Saturday, December 26, 2020

Chicken Cordon Bleu


Oh, how we love our Chicken Cordon Bleu in the Gruggen household. After steak, it is the most eaten meal on a monthly basis. And what's not to love? A spectacular chicken breast, butterflied and the interior is anointed with blended cheese slices and ham. Close it all back up and then dredge the chicken in flour, beaten egg and panko bread crumbs. Then the breasts are cooked in peanut oil for 5 minutes per side and slipped into a 325º oven until they reach an internal temperature of 165º.

Oh, how I love eating Chicken Cordon Bleu. Oh, how I hate making Chicken Cordon Bleu. While I'm a reasonably competent cook, I really dislike it when making a meal becomes tedious. I have an affinity for simple and approachable recipes. Cook a roast in the oven and your "hands-on" time is maybe 5 minutes. Make Chicken Cordon Bleu and your "hands-on" time approaches 90 minutes. I have the attention span of a gnat and my eyes glaze over when I must complete extended, tedious tasks.

So how do Becky and I enjoy such a complex meal on a regular basis? I go to the freezer section at Costco and buy a box of Pierre Chicken Cordon Bleu. It is, without a doubt, the best Chicken Cordon Bleu I have ever had. Better yet, it gets my "hands-on" time down to about 2 minutes....for all I have to do is bake it in my oven for 43 minutes. They've done all the heavy lifting and messy prep work. This Costco gem is only $12.69 and each box contains 6 perfect entrees. Try all you want to make Chicken Cordon Bleu from scratch, but it will never taste as good as what is in this box.

Wine pairing: Chardonnay or Petite Sirah

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs


The drums have been beating for a very long time, extolling the fabulousness of cooking ribs in a slow cooker. I chose to ignore them. What could possibly be as good as smoking racks of ribs low and slow over hickory for six hours? Well, yesterday I tried slow cooker ribs and the results were fantastic. It's a totally different experience than ribs on a smoker, but Becky and I could not stop eating these ribs!

It certainly could not be any simpler. Toss an onion and garlic in a slow cooker with a half a cup of water. Apply your rib rub and drop the ribs in your slow cooker for eight hours....and out pops the most incredibly moist and tender ribs that will ever cross your lips.

I'll take a moment to comment on rib rub. For years, all I have ever used on my ribs is Famous Dave's Rib Rub. But Famous Dave has moved on, starting a new chain called Old Southern BBQ. I bought some of his new rub last week and now I am completely hooked! You can get yourself some by clicking on this link:

This recipe scales perfectly for any quantity of ribs. So depending on the size of your slow cooker, the cooking instructions are identical for 1 to 3 racks of ribs. To fit them in your cooker, wind them around the outer rim or cut each rack in half. One additional thing I did was add a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke, which gave the meat a nice hickory bite.


1 medium onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half

1/2 cup of water

1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (optional)

1 to 3 racks of baby back pork ribs

Rib Rub

BBQ Sauce


  1. Place onion, garlic and water in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Generously apply rib rub to both sides of the ribs. Then place the ribs in your slow cooker, standing them on end. Turn slow cooker to low, cover and cook ribs for 8 hours.
  3. When ribs are done, turn on your oven broiler. Place ribs on a foil-lined cookie sheet and slather them with BBQ sauce. Place ribs under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes (the ribs should be browned and the BBQ sauce caramelized). Remove from oven and slice between the bones to serve.

Pairing: A Zinfandel, or better yet, a Pilsner!

Grogs and Goldie, 1956

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Braised Beef Ragu


As we slowly meander towards the shortest day of the year, the dearth of daylight and the cold temperatures make me long for a slow-cooked, rich sauce on a bed of pappardelle pasta. This is a dish from the old country, where not a single part of the cow was ever wasted.

There are two parts of the cow that are extraordinary for braising....the tail and the leg. Either one will do for this recipe, although I seem to find it so much easier to source shanks than oxtail. These cuts of beef are rich with fat, collagen and marrow...all of which melt away in a slow braise and render the beef and vegetables into the most tender and delicious, melt-in-your-mouth sauce you will ever taste.


