This past New Year’s Eve was the first that my husband and I spent at home since we met almost seven years ago. The morning of New Year’s Eve, he went by Huntington Meats and got some beautiful ribeye steaks to grill. I went by Larchmont Wine & Spirits and picked up Champagne and a one-ounce jar of paddlefish caviar. Paddlefish caviar costs about $20 an ounce versus close to $200 an ounce for beluga or osetra. It’s lighter in color with smaller eggs than its more illustrious sturgeon counterparts, but is still deliciously rich and salty and is fantastic atop an omelet or a baked potato. I thought our New Year’s Eve dinner would make for good Valentine’s fare—it has all the requisite decadence for romance, but perhaps most important, is there a faster way to your man’s heart than steak and potatoes?
Posts Tagged ‘grilling’
A couple weeks ago my friend Lizzie mentioned that she had a couple black truffles burning a hole in her pocket. Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. I also had a bunch of kale, a couple slices of bacon and orphan pieces of cheese kicking around in the fridge that were looking for a home so we decided to have a pizza night. In addition to truffles, Lizzie and Matt brought over a fantastic watermelon, feta and arugula salad drizzled with olive oil. Mr. Foodinista picked up a couple merguez sausages and three rounds of Whole Foods Pizza dough, which he stretched onto baking sheets and then prepared the grill. And then I cleaned out the fridge. We ended up with…
Black truffle with caramelized onions and mozzarella. Everyone’s favorite.
Bacon, kale (sautéed in bacon fat), fresh ricotta and red sauce.
Merguez sausage, fontina and chimichurri (leftover from the previous evening’s grilled steaks). I’d make any of these pizzas again in a second, but it’s unlikely to happen unless the same mix of leftovers converge again in my fridge one day soon. But other pizzas await. The true satisfaction comes from seeing what you can come up with using the contents of your fridge. What are some of your favorite combinations?
Garlic scapes! They’re pretty, they’re delicious, they’re here for a limited time only! If you see these mild-tasting stalks at the farmers’ market this weekend, pounce. These past few years the garlic scape window has coincided with a visit to my in-laws’ in Vermont. If you have favorite recipes, please share! Last year I tried garlic scape pesto.
Really, REALLY delish, especially over a simple caprese salad or tossed with pasta. Last week I experimented with a Garlic Scape Chimichurri. Chimichurri is a green sauce from Argentina to accompany grilled meats, and we spooned ours over Mr. Foodinista’s expertly grilled New York strip steaks.
To make, I threw a couple scapes in a Cuisinart with some parsley, cilantro and mint from my mother-in-law’s garden, and then added olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, some chopped shallots, salt and pepper and few red pepper flakes. Total prep time: 5 minutes. And leftovers were great on steak sammies the next day…
THE FOODINISTA’S GARLIC SCAPE CHIMICHURRI
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1 shallot, peeled, halved
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 cups (packed) stemmed fresh parsley
1 cup (packed) stemmed fresh cilantro
2/3 cup (packed) stemmed fresh mint
Place ingredients in blender or food processor and purée until well-blended. Spoon over grilled steaks.
Oh my god I love oysters. And that 18th century adage about only eating oysters in months that contain the letter “r”? Welcome to the 21st century where sustainable farming and advanced wet storage for freighting means you can enjoy oysters year round. Yes, there are seasonal crops, so do ask your fishmonger what’s best to grill, what’s best to eat on the half shell in any given month. And while now is the height of the season to enjoy Pacific oysters raw, last night I had grilled oysters on the brain. Something about the pouring rain and hot-off-the-grill garlicky oysters sounded super. Back at home, Mr. Foodinista shucked away.
First, a word about gear. We have a French-style stainless oyster knife with guard by Rösle that is ideal for smaller oysters, like my favorite Kumamotos. That said, with our monster Canadian mollusks, last night we were wishing we had an East Coast-style shucker with a long flat blade (also called a “stabber”) given the deep cup of the shell and flat top. I think I’m going to order a four-inch Dexter-Russell with a high-carbon-steel blade for Mr. Foodinista. Hog Island Oyster Company sells them online for $15.
While Mr. Foodinista shucked, I opened up a little tin of Trader Joe’s anchovies. I keep a few of these tins on hand at all times. Sometimes, when I’m feeling nostalgic for my starving student days and craving a sodium bomb, they stand in for lunch in a pinch.
Last night, however, a filet or three found their way into a modified bagna càuda (traditional Piedmontese warm dipping sauce of garlic, anchovies, oil, butter). I threw the anchovies, a bunch of Italian parsley and about 8 cloves of garlic into a mini food prep and chopped the hell out of it.
The mixture then eased its way into a hot bath of melted butter and olive oil in a skillet.
Ideally you would have rock salt on hand and would first sprinkle that onto a baking sheet and nestle the oysters on the half shell on top to steady them. We did not have rock salt. Next time. I spooned the bagna càuda over the freshly shucked oysters and Mr. Foodinista disappeared with the tray and grilled them over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, when the sauce just started to bubble.
