Saturday, May 19, 2018

Green Tomato Salad





Green tomatoes are very firm and deliciously acidic. If you hit any farmer's market at this time of year, it's fairly easy to score some free green tomatoes as there is not a lot of demand for them. If you can't find any green tomatoes, go ahead and substitute with some store-bought reds. The salad is delicious either way.


Ingredients
3 large green tomatoes, cored, quartered and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 English cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
A fat handful of parsley and mint, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely sliced or chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Directions
  1. Place tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and toss with the salt. Transfer to a fine strainer and let drain for 30 minutes.
  2. In a shallow dish, combine tomatoes with the cucumber, onion, parsley, mint, jalapeño, lime juice and olive oil. Toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.







    Grogs and Goldie, 1956
     

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Grilled Modena Ribeye





Modena is the automotive center of Italy. But it's not really the "Detroit" of Italy. Because in Detroit you have automotive brands like Chevrolet and Ford. In Modena, you have automotive marquees like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, De Tomaso and my personal favorite, Pagani.

I believe the Pagani Huayra roadster is the most lustworthy car in existence. For cash buyers, it will set you back $2,400,000. If you don't have that much cash laying around, you can always lease it. For that, you'll need a $700,000 down payment and then make monthly lease payments of $25,000.

Click for a larger view


At $800.00 per pound, that Pagani is one very expensive proposition. That comes out to a whopping $50.00 per ounce. A little beyond the reach of most of us mortals who are not named Lebron James. But if you are traveling to Modena and would still like to come home with a really cool souvenir, I've got something that will only set you back $1.94 per ounce.

That's because Modena, Italy also happens to be the world's most revered maker of Balsamic Vinegar. Treasured and placed on the highest epicurean pedestal, the very best stuff is often aged for decades like a fine cognac.


My very favorite Modena Balsamic Vinegar is available at Williams Sonoma. It's been made by the Leonardi family for 3 generations. It's a spectacular formula of grapes and vinegar that is aged in wooden casks for 25 years before being bottled. It comes in a 15.5 ounce bottle and sells for $29.95...an absolute bargain for something that was 25 years in the making. So while the $2.4 million Pagani Huayra may be a bit of a financial stretch, there's no reason you can't jump in your $300K Ferrari GTC4 Lusso and drive over to Williams Sonoma for one of Modena's finest contributions to mankind.

Click for a larger view




INGREDIENTS

Modena Marinade
2 tablespoons aged Modena Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

4 USDA prime ribeye steaks, each about 1-3/4 inches thick


DIRECTIONS
  1. In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients and whisk to stir.
  2. Place steaks in a ziplock bag, pour marinade in. Seal bag and toss to mix. Refrigerate for 8 hours, flipping bag over every 2 hours.
  3. Prepare a grill for direct (high heat) and indirect cooking.
  4. Remove steaks from bag and wipe off excess marinade with a paper towel.
  5. For medium rare, place steaks over direct heat. Cover grill and cook for 4 minutes. Then flip steaks, cover and cook for 4 more minutes.
  6. Move steaks to indirect side of grill. Cover grill and cook for 5 minutes. Then move steaks to a serving platter, tent with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes. Then serve.





Wine pairing: Don't even think of eating a Grilled Modena Ribeye without a bottle of Italy's finest wine on the table....a Barolo. And older is gooder, because just like me, Barolos get so much better with age.


Grogs and Goldie, 1956




Saturday, May 12, 2018

Grilled Buffalo Wings




I love chicken wings. During the winter months, I make do with the frozen kind...Perdue's Buffalo Style Chicken Wings. They are ok, but not great. You just bake them. The sauce is already on the wings, but they have a faint metallic taste to them.

Come spring, chicken wings get elevated to a whole new level. First off, the wings are fresh... butchered the day before. And I cook them over charcoal and mesquite for a subtle, smoky flavor. And few things taste better than fresh, grilled chicken wings.