5 pounds of oxtail or beef shanks

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Flour, for dredging

1/4 cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

3 whole celery ribs, chopped

1, 28-ounce can plum tomatoes, crushed

3 cups red wine

2 rosemary sprigs

2 thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 300º.
  2. Pat the meat dry with paper towels then dust with the flour, tapping off any excess. Season with salt and pepper on all sides.
  3. Place a 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when glistening, add the meat (metal tongs come in handy here) and sear on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding.
  4. Transfer the meat to a plate. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, garlic and nutmeg. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the meat and enough water to just barely cover meat. Return to a boil, then cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Cook for 4 hours, until the meat is fork tender and falling off the bones.
  6. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the pieces of meat to a plate. Skim any visible fat from the surface of the sauce. Pick the meat from the bones, pulling away and discarding any pieces of fat, and then return the meat to the pan. Pluck out the bay leaves, and sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve atop pappardelle.

    Wine pairing: Amarone

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, December 5, 2020

    Lobster Spaghetti


    Lobster spaghetti dishes are ubiquitous throughout the coastal towns of Italy. The same goes for the coastal towns of Maine. A hearty blend of rich lobster meat, al dente spaghetti and tomato. I mean, look at that picture above. That gives me thigh sweats.

    The only real hassle with this recipe is that you have to cook the lobster ahead of time. I dislike cooking live lobsters, so I typically buy tails for the ease of preparation. When I'm too lazy to do that, I go online and order from Lobster Anywhere ( They are a seafood company in Maine and you can order up just about anything you can dream of. In addition to all variations of shelled lobster, they also sell just plain old lobster meat. That makes this Gordon Ramsay recipe for two a no-brainer.


    1 pound cooked lobster meat

    12 ounces spaghetti

    4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    3 garlic cloves, chopped

    1 large shallot, finely chopped

    1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste (yes, please)

    1/2 cup dry white wine

    8 ounces tomato sauce

    Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper


    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook till al dente.
    2. While the pasta is cooking, chop lobster into small pieces. 
    3. Then heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch sauté  pan over moderate heat. Add garlic, shallot and red pepper and sauté until shallot is soft and lightly brown (about 3 minutes).
    4. Add white wine to pan and reduce heat. Stir in tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes (add a little water if the sauce gets too thick).
    5. Add lobster meat to pan and then heat for 1 minute. Add pasta to pan and keep mixing everything together for another minute. Transfer lobster spaghetti to plates and serve.

    Wine pairing: A big, oaky Chardonnay

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, November 21, 2020

    Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes


    For the first time in 68 years, Thanksgiving will not be a joyful gathering of family and friends. I hope to make up for that a year from now, when we are all vaccinated and the coronavirus is in our rear view mirror. I look forward to a return to the way of life that 2020 has taken from us. So here's to Thanksgiving cooking a 25-pound turkey again and all the great stuff that goes with such a wonderful meal. I can't wait! 

    Use the link below to help you get a leg up on your meal prep.

    Saturday, November 14, 2020

    Tuscan Chicken


    The snow, ice and wind have descended on Minnesota. While I tried to eke out as much time on my grill as possible, the weather has forced me to retreat to my stovetop for meal preparation. Today I'm going to share a recipe that conjures up fabulous memories. In September of 2015, six of us rented a beautiful villa on a mountainside in the heart of Tuscany. The food, wine and chuckles are indelibly burned into my mind. Here's one for the food part.


    1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts, thinly sliced

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 cup heavy cream

    1/2 cup chicken broth

    1 teaspoon garlic powder

    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

    1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

    1 cup spinach, chopped

    1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced


    1. In a large skillet, add olive oil and cook the chicken on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side and cooked until no longer pink in center. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate. 
    2. Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. Whisk over medium high heat until it starts to thicken. Add the spinach and sundried tomatoes and let it simmer until the spinach starts to wilt. Add the chicken back to the pan until warm and serve with pasta (pappardelle recommended).

