Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Turf at the surf, Folly Beach S.C.

"Got no place to go but there's a girl waiting for me down in Mexico. She's got a bottle of tequila, a bottle of gin and if I bring a little music I could fit right in..." Counting Crows

This shot of filets on the grill surely fits right in at the UMRK, South Carolina edition.
These filets were marinated for about an hour in Dale's before being tossed on a well heated gas grill, in Folly Beach, South Carolina.

Along with the steak we had green beans which were steamed for a couple of minutes and then removed to an ice water bath in batches. After all the beans were done steaming, they were sauteed in a little bacon fat.

Good job, Curt!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dried Out Brisket

"I 'spec you been out here all night reading the good book?" Woodrow Call

"Biscuits are ready!" Augustus 'Gus' McCrae

This Lonesome Dove reference is merely ancillary, for I did not read the Good Book or bake biscuits today.

I did however, spend thirty dollars on a brisket, which was money well spent...but I digress. (sorry, another Lonesome Dove reference.)

I hadn't cooked a brisket before today. But I did manage to botch the whole thing.

It all started out well enough.

I acquired a brisket from the local market place. A six pound specimen to be exact.

I made a rub with paprika, garlic powder, cumin, garlic, mustard powder, brown sugar, and salt and pepper.

The grill was set for indirect heat, which means that the coals were on either side and the meat was placed over the middle.

At 11:30 the grill was hot so I let it rip.

Every hour or so I replaced a few coals and added a few soaked apple chips. I also sprayed the brisket with apple cider every so often.

To make a long story short when I pulled this brisket off at about six o'clock and sliced thin slices of beef...they were all dried out.

I over cooked it by a long shot. The flavor was good, however, and it is not going to waste. I used a thermometer to gauge the doneness and that was not a good move. I took it off at about one sixty. I should have pulled it at one forty- it looked and felt done then.

I made some slaw, that was a little over-dressed, so the dry meat and wet slaw made good companions.

Just like these two happy, good looking people...

Grilled Roast

I wanted to try grilling something that I had never grilled before so I set out to the grocery store not knowing what I might find.

I found this roast which was also reduced for quick sale at six bucks.

I put together a rub with paprika, salt, pepper, dried thyme and oregano.

I rubbed the roast down with the dry ingredients and let that set for about 45 minutes.

I used the round Weber grill, mainly because I was running low on charcoal.

I raked all of the coals to one side of the grill and also added some soaked hickory chips on top of the coals.

I placed the roast on the opposite side of the grill and turned the lid so that the holes were directly over the meat.

You can see the set up on the left. Those are ears of corn in the foil.

I let them cook indirectly for about 40 minutes, pulled them off and then right before we were ready to eat I put them back on for about another ten minutes.

I let the roast smoke for about 3 1/2 hours...I think.

I have to say that the roast turned out better than I had imagined it would.

It was even better the next day cold, sliced thinly ladled with a bit of chimichurri sauce!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fire Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa

"Once again that blasted termagant has forgotten to stock this frigid box with potations!"-Stewie

Saturdays are all about potations and grilling here. Saturday I decided to make my favorite salsa that I have been making now for about 10 years, roasted tomato and chipotle.

I have to give credit to Mark Miller for this recipe. His book "The Great Salsa Book" is a must have for anyone who likes making their own salsa.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
2 lbs Roma tomatoes
4 teaspoons finely minced roasted garlic
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 chipotle chiles
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tblspn salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Blacken the tomatoes. Sautee the onions until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Transfer the onion and half the tomatoes and the garlic to a food processor and pulse to chop but not pureed. Add the cilantro and chipotle chiles and pulse again. Peel seed and chop the remaining tomatoes and fold together with olive oil, vinegar, salt and sugar.

This salsa, as is the case with just about anything made from tomatoes, is better when made the night before and allowed to sit overnight in the refrigerator.


"There were four Italian sausages cooking on the outdoor grill, and they were sizzlin'..." John Prine Lake Marie

Well these aren't exactly Italian sausages, nor are they chorizo from which choripan derives its name.

Real chorizo is hard to come by here so I substituted a country style sausage that is available at the grocery store.

Choripan is a sandwich they make in Argentina and Uruguay also, I think. I encountered them in Buenos Aires.

A choripan consists of a link of grilled sausage split down the middle served on a baguette, with a sauce called chimichurri. At the Boca Juniors game they were serving them inside the stadium with melted cheese, sauteed onions and tomato. Those were the best I came across.

If you can get good chorizo by all means use chorizo, but any good sausage works well. I even tried Italian, but those weren't as good as the regular "country" sausage. You will also need a baguette, or "French" bread.

