Showing posts with label cookout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cookout. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Recipe Tribute to Robin Williams: Chili-Espresso Steak Rub from Martha Stewart via Cleo Coyle

Like so many people, I was a huge fan of the late actor and comedian Robin Williams and heartbroken to hear of his passing. 

Not only could Robin's stand-up comedy make me laugh until I cried, he starred in one of my all-time favorite films, Dead Poets Society. If you are a writer and have not seen this movie, put it on your list to screen soon. (More on that below.) 

For today, because this is a recipe blog, I am sharing a happy memory of Robin when he appeared on The Martha Stewart Show back in 2006. You won't want to miss his comedic chef act. And the recipe he makes with Martha is a delicious one. I'm posting a very slightly adapted version for you to try at home.

To see Robin Williams and Martha Stewart
cooking this recipe together, click the
arrow in the window below. 



If the above video does not play,
you can 
view it on Martha Stewart's site
clicking here.

Chili-Espresso Steak Rub

(Great for Fajitas or Tacos)

Slightly adapted from a recipe
Martha Stewart made with Robin Williams
on The Martha Stewart Show, April 2006

Serves 8

Steak Rub Ingredients:

3 cloves of garlic crushed and tossed 
with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (I use kosher salt)

1 tablespoon more of coarse salt for rub (I use kosher)

2 tablespoons mild chili powder

3 tablespoons light-brown sugar

2 teaspoons smoked or sweet paprika (I use smoked)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (See my note on this ingredient
      at the end of the recipe)

Suggested use on: 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak 

Cleo’s version of Martha’s
and Robin’s process:

Step 1 - Here's the rub (heh-heh): After tossing the crushed garlic with salt, make a paste. Here’s how to do it. On a firm, flat surface (such as a cutting board or clean counter top), put the flat side of the blade on top of the garlic and press down as you pull the blade toward you. Repeat this a few times until you see a paste forming. Move this paste to a small bowl. Measure in the chili powder, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, pepper, espresso powder (aka instant espresso), and the remaining tablespoon of salt. Stir this mixture until combined. You now have your rub!

Step 2 – Prep the steak: Rub the mixture all over the skirt steak (both sides), and place the steak in a large plastic bag. Marinate the meat for 30 minutes at room temperature. (Note: You can certainly marinate longer. I like to marinate the rubbed meat for 2 to 3 hours, but note that for this amount of time, you will have to move the plastic bag into the refrigerator to prevent bacteria from forming, and be sure to allow the steak to warm to room temperature again before "shocking" the meat on the hot grill.)

Step 3 – Grill the steak: For indoor grilling, preheat a grill pan over high heat, or you can use an outdoor grill. For medium-rare, place your skirt steak on the grill, and cook for 3 minutes on each side.

Step 4 – Rest that meat: Let the steak sit for about 5 to 8 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to re-collect and prevents them from running right out when you slice (making the meat taste dry instead of moist and juicy).

Serving idea: Thinly slice the skirt steak into strips and serve with warm tortillas, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce, and lime wedges.

Cleo's note on espresso powder: One of my readers recently asked me about espresso powder. What is it? Where do I purchase it? To see my reply with links that may help, simply hop over to my website's message board here.

Thank you, Robin!

Robin Williams starred in many of my favorite films, and I enjoyed his performances time and time again. Good Will HuntingWhat Dreams May Come; Good Morning, Vietnam; Birdcage; and the list goes on.

If I had to choose one of his films as my all-time favorite, it would have to be Dead Poet's Society, which spoke volumes to me as a writer. Below is a scene from the movie, which seems all the more poignant today... 

To view this clip, click the arrow
in the window below, 
or click here to see it on YouTube.



"That the powerful play goes on

and you may contribute a verse..."

Thank you for your verse, Robin. 
You touched and inspired 
so many of us. 
We will never forget you.

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.


To see my regular recipe post this week...

Paleo Pizza or
How to Make Pizza Crust from Cauliflower
(no flour, no yeast, no kidding), 

I'll see you there...


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easiest Summer Salad Ever and Results of Favorite Cookout Foods Poll from Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Have you ever wondered where the phrase "cool as a cucumber" came from? 

The inside of a cucumber is 20 degrees cooler than the outside. Too bad we can't claim the same advantage on these sweltering summer days! Marc and I do the next best thing, we eat them like crazy. 

Crunchy, cold cukes are supremely satisfying in summer. Their B vitamins make them a great pick-me-up food. They're also hydrating. And staying properly hydrated is a real health concern these days, not only in summer but year-round. 

Apparently, the Roman Emperor Tiberius insisted on cucumbers daily during summer and winter. The Romans used greenhouses to provide it for him every day of the yearBelow you'll find one of our favorite ways to put it on the table...

