Grilled Chicken with Gochujang Sauce

June 17, 2018

There are so many ways to grill chicken thighs. I’ve used recipes that call for searing for a few minutes then cooking over indirect heat; others call for braising in a liquid on the grill before grilling to finish; yet another calls for grilling using indirect heat skin side up finishing with with a quick sear. My Cooks Illustrated magazine came a couple of weeks ago and they use yet another method: cook using indirect heat skin side down followed by a quick sear over direct heat.

Another method of grilling chicken didn’t excite me too much – however, this method looked to be the easiest yet. But what really caught my eye was the preparation of the chicken: the recipe calls for spreading a paste with Korean Gochujang sauce as the base. I love Gochujang sauce. Gochujang paste is a slightly sweet chili paste with just a hint of sweetness. I’ve  made a sauce with Gochujang in the pressure cooker; but I used a sauce instead of a paste as the base. That made it too runny; it was good but I knew it could be better. So this time, I started with the paste. I thought I’d have to go to one of our local Asian markets to find it; but here was a jar in our local New Seasons Grocery Store


That “Extra Spicy” had me worried.

There isn’t a lot to the sauce, but we get some heat, some sweet and some savory.





Measure and mince:


Put it all in a small mixing bowl and whisk it all together. It smelled great.

Fire up the grill. I filled the chimney with briquettes, light it up and let them heat until the top briquettes get a bit of ash on them. In the weather conditions it took about 30 minutes.


While the fire is going, I trimmed the chicken thighs and spread a bit of paste on the skin side and the most on the skin side.

Meanwhile, the grill was just about ready. I use a “Slow ‘n Sear” from ABC Barbecue to give me a nice two zone setup: really hot over the coals and a bit cooler on the other – indirect – side. Before starting the chicken, I put the grate on top, closed the lid and let it heat up a few minutes before scraping and oiling the grates.


Arrange the thighs skin side down on the indirect side.


I cooked them for about 40 minutes swapping inside and outside pieces halfway through – but don’t cook chicken based on time, cook based on temperature: 185°. Chicken thighs are robust and can take the heat. I don’t recommend this recipe with chicken breasts – you’ll just end up with tough, dried out hunks of meat.

Once they reach temperature remove the  temperature probe, if you are using one then move the chicken thighs to the direct side of the grill, skin side down; flip bone side down. I flubbed it a bit here. The recipe calls for up to 5 minutes over direct heat, but that was way too long – I hit 2 minutes and realized I was overcooking burning the skin so quickly moved them back over to the other side.

The ABC Barbecue folks have a great little trick they use – which I saw too late. The grill is round, so – using some serious gloves – simply grab the handles and rotate the whole grate 180° so the cool side is now directly over the coals. Leave them there for a short time – probably less that a minute, then rotate it again to get all the pieces on the cool side; flip the pieces and rotate again to get the underside seared a bit. Then you are done.

Add some salad, corn on the cob and French bread and you have a very nice summer evening meal.


Dinner is served



Rating: ★★★★ 

Very nice indeed. That Gochujang sauce is a great (“winner, winner chicken dinner”) . The extra spicy paste didn’t make the sauce too hot.

The cooking method was so simple – not a lot of moving and flipping every few minutes.

Normally when I grill chicken I brined it first, using four quarts of water, 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup sugar. I might try that next time. These thighs weren’t dried out, but brining might push this from 4 to 5 stars.


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Crescent Moon

June 17, 2018

My sister-in-law was over for dinner and a movie tonight; As we walked outside a crescent moon was shining over the neighborhood. I ran in and got my tripod and camera.


And a black-and-white version

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This was one of my first shots – I had to do a lot of noise reduction on it since it was shot at ISO 2500. I don’t take shots like this very much so it took me a couple of minutes to realize I needed to manually set my ISO and let the camera figure out the shutter speed. Unfortunately, by the time I did that the moon was disappearing behind the clouds.

ISO 125. Shutter speed over 1 second.

20180617 Crescent Moon 067

Posted in Foliage and Landscape, Photography | Tagged | Leave a comment

Red Beans and Rice

June 10, 2018

My plan was to grill some chicken thighs using an updated method and recipe. But we got a weekend of Rose Festival Rain. I have friends who are avid grillers and rain won’t slow them down. Me, I’m a take-what-nature-gives-me kind of guy. I had a pound of Rancho Gordo red beans in the pantry, so I whipped up some Red Beans and Rice.

I’ve raved about my experience with Rancho Gordo pinto beans. I bought a few more pounds of beans and have been looking for a chance to use them.