The main ingredient however is the chimichurri. When I got back from Argentina I had no idea how to make chimichurri but I knew exactly where to look. I went to Asado Argentina and there it was. I followed this recipe pretty much to the letter, except that I pulsed mine a few times in the blender to smooth it out even more which was the consistency that I saw in Buenos Aires.

Chimichurri sauce ala Mama Grande!

Lay the sausages on a hot grill split side down. Flip after a few minutes and allow to cook well.

Cut the baguette into 4" long pieces and then split those down the middle. Before I assemble a choripan I toast the bread halves on the grill.

When the bread is toasted I pull them off onto a plate and ladle the bottom portion with the chimichurri. Place the sausage on and then some more chimichurri on top and the top piece of bread. Simple. Onions and cheese are optional.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Late night shish kebabs w/ the companions

"This highway runs from Paraguay
And I've just come all the way" Steely Dan

Well, I woke up late, hungry. The better half was off to bed. I was craving meat, so I went and got a steak and a bottle. And charcoal.

I bought a cheap steak, figuring that if i marinated it it would not matter. Not to mention the fact that carne is going through the roof lately.

So I began to dice up my cheap steak, with a little onion and portabello and green bell pepper.

I stoked up my chimney starter with newspaper and got it rolling as well.

I located the skewers in the back of the silverware drawer and began to load them up.

The Overlord let it be known they could be bribed tonight, so I doled out a couple of raw slices to them. (Tub included)

I had a pretty hot fire going, not very large. I gave two skewers ten minutes each, which seemed to be about just right.

A thunder storm passed over bringing a little bit of rain, but no more than a minor nuisance.

Oh yes, the companions. After I had eaten, I had a bit more steak left, so I made one more shish kebab. As I was pulling it off of the grill I noticed a bandito looking up at me from below the porch.

Since we have a bit of a relationship already, I offered a piece of kebob to my bandito amiga. It was a bit hot still. She, who is roughly twice as large as the Overlord, didn't know quite what to do with a piece of hot food. So she picked it up, rolled it around in her paws, then ran off to the creek to wash it off. No matter how much food they pick out of the garbage can they always make sure they wash it off before they eat it. You've got to admire that in an animal.

Who are the companions? Take a guess.

Cooking music: Random

spirits: Ravenswood Merlot

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Chicken & Peanut Panang Curry

The picture doesn't due this dish justice. In an attempt to utilize even more of the chicken from the weekend bbq, I decided to try it in this Thai dish.

I started by browning an onion in the "wok", for about five minutes. Then I added to that a teaspoon of green curry paste and 3 tablespoons of Padang Peanut Sauce that was store bought.

I let that sautee for another minute or so and added in one can of coconut milk and about 2 handfuls of the shredded beer can chicken from the weekend. Diced chicken cutlets would work as well. Bring the whole thing to a boil.

Add a can of coconut cream, the juice of one lime, a couple of dashes of fish sauce, 2 tblspns of brown sugar.

I diced about half of a pineapple core and added that to the soup. Just before serving I added in a few torn basil leaves.

I sliced a cucumber and spooned on a little asian chile sauce for a side.

The OverLord

Cooking Music: Jamie Cullum "Twenty Something"

Wine: Raven'swood Cabernet 8$

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Beer Can Chicken Salad

I pulled all of the meat off the bone from my beer can chicken I made over the weekend and pulsed it a few times in the food processor.

The bowl on the left shows the result.

6 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 lemon juiced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups shredded chicken
salt and pepper

Whisk the mayo, dijon, lemon juice, and olive oil together in a bowl. When that is mixed well fold in about 2 cups of shredded chicken and the celery. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Beer Can Chicken

"He's a cat cuttin' cool, convertible car. Top taken down on the way to the bar. Music blarin' people starin', he likes it like that...." Robert Moore "Wildcat"

Not really a food reference, but this song is stuck in my head so cut me some slack.

When the weekend rolls around I like to grill on the deck. It's mostly just an excuse to drink beer but it does have it's benefits.

I was thumbing thru a new book I bought, Steven Raichlen's bbq bible that I recently purchased. I wanted to do something different, so this beer can chicken seemed pretty interesting.

The recipe calls for a 6-7 pound bird, so I picked one up last night. I was suppose to let it marinade in brine for 12 hours but I did not realize that until this afternoon so the brine bath didn't happen.
This was the bird as it started out today. I had never heard of beer can chicken until last night, but oddly enough when I took the chicken out of its packaging there was a recipe for...you guessed it! beer can chicken.

So I salted and peppered the chicken while I got the grill fired up.

There was also a rub Steven's recipe called for made from paprika, brown sugar, cayenne and something else that I didn't have.

I melted some butter and brushed the bird with it and then added the rub.

I set the big grill up for indirect grilling, hey I don't make up these terms.

I bought a tall boy Budweiser and poured half of it onto the hickory chips.