Cleo Coyle's
Cool as a Cucumber 
Summer Salad

If you like buttermilk Ranch dressing but never have buttermilk on hand and don't want to use bottled dressing, try this super-fast creamy, cool, and crunchy salad. It pairs beautifully with grilled meats and fish, making it a fantastic salad for summer cookouts. And speaking of cookouts, scroll down for the results of my Cookout Foods Poll that many of you took last week. May you eat with the joy of summer! 

~ Cleo

Yield: About 4 servings


2 medium to large chilled cucumbers
1 small red onion (or 1/2 a medium to large red onion)
3 (or so) tablespoons cold sour cream (*see my note)
Fresh dill 
Salt and pepper (to your taste)

* CLEO NOTE: You can substitute crema Mexicana or creme fraiche for this recipe, but do not use yogurt, which is too tangy. The sour cream provides a sweeter, creamier flavor that (combined with the dill) mimics a lovely buttermilk Ranch dressing, but without the fuss of lots of ingredients, including buying buttermilk, which some folks have told me they have trouble finding these days. I hope you enjoy it!

Directions: You can either peel the skin from the cucumbers or keep the skins on for extra fiber. (See a great use for cucumber skin in my tips below.) Cut the cucumbers into thin slices. Cut the red onion into thin slices. Toss both well with sour cream and the fresh dill. Salt and pepper to taste. White pepper (used sparingly) makes a pretty presentation. Garnish with a bit more fresh dill.



Use the skin of a cucumber to sooth your sunburn or skin irritations, the same way you would use aloe for sunburn. 

Cleo and her (home office) 
Cucumber Spa

* EASY, SOOTHING SPA TREATMENT - Place a slice over each eye. The cool feel of it is incredibly soothing, the scent is lovely, and the anti-inflammatory properties help reduce puffiness.

* HANGOVER CURE - Because cucumbers have B vitamins and electrolytes, they can restore the nutrients you need during sleep. So if you've had a few too many cocktails, eat cucumbers before going to bed. By morning, the intensity of any hangover headache will be reduced.

Mr. Fellows appreciates 
the Hangover Cure.

* HEALTH BENEFITS: The fiber in cucumbers helps us eliminate toxins from our bodies. They relieve bad breath, help fight some forms of cancer, promote joint health, and reduce cholesterol. The potassium and magnesium also help regulate blood pressure, and cucumber juice has been found to be beneficial for diabetic patients (it contains a hormone needed by cells of the pancreas for producing insulin). Read more here.

And now...


As our blog follower "Jen" put it in the comments last week, "Nothing beats summer BBQs!!!"  Many of you had the same happy reactions to my poll.

You can see the original blog post and poll by clicking here. Now here are the final results of your voting...

What 4 items are a MUST 
for your summer cookouts?

Out of over 500 votes cast, 
you chose the following Top 4 foods...

#1 Burgers (beef, lamb, turkey, or veggie)

#2 Sweet Corn on the Cob

#3 Potato Salad

#4 Watermelon

And here is how you ranked 
the other foods in the poll...

(#5) Hot Dogs  (#6) Steak  (#7) BBQ Baked Beans 

(#8) Chicken (#9) Ribs (#10) Beer 

and finally (#11) S'mores 

* * *

Your "other" suggestions
for cookout foods included...

BRATS - Anne Lovell, Elaine Klingbiel, Deborah, and B.E. Sanderson all mentioned bratwursts. 

And Deborah added:  “…here in Ohio, we are big on grilling bratwurst. Hey, at least I didn't go with goetta - no one outside this area even knows what that is. :)”

TURKEY BRISKET IN THE SMOKER - Stephanie Jones said: “I like turkey or brisket in the smoker for the day, and those amazing aromas that trigger hunger. Also, a fruit skewer of whatever is in season…”

BRISKET AND PORK LOINS - Kitty said: "We love to put them on the back of the pit and let them smoke.”

Donna E had a great suggestion: “…one of our favorite grilled meals at home is chicken marinated in Italian dressing & then grilled.”

Grandma Cootie has a favorite, too: “…can't leave out my son's wonderful special baked potatoes. Slices and seasons them, cooks up a little crisp bacon to add while serving - yum. Everything is better on the grill.”

Helena Georgette likes to cook more than one meal on her grill. “My Santa Maria Tri Tip & Santa Maria Beans are very good for summer grilling.”

Joyce Tremel said: “…If I'd have had a fifth choice it might have been ham barbecues with Isaly's Chipped Ham.”

