Archive for the ‘Grillin'’ Category
And now part deux of the divoreee vacay extravaganza..
Obviously no 4th of July celebration is complete without that culinary American icon, the burger. And don’t get us wrong, we love juicy, meaty burgers (along with apple pie and freedom). But, it is equally obvious that divorcee vacay calls for a bit of panache, something beyond the red meat and yellow cheese standard. This last point is especially important, as no cheese connoisseur with any street cred is going to slap a Kraft single on a meat patty and call it a day.
Editor’s Note: Please give a warm welcome to AMF’s good friends and newest contributors, Sparkles (Allison) and Master P (Paula). Being the wine drinking, sunloving, danceaholics that they are, I’m really pleased to have them share their culinary adventures and cocktail making hotness.
To be clear, we are not divorced (from each other or otherwise). Excluded from a college boys weekend, unable to convince two other bffs to join us and desperate to leave our respective cities (DC and NYC), we are vacationing just the two of us on the small, quaint island of Anna Maria, Florida. Hence, we feel like divorcees and intend to drink, eat and sun bathe accordingly.
Once you get on the island, it’s hard to leave (and not a good idea after wine in the afternoon) so we make sure to shop for the whole trip. Brilliantly, we acquire ingredients that can be re-used in innovative ways (ie if you buy enough different cheeses, you are pretty much set for days.)
Cocktail Hour Menu:
Libation – Mojitos with pineapple infused rum and coconut water
Appetizer – Grilled, halved peaches with honey vanilla ricotta
We begin our late afternoon with a cocktail “project.” Located in the fruit aisle, next to the peaches, we found coconuts, silly, fury little guys, just begging to be taken home (despite the obvious question: what does one do with a whole coconut?) Before we do anything, we slice up pineapple and throw it in a bowl and cover it with rum to let the rum seep in. (Snacking on rum soaked pineapple is pretty fantastic, as well.) We then take our coconut into the garage and discover a power drill! We hold the coconut over a bowl and drill! until we pierce through the shell, then add another hole for air flow and drain the coconut juice into a bowl to be thrown into a mojito with rum soaked pineapple, fresh crushed mint, more rum, simple syrup and a little club soda. Perfection!
Onto the appetizers! We preheat the grill on medium heat, then take a peach and half it, pulling out the pit and coat each half in olive oil, then throw them face down on the grill and close the cover. We mix ricotta with honey and a little vanilla while we wait. Once grill marks appear on the peaches, after about 10 minutes, we brush balsamic vinegar on them and then add copious amounts of the ricotta mixture and devour with a fork and knife. The result is as warm and delish as peach cobbler without as much guilt. (It is just the appetizer, after all.)
Cocktail Hour Recipes
2 parts chunks of pineapple
1 healthy pinch mint leaves
1 part simple syrup (1 cup water to 1 cup sugar)
1 part rum
1 part coconut water
Splash club soda
1 peach (pitted)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Balsamic vinegar mixed with honey for drizzling
Olive oil for brushing
Soon to come: Chorizo and BlueCheese Brandy Burgers..
Going to a major supermarket in a large city on a Monday is fucking miserable. Especially after a long weekend dedicated to consuming your not so healthy regiment of grilled foods and alcohol. Everyone is pushing through each other, families with screaming kids take up entire ailes, and the lines are a rabid clusterfuck of impatience and frustration.
But there I was, wandering around in this chaos, trying to figure out what the hell I’d be eating for dinner and pretty bored with my options. I wanted meat and I wanted grillable, but everything I was seeing (chicken, pork, steak) I had cooked or eaten recently. I wasn’t in the mood for a three hour slow cook either.
And then, in the corner of my eye, I spotted them: precut, bone-in lamb chops the size of lollipops, only one package remaining, looking up at me. I stared in disbelief. Most French trimmed whole rack of lamb chops I have played with were pathetically tiny, but these beauties were actually a decent size! It may actually take one or two bites to consume the medallion. I looked around like someone about to steal a purse and snatched the chops up without another moment of hesitation.
Thank God our Forefathers decided to seek independence in the summer, happy 4th
Lately I’ve been riding a streak of failed plans and missed occasions. I really don’t try to follow any kind of schedule or make long term commitments usually; a random call or a coincidence meet usually dictates my adventures. But when I get a craving for some roasted baby chicken, or decide to put together a beer Olympiad cleverly disguised as “camping”, or any other number of anticipated events, it can be amazingly frustrating when debilitating viruses or crappy weather interferes on a semi-frequent basis. So Sunday was cornish hen day, come hell or high water.
What I thought I’d try given the size of these hens, was to grill them using two different methods for roasting a whole chicken. The first and more traditional is the whole roast method, thanksgiving style. Stuffing is certainly an option here and is much better suited for brining and long, slow cook times on low heat. Then there’s the butterflied and brick method. A little extra prep work cuts down the cooking time to half and ensures a more tasty, crispy skin. A lazy, hungover Sunday is a great excuse to try out both methods. I’ll try on touch on the differences in cooking method and gas vs. charcoal grills throughout the post.
What better filler is there to complement a BBQ than cornbread? It’s easy, tasty, and matches perfectly with anything you eat without utensils. Depending on where you grew up the type of cornbread you were exposed to may vary. I’m a regional mutt so I had a taste of both the sweeter, cakelike Northern variation as well as the crumbly, salty Southern style. And I really dig on both when done well.
Lately I’ve been trying recreate a version I have fond memories of growing up. And I’ve failed.. a lot.. each failure closer and more tasty to what I’ve been shooting for but fail none-the-less. Oh don’t get me wrong, as a result of my missteps I can make some damn tasty cornbread, but that adored variation I’m secretly terrified was just Jiffy mix is a mystical and allusive bitch.
Creating a moist, delicate texture as well as having that corny flavor while balancing sweet, salty and savory tastes is worth a few dozen more tries. Until I’ve perfected this seemingly impossible cornbread, enjoy one of my favorite “southwest style” cornbread that’s just brilliant in a cast iron skillet.
Another glorious memorial day has come and gone, and summer has finally arrived. Ladies and Gents, grilling season is upon us!!
Lately I feel like chicken is starting to get a bad rap. Ok, fine, maybe not a bad rap (pork may win that contest right now), but it’s just not sexy anymore is it? Cheap, easy to find chicken just isn’t making the average food aficionado get excited. But why the hell not?! I’ve had some amazing roast chicken a few times in my life, the kind that’s finger smacking delicious you’d travel across town just to chow down on. Why the hell aren’t we trying to figure out how to make chicken like that before spending a fortune on fancy pants ingredients? It’s taken me a while to acknowledge this fact, but chicken really does deserve a spot on our food radar. How better to do that than by lighting up a hot grill and opening up a cold beer?
As per usual, I turn to my favorites: Childs, Pepin, Cook’s Illistrated to figure out how best to do a little BBQ. I was looking for insight into cooking cut up pieces as well as maximizing crispy skin texture. Cooks Ill. won out on this one because of the comprehensive breakdown of different chicken parts/grill methods. It also turned me onto a method I’ve been curious to try for a while now: brining. My friends, why do we not brine? Like the chicken this seems so unappreciated. What are we doing that makes us so busy that we cannot prep our meats an hour or two early by soaking them in a bath of salt water? Ok, fair enough, there are probably tons or reasons, but if someone came up to you and said that they had a magical way of seasoning, tenderizing and infusing moistness in your chicken, wouldn’t you want to take note? That’s right, a little salt water is magic.
So now that you’ve hacked up a chicken (assuming you tried out some of the techniques recommended yesterday) you may as well make use of the bird. What you’ve basically done at this point is butterfly a chicken Tuscan style, so why not grill the whole chicken on a grill with some citris. What the hell, get yourself a brick or heavy pan and you’ve got the makings for a pretty tasty meal.
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic gloves minced
1 whole chicken (butterflied)
1 Tbsp paprika
2 whole lemons
2 bricks wrapped in foil/big ass heavy skillet
Now I know it’s sacralege to even infer ribs made in the oven and not over indirect wood burning heat are comparable in any way. I wouldn’t argue that. Ten years growing up in South Carolina was a sound education for anyone interested in BBQ. But I will say that any ribs slow cooked after being rubbed all over with a variety of spices coated with a dash of your favorite BBQ sauce is still one of the most savory and delisious meals you can make whether it come out of your oven, off your grill, or from a home made fire pit! A little planning and there’s no excuse not to play with some ribs.
I’ve never made ribs before, but if you have a constant heat source and a few basic spices you can make yourself some fall off the bone deliciousness that you’ll want to tear apart with your bare hands and savor every ounce of flavor. This may be my new favorite cut of meat to play with. The only draw back is the need to prep and the 3 hour cooking time. But other than that it’s pretty hard to mess up. Plenty of recipes sure to come, but for now, what I did yesterday afternoon..