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

    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.

    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


      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.

      One, 5-pound beef brisket
      Kosher salt
      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


      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 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

      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. 

      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

      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