Sunday, September 15, 2019

Buffalo Chicken Farro Salad






Becky came across a neat entree salad recipe from Half Baked Harvest. That recipe called for the grain to be quinoa. So I followed the recipe and we ended up not liking the meal. The quinoa made the salad bland and mushy. But the recipe had some really good bones, so a few days later I switched the recipe up and substituted farro for the quinoa. The nutty taste of the farro and the more substantial texture made the salad so much better. This is a tasty dinner meal and so easy to make!


INGREDIENTS

For the Dressing
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (Lawry's recommended)

For the Salad
3/4 cup farro
2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup broccoli florets
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup shredded cabbage
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles


DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook the quinoa in 3 cups of salted water for 30 minutes. Then drain and let cool.
  2. Heat a medium size skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil and chicken and cook for 5 minutes. When chicken is cooked, add 1/4 cup of the dressing and cook until chicken has absorbed the dressing. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, combine farro, chicken and vegetables with as much dressing as desired. Toss to mix and then serve on plates. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles.




Wine pairing: Chardonnay


Grogs and Goldie, 1956


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Baked Italian Mac and Cheese






Regular readers of my blog understand my total disdain for Mac and Cheese. It was a repeat player in my mother's limited menu repertoire. Oh, the horror. To this day, I find it preferable to have a colonoscopy rather than eat Kraft Mac and Cheese.

This weekend marks my favorite Formula 1 race of each season....the Italian Grand Prix. My joy is immense as the Monza racetrack is the fastest circuit in Formula 1. It is also the home race for one of my favorite teams...Ferrari.

So in the interest of honoring my favorite race and giving you a really tasty alternative to the absolute worst dish in the entire world........ladies and gentlemen.........welcome, if you will....Baked Italian Mac and Cheese!


Ingredients
1 pound hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
16 ounces cavatappi pasta
16-ounce jar marinara sauce
Kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided


Directions


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cavatappi and cook to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large oven-safe skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat. Keep breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon until seared and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook, stirring until soft, 5 minutes more.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in pasta, marinara, heavy cream and 1 cup of mozzarella. Mix well. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the skillet. Slide skillet into the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Serve.




Wine pairing: Chianti Classico



Thursday, August 29, 2019

Crab Cake Pasta




click to enlarge


Have you ever made crab cakes from scratch? I have....and it can become a chemistry experiment gone awry in a very big hurry. It's not easy getting all those ingredients just right and formed into little hockey pucks that will not fall apart when you cook them.

And that is exactly why I am in love with this recipe by Emma Laperruque. She uses the very same ingredients you would use to make crab cakes...and makes it totally stress-free because she is leaving out the hockey puck part. She just tosses everything together in a bowl and adds in those beautiful pasta shells that make perfect scoops for the crab cake stuff. This is genius level thinking here!

While the recipe calls for jumbo lump crab meat, I would suggest you make the recipe even richer by using the meat from one Alaskan King Crab Leg. I buy mine in bulk from Costco for $21.99 a pound (so that I always have crab legs in my freezer).


Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
 Kosher salt
1/2 pound jumbo lump crab meat, drained
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound shell pasta (Conchiglie)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
10 saltine crackers
1/4 cup chopped chives


Directions

  1. Set a large pot of salted water, covered with a lid, on the stove to come to a boil.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons butter to a very large skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted and the skillet is hot, add the prepped celery, onion and scallion. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt and stir to coat all the vegetables in the butter. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown.
  3. Once the vegetables are tender, push them toward the perimeter of the pan, so there’s a big empty circle in the center. Add another 1 tablespoon butter to melt. Now add the crab meat and sprinkle with salt. Cook the crab meat for about 4 minutes, until it’s just starting to brown in places, flipping halfway through. Pour 1 tablespoon lemon juice on top of the vegetables and crab, then gently stir to incorporate. Turn off the heat.
  4. When pot of water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente (about 8 minutes).
  5. While the pasta cooks, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Crush the Saltines with your hands, then add to the butter. Toss to coat. Toast the Saltine crumbs for about 3 minutes, or until golden-brown. Sprinkle with salt.
  6. Now, combine the mayo, Old Bay, Dijon, Worcestershire, and remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a big bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
  7. When the pasta is done, reserve ½ cup or so of pasta water, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the bowl with the Old Bay sauce, give a quick toss, then add the crab-vegetable mixture, about half the chopped chives, and a tablespoon of reserved pasta water. Gingerly toss again, taking care not to break up the crab lumps.
  8. Serve immediately, with the fried Saltines and remaining chives sprinkled on top.