    Wine pairing: Brunello di Montalcino

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, November 7, 2020

    Crispy Sour Cream and Onion Chicken


    These are simply entree-size sour cream and onion potato chips. Fry these suckers up...the sour cream keeps the chicken moist. And if you're smart, you'll serve these with a side-dip comprised of sour cream, lemon juice and fresh chives. A tip of the hat to Ali Slagle for this awesome recipe.


    4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded 1/8" thick (or use chicken cutlets, no pounding required)

    Salt and pepper

    1/2 cup sour cream

    1/4 cup thinly cut chives, plus more for serving

    2 tablespoons onion powder

    2 cups Panko bread crumbs

    Canola oil for frying 

    1 lemon, cut into wedges


      1. In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream, chives and 1 tablespoon onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. (Chicken can sit in the marinade for up to 8 hours. Refrigerate, then let come to room temperature before cooking.) 
      2. In a shallow bowl or lipped plate, stir together the panko and remaining 1 tablespoon onion powder; season with salt and pepper. 
      3. Working one at a time, press the chicken breasts into the panko, using your fingers to pack the panko onto both sides of the chicken, and place on a large plate or a sheet pan.
      4. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 1/8-inch canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Drop a piece of panko in: If it sizzles, the oil’s ready. Add a chicken cutlet (or two, if they can fit comfortably) and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding and heating more oil as needed, and removing excess panko from the pan with a slotted spoon.
      5. Serve chicken with more chives and lemon wedges....or make a dip of sour cream, lemon juice and chives.

      Wine pairing: Zinfandel

      Grogs and Goldie, 1956

      Saturday, October 31, 2020

      Sheet Pan Roasted Potatoes and Kielbasa


      Kielbasa is an outlier to the beloved group of foodstuffs known as sausages. Kielbasa is Polish in origin, coarse in texture and has a very heady garlic flavor. It is typically made of both beef and pork and what sets it apart is that this sausage is either lightly smoked...or not smoked at all.

      This meal is so easy to prepare... you just need a knife and a sheet pan.  All you do is slice up the two ingredients and throw them on the pan. Add some olive oil with a few other goodies...then spread it out and roast it to perfection. This recipe is from Natasha's Kitchen.


      3 pounds small red potatoes, sliced 1/3" thick

      1 pound Polish Kielbasa, sliced  3/4" thick 

      2 tablespoons minced parsley

      1 teaspoon sea salt

      2 garlic cloves, pressed

      2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


        1. Preheat oven to 400º. Place sliced potatoes and kielbasa in a pile on a sheet pan.
        2. Add parsley, garlic, salt, olive oil to pile and toss to combine. Spread ingredients out flat on the baking sheet and bake at 400˚F for 50 minutes (potatoes should be browned and crisp). Stir halfway through baking to ensure even browning. 

        Wine pairing: Merlot

        Grogs and Goldie, 1956

        Saturday, October 24, 2020

        Sweet Potato Noodles with Spicy Pork


        You aren't going to find sweet potato noodles at your neighborhood store, so don't even bother. I order mine from and I absolutely love them. Besides tasting delicious, they are a really healthy addition to any meal. A serving only has 16 carbs...and they are the really good carbs as the noodle is pure sweet potato. While sweet potato noodles are prominent in Asian cuisine, I've found they are also fantastic coated with a red sauce and crowned with Italian meatballs. When cooked, the noodles have a great bite reminiscent of a perfect al dente semolina pasta.


