30 minutes.

In a large stockpot of salted water boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, until soft but firm. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion and chives in oil for 3 minutes, reserve. Mill the potatoes through a fine food mill into a large mixing bowl. Add butter, egg yolks and squeeze in baked garlic cloves. Combine thoroughly then add the onion and chives to the potato mixture. Spread the potato mixture on the buttered baking sheet into a uniform layer about 3/8-inch-thick. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until top is lightly browned. Allow to cool and cut into planks.

Saute the mushrooms in butter. Season with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, sear the scallops in batches of three in the marinade oil.

To plate, place three asparagus sprigs on each plate parallel to each other about 2 inches apart. Place a potato cake plank across the thick end of the asparagus sprigs. Top each cake with three scallops. Top the scallops with a sauteed mushrooms and bacon bits. Finish with Beurre Blanc Sauce and garnish with a drizzle of reserved garlic oil and chive sprigs.

Beurre Blanc Sauce

4 Tbsp white wine vinegar
4 Tbsp dry white wine
2 Tbsp finely minced shallots
Kosher salt
White pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 16 pieces

In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan combine vinegar, wine, shallots, salt and white pepper and bring to a simmer.

Gently simmer liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and immediately swirl or whisk in 2 pieces of chilled butter. As the butter is incorporated into the liquid add another piece and continue to swirl or whisk. Return pan to low heat and while constantly swirling or whisking add successive pieces of butter. When all of the butter has been added remove from heat. Sauce will be thick and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately. To hold the sauce, set the pan in a larger pan of lukewarm water. If the sauce separates, transfer a spoonful of the sauce to a cold mixing bowl and gradually whisk the rest of the sauce in by the spoonful. The sauce can be reheated by gradually whisking 2 to 3 tablespoons of hot liquid, i.e. water, cream or stock.

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Home-Fried Potato Chips

After a couple of so-so attempts at frying my own potato chips Ample Bites stumbled across an article in the October 2014 issue of Bon Appetit that enlightened me. Four key steps ensure extra-crispy Home-Fried Potato Chips that are neither excessively oily or “over-fried”.


First, rinse the potato slices in cold water several times to release the starch from them.

Second, soak the slices for about 2 hours in a solution of white vinegar and cold water.

Third, pat the slices dry before frying them.

Fourth and finally, fry them at a lower temperature of 300F.


Yesterday I followed those directions and the process yielded wafer-thin, light and crispy Home-Fried Potato Chips that I could not stop eating. My next attempt to improve my frying skills is likely to involve Fritto Misto.

Home-Fried Potato Chips
(Mark Kelly with knowledge from Bon Appetit, October 2014)

Makes about 6 servings

1 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil for frying

Slice the potatoes crosswise using a mandoline.

Place the slices in a large bowl and submerge them with cold water. Stir the potatoes to help them release their starch. Drain the water. Add new water and repeat until the water runs clean after stirring. After draining, cover the potatoes with cold water and the vinegar. Let stand for about 2 hours.

Remove the potato slices from the vinegar water and pat them dry by placing them on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. While the slices are drying prepare the fryer or frying vessel by bring the oil to a constant temperature of 300F.

In batches, fry the chips for 5 – 6 minutes until the oil stops bubbling and the chips are a golden brown. Transfer the chips to a paper-towel-lined wire rack and season immediately with salt to taste. Continue frying in batches until all of the chips are done. Serve immediately of save for up to six hours in an uncovered paper-towel-lined bowl.

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