Saturday, December 22, 2018

Chicken Provencale

I've been away from my blog for awhile as it's been a very frenetic December for Becky and I. First, Becky's mom (the second best cook in Bloomington) had to have heart surgery to repair a leaking valve. Then my dad fell down the stairs at his house and broke his hip. Ironically both surgeries took place on December 6, albeit at different hospitals. And with even more irony, they ended up in the same place for rehab....right across the hall from each other.

This Steven Stolman recipe was going to be the subject of my December 8th blog, but life got in the way. This is an incredibly easy recipe to prepare. And while indeed very simple to prepare, the complex flavors in this dish will astound you! I liked it so much that I have cooked it twice this month. And I strongly encourage you to serve this meal with a nice, crusty baguette. Every drop of juice in the bottom of the pan must end up in your mouth.

While the recipe calls for a whole chicken cut into parts, it's very easy to scale it. The first time I cooked it, I just used two, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. So use a whole chicken or just your family's favorite parts.

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons herbs de Provence
1/2 lemon, cut into slices
10 garlic cloves, peeled
6 shallots, peeled and halved
1/3 cup dry vermouth
4 sprigs of thyme, for garnish

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow pan and lightly dredge the chicken in it, shaking the pieces to remove excess flour.
  2. Swirl the oil in a large roasting pan, and place the floured chicken in it. Season the chicken with the herbes de Provence. Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves and shallots around the chicken, then add the vermouth to the pan.
  3. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, then baste it with the pan juices. Continue roasting for another 30 minutes. Then serve in the pan garnished with thyme.

Wine pairing: Merlot

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Celebration of Garlic

Rocket Arugula with Garlic Rice

I am a lover of all-things garlic. I've never seen a food that can't be enhanced by the addition of a little garlic....okay, ice cream maybe not. I always have Christopher Ranch fresh garlic in my refrigerator. And my pantry is resplendent with garlic related items: garlic oil; garlic olive oil; garlic salt, granulated garlic and so on.

The most frequently used and most dearly treasured item in my pantry is Colavita Roasted Garlic Oil. I regularly use it on every recipe that calls for extra virgin olive oil. This oil kicks butt. It is so delicious I find myself putting a few drops in my palm and licking it off. I buy it on Amazon and it's a bargain! A pair of quart bottles goes for just $9.99.

To create this celebration of garlic, I am going to revisit an Italian dish created by chef Elisa Gambino...Straccetti Con Rughetta. I prefer to call it by it's American name...Rocket Arugula.  I first wrote about it in October of 2010. It's an amazing blend of beef tenderloin, arugula, rosemary, sage, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and, yes, garlic. After you taste it, you will know why I am revisiting this recipe.

The side I use to complement Rocket Arugula is Garlic Rice. I came up with the recipe after fiddling around in the kitchen. It's a fabulous mixture of sushi rice, garlic olive oil, garlic salt, fresh minced garlic and butter. After you have consumed the Rocket Arugula and Garlic Rice, there will be no question in your mind why I call this "A Celebration of Garlic".


1-1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup roasted garlic olive oil plus 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
10 ounces baby arugula
Juice of 1 lemon

  1. Put beef tenderloin in your freezer for 30 minutes. Then remove and slice the tenderloin thin as possible. Put sliced beef in a bowl.
  2. Add garlic, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper to bowl. Then add 1/4 cup roasted garlic olive oil. Toss to mix thoroughly. Let mixture rest on counter for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat on your stovetop.
  4. Once the pan is hot, add the 3 tablespoons of roasted garlic olive oil and the tenderloin and cook just until the pink is gone (do not brown meat).
  5. Turn down heat to low and add the arugula. Put the lid on the pan and let it wilt for one minute.
  6. Take the lid off and stir until all of the arugula is wilted.
  7.  Squeeze the lemon over the dish and stir. Taste and add salt as necessary. Serve.


2 tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil
2 cups of sushi rice
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon garlic salt
3 tablespoons butter
2-1/2 cups of water


  1. In a medium sauce pan (with a lid), add the garlic olive oil, rice, garlic, garlic salt and butter.
  2. Then add 2-1/2 cups of water.
  3. Turn stovetop burner to high. Bring pan to a boil.
  4. When pan boils, reduce heat to low (simmer), cover and let it cook for 15 minutes.
  5. After the 15 minutes is up, turn heat off but let plan sit on warm burner for another 15 minutes.
  6. Uncover pan and stir to fluff rice. Serve.

