Quick Skewers – Quick Dinner

It’s that time of year, isn’t it? The days are longer and we somehow seem to have even more to do. If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend all the daylight inside cooking. I try to sneak at least a half an hour each evening to getting things done outside. Winter is SO LONG!

skewers

The other night I wanted something quick on the grill. I bought a teriyaki seasoned steak from Wegman’s.

I cut it up into bite sized pieces and used a new set of skewers my cousin gave me for Christmas. Good cousin! I seasoned pieces of orange bell pepper and tomatoes that were about 2 inches in diameter with olive oil, salt and pepper. I think next time I will not use the tomatoes and instead use onions chopped into large cubes. Alternating, I added the tomato, beef and pepper trying to put the skewer into the middle of each piece.

We grilled them until the beef was caramelized on the outside (teriyaki marinade has a little sugar in it) and medium rare on the inside, about 8 minutes total.

 
potatoes

I served them with boiled tiny red potatoes with butter and sea salt

sprout bowl

Wegman’s makes roasted Brussels sprouts that we eat like candy. Imagine a vegetable, especially this one, eaten like candy. We just love them. But, they did not have them this past week. What to do?

Make them myself!

Remove the stem and peel off outer leaves of the Brussels Sprouts.

Remove the stem and peel off outer leaves of the Brussels Sprouts.

 

Dice a few pieces of Pancetta that you can get at the deli counter. Ask them to cut it thick, about 1/4". Dice it into small 1/4" cubes. Do this easily by stacking them on top of each other and cutting them all at once.

Dice a few pieces of Pancetta that you can get at the deli counter. Ask them to cut it thick, about 1/4″. Dice it into small 1/4″ cubes. Do this easily by stacking them on top of each other and cutting them all at once.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

1 Pound Brussels Sprouts

3 ¼” pieces of Pancetta

Olive oil

Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Roast them for about 30 minutes, until the outside is caramelized (the vinegar does the trick this time) and they are tender.

Join me on Facebook and let me know if you try this recipe. How would you tweak it?

Have a yummy day!

Love affair with a juicy steak

20120613-065139.jpgThe Foodie:

Years ago when my sister was dating my brother-in-law we enjoyed a wonderful prime rib dinner prepared by my mother, the Foodie’s role model and teacher.

It was likely a big roast, at least four to five ribs and, as was our custom, we would all beg for the bones. He went home and told his mother he thought he was marrying into the Flintstone family.

We were at a lovely restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard and our friend’s five year old ordered a juicy steak. The server smiled and asked him if he knew what that was. He said, “yes, but my mom still has to cut it because she won’t let me use a knife.” No chicken fingers for him, just a slab of beef, cooked expertly over an open fire.

Any cut of meat with the word “loin” is leaner than chuck or rib eye but give me a cut of beef with a bone and I’m in my own carnivorous heaven. The porterhouse is extra special because it has a strip loin on one side, tenderloin (no less than 1 ¼ inches) on the other kept together by the ultimate T-bone (if you are lucky there is a tiny piece of marrow at the top of the “T”). A T-bone is a porterhouse with smaller tenderloin (no less than a half inch). The ultimate for me may be a bone-in rib eye, perfect marbling and tenderness.

Less is more with a good cut of beef. You have no idea how happy I am that Melloni’s Market is less than a mile away. Every steak is perfect and they are all the same width which aids in consistent cooking.

First, take the steaks out of the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to cook them. My father learned how to season steaks from a chef at John’s Flaming Hearth. On one side put onion powder and Lowry’s Seasoned Salt and on the other put garlic powder and ground pepper. That’s it.

We always use charcoal (I’m a real grill snob, not going to lie). My husband is the direct heat grill master in our house. He grills it a few minutes on one side until there are nice grill marks and flips it, being sure the flame does not burn the meat.

We like it medium rare and he removes the steaks just before they are completely cooked and covers them tightly with aluminum foil for about ten minutes so the juices can go back into the steak.

Tonight, we paired our steak with Black Willow Winery’s (located in Burt) Cabernet Franc. This was the perfect complement to our steak and I enjoyed the smoky black cherry taste. The label says it has a candy apple flavor but I did not pick that out. I will definitely keep this wine on hand and look forward to pairing it with other red meat dishes.

You have no idea how much self restraint I have to exhibit when eating out at a steak house. There is no waste worse, to me, than good meat left on the bone. I could walk around the dining room, never order anything, and just ask strangers “you going to eat that bone?”

Start summer with some Rockin’ Rubbed Bourbon Ribs

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Slow cooked and ready for the grill

The Foodie:

Talk to any grill master and they’ll tell you the only way to make ribs is low and slow. I’m no grill master and do not have the patience to go slow at anything. The following recipe is slow by my standards (about four hours start to finish) but much faster than many recipes I have seen.

Start with the rub. You can easily buy dry rubs at any grocery or specialty store and in a pinch, why not? They are great. I love to mix the dry ingredients and test different flavors. I change what I do all the time so experiment and enjoy the variety. It’s not a bad idea to write out what you do. If you love it you will remember how to do it again. If not, know not to make the mistake again.

Here is the rub I made for Memorial Day. Feel free to use it all summer long:

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• 1 ½ tsp course salt and sugar
• 1 tsp onion powder
• Garlic powder
• Paprika
• ½ tsp celery salt
• Nutmeg (fresh grated is wonderful)
• Ground mustard
• Lots of fresh ground black pepper

Mix in a bowl with your fingers

Ribs:
• Two racks of Baby Back ribs (or any type of rib you prefer)
• Bourbon, orange juice, rub (above)
• Preheat oven to 225 degrees

Place ribs on a clean board. Pat ribs dry with paper towels. Wash your hands constantly (always be aware of cross-contamination). Put ¼ of the rub on the bottom and rub in well. Flip the ribs and put remaining rub on both racks, being sure to rub the sides and tips of the rack.

In a roaster or deep pan, pour about a ½ cup of Bourbon (don’t measure, just a few glugs on the bottom of the pan). Place ribs on Bourbon; pour another ½ cup of Bourbon and about 1 cup orange juice onto the racks. Put lid on roaster or cover well with foil. Slow roast 3 hours.

Light grill (I’m a charcoal girl but you decide).

Meanwhile, make the sauce:

• Place 1 cup of the drippings from the pan (strained to remove bones and large bits) in a medium sauce pan.
• Add 1 8 oz. bottle hoisin sauce (find it in the Asian section)
• ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup apricot preserves.

Bring to a boil and reduce for 10 minutes. Remove from heat to thicken for a few minutes. Brush sauce on ribs and grill on both sides until sauce is caramelized and ribs are crisp (no more than 10 minutes).

Serve ribs with additional sauce in small bowls. Pass out wet paper towels, and enjoy!

And thanks to all our veterans and prayers to all who died to make us and keep us free.