The reason I like this recipe so well is because it is so stinking easy. Most buffalo wing recipes call for basting the wings while they cook. Basting all of those little wings is a big pain in the ass. And basting while they grill means you will have a major grill cleaning session afterwords....one requiring an extraordinary amount of elbow grease.

With this recipe, you just grill up your wings...dump them in a bowl...pour the sauce over them... then toss and serve. It doesn't get any easier than that and clean-up is a breeze! A tip of my hat to Joshua Bousel for his Grilled Buffalo Wings recipe.


INGREDIENTS

For the Wings
3 pounds fresh chicken wings, cut up
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce
2 tablespoons of Sriracha or Tabasco
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


DIRECTIONS

  1. Place chicken wings in a zip lock bag. Add cayenne, pepper and salt to bag. Seal bag and toss to mix. Refrigerate for 4 hours or more.
  2. Prepare your grill for both indirect and direct heat zones.
  3. Make the sauce. Melt butter in a small saucepan and then add rest of sauce ingredients. Whisk to mix and keep warm over very low flame.
  4. When grill is ready, place chicken wings on indirect side of the grill. Cover grill and cook wings for 8 minutes. Then move wings to direct side of grill, cover grill and cook for 2 minutes. Then flip wings, cover the grill and cook for 2 minutes more.
  5. Remove the wings to a bowl. Pour sauce over the wings and toss to coat evenly. Then serve.




Pairing: If it's buffalo chicken wings, the only beverage I will consider is an ice cold Pilsner. If someone puts a gun to your head and forces you to drink wine, pick a Zinfandel...but it had better be a Turley.




Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Grilled Flank Steak with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan





Unlike April,  the weather gods have been showing us great favor in the month of May. Every night this month has been perfect for grilling. I bought my 32-pound bag of lump hardwood charcoal at Costco 10 days ago and I've already put quite a dent in my supply.

Grilling flank steak is one of life's simple pleasures. Huge, big beefy taste for very little money. Grill it up and toss it with peppery arugula and some shaved parmesan...it's like a quick trip to Florence, Italy without leaving your back yard.


Ingredients
1 flank steak (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 cups loosely packed baby arugula
1 cup shaved parmesan


Directions

  1. Lightly brush the steak on both sides with oil and season evenly with salt and pepper. Allow the steak to stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar and sugar. Allow the mixture to reduce by half, 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  4. Grill the steak over the coals with the lid closed for 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Cut the steak lengthwise in half and then cut each half across the grain into thin slices; divide evenly on serving plates. Pour any juices remaining on the cutting board over the steak, and pile the arugula on top. Drizzle each serving of the arugula with oil and the balsamic reduction, season with salt and pepper, and top with the cheese. Serve right away.



Wine pairing: If you are going to truly enjoy this dinner from Tuscany, you'll want to wash it down with Brunello di Montalcino.


Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Roasted Red Potatoes





This dish is a regular in the Gruggen household. It's fast and simple to make. It goes great with everything.....from steak to meatloaf to chicken. And I always cook these little buggers in the toaster oven, which is especially useful in the summer months as it does not heat up the whole kitchen.


Ingredients
1-1/2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400º.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a zip lock bag. Seal and toss to coat. Then spread potatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour. Then serve.





Pairing: Whether it is steak, meatloaf or chicken, a hearty Merlot is always a great choice. If you really want to treat yourself, grab a Rombauer Merlot.


Grogs and Goldie, 1956



Saturday, April 21, 2018

Grilled Korean Short Rib Tacos





Winter's final indignity, an 18.5-inch snowfall on April 14, has now melted from our deck. I have a clear shot to my beloved Weber kettle. First, I will have to replace the One-Touch cleaning system. My lump charcoal fires burn at 1400º Fahrenheit...and after 2 years of repeated use, the One-Touch wings have melted.

My local grocery store, Jerry's, in Eden Prairie, just re-opened after being closed for 3 months. I've been shopping there since 1981....and after 37 years of never being touched, it was sorely in need of a total renewal. Because of that, I only used it for fill-in shopping for the last decade.

