Saturday, August 18, 2018

Corn Nut Steak Wraps



Click to enlarge


Corn Nuts! Shout it out!






I have always been attracted to salty snacks. Growing up in Edina in the early 60's, Ray's Dairy Store was a favorite destination of mine. That's because Ray sold my two favorite snacks....Corn Nuts and Roasted Sunflower Seeds. Each cost just a nickel per bag. So if I was lucky enough to find a dime in my pocket, I'd ride my bike the eight blocks to 54th and France and splurge on Corn Nuts and Sunflower Seeds.

I was looking at the latest issue of Bon Appetit yesterday and came across a recipe that combined two of my favorite ingredients on earth....steak and corn nuts. What's not to love about steak....and then throw in the fabulous, salty crunch of corn nuts....and life becomes just about as perfect as it gets.
.


Ingredients
2 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
1-1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons of minced chipotles in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 skirt steak
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 large head of iceberg lettuce, leaves separated
6 radishes, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves and lime wedges (for garnish)
1/2 cup lightly crushed corn nuts


Directions


    1. Whisk garlic, sugar, 2 tablespoons minced chipotle in adobo, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl to combine. Season steak with salt and pepper and place in a large resealable plastic bag; add marinade. Seal bag and massage steak to coat. Let sit at room temperature 15 minutes, or chill, turning bag occasionally, up to 4 hours.
    2. Whisk yogurt, remaining 1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, and ¾ teaspoon of salt in a small bowl; set aside for serving.
    3. Prepare grill for direct cooking over high heat.
    4. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Cook steak over coals for 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer steak to cutting board and tent with foil. Let steak rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain.
    5. Arrange steak, lettuce, radishes, cilantro, and lime wedges on a platter or a couple of plates so that each component is visible and easily accessible. Place corn nuts in a small bowl. Serve with reserved spicy yogurt for spooning into wraps.



    Pairing: Pacifico, por favor.



    Grogs and Goldie, 1956





    Saturday, August 11, 2018

    Brisket with Sweet and Sour Onions




    Cheap and easy. Those are two admirable adjectives when it comes to a creating a meal. If you shop at Costco, brisket is essentially the same price as hamburger. That makes it cheap. As far as prep for this meal, you are just tossing everything in a dutch oven and walking away. That makes it easy. This brisket recipe is from Jessamyn Rodriguez, the founder and CEO of Hot Bread Kitchen, the NY-based social enterprise that helps immigrant women launch careers and food businesses. It serves 10.


    Ingredients
    One, 5-pound beef brisket
    Kosher salt
    Pepper
    4 onions, sliced into 1/4-inch rings
    1/4 cup ketchup
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    Cilantro sprigs, for garnish


    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Season the brisket generously with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, spread the onions in a single layer and lay the brisket on top. In a small bowl, whisk the ketchup with the tomato paste, soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic. Spread the sauce all over the brisket.
    2. Cover the casserole and transfer 
to the oven. Braise the brisket for about 3 hours, until the meat is very tender. Uncover and continue cooking for 1 hour, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from oven and let 
the brisket cool, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
    3. Transfer the brisket to a work surface and slice across the grain. Arrange the slices on a platter and spoon some of the sauce over the top. Garnish with cilantro and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.



    Wine pairing: Pinot Noir. And not just any Pinot Noir, a Benza Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. Ron Benza was my boss at Bozell Worldwide from 1988 to 1993. We both departed Bozell in 1993....me to start my own business and Ron to run the San Francisco office of ad behemoth McCann Erickson.

    Once Ron landed in San Francisco, he started talking about his dream of opening a winery. It never happened in California because work got in the way. Ron and I hooked back up together in 2002. We were working together on a small Los Gatos start-up called Netflix. They had a DVD by mail business with 2 million subscribers and wanted our help to reach their goal of 6 million subscribers.

    For the next 8 years we worked together on the account....and by the time we reached 2010, Netflix had 7.5 million subscribers to their DVD by mail and streaming business. In 2010, I decided to retire and Ron decided to switch careers, which caused him to cross paths with Trish, who would later become his wife. (And Netflix apparently did just fine without us....they now have 130 million subscribers.)

