Ajiaco Grill

Give Me Fire and I'll Make Your Tastebuds Happy

Thank God For Carpet Steam Cleaning

Wow.  Boy was I pissed off just this past weekend.  I had some friends over to hang out.  You know the type of party where everyone gets together for adult beverages and appetizers and maybe some grilled deliciousness?  Most of my friends used the night as an excuse to get out of being a parent for an evening.  I know I did, well, at least that was my intention…

That is until Julie had a bit of an issue with her red wine.

The evening was going very well.  Almost too well.  You know that feeling that you get when something is about to happen?  Well, everyone was getting along and conversation was great.  Guys were hanging out around a pile of brush and leaves that we decided to use for a bonfire.  Not like we needed an excuse to get out of the house and burn something, but there is something so awesome about standing around a fire and shooting the bull on a crisp evening while enjoying some craft beers.

Ladies were in the house reminiscing and listening to a mega mix of the 90s top hit.  I’m told it all went down when Livin’ la Vida Loca was blasting on the stereo.  Julie hopped up onto my microfiber sofa with red wine in hand and proceeded to dance away to the musical stylings of Ricky Martin.  Only problem is that her gyrating caused her to launch the wine in her glass on to the sofa and the off white/cream area rug.

I briefly came in for a B-E-E-R-R-U-N and noticed the ladies sheepishly trying to keep me from the living room.  And.  There.  It.  Was…  Thankfully, beer drinking turns me into a happy comedian.  Man, I absolutely despise angry drunks.  What a downer on a fun time those people are, but I digress.  Anyway, I remembered a recommendation that I got a while back from a buddy of mine for a top notch Longmont carpet cleaning service and thankfully they answered the phone late on a Friday night.  They had me blot the stain, making sure not to actually rub the stain because they said this can actually drive the stain into the carpet.  They had me pour some cold water on the stains and blot again.  Then, they suggested putting some salt on the stain and letting it sit overnight.  I was told that they would be out in the morning to perform their red wine removal service.

red-wine-stain

The next morning the fine folks at Longmont Carpet Care showed up and used some sort of crazy red wine removal product.  By the time they were done cleaning, I could not even tell that the spill had even happened.  I was totally amazed and thoroughly impressed at both their knowledge, technique, and overall customer service.  Their phone number now resides in my cell phone should the unfortunate occur again.  Here’s hoping that it doesn’t, but hey, you never know, right?

Throw Another Shrimp On The Barbie

I’m a huge fan of shrimp.  One of my favorite ways to prepare it?  You guessed it…on the grill.  Most of the time I’ll make recipes ahead of time for my family and I’ll tweak and dial them in to the way that I really like them.  Then, I know that they are company-ready.  Often, I’ll make modifications, and rarely do I keep a recipe exactly the way that I found it.  This is one of those rare exceptions.

I found this grilled shrimp recipe on allrecipes.com.  All Recipes has to be my favorite website for recipes and inspiration.  I’ve been a visitor of the site since 1999 and it’s definitely tops on my list.  I love the way that the site is organized and the way that you are able to compile menus of your favorite dishes, add your own recipes, or even find entire monthly meal plans ready to go.  The recipes are easily adjusted based on serving size and ingredients are automatically loaded into an aisle by aisle shopping list.  You can watch videos of recipes being prepared and check out ratings by users to help weed out the recipes that don’t make the cut.

Randomizers can help select meals for those having a difficult time thinking of something to make and you can even find recipes based on what you have in your pantry and your refrigerator.  But, enough about allrecipes.com, let me just get you the shrimp recipe, sound good?

Marinated Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • skewers

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar.  Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.
  2. Preheat grill for medium heat.  Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head.  Discard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil grill grate.  Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

 

Here’s another recipe…

Margarita Grilled Shrimp

Margarita Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons tequila
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 20 minutes

Directions

  1. Stir shrimp, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, tequila, cayenne pepper, and salt together in a bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate shrimp in marinade for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate.
  3. Remove shrimp from bowl and thread onto skewers; discard marinade.
  4. Cook on the preheated grill until shrimp turn pink, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Parents In Town, Fire Up That Grill…

So, I had a wedding to attend and my parents were also invited.  Mom and Dad flew out for the wedding and decided to stay a few extra days with my family.  Been a while since we had house guests, but it definitely was good to see them again.  I know that they enjoyed interacting with their grandchildren and seeing their personalities in person.

Both my parents are great cooks.  Maybe there is some sort of genetic cooking gene?  I doubt it, but my love for cooking had to come from somewhere.  I guess growing up and helping out in the kitchen at the young age did wonders for me.  I’m certain that the reason why I enjoy preparing food is because of the memories made and time shared with my parents when we were in the kitchen.