        For the Dressing
        4 tablespoons lime juice
        4 tablespoons soy sauce
        4 tablespoons fish sauce
        3 tablespoons sugar
        2 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce 

        For the Main Dish
        1 tablespoon canola oil
        1-1/2 pounds ground pork
        12 ounces sweet potato noodles
        1 bunch scallions, sliced into thin rounds
        1 bunch roughly chopped cilantro (stems included)
        1 bunch torn mint leaves (no stems)
        1 jalapeño, halved, seeded and then finely minced
        4 tablespoons chopped peanuts

        2 limes, quartered for serving


        1. Make the dressing: Combine lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
        2. Heat a large pot of water. When water boils, add sweet potato noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Then drain and put noodles in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 of the dressing to noodles and toss to coat. Cover and keep warm.
        3. Add canola oil to a large skillet or wok. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to break the pork into tiny crumbles. Add jalapeño  and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the pork turns deeply golden brown and crispy. Drain pork and put pork in a new large bowl.
        4. To the pork bowl, add the scallions, cilantro and mint. Add 3/4 of the dressing and toss.
        5. Divide the noodles between 4 serving bowls. Divide the pork/vegetable mixture between the 4 bowls, placing it on top of the noodles. Top each dish with 1 tablespoon of the peanuts serve with sliced limes on the side.

        Wine pairing: Zinfandel

        Grogs and Goldie, 1956

        Saturday, October 17, 2020

        Simple Beef Gravy


        Its snowed yesterday for the first time this fall. That is unremarkable for Minnesota. While the snow did not stick because the ground was too warm, it set off a giant alarm in my stomach. "OMG! TIME FOR POT ROAST!"

        Pot roast uses an inexpensive and tough cut of beef like chuck roast.  You have to braise it to cook it properly, as the goal of cooking pot roast is to have it come out moist and fall-apart tender. Well, I went old school yesterday and to my surprise, out came the most moist and tender pot roast I had ever tasted.

        Growing up in a household where my mother was the exact polar opposite of Julia Child, I was used to being served meals that were shortcuts taken and experiments gone horribly wrong. The one exception to that were her pot roasts. Every pot roast she ever served came out perfect. That's because she discovered a shortcut that guaranteed perfection every time...the Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag.

        I was rummaging through a drawer last week and there, in the very back of the drawer, I discovered a long ignored box of Reynolds Oven Cooking Bags. I made a note to summon the cooking specter known to the world as Joey Gruggen and conjure up a meal using that ancient recipe. The stars aligned as it snowed yesterday, so pot roast it was for dinner. 

        Using a Reynolds Oven Cooking bag could not be simpler. Toss a quarter cup of flour in the bag and shake it up. Add one envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix, two-thirds cup of water, a quartered onion and a few cut carrots and potatoes. Seal the bag, make six small slits, then slide it into a 325º oven for 3 hours.

        Now I made a couple of changes to that recipe. While Reynolds says just slide the raw roast in the bag, I'm a huge proponent of the Maillard Reaction, so I browned the roast first (an excellent choice, btw). Second, Lipton Onion Soup, to my palate, has an unnatural metallic taste to it. So instead I used a packet of Knorr Au Jus mix (for a more natural beef flavor). Finally, I substituted beef stock for the water for the exact same aforementioned reason.

        As I stated previously, this yielded the best pot roast I have ever cooked. My mother may have been totally out of place in a kitchen, but she absolutely nailed it by using the Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag shortcut. After last night's meal, I don't think I will ever cook a pot roast any other way. But I did make a very serious error when I slid my pot roast into the oven....I had no beef gravy mix in my pantry. Pot roast with no gravy ranks right up there alongside wine containing no alcohol. Oh, the horror. But thanks to google and the Food Network Kitchen, I found an incredible beef gravy recipe that requires no drippings. Even the Anti-Julia could have nailed this gravy recipe with her eyes shut!


        2 cups beef stock

        3 tablespoons corn starch

        1 teaspoon onion powder

        1 teaspoon soy sauce

        1 beef boullion cube, crushed

        1 tablespoon heavy cream 


        1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the first five ingredients.
        2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Cook until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
        3. Turn off heat and whisk in heavy cream.


