protecting our grill

Shortly after we got our new gas grill Terry said that I needed to get a cover for it. I responded that I didn’t think we needed one as it was under the patio cover. She told me it was getting covered with dust. She was right. It was dusty.

I checked out Amazon. (Where else?) I found the appropriate sized grill cover for only $19.95. When it arrived I was pleased with how heavy and sturdy it was. Great value for the price.

I’m glad I got it. When I’m ready to grill the grill is nice and clean and ready to go.

This is not a very interesting picture, but having the cover makes my grilling experience so much more pleasant.

grill cover

lemon-cumin chicken with pesto

One of the things that I like about Giada’s recipes is that she is serious about the spices and seasonings. I don’t have to add anything; she has it handled.

lemon cumin chickenI have had her recipe for lemon-cumin chicken in my database for a while. I tried it on a recent Saturday and it was a success. I prepared the marinade as specified and I let the chicken marinate for close to five hours. I bought the thin-sliced chicken breasts at the full-service meat counter of our local grocery store. I cooked the chicken on our outdoor gas grill.

I had never made pesto before. The task seemed daunting. I have watched enough cooking shows that I really should have gotten it that pesto isn’t that hard. But it just never sank in. This recipe called for pesto, however, so I decided to tackle it. It was really very easy and came out quite tasty. I substituted pine nuts for walnuts because that was what I had on hand. Otherwise I followed Giada’s instructions.

On the side I served Farmhouse Herb and Butter rice mix and I had our home-grown romaine lettuce with my homemade vinaigrette blend.

It was a dinner that worked out very well.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam ChowderWhen I make clam chowder, I have always made the traditional New England clam chowder. But on a recent evening Terry suggested that she would like Manhattan clam chowder. The only Manhattan clam chowder I have ever made was out of a can, but I was up for the challenge. I pulled out my laptop and opened my recipe database. The only recipe for Manhattan I had was from the illustrious Sam Sifton of the New York Times Magazine. (Yes, I know there’s a gazillion recipes online.) Sam’s recipe called for fresh clams, which I don’t have access to and wouldn’t use if I did. So, as usual, I did my own thing, but for the most part I followed Sam’s list of ingredients.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

makes about 4 servings


  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 3 strips of bacon
  • 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 cans of diced clams
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • basil
  • red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Chop the vegetables and put them in a sauce pan.
  2. Add water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Cook for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Use a ladle to remove enough water to add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Cook the bacon separately. I microwave it.
  5. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Break the bacon into bits and add.
  6. Add the spices to taste.
  7. Simmer for a few more minutes and serve with toasted garlic bread.

It exceeded my expectations.  Terry loved it.

A success, I believe.

how to buy propane

I never had a gas grill until Terry and I bought one during our Gilroy years. I only knew of one way to buy propane for it. I did exactly what all of our neighbors did. Initially you bought a tank of propane that was full of the fuel. When it was empty you took it to a location that sold the stuff and swapped out the empty tank for a full one.

propan tankSo when we bought our gas grill I was surprised when my brother asked me how we were going to buy our propane. How? Do I have a choice, I asked. My brother said that we could buy an empty propane tank and get it refilled as needed. Own the tank? Refill as needed? News to me.

That’s what we ended up doing. We went to the local trailer supply store, bought a propane tank, and had it filled. Over the long haul it’s much more cost-effective than the swap-out method.

So I thank my brother for his sage advice.

Slow Cooker Chili Colorado

Chili ColoradoI was looking for something different to fix for dinner. I wanted something Mexican that was not enchiladas or tacos. My wife makes a great chili verde and I didn’t want to infringe on her territory. I thought chili colorado might be a good option, but I was surprised at the dearth of  recipes for that dish, which is on the menu of every Mexican restaurant west of the Rockies. I found a starting point and spun off from there.

I’m not specifying quantities. I’ll leave that to you. But I’ll give you the general framework.

Slow Cooker Chili Colorado


  • onions
  • tomatillos
  • tomatoes
  • Chilis, of your choice (Anaheim, ancho, etc.)
  • vegetable stock
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • ground mustard seed
  • olive oil
  • red wine or basaltic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • stew beef
  • corn starch


  1. Mix the spices and add olive oil and a splash of vinegar. Marinate the stew beef for two hours or more.
  2. Put the vegetables under the broiler for several minutes. Add the chilis near the end.
  3. Put the vegetables in a blender and blend. Add vegetable stock as needed.
  4. Put everything in a slow cooker. Cook 6 to 8 hours.
  5. Add corn starch in the last half hour to thicken the sauce as needed.

I started with a recipe from Aarón Sánchez.  I followed his direction on the veggies. I used his spices, but he specified a paste while I made a marinade. He called for roasting a flank steak, I chose stew beef in the slow cooker.

I was happy with the result and Terry loved the dish.


Chili Colorado veggies

grill or barbecue?

gas grillWhen I was growing up, my dad would put charcoal on the grill outside, light it with lighter fluid, and then we would cook hamburgers. We called that barbecue. When I moved to Oklahoma at the end of the 1970s I learned that barbecue was when you cooked chicken, beef, or pork in smoke at a low temperature for a long time. When I moved to the Bay Area in the mid 1980’s I learned that cooking outside was called grilling.
Whatever it’s called, Terry and I did a lot of it during our years in Gilroy. We bought a gas grill and it got a lot of use. We left it behind when we moved south in 2015 and have very much missed it. Recently, however, with Terry having a part-time job and me getting a little freelance income we decided we could afford a new gas grill.

We bought one from Amazon, put it together, and immediately fired it up. Whether it’s barbecue or grill, we love it.

pressure cooker chicken mole

chicken moleThis is an amazingly simple but tasty recipe. Looking through my files I found a recipe for chicken mole, but I didn’t like the technique or the fact that it used frozen chicken. So I did it my way.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Mole

serves 2


  • Fresh or thawed chicken breasts, cut into four strips, about 8 oz total
  • mole sauce, 8 oz container
  • brown rice


  1. Spoon half of the mole into a bowl. Mix with enough water to make a sauce to your liking.
  2. Coat the  chicken in the mole sauce.
  3. Heat 2 cups of water in the microwave for 4 minutes.
  4. Put the rack in the electric pressure cooker. Add the water. Put the chicken on the rack.
  5. Set the pressure cooker to 10 minutes on High.
  6. Allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes, and then do a manual pressure release.
  7. Serve with brown rice.

Very tasty!