The night before I sorted through the beans (aren’t they gorgeous?)


and gave them a rinse (even prettier!).


I’ve made this plenty of times before so I won’t go into too many details here. My change this weekend was to use lard instead of bacon fat; lard sounds gross, but it’s really nice to use in the recipes that call for bacon fat. I recommend it.

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Prepped and ready to cook

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This can be cooked in a pressure cooker or on the stove top – I decided for stove top. Sauté the holy trinity of celery, green pepper, and onion until softened. Toss in the spices for 30 seconds then everyone in the pool with enough water to cover. Simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours keeping an eye on the water level. I heat water in an electric kettle to add if needed. Start cooking the rice using your preferred method. When the beans are tender, mash some up to thicken the broth, then toss in some andouille sausage and warm through – about 30 minutes. You can get the recipe here.

Dinner is served. I scoop out white rice and put it in a 3/4 cup measuring cup to get the cylinder shape then scoop the red beans on top. If we are being fancy I sprinkle some chives on top.



Rating: ★★★★★ 

This is good stuff and the Rancho Gordo beans did not disappoint. I’ve got more in the cupboard – including some garbanzo beans I plan to make hummus out of.

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Neighborhood Flowers

May 29, 2018

A couple of weeks ago – May 13 to be exact – it seemed our whole neighborhood was in bloom. I wandered around with my camera. Things got busy – we went to the Oregon coast and I got immersed in my blog spring cleaning so I didn’t create a post. Looking back, my favorite was a bunch of irises (right?) in a strip between the sidewalk and the street.



I hope you all get a chance to get out and enjoy the spring

Posted in Foliage and Landscape | Leave a comment

Rancho Gordo Pinto Beans

May 28, 2018

As I went through my blog spring cleaning last week, I was struck by just how many posts I have on pinto beans and chicken stock. Surely, I don’t need yet another bean post, do I? Oh, yes I do. A month or so as I was searching for Santa Maria Pinquito beans for a side dish to tri-tip, I read about Rancho Gordo beans – probably on Mike Vrobel’s DadCooksDinner web site. Rancho Gordo was the only place I could find the pinquito beans so I ordered a pound; while I was at it, I ordered a pound of pinto beans and a pound of black beans. I was a bit skeptical – I mean how much better can an heirloom bean than a pound of bulk grocery store beans? Well, it turns out, a lot better.


Pinto Beans and home made chicken stock

We are planning on having tostadas this week so I whipped up a batch of pinto beans in the pressure cooker. Since I’d be adding some fat turning the pintos into refried beans, I didn’t add any to the recipe.

As I picked through the beans to remove any stones or especially wrinkly beans I was pleased to see the beans were uniform in size and very clean. After rinsing, I soaked the beans in a solution of 2 Tablespoons table salt and 3 quarts of water overnight. When I was ready to cook, I drained and rinsed them a couple of times. Then I pulled together the ingredients.


This recipe is pretty simple. You can find the whole refried bean recipe here. I just did the first half of that recipe. To summarize:

  • 1 pound beans soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2  cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano (I couldn’t find epazote)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I was generous with this I used a heaping teaspoon)
  • 1/2 white onion – root end left whole

If you use canned chicken stock or Better Than Bouillon don’t add the salt. I add very little salt to the homemade chicken stock I make with the DadCooksDinner recipe.

After measuring and what-not


I dumped the beans in the pressure cooker, added the chicken stock, water, cumin, chili powder, and salt and gave it all a good stir. I used a bit more than the 3 cups liquid the recipe calls for – about an additional 1/2 cup – because I wanted them to have plenty of broth for the refried bean stage. Then I added the onion half, garlic, oregano, and bay leaf.


My normal recipe calls for pressure cooking on high for 18 minutes, but these beans looked so fresh I cut that down to 16, knowing I could simmer a while if needed. It wasn’t needed. After letting the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes I quick-released the remaining pressure, pulled off the top, fished out the onion, bay leaf, garlic, and what was left of the oregano sprigs.


They smelled so good. Before dishing them out into 2 cup containers for freezing, I dished up a small bowl to taste while I watched the Dodgers finish off the Padres (baseball). They were delicious. After tasting, I dished them out into three 2 cup containers. I froze two and have one stashed in the refrigerator for later this week.


I’ve been happy with this method of cooking beans for a while now, but the Rancho Gordo beans added another dimension. I was a bit surprised that these were so tasty given I hadn’t added any fat. If I was going for straight pinto beans, I would have sautéd some salt pork first. By happy coincidence I discovered I didn’t need to. These beans stand up on their own.