My husband noticed that the sauce that had spilled over onto the pan steamed up during the grilling, and I like to believe it added a little extra loveliness.
Since there was a fair amount of the bagna càuda left, I tossed some into a wok and added a ton of spinach leaves, along with some more chopped anchovies, red pepper flakes and mint leaves from our garden. You then sauté covered, over medium heat (stirring a few times with a wooden spoon) for three minutes. Pour yourself a glass of Gavi (a Piedmontese white), sit down around the table and make a wee bit of a pig of yourself.
When I walked into my kitchen yesterday afternoon it was like I’d been sucker punched by Manny Pacquiao—that is if the Pac-Man were made out of garlic. Here was the scene: My husband and his friend Francis (who is shooting a totally AMAZING docu-series on Homeboy Industries—more on that soon!) were in the kitchen at the beginning of a three-hour cooking odyssey. Francis was teaching him how to smoke Habanero Garlic Chicken over hickory chips on the grill, a recipe Francis learned from a dude in Austin, TX, upon whom the character of David Wooderson in Dazed & Confused is said to be based. And in Texas, it’s all about slow and low. Trust me, this is man’s work. What follows are Mr. Foodinista’s photographs of this burly business. Outside, hickory chips were soaking in our toddler’s bucket:
Inside, Francis had lost feeling in his fingers deveining and seeding the hotter-than-hell habanero peppers before pulsing in the food processor. You want to end up with about a cup of minced peppers.
Meanwhile, my husband was peeling six HEADS of garlic.
They also got pulverized, and then mixed in with the habaneros and at least two cups of olive oil. Francis chopped up what amounted to a large handful of fresh rosemary and tossed it into the mix.
Me? I would have used gloves for this part, but Francis was feeling no pain. Starting at neck end, he put his hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin of each chicken. Then he spooned several tablespoons of the habanero mixture over breast meat under skin, and also brushed remaining mixture over the outside of the two chickens. (For god’s sake, if you try this at home, do NOT touch your eyes after handling habaneros.)
Inside each cavity he placed half a lemon to keep the birds from drying out. Outside my husband loaded up the smoker box on his beast of a grill with soaked hickory chips. The boys placed the birds on the grill over indirect heat and smoked ‘em at 250-275 degrees for close to three hours.
During which time beers disappeared. If it sounds like we’re in the middle of summer over here, there’s a reason for that. I hate to share this with people living in places where sports arenas are collapsing under the weight of snow, but we’re having a heat wave in Los Angeles. Yesterday was in the mid-80s. But the truly scorching news was how crazy good these chickens were. Smoky and juicy with a fiery heat that slowly builds. Just totally hot in every sense of the word.
Do try this at home, preferably at mine.
This weekend we hit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery again, this time to see All About Eve on the big screen. Obviously we had to knock back a few stiff Gibsons (see above clip!), made with Tipsy Onions, which are packaged in French Vermouth. You cannot believe how great this savory cocktail tastes with our friend Matt’s epic Crabbies:
Delicious! As were Mr. Foodinista’s Sweet Soy Grilled Short Ribs:
But the pièce de résistance? Check back tomorrow for Claire’s UNFORGETTABLE apple galette!!!!
Our neighbor Marc grilled up the best flatbread seasoned with fresh sage and rosemary a few weeks ago at our block party. I’d never had flatbread off the grill before, particularly flatbread this good. It disappeared in SECONDS. But had we neighbors not been so greedy and gobbled them up still warm on the spot, Marc says these are a great alternative to a bun for hotdogs or sausages. I can’t wait to try it. But in the meantime, here’s the recipe which he says is “completely and thorough plagiarized from Mario Batali’s grill book.” Hey, we’ve all been there, Marc.
From Mario Batali’s Italian Grill
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tbs salt
1 tbs sugar
1 ½ tablespoons fresh sage/rosemary, etc.
1 cup warm water
½ cup dry white wine (room temperature)
1 tablespoons plus 7 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Oiled large bowl for dough to rise in.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and herbs, and mix well. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the warm water, wine and olive oil. Using a wooden spoon (I just used my fingers) stir the we ingredients into the dry until the mixture is too stiff to stir, then mix with your hands in a bowl until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Lightly dust a work surface and turn the dough out. Knead gently for 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky. Add the dough to the large oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap or towel, and leave to rise for about an hour.
Gently punch down the dough, turn out on a cutting board or work surface, and cut into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and place on a lightly oiled sheet. Cover loosely and let sit for another 30 minutes.
Flatten with hands and/or a lightly floured rolling pin, and grill! 1 ½ minutes on each side, and you’re done.