    Trish got a huge job offer from Intel, so Ron and Trish departed California and, low and behold, a dream became a reality when they bought a vineyard in the famous Willamette Valley in Oregon. Ron and Trish just started marketing their first releases of wine. I ordered up a half case of his Pinot Noir.....and Becky and I were in absolute heaven. It is a spectacular Pinot Noir and quite a bargain at just $29. You can catch up with what Ron and Trish are doing by visiting https://www.benza.com

    It's a really interesting website. They have two releases out now, the Pinot Noir and an Estate Pinot Gris. Get yourself some! And there are another 5 varieties in the pipeline. Good things happen to good people. And Ron and Trish are two of the goodest.  :-)



    Grogs and Goldie, 1956



    Saturday, August 4, 2018

    Grilled Cajun Shrimp






    I started shopping on Amazon in 1999. I hate shopping, so the idea of being able to browse and buy from the comfort of home was very appealing to me. No need to get in car and drive to buy stuff. So fast forward to 2018 and I am here to tell you that almost 100% of my purchases are made online.

    There are two exceptions. There are two places I love to go shop. Costco and grocery stores. I want to see and touch the food I'm going to prepare. So it's a once a week trip to Costco that is pure joy. So is my daily trip to a grocery store.



    Kirkland raw, tail-on shrimp is a favorite item for me. A 2-pound bag sells for $17.79. That makes Costco shrimp a bargain...$8.90 a pound versus $11.99 at most grocery stores. When Becky and I want shrimp for dinner, I just take a dozen out and thaw them out in the fridge overnight.

    Cajun shrimp is one of our favorites. It's a great choice for a weeknight dinner because it only needs to cook for 4 minutes...2 minutes per side. I typically serve the shrimp with rice pilaf, which helps to mitigate the heat of the Cajun spices. 


    Ingredients
    1 garlic clove
    1 teaspoon Kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Lots of fresh ground black pepper
    1-1/2-pounds peeled shrimp
    Lemon wedges for garnish


    Directions
    1. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
    2. Mash garlic with salt until it forms a paste.
    3. To the paste, add cayenne, paprika, lemon juice, olive oil and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
    4. Rub paste all over shrimp.
    5. Thread shrimp on skewers and grill for 2 minutes on each side.
    6. Serve with lemon wedges.



    Pairing: Only one thing goes with grilled Cajun food. Beer!



    Grogs and Goldie, 1956




    Saturday, July 28, 2018

    Grilled Vietnamese Flank Steak





    Flank steak. It's cheap. Has a huge beef flavor. Grills up in just a few minutes. About the only way to improve upon it is to marinate it. In this case, we are going to borrow the flavors of Vietnam. I have two suggestions before you jump into the recipe. First, marinate the steak for only 1 hour.. The lime juice is quite acidic and it will make the meat tough if you marinate for any longer. Second, I would strongly urge you to pair this with a cucumber salad. The crisp vinegar flavors are perfect with this flavorful, grilled steak.
     See here: https://terrygruggen.blogspot.com/2016/07/cucumber-salad.html


    Ingredients
    1/2 cup fish sauce
    1 tablespoon lime zest
    1/3 cup lime juice (juice of 3 limes)
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
    1 flank steak, about 1-1/2 pounds


    Directions


      1. In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic and jalapeño. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the flank steak and let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. 
      2. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
      3. Pat steak dry with paper towels. Then, cook steak on a covered grill for 4 minutes on each side (medium rare).
      4. Transfer steak to cutting board and tent with foil. Let steak rest 5 to 10 minutes.
      5. Thinly slice the steak across the grain and serve with the remaining marinade as a sauce.



      Wine pairing: A big, fruity Zinfandel



      Grogs and Goldie, 1956


      Saturday, July 21, 2018

      Stuffed Bacon and Jalapeño Popper Burgers





      There is nothing earth shattering here. It's simply taking two of the greatest tasting things on earth...bacon and jalapeño popper dip...and stuffing them into another one of the greatest tasting things on earth...the hamburger. 1+1+1=10.


      Ingredients
      4 ounces cream cheese, softened
      1/2 cup shredded cheddar
      1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
      2 jalapeños, minced
      Kosher salt
      Fresh ground black pepper
      6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
      1 teaspoon chili powder
      1-1/2 pounds ground beef (at least 20% fat)
      4 burger buns


      Directions

      1.  Make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, cheddar, mozzarella and jalapeños. Season with salt and pepper and then fold in bacon.
      2. Form ground beef into 8 thin patties. Spoon 1/4 cup of filling mixture on to one patty, then place a second patty on top. Pinch edges to seal burger. Repeat with remaining patties.
      3. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. Season burgers on both sides with chili powder, salt and pepper. Place on grill and cook for 5 minutes per side.
      4. Remove burgers from grill, place in buns and serve.



