Month: September 2009

Grilled Teriyaki Flank Steak

This weeknight grilling recipe is Teriyaki Flank Steak, a variation on my Flank Steak with Chimichurri recipe that I posted a few months ago. While I prefer ribeye steaks, I don’t think of ribeyes as a weeknight meal. They’re more of a special occasion meal for me, due to the price, and how rich they are.*I already have to watch my weight; I can’t imagine what it would be like if I ate ribeyes all the time. Flank steak is my weeknight beef of choice. It grills quickly, and it has long fibers of muscle that allow it to absorb a marinade well (or a glaze, like we use here).  It’s a healthy cut of protien, because it’s very lean. And it’s cheap!**Or, cheaper than ribeye. If you’re really tight on grocery money, stick with pork and chicken, which are much cheaper. Recipe: Grilled Teriyaki Flank SteakEquipment: Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.) Ingredients: 1.5 lbs flank steak 1.5 tsp kosher salt Teriyaki Sauce 1/2 cup soy sauce 2 tbsp Mirin or …

Weeknight Grilling on DadCooksDinner

*Wherein we discuss Dad Cooking Dinner when the chips are down. I’ve mentioned this scenario before: It’s been a long day at work, the kids are ricocheting off the walls (and each other), and the wife has left for evening classes.  You’re tired, and not motivated to cook.  The siren song of pizza delivery is singing in the back of your head.  What do you do? This week, I’m getting quick and dirty.  You need a protein, a veg, and a starch, and you need it now, or you’re going to lose your nerve and go to the drive-through.  Again. What do I do?  I can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes.  45 minutes, tops.  It may not be gourmet, but it’s good, it’s quick, and it’s homemade.  All the other recipes and techniques I’ve shown you on this blog?  They’re my passion, obviously; I love food and cooking.  But sometimes I’m just not in the mood.  Or, we’re in a hurry to get to a kid’s soccer game.  Or…well, you know how …

Rotisserie Beef Ribs

I’m a fan of beef ribs cut off of a rib roast; I eat them as my cook’s treat when I make a rib roast.  I’m also a big fan of pork ribs, cooked low and slow.  So, whenever I made beef ribs on their own, without the roast, I would cook them low and slow.  The beef ribs were good, but not great; I would always prefer pork ribs.  I couldn’t figure out why the same low and slow technique you use with pork ribs didn’t work as well with beef ribs. Finally, it dawned on me – I liked the ribs cut from the roast better because they were roasted.  I wasn’t cooking them at a high enough temperature to get a nice, crispy crust on them, and I was drying them out with the long cooking time.  Why not cook them the same way I cooked my rotisserie baby back ribs, which always turned out with a wonderful, crisp crust? And, voila!  My new favorite rib recipe was born. These ribs are …

Jane Snow’s Cookbook is finally coming out!

I’m so excited – Jane Snow’s cookbook is finally coming out! Jane Snow was the food editor in my local paper, the Akron Beacon Journal.  My interest in home cooking took off after we moved to Akron, a little over ten years ago, and I immediately found out what a treasure we had in our local paper.  I always looked forward to Jane’s weekly articles, food notes, and recipes.  She retired a few years back, to work on a cookbook, or so I heard.* *I’ve been waiting.  Patiently…  Jane’s recipe for Chicken Mole is still the best one I’ve ever made, and I’ve tried them from a number of cookbooks, including a couple different variations from Rick Bayless. I’ve been a loyal subscriber to her weekly newsletter, JaneSnowToday.com, in part because I wanted to get the news about the cookbook.  Oh, and she happened to mention a steak cook off in the newsletter a few months ago, which inspired me to enter.  Did I mention that I won? I was doing a search on the …

Zucchini Pickles, Zuni style

As I was finishing up pickle week, I stumbled across this recipe for zucchini pickles from Zuni Cafe in San Francisco.  I’m embarrassed that I didn’t find it earlier.  Zuni is one of my favorite restaurants in the world, and I’ve talked before about how influential the Zuni Cafe Cookbook has been on my cooking.  I’ve also talked about how overrun by zucchini we are this time of year.  But a recipe in the cookbook that I’ve looked through hundreds of times?  Somehow, it managed to elude me. In the spirit of better late than never, here it is.  I like these pickles as much, if not more than, the cucumber pickles I made.  Zucchini is always easier to find than good cucumber pickles, so I will be using this recipe again.*And I love saying “Zuni Zucchini”.  It rolls off the tongue.  Zunicchini.  Yes, my seven year old self is never far from the surface… Sliced and ready to go Recipe: Zucchini Pickles, Zuni styleEquipment: A clean quart jar with a tight fitting lid (Canning jars or …

