Saturday, June 12, 2021

Shrimp with Horseradish Butter


This is a perfect weeknight dinner. Prep and cooking time will take you less than 10 minutes. The ingredient list is short....everything about this recipe is simple. But it offers a big taste and all it really needs for its crowning glory is a warm loaf of crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

3 lemons
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, plus more to taste
Kosher salt
1 pound large shrimp (15 to 20 per pound), shelled and deveined
Small bunch of chopped dill
Crusty bread


    1. Finely grate the zest of 1 lemon and set aside. Juice lemons to yield 1/2 cup of juice. 
    2. Melt 1-1/2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon horseradish, half of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Increase heat.
    3. As soon as that comes to a boil, add the shrimp and another pinch of salt. Simmer for 2 to 4 minutes, flipping each shrimp halfway through, until pink and firm.
    4. Stir in the remaining 1-½ tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of horseradish. Taste and increase the salt and/or horseradish, if you’d like.
    5. Top with the lemon zest and dill, plus a sprinkle of salt (flaky finishing salt is nice if you’ve got it) and serve with crusty bread.

    Wine pairing: An oaky Chardonnay

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, May 29, 2021

    Easy Grilled Caesar


    I find cooking to be incredibly relaxing. There are days where I would like nothing better than spending three hours in the kitchen putting together a great new dish. But there are also days I don't want to hassle with a lot of prep and cooking. This recipe is for the latter.

    I love a good Caesar salad. But to follow the original recipe can be time consuming: When I don't want time consuming, I use today's recipe. I often use this when I've grilled a steak. I always rest my steak for 5 minutes after grilling...and this grilled Caesar takes only 2 to 3 minutes to come together.

    To make it, you just slice a romaine heart in half. Brush some olive oil on the lettuce and grill it cut-side down over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes (I grill mine over charcoal....the heat gives it a sweet and smoky taste). Pop it off the grill, drizzle on some dressing and dust it with parmesan. Done.

    Just pick your favorite store-bought Caesar dressing. No reason to go crazy here because the star of the show is grilled romaine. My favorite dressing for this side dish is Ken's Steakhouse Tableside Caesar (actually I am in love with just about every Ken's Steakhouse salad dressing). I'm not a fan of creamy Caesar dressings and this one tastes closest to one you would make from scratch. And from scratch would be a great option as well....but that sort of defeats the beauty of a 5-minute Caesar.

    1 heart of romaine, halved lengthwise
    Extra virgin olive oil
    Caesar salad dressing
    Fresh grated parmesan cheese

    1. Brush cut-side of lettuce with olive oil, then grill, cut-side down, over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
    2. Remove from grill. Drizzle with salad dressing and add a healthy dusting of parmesan. Serve.

    Wine Pairing: If served with steak, go for a big Cabernet

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, May 22, 2021

    Smoked King Crab Legs


    I am adding this recipe to my blog with mixed emotions. The first emotion is disappointment insomuch that it took me 68 years to figure out the very best way to cook Alaskan King Crab Legs. The second emotion is elation for having discovered the very best way to cook Alaskan King Crab Legs. It is absolutely astounding what a little bit of smoke does to the delicate sweetness of king crab meat.

    Costco is by far the cheapest place to buy king crab legs. They typically run from $24.99 to $29.99 a pound. That's a bargain compared to the $43.99 I had to pay at Lunds last weekend. King crab is easy to prepare. It is cooked and flash-frozen right when it is harvested, so all you have to do is thaw it and reheat it.

    To prepare it for smoking, you want to cut away half of the shell. Importantly, you want to cut away and discard the white part of the shell. The darker part of the shell will impart more flavor as the crab is cooked. And exposing the meat in the shell will allow it to absorb more smoke. The picture below shows what your crab leg should look like before cooking.

    I like to use my Weber Deluxe Grilling Pan to hold my crab legs (see below). That way I can place all of the legs on the pan in the prep area and simply set the whole pan on the smoker, thereby avoiding the hassle of managing individual crab legs on the grill. While having a pellet smoker makes this recipe a breeze, you can easily smoke crab legs on any grill with two-zone cooking and a foil pouch filled with mesquite. And the grilling pan works equally well regardless what kind of grill you are using.

    When buying king crab legs, try and get the biggest legs you can. Larger legs have a greater meat to shell ratio, making them a better buy. The rule of thumb for buying crab legs is one pound per person. A large leg with a knuckle typically weighs about a pound. A thinner leg with no knuckle will typically clock in at ten ounces. And don't cut corners on the butter. I like dipping my crab meat in a rich, European style butter. Kerrygold is my absolute favorite. The recipe below serves four. I like to serve my crab with rice pilaf...they go great together.

