Saturday, April 28, 2018

Roasted Red Potatoes

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

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


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

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

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Grilled Korean Short Rib Tacos

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

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

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

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

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


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

Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper

For the Tacos
6" flour tortillas
Chopped cilantro


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

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

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pork Roast with Roasted Jalapeño Gravy

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


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

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


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

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

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Butter Burgers

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Grogs and Goldie, 1956