Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is a toothsome, beefy cut similar to flank steak. It is best prepared by cooking quickly over high heat, and then slicing thinly against the grain. In this case, I marinated in a little red wine with garlic, then seasoned with salt & pepper and cooked on a very hot grill.

I served it with greens and couscous. A simple, satisfying meal.

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Grilled chicken with bread salad

I like roasting and grilling chickens, but there are only so many ways to roast or grill. Occasionally, you have to do something to mix up your routine, or otherwise liven things up a bit. In this case, I chose a ‘non-traditional’ accompaniment, bread salad.

The salad was a little like a Sbarro salad, including tomatoes, cucumbers, and sliced red onions. The unique ingredient was chunks of slightly stale bread. I didn’t have any slightly stale bread on hand, so I ‘staled’ some fresh bread by heating for 10 minutes in a 350 degree over. I’m not sure this makes it stale, these are probably more like croutons.

Whatever the case, you mix the veg and bread, and then dress the salad with red wine vinegar and olive oil. It was a great compliment to a smoky grilled chicken, and even kept well enough that we ate it again the next day.

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Jennifer’s Red Beans

Red beans are a quintessentially New Orleans dish. Traditionally, they were prepared on Mondays, which was wash day. The beans could cook most of the day, largely unattended, while the lady of the house tackled the laundry. They are still a traditional Monday special in many New Orleans restaurants.

I love beans and rice, and could pretty much eat them every day. So regardless of what day it is, soak some beans tonight and make red beans tomorrow! If you need a recipe or some help, please let me know. The photo is from a large batch Jennifer made recently- they were delicious!

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Late night snack

A little leftover blueberry cobbler, a la mode.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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It’s good to be home!

I got home very late last night after a few days in Scottsdale at a continuing education course.  It’s good to be home.  I woke up this morning looking forward to the Saints game, and thinking about what to make for dinner.

For inspiration, I turned to Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook, and chose a menu of grilled lemon-herb quail, rainbow chard with golden raisins, pine nuts, and prosciutto, and blueberry cobbler.  As a complement, I decided to make a couple of loaves of rye bread from Ruhlman’s bread app.

I had the quail in the freezer from a trip to Broomsage Plantation last fall.  During dinner, I realized that my late friend Tom was with us on the trip.  I thawed the quail and marinated in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, scallions, bay leaves, garlic, salt and pepper.  I grilled the quail over medium heat and presented with lemon wedges after sprinkling with a little sea salt.

The chard recipe was good, with basic sauteed greens made more interesting with the addition of prosciutto, roasted pine nuts, and golden raisins.

Ruhlman’s bread app is amazing.  It takes the arcane witchcraft of bread-baking and simplifies it by including precise, scientific instructions.  Weighing the ingredients is key- the NY Times published an article on kitchen scales earlier this week.

The formed loaves, as they went into the oven.

The finished product.

Headed to the table.  The bread was good, rustic, toothsome, and tasty.  I used a blend of rye flour and bread flour.  It occurred to me that it would make a world-class reuben sandwich.  I’m ready to expand my horizons and include some additional ingredients and flavorings next time.

The cobbler was delicious and simple- fresh blueberries with a little lemon zest topped with a sweet biscuit topping.  We served it with a little vanilla ice cream.

It really is good to be home.

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Grilled Chicken Roulade

I’m not sure it’s appropriate to call this a roulade, it’s really just a stuffed chicken breast.  Roulade sounds better, though, so why not?  This is a VERY simple recipe.  Take a skinless, boneless chicken breast and pound it thin.  The best way to do this is to put a single breast in a quart-size freezer ziploc bag and beat on it with a mallet, or the bottom of a small skillet or saucepan.  The repeat with however many breasts you are preparing.  The bag keeps you from spattering your kitchen with chicken juice, and it also keeps the mallet from tearing the meat.

Once you have it nicely flattened out, stuff with whatever you want.  In this case, I made a tapenade from some Kalamata olives, garlic, and olive oil.  Fold the meat around the stuffing and secure with toothpicks or butcher’s twine.

Grilling works well, but you could also sear in a skillet and finish in a 350 degree oven.  It’s done when the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.

To serve, cut into 1/2″ thick slices and arrange on a platter.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, and garnish the platter with lemon wedges (not pictured).  This is a dish that will look far more impressive than it should given the simplicity of preparation.

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Grilled Lobster

This is an old picture, from our trip to North Carolina over the summer.  On the way to our rental, we passed a ‘gypsy’ lobster stand on the side of the road.  I was understandably skeptical, but the lobsters seemed pretty lively when I went back the next day.  I think the recipe is Bittman’s, the technique was essentially to boil for a few minutes and then split in half and finish on the grill.The recipe has promise, but the results were disappointing.  The grill sucked, and it didn’t get hot enough to really sear the lobsters to finish.  They were tasty, but unevenly cooked.  I’ll try it again and post an update one day soon.

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