Wine pairing: Chianti Classico

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

The frenetic pace and challenge of getting turkey and side dishes to be served together at precisely 6pm on Thanksgiving day is exhausting. So over the years, I've been working in "make ahead" recipes that makes serving the meal a whole lot easier. Make ahead gravy. Make ahead stuffing.

This year, I added make ahead mashed potatoes. And I'm here to tell you they were the best mashed potatoes ever. First off, I avoided all of the chemistry class theatrics required of boiling potatoes from scratch with cold water. And that method requires great precision in order to serve piping hot potatoes with piping hot turkey at the same time.

And this method is foolproof. You cannot screw it up. Anyone who can read can make perfect mashed potatoes. Yes, even you, Joan.

5 pounds of russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, each potato peeled and quartered
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1-1/2 cups whole milk

8 tablespoons butter
2 cups of half & half
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Chopped chives, for garnish


  1. Peel and quarter potatoes and place in slow cooker with garlic and 1-1/2 cups of milk. Set slow cooker to high and cover. Cook for 5 hours.
  2. After 5 hours, turn slow cooker to warm. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes right in the slow cooker.
  3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. When melted, add half & half to the pan and heat to warm (do not boil). When warm, add mixture to slow cooker. Using masher, blend potatoes with butter/half & half mixture.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste....a half of a teaspoon at a time for the uninitiated.
  5. Cover potatoes and serve whenever you want.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Thanksgiving Stuffing

Stuffing is, without a doubt, my favorite side at Thanksgiving. And I've been making it the same way for 40+ years. The recipe is nothing's all store-bought ingredients with just a few extras thrown in. I cook my stuffing in a casserole as I am not partial to Salmonella Russian Roulette when stuffing is cooked in the cavity of the bird.

I always start with Pepperidge Farm Sage & Onion Cubed Stuffing. I just love how that stuff tastes. It's simply toasted white and wheat bread cubes in their own special blend of spices. To that I add hot Italian sausage, celery, onion and sautéed mushrooms. I cook those up in the morning and then add the Pepperidge Farm stuffing about an hour before eating. Like I said...there's nothing extraordinary about the recipe...except for the taste. Once you try it, you are hooked for life.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds hot Italian sausage
2  yellow onions, chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped
16 ounces mushrooms, chopped

10 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken broth
2, 12-ounce bags Pepperidge Farm Sage & Onion Cubed Stuffing


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat olive oil until it is shimmering. Then add sausage, onions, celery and mushrooms. Cook until there is no pink in the sausage and all of the vegetables have softened (about 8 minutes).
  2. In a large saucepan, heat butter and chicken broth over medium heat until all of the butter has melted into the broth.
  3. Preheat oven to 350º.
  4. In a large casserole, add the two bags of cubed stuffing. Add sausage, onions, celery and mushrooms then stir thoroughly to mix. The add broth/butter mixture and stir again to thoroughly mix.
  5. Cover casserole and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, then serve in a room that is no warmer than 68º.

Wine pairing: Best Turkey Day wine ever! 

Grogs and Goldie in her 82º kitchen

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Cacio e Pepe

Becky and I were recently in California to celebrate her birthday. One night we had dinner at a spot we had eaten at many times before, but had somehow never noticed what is considered the house specialty: Cacio e Pepe. The dish is essentially spaghetti with cheese and pepper. I was shocked at the $45 price for the meal. But they made a big deal about the dish and said we would marvel at the tableside presentation. And marvel we did.

The waiter carted out a half-wheel of Parmesan cheese. A full wheel costs about $1,500 for 3-year aged Parmesan and weighs in at a whopping 100 pounds. The restaurant cuts the wheel in half and shaves a small amount of the cheese out to create a bowl. The warm spaghetti melts the cheese as it is tumbled in the bowl. The dish is so popular at Bella Vista that they go through a 100-pound wheel every two weeks.