Later this week, I’ll turn two cups of the beans into refried beans, using the second half of the recipe linked above.

I’m not an affiliate, I don’t get any renumeration from Rancho Gordo beans. That being said, I heartily recommend them. I’ll be buying beans from them in the future. In the meantime, I have a pound of  black beans and a pound of those Santa Maria Pinquito beans in my cupboard ready to go.

RATING: ★★★★★  a full 5 stars. 

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Spring Cleaning

May 26, 2018

A few months ago one of my nieces bought a pressure cooker. She asked for some recipes so of course I pointed her to my blog. She came back to me saying that many of the links no longer work. Hmmm. Must be an anomoly. But as I tracked through some older posts I found that none of the PDF links from mid 2017 and before to copies of the recipes resulted in 404 file-not-found errors.

Many of the times I cook a recipe I’ve found, I’ll make a quick short-hand copy for myself to print so I can keep it handy for following in the kitchen. I’ll make note of any changes and my thoughts on the dish. I often make PDF copies of these to stash in my DropBox account and sometimes share those along with the original site.

Well, the method DropBox I use to share the files was not secure so they came up with a new method in late 2017. The old links weren’t just deprecated (meaning they’d still work but couldn’t be created), they were just plain broken. Links created after the cutover date were fine.

I came down with a bit of pneumonia last weekend which laid me up for a few days. This was the perfect time to fix those dang broken links. I searched my WordPress site to find any dropbox link using the old sharing method, then methodically went through each post to update the link. There were over 150 entries. I gave myself until the end of June to complete the task but once I get started it’s hard to stop. Over four days I changed and retested the links with some minor cleanup along the way.

If you click on a link that doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll get it fixed ASAP

As I worked myself through the posts, I realized I still have links to my original blog on In August 2014 I migrated from Blogger to WordPress and started using my own domain name. I thought the migration would update the links Nope.

So, as a last step, I searched through the posts for links to the old blog. Another round of updating (faster this time) and I now have a bright shiny blog again.

Also, in my effort to replace my laptop with my iPad when traveling, I’ve been testing out keyboards. I’ve been trying two: the. Zagg Slimbook Ultrathin case and the Brydge 10.5.

The nice thing about the Zagg is it has a place for the Apple pencil. but it is a large case and you have to pull the iPad out of the hinge and flip it around if you rotate the screen back too far; otherwise, it tends to tip.

The nice thing about the Brydge 10.5 is its sleekness. There is no case/cover for the iPad itself, just a pair of hinges to push the iPad into. It’s easier to insert and remove the iPad from the hinge. And I don’t have to rotate the screen as much as the Zagg because the base is heavier. However, its big dowside is missing keystrokes. It is the issue that kept me from snapping it up a few months ago. It’s not perfect, and it seems like I can’t type as fast as I’d like because I have to be a bit more deliberate about pressing down each key. I wish the keyboard was more responsive; in the meantime I’ll try it out to see if my fingers get the muscle memory to lower the errror rate.

That’s what I’ve been up to. I wish my US readers especially a happy Memorial Day. It’s a day I remember my dad who was an infantryman in World War II. He shared very litte with us about his experience and he died before Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation movement came out. I wish he was still around. But I see a lot of him in my two sons – especially the oldest.

And, my mom was a Women Marine. She worked in San Francisco as a typist (I think) working on orders for the Pacific Fleet. She said they knew when a big engagement was coming becaue the paperwork stacked up. I miss her too. I can look and listen to my older sister and see my mom there.

Posted in Blogging, Mobile | 1 Comment

Tidal Pools at Haystack Rock

May 19, 2018

When we were on the beach yesterday ti was high tide so we couldn’t get very close to Haystack Rock. Today we had low tide around noon so we headed out to get a look at the tide pools.


As you can see in the pictures we weren’t the only ones with the idea. Haystack Rock at low tide is the place to be. Docents hang out and tell folks about what we are looking at.


Clams, mussels, and barnacles cling to every bit of rock.


We saw plenty of critters in the pools andon the rocks.


We crossed over a bit of water to check out the south side of the rock and caugt a seagull spreading his wings.



After about an hour of tooling around, the tide was coming back in, cutting off some of our access, so we headed back toward the house. I took the high road while Carla strolled  along the tide to get her feet wet. She got this awesome picture of a star fish out in the open


Because the tide was low, I got another shot of the lighthouse off the coast.


Posted in Mobile, Oregon Coast | 1 Comment