     4 pounds Alaskan King Crab Legs
    16 ounces of melted butter
    Old Bay Seasoning

    1. Preheat smoker to 350º.
    2. Break each crab leg into individual pieces by snapping the leg at every joint . Cut away white portion of shell from each piece and discard.
    3. Place leg pieces on grilling pan, flesh side up. Take about 6 ounces of the melted butter and brush the meat of each piece generously. Then lightly dust each piece with a little bit of Old Bay Seasoning.
    4. Place legs in smoker. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
    5. Remove crab pieces from smoker and serve with small, individual bowls of the drawn butter.

    Wine pairing: A big, oaky Napa Chardonnay

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, May 15, 2021

    Dry-Brined Ribeye


    It's grilling season and I am always in search of the Holy Grail...a dry-aged, USDA Prime, bone-in ribeye...about 1-1/2 inches thick and tipping the scale at around 20 ounces. It's not easy to find dry-aged beef in a grocery store....Lunds/Byerlys are the only ones that carry it on a regular basis in the Twin Cities.  But dry-aged beef is actually quite easy to source online.....for roughly the cost of a kidney or one year's board and tuition at an Ivy League college.

    Dry-aging beef is indeed an expensive proposition. First, you need to have a special temperature/humidity controlled room where the air is constantly flowing around the meat. And it takes a lot of time...those steaks are in that room for 30 to 60 days. By exposing the meat to air, moisture is pulled out and the natural enzymes break down the muscles, making the beef more tender.

    As the steak dries out, the fat portion retains more water than the lean portion. Accordingly, the fat becomes more pronounced and as we all know, fat = flavor. Bacteria formed in the aging process produces a robust flavor profile that gives dry-aged beef it's extraordinary taste. It's much like aging a cheese...the meat becomes very rich and intense.

    There's another aspect that contributes to the high cost of dry-aged beef. The steak that comes out of the aging locker is smaller than the one that went in. Moisture loss shrinks the steak and often the surface mold must be scraped away. So that 20 ounce steak I want to grill probably went into the storage room weighing about 24 ounces.

    It would be nice if you could dry age your beef at home. But few of us have a temperature/humidity controlled environment that provides constant air flow. But there is a way to enhance the taste of your beef at home through a process called dry-brining. It's really easy to do and you just need your refrigerator to make it happen.

    The first step is you have to start with a quality steak. It needs to be USDA Prime. That ensures that there will be enough fat where the moisture can be drawn from the muscle and concentrate in that gorgeous marbling. The second step is to season the steak only with salt. You will need to use Kosher salt, using less than you normally would when grilling, as the salt flavor will also get concentrated as the steak sits. You need to put the steak on a screen so that the air can flow all around the steak and then let it sit in your fridge, uncovered, for three days.

    I like to buy my USDA Prime steaks at Costco, where they are a heckuva bargain. So for not much money and a little bit of time, I can get a dry-brined steak that starts to get close to a dry-aged steak.....and for just $15 a pound...whereas scoring a dry-aged steak in the wild will cost $30 to $80 a pound.


    2, 20-ounce USDA Prime Bone-in Ribeyes, 1-1/2" thick
    Kosher salt

    1. Remove steaks from store packaging. Pat dry with paper towels. Place an elevated screen or rack inside a sheet pan. Place steaks on screen and salt both sides, using just a little less salt than you would when you grill them (approximately 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon per side). Do not over salt.
    2. Set sheet pan in refrigerator where it will realize good airflow. Let steaks dry-brine (uncovered) for 3 days.
    3. Remove steaks from refrigerator 3 hours prior to grilling and set on counter, allowing them to come to room temperature.
    4. Prepare your grill for both direct cooking over high heat and indirect cooking over no heat (two-zone fire).
    5. When your coals are white hot, grill the steaks over high heat for 4 minutes with the grill covered. Then flip and grill for 4 minutes more, grill covered.
    6. Then move steaks to the indirect side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook for 4 minutes more.
    7. Remove steaks from grill, tent them with foil and let them rest 5 to 10 minutes. Remove foil, season steaks with fresh cracked black pepper and serve.

    Blogger's Note: The cooking instructions noted here are for a charcoal grill using lump charcoal and will result in the steaks being medium rare. If cooking with briquettes or on a gas grill, you will need to add a little more cooking time to achieve medium rare.