It re-opened earlier this month and they went all in! Their selection and layout rivals Byerly's, the upscale grocery store champions for the last 40 years (in the Twin Cities). It's a dream come true....having the best selection of meat (USDA Prime!) and groceries less than a half mile from my house.

They now stock two of my favorite items that are at the core of making Grilled Korean Short Rib Tacos. Those would be flanken-cut beef short ribs and Yon's Foods Kimchi. I absolutely love Kimchi and Yon's Foods version of it is my all-time favorite.


Once I have repaired my Weber, this will be the very first dish I prepare. I love tacos almost as much as my children, my wife and video games. And these are super easy to make. Just marinate the meat, grill for a few minutes then toss the meat, kimchi and cilantro into a flour tortilla.


INGREDIENTS


For the Meat and Marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons mirin
1 medium pear, quartered
4 garlic cloves
1-inch piece of ginger
3 pounds of flanken cut short ribs (bone in)

Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

For the Tacos
6" flour tortillas
Kimchi
Chopped cilantro


DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the first 7 items in a food processor and blend until the mixture is liquified. Place ribs in a zip lock bag and pour blended mixture over the ribs. Seal bag, turn to coat and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  2. Prepare grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  3. Drain ribs; discard marinade. Sprinkle ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place ribs on oiled grates, and grill, uncovered, until browned and cooked to medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove bones and fat, and cut meat into 1-inch pieces. Place about 1 ounce meat on each tortilla. Top with 1/2 cup kimchi and a few cilantro leaves.



If you absolutely have to drink wine, I would pair this dish with a big, fruity Zinfandel. But if I am making Korean tacos, I want to be 100% in on an authentic Korean experience. Therefore, I'd reach for Seoul, Korea's favorite brew, OB Golden Lager.


Grogs and Goldie, 1956




Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pork Roast with Roasted Jalapeño Gravy





Taqueria del Sol restaurants are wildly popular down in Georgia and Tennessee. The restaurants are run by Eddie Hernandez, who grew up in Monterrey, Mexico. But when Eddie later moved to Georgia, he fell in love with southern cooking. So he created his own, unique cuisine...which is essentially "good old southern cooking" meets Mexican. Pork roast with Roasted Jalapeño Gravy is one of the most coveted specials at his restaurants. This spectacular recipe was recently published in The New York Times and I really wanted to share it with you.


INGREDIENTS

For the roast
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
2-1/2 to 3 pound boneless pork loin, with a good layer of fat on it


For the gravy
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 jalapeños
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon Kosher salt


DIRECTIONS

  1. About 3 hours before cooking, mix together salt, pepper, garlic and onion seasonings. Place the pork on a rack set in a roasting pan and sprinkle the roast with the spice mixture, rubbing it lightly so it adheres to the meat. Let roast sit in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 475º.
  3. Roast for 40 minutes. If the fat begins to get too dark, tent with foil.
  4. While the roast is cooking, make a roux for the gravy by melting the butter in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the flour all at once and whisk vigorously until smooth. When the mixture thins and starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking slowly, until the mixture smells nutty and toasty and is still light-colored. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, then set aside and let cool.
  5. When the roast is done, cover and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 450 degrees. Place the jalapeños in a small pan, brush with oil and roast for 6 minutes, or until soft. Remove the stems and some or all of the seeds and membranes, depending on how hot the peppers are and how hot you want the gravy. Dice the jalapeños.
  6. Place the half-and-half, stock, salt and jalapeños in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Quickly reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the roux and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, whisking continually, until the sauce is thickened and bubbly. Stir in a little more roux if needed to reach the desired thickness and, if desired, any accumulated juices from the roast. Slice the roast, cover in gravy and serve.



Pairing: If you absolutely insist on having wine with this dish, my suggestion would be to reach for a big, fruity Zinfandel. However, whenever there are jalapeños involved, I'm going to grab a cold bottle of Pacifico.