Wine pairing: A big, oaky Chardonnay


Grogs and Goldie, 1956


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Grilled Flank Steak with Olive Tapenade and Charred Romaine





Many years ago, I came across a recipe for a Caesar salad that called for the romaine lettuce to be grilled over fire. I tried it and now I remember how remarkable the romaine tasted after taking a turn over fiery hot, lump hardwood charcoal.

It had been years since I last charred romaine on the grill, but it all came rushing back last Saturday when I saw Caroline Glover's recipe in the Wall Street Journal. She serves this dish at her restaurant, Annette, in Aurora, Colorado. Thanks to her wonderful recipe, my romaine is headed back to the grill this week.


INGREDIENTS

One, 1-1/2 pound flank steak
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

2 medium heads romaine, green outer leaves discarded and root end trimmed
Olive oil

For the Romaine Dressing
2 shallots, skins discarded
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste

For the Tapenade
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/3 cup green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt to taste


DIRECTIONS

  1. Make the dressing. Preheat oven to 425º. Place shallots in a roasting pan and add 1/4 cup water. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Transfer shallots and all remaining dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until dressing is smooth and emulsified.
  2. Make the tapenade. Combine all tapenade ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and grill for 6 minutes, flipping the steak halfway through. Remove from grill, tent with foil and let steak rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Brush romaine with olive oil and grill for 2 minutes, flipping the leaves halfway through.
  5. Remove leaves from grill and toss in a bowl with the dressing.
  6. Slice steak across the grain and arrange over romaine. Spoon tapenade over steak and serve.



Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon


Grogs and Goldie, 1956


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Grilled Steak and Watercress Salad






Watercress is a favorite of mine. Bright and peppery, it is a remarkable complement to grilled steak. Add in a bunch of strong Thai-influenced flavors...and you end up with an extraordinary entree salad! It's the perfect meal for a hot summer night.


Ingredients
1 teaspoon hot mustard
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar, divided
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1½ pounds boneless rib eye
1 red Thai chili, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 bunch watercress, tough stems trimmed (about 6 cups)
1 small English cucumber, thinly sliced
¼ cup mint leaves
¼ cup salted, dry-roasted peanuts, lightly crushed


Directions
  1. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  2. Prepare marinade: Whisk mustard, fish sauce, ½ teaspoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon very hot water in a medium bowl until sugar is dissolved; season with salt and plenty of pepper. Add steak to bowl and turn several times to coat. Let sit while you make the vinaigrette.
  3. Make the vinaigrette: Whisk chili, lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil and remaining ½ teaspoon brown sugar in a large bowl. Set vinaigrette aside.
  4. Grill steak over high heat for 4 minutes. Then flip and grill for another 4 minutes. Remove steak from grill, tent with foil and let steak rest for 5 minutes.
  5. Add watercress, cucumber and mint leaves to bowl with reserved vinaigrette and toss to combine; season salad with salt and pepper. Top with peanuts and drizzle with olive oil. 
  6. Slice steak and serve over salad.





Wine pairing: A big, fruity Zinfandel



Grogs and Goldie, 1956


Saturday, July 13, 2019

Blond Puttanesca






I'm a steak lover, through and through. Fish? Not so much. When I was a little kid, I got a walleye bone stuck in my throat and that episode totally turned me off to all fish with bones. I'm happy as a clam to consume aquatic shelled mollusks or crustaceans. But not fish. Well, with one exception.




