Chris Styler

Freelance Food LLC

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Keep the Barbecue Coming!

Posted on Sep 5 by

Best-of-the-Carolinas Barbecue Sauce Just because today marks the unofficial end of summer doesn’t mean that grilling should screech to a halt. There’s plenty of warm days ahead, and that means BBQ. This is my blend of the vinegary mop sauces, the mustard-based sauces and ketchupy sauces that hail from different parts of the Carolinas. All of the above are worth searching out and trying. I know this sauce is not authentic, but it is good. It’s simple to make and makes quite a bit so unless yours is a big group, you’ll get at least a few meals out of it. Brush this onto just about anything but toward the end of cooking so the sauce doesn’t burn. If you have a smoker, try this as a basting sauce on baby back ribs. MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS 1 cup cider vinegar 1/3 cup ketchup 2 tablespoons deli-style mustard 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes Kosher salt Bring all the ingredients and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve...


Spicy-Cool Avocado Sauce (Cauliflower Version)

Posted on Jul 14 by

I used to make this all the time and then plain forgot about it. It is quick, rich in flavor and lots of good oils from the avocado. I use this on a lot of stovetop-smoked foods and most often with grilled fish or chicken. This summer I started pairing it more with vegetables, like these mini-cauliflowers from the farmers’ market. Sliced dead ripe tomatoes, grilled corn and wax beans are a few other suggestions. Or pan-broiled shrimp. Makes about 2  cups 1 ripe, but not mushy, Hass avocado 4 to 5 teaspoons fresh lime juice ¼ cup sour cream 1 teaspooon hot red pepper sauce, or to taste Kosher salt Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Add the lime juice, and process the avocado, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the avocado is very smooth. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl. Beat in the sour cream and red pepper sauce. Season with additional hot red pepper sauce,...



Posted on Jul 3 by

Caramelized is a word that has been tossed around so often it has almost lost its meaning. Technically, the only thing that can be caramelized is sugar, all other foods get their rich brown crust from something known as the Maillard reaction. Caramelized onions are really Maillard-ized onions but that doesn’t sound so good on  a menu. To put it very, very simply: When some foods are subjected to high heat, the sugar(s) and amino acid(s) they contain combine and from there a complex process leads to the kind of rich flavor we all love.  If you want to know more about the Maillard reaction turn to someone who really knows all about it, Michael Laiskonis. Some foods that are Maillard-ized include crusty bread, sliced sauteed potatoes and seared steak. My personal favorite is a panful of dry sea scallops lightly coated with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. The “dry” sea scallop part is important. They are the only kind that will give you that wonderful brown surface that you can see in the photo above....