Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

In my adulthood, I have come to adore barbecue sauce.  As a kid, I frequently avoided any of it unless I knew it had proven to be smokey and spicy without the slightest hint of sugary sweetness.  After awhile, all barbecue sauces began to disappoint me.  I spent a good part of my life sticking my nose up to it... which wasn't terribly difficult because I didn't eat a lot of meat during my teenage years.  However, now that I am in the throws of a deep affair with meat, smoking, and all things delicious, I have an addiction to BBQ sauce.  New formulas are constantly swirling around my head, and this version is a definite winner.

Like every... er... genius?  I came to the idea of using apple butter as the sweet component in my sauce while just blankly staring at the contents of my fridge.  Independent of outside influences.  Since I made this, I have browsed around the interwebs and found several apple butter barbecue sauces.  It doesn't seem to have caught on the way should have though.  (Apparently TGI Friday's has a version...?  I only go there when my friends want 2 for 1 margaritas, but I have not seen it on the menu.)

Obviously, quality ingredients are the key to any good meal.  I hit the apple butter jackpot with my aunt's homemade apple butter.  It is seriously the best I have ever had!  It is naturally sweet and tangy with a lot more apple flavor than any kind I've bought in the grocery store.  So, if you happen to know my Aunt Michelle, hit her up at the end of summer so you can make this perfectly.

Apple Butter BBQ Sauce
1 14oz can tomato sauce
heaping 1/4 C apple butter
1/4 C cider vinegar
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cinnimon
pinch clove
hot sauce (your favorite, I love Tabasco) and salt to taste*

   Combine ingredients except hot sauce and salt.  Simmer over med-low heat for 20-25 minutes.  Add salt and hot sauce.  Simmer another 5 minutes.
   Use as desired.
   Makes ~1 1/2 C.

I just added some shredded chicken to the sauce and cooked it for about 8 minutes... easy.  Delicious.

*I don't like to add hot sauce in the beginning of cooking usually because I find that it gets bitter.  For the salt, you probably won't need it if you tomato sauce has salt.  If it doesn't have salt, you don't want to add any until after the BBQ sauce has reduced.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tuna Steaks w/ Chipotle Lime Shimp & Avocado Salsa

Whew, I have emerged from a waist deep pile of fabric and costumes for a brief period of time.  Who knows what I'll get myself into after this, but for now I can enjoy all the freshness of spring weather and foods.  I made this dinner a couple weeks ago while weirdly daydreaming of the upcoming Jimmy Buffet concert and more understandably daydreaming about our fast approaching Roatan vacation.

Tuna Steaks w/ Chiptole Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salsa
2 5-6 oz tuna steaks (about 3/4 in thick)
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Chipotle lime shrimp (recipe below)
Avocado salsa (recipe below)

   Salt and pepper tuna.  Sear in a hot pan over med-high with some oil for 3 minutes per side (med-rare).
   Top with warm shrimp and cool salsa.
   Serves 2.

Chipotle Lime Shrimp
1/2 lb peeled deveined shirmp
1 chipotle minced
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt

   Combine ingredients.  Let shrimp marinate for 30-45 minutes.
   Over medium heat, cook shrimp (excess marinade discarded) 2-3 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Avocado Salsa
1 avocado, diced
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
salt to taste

   Combine ingredients, let sit for at least 15 minutes.