I am hopelessly addicted to Cento tuna. It is, without a doubt, the best tasting tuna on earth. I buy it by the case and use it on salads and pasta dishes every chance I get. It's cooked in extra virgin olive oil and then packed in cans with extra virgin olive oil. That results in a bigger tuna flavor and firmer texture than tuna cooked and packed in water. Garlic, anchovies and capers come together to make this extraordinary Blond Puttanesca. And Cento tuna puts it right over the top! Added bonus: no bones.


Ingredients
12 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
10 anchovies, chopped
3 tablespoons capers
5 ounces baby arugula
1, 5-ounce can Cento tuna
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
Fresh ground pepper
Flaky sea salt
Lemon wedges, for serving


Directions


    1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until it is just under al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving 1-1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
    2. While pasta cooks, make the sauce: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add anchovies and capers and cook until anchovies have melted and capers begin to brown slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes.
    3. Turn heat to medium. Ladle 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water into the skillet and bring mixture to a simmer. Cook until mixture is reduced by about half, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in arugula and ladle in an additional 1/2 cup of pasta water, tossing together until wilted. Increase heat to medium-high and scoop pasta directly in to the skillet tossing with sauce until well coated. Add tuna to pasta and toss again until it is just warmed just through, about 1 minute. Ladle in an additional 1/4 cup pasta water or more, to loosen up sauce and toss again. Sprinkle parsley over pasta and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. 
    4. Serve in bowls, with flaky salt, a squeeze of lemon, additional parsley and some more red-pepper flakes, if desired.



    Wine pairing: An Italian Barbera


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, July 6, 2019

    Grilled Rib Eye with Worcestershire Butter




    Click to enlarge

    In 1835 in Worcester, England, chemists John Lea and William Perrins created a sauce comprised of barley malt vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions, garlic, cloves, soy sauce, lemons, pickles and peppers. The sauce was so strong that it was deemed disgusting and the barrel was sealed and abandoned in the basement. In 1837, looking for more space, they discovered the sealed barrel. They opened it, only to discover that the mixture had fermented and it was absolutely delicious. In 1938, the first bottles of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce were released to the public.

    The United States has the highest Worcestershire sauce consumption on planet earth. In fact, we consume two times more per capita than anywhere else in the world. To meet that demand, Lea & Perrins operates two plants. One in New Jersey to meet US demand and the original plant in Worcester to supply the rest of the world. It is still made with the original ingredients and each barrel of it is fermented for 18 months before being bottled. It is of interest that the anchovies that go into the sauce are fermented for 2 years in the Lea & Perrins factories....so when you pick up a new bottle at the store, it took some 3-1/2 years to get there.




    INGREDIENTS

    2 large bone-in, rib eye steaks (about 3 pounds total)

    For the Butter
    1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
    1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
    1 tablespoon minced chives
    2 teaspoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
    1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper


    DIRECTIONS

    1. Prepare the butter: Combine all butter ingredients in a bowl and mash together. Spoon the butter mixture onto a piece of parchment paper, form into a log and wrap well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using.
    2. Remove meat from refrigerator, season well with salt and let meat come to room temperature for one hour. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat. 
    3. Grill steaks directly over hot coals for 5 minutes (grill covered). Then flip steaks and grill for 5 minutes more (grill covered).
    4. Transfer steak to a cutting board. Slice butter into coins and place them on the steaks. Let steaks rest for 5 minutes, then serve.



    Wine pairing: Treat yourself to an Amarone


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, June 29, 2019

    Hawaiian Rib Eye



    Click to enlarge

    John Palmer Parker was a 19-year old Massachusetts sailor who decided to jump ship to visit Hawaii in 1809. He fell in love with the island and tended fishponds for King Kamehameha until he set sail again to take part in the War of 1812.

    When he returned from the war, he started Parker Ranch, which at the time, was the only ranch dedicated to raising cattle. He quickly grew into a man of influence and wealth.  Beef quickly became the main export of Hawaii...replacing sandalwood.

    In 1816, he married Chiefess Kipikane, the granddaughter of the King. They were awarded 2 acres on the slopes of Mauna Kea and they built the famous homestead "Mana Hale". Parker and his wife had 3 children and began the Parker dynasty that would play a prominent role in the next two centuries of Hawaiian history. And John Palmer Parker loved him some rib eye :-)


    John Palmer Parker

    INGREDIENTS

    2 thick, bone-in rib eye steaks (about 3 pounds total)

    For the Marinade
    2 cups pineapple juice
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    1/2 cup sugar
    5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    1/3 cup chopped white onion
    1-inch piece of ginger, coarsely chopped

    For the Butter
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    Kosher salt
    2 tablespoons reserved marinade


    DIRECTIONS

    1. Prepare a grill for 2-zone cooking (high heat and indirect heat).
    2. Make the marinade: Combine all marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until liquified. Reserve 2 tablespoons of marinade for butter. Transfer marinade to a large zip lock bag. Add steaks and seal bag, pressing out excess air. Place bag with steaks in refrigerator for 24 hours.
    3. Make the butter: Whisk butter and oil in a medium bowl to combine. Vigorously whisk in reserved marinade and season with salt. Transfer to center of sheet of parchment paper and roll up into a log. Chill for one hour.
    4. Remove steaks from marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Let steaks sit at room temperature for one hour before cooking.
    5. Grill steaks over high heat (grill covered) for 4 minutes. Then flip steaks and cook for 4 more minutes at high heat (grill covered). Move steaks to indirect heat area of grill and cook for 4 more minutes (grill covered).
    6. Transfer steaks to a platter. Slice butter into 1/4"-thick rounds and divide between steaks. Tent steaks with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes. Then serve.






    Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, June 22, 2019

    Grilled Filipino Rib Eye






    Rib eye. My very favorite steak of all time. It's beloved over the entire world and every culture puts a different spin on it. In the Philippines, they marinate it in lemon juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic.....and then it gets a quick spin over hot charcoal.


    Ingredients
    1/4 cup lemon juice plus wedges for serving
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    2 teaspoons brown sugar
    3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
    2 well-marbled ribeye steaks, 1-1/2 inches thick


    Directions
    1. Make the marinade: In a medium bowl, stir together lemon juice, soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic. Place steaks in a ziplock bag, add marinade, lock bag and refrigerate for 4 hours.
    2. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
    3. Remove steaks from bag and pat dry with paper towel. Place steaks over hot coals and grill (with cover on ) for 5 minutes. Then flip steaks and grill (with cover on) for 5 minutes more.
    4. Remove steaks from grill, tent with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes. Then serve.



    Wine pairing: Zinfandel


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, June 15, 2019

    Grilled Steak Open-Face Sandwich



    Click to enlarge


    Flank steak. One of the tastiest cuts of beef. And one of the cheapest. Incredibly versatile. And it cooks over charcoal in less than 10 minutes. What's not to love about it? Here's an open-face sandwich made with flank steak that is perfect for Father's Day. It's that special.


    Ingredients
    1 flank steak, 1-1/2 pounds
    Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup whole grain mustard
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1-1/2 ounces finely grated Parmesan
    1 tablespoon cold water
    1 ciabatta loaf, halved lengthwise
    6 cups arugula


    Directions


    1. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
    2. Make dressing. Blend mustard and lemon juice in blender to combine. With motor running, stream in olive oil. Add Parmesan and 1 tablespoon cold water. Season with salt and pepper and blend until dressing is smooth and thick.
    3. Cook flank steak over hot coals, grill covered, for 4 minutes (medium rare). Flip steaks and cook for 4 minutes more. Remove steak, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.
    4. Toast ciabatta halves over hot coals for 30 seconds to 1 minute, so that cut side is toasted.
    5. Place bread, cut side up on a platter and drizzle with 1/3 of the dressing. Top with arugula and red onion. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining half of the dressing. Thinly slice steak and arrange over arugula. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Cut sandwiches crosswise into pieces and serve.




    Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, June 8, 2019

    Korean BBQ Spare Ribs








    When it comes to pork ribs, I always lean toward spare ribs. They are much bigger and meatier than baby backs and hold the moisture much better after a multi-hour, low and slow cook. You need low and slow if you want that incredibly tender, "fall-off-the bone" result.

    Speaking of the low and slow formula, "low" is the harder part of the equation. You want to cook the ribs at a temperature range of 225º to 250º and no more. If you have a smoker or gas grill, that is easy to achieve. If you have a charcoal grill, the job becomes a little harder. You'll need to use briquettes, as lump charcoal burns too hot for low and slow. You'll also need a grill thermometer and some serious vent management. If all that seems too much, I'll point out that your oven works perfectly for maintaining that temperature range. Just put the ribs on a baking sheet with a wire rack and pop them in the oven.


    INGREDIENTS

    For the Ribs and Rub
    3 racks pork spare ribs
    1/2 cup kosher salt
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup black pepper

    For the Korean BBQ Sauce
    1/2 cup gochujang
    1-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon ground pepper
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    1 teaspoon smoked paprika

    For Garnish
    1 cup chopped peanuts
    1 cup sliced scallions


    DIRECTIONS

    1. Four hours before you start cooking, mix rub ingredients in a small bowl. Spread rub over both sides of ribs, then wrap ribs in plastic and refrigerate.
    2. In a large bowl, combine sauce ingredients and whisk until brown sugar is dissolved.
    3. Prepare your grill for an indirect, low and slow cook at 225º to 250º (Indirect means that the ribs are not cooked directly over the heat source. If you are using a charcoal grill, the coals would be on one side and the ribs on the other. Placing the ribs in a rack improves the result.)
    4. Cook for 3-1/2 hours, turning and basting the ribs with the sauce every hour.
    5. When done cooking, cut the ribs and sprinkle with peanuts and scallions. Then serve.



    Pairing: If you are a wine drinker...Zinfandel.
    But if I were making these ribs on a hot summer day like today, 
    I'd much rather drink an ice-cold Korean QB Pilsner from a well-chilled mug!


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, June 1, 2019

    Flank Steak with Tomatoes and Salsa Verde






    Cooking steak is a breeze. Making this incredible salsa to go with your steak is even easier. Toss all of the salsa ingredients in a food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Serve it over the steak along with some fresh sliced tomatoes.


    INGREDIENTS

    For the Salsa
    2 cups fresh parsley (loosely packed)
    3 scallions, chopped
    2 tablespoons drained capers
    Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
    2 anchovy filets
    2 cloves garlic
    1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon Kosher salt


    1 flank steak
    2 medium tomatoes
    Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper


    DIRECTIONS

    1. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
    2. Put all of the salsa ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until ingredients are mixed and slightly chunky.
    3. Grill flank steak for 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Then let steak rest for 5 minutes.
    4. Slice the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the steak against the grain. Serve with the tomatoes and salsa verde.



    Wine pairing: Malbec

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, May 25, 2019

    Grilled Italian Sausages With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Shallots








    I'm a big fan of America's Test Kitchen. I'm a subscriber to their website and an avid consumer of their videos on YouTube. My favorite series are when they pick a product category and conduct extensive taste tests to determine which product is best. This last week, I got sucked in and had to try out one of their recommendations.

    The product category was hot dogs.....something that I am not very fond of. They proclaimed "Nathan's" as the best all-beef hot dog. So I made them for dinner last night and Becky and I were underwhelmed...to say the least. Tasteless little tubes of sodium.

    Hot dogs are the shape-sharing cousins of sausages. But that's where the commonality ends. Sausages are rich and complex...hot dogs not so much. If hot dogs and sausages were beverages, hot dogs would be diet grape Kool Aid and sausages would be a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. So don't make the same mistake I did. Forego the hot dogs and grill up some sausages instead. A meal is a terrible thing to waste.


    Ingredients
    3 pints cherry tomatoes
    4 shallots, peeled and halved
    8 garlic cloves
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
    Freshly ground black pepper
    3 tablespoons butter, thinly sliced
    5 hot Italian sausage links
    Crusty bread, for serving


    Directions

    1. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat and preheat your oven to 400º.
    2. Scatter the tomatoes, shallots and garlic cloves in a 9" X 13" baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with the butter slices, distributing them around the pan.
    3. Bake for 30 minutes.
    4. Grill the sausages, turning them every minute until they are well seared (about 5 minutes).
    5. Remove the tomatoes and stir briefly. Transfer the sausages to the pan with the tomatoes, nestling them in slightly. Serve with crusty bread.