      Pairing: It's July and it's grilled burgers. A really cold beer, please.


      Grogs and Goldie, 1956


      Saturday, July 14, 2018

      Black Pepper Shrimp with Cucumber & Tomato Salad





      July is proving to be cruel month. It is so miserably hot and humid outside that I find myself in the same predicament as I do in January...I don't want to go outside to grill. The last three night's dinners have all been prepared on my stove top. But I don't mind. The food is good. I stay cool. And thanks to chef Floyd Cordoza, this is what I will be making tonight.

      Actually, his recipe works if you are using a cast iron pan or a grill. In lieu of suffering 70º dew points, I'll be using cast iron on the stove top. This recipe is from his restaurant, The Bombay Bread Bar in SoHo and it serves four. The cucumber and tomato salad is the perfect complement to the main dish and he includes a lime-yogurt sauce for dipping your shrimp. He recommends cooking the shrimp in their shells for the most moist and tender results.


      Ingredients
      2 tablespoons fresh ground black peppercorns
      2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
      7 tablespoons olive oil
      24 shrimp, preferably with tails and shells intact
      2 cups thinly sliced cucumber
      2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or diced heirloom tomatoes
      ¼ cup sliced sweet onion
      ½ cup torn mint leaves
      Zest and juice of 1-½ limes
      Pinch of sugar
      Kosher salt
      ½ cup whole-milk yogurt


      Directions

      1. In a large bowl, stir together pepper and coriander with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pat shrimp dry. Add shrimp to bowl and toss with seasonings until well coated. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 20 minutes. (Shrimp can marinate up to 24 hours.)
      2. In a large bowl, toss together cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and mint. Season salad with ⅓ of the lime zest and juice, 2 tablespoons oil, sugar and salt to taste.
      3. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with lime juice, lime zest and salt to taste.
      4. Heat a grill to medium-high or set a large cast-iron pan on stove over medium-high heat. Brush pan or grill with remaining oil. Season shrimp with a pinch of salt. When cooking surface is hot but not smoking, cook shrimp until opaque and curled into a “C,” 2-3 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from heat and season with lime juice. Serve with tomato salad and yogurt sauce on the side.




      Wine pairing: For this meal, you want a big, oaky Chardonnay. Try a Talley, Rombauer or Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve.



      Grogs and Goldie, 1956

      Saturday, July 7, 2018

      Sriracha Glazed Short Rib Kebabs





      If you want a big, beefy taste for not much money, head to Costco and snarf up their boneless short ribs. Day in and day out, they've got them in the meat section for almost always less than $5.00 per pound.

      Short ribs are an anomaly in the beef world. It is the only cut of beef that I can think of that can be cooked low and slow for melt-in-your-mouth tenderness....or cooked quickly over a hot bed of coals and ready to chow down on in just minutes.

      When I grill short ribs, I like to cut them into 1-inch cubes as it greatly increases the surface area for a really good, all-over char. The sriracha glaze adds a perfect amount of heat and the short time over the fire insures that the meat stays nice and moist. I always cook the kebabs with meat only....adding things like vegetables just means that something will not cook to the correct temperature. This recipe serves four.


      Ingredients
      1-1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1-inch cubes
      1 teaspoon kosher salt
      3 tablespoons brown sugar
      2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
      1 teaspoon cornstarch
      Vegetable oil spray
      1/4 cup minced cilantro


      Directions

      1. Toss beef and salt together in large bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk sugar, Sriracha and cornstarch together in bowl. Set aside 1-1/2 tablespoons Sriracha mixture.
      2. Add remaining Sriracha mixture to beef and toss to coat. Thread beef onto four 12-inch metal skewers, leaving 1/4-inch between pieces. Spray both sides of meat generously with oil spray.
      3. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
      4. When coals are hot, place skewers directly over coals. Cover grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until beef is well charred.
      5. Flip skewers, brush with reserved Sriracha mixture. Cover grill and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes. 
      6. Transfer to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.




      Pairing: If you insist on drinking wine with this dish, I would choose a very fruity Zinfandel. But given the heat of that great Thai hot sauce, Sriracha...I would always reach for an ice cold beer. And why not Thailand's most popular beer...Singha!