    Wine pairing: A big Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, May 1, 2021

    Easy Carne Asada


    Next Wednesday is Cinco de Mayo...the fifth of May. While generally thought to be a big Mexican holiday, our neighbors to the south ignore it. The date was observed to celebrate the Mexican Army's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The celebration was short-lived, as the French came back a year later and crushed the Mexican Army at the Battle of Puebla 2.0.

    So while Cinco de Mayo is no big deal in Mexico, it's all tequila and tacos and fiesta here in the states. Due to unfortunate timing, Cinco de Mayo misses Taco Tuesday by 24 hours. I don't know about you, but I am perfectly happy eating Mexican two nights in a row.

    Back in 2016 I shared an elaborate Carne Asada recipe from Los Angeles restauranteur, Roy Choi. Today, I'm going to share Chungah Rhee's much simpler recipe. Carne Asada is marinated, grilled steak that is used as the basic building block for steak fajitas. So get ready to grill! Grab some flour tortillas and your favorite fajita fixings (Sam wants you to make sure to add sliced radishes) and have a happy Cinco de Mayo! 


    1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    Juice of 1 orange
    Juice of 1 lime
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
    1 flank steak, about 1-1/2 pounds

    1. Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to mix well.
    2. In a large ziplock bag, combine steak and marinade. Place bag in refrigerator for 4 hours (do not go any longer than this as the lime juice will start to "cook" the steak).
    3. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
    4. Remove steak from bag and discard marinade. Pat steak dry with paper towels and then season with salt and pepper.
    5. Grill steak for 5 minutes per side (for medium rare). Then remove steak from grill, tent with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes.
    6. Slice thinly against the grain and serve with your fajita fixings.

    Pairing: Margaritas

    Grogs and Goldie, 1956

    Saturday, April 24, 2021

    Sheet Pan Italian Sausage with Shallots and Apples

    Yesterday marked the end of my lightning mess. My computer got zapped in the storm 3 weeks ago and I was holding out to see if new iMacs were rolling out. Turns out they are, but they are just the entry level iMacs. With a smaller screen and lower resolution that what I had before, they are not for me.

    The larger, 27" iMac that I had is still for sale at the Apple Store. But it has the old Intel chips and a design that has gone unchanged since 2009 (Obama's first year in office). It will likely soldier on until this fall....but I can't wait that long. For the last 3 weeks I've been hunched over my MacBook Air...and using the small screen 8 hours a day was starting to get tedious.

    So I bought myself a Mac mini (super high performance at half the cost of a high-end iPhone), which has the latest and greatest silicone from Apple, and an LG 32" monitor. What an upgrade! When you're 68 and wear glasses, this enormous screen is welcome relief. I really missed being able to have two documents up on the screen, side-by-side, as I am doing now writing this blog.

    Today's recipe is from Lidey Heuck. And I'm here to tell you this is an absolutely perfect cornucopia of flavorful pleasures. Hot Italian sausage. Delicate shallots. Roasted apples, a Granny Smith and a Honeycrisp...for the perfect combo of tart and sweet. And then they are all tossed with whole-grain mustard and apple cider vinegar. Be still my heart. And my tongue.


    6 medium shallots, trimmed on both ends and peeled
    1 Granny Smith apple
    1 Honeycrisp apple
    1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
    Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
    1 pound Hot Italian sausages
    3 fresh rosemary sprigs
    1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
    1 to 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, to taste


      1. Heat the oven to 425º. Cut the shallots lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Core the apples and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Place the shallots and apples on a sheet pan, drizzle with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, until the shallots are just starting to brown at the edges.
      2. Meanwhile, place the sausages on a plate. Using a fork, prick a few holes in each sausage. Drizzle the sausages with olive oil and toss to coat.
      3. Add the rosemary and mustard to the pan with the apples and shallots, and toss, spreading everything out into one even layer. Arrange the sausages on the pan, evenly distributed, and roast for 30 minutes, flipping the sausages and tossing the apples and shallots with the juices released from the sausages halfway through, until the sausages are browned and the shallots are tender and caramelized.
      4. Transfer the sausages to a serving platter and discard the rosemary sprigs. Pour the vinegar over the apples and shallots and toss well, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Transfer to the serving platter with the sausages and serve immediately.

      Wine pairing: Zinfandel

      Grogs and Goldie, 1956


      Saturday, April 10, 2021

      Grilled Chili Lime Chicken

      Thunder, feel the thunder
      Lightning then the thunder
      Thunder feel the thunder
      Lightning then the thunder


      For the first time in 11 years of blogging, I am composing this blog on a laptop. That is because for the second time in 3 years, we took a direct lightning strike during Monday's big storm. It wiped out a bucketload of electronics, including my relatively new iMac. It is painful to be writing this blog on a screen that is just 83 square inches when I am used to 383 square inches.