My oldest daughter has a love for cedar planked salmon.  When I say love, I mean a true infatuation in every sense of the word.  Honestly, I love the fact that my daughter is always up for trying some new food.  She’s definitely and adventurous eater and I’m always happy to prepare new recipes for her.  Let’s face it, kids are some of the most honest critics.  They haven’t learned when to turn on their “filters” for the most part.  They’ll definitely tell it like it is, and my daughter is no exception.

While I don’t really have a recipe that I follow every time I make cedar plank salmon, the basis is nearly the same.  Butter, olive oil, garlic powder, dill weed, salt, pepper, and fresh lemon slices always seem to be in the mix.  One of my favorite things to do is to grill some asparagus thats been wrapped in bacon and basted with a concoction of worcestershire sauce, butter, garlic powder, and brown sugar.  I generally have the asparagus on the top rack of the grill so it doesn’t get too hot.  I’m a huge fan of the cedar flavor that’s imparted by the cedar plank on the asparagus.

I normally serve the salmon and asparagus with mashed potatoes.  As I’m typing this, I have to wonder what cedar smoked mashed potatoes would taste like.  I’m even tempted to go fire up the grill and grill the remaining fish and asparagus and try and cedar smoke some of my famous garlic mashed taters.  My mouth is salivating just thinking about it…

So, I’ll leave you with a recipe that you can try out this weekend.  The salmon recipe is a favorite variation of mine.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  You’ll thank me later.  This baby is company-ready!

Cedar Planked Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon

  • 2 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (2 pound) salmon fillet, skin removed
  1. Soak the cedar planks for at least 1 hour in warm water. Soak longer if you have time.
  2. In a shallow dish, stir together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, and garlic. Place the salmon fillets in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to one hour.
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. Place the planks on the grate. The boards are ready when they start to smoke and crackle just a little.
  4. Place the salmon fillets onto the planks and discard the marinade. Cover, and grill for about 20 minutes. Fish is done when you can flake it with a fork. It will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill.

Hola! Welcome To My Blog…

Hey there amigos and welcome to my humble little blog.  You’re most likely wondering what this blog is going to be all about.  Well, you and me both!  Haha.  Just kidding.  I have somewhat of an idea…

Like many of you, I absolutely love to grill.  Honestly, grilling has to be my favorite cooking technique.  The main reason is probably because of the versatility that grilling brings to the table.  Grilling meat over an open fire is perhaps one of the oldest cooking methods in the world.

In my time on this earth I have developed some amazing recipes.  Well, at least I believe that statement to be true.  Some of my friends have even told me that I should try my hand at opening a restaurant.  To which I have replied, “No thank you.”  Honestly, I don’t even want to mess around with the headaches.  Not to mention going into so much debt all with the hope that I would be one of the lucky few restaurant owners that makes it past 4 years in business.

Restaurants have such a high failure rate.  And, for the most part, low margins, especially today.  Diners are so price sensitive that it is difficult to be profitable once you consider all the overhead associated with operating a restaurant.  It’s kind of ironic, but some of the best moneymakers in the restaurant industry are actually drinks/beverage sales.  Food gets people in the doors, and drinks are heavily relied upon for profitability.  I’m not doubling down on beverages as being the key to my success.

Maybe one day I will considering catering for events.  Seems to be a much better model in my mind.  Those using caterers are generally the type who don’t balk at pricing.  They want to impress their guests and are willing to spend the money to do so.  I could see myself running the grill at a big corporate event, or maybe a wedding.  People are excited to be at such things and those responsible for footing the bill have allocated the appropriate financials for the event.

It’s my hope to share some of my personal favorite recipes that I have found over my years.  I’ll figure out the rest as I go.  You can even help me with a direction to this blog if you want to send your comments over to admin@ajiacogrill.com.

Bare with me as I get this baby off the ground.  I’m not sure how long it will take me to get things headed in the right direction.  I’m going to try my best to be consistent, but I’m also a realist and know that family comes first.  This blog is just intended to be a virtual diary of sorts.  A place where I can unwind from the happenings of the day.  Pretty sure that those of you with small children know exactly what I’m referring to here.  There’s many sayings when it comes to children, but my favorite has to be this:  “The days are long, but the years are short.”  Try getting things done around the house when your toddler is awake and actively trying to climb your kitchen countertops and you’ll know why it’s better to wait until nap time.

Well, that’s probably enough rambling for now.  Check back later (and often) for new content.  Adiós.

-Pedro A.

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