Saturday, September 29, 2018

Spoon and Stable Pot Roast

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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

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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

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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 425ยบ. 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