      Thank you for suggesting I should just get a new one. But it is not that easy.  It appears that we are just days away from Apple introducing a new iMac (the current design was last refreshed in 2014). It is supposed to be blazing fast thanks to new Apple silicone chips and the rumors are it will have a screen that is 20% larger (which means 460 square inches). It's also rumored to have Face ID, the greatest invention since sliced bread (which means no more passwords!) So I must wait for Tim Cook to give his new sermon on the mount.

      Thank you for suggesting that I should be using surge protectors. But please be advised that I have more surge protectors than Google. Remember, this is lightning strike number 2 in 3 years. But like Covid, I discovered that the lightning can evolve into a new variant. In 2018,  Lightning 1.0 entered the house via the electrical wiring. 

      In 2021, Lightning 2.0 struck the ground and entered the house via an Ethernet cable...frying almost every device that was hard-wired to the Internet. Given that I have a need for speed (I'm a gamer), the vast majority of devices in the home were connected via Ethernet. The few devices that did operate on WiFi were mostly untouched.

      Thanks to the fabulous crew at Sight & Surf, we were only down 2 days. The only painful part left is composing on this laptop. While my computer screen is small, I'm going to share a Susie Bulloch recipe that is huge! She came up with one of the best chicken marinades I have ever tasted. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are not the kind of thing that gives me thigh sweats...but this marinade takes chicken to a place it has never been before. Lightning then the thunder!


      4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

      For the Marinade
      4-ounce can of fire roasted green chiles
      2 green onions
      2 garlic cloves
      4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      1 tablespoon chili powder
      1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
      2 teaspoons cumin
      2 teaspoons salt
      1 teaspoon black pepper

      1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth. Put chicken breasts and marinade into a gallon-sized zip lock bag. Place bag in your fridge and let marinate for 6-8 hours.
      2. Prepare grill for direct cooking over high heat.
      3. Remove breasts from zip lock bag and discard marinade. Grill the chicken for 4-5 minutes, then flip breasts over and grill 4-5 minutes more.
      4. Remove breasts from grill and tent with foil, letting them rest for 5 minutes.
      5. Serve.

      Wine pairing: Zinfandel

      Grogs and Goldie, 1956


      Saturday, April 3, 2021

      Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers


      Here's a mash-up that uses the spices from "Tacos from Scratch" and coverts the "Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers" to a dish from south of the border. The orzo pasta is replaced by rice (and if you are feeling lazy like me, I just use Uncle Ben's precooked Ready Rice to save me an extra 30 minutes of cooking). 

      I will admit that this is an elaborate recipe....mostly because a lot of the work goes into getting the seasoning of the ground beef to be absolutely authentic and astounding. If authentic and astounding are not your jam, you can make the recipe a lot easier by omitting the spices in the beef prep part and substitute a packet of taco seasoning. If you were making this for young kids, that is acceptable. But if you are an adult and like drinking adult beverages with your meals, go for authentic and astounding.

      As I noted with the Italian version of this recipe, this is meant to be served as an entree. So when you go to the grocery store, check out the green, red and yellow bell peppers. You want to buy the biggest, honkin' peppers they have, regardless of color. It's time to run with the big dogs.


      4 big bell peppers, 1/2-inch trimmed off tops (see photo), core and seeds discarded
      tablespoon salt

      2 tablespoons vegetable oil
      1 small onion chopped
      3 garlic cloves, minced
      2 tablespoons chili powder
      1 teaspoon ground cumin
      1 teaspoon ground coriander
      1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
      1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      1/2 teaspoon salt
      1 pound ground beef
      1/2 cup tomato sauce
      1/2 cup chicken broth
      1 teaspoon brown sugar
      2 teaspoons cider vinegar

      1 cup cooked rice
      One 14-1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
      2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
      Sliced jalapeños 

      1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and then submerge bell peppers. Cook until peppers just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water, and place peppers cut-sides up on paper towels. 
      2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350º.
      3. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat until hot and shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes; add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, spices and salt; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
      4. Add ground beef and cook, breaking meat up with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and vinegar; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently and breaking meat up so that no chunks remain, until liquid has reduced and thickened (mixture should not be completely dry), about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
      5. Transfer mixture to a bowl with the rice; stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
      6. Place peppers cut-side up in 9-inch square baking dish. Using soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Top with sliced jalapeños and sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

      Pairing: Cerveza por favor

      Grogs and Goldie, 1956

      Saturday, March 27, 2021

      Grilled Tequila-Lime Ribeye Tacos


      Carnivores place ribeye steaks on the highest pedestal. There is no finer steak. It is  cut from the most tender part of the cow, between the 6th and 12th rib. It is a heavily marbled slice of the longissmus dorsal muscle.