Grogs and Goldie, 1956


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Butter Burgers






Charles Nagreen was selling meatballs at the Outagamie County Fair in Seymour, Wisconsin in 1885.  It dawned on him that the meatballs would be easier to eat if they were between two pieces of bread. The budding ad man also developed a theme to help him sell his meatballs: "Fried in butter, listen to them sputter!"

So if you trace the lineage of the butter burger, "Hamburger Charlie" was certainly the creator. Today, Culver's garners much of the attention for butter burgers. While their headquarters is also in Wisconsin, dairy capital of the United States, two other Wisconsin locations played a pivotal role in the development of the butter burger.

In 1936, Kroll's Hamburgers opened it's doors in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Their signature burger featured a pat of butter on top of the meat. That same year, Solly Salmon opened a restaurant in Milwaukee. He loved butter on his burgers as well and soon the world was beating a path to Solly's Grille to feast upon his butter burgers.

So Charles Nagreen created the buttered meatball sandwich in 1885. Kroll's Hamburgers made the butter burger mainstream in 1936. And in the same year, Solly's Grille made the butter burger famous. And to this day, butter burger aficionados are still making the trek to Solly's, which is still serving butter burgers, albeit not in their original location. They had to move in the year 2000 to make way for an outpatient heart clinic. Oh how I love irony.



Ingredients
9 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper
1 pound ground beef
4 hamburger buns, toasted
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 slices American cheese


Directions

  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, covered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Separate beef into 4 equal mounds. Gently shape each mound into 4-1/2-inch-wide by 1/2-inch-thick patty. Combine 3/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in bowl and sprinkle both sides of patties with mixture. Refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 30 minutes.
  3. Spread 2 tablespoons butter onto each bun top; set aside. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Using spatula, transfer patties to skillet and cook without moving them for 3 minutes. Flip patties and cook for 1 minute. Top each burger with 1 slice of American cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 30 seconds longer.
  4. Transfer burgers to bun bottoms. Divide onion mixture among burgers and cover with buttered bun tops. Serve immediately.


Pairing: There is nothing better in this world than an ice-cold pilsner to wash down that butter burger. Bartender, make mine a Stella Artois!


Grogs and Goldie, 1956


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Melting Potatoes





Steak and potatoes....perhaps the greatest combo in all of dining history. How many different ways do I love my potatoes? Baked...French fried...hash browns...tater tots...Hasselback...au gratin...there are so many ways to cook them. I stumbled across this recipe for Melting Potatoes this week...just one more way to create the perfect match for bone-in ribeye.


Ingredients
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 cup chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, mashed
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground pepper


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500º.
  2. Slice potatoes into 1-inch rounds. Place them in a bowl and add butter, salt and pepper. Toss and then transfer in a single layer on a rimmed, metal sheet pan (a 500º oven is way too hot for glass bakeware).
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping them at the 15 minute mark.
  4. Add the broth and garlic to the sheet pan and continue baking for another 15 minutes.
  5. Serve with the broth drizzled over the top of the potatoes.


Pairing: Bone-in ribeye with melting potatoes? Cabernet Sauvignon, please.


Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Easter Ham (Stupid Simple Recipe)






It's easter next weekend. Time for another family meal. You better have a Costco membership card in your wallet...otherwise you will miss out on one of the greatest epicurean delights known to modern man. Kirkland ham. Bone-in and spiral sliced. Pre-cooked. Hickory smoked. I'm here to tell you it is the greatest ham you will ever taste.


Not only is the taste of this ham astounding, the price will absolutely blow you away. It's just $2.49 a pound. Cheaper than ground beef. Cheaper than wieners. Cheaper than that 47-week supply of Kirkland toilet paper. You've gotta be plum crazy not to take advantage of this. The world's greatest ham at the world's greatest price.

The ham also comes with a package of glaze. My advice.....throw the glaze away the minute you get home. The pit master has put the absolutely perfect amount of hickory smoke in this ham. The glaze is over-the-top sweet and detracts from hickory greatness.