        Saturday, October 10, 2020

        Sheet Pan Hash Browns


        One of my favorite side dishes when I'm grilling steaks or pork chops is the specialty of every great breakfast diner in America...hash browns. And you know the ones I mean. A really crispy golden crust with a rich, buttery interior. But when grilling, getting hash browns cooked to perfection for a crowd is a real challenge.

        The challenge lies in the hardware and location of where and how you cook these things. Hash browns need to be cooked in the kitchen in a cast iron pan and steaks grilled over charcoal outside on the deck. Those two spots are 30 feet apart and careful attention to both requires stepping over our dog (who loves the rug in front of the sliding porch door) and managing egress/ingress through that porch door (closing constantly required to keep the bugs out of the house). It gets to be a frenetic dance which I don't like when I'm cooking.

        Enter sheet pan hash browns. Perfect for a crowd. Here's the best part....they only require 10 minutes of prep. Then you toss 'em in the oven and forget about them until they are completed 40 minutes later. So while they cook, I can give my undivided attention to grilling my meat (and perhaps a sip of wine or two). The other bonus....the hash browns are perfect every single time. Thanks to Sommer Collier for the recipe.


        30 ounces frozen hash browns, thawed

        1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

        2 large eggs

        1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

        1 teaspoon salt

        1 teaspoon ground cumin

        1 teaspoon dried thyme

        1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


        1. Preheat the oven to 400º and line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
        2. Pour the thawed, shredded hash brown potatoes into a large bowl. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl then pour over the potatoes. Add the shredded cheese, salt, cumin, thyme and garlic powder. Toss to coat. Then pour the melted butter over the top and toss to coat again.
        3. Spread the potato mixture evenly over the baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

        Grogs and Goldie, 1956

        Saturday, October 3, 2020

        Italian Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner


        I absolutely love this sheet pan dinner that I made last night. Fast enough for a weeknight dinner and special enough for a weekend meal. While speed of preparation (about 5 minutes) and ease of clean-up (foil-lined sheet pan) make this such great dinner to make, it is the taste that will keep bringing you back. The entire meal is roasted. Crisp and crunchy Italian sausage with onions, peppers and Kalamata olives that have melted into harmonious perfection. And for those of you who may care...100% Paleo.


        5 links hot Italian sausage (20 ounces), cut into 1-inch sections

        1 brightly colored bell pepper, core removed and sliced

        1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced

        1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

        3 cloves garlic, pressed

        1 teaspoon oregano

        1 teaspoon basil

        Salt and pepper

        1 tablespoon olive oil

        Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


        1. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the sheet pan on the center rack of your oven and heat to 500º.
        2. Place bell pepper, onion, olives, garlic, oregano and basil in a bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to bowl. Add olive oil and stir to coat. Set aside.
        3. Remove heated sheet pan and place sausages onto pan spread out in a single layer. Place pan back in oven, reduce heat to 425º and roast sausages for 5 minutes. Remove the pan, stir the sausages and rendered fat around to coat pan. Then pour vegetables over and stir. Spread veggies and sausages around the pan evenly.
        4. Put sheet pan back in oven and roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. When done, remove pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan generously over pan and serve.

        Wine pairing: Super Tuscan

        Grogs and Goldie, 1956

        Saturday, September 26, 2020

        Rigatoni Pie


        There are basically three different ways to achieve the flavors in this dish. The most common form, of which we are all familiar, is called Lasagna. A layered pasta dish with meat, cheese and sauce that I find laborious. Not my favorite way to achieve this flavor profile.

        Next up I give you Baked Rigatoni. Again...pasta, meat, cheese and sauce. This is a favorite of mine as you just toss all of the cooked ingredients in a bowl. Then mix thoroughly, slap it in a baking dish and heaven emerges from the oven 45 minutes later. It will score 100 points for taste and about 70 points for aesthetics. Matters to some, but I'll take taste over aesthetics any day of the week (just look at my friends).