Hi, I’m Mike, and I’m a Recipe Oversharer

Lisa Abraham, Akron Beacon Journal food writer, wrote a recent article on sharing recipes.  In it, she says that her job is getting people to share their recipes with her.  But she also has a couple of family recipes that she won’t share.* *Her mother gave them to her, with threat of excommunication from the family if she ever gave them away. I enjoyed the article, but I realized that there is no recipe that I won’t share.  I’m a recipe oversharer.  If you show a hint of interest my cooking, I won’t let you escape until I’ve explained how to make it.  In excruciating detail. That’s why I started this blog – I enjoy explaining how to do things, and I love cooking.  I’ll admit, we don’t have any secret family recipes to keep, but if we did, I’d be sharing them anyhow.* *The closest we have is my Mom’s hollandaise sauce.  She makes eggs benedict every Easter, and I just love her sauce.  She hasn’t told me the recipe, but I don’t think …

Grilled Corn

Grilled Corn is my favorite grilled side dish – it’s quick and easy, and grilling brings out the sweet taste of the corn. The only reason I haven’t posted it before this is…I thought I already HAD posted it.*Oops. It’s a perfect recipe for September, when you can still get wonderfully sweet corn straight from the farm, but you’re getting a little tired of plain boiled corn. And…you didn’t hear it from me, Mr. Buy Local, but it’s also great for store-bought corn the rest of the year. Grilling the corn perks up the bland flavor of out of season corn to where it’s actually worth eating! Recipe: Grilled CornCook time: 12 minutes Equipment: Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.) Basting Brush (I like the Oxo Large Silicone Brush) Ingredients: Fresh ears of corn, husked Kosher salt 2 tbsp melted butter per 6 ears of corn (optional if the corn is really fresh) Directions:1. Prepare the corn: Husk the corn, put it on a large sheet pan and give it a …

Poll: Commenting or Blog Flogging?

Or, how do you promote a blog without looking like an infomercial pitchman?[h/t Daniel at Casual Kitchen for suggesting this topic] I have a question for you, readers:What is an acceptable level of promoting your blog in the comments of another blog?  Where’s the line between linking back to your blog in the comments, and Blog Flogging?Please answer in the comments section, at the bottom of the post. Now for some context around why I’m asking this question. Recently, I’ve started trying to get my blog read by a wider group of people.  I’ve been submitting recipes to other sites that request them for links pages, and I’ve become an active commenter in blogs that I follow regularly. Now, “leave comments on other sites with links back to your site” is common advice for increasing your blog’s readership.  It’s such common advice that it often gets abused.  I don’t like it when I see a comment along the lines of: I agree! http://someblogorother.blogspot.com My prime directive when commenting is: say something that adds to the conversation. …

Road Trip: Szalay’s Sweet Corn Farm

Szalay’s Sweet Corn Farm is my favorite place in Akron, when late summer comes and the sweet corn starts rolling in.  Located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, they specialize in sweet corn, but have a ton of other vegetables.* *Some of their vegetables are locally grown, and some aren’t any different from what you get at the grocery store.  If that matters to you, just make sure you check their signs to see “fresh picked” or “local.”  Their corn is always grown in Ohio, though some comes from fields they have South of Akron so they can start the season a little early. Unlike some farmer’s markets, they are open every day of the week.  With sweet corn, this really matters.  You want to eat sweet corn as soon as possible the day it is picked, because it starts converting its sugar into starch.  I make a special trip down to Szalay’s on the day I want to cook my corn. Szalay’s Sweet Corn Farm4563 Riverview RoadPeninsula, OH 44264330-657-2727Hours: Open daily, 9am-7pm, mid June …

Rotisserie Pan Soup, Barbacoa style

Enough teasing.  Here is my favorite sentence in the instructions of a recipe: With the precision of a steady-handed circus performer, carefully remove the pan of soup from the bottom of the grill. [Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen] That sentence has everything – specific instructions, a colorful allegory that explains things better than a picture could, a grill – it’s a thing of beauty.*My second favorite sentence comes from Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way.  It’s part of his recipe for Una Vaca Entera.  (Yes, “One Entire Cow”.)  It goes: I must confess, after a lifetime of following fancy French recipes, that it gives me great pleasure to write the following list of ingredients: 1 medium cow, about 1400 pounds, butterflied, skin removed 2 gallons salumera 2 gallons Chimichurri This soup is a great idea for a side dish when you’re cooking on the rotisserie; you’re going to have fat and meat juices dripping into the pan anyhow, why not make use of them?  And the soup is delicious.  I was going to recommend using homemade stock instead …