Most of us don't keep 100-pound wheels of Parmesan in our pantry. So I researched a number of recipes to see how I could come closest to what I ate that night...but with just the resources of a home cook. I found a recipe by Ali Martin that I think comes the closest....and it only requires a few ingredients. There are two things that are very important. Buy the cheese in your deli department. It should be cut from a wheel and you need to grate it at home. If you use refrigerated, pre-grated cheese your meal will clump and be ruined. Second, let your sauce and spaghetti cool for 2-3 minutes before you mix them. If you mix them while piping hot...yes...they will clump.

3 tablespoons of salt
8 ounces of spaghetti
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon freshly cracked, coarse black pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese


  1. Fill a large pot with water and add 3 tablespoons of salt. Bring water to a boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente (about a minute less than package instructions.)
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the pepper, and cook for 1 minute.  Then ladle out about 1/2 cup of the boiling starchy pasta water, and slowly add it to the melted butter mixture.  (Be careful, it will bubble up vigorously when added.)  Whisk until combined. 
  3. Remove pan from heat and let it rest for at least 3 minutes.  Gradually add in the cheese, and whisk until combined.
  4. Once the pasta is ready to go, reserve an extra 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water from the stockpot and set it aside.  Strain your pasta completely, and let it rest for 2-3 minutes to cool off a tiny bit.  Then add about half of your pasta to the sauce, give it a good toss, add the remaining pasta and toss until completely combined, adding in a splash of the reserved pasta water if needed if the sauce starts to seem dry.  Taste, and season with extra salt, if needed, and toss to combine.
  5. Serve warm, garnished with extra cheese and pepper.

Wine pairing: Chianti Classico

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Pasta with Sausage and Arugula

This is a delightful and simple dish to prepare. It's essentially a sheet pan dinner with pasta added at the end. My favorites: hot Italian sausage (oh, how I love thee), arugula (best lettuce ever), fennel (the licorice vegetable) and semolina pasta (the real chew). Hats off to Anna Stockwell for a terrific, weeknight dinner recipe!

2 small red onions, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
1 fennel bulb, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
16 ounces hot Italian sausage, casings removed
12 ounces gemelli pasta
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 cups baby arugula
Finely grated Parmesan

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Toss onions, fennel, and 2 tablespoons oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Spread out into a single layer. Pinch sausage into small pieces and scatter around onions and fennel. Roast until vegetables and sausage are cooked through and well browned, 25–30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain.
  3. Combine vegetables, sausage, and pasta in a large bowl. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, remaining 4 tablespoons of oil and toss to coat, until sauce comes together and coats pasta. Toss in arugula. Divide pasta among plates and top with Parmesan. Season with more salt and pepper. Serve.

    Wine pairing: Chianti Classico

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Miso Butter Mushrooms

Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji. It is sold in paste form. It is never used by itself. Rather it is added to soups, sauces and salad dressings to increase the umami factor by a factor of 100. It is salty and savory and I can never get enough of it. It's not a common item in a lot of grocery stores, so I get my red miso paste from

You may think you have eaten some delicious sautéed mushrooms in the past, but I am here to tell you that this Kristen Stevens recipe is a life changer. And it is so incredibly simple. Just mix a little miso and garlic into softened butter. Sauté the mushrooms and crown the dish with a little sesame oil at the end. This is a great side dish for a grilled steak or a roast chicken.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds button mushrooms
3 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons red miso paste
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are brown all over, about 15 minutes (it is nice to know that is virtually impossible to overcook a mushroom).
  2. While mushrooms are cooking, mix miso, softened butter and garlic.
  3. When the mushrooms are cooked, add miso butter to the pan and cook the mushrooms for 2 minutes more. Then drizzle with sesame oil and serve.

Wine pairing: With steak or roast chicken, I would
recommend a McManis Petite Sirah ($9 a bottle).

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Grilled Pub Burger

After 66 years on this planet, I have decided that 2018 is the year that I will no longer surrender to winter. Every year before this one, I have given up my grill to the ravages of what is winter in Minnesota. I love cooking over charcoal, but ice and snow drifts have aways made it a bridge too far.

Not this year. First, I invested in a Heat Trak snow melting mat. It measures 36" X 60" and sits right outside of the kitchen slider to my deck. When the temperature drops, the mat turns on and heats itself. It is capable of melting 2" of snow per hour. This will insure that I have a snow-free area to do my winter grilling.

Next, I bought myself an 18" Weber Smokey Joe grill with a locking, portable charcoal table. It has 3 levers which lock the grill to the table top. I can store it right outside my kitchen slider, under the eaves to protect it from the elements. When I want to cook, I can just swing it around and set it on the heated mat. Essentially, I get to stand indoors while I cook. Winter grilling at it's best!

I like my burgers served up two ways. If they are skinny burgers, I always cook them in a cast iron pan. There is nothing that works better for putting a world class sear on a burger like a cast iron pan. But skinny burgers are usually around 4-ounces....just skinny enough that you don't have to worry about the center cooking through.

Pub burgers are an entirely different story. They are typically 8-ounces, so you have to make and cook them differently. I like my pub burgers just as I like my steaks...medium rare. But you cannot do that with store bought ground beef. Store bought ground beef uses many different parts of the animal, so to be safe, you have to cook it to 165º, which is well done. A medium rare burger is 130º.

There is only one way to create a pub burger that is safe to eat. You have to grind the meat yourself. You start with whole cut of beef and use your food processor to coarsely grind the meat. Because you are the only one to have processed the meat, you know that it will be safe to eat medium rare.

To make a pub burgers, you start with a cut of beef. You can use sirloin, chuck roast or just about any cut that has about 25% fat content or greater. Fat equals flavor, so do not skimp in the fat department. My favorite cut to make pub burgers is short rib. And because we are using such a high quality meat, we don't need a bunch of seasonings to add flavor. All you need for this beef-forward pub burger is salt and pepper. As they say at Culver's...welcome to delicious!

2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
4 egg roll hamburger buns, sliced


  1. Prepare your grill for cooking with two zones: one for direct cooking over high heat and one for indirect cooking.
  2. Put the beef in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut the beef into 4 chunks. Place in food processor and pulse until the beef is coarsely ground.(Note: Do not over grind the meat. You want it coarse.)
  4. With a light touch, form the beef into 4 patties. Do not compress the beef. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Place burgers directly over the coals. Cover grill and cook for 4 minutes. Flip burgers, cover grill and cook for 4 more minutes. Then move burgers to indirect side of grill. Cover grill and cook for 4 more minutes.,
  6. Remove burgers from grill. Tent with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Place burgers on buns and serve with your favorite condiments.

Pairing: A pilsner, please.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Monday, October 8, 2018

Slow Cooker Beef Tips with Mushroom Gravy

I'm a huge fan of slow cookers. They make meal prep a breeze and can turn pieces of a chuck roast into the most tender cuts of beef you'll ever taste. You just let the ingredients slowly cook for 8 hours and then add a little heavy cream at the end. My favorite is to serve the dish over egg noodles, but rice or mashed potatoes are also popular choices.

  • pound cremini mushrooms, halved
  • pounds beef  chuck or arm roast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • medium yellow onion, chopped
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • cup beef broth
  • tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)


1. Place the mushrooms in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker; set aside. Trim off any large pieces of fat from the roast and cut into 2-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl, add 1/3 cup of the flour, the salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the beef and sear until browned on a few sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the browned beef to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef, reserving any flour left at the bottom of the bowl of beef.

3. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the reserved beef flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add the broth and Worcestershire, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer. Pour into the slow cooker and stir to combine.

4. Cover and cook on the LOW setting until the beef is fork tender, about 8 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, whisk the cream and remaining 1 tablespoon of flour together in a measuring cup or bowl until smooth. Pour into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with parsley if desired and serve over egg noodles.

Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Spoon and Stable Pot Roast

Click to enlarge

Gavin Kaysen opened Spoon and Stable in the historic warehouse district of Minneapolis back in November of 2014. This restaurant knocked it right out of the park. Kaysen was able to adorn his neck with the coveted James Beard Award and just this year, "Food and Wine" magazine named it one of the most important restaurants of the last 40 years....quite a feat given that it did not exist for 36 of those years.

Kaysen has a special place on the menu reserved for his grandmother's pot roast. I made it last Wednesday for dinner and it was exceptional...but I found a way to make it even better. After dinner, Becky just put the Dutch oven into the refrigerator. I had leftovers the next day and they were even tastier than the freshly cooked roast. Letting all of the incredible root vegetables, wine and broth chill for an extra day...the flavors melded and it was absolutely amazing. So do yourself a favor...cook it a day ahead of time...let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours...then reheat and serve with a warm loaf of sourdough bread.

3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 medium red onions, quartered
4 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 12-16 pieces (about 1 pound)
8 cremini mushrooms, halved
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 head of garlic, peeled down to individual cloves
6 ounces tomato paste
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs rosemary
1-1/2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon
4 cups beef broth


  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees.
  2. Season meat generously with salt and pepper. On the stove top, heat oil in a large Dutch oven, or other heavy roasting pan with a lid, over medium-high heat. Sear the meat until a dark crust forms, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove meat to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add butter to the pan. Melt the butter and add the whole head of peeled garlic and all vegetables, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the vegetables start to color, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  4. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it darkens slightly, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add bay leaves, rosemary and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a thick gravy consistency, 5 to 7 minutes. 
  6. Return meat to the pot. Add broth, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 hours 20 minutes.
  7. Let roast sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Remove meat to a cutting board to slice. Discard bay leaves and rosemary stems. Serve slices of meat in shallow bowls along with the vegetables and a generous amount of cooking liquid ladled over top.

Wine pairing: Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Lemon-Mustard Sauce

Click to enlarge

At last....the first day of fall is here. I am tired and bored with summer meals, and now that the calendar and the weather are in unison, I can move on to heartier fare. Pasta. Roasted meats. Casseroles. And pan searing with my beloved and ancient cast iron pan.

This Claire Saffitz recipe is perfect for mid-week dinners, as it can easily come together in less than 20 minutes. And the sauce is beyond extraordinary blend of lemon juice, garlic, mustard, oregano, cumin and cilantro.

4, 1/2-inch pork chops
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon: 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons fresh juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Turkish preferred)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves chopped

  1. Pat pork chops dry with paper towel. Season pork chops generously on one side with salt and pepper. Turn and season other side generously, then sprinkle evenly with ½ teaspoon sugar. 
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add chops, sugared side down and cook, gently shaking skillet occasionally but not disturbing pork, until underside is caramelized and chops are deeply browned all over, about 5 minutes. Turn chops and reduce heat to low. Cook just until second side is opaque, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and let chops rest 10 minutes in skillet (the cooking will carry over and finish the chops while they rest). 
  3. Meanwhile, whisk lemon zest and juice, garlic, mustard, oregano, cumin, and remaining ½ teaspoon sugar in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in remaining ¼ cup oil until emulsified. Fold in cilantro and season with salt and lots of pepper. 
  4. Transfer chops to serving plates then whisk any juices that have accumulated in skillet into remaining dressing. Spoon dressing over top of pork chops. Swipe pork through dressing as you eat.

Wine pairing: Try a Columbia Crest Merlot @ just $7 a bottle

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Sesame Salt and Pepper Steak

Seven years ago I wrote about on of my favorite steak recipes, Tuscan Steak. You can check it out here: The reason I love it so much is for it's simplicity. You simply grill a steak with salt and pepper and then drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice

Cynthia Chen McTernan's recipe is in the exact same vein, but draws on her Chinese heritage. Again, you just grill the steak with salt and pepper and then just drizzle it with sesame oil. Simple, quick and delicious. Add steamed rice or cooked rice noodles and dinner is done.

1 flank steak, about 1-1/2 pounds
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons pure sesame oil (not toasted)


  1. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  2. Season steak with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill steak for 4 to 5 minutes per side (for medium rare) with the grill covered.
  4. Remove steak from grill and tent with foil. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  5. While the steak is resting, whisk together 1 tablespoon of salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper and the sesame oil until well blended (note: the salt and pepper will not dissolve, but they will be well coated/moistened with the oil).
  6. Slice the steak thinly against the grain and drizzle the oil mixture over the slices. Serve.

Wine pairing: Merlot. A Rombauer, if you are lucky.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Sheet Pan Tarragon Chicken with Sherry Vinegar Onions

Click to enlarge

My favorite things all contain copious amounts of vinegar: Claussen Hearty Garlic Pickles; Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard; Heinz Ketchup; Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce and Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce. If any of those hit a spark for you, then you would also like foods flavored with vinegar.