        Last up is Rigatoni Pie. Exact same flavor profile...pasta, meat, cheese and sauce. So you may expect similar scores to the two aforementioned dishes....but just you wait. This is the dish that would be prepared if you put Prince, Lady Gaga, Liberace and James Brown in the kitchen at the same time. It's flashy, unique and your guests will be blinded by the beauty of the much so that they will give you 100 points for aesthetics and a 183 points for taste.


        1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

        1 pound hot Italian sausage

        1 large shallot, finely chopped

        1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

        One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices 

        One 15-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juices

        1/2 cup heavy cream

        1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving

        Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

        1 pound rigatoni 

        1 pound part-skim mozzarella, grated 

        2/3 cup grated Parmesan


          1. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil  in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it begins to sizzle, cook the  sausage and shallot, stirring occasionally, until there is no pink left in the sausage and the shallot is soft, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes, then add the tomatoes with their juices and 1/2 cup water. Increase the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cream, bring back to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes, then puree in a blender until smooth.
          2. Preheat the oven to 375º. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon oil.
          3. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until slightly less than al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
          4. Stand the rigatoni on their ends in the prepared springform pan until it is completely filled (you might have leftover pasta). Put the pan on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any drips. Pour the sauce over the pasta, spreading it with the back of a spoon (you might have leftover sauce). Sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan.
          5. Cover the pan with foil, doming it slightly to avoid touching the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue cooking until the top is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 minutes more. Let the pasta cool for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the sides of the pan, sprinkle with basil, cut into wedges and serve.

          Wine pairing: Chianti Classico

          Saturday, September 12, 2020

          Garlic Rice

          The vast majority of recipes in my blog were created by other people. When someone's recipe catches my eye, I make it and if it's good, it goes in my blog. This dish happens to be one of the few original recipes in my blog. I've been making this dish for over 20 years. My boys were hooked on it growing up.

          My wife and mother-in-law put this dish in their all-time favorites column.  My old friend Todd Marella grabbed the recipe when I first blogged about it, and now it's his daughter's favorite. It's simple to make. It's amazingly versatile as it pairs perfectly with everything from the most delicate chicken dish to roasted beef.

          So why am I writing about it again? I've slightly modified the recipe over I discovered a new ingredient that that makes this a grand slam every time you step up to the plate. My good people, welcome if you will, the Babe Ruth of butter...SHAMY Garlic Butter.

          This butter is an absolute game changer. I swear I could just pull up to a table, fork in hand and eat it right out of the tub. The ingredient list is awesome. Fresh cream butter, parmesan cheese, sea salt and basil. I buy it on, where two, ten-ounce tubs will set you back $20. Besides using it in my garlic rice, I also use it to make garlic bread, butter burgers...heck, I use it on just about anything that calls for butter. And fortunately, just about everything I cook calls for butter. And garlic.

          2 tablespoons roasted garlic olive oil (I get mine on Amazon)
          2 cups of sushi rice
          1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic
          3 tablespoons of Shamy Garlic Butter
          2-1/2 cups of water

          1. Place all ingredients in  a medium sauce pan (with a lid).
          2. Turn stovetop burner to high. Bring pan to a boil.
          3. When water boils, reduce heat to low (simmer), cover and let it cook for 15 minutes.
          4. After the 15 minutes are up, turn heat off but let pan sit on warm burner for another 15 minutes.
          5. Uncover pan and stir to fluff rice. Serve.

          Wine pairing: Merlot

          Grogs and Goldie, 1956

          Saturday, September 5, 2020

          Grilled Flank Steak with Kimchi-Scallion Sauce

          September means it's almost time to turn the culinary page. It's the time of year where grilled delights and summer salads will feel the the sharp elbows of soups, stews, pasta and roasted meats. Fall has always been my favorite season and I truly enjoy the transition to comfort foods and big roaring fires.

          But given that it is only the 5th of September, I'm not ready to give up the ghost quite yet. My oven will have to wait while I wrench out every bit of goodness from my favorite cooking device, the Weber charcoal grill. This Cook's Illustrated recipe is a favorite of mine, especially when accompanied by a steaming hot, double serving of basmati rice.