Rotisserie Beef Chuck Roast Barbacoa

I’m a big fan of beef*, but not beef prices.*I don’t think any of my blog readers would confuse me with a vegetarian. Beef rib roast is my favorite, but it can be very expensive.   What do I do when I want a beef roast, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg?  I cook a chuck roast, from the shoulder of the steer.*Arms?  Legs?  Shoulders?  What is this, an anatomy lesson?  Well, sort of.  Read on… Shoulder meat is tougher than the expensive cuts, but it contains a lot of connective tissue that will melt into tender collagen if you cook it long enough.  The traditional way to do this is a pot roast, but I’ve become a fan of cooking beef chuck low and slow on the grill.  If you give it long enough, it comes out nice and tender. I’m cooking a Tex-Mex version of pot roast, called Barbacoa.  It’s adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless.  He puts the meat (in his case, lamb shoulder) on the grill rack …

What does “Season to Taste” mean, exactly?

The Kitchn has a great post on how to properly season a dish.  When a recipe says “season to taste”, what do they mean? I tried to cover this in my Turkey Noodle Soup post, but after reading their version…boy, did I ever Fail. They explain the thought process I go through when I’m seasoning soup, but they have some important clues that I couldn’t put into words. My explanation of when to add salt: The tasting part of the recipe is the key piece. Does it seem bland? Add salt. Their explanation: 1. Does It Need Salt? – Nine times out of ten, it does. Salt reduces bitterness and amplifies other flavors in a dish. We add it a half-teaspoon at a time until we can taste those two things happen and just before the dish actually tastes salty. [thekitchn.com] That’s IT!  I add salt until I taste that “reducing of bitterness.”  I’ve always thought of it as adding salt and tasting,  until the soup starts to taste “a little sweet” – that’s what I’ve learned to …

Vietnamese Sandwich (Bahn Mi) with Chicken

Now we’re down to brass tacks. This is why I showed you the butterflied asian chicken, and had you make extra. I just wanted you to have the ingredients for this recipe. Vietnamese Sandwich, or Bahn Mi, was a flavor revelation to me earlier this year, when I went for dinner at Superior Pho in Cleveland. *I know, I know – foodies on the coasts have known abut the glory of Bahn Mi for years now. I’m sorry I was late to the party. This recipe is still worth it.   I took one bite, then started dissecting my sandwich right there on the table, to figure out how to make one by myself. The combination Vietnamese-French ingredients – the Vietnamese filling, and the crispy loaf of French bread – is a match made in taste heaven. *Of course this is the Americanized version of a Vietnamese classic street food. Here’s a New York Times article on the variations made in NYC. That article has the best sandwich picture I’ve ever seen – an exploded …

Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken

Time to use some leftover chicken! If you’re following along, you have some grilled asian chicken in your refrigerator, and (hopefully) some of the dipping sauce.*If not, that’s OK – I’ve made this salad with “plain” leftover chicken, and made the dressing on the fly. Or, a la minute in French. I bet you didn’t think I could work my love of france into an Asian Noodle Salad, did you? When I have leftovers, one of my first thoughts is “salad”.  Steak and blue cheese salad, Greek Salad with chicken, chicken caesar salad* – if you have some leftover protein and some greens you can whip up a meal that doesn’t seem much like leftovers with very little effort.  Just be sure to make your own salad dressing!*(fill in protein here) caesar salad has turned into a cliche on restaurant menus.  Do it at home, for a weeknight dinner that’s ready in about 15 minutes, and you’re a hero. This salad is a work of art. The different colors and textures layered in this salad …

Why Weber?

Why Weber? When we moved into our house, the first thing I wanted was a Weber kettle for my back yard.  Why?  I’m not sure, exactly, but that was one of the best gut feelings I’ve ever had.To paraphrase “High Fidelity” – normally, when I trust my gut, it has rocks for brains.  But not this time! I think I wanted one because it’s a classic of American design.  It’s immediately identifiable.  If you have a commercial, and you want people to know it’s someone’s back yard, you have a red Weber kettle sitting in the background.Never mind that they haven’t made them in red for a while now.  Of course, what I really want is the Homer Simpson Limited Edition Charcoal Kettle.**See the history of weber grills through this link: Weber Timeline.  The Wishing Well Weber leaves me giggling… That grill started me on was the odyssey that led to this blog.  My first few grill sessions were hit or miss, so I went on this newfangled internet thing to find out what I was …