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Ordinary to extraordinary: BBQ, nachos and corned beef

Tom and Thierry say it doesn't take much to make corned beef extraordinary. (AP image)

Every week on Seattle Kitchen, Tom and Thierry offer their simple, helpful tips to turn the ordinary into something special. This week, they take on barbequed chicken, nachos and corned beef.

While you could just buy a jar of Tom’s “Ancho & Molasses Barbeque Sauce”(shameless plug), just a little creativity can help you make your own or spice up a boring jar of store bought sauce.

Tom says the big key is the Ancho chiles, which you can buy dried in bulk in many stores.

“You just simply toast them over a flame, boil them in orange juice, puree them and strain it and then you have this beautiful puree,” he says. “Adding that adds a real depth to your barbeque sauce. It’s not too spicy.”

Thierry prefers a less traditional approach to his BBQ chicken. He recommends taking a chicken, cutting it up, dredging it in Dijon mustard and sage simply throwing it on the grill.

As for those aforementioned nachos, Tom says why not take a totally different tact and change their ethnicity. He recommends trying a Greek nachos plate, for example.

“You could crumble feta and Greek oregano and ground lamb instead of beef,” he says. “I think that sounds pretty good even though I don’t know how to say nacho in Greek.”

While Thierry isn’t a big fan of nachos, he says the least you can do is add a little freshness to the chips, sour cream and cheese.

“Fresh green onions or chives give it a little perkiness of something that sounds real because when you’re eating nachos and cheese you’re not eating real food,” he says.

Also on the list this week is corned beef. While usually salty and served with overly cooked vegetables, Tom and Thierry say it doesn’t take much to make it something more.

For Thierry, it’s all about dipping sauces. He recommends sour cream, cornichons (those little French gherkin pickles), Dijon mustard and sea salt.

“The mustard is the big kick, the pickle is to cut through all that richness and fat, so you have that cornichons right there, which has a nice bite of vinegar and then the sour cream to kind of soften down the whole thing. I like that as a combination, especially for sandwiches with with a nice Brussels sprout slaw.”

Tom says he prefers a traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage dinner, but he just can’t stand the standard overcooking that usually leaves the vegetables a soggy mess.

“I just think if you use the technique of just backing off, cook them half of what you were taught and then back off from there,” he laughs.

It doesn’t sound like much. But just trying a few of these tips can help you turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Seattle Kitchen can be heard on KIRO Radio Saturdays at 2-4 p.m. Available anytime ON DEMAND at

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