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Dry-Rubbed Grilled Whole Chicken with Chili-Lager Barbecue Sauce

June 13, 2017

This juicy grilled whole chicken is brushed with a rich and tangy barbecue sauce made of dried chilies and beer. It’s the perfect recipe to ring in a season of grilling. 

This post is sponsored by Petaluma Poultry – Home of ROCKY® and ROSIE® Chicken.


Dry-Rubbed Grilled Whole Chicken with Chili-Lager Barbecue Sauce Recipe | Fake Food Free | Sponsored Post

This probably sounds silly, but the first time I grilled a whole chicken, I considered it a huge culinary accomplishment. I say it sounds silly now because it is really not that difficult at all.

It looks fancy, sure. But it’s one of the most hands-off forms of grilling you can do. Once you rub down the bird with the herbs and seasonings of your choice, you simply place it on the grill and let it cook while all that flavor gets sealed inside. 

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California Ripe Olive Grilled Flatbread with Basil Ricotta, Provolone, Lemon Greens, and Edible Flowers

June 6, 2017

Thank you to the California Olive Committee for sponsoring this post. Although I was compensated to write this post, all opinions are my own.


I drive by olive trees on a regular basis here in the South Central Valley.

I’m a little obsessed with them.

One, they are some of the prettiest trees out there, all willowy with draping branches and a color that can turn from deep green to steel blue depending on how the wind blows. Two, I am a heavy consumer of both extra virgin olive oil and ripe, or table, olives. 

I was informed of a small fact soon after my identification of the olive tree, though. The olives that make these two products are not one in the same. Basically, there are oil olives and ripe olives. Their varieties, oil content, color, and culinary use is different. 

I’ve learned quite a bit about oil olives over the past few years, but my knowledge of ripe olives was minimal. So, when I received an invitation from the California Olive Committee for a trip to St. Helena at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Greystone to fill my gap in knowledge, as you would expect, I quickly accepted. I soon hit the road for a lovely four hour drive from California’s Central Valley to the Napa Valley. 

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15 Picnic Recipes to Celebrate the End of Summer

August 24, 2016
15 Picnic Recipes to Celebrate the End of Summer | Fake Food Free

The end of August is rolling around. Even though schools have started and I’ve been thinking a lot about pumpkins, there is still that one big celebration that closes us out of summer and sends us into the next season. 

For all of those Labor Day cookouts and picnics coming up, I decided to go through some of the recipes here on Fake Food Free and pull out a few that are perfect to take or make for your next cookout. Some are from way back when and others debuted just this summer.

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Grilled Bone In Chicken Breasts with Garlic Sweet Onion Barbecue Sauce

May 25, 2016

These bone in chicken breasts are glazed in a barbecue sauce made of grilled garlic and sweet onions and cooked over the fire until tender and juicy. This post is sponsored by Petaluma Poultry. 

Grilled Bone In Chicken Breasts with Homemade Garlic Sweet Onion Barbecue Sauce Recipe | Fake Food Free #sponsored

It took me a long time to get comfortable around a grill. I’m not sure if it was the dancing flames or maybe it was our society’s perception that grilling is a guy thing. For whatever reason, I could most often be found on the sidelines watching others flip the patties, chops and legs on the grill. 

Then I found myself at a point where I had no choice but to start grilling.  More of the recipes I was developing for clients needed to be grilled and I also got some print writing assignments on best grilling practices. This all led to a lot of research about the craft. I also could no longer wait for the weekend or evenings to have my husband around to fire up our kamado-style grill.

I had to jump in, tongs first. 

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Grilled Cauliflower

March 15, 2016
Grilled Cauliflower Recipe | Fake Food Free

While walking the farmers market last weekend, the cutest little heads of cauliflower caught my attention. What is it about mini vegetables that is irresistible?

I’d seen these before and inquired if they were a specific variety. To my surprise, the vendor told me no. They are simply heads of cauliflower harvested early.

Since this was the case, I knew they wouldn’t be around for long so this time I didn’t pass up the opportunity to grab a few. Three to be exact. I asked if they had more small heads and the three I grabbed were the last. Clearly other people have a thing for mini veggies, too.