Before we tucked into Mad Men last night—or the bewitching Summer Fruit Shortcake that our friend Vincent whipped up—we sat down to grilled rabbit à la Anne. After taunting me with a description of grilled rabbit and homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, we decided to give it a go. Neither Vincent nor Mr. Foodinista had tasted rabbit before, and now both are hopping (sorry) for more. I think this is maybe my favorite grilled meal I’ve had all summer. It’s a super-lean protein. You can use rabbit in any dish that you would use chicken. And this particular dish couldn’t be easier—or more delicious. I guess it’s mostly a matter of finding rabbit. If you live in LA, check out Puritan Poultry on Third/Fairfax and have them chop up a three-pound rabbit into eight pieces. Then here’s what Anne recommends:
i marinated it in olive oil, garlic, rosemary, maldon salt (my favorite) and pepper for an hour or so… then grilled it over
indirect flame on the bbq for about 20 mins… turning at mid-point. we put some oak chips in the bbq for flavor. when we first had grilled rabbit in oregon at a winery they used dried vine cuttings and it was amazing.
Whoa. What a week—and it’s only Wednesday. So, this whole taking-my-baby-to-preschool situation has really taken it out of me. Anxiety. Gloomy weather. In July. In LA. Earthquake. I’m sorry, but I’ve been kind of down. Tiny G, on the other hand, is up up up. He ate his first sandwich today in preschool. It was pretty damned cute. To that end, I’d like to turn my frown upside down and share a sunny dinner we enjoyed a couple of weeks ago with our dear friend Darris. (For days after said dinner, Tiny G was asking “Where Dis? Where Dis?”) I wish I could deliver Darris and his conversation to your dinner table should your day need brightening, but in lieu, here is the next best thing.
The rosemary skewers, which are easy to make, impart an herbal fragrance to the shrimp, and they look both rustic and elegant at the same time. Alla romagnola means that these spiedini are a specialty of Romagna, the eastern part of the region Emilia-Romagna.—Mario Batali, Italian Grill
[FOODINISTA NOTE: THIS RECIPE AS WRITTEN BELOW MAKES ABOUT TWICE AS MUCH BREAD CRUMB/HERB MIXTURE AS YOU NEED]
1 bunch Italian parsley, leaves only (about 2 cups loosely packed)
1 bunch basil, leaves only (about 2 cups packed)
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt [need to check this amount again]
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds large shrimp (21–30 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 lemons, cut into wedges
12 large rosemary sprigs, prepared as skewers (see BELOW NOTE) and soaked in water for at least 2 hours, or overnight
Toss the parsley and basil leaves into a food processor, add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of the olive oil, and zap until the herbs are chopped and the bread crumbs look green.
Transfer to a pie plate or wide shallow bowl, add the shrimp, and toss to coat well. [FOODINISTA NOTE: I TOSSED IN A PYREX BAKING DISH]
Skewer 4 or 5 shrimp on each rosemary sprig (the easiest way to do this is line up 4 or 5 shrimp—“spoon fashion”—at a time on a work surface and run a skewer through them; then separate them slightly so they will cook evenly). Dredge on both sides in the bread crumb mixure, place on a platter, and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. [HERE IS MR FOODINISTA SHOWING US HOW IT'S DONE:]
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill. Put a piastra (FOODINISTA NOTE: OR GRIDDLE) on the grill to preheat.
Spritz or brush the piastra with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the skewers on the piastra and cook, turning once, just until the shrimp are opaque throughout and some of the crumbs are browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the lemon wedges.
Rosemary Skewers It’s easy to make skewers from rosemary sprigs. Choose large sturdy sprigs that are about 8 inches long. Pull off most of the leaves from each sprig, leaving a nice tuft of leaves at the top (use the remaining leaves in the dish you are making, or reserve for another use). Using a sharp knife, cut off the bottom of the sprig on a diagonal to give you a sharp point. The skewer will slide easily through the shrimp when you skewer them.
Did you know that red onions are a rich source of flavonoids and phenolics, which means they are great antioxidants? We like to throw red onions in the mix whenever possible, and Mario Batali’s Thick-Sliced Onions with Lemon Time is one of our favorite summer grilling recipes. They are great alongside a grilled buffalo New York steak.
Thick-Sliced Onions with Lemon Thyme
Adapted from Mario Batali’s Italian Grill
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh lemon thyme
2 pounds large red onions
About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat a gas grill for direct cooking over high heat.
Combine vinegar, garlic and thyme in small saucepan and heat until fragrant and just beginning to steam; don’t let it boil. Remove from heat and let stand for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut onions into 1/2-inch-thick slices and lay out on baking sheet. Brush on both sides with 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place onions on hottest part of grill and cook, unmoved, for 4 to 5 minutes, until just charred on first side. Turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until softened and lightly charred on the second side. Transfer to baking sheet or platter.
Whisk remaining 1/4 cup olive oil into vinegar mixture and drizzle over onions. Serve warm or at room temperature.