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Grilling Good Eats: Grilled Fish Recipes

Grilling Good Eats

By Mike Thayer

If fried fish is about the only way you will eat fish, then you'll come to like grilled fish even better than fried after reading this chapter.

That's pretty much the only way I used to eat fish, fried...  Beer batter was preferred and I had absolutely no interest in offerings that were 'baked,' 'poached' or just sauteed in butter.  There just wasn't enough flavor in the fish and the texture wasn't right in those other preparations.

Enter, the grill.

Smoke does A LOT for fish, so does the kind of heat you get from a grill.  The texture of fish changes when placed directly over a fire and it absorbs smoke flavor readily.  Fish and the grill are a perfect pairing because what turns out to be mush in a poached offering, becomes crispy on the outside but tender on the inside deliciousness in a perfect bite delivered from the coals......   What is bland in a baked preparation becomes, "I didn't know salmon could taste this good!" in a grilled preparation.  I don't care how much seasoning and pretty decorative parsley is placed on the fillet, baked fish sucks.

Teriyaki Salmon

Here's a fantastic marinate for about two pounds of salmon:

Marinade ingredients

  • Half cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • The juice from half a lime
  • One Tablespoon of dried, minced onion
  • One teaspoon of garlic powder
  • One Tablespoon of light brown sugar
  • Couple dashes of balsamic vinegar

Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl or big measuring cup, set aside. Cut your salmon into four equal pieces (optional), place in a Tupperware bowl or a big zip lock bag, pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Fish does not need a lot of time to marinade, don't marinade more than four hours, or your fish will turn to mush.  Salmon is great for the grill, remember to take the fish out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes prior to placing over the coals. You’re doing this to inspect the fish, make sure it‘s well covered in the marinade. It’s not about letting the protein come up to room temperature like you hear some of the cooking show talking heads say, that’s just yada, yada talk to kill air time. The truth is, refrigerated meats and/or fish won’t come up to room temperature in just 30 minutes, not even close. OK, back to the salmon…..

Put the fish over direct heat, fish side down at first (not skin side), let them sizzle for about two minutes to get some nice grill marks, do NOT cover. Flip to the skin side after two minutes and to the indirect heat side of the grill.  Now you can put a lid on it, for about another five minutes to get that nice charcoal flavor.  Remove from the grill and let them rest. This recipe is a real crowd pleaser.   Excellent served with grilled lime wedges, a side of rice pilaf and glazed carrots.

via Lamb Recipes

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)Grilling Good Eats

by Mike Thayer

If you've never had lamb before, it's a MUST try!  Lamb is the go-to meat in much of the Mediterranean. It's used there like beef is here in the states to make sandwiches, casseroles, entrees and sides.  It's enjoyed as roasts, chops and you've probably heard of a 'Rack of Lamb' which is delicious!    The meat presents a whole different flavor profile, it's outstanding!  So if you're looking for something a little different to try, lamb is the ticket, no mint jelly required!

Meat Temp for Lamb:  To get a medium rare, grill lamb until the meat thermometer hits the 135 degree mark.   Remember to let the meat rest after pulling it from the grill!

Mike's Lamb Chops

A lamb chop from the grill is OH SO TASTY!  If you've never grilled lamb before this is the cut to grill that first time.  They are easy to do and do well and by serving lamb to dinner guests you'll look like a real grill pro.


  • 6-8 lamb chops
  • ½ cup white wine (use something you like to drink)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Cookies Flavor Enhancer or your favorite rub
  • 1 Tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried Rosemary

Whisk together the wine, olive oil, rub, garlic powder, minced onion and Rosemary. After placing the chops in a ziplock bag, pour the wine mixture over the chops and let those flavors marry, refrigerating for at least four hours. Grill over direct heat, lid off, to get that good sear and great looking grill marks, 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops. After you’ve got that great presentation side look, flip the chops over to the low heat side of the grill and cover. Grill for about another 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer hit’s the 135 degree mark (medium rare). In the grill set-up, cherry wood pellets add another layer of flavor. TIP: Trim some of the fat off the chops before marinating or rubbing and save it to create pan drippings. When you’re grilling, put those fat trimmings in a cast iron skillet over low heat and let them render to create the base for a sauce or gravy.

A quick pan sauce for chops…. Combine lamb fat drippings with a little flour, some black berries or blueberries - whatever kind of berry you might have on hand for that matter - and some balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste and you’ve made an excellent compliment to the chops!



This is my favorite lamb dish! When I was in the military and stationed in Turkey, Iskender was my go-to order when I dined out.  It's another dose of YUM made with thinly sliced grilled lamb served in a tomato based sauce over a bed of grilled pita bread and topped with yogurt.


  • Two pounds of lamb tenderloin, cut into long thin strips
  • One large onion, coarsely grated
  • The juice from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • One Tablespoon sweet paprika
  • One six ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pita rounds, grilled, then chopped into bite sized squares


Combine the olive oil, lemon juice and onion in a small mixing bowl, set aside.  Place the lamb pieces into a large ziplock bag, pour in the marinade and refrigerate for at least two hours.  Combine the yogurt, half the crushed garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. When the grill is ready to receive, thread the marinaded lamb onto metal or water-soaked wood or bamboo skewers.  Cook the lamb over direct heat, turning frequently until you get a nice golden brown crispy edge to the meat.  As that meat is cooking, place a cast iron or grill safe pan over the indirect heat side of the grill, melt the butter, add the remaining garlic and stir for about a minute.  Add the paprika, tomato paste and water, stirring to incorporate.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Pull the meat and sauce from the grill when done and throw on the pita bread over direct heat.   You just want grill marks on the bread, about a minute per side.  Remove from the grill and slice into bite sized squares.  To Serve:  Plate the grilled pita, top with a layer of the lamb, then the sauce, then a couple dollops of yogurt. 

You'll LOVE this dish!  Serving options:  Grilled peppers, roasted tomato wedges, and/or tabouli salad add a nice finishing touch to the dish.


Lamb Kabobs

If you remember from the beef chapter, I wrote that beef stew meat is not recommended for making kabobs, it's too tough of a cut of meat and needs a very low and slow preparation to be good.  Cooking beef stew meat over direct heat on the grill, well it just won't get tender by the time it's cooked through, leaving you with a chewy piece of meat.   That's not the case with lamb stew meat.  Lamb stew meat cut from the arm shoulder in this case is fine for making kabobs, especially with a great marinade to assist in the tenderizing process. 


  • Two pounds of lamb stew meat
  • One green bell pepper, rough chop (bite size pieces)
  • One red or yellow bell pepper, rough chop
  • One medium onion, rough chop
  • About two pounds of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, olive oil, wine, salt, pepper, rosemary and cardamom, set aside.  Place the lamb stew meat in a large Ziplock bag, pour in the marinade and refrigerate overnight.  The veggies don’t need to marinade that long, you can actually get away with dressing them just before you start the charcoal. If you’re going to use wood skewers, remember to soak them in water for about 30 minutes prior to loading them up with the meat and veggies. KABOB TIP #1: Always put your meat and veggies for kabobs on separate skewers. A meat and veggie skewer combo looks great in the meat counter display case at the grocery store, but the fact is the veggies on the skewer cook through much faster than the meat. You want tender crisp veggies with a hint of charcoal flavor, not dried out, charred veggies to go with that lamb. KABOB TIP #2: Don’t overload the meat on the skewers, leave some space between the cubes. Meat that is packed too tightly won’t cook evenly, won’t look as nice when served and most importantly, won’t taste as good. Place your meat kabobs over hot coals to get a good sear, lid off. Turn a quarter turn after about two minutes, repeat through four rotations giving you a medium rare kabob. Place your veggie kabobs on the grill after the meat kabobs are cooked halfway through. Serve together with rice pilaf and warm pita bread.  It's another dose of YUM!


Grill Roasted Rack of Lamb

A rack of lamb is basically what chops look like all lined up before they're cut into chops.  A rack of lamb is also "frenched" which means the rib bones are left intact, but are scraped and cleaned for a more attractive presentation.  This is a FANTASTIC meal when done right and here's a recipe that does just that!   A nice add to the grill setup:  Along with charcoal, throw in a couple big handfuls of cherry wood pellets.


  • A rack of lamb (usually has 8 bones exposed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Cookies Flavor Enhancer or your favorite rub (plain ol' salt and pepper works great too!)
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom


In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, rub, rosemary and cardamom.   Dress the rack of lamb with the mix.  When the grill is ready to receive, place the lamb on the indirect heat side of the grill.  This preparation requires a reverse sear.  We want this cut of meat to cook to a nice medium rare throughout and starting out on the indirect heat side of the grill with the lid down will get us there, with the rack absorbing all that delicious smoky flavor.   Roast for about 30 minutes, then transfer over to the direct heat side of the grill to get a nice caramelized edge to the meat, about two minutes per side or until the thermometer hits 135 degrees.  Let the lamb rest for at least five minutes before cutting into 2-bone sections for serving....  YES!  DOUBLE CHOPS!


Leg of Lamb

When you purchase your leg of lamb at the store, do not be tempted to buy a 'boneless' version.  Don't be tempted for two reasons:  1.  A boneless leg of lamb - which means the bone has been removed - means it's no longer a LEG OF LAMB.  And 2., the more important reason, no bone means less flavor!  If you’ve got a grill big enough to accommodate a leg of lamb, this will be some of the best lamb you have ever eaten.  Go for about a 5 - 6 pound leg.  The key here is low and slow cooking using the “Snake Method” style of arranging your coals. The night before grilling, rub the roast down with Cookies Flavor Enhancer or your favorite rub. If you don’t have a favorite rub, here’s a quick and easy rub to try.

Dry Rub Ingredients

  • One tablespoon Kosher salt
  • Two tablespoons of granulated garlic
  • One tablespoon onion powder
  • One tablespoon dried rosemary
  • One tablespoon paprika
  • One teaspoon dried mustard
  • One teaspoon black pepper
  • After rubbing down your leg (I know what you're thinking, not actually your leg stupid, the lamb leg!) put it in a big zip lock bag or plastic container and refrigerate.

Your grill set-up is going to use the ‘Snake Method.‘ After you’ve lit your charcoal chimney with about 15 starter briquettes in it, pull your leg out of the refrigerator (ok, not YOURS, the lamb!), inspect, dab off any excess moisture (if any) with a paper towel, let that leg air out, reapply some rub if needed. Once your charcoal in the chimney is ready, pour those hot coals at one end of the snake, making it the head of the snake. This is good for about a 225 - 250 degree temperature and up to six hours of cook time (depending on the size/length of the snake) as the snake burns from head to tail. Don’t forget to add a few chunks of fruit wood, chips or pellets, as they really do add to this preparation! To keep the leg moist, nestle one of those disposable foil pans into the open space at the bottom center of the grill. Add two cups of hot water to the pan. The pan serves two purposes, not only keeping the leg moist, but also catching the roast drippings during the cooking process for an Au jus. Get your grilling grate in position and place your leg, fat side up, in the center of the grate and put the lid on. That leg fat (flavor) is going to slowly sizzle down the sides of the meat adding to the texture and flavor of that meat, before it drips into the pan of deliciousness below. You want that, if you did fat side down, you just won’t get as good of a final product. Check your leg - do NOT turn - after about two hours. When your leg hits that magic 135 degree internal temperature mark (medium rare), about 3 to 4 hours depending on the size of the leg, it’s ready to pull and rest. Slice thin and ladle some of that Au jus over the top. Enjoy!

Lamb Roast


Popcorn Shoppe

Popcorn Shoppe

Popcorn Shoppe, in North Liberty, IA, is the area's premier popcorn store serving all of Coralville, Iowa City and the surrounding areas since 2010. We have over 70 flavors of popcorn, including carmel corn, kettle corn, and custom mixes of popcorn. We also sell old fashioned candy, handmade fudge, salt water taffy, custom gift packages and more! Come visit Popcorn Shoppe in North Liberty for all your gourmet popcorn needs!

Popcorn Shoppe Display

We carry a large variety of candies that are sure to satisfy any craving!  Our stock changes regularly so be sure to stop in often!  We even stock hard-to-find, nostalgic candies, sure to bring back memories of your childhood!

We also carry a large variety of homemade scrumptious fudge.  We make several flavors sure to cure your sweet tooth!

Looking for that perfect gift?  Gift baskets and popcorn tins are a wonderful way to show someone you care!  We have a large collection of baskets and tins available.  Let us create something special for you!  Contact us for more details

Popcorn Shoppe
Located in Penn Landing
725 Pacha Parkway, Suite 4
North Liberty
PH: 319-665-2297


Breakfast: Keeping it simple

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

BreakfastWithout question, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

Starting the day off with a satisfying meal doesn't have to be expensive either, not in calories, nor in terms of impact on the wallet.

A quick fast food breakfast can cost between $6 - $9 depending on your choices, but you don't always get quality...  Meals not as hot as they should be, breakfast sandwiches put together in sloppy fashion, received the wrong order in the drive thru........  A satisfying breakfast at a place like Perkins will typically cost around $9, the quality is better than fast food, but the downside to that is the time ticking on the clock.....

Make your own breakfast.

Four strips of bacon and a couple eggs over easy topped with cheese takes all of 15 minutes to prepare, only costs you about $1.20 in grocery money and here's the biggest benefit:  Diet friendly and VERY satisfying!

This breakfast packs 34 grams of protein, just 3 carbs and only about 500 calories!

That's a great way to start the day!

Cast Iron Brisket Chili

Brisket ChiliBy Mike Thayer

This is pretty much the same as my standard chili recipe, but using leftover brisket instead of the ground beef and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the tomato paste.  Burnt ends are GREAT for this!  Brisket brings a whole different flavor to a chili.   It's another dose of YUM!


  • Two pounds of leftover bbq brisket, chopped into one inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • One large onion, diced
  • Three stalks of celery, chopped
  • Three - four cloves of garlic, minced
  • Two tablespoons chili powder
  • Two teaspoons cumin
  • One teaspoon dried oregano
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
  • One Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • Two cans of diced tomato, undrained
  • 1/2 can (12 ounce) of chipotle peppers (diced) and adobo sauce
  • Three cans of beans, undrained (I like to use one each of red kidney, chili beans in sauce, and black beans - three beans = more flavor.  Pintos are good too.  Use any three you like.)
  • One cup beef stock
  • One Tablespoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • The juice from half a lime
  • And here's the secret ingredient - never make a batch of chili without it - one small can of diced green chilies.  Kids won't even know it's in there.


In a cast iron Dutch Oven, heat up the olive oil and saute the onion, celery and chili powder until the onion starts to appear translucent.  Add the cubed brisket, garlic, cumin, green chilies, beef stock and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and let that mixture simmer  for about 10 minutes, keep an eye on the pot, you may need to slide it a bit more towards the indirect heat side of the grill.  This is going to give you a nice, deep smoky flavor with that adobo sauce and rub from the brisket getting all married in the pot.  Add in the remaining ingredients, stir to incorporate and let that come up to a slow rolling boil, then if you haven't moved the pot over to the indirect heat side of the grill already, do so now.  Keep the lid off to tease people in the neighborhood with that great aroma for about 20 minutes, or until you reach desired thickness.  Option:  Serve the chili with another squeeze of lime from the remaining half.



Chili Ginger Spiced Pork & Noodles

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

Chili Ginger Spiced Pork NoodlesThis is a great tasting, low budget, easy to make oriental inspired dish with a little kick using whatever you might have on hand. Leftover grilled pork chops makes for some GREAT stir fry!

And so you don't have any oriental style noodles you say?  No problem, use fettuccine or spaghetti and YES, Ramen noodles will work great!  Don't have any beef stock?  No problem, use chicken stock instead.  Don't have any leftover pork?  No problem, use some sliced up chicken or beef.   Sure, you can chop up some turkey lunch meat if that's what you have on hand!


  • One package Oriental Style Noodles (yes, Ramen noodles will be just fine!)
  • 1 teaspoon and a pinch of crushed red pepper/chili flake
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 4 - 6 ounces of sliced, leftover pork
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sweet & sour sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon and a splash of canola oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Louisiana Hot Sauce


Cook the noodles per package instructions, set aside.  Heat up a wok or similar vessel on medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, put in the pepper flake, letting it roast for about 30 seconds before adding the oil.  Add onions, celery and carrots, stir.  Season with the salt and pepper, stir and let it sizzle for about 2 minutes.  While that's cooking, mix together the corn starch, beef stock, a splash of canola oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic powder and a little more red pepper flake in a small bowl, set aside.  Add the leftover pork, hot sauce, cilantro and sweet & sour sauce to the veggie mixture, stir, let those flavors marry for about a minute.  Add the noodles and corn starch mixture to the veggies, stir to incorporate.  Serve this deliciousness immediately!

It doesn't get much cheaper than creating something delicious with leftovers.  That's why it's important to have a variety of noodles, rice, veggies and the makings for sauces on hand so you can create something from a previously delicious meal you prepared.

Millstream Brewing Co.

Millstream Brewing CoIowa's Oldest Brewery

Three Amana men decided to revive the art that had not been practiced in the Amana Colonies for years - the art of brewing beer. Carroll F. Zuber and brothers James and Dennis Roemig dreamed of building a small brewery to produce small batches of hand brewed beer reminiscent of Europe's finest.

To brew the best they needed the best, so they called on one of America's premier brewers, Joseph Pickett Sr., who helped in the brewery design, in the development of the beers, Millstream Lager and the robust, Schild Brau. Later, Millstream brewers, developed the zesty Millstream Wheat Beer.

In 1985 Millstream Brewing Co. opened its doors - the first brewery to operate in Amana since 1884. So the Millstream Brewery was born and so it has come to be recognized as the home of quality brews of rewarding taste.

The Story Continues in 2000 with the sale of the brewery to Chris Priebe, Tom and Teresa Albert. Chris is naturally handy and keeps the brewery in tip-top shape. Chris also is a trained brewer from the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology and has brought many years of brewing experience to Millstream. Teresa is an excellent people person and handles all the sales and marketing. Tom is our warehouse and production manager. He is the "glue" that binds the place together. It takes a good team to run a good brewery!

These owners are committed to continually making quality brews, one batch at a time. With a current count of 33 national awards and 1 international award, Millstream speaks of some of the finest beer made in the Midwest today. The brewers have introduced many different styles of beer to Millstream Brewery and with the passing of the higher alcohol law change in spring of 2010, many more styles will be coming out! The Brewery hopes to be able to reach out to local consumers in new and exciting ways.

Millstream Beers - Year Round Beers, Seasonal Beers and the Brewmasters Extreme Series

Millstream Brewing
835 48th Ave Amana IA 52203
PH: 319-622-3672 


Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Specials at Sushi Popo!

Sushi Popo Meals

Take advantage of our Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Specials

Tempura Tuesday
All tempura dishes are half off!

Wing Wednesdays
Half off our spicy chicken wings and $3 rolls starting at 4:30pm.

Kids Eat Free Thursdays
Kids 10 and younger get one sushi roll or one entree for free!


Sushi Popo





725 Mormon Trek Blvd
Iowa City,  IA   52246



Business Hours

Monday - Thursday:  11:00 AM - 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Friday - Saturday:  11:00 AM - 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Sunday:  12:00 PM - 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Some Sabra hummus flavors recalled due to listeria risk | Fox News

Sabra Dipping Co., LLC has recalled some of its hummus flavors made before Nov. 7, 2016 after inspectors determined the products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause serious illness in elderly, young or immunosuppressed people.

The recalled items, which were shipped to various retailers in the United States and Canada, had a best before date up through Jan. 23, 2017.


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