      Ribeye is my favorite steak. To prepare them, I generously salt them and then place them on a wire rack in my fridge for 24 hours. I remove them 2 hours prior to cooking...setting them on the kitchen counter to bring the steaks to room temperature. Then I simply grill them over charcoal and additional seasonings added. Once cooked, they rest for 5 minutes under foil. Then they get a light dusting of kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper before serving.

      Mr. Steak was a restaurant chain started in 1962. We had one in Edina on Vernon Avenue that was a favorite of mine when I was growing up. I was also a regular at their Dinkytown location while I attended the U of M in the early 70's. The company went bankrupt in 1987 and disappeared from the face of the earth. Fortunately, they left behind a recipe that allows me to prepare my beloved ribeye in a whole different fashion.


      For the Steak

      1-1/2 pound ribeye steak, 1-1/2 inches thick

      For the Marinade

      1/2 cup tequila

      3/4 cup fresh lime juice

      1 cup chopped garlic

      1/4 cup soy sauce

      1 bunch chopped cilantro (stems included...the most flavorful part!)

      1 teaspoon cumin powder

      1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper


      1. Combine marinade ingredients in a sealed plastic bag. Add steak and marinate for 3 hours.
      2. Remove steak from marinade and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Put marinade in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Then set aside.
      3. Prepare your grill for direct cooking over high heat.
      4. Place steak over coals and grill for 4 minutes. Then flip and grill for 4 more minutes (for medium rare). Remove steak, tent with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes.
      5. Slice steak and serve with warm corn taco shells. Garnish with leftover marinade and your favorite taco toppings and sauces.

      Pairing: While a Malbec or a beer would be good, 
      I'd keep the tequila party going with a Paloma!

      Grogs and Goldie, 1956

      Saturday, March 20, 2021

      French Onion Meatballs


      I like French Onion Soup. But for something to be a meal, it has to have meat in it. Preferably beef. Thankfully, Jessica Merchant found a way to get me my French Onion Soup flavors in a form that suits the unabashed carnivore that I am. And just so I can have the complete soup experience, I like to serve these meatballs on a toasted slice of sourdough bread.


      2 tablespoons olive oil

      2 medium onions, sliced thin

      1 pound ground beef

      2 garlic cloves, minced

      1 cup finely grated gruyere cheese, plus extra for topping

      2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

      1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

      3 tablespoons fresh parsley

      1 teaspoon dried thyme

      1/2 teaspoon salt

      1/2 teaspoon pepper

      1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil for browning meatballs

      1-½ cups chicken stock

      1 teaspoon flour


        1. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the onions with a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onions caramelize, about 30 to 40 minutes. Once the onions are golden and caramelized, transfer them to a plate. 
        2. Preheat the oven to 350º. 
        3. Take half of the cooled caramelized onions and chop them up a bit - just so they easily mix into the meatballs.
        4. In a bowl, stir together the beef, garlic, ½ cup gruyere, all the parmesan, the breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Add in the chopped caramelized onions. Mix until the meatballs are just combined - do not over mix. 
        5. Use your hands to form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. It helps if you wet your hands with water before rolling. 
        6. Heat the same skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the meatballs in a single layer and brown them on all sides - let them cook for 1 to 2 minutes, before flipping.
        7. Once the meatballs are completely browned, fill a shaker cup or water bottle with the stock and flour. Shake it for 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into the skillet with the meatballs. Add in the remaining caramelized onions. Top the meatballs with the remaining gruyere cheese.
        8. Bake for 25 minutes. Then serve.

        Wine pairing: Merlot

        Grogs and Goldie, 1956

        Monday, March 8, 2021

        Corned Beef with Béarnaise Sauce


        Being of primarily Irish descent and having made 68 full trips around the sun, suffice it to say I know how to throw a really good St. Patrick's Day meal together. I've cooked corned beef a million different ways, but this recipe is the best. I got the recipe from a lady that made it for the Fox 9 news crew on a Saturday morning show many years ago. Besides being the tastiest corned beef I have ever had, it's also the easiest. Just dump everything into a slow cooker and come back 10 hours later. The recipe is so good, that there is only one way to improve upon it.

