Tuesday, June 29, 2010
After raiding the fridge and local farmer's market, we decided upon the ultimate weekend meal: fajitas. I probably have some sort of meal wrapped in a fajita once a week. There are easy, quick, and relatively healthy (not that the healthy part really directs my decision making).
For protein, I usually go beef or shrimp. There is always frozen shrimp in the freezer and more often than not, I usually have a vacuumed packed flat iron steak too. Of course in case of a tie, you know which direction I swing: beef.
To hone Bean's eye hand coordination skills on something other than the PS3, I had him prep, cut, and skewer the red onions and green peppers. Instead of sautéing up the vegetables in the skillet, we opted to go with more of a grilled approach by placing them on skewers.
With rather good precision, Bean worked the onions and peppers on to the skewers with care and proper spacing. It brought a tear to my eye, and not because of the cut onions.
We prepped a two zone fire. Direct medium to one side and indirect to the other. While Bean was hard at work getting things ready, I enjoyed a pint of our Bean Buzzy Bear we brewed back in April. For a batch I wasn't too sure of, I have really enjoyed this malty scottish ale.
We grilled the vegetables for about 10 minutes over direct heat, turning once. We then moved to the indirect side while we grilled our flat iron steak. The steak was cooked for 10 minutes, turning once.
I like my meat medium rare, so once done, it was removed from the grate, placed on a cutting board and allowed to rest.
While the meat took a sabbatical, we removed the vegetables from the skewers and diced them further. The meat was next sliced thin and placed in the middle of some tortillas we had warmed on the grates.
We topped them with the onions, peppers, bibb lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, and of course sour cream (real sour cream, not the low-fat, non-fat, less-fat, varieties!)
Bean ranked the fajitas 5 stars on his 3 star scale. If based on 5th grade math, I believe it means he liked them. Good, I know I did.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Traditional, hot, & timely…it’s Ribeye Friday (or at least it was on Friday when I grilled it!). Ribeye Friday used to occur much, much, much more regularly. Steak is an easy meal that always pleases and always looks great for the camera. Drop, sizzle, rotate, flip, sizzle, rotate, strike a pose…vogue, remove, eat: Ribeye Friday.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Since my ribs were nice and thick, I found it fairly easily to slice them out. With the bone facing down, I worked my knife (which really needs to be sharpened), across the top of the bone, just stopping before reaching the end. I then opened up my cut, placed my knife just past the "meat hinge" I created, and made another cut, continuing in the same direction as before, towards the far end.
What you are doing is elongating the meat by slicing it thin and spreading it out. You have to be careful when doing this, as you need to leave enough meat in the "hinges" so that the sections don't split, as for me, they inevitably do!
I originally made this back on WOTG #130, here's the recipe:
For the marinade, I turn to the ever trusty Weber Red Book:
Korean Short Ribs
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 Tbls brown sugar
2 Tbls rice vinegar
2 green onions, minced
2 Tsp minced garlic
2 Tsp Asian sesame oil
2 Tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 Tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 Tsp of each salt and pepper
The marinade ingredients were mixed together and then added to a plastic zip lock bag to marinade with the cut up short ribs. Ideally, you want them to marinade for 8-12 hours. The longer, the better.
When you think ribs, you think low and slow. I also think sun, beer, smoke, beer, and several other lesser important things...but not here. These short ribs are cooked direct, hot, and fast. Prep your grill for direct high.
Remove the ribs from the marinade and pat dry. Grill them over direct high for approximately 8-10 minutes, flipping once.
Take them off and dig in. The spicy asian sauce is the real winner here, especially on the really fatty pieces of meat. I
The short ribs were served up as an appetizer, as the main course was grilled swordfish, which was superb. Unfortunately, I was battling less tan stellar light, so the pictures sucked. We did however enjoy a quick side of veg by skewering up some onion, peppers, and mushrooms.
My annual short rib rotation needs to be cut in half. These are too good to only enjoy once a year. I imagine you will agree.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Eric and I spent Sunday serving up a homebrew demonstration at FestivAle, a beer tasting event at St. Christopher's Church annual festival. After getting
First off, the organization was great. We had a spot right next to the main tasting tent where we set up. Since canvas tents, open flame, and the fire marshall don't go well together, we were just outside.
Yes, it was hot enough outside to start a boil without flame, but the instant close shade made the heat a non-issue. Also, the iron that our setup was situated between playground equipment was not lost on us.
The only downside to the day was the 12 pounds of crushed grain I dumped in the backseat of my car on the way over. The tub was apparently precariously perched on my mash paddle and thanks to my "light" braking, the tub hit the rear of the seat, the lid popped off, and the grain landed on the floor of the backseat. On the plus side, I recovered most of it and the car will never have a need for an air freshener as the dominate odor from her on out is crushed grain.
During the day we had a steady flow of observers. Although some were brewers and some were not, all of the onlookers shared a love of good beer. They asked inquisitive questions and great stories.
Eric brewed a wit beer and I brewed a "strong amber ale". My recipe was taken from an old beer style book Wendy gave me on our trip over to England last month. Culled from old notes found by the authors, the recipe dates back to the 1790s. Although called a strong amber ale, it is really more of a bitter. Comprised entirely of pale malt and 5 ounces of Fuggle hops, it should be a rather pale, slightly hoppy beer.