This Melissa Clark recipe is very special as it creates it's own flavor ecosystem in your oven. The chicken is marinated in tarragon and garlic, then quickly roasted over a bed of onions. While the chicken pieces roast, the fat renders and coats the onions...which in turn steam and the vapors flavor the chicken. And when it's done? The chicken is served. As are the roasted onions with a drizzle of sublime sherry vinegar.

[Note: If you prefer white meat, swap out the thighs with bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts.]

1/2 cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus 4 sprigs
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
4 thyme sprigs
Sherry vinegar, to taste


  1. In a large bowl, stir together tarragon, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Add chicken thighs and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 6 hours, and up to overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 425º. Spread onions out on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well. Clear spaces on the baking pan, then place chicken pieces in the cleared spaces so the onions surround the chicken. Strew thyme and tarragon sprigs over onions and chicken.
  3. Roast, tossing the onions after 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the onions tender, 25 to 35 minutes. If the chicken skin or onions are not as brown as you’d like, run pan under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes at the end of cooking.
  4. Place chicken on a platter. Drizzle onions with sherry vinegar and more salt and pepper if needed. Spoon onions around the chicken and serve.

Wine Pairing
If you prefer whites, an oaky Chardonnay.
If reds are your thing, a big fruity Sangiovese.

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, September 1, 2018


This is sushi for carnivores. Thinly sliced flank steak rolled around deliciously grassy scallions. The end product looks like sushi, but it's steak! If you are not up for all of the work in this recipe, you can use the same ingredients. Just grill up the steak, char the scallions over your fire and then just serve them on top. But the presentation of rolled Negimaki is extraordinary...a culinary and visual delight. This is a Cook's Illustrated recipe.

1, 2-pound flank steak
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons sake
16 scallions, trimmed and halved crosswise
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  1. Place steak on large plate and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
  2. Bring soy sauce, sugar, mirin and sake to simmer in small saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium and cook until slightly syrupy and reduced to ½ cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Divide evenly between 2 bowls and let cool. Cover 1 bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for serving.
  3. Place steak on cutting board. Starting at narrow, tapered end, slice steak ⅜-inch thick on bias against grain until width of steak is 7 inches (depending on size of steak, you will need to remove 2 to 3 slices until steak measures 7 inches across). Cut steak in half lengthwise. Continue to slice each half on bias against grain. You should have at least 24 slices. Pound each slice to 3/16-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic.
  4. Arrange 3 slices on cutting board with short side of slices facing you, overlapping slices by ¼ inch and alternating tapered ends as needed, to form rough rectangle that measures 4 to 6 inches wide and at least 4 inches long. Place 4 scallion halves along edge of rectangle nearest to edge of counter, with white tips slightly hanging over edges of steak on either side. Starting from bottom edge and rolling away from you, roll into tight cylinder. Insert 3 equally spaced toothpicks into end flaps and through center of roll. Transfer roll to platter and repeat with remaining steak and scallions. (Assembled rolls can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
  5. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  6. Place rolls on grill and cook until first side is beginning to char, 4 to 6 minutes. Flip rolls, brush cooked side with glaze and cook until second side is beginning to char, 4 to 6 minutes. Cook remaining 2 sides, glazing after each turn, until all 4 sides of rolls are evenly charred. Transfer rolls to cutting board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Discard remaining glaze.
  7. Remove toothpicks from rolls and cut rolls crosswise into ¾-inch-long pieces. Arrange rolls cut side down on clean platter, drizzle with 2 tablespoons reserved glaze, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve, passing remaining reserved glaze separately.

Wine pairing: A Rombauer Zinfandel

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, August 25, 2018

BLT Tacos

Either you like bacon
or you are wrong.

Click to enlarge

1 pound thick cut bacon (applewood smoked)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Cholula hot sauce
8, 6-inch flour tortillas
Romaine lettuce leaves, torn into bite size pieces


    1. Heat oven to 400º. Lay bacon in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool.
    2. While bacon is cooking, toss together tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice and a large pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Taste and add more lime juice and salt, if needed.
    3. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and hot sauce.
    4. Serve, letting people make their own tacos by layering bacon, salsa, lettuce and  spicy mayonnaise on tortillas. Top with more hot sauce, if desired.

    Pairing: Ice cold cerveza!

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956