        Béarnaise sauce is the only thing that makes the recipe better. It's a classic example of one plus one equals three. The sauce takes what is already extraordinary....and makes it even tastier and more 
        luxurious. The only downside is that requires a little bit of work on your part. But given that you really had no labor involved in preparing the corned beef, consider it a wash.


        For the Corned Beef
        1 corned beef brisket, 3-4 pounds
        2 medium onions, cut into quarters (no peeling required)
        5 ribs celery, cut into chunks
        1 tablespoon prepared stone ground mustard 
        2 cups chicken stock
        12-ounces of beer (lager or pilsner)

        For the Béarnaise Sauce
        1/4 cup white wine vinegar
        1 small shallot, minced
        1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
        1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh tarragon
        2 egg yolks
        12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
        Kosher salt
        Splash of lemon juice


        For the Corned Beef
        1. Place onions and celery on the bottom of your slow cooker. Add stock, beer and mustard.
        2. Set brisket on top of onions and celery, fat-side up. Sprinkle meat with seasoning packet (which comes packed in your brisket). Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 10 hours.
        3. Remove brisket. Slice and serve with Béarnaise sauce.

        For the Béarnaise Sauce
        1. Put the vinegar, shallots, black pepper and 1 tablespoon of tarragon leaves into a small saucepan and set over a medium flame. Bring just to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer until there are only a few tablespoons of liquid left, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
        2. Fill a small saucepan with an inch or two of water and set over medium-high heat to boil.
        3. Put the cooled shallot-and-tarragon mixture into a metal mixing bowl along with a tablespoon of water and the egg yolks, then whisk to combine.
        4. Turn the heat under the saucepan of water down to its lowest setting and put the bowl on top of the pan, making sure that it does not touch the water directly. Continue to whisk the yolks until they thicken, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. You should just about double the volume of the yolks.
        5. Slowly beat in the butter, a tablespoon or two at a time, whisking slowly to combine and emulsify. Remove the bowl from the pan occasionally, so as not to overcook the eggs and then taste the sauce. Season with salt. If the flavor is not sharp enough, add a splash of lemon juice. If the sauce is too thick, stir in a splash of hot water. Add the remaining teaspoon of tarragon leaves and serve.

        Pairing: You already knew this. Served at 42.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

        Grogs and Goldie Dunleavy, 1956

        Saturday, February 27, 2021

        Italian Stuffed Bell Peppers


        In my world of favorite foods, hot Italian sausage is a strong number two behind my beloved steak. And this is a very fun way to serve it up. Actually, there are two different ways to serve this up. With the first, you shave off the top of the bell pepper and use the lower body as a bowl (as pictured above). The second way to serve this is to cut the pepper from pole to pole. Then you lay the halves out flat, add the meat stuffing and serve them like open-faced sandwiches.

        While the recipe calls for a cup of cooked orzo, sometimes I get lazy and don't want to go to all the effort of cooking just one cup of pasta. So I just grab a pouch of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice (it comes already cooked) and that shaves a good 10 to 12 minutes off of my prep time. You'll only need a cup, so you will have a little rice left over.

        This recipe is meant to be served as an entree. So when you go to the grocery store, check out the green, red and yellow bell peppers. You want to buy the biggest, honkin' peppers they have, regardless of color. Go big and then go home.


        4 big bell peppers, 1/2-inch trimmed off tops (see photo), core and seeds discarded
        2 tablespoons olive oil
        1 medium onion, chopped fine
        1 pound hot Italian sausage, bulk
        4 cloves garlic, minced
        1 cup cooked orzo pasta
        One 14-1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
        2 cups shredded mozzarella  cheese
        3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
        1/2 cup prepared pasta sauce
        Kosher salt
        Fresh ground black pepper


        1.  Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and then submerge bell peppers. Cook until peppers just begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove peppers from pot, drain off excess water, and place peppers cut-sides up on paper towels. 
        2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350º.
        3. Heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1-1/2 minutes; add oil and swirl to coat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook, breaking it into small pieces with spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to bowl with orzo; stir in tomatoes, 1 cup cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
        4. Place peppers cut-side up in 9-inch square baking dish. Using soup spoon, divide filling evenly among peppers. Spoon 2 tablespoons pasta sauce over each filled pepper and sprinkle each with 1/4 cup of remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is browned and filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

        Wine pairing: Chianti

        Grogs and Goldie, 1956