So let's tick off the boxes. World's best tasting ham. World's cheapest ham. And now for the trifecta...world's easiest recipe.


Ingredients
One Kirkland spiral sliced ham (7-10 pounds)
Aluminum foil
1 cup water


Directions

  1. Remove ham from store packaging and wrap tightly in aluminum foil.
  2. Add water to bottom of slow cooker, then add ham and cover.
  3. Turn slow cooker to high for 1 hour, then low for 8 hours.
  4. When done, remove foil and serve.


Wine pairing: The sweet and salty taste of ham goes best with a fruity wine. My first choice would be a Rombauer Zinfandel. I think it is truly one of the world's greatest wines and at $29.99 from Total Wine, just as much as a bargain as the Kirkland ham. If you are hosting your beer-swilling in-laws for Easter, grab a Rosenblum Zinfandel Vinter's Cuvee. It's just $7.99 a bottle. And while your in-laws may not appreciate the wine, you will. It's a really good wine at a really good price point.


Grogs and Goldie, 1956.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fried Bologna Sandwich




Bologna is a much maligned and ignored luncheon meat. It originated in Bologna, Italy, where it is known as mortadella. Mortadella and bologna have the same ingredients, but the former has little flecks of pork fat in it. American bologna is just a plain shade of pink all over.

The ingredient list is identical for both cuts: beef cuts, pork cuts, pork fat, salt, white pepper, coriander, sweet paprika, nutmeg, garlic and potato flour. As a cold luncheon meat, it tastes pretty much how it looks...unremarkable.

But something remarkable happens to bologna when you fry it. It completely transforms the taste and texture. It's kind of like this formula: smoked pork belly + heat = BACON! Yes, this formula: 1 + 1 = 5! Heat + Bologna = 5!

When you fry bologna, the stars in the sky realign...allowing you to build what is probably one of the world's greatest sandwiches. But frying bologna isn't quite as simple as it sounds. It's round shape causes it to buckle and fold, making it a most unruly sandwich ingredient.


To prevent this, you need to partially quarter the slices. Keep each slice intact, but cut 4 deep notches that will maintain flatness as you fry it. Once fried, you will ask your bologna to join a troupe of sandwich all-stars that will cause you to make this sandwich again and again and again. And that's no baloney.


Ingredients
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard (Gulden's is my fave)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill pickles (Claussen Hearty Garlic is my fave)
2 tablespoons pickle brine
Fresh ground black pepper
7 ounces thinly sliced bologna
4 slices seeded rye bread
A few iceberg lettuce leaves, torn to size of bread


Directions


    1. Mix mustard, mayonnaise, and chopped pickles in a small bowl to combine; season with pepper.
    2. Arrange half of bologna slices in a neat stack. Starting near the center and working toward the edges of the stack, cut four 1"-long slits, spacing evenly. Repeat with remaining bologna.
    3. Heat a dry, large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat.Working in batches, arrange bologna slices in a single layer in skillet and cooked until golden brown all over and crisp (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate as done. Save skillet with any fat.
    4. Arrange bread in a single layer in reserved skillet and cook over medium-high heat until golden brown (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer to a cutting board.
    5. To build sandwiches, spread mustard mixture evenly over each slice of bread. Grind black pepper over mustard. Divide bologna between 2 slices and top with lettuce, then drizzle with pickle brine. Close up sandwiches and cut in half. Serve.


    Pairing: If you insist on washing down your sandwich with wine, I would suggest a Pinot Noir. But if I'm going to eat an incredible sandwich like this, I'm gonna grab an ice cold Pilsner.


    1. Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, March 10, 2018

    Corned Beef Brisket (Easy Slow Cooker Method)






    Some meals and holidays are inseparable. For me it's crystal clear what goes with what: ham at Easter; turkey for Thanksgiving; prime rib for Christmas; lobster for New Year's; and corned beef brisket for St. Patrick's day. A lot of those meals require some major work...prep and cooking. But there are two meals that are ridiculously simple...Easter and St. Patrick's Day.