Cynthia E. Blain – “…we do love lobster steamed in a pot ON the grill along with plenty of steamer clams from Maine or Cape Cod and many times we do a Clam Boil with the potatoes, onions, Portuguese sausage or Kielbasa, along with the clams. Nothing like a real New England Clam Boil. We also make homemade clam chowder and clam fritters to go along with almost every cookout/BBQ….” (Wow! Count me in, Cynthia! - Cleo)


* * * 

And many of you 

shared lovely memories...

Dotty Kelley – “When I was a kid we used to summer on Cape Cod. There was a great farm stand on the way that sold the sweetest sweet corn ever. We always stopped there and bought dozens of ears for our first cookout. Great memories of family fun and summer grilling.”

PlumGaga – “…I'm a corn snob, so in an ideal world, the water would be put on to boil before the corn was picked from the garden. These days I reluctantly settle for the freshest from the farm stand.”

Ronna Lord - “…the potato salad is a definite must. It's my mom's recipe from years ago and everyone loves it and the memory of mom/Grammy/great Grammy!”

AnnMarie Green – “4th of July was like a big family reunion when I was growing up. It was the best picnic ever…and for dessert a cup of coffee with a plate full of cakes and cookies!”

Debra Carmichael – “We love grilling out…My husband is retired Army and even stationed in Alaska we cooked out in the winter.”

Carol Summers-Kolber – 

“My favorite cookout was the summer before my husband passed away. All the family was there and some of my adult kid's in-laws too. We cracked open a bottle of wine that my granddaughter had corked in her summer apprenticeship to a vineyard and toasted each other. My son-in-law did the grilling and we all contributed the side dishes. We ate outside under the huge maple tree in the backyard while various family pets chased each other and the younger kids around the yard. We all knew my husband did not have much time left because of his illness and it remains one of the best days of summer past.”

Thank you, Carol, and all of you for
sharing such beautiful memories!

XOXO  ~ Cleo

* * * 

Finally, the most 
important ingredient of all...

ANN*H – “The only thing I would add to this list is family and fun : )”

Connie Stein – “plus…swimming pool and family and friends…”

Diane Snow – “The most important ingredient is ‘Family and Friends’ (including the 4 leg variety)!”

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

Countdown to

Next Tuesday
August 5

The hardcover
bestseller comes to

*Starred Review ~ Kirkus
"Top Pick" ~ RT Book Reviews
"A highly satisfying mystery" - PW

Billionaire Blend
A Coffeehouse Mystery

This culinary murder mystery features
more than 30 delicious recipes, including
secret "off the menu" coffee drinks.
Read (and eat) with joy!


The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
amateur sleuth murder mysteries set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

Download a Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)
click here.

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a package of premium coffee to a subscriber.

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

4 MUSTS for Your Summer Cookouts and a Billionaire recipe for Coffee-Marinated Steak from Cleo Coyle

Five years ago this week, I joined a wonderful group of crime-writing cooks in the launch of a brand new blog called Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. I'm thrilled to see the blog is still going strong, and I continue to wish my fellow bloggers (past and present) a very Happy Anniversary! 

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.
Last Tuesday, I updated you on one of our past members, Julie Hyzy. If you missed that post, click here. She's got a new release that you'll learn about, along with a few memories (and recipes) from our early years.

My own anniversary post today is a little like Julie's. I thought it would be fun to look back in time to my very first recipe for Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. Of course it involved coffee.

To read my very first post for Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, click here. Or download a free PDF of the recipe by clicking the link below...

Click here for the PDF of the very first recipe
I shared five years ago here at MLK.
This look back in time to my steak BBQ started me thinking about summer cookouts in general and your summer cookouts in particular. What are your favorite cookout foods? To find out, I created a poll. I invite you to answer this question:

What 4 things are a MUST
for your Summer Cookouts? 


Read my

and get a new recipe

My "Billionaire BBQ" book
giveaway drawing is now over. 

Congrats to my winner...

Tracy Fitzwater!

Stay tuned for more chances to win
brand new (signed) copies of
my latest Coffeehouse Mystery...

Billionaire Blend

Is the billionaire a victim?
Or a master of murder?

On sale in its new
paperback edition
August 5th!

Cheers and enjoy your
summer cookouts, 

~ Cleo

Our Photo Contest!

P.S. To celebrate our Fifth Anniversary, we had a fun photo contest.

To see all the fun photo entries, click here
and scroll down. To see our winners, click here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Coffee Glazed Barbecued Chicken on the Grill or in your Oven from Cleo Coyle

Someone is killing Clare's 
coffeehouse customers.
Now in its 15th printing. 
Click here to learn more...

If you've read our culinary mystery Through the Grinder (now in its 15th printing, woo-hoo), then you already have our recipe for coffee-marinated steak with garlic mashed potatoes and hearty coffee gravy.

Well, here's a new coffee recipe for you to try this summer: our coffee-glazed barbecued chicken. You can make it in the oven or on the grill.