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Lemongrass Chili Marinade for Grilled Chicken

May 4, 2015

This recipe combines aromatic lemongrass with spicy chili paste to create a flavorful marinade for grilled chicken. It’s perfect for kicking off the start of grilling season!

Lemongrass Chili Marinade for Grilled Chicken | Fake Food Free

It wasn’t until we began exploring the BBQ meats of Korean, Thai and Hawaiian cuisines that we discovered the deliciousness of the chicken thigh. Prior to that, our meals were most often made up of chicken breasts and the occasional full roasted bird. 

To be honest, the chicken breast alone leaves a lot to be desired. When it is not cooked with the rest of the bird, it’s often dry and tasteless. At least that was my experience. Even the best marinades and fillings rolled up inside couldn’t seem to make it any better. 

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Hanoi Grilled Chicken from The Banh Mi Handbook

September 28, 2014

From the Vietnamese bread and fillings to tangy pickled vegetables, you can create your own restaurant-style sandwich at home with the help of The Banh Mi Handbook and this Hanoi Grilled Chicken.

Hanoi Grilled Chicken from The Banh Mi Handbook | Fake Food Free

I read about the Vietnamese Banh Mi long before I ever had the opportunity to take my first bite. I knew about the soft, but crusty bread, the numerous meat fillings, pickled veggies, hot peppers and the finishing touch of cilantro.

Often when you know this much about a food before you try it, you set yourself up for disappointment. Not so with this sandwich. I had built up in my head what the combination of those flavors would be, and it was better than I anticipated.

I’m not picky about my banh mi. I like the classic version I can grab for $3.50 when passing through Oakland’s Chinatown just as much as I like the fancy version for $10 filled with local, pastured lemongrass chicken that I get at food trucks.

There is an art to it though, don’t you think? It’s not something that I had considered making at home because, while it seems easy, man is it hard to get those flavors right.

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Grilled Chipotle Peach and Nectarine Tilapia Packets

August 19, 2014

Grilled Chipotle Peach and Nectarine Tilapia Packets |

We’ve lived in California less than two years and I’ve already started to lose track of the seasons. I grew up around all sorts of berries in Indiana and I visited the orchards in Kentucky so I could tell you exactly when strawberry, blueberry, peach, plum and apple season where in full swing at different points throughout the summer.

But here? Here, most of those fruits last all summer long.

It’s quite the experience for the fruit and vegetable lover. I aim to cherish every moment of it, while still grounding myself with thoughts of those produce-lacking winter seasons spent in Kentucky.

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Grilled Rosemary and Garlic Salmon with Smoked Sea Salt Recipe

January 27, 2014

Salmon is one thing that I never order when we go out to eat. It’s not that I don’t like it, but that it is so simple to make at home. I can’t justify paying so much more for it when we are out. (I have similar feelings about pasta.)

I’m perfectly capable of tossing some herbs, citrus, salts or oils on a beautiful piece of salmon and putting it on the grill. Not only is it healthy, it one of the fastest meals I can throw together.

With commitments to both eating more fish and firing up the grill more often in the new year, this salmon has been making the dinner rotation quite a bit. I realize not everyone lives in the mid-60 degree temperatures of the East Bay right now, so grilling may feel out of season. You can easily broil or bake the salmon, it just won’t have the same smoky flavor so be sure to try it again when the temps warm and you pull out the grill.

Grilled Rosemary and Garlic Salmon with Smoked Sea Salt

Makes: 6, 4 oz. Servings

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tbsp olive oil + plus extra to brush on the grill
1 ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves, about 2 small sprigs
½ tsp smoked sea salt (this Bourbon Smoked Sea Salt from Kentucky is my favorite)
1 ½ lb. filet of salmon, skin-on (check Seafood Watch for the best varieties)

Fire up the grill and take it high heat, about 475 to 500 degrees F.

In a small dish, stir together the garlic, olive oil, rosemary and salt. Place the salmon on a baking sheet, skin-side down, and rub the herb and oil mix over the fish.

Brush the grill with olive oil and place the salmon on the grill, skin-side down. Grill for 15 to 17 minutes, until the thickest part is cooked through and begins to flake.

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