    What makes them simple is the use of a crockpot. It's as simple as dump the ingredients in, walk away and come back for an absolute killer meal ten hours later. You don't even have to peel the onions for St. Patrick's Day! So if you're feeling a little Irish next Saturday and want to share a little blarney with those you love, reach for your slow cooker!


    Ingredients
    1 corned beef brisket*, 3-4 pounds
    2 medium onions, cut into quarters
    5 ribs celery, cut into chunks
    1 tablespoon prepared mustard (stone ground preferred)
    2 cups chicken stock
    12-ounces of beer (lager or pilsner)


    *My favorite corned beef is made by that famous Irishman, Sy Ginsberg. It is available at Costco...and it's cheaper than wieners! It's so cheap, I buy three. I cook one and toss the others in the freezer for  feasts at a later date..


    Directions

    1. Place onions and celery on the bottom of your slow cooker. Add stock, beer and mustard.
    2. Set brisket on top of onions and celery, fat-side up. Sprinkle meat with seasoning packet (which comes packed in your brisket). Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.
    3. Remove brisket. Slice and serve.



    Pairing: You are welcome for this blinding glimpse of the obvious.


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    Pan-Seared Pork Chops (Fast & Easy)





    There are days where I like to spend hours in the kitchen, putting together recipes and just putzing with ingredients. But there are also days I just want some good food without a lot of work and hassle. This pan-seared pork chop recipe is perfect for the latter.



    So the first shortcut for this meal is a store-bought marinade....Ken's Steak House Zesty Italian Dressing. Just toss your pork chops into a zip lock bag, add a half bottle of dressing and four hours later you are ready to cook. I always buy center cut, bone-in, loin chops, which are essentially the pork version of a porterhouse steak.

    Growing up, my mom always cooked the living hell out of our pork chops to make sure that we would not die of trichinosis. This is not a problem with today's pork. I prefer my pork to be in the medium rare to medium range. When you simply pan sear a pork chop, it is often difficult to hit that range perfectly. So I use a technique called a reverse sear. You simply bake the pork chop in the oven to medium rare and then sear it at the end. An added bonus of the reverse sear is that there is no need to rest your meat after cooking.

    The recipe is a no-brainer with a minimum of work. I like to serve it up with hash browns and a big bold red wine. It's a fast and easy dinner which will leave you more time for the important things in life....like video games.


    Ingredients
    2, 12-ounce thick cut pork chops
    Ken's Steak House Zesty Italian Dressing
    Worcestershire sauce
    Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper


    Directions

    1. Put pork chops in a zip lock bag, add a half bottle of dressing and marinate for 4 hours.
    2. After 4 hours, remove chops from marinade and scrape excess marinade from the chops with a dinner knife. Preheat oven to 250º.
    3. Place a wire screen over a baking sheet. Place chops on the screen and slide them into the oven. Cook for 30 minutes.
    4. Heat a cast iron pan over high heat on the stove top. Remove chops from oven and pan sear for 2-3 minutes per side.
    5. Place chops on serving plates. Season with Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Serve.




    Wine pairing: For this meal, I prefer a Syrah. It's a big, bold red with many of the same qualities of a Cab. But because it is not as well known or popular, it's quite a bargain at the register!


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, February 17, 2018

    Korean Ribeye Steaks





    Readers of this blog know that I am unabashed steak lover. Especially ribeye steaks...with all of that glorious marbling. I would have ribeyes for dinner seven days a week if I could. Unfortunately, I have a spouse that prefers a little more variety in her dinner menus.

    So in the interest of keeping the peace and making her feel that ours is indeed a participatory partnership, I will, from time to time, ask her what she would like for dinner. This causes a huge smile to break out on her face and she will respond with something like: "How about something Korean?"