      Grogs and Goldie, 1956

      Saturday, June 30, 2018

      Vietnamese Chicken & Noodle Bowl




      It was hot in Minneapolis on Thursday. And while heat is not really a deterrent to cooking outside, humidity is. On Thursday the temp was in the 80's...the humidity was in the 90's...and worst of all, the dew point was in the 70's. So I decided I was going to cook inside.

      Given the temperature, I wanted to cook something without firing up the oven. I had found a really nice looking Vietnamese noodle bowl recipe on Flipboard and so I decided to give it a go. The recipe called for marinating whole chicken breasts, then grilling them before cutting them into bite-size pieces. I did not want to go outside and grill, so I cut them into bite-size pieces before marinating and cooked them by giving them a quick spin in my wok.

      As it is with most Asian recipes, this one was a little toilsome. Toilsome not so much in the cooking sense, but rather in the preparation sense. But as it always is with these kind of recipes, once the prep is done, the meal comes together quickly. It's a fabulous meal. Light. Healthy. And beyond delicious. But what isn't when we are talking about the national sauce of Vietnam...Nuoc Cham! This recipe serves four.


      INGREDIENTS

      Lemongrass Chicken Marinade
      • 2 stalks lemongrass, tender inside part coarsely chopped
      • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
      • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
      • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
      • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
      • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
      • 1 lime, juiced

      Chicken Noodle Bowl
      4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
      2 tablespoons vegetable oil
      10 ounces rice noodles
      1 bunch cilantro, chopped
      1 bunch mint, chopped
      1, 8-ounce bag of bean sprouts
      Lime slices for garnish and squeezing

      Nuoc Cham 
      • 1/4 cup fish sauce
      • 1/4 cup white sugar
      • 1 large lime, juiced
      • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
      • 2/3 cup hot water
      • 1 medium jalapeno, halved, seeded, then finely chopped

      DIRECTIONS
      1. Prepare the marinade. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken and mix well. 
      2. Add the chicken to the marinade and stir well. Marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
      3. Prepare the Nuoc Cham. Combine all the ingredients and stir well to dissolve sugar. Set aside at room temperature.
      4. Cook the noodles. When they are just tender, drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until the noodles are cool. Set aside at room temperature.
      5. Remove chicken from marinade. Heat a wok over very high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the wok and then add chicken. Stir until chicken starts to brown, about 4 minutes.
      6. Build your noodle bowls. Divide the noodles into 4 servings. Top with cilantro, mint and bean sprouts. Divide the chicken and lime slices over the 4 bowls. Drizzle with Nuoc Cham and pass additional sauce along side to let everyone dress their bowls to taste.


      Wine pairing: Talk about a marriage made in heaven. A well-chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from down under is the perfect remedy for the heat outdoors and the perfect complement to the spices and heat in this spectacular meal.


      Grogs and Goldie, 1956

      Saturday, June 23, 2018

      Sloppy Josés





      I have a special place in my heart for Sloppy Joes. I first discovered them in the lunchroom of Wooddale Elementary School in Edina in 1960. While I loved getting them for lunch back then, I have now come to realize that they were little more than ground beef and ketchup. One must not get too nostalgic for the Eisenhower-era Federal Lunch Program.

      In my eight years of writing this blog, I have featured three different Sloppy Joe recipes: Homemade Sloppy Joes (an all-time fave of mine); Sloppy Giuseppes (an Italian version) and Banh Minh Sloppy Joes (a Vietnamese version). Today I'm adding a Mexican version to my body of work.


      Ingredients
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      1 cup finely diced onion
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      1 pound ground beef
      1 pound chorizo sausage
      6 ounces tomato paste
      2-3/4 cups tomato puree
      1 teaspoon chili powder
      1 teaspoon paprika
      1 teaspoon hot sauce
      3-1/2 ounces chipotle in adobo, pureed
      6 egg roll buns, toasted
      6 slices pepper jack cheese (optional)


      Directions


        1. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm oil and sauté onions until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté, for 30 seconds. Add ground beef and sausage and sauté until well browned, about 10 minutes. Break up the beef and sausage as you cook.
        2. Add tomato paste, tomato puree, chili powder, paprika, hot sauce and chipotle. Stir until blended. Raise heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to spread on a sandwich, about 30 minutes.
        3. Place a big, heaping mound of the Sloppy José mixture on the bottom half of the bun. If you are going to add the pepper jack cheese, heat a broiler. Put cheese on top of the Sloppy José mixture and place under broiler until cheese melts. Serve.  



        Pairing: If we are talking Mexican food, Pacifico would be magnifico!