I then added Worcestershire and red wine vinegar to the half can of beer. At this point you lower the bird down onto the beer and the can is inserted into the cavity, which becomes a sort of stand for the chicken. (see top pic)

Grill is hot...

I put the bird on a grease pan and put it directly in the middle of the grill. I cooked with the lid down to lock in as much smoke as I could.

I also had a slab of baby back ribs that I wanted to do in an Asian vein.

I rubbed the ribs with 5 spice that I was able to find at an Asian market not far away from the house.

Here's the five spice I found at the Asian market today.

Here are the ribs, the bird and some sausage...

The ribs were basted with a teryaki glaze after they had cooked for about 2 hours.

The ribs came out very succulent and actually pretty tasty.

I think the pan blocked too much heat from the chicken. After about 3 hours I wasn't satisfied the chicken was thoroughly cooked, so I put it in the oven for about 45 minutes.

The small piece that I sampled was very, very, tender and had a nice smokey flavor.

It will be divided up tomorrow for use in various dishes next week. I will update you on what we make with it as I do it.

We're smokin'...

The Overlord looks on...

Cooking Music: random

Cooking spirits: cold Corona w/ limes

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Start at the beginning...

"I get no kick from champagne, mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all..." Frank Sinatra

Having just returned from Argentina, I endeavored to re-create a dish that I had at Dan Perlman's home restaurant he's dubbed Casa Salt Shaker.

It is suppose to be a paprika chicken, but by the time I was done mauling it, it was something completely different.

I started by dicing half an onion, the other half was putrid or something so I tossed it. Dan's recipe called for some garlic and ginger as well and they found their way into the pan. Here's where things started to go a little south. Dan's recipe calls for smoked paprika of which I had none. So I cut off a small slice of Italian sausage and added to the sauteeing onion, garlic and ginger.

After the onion was browned I added in a liberal amount of plain paprika and half that amount of powdered bay leaf. Stir this around so that the onions are coated. I let this stay on the heat for a couple of minutes. By this point I was totally off of Dan's recipe I think. I added about a cup of chicken stock and let that come to a boil.

I did not have any chicken on hand, but I did have a piece of left over pork tenderloin that I had grilled the previous weekend. I cubed that up into about a half inch dice and added into the stock. I let the whole thing simmer for about half an hour, whence it began to emit a very pleasant aroma.

About five minutes before serving I added four dollops of sour cream to the pan and brought the heat up to a boil. Dan's recipe called for corn starch for added thickness, but I rarely use thickening agents that don't add to the overall taste of the dish. I stirred this until it was well incorporated and brought the heat back down to low.

I ladled a couple of bowls full and attempted to garnish with paprika, but since I didn't have the shaker top I tried to do it by hand and it ended up looking like a talcum powder accident. Oh well. It actually turned out to have a very nice flavor. The grilled pork in lieu of the chicken was a good match with the paprika and I think it turned out a little more succulent than the chicken.

The second dish, which actually came before the paprika chicken when we ate with Dan was a mushroom soup.

According to Dan's recipe, I put mushroom stems lemon thyme, and garlic in a pot with water to reduce down. I also added in some fresh oregano just because I needed to use some as it is growing wildly in my herb box.

I did not have a wide assortment of mushrooms only about a 1/2 a container of buttons that needed to be used.

As per Dan, I infused some olive oil with lemon thyme and rosemary. Then I sauteed the mushroom caps, which I had diced, in the infusion.

I let the stems and the herbs boil for about 30 minutes. Then I transferred it to the blender and pulverized it well.

Dan's recipe called for a small round pasta common in Argentina, in lieu of that I used orzo.

I put a cookie cutter in a bowl and filled it with the orzo. I then strained and ladled the mushroom stock from the blender into the bowl while the cutter was still in there. Then I added in some of the sauteed mushrooms around the edges. When I removed the cutter the orzo fell apart and didn't retain it's shape the way Dan's did.

This is Dan's dish. (hope he won't mind me using his pic)

I also added a little chicken stock that I had left over from the pork dish to the mushroom stock. I think it overpowered the mushroom flavor and made it a little too salty. The better half enjoyed it, but I thought it was a little bland. But it was getting kind of late anyway so I wasn't real concerned at that point.

We had a Kendall-Jackson shiraz that was about 12 bucks from Kroger. It was pretty good, with hints of cherry on the finish.

Cooking Music: A friend of mine dropped off a hard drive with an enormous mp3 collection on it. It included over 30 Frank Sinatra albums. So we listened to Frank during the majority of the cooking.

Distractions: The cats knocked the orchid off of the mantel and the pot shattered, think she cares?
Vivi...the likely orchid culprit..

Casa Salt Shaker, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Front left to right: Better Half, Andrea, Rhonda?

Standing left to right: Me, Dan Perlman