Summer is here at last. 
May you...

Barbecue with joy!
~ Cleo

Pictured below is how the coffee glaze looks
when baked in the oven. Like a complex premium coffee blend,
it brings many flavors together (sweet, bright, tangy, yet rich and earthy) 
and it truly complements the chicken...

* * * 

Cleo Coyle’s 
Coffee Glazed
Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Barbecued Chicken

In our little back garden in Queens, New York, Marc and I often cook on a charcoal kettle grill. This glaze is a real favorite. 

The earthiness of the brewed coffee blends beautifully with the smoky flavor from the charcoal and the sweetness of the glaze's molasses and brown sugar. The lemon brings brightness and the cornstarch is the magic trick to make the glaze thick. We also very much enjoy this recipe baked in the oven, and we hope you do, too! 

~ Cleo

Click here for the 
PDF of this recipe.

To download this recipe in a free PDF document that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Servings: About 10 chicken pieces. (I often use chicken thighs and drumsticks with this recipe because dark meat tends to remain juicier during grilling, but this recipe will work equally well with breasts, wings, or a combo of parts. You can use it on chicken parts with or without skin.)


½ cup brewed coffee or espresso
½ cup molasses (unsulphured, and not blackstrap)
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
5 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch (for thickening) 

GLAZE DIRECTIONS: To make the glaze, combine coffee, molasses, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a nonstick saucepan. Stir for a minute over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cornstarch, one tablespoon at a time until it disappears. While continuing to stir the glaze, increase the heat and bring the glaze to a simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. When gaze thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (about the consistency of honey), it’s done. See my photos for reference and my troubleshooting tips below. 

TROUBLESHOOTING: If the glaze seems too thin, increase the heat and bring it to a full boil while continuing to whisk. This should do the trick. If it doesn’t, whisk in a little extra cornstarch (1 teaspoon at a time) and it should thicken up fast. If the glaze becomes too thick, simply whisk more coffee into the saucepan, a little at a time, and continue to heat and whisk the glaze until it loosens to the right consistency for brushing.


Prepare chicken and pan: Rinse your chicken parts, pat dry. Prepare a shallow baking or roasting pan by lining with aluminum foil. (Trust me, you want to do this for easy cleanup.) Now coat the foil with a non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken in the pan, skin side up (if your pieces have skin).

Bake and baste: Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Place your prepared pan of chicken pieces in the middle rack of your oven. After 15 minutes, remove the pan and generously brush the prepared coffee glaze on top of each chicken piece. After another 15 minutes (at the 30 minute mark), flip each piece (so that the skin side is down) and glaze the unglazed side of the chicken. Bake for another 15 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces one last time so that skin side is up again and generously brush on a final coat of glaze. Return the chicken to your oven for another 20 to 25 minutes. Total baking time is approximately 60 minutes.

NOTE ON COOKING TIME: If you are baking chicken breasts, which are bigger and thicker than thighs, you will need to add 10 to 15 minutes to the cooking time. For smaller pieces, such as wings, the cooking time should be shortened by 10 to 15 minutes.


Step 1 - Roll chicken pieces in vegetable oil and shake off excess. You want a nice, light coating. Sprinkle salt on all sides.  If you are using a charcoal, you must create a cool area where there are fewer coals.

Step 2 - Lay the chicken pieces skin side down on the hot side and grill for 5-10 minutes, depending on how hot the grill is (you do not want the chicken to burn). Once you have a good sear on one side, move the chicken pieces to the cool part of the grill (if you are using a gas grill, lower the heat to medium low). Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes.

Step 3 - Turn the chicken pieces over and baste them with the coffee glaze. Cover again and allow to cook for another 20-30 minutes. Repeat, turning the chicken pieces over, basting them with sauce, covering, and cooking for another 20-30 minutes.

Finishing Zap – Here’s a quick and easy cheat to make sure your chicken is cooked through: Remove cooked and glazed chicken from grill and place in a microwave on high for 1-3 minutes. Then return the chicken to THE HOT PART of the grill for another 3 minutes. This should take the meat to 165 degrees, and keep the seared skin nice and crispy.

Click here for the PDF
of this recipe, and...

Eat with Joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
Follow me on twitter here
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
13 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 


(with mini plot summaries)
clicking here.

Sign up for my newsletter!
Simply write an e-mail that says
"Sign me up" and send it to this address...


This will also enter you in my weekly
Free Coffee Drawings.
Every week, I give away a package of
premium coffee to a subscriber.

Good luck!

* * * 

Billionaire Blend
Our *Star Reviewed
Hardcover Bestseller

See the Recipe Guide

by clicking here.


Haunted Bookshop

Free Title Checklist,
with mini plot summaries,