        Grogs and Goldie, 1956

        Saturday, June 16, 2018

        Everyday I'm Trufflin'





        Truffles are the gods' gift to umami. The taste of truffles makes food so savory that it is nearly irresistible. Truffles are also outrageously expensive. They can't be farmed because they only grow in very specific kinds of soil inside the roots of trees. So they must be harvested in the wild. Female pigs are often used to hunt for truffles because the truffle smells like androstenol, the sex pheromone of boar saliva, to which the sow is keenly attracted.

        Truffles are the most expensive food in the world. European white truffles go for $3,600 a pound. Recently, a 2-pound truffle went for $300,000. Truffles are indeed rare and in incredibly high demand because of their ability to completely enhance the taste of food. I love truffles, but I'm not going to drop $3,600 a pound to have my food taste better. But I have found a nice little cache of products that keep me trufflin' everyday for not a lot of money.


        Truffle sea salt is by far the most important weapon in my truffle armory. I use it all the time. It's ability to transform whatever food you put it on is extraordinary. French fries get taken to a whole new level. I buy my truffle salt from Amazon.com. This Gourmet Italian Truffle Fine Sea Salt is my favorite and a 4-ounce jar goes for $19.99.



        Truffle oil is the second most important truffle item in my pantry. I do not cook with it, but use it as a finishing oil on roasted meats and in salad dressings. Becky uses it in lieu of olive oil and pairs it with truffle sea salt on her caprese salads...and they taste like no other caprese salad you have ever tasted. This Truffle Hunter White Truffle Oil sells for $14.99 (3.38 ounces) on Amazon.com.


        Truff Hot Sauce is a brand new addition to my truffle favorites. The sauce has a sweet heat to it along with the pronounced flavor of black truffles. I have not found anything that is not improved with a few dabs of Truff on it. A 5.6-ounce bottle goes for $14.99 and is available at truffhotsauce.com.


        Also a recent addition to my kitchen, Maille Black Truffle Mustard is astounding. (They've been making gourmet mustards for 270 years.) Becky and I had this on some brats I grilled up this week and we could not believe how this mustard just knocked the brats right out of the park. It's a French Dijon mustard made with Chablis wine from Burgundy and infused with black truffles from Provence. It's pricey, but worth it. A 4.4-ounce jar runs $43 and is available at us.maille.com. Yes, it's about $10 an ounce, but keep in mind that the truffles that went into this masterpiece cost $225 per ounce.





        Saturday, June 9, 2018

        Burger au Poivre





        I like to refer to Cognac as the "Nectar of the Gods". After a nice big steak dinner, there is nothing quite as satisfying as crowning the meal with a glass of Cognac. I have three dear friends that relish this tradition: Bob Dedic, Scott Drill and Steve Hirtz.

        The French white grape used to make Cognac is Ugni Blanc, which is very dry, acidic and thin. When the grape is first pressed, it is undrinkable. So off it goes to distillation. Once distilled, the liquid is stored in oak casks. When it goes into the oak casks, it is roughly 70% alcohol. As the Cognac sits in the barrel, it evaporates at the rate of about 3% per year, slowly losing both alcohol and water.

        This evaporation is known locally as "La part des anges", or "the angel's share". By the time the Cognac is ready for blending, the alcohol level will have dropped to 40%. Each Cognac house has a maître de chai (master blender) who then blends the different aged Cognacs into what they consider to be the house style.




        Cognac is an acquired taste. It is not for those with a weak constitution...as it burns all the way down. Nor is it for those with a thin wallet. If you want a 750 ml bottle (standard wine bottle) of the very best stuff, it will set you back $3,000 at Total Wine. Remy Martin's Louis XIII comes in a distinctive Baccarat Crystal decanter and the Cognac inside is comprised of a blend of 1,200 different Cognacs, ranging in age from 40 to 100 years old. 

        The French, famous for their Cognac, are also famous for their cooking. Long ago, they learned to cook their food with this wondrous spirit. Two of my favorite Cognac based French meals are made with steak....specifically, Steak Diane and Steak au Poivre.

        Along the line some genius decided to take the sauce from Steak au Poivre and splash it on a burger. And oh my gosh, what a burger it makes. But I would not suggest that you reach for a bottle of Louis XIII to make the sauce. A good bottle of XO Cognac will set you back about $30 and you will be delighted with the results!


