Multiple Bunk Bed Baskets on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I’m always on a search for ways to add more cooking capacity to my Char-Broil Big Easy. I started with my homemade Wingin’ator 3000, which works great but you do have to make it yourself. Then Char-Broil came out with a cooking rack that gave you 5 cooking levels. Sadly, the rack wasn’t available for sale for long. A reader of Life’s A Tomato mentioned something to me the other day that should’ve occurred to me long ago: you can use two of the Char-Broil Bunk Bed Baskets at once, giving you 3 cooking levels! Doh!
It’s as easy as it looks. Grab the basket that comes with your Big Easy and just lower two bunk bed baskets down into it, securing it with the handles on the sides. You’ll need to offset the two baskets by 90 degrees, otherwise the handles from the lower basket will interfere with the top basket. You can kind of see that in the picture on the right, above.

You’ll get about 3″ of cooking room on each level, plenty for wings or drumsticks. You can fit up to 6 chicken breasts on too, if they aren’t too huge. All in all, it’s a win-win!

The nice thing about this approach is that all of the baskets are dishwasher-safe, readily available, and easy to use. You don’t get quite as much cooking room as with a Wingin’ator 3000 or the (now unavailable) cooking rack, but 3 levels is plenty for a good cookout!

Quick Pickled Jalapeno Rings

I love when locally-grown jalapenos are at their peak. That’s the time to go grab a few pounds to make quick pickled jalapeno rings. They keep in the pantry forever, always on hand for a pizza, sandwich, salad, burger… hot dogs… everything!
Quick Pickled Jalapeno RingsYou can use this recipe for other peppers too, so go to your farmer’s market at peak pepper time and grab a variety.

Quick Pickled Jalapeno Rings
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
  • 8-10 large or 20 small jalapeno peppers (it’s hard to be exact here, but it’s about a pound) rinsed, and sliced into thin rings
  1. In a nonreactive saucepan whisk together the vinegar, water, salt and cumin. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the salt dissolves.
  2. Sterilize the jars and lids.
  3. Pack each pint jar tightly with sliced pepper rings and one whole garlic clove each. Leave enough room at the top so the lid rests easily on the mouth of the jar.
  4. Add the hot brine to cover the pepper rings leaving about 1/4" space at the top of each jar.
  5. Use a skewer or chopstick to poke down into the jar, freeing any air bubbles.
  6. Clean the top of the jars. Add the tops and screw on the lids.
  7. Place into a hot water bath for 15 minutes then remove.
  8. Let cool and test that the jars are sealed.
  9. Store in a cool dark place for up a year.


New Recipe Indexes

I’ve been using the EasyRecipe plugin for WordPress for years now. It’s the by far the best recipe plugin on the market. Now, the fine folks that wrote EasyRecipe have come out with a fantastic plugin for producing indexes, EasyIndex. In just minutes I was able to add Pinterest-like galleries (you can choose from tons of highly-customizeable styles and themes) to my blog without any coding or pain. Check them out by clicking any of the links under ‘Recipes and Things’ on the right side of this page. See something you like? Just click on the image.

Life's A Tomato IndexThe new galleries replace the direct links I had to our Pinterest page. You can still visit us on Pinterest, but now you can view our gallery without having an account on Pinterest.

I hope you enjoy the new must-easier-to-use galleries and thanks for stopping on by! I’d love to hear from you. Tell me what you think by commenting below.


Playin’ Around with PowerDirector

I bought a copy of CyberLink PowerDirector 13 the other day. I was interested in learning how to do video production and also just putting together simple (but great looking) slideshows. I found PowerDirector to be incredibly intuitive. You can create a quality slideshow in minutes, and a full-length video in not much longer. It’s a great product and, well, it’s fun!

Here are my first simple slideshows put to music. I hope you enjoy them!

Anita’s Dish Collection

Hot Dogs!

Chicken Wings!

Choclo al Cumino

I am a big fan of choclo. It’s a corn from the Andes of Peru. It’s not like the sweet corn you normally find here in the US. In fact, it’s not sweet at all. The kernels are instead very large and very starchy, almost like hominy.

Choclo al CuminoYou can find choclo in some South American specialty food stores. Usually it’s frozen and off the cob, but you can also find it on the cob. In Peru, it isn’t uncommon to find street vendors selling boiled choclo-on-the-cob, specially when you are in the Andes.

This dish really accentuates the unique flavor of choclo, with a hint of lime and cumin. It’s a fantastic fresh and light side dish.

Choclo al Cumino
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Peruvian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3 servings
  • 2 ears of choclo corn (or substitute 1 1/2 cups frozen choclo kernels, thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lime
  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add just enough water to cover the cobs or the lose kernels.
  2. Add the corn and sugar and boil 3-5 minutes or until the kernels are tender. Drain. If using choclo-on-the-cob cut kernels from the cobs.
  3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add the corn, half of the cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir and heat through.
  6. Squeeze the lime over the corn.
  7. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cumin.


Happy New Year – Top 10 Posts of 2014

Goodbye 2014! Hello 2015!

Here are our Top 10 food-related posts of the year. Thanks to everyone for stopping by throughout the year!

  1. Baby Back Ribs on the Char-Broil Big Easy
  2. Copycat Pizza Hut Pan Pizza
  3. Quaker Steak and Lube Arizona Ranch Wings
  4. Roasted Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy
  5. Peas and Pasta Salad
  6. Refrigerator Cucumber Salad
  7. Smashburger Sauce
  8. Quaker Steak and Lube Louisiana Lickers Wings
  9. Copycat Zatarain’s Jambalaya
  10. Quaker Steak and Lube Golden Garlic Wings

Easy Owl Halloween Pumpkin

We’re taking a break from carving pumpkins this year. First up was our candy corn covered pumpkin, which came out great. Then we made this fantastic looking owl pumpkin. It’s quite easy to make, taking maybe 15 minutes from start to finish.

Owl PumpkinAin’t it cute?

Easy Owl Halloween Pumpkin
  • 1 pumpkin, pulp and seeds removed from the bottom (just cut a hole in the bottom big enough for your hand, but reserve the piece you cut out)
  • A pencil
  • Sunflower seeds (use the ones from the snack aisle, they're bigger, and not the ones for birds)
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks
  • 2 craft sticks (or better, 4 pointed flat bamboo skewers)
  • A battery-powered pumpkin light
  • A stick (from your yard), to use as a perch
  1. Hand-draw two circles for the eyes and an upside-down triangle for the beak.
  2. Cut out the eyes and beak.
  3. Working a few seeds at a time, glue the sunflower seeds around the eye holes, beginning with the outer circle first. Then add the inner circle, overlapping slightly with the outer row.
  4. Cut each craft stick to be about 1 1/2" long and stick into the pumpkin for the ears and two feet. Leave about 3/4"of the stick protruding from the pumpkin for the ears and 1/2" for the feet.
  5. Hot glue sunflower seeds onto the craft stick pieces. For the ears, glue 4 seeds at 45 degree angles, then one last seed at the top, making a point. For the feet, glue 2 seeds at 45 degree angles, then one last seed at the tip.
  6. Place light on the base of the pumpkin and lower the pumpkin down onto it.
  7. Place the stick below the feet as a perch.
  8. Enjoy your work of art!