    Wine pairing: Chianti Classico


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, May 18, 2019

    Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce






    My very favorite steak to grill is a rib eye. Yes...and make mine a grain-fed rib eye with as much marbling as possible. I'm happy to leave the "ever so subtle" taste of grass-fed beef for the Whole 9'ers. I want as much fat and big beefy taste as possible.

    And I pretty much serve blue cheese on top of my grilled rib eyes every chance I get. You can't imagine my excitement when I stumbled across this Ree Drummond recipe that took the power of blue cheese and multiplied the flavor and texture times ten.


    Ingredients
    1 stick softened butter, divided
    1 large yellow onion, sliced
    1 cup heavy cream
    4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

    4 grain-fed rib eye steaks
    Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper


    Directions

    1. Make the sauce. Melt 1/2  stick of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and then saute the onions until golden brown, 7-8 minutes. Pour in the cream, add a dash of salt and pepper and the Worcestershire sauce. Let it bubble up, then add the blue cheese and stir together to melt. Cover and keep warm.
    2. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
    3. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and smear the remaining half stick of butter on both sides of the steaks.
    4. Grill the steaks for 4 minutes per side (covered) for medium rare. Remove steaks from grill, tent with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes.
    5. Plate the steaks and spoon the sauce over the top.



    Wine pairing: A Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, May 11, 2019

    Grilled Korean Skirt Steak



    Grilling season is in full swing and I love the smell of burning lump hardwood charcoal in the evening! And this is my kind of meal...the entree and sides are all cooked on the grill.


    Ingredients
    2 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into 4-inch pieces
    3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
    4 cloves garlic, smashed
    1 cup of cola (not diet)
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1/4 cup dark brown sugar
    1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
    Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
    1 large white onion, cut into 2-inch-thick wedges
    3 banana or Cubanelle peppers


    Directions
    1. Pierce the steak a few times with a fork. Combine the sesame seeds, garlic, cola, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the steak and onion wedges, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
    2. Prepare grill for direct cooking over high heat. Remove the steak and onion wedges from the marinade with a slotted spoon and transfer to a baking sheet. Grill the onion wedges and peppers, turning, until charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Grill the steak until charred, 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Add to the platter. Serve.




    Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc for white wine lovers.
     A big, fruity Zinfandel if you prefer reds.


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956


    Saturday, May 4, 2019

    Air Fryer French Fries





    I received a Cosori Air Fryer for my wedding anniversary. After living with it for a month, I'm here to tell you that the only way you could use mine is to pry it out of my cold, dead hands. The air fryer is essentially a convection oven on steroids. I've been cooking frozen french fries in a convection oven for years....and they were nowhere near as crisp and tasty as those I cook in my air fryer.



    The Cosori Air Fryer is Amazon's best selling model. It's incredibly simple to operate and it has a really large 5.8 quart capacity. The air fryer's claim to fame is that it delivers really crispy food with just a tiny mist of oil. You get the deep-fried crunch without all of the nasty stuff that comes with deep frying in hot oil.




    After experimenting with a bunch of different brands and cuts of french fries, Becky and I agree that Lamb Weston Super Crispy Shoestring Fries are the absolute bomb in our air fryer. You end up with a McDonald's-like fries...nice and crispy on the outside and extra creamy on the inside.


    Ingredients
    1/2-bag Lamb Weston Super Crispy Shoestring Fries (frozen)
    Spray cooking oil
    Truffle salt


    Directions

    1. Preheat air fryer at 400º for 3 minutes.
    2. Open air fryer and place french fries in the cooking basket. Give fries a half-second squirt of cooking oil (you barely need any). Close air fryer.
    3. Cook fries for 5 minutes at 400º. Then open basket and shake fries. Then cook for 5 minutes more. Open basket, give fries a dusting of truffle salt and serve.


    Grogs and Goldie, 1956