        Ingredients
        3 teaspoons peppercorns
        1 teaspoon salt
        12 ounces fresh ground beef
        2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
        2 tablespoons butter
        1 large shallot, finely diced
        4 tablespoons Cognac
        1/2 cup heavy cream
        2 egg hamburger buns, sliced and the insides toasted
        Dijon mustard (optional for garnish)
        Thin slices of tomato (optional for garnish)


        Directions

        1. Crush peppercorns with mortar and pestle or grind with rolling pin.
        2. Form ground beef into 2 patties. Season both sides of each patty with salt and 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns, reserving rest. Coat patties with grapeseed oil. In frying pan over high heat, sear both sides of patty to desired level of doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove burgers and rest on paper towel. Remove excess oil from pan, and return to medium-high heat.
        3. Add butter and sliced shallot to pan. Cook until shallot softens, about 1 minute.
        4. Remove pan from heat, and allow to cool for 30 seconds. Add Cognac and return to heat. Bring to simmer. Stir and scrape bottom of pan to deglaze and create sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes.
        5. Add cream and remaining pepper. Simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. 
        6. Arrange burger on bun, and pour au poivre sauce on top. Garnish with sliced tomato and/or Dijon mustard, if desired. 



        Wine pairing: I'd reach for a big and bold Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon to stand up to this powerful sauce. If you want to really feel it, try a PlumpJack.


        Grogs and Goldie, 1956

        Saturday, June 2, 2018

        Grilled Flanken-Cut Short Ribs




        Incredibly fast. Incredibly easy. And huge beef flavor for less than the price of ground beef. And, oh, what a great chew! Flanken-cut short ribs are only about 1/4 of an inch thick. They only need 2 to 3 minutes per side over the fire. And the prep is so easy, your two year-old could do it. This Williams Sonoma recipe serves four to six people .


        Ingredients
        3 pounds flanken-cut short ribs
        Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
        2 teaspoons garlic powder
        2 teaspoons sweet paprika
        Flaky sea salt for finishing


        Directions

        1. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat.
        2. Season the short ribs with kosher salt and pepper, then sprinkle all over with the garlic powder and paprika. Arrange the ribs on the grill and cook, turning once, until charred and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side.
        3. Transfer the short ribs to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Arrange the short ribs on a platter, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve. 




        Wine pairing: Beef cooked rapidly over a hot fire? Only a Cabernet Sauvignon will fit the bill. Perhaps one of Napa Valley's finest...a Far Niente?


        Grogs and Goldie, 1956


        Saturday, May 26, 2018

        Beer Poached & Grill Smoked Brats



        Sausage is a religious experience for me...just a half of a notch below steak. In the sausage hierarchy, Bratwurst is the be-all, end-all. Followed closely by Hot Italian Sausage. But you can't just cook or grill bratwurst. Bratwurst must be prepared.

        Preparing bratwurst is a two-step process. First, these oh-so-special sausages must be poached in beer. But beer alone will never do. Coarsely chopped onion and dried rosemary must accompany their friend, Budweiser (my favorite brand for cooking brats).

        Once poached, the brats must spend 20 minutes of quality time on the grill. But not over direct heat. I use a half of a Weber chimney of lump charcoal and set it off to the side of the grill. To that, I add a big chunk of mesquite to give the brats a wisp of smoked perfection. The brats get set to the other side of the grill.....where they gently brown up.

        Once cooked, my brats slide into fresh brat buns and are accompanied by finely diced onions and Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard. And each bite is joyfully washed down with a substantial guzzle of Stella Artois. How does a Memorial Weekend not get any better than that?


        Ingredients
        6 bratwurst sausages
        2 cans Budweiser
        1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
        1 tablespoon dried rosemary
        1 large chunk of mesquite

        6 brat buns
        Finely diced onions
        Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard


        Directions

        1. Place the sausages in the bottom of a sauce pan. Add enough beer so that the sausages are completely immersed in the beer. Then add chopped onion and rosemary.
        2. Prepare a grill for indirect cooking over medium heat.
        3. Bring beer to a boil in sauce pan and then turn down heat to a gentle simmer. Cook brats in beer for 20 minutes.
        4. Place coals to one side of the grill and put the brats on the other side. Add mesquite to coals. Cover grill and cook brats for 20 minutes. Then serve in brat buns with finely diced onions and Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard.





        Pairing: It's Memorial Day Weekend. It's 90º outside. You are going to be eating the best tasting brats in the entire world, so let's not go anywhere but to Stella Artois.


        Grogs and Goldie, 1956


        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