          For the Steak
          1 flank steak, 1-1/2 to 2 pounds
          1/2 cup soy sauce

          For the Sauce
          6 scallions. sliced thin
          1/2 cup finely chopped kimchi
          1/4 cup vegetable oil
          4 teaspoons soy sauce
          4 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
          1/4 teaspoon sugar


          1. Place steak in a zip lock bag and add soy sauce. Seal bag and marinate in the fridge for 4 hours.
          2. Combine all sauce ingredients and let sauce sit for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.
          3. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat.
          4. Remove steak from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
          5. Grill steak for 4 minutes per side (for medium rare).
          6. Remove steak from grill and tent with foil. Rest the steak for 5 minutes.
          7. Slice steak across the grain and then plate the steak slices. Pour kimchi-scallion sauce over the steak and serve.

          Wine pairing: Zinfandel

          Grogs and Goldie, 1956

          Saturday, August 29, 2020

          Sesame Ramen Salad

          This is a really nice change of pace. If you just follow the ingredient list and directions, you will find this to be a very good salad. If you want it to be a great salad, I have two recommendations for you. Instead of the using the ramen noodles we all survived on in college, go to Costco and get their Organic Millet & Brown Rice Ramen....a quantum leap in texture and taste. For the sausage, use Jimmy Dean's Hot Pork Sausage. It's the bomb. This Taste of Home recipe serves four people.


          For the Salad
          9 ounces ramen noodles (3 to 4 cakes)
          1 pound bulk spicy pork sausage
          6 green onions, sliced
          1/2 cup chopped cilantro
          3 cups snow peas, halved
          1-1/2 cups julienned carrots
          4 tablespoons chopped dry roasted peanuts

          For the Dressing
          1 tablespoon soy sauce
          2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
          1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
          1 tablespoon olive oil
          1 teaspoon sugar
          Juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)


          1. Cook ramen noodles according to directions. Then drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and add noodles to a large bowl.
          2. In a large skillet, cook and crumble sausage over medium heat until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Drain on paper towels and then add to bowl.
          3. Add onions, cilantro, snow peas and carrots to bowl.
          4. Mix salad dressing and pour over salad contents in bowl. Toss salad and serve, sprinkling 1 tablespoon peanuts over each plate.

          Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc

          Grogs and Goldie, 1956

          Saturday, August 22, 2020

          Spicy Thai Pork Kebabs

          This Melissa Clark recipe is quite a gem. It's simple and straightforward. My only caveat is that you must use whole fennel, coriander and cumin seeds to achieve the perfect level of spice. And the pork pairs really well with a side of basmati rice.

          1-3/4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1-1/2 inch chunks
          Kosher salt
          Juice of 1 lime
          1/4 cup cilantro, stems included
          2 tablespoons fish sauce
          2 garlic cloves. peeled
          1 jalapeño, seeded if you want less heat
          1 teaspoon honey
          1-1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
          1 tablespoon cumin seeds
          1 tablespoon coriander seeds

          1 small red onion, sliced for serving
          Lime wedges
          Cilantro sprigs

          1. Season pork lightly with kosher salt and put it in a bowl or resealable bag. Put the lime juice into a blender or food processor and add cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, jalapeño and honey. Blend until the jalapeño and garlic are puréed, then add fennel, cumin, coriander seeds and pulse four or five times to bruise the spices and mix them in.
          2. Pour mixture over the pork, tossing to coat the pieces. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
          3. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat.
          4. Thread the pork onto skewers, leaving a little space between cubes. Grill for 2 to 5 minutes, then flip the skewers and continue cooking until the meat is browned all over and charred in spots. 
          5. Serve the pork with cilantro sprigs and onion slices on top and lime wedges on the side for squeezing.

          Wine pairing: Zinfandel

          Grogs and Goldie, 1956