Saturday, February 24, 2018

Pan-Seared Pork Chops (Fast & Easy)

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Korean Ribeye Steaks

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, February 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mexican cheese and diced onions for garnish


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

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

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Sheet Pan Roasted Mushrooms

I love getting my Williams Sonoma catalog. I love their photography....the gadgets....the electronics. It's the one catalog I keep on my desk for several weeks...something I can just grab and peruse during idle moments.

The big deal in the latest catalogs is the Instant Pot. In fact, the Instant Pot is everywhere. It was Amazon's #1 selling kitchen appliance last Christmas. I've studied it quite closely and decided it's not for me. The only advantage it seems to offer is that does a very good job of cutting down cooking time.

Being retired, I have nothing but time on my hands. I'm home all day and can cook whenever I feel like it. I don't need to make soup stock in 15 minutes. I don't want an Instant Pot baked potato in 10 minutes.

I'm old fashioned, having learned a lot of my cooking skills from my grandmother. To make soup stock, you need a stock pot and water at a low, rolling boil for at least two hours. To make a fabulous roasted, baked potato, you smother it in olive oil, kosher salt and fresh black pepper and you roast it for 2 hours at 450º.

 I came across a recipe this week called "Instant Pot Mushrooms". Imagine, perfectly cooked mushrooms in just 4 minutes! I can't imagine. I want my mushrooms tossed with garlic butter and lemon juice and roasted in a hot oven so that the moisture content is reduced and the flavor of the mushroom is greatly intensified.

So I'm going to stick with my old fashioned methods. But I would not dismiss anyone who used an Instant Pot. If you work and are short on time, it's a great tool to get healthy, made-from-scratch food on the table. Anytime you can cook with fresh ingredients and bypass processed food is a win-win. But I still choose to hang with my dinosaur buddies...watching that big meteor get closer and closer.

4 ounces butter, melted (1/2 stick)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
3 pounds cremini mushrooms


  1. For easy clean-up, line a sheet pan with non-stick foil (or regular foil with a light coating of nonstick spray).
  2. Preheat oven to 375º.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together butter, garlic, lemon juice, thyme and rosemary; season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Place mushrooms in a single layer on the sheet pan. Stir in butter mixture and gently toss to combine.
  5. Slide sheet pan into oven and cook for 15 minutes. Then serve.

Wine pairing: Roasted mushrooms are a side dish. So I would let the entree dictate the pairing. But I would be inclined to serve these with a small steak. So a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah would certainly be tops on my list.

Grogs and Goldie doin' it gramma style in 1956.