    I just love a challenge. So I retire to my office and use Google to spin up all the recipes for Korean Ribeye Steak. After all, one must strive to support your spouse and show that you are willing to go to the ends of the earth to fulfill their most ardent wishes.


    INGREDIENTS

    For the Steaks
    2, 12-ounce ribeye steaks, 1-3/4 inches thick

    For the Marinade
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    1/3 cup soy sauce
    2 tablespoons sesame oil
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    3 cloves garlic
    1/4 cup minced onion
    2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds


    DIRECTIONS

    1. Combine marinade ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Place steaks in a Ziplock bag and add marinade. Marinate in refrigerator for 6 hours.
    2. Preheat oven to 450º.
    3. Remove steaks from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a cast iron pan over high heat for 5 minutes. Then add steaks to pan and cook for 5 minutes.
    4. After 5 minutes, flip steaks and slide pan into the oven. Cook for 5 minutes.
    5. Remove steaks from pan. Tent with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes. Then serve.



    Wine pairing: Zinfandel. Rombauer if you are living large and want your wife to forget that it really is just another ribeye recipe. 


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, February 10, 2018

    Pecos River Red Chili (Short Rib & Slow Cooker Version)






    I have tried a million chili recipes and none of them hold a candle to my favorite chili from The Loon Cafe in the warehouse district of downtown Minneapolis. Pecos River Red Chili has the most incredible and sophisticated blend of spices. It is a chili for the true carnivore....steak but no beans.

    I've been making this chili for 36 years. The recipe on my blog is one of the most read. I first posted it in October of 2010...the very first month I started writing here. This week, I had not found a new recipe that tickled my fancy, so I decided to visit an old favorite and see if I could improve on it.

    The Loon's recipe uses sirloin. Sirloin is lean and cooks up quick. I think the sirloin is a good cut of beef, but I'm a huge fan of fat in my beef as fat equals flavor. If I'm cooking steak, I always opt for ribeye. FAT!!!!! Shout it out!

    So what I decided to do was add more fat to the Loon's recipe. But if you just substitute ribeye for sirloin, you're just getting more fat. I wanted the chili to be more flavorful and I wanted each piece of meat to just absolutely melt in your mouth.

    So I decided to  turn to one of my favorite cuts of beef, short ribs. Short ribs are chock full of fat and collagen. But if you just brown the beef and throw it in the pot, it's going to be tough and chewy. That's where the slow cooker comes in. Eight hours in a slow cooker melts the fat and collagen, thereby boosting the flavor while turning each bite into the most tender beef you will ever taste.

    The trick to maximizing flavor is to put a really high-heat sear on the short ribs. You don't want to cook them...you just want to sear them. You want the slow cooker to do the cooking. So to sear, I used a wok at full heat, working in small batches at a time. It took just seconds to put the perfect sear on the cubed short ribs. If you don't have a wok, use a cast iron pan. But make sure you have the heat cranked all the way up! If you like your chili really spicy, dice a jalapeño pepper and sauté  it with the onions.


    Ingredients
    2 pounds of boneless short ribs, diced in half inch cubes
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 cups diced, green, roasted chiles (I use mild...available in cans)
    2 cups of tomato sauce
    4 tablespoons of paprika (smoked paprika preferred)
    2-1/2 teaspoons cumin
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons oregano (Mexican oregano preferred)
    3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    2-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 cup of chicken broth


    Mexican cheese and diced onions for garnish


    Directions

    1. Over extremely high heat, quickly sear the cubed short ribs in small batches. When seared, add beef to slow cooker.
    2. Turn down stove to medium-high heat and sauté  onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Put in slow cooker.
    3. Add all other ingredients to slow cooker. Stir thoroughly. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
    4. After 8 hours, turn slow cooker off. Stir chili and transfer to serving bowls. Garnish with Mexican cheese and diced onions. Serve.



    Wine pairing: This is a no-brainer. Look no further than the King of Beef: Argentina. A Reserve Malbec is a great choice and is surprisingly affordable.


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956