Besides getting in our brews, we also took part in the tastings. We were thrilled to participate and hope we left a good enough impression to be asked back.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Which, I believe, is a good thing! Last weekend was the 3rd Annual Firkin Fest at Boston's. Dave Boston, the proprietor of Boston's (as if the last name didn't give it away), took months stockpiling the fest's lineup. Dave featured 8 casks from Bell's Troeg's, Victory, Rogue, Clipper City, and the crown jewel, Old Speckled Hen from Morland (aka Greene King) in England.
I believe I have wasted too much time over the last month blabbering about my love for cask conditioned beer. When you compare a pint of beer dispensed via CO2 to a pint pulled from a cask, the difference is vast...no gas, no fizzy beer, just great taste.
For the uninitiated, this is how Cask Marque (a UK English cask accreditation organization....yes, you read it right, beer accreditation) describes cask beer:
It is known popularly as "real ale" thanks to more than a quarter-century of feverish and dedicated activity by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). But a brewer and a connoisseur will prefer the term "cask-conditioned beer", for it best expresses the unique character of Britain's great contribution to the world of fermented grain: a beer that reaches maturity not in the brewery but inside its cask in the cellar of a pub. Most beer -- and more than 93 per cent of the world's production is cold-fermented lager beer -- is filtered and often pasteurised in the brewery at the end of the brewing process. It is ready to serve as soon as it reaches its destination in pub, cafe, bar or bier keller, pumped to the bar by gas from a canister. Cask beer is different because it is a living product and gains maturity and flavour in the cellar.
The biggest hits for me were the Clipper City Heavy Seas Pegleg Imperial Stout and the Old Speckled Hen. It's too bad an assembly of cask beer of this magnitude is only a once a year thing here in Dayton.
Well that was last weekend, this Sunday, Eric and I will be representing the rest of our Backyard Brewers at a homebrew demonstration at FestivAle. FestivAle is a beer tasting and beer education event held as part of the annual St. Christopher's Festival in Vandalia. Unfortunately, the rest of our Association are all own vacation, so Eric and I have to "perform" alone.
First off, we have to remember not to forget something, because we are brewing "off location" and second, we have to remember that we are "off location". Enough said.
While in England, Wendy picked me up a book on old English beer styles. Most of the styles are no longer being brewed, so I decided it would be fun to take one on for myself. I adapted an Amber Ale which was originally brewed in 1796. Most of the conversions worked out, so I have high hopes for the finished batch. Stop on by the festival tomorrow, taste some beers, and watch Eric and me publicly embarrass ourselves. That, in and of itself, should be worth the price of admission alone.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I realized over the last 10 days, I have been a little lax in updates. I blame this new thing called “deadlines”. Everything somewhat culminated tonight, where I basically grilled two dinners for my upcoming article. I am trying to get everything submitted to my editors mid week for review. Thankfully, everything went well and I’m happy with the recipes and pictures…which is saying something as of late!
In the meantime, I poured my first pint of my hefeweizen from last month, and am quite pleased. The color was a little darker than expected, but the lime and coriander really stand out (in a good way, not in a “forgot my pants again” and here I am outside way). At a little under 4% ABV, this will be a great beer for a 90 degree weekend.
Coming up, I need to recap Firkin Fest from last weekend, and tease FestiveAle this weekend, which includes a homebrew demo from Eric and me….crazy, eh?
Most importantly, I will soon follow-up with a little deep dish pizza revival I had late last week. I can still taste it…stay tuned.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Best yet, when grilling a chicken mid-week I not only get dinner, but at least a couple lunches thereafter. It's a win, win, win!
I happen to enjoy rotisserie chickens so much, I never seem to have the same one twice. I'm often all over the place. Tonight, for instance, I opted for smokey and sweet.
I stuffed the bird with a ton of oregano. Unlike my hair, the oregano in our herb garden is growing steadily out of control. With aromatics in place, I trussed the bird and placed it on the spit. Using the sink, I spanned the spit across the bowl to oil and season the bird. This set up makes the process of seasoning the bird so much easier.
I opted to use the roto on the kettle and prepped it for indirect cooking while at the same time soaked some wine infused oak chips. With the grill ready and smoke spewing, I mounted the spit to the kettle and started the spin.
About 15 minutes in, I dropped some soaked ears of corns down on the charcoal grate. It was somewhat of an afterthought, and they turned out pretty good. I'll experiment more with this idea later.
Depending on the size, I typically spin my birds for an hour and fifteen to an hour and thirty minutes. During the last fifteen minutes, I basted the chicken with 1/2 cup of honey, a 1/4 cup of butter, and a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne (In the end there wasn't enough heat, so next time I'll up the pepper).
Between the glaze and smoke, the chicken turned out just right. The oregano in the cavity added great flavor to the meat and the glaze made the skin taste heavenly. Even when I don't plan ahead, a chicken on the grill makes a great mid-week dinner...and lunch, and lunch, and lunch. It's easy, about impossible to screw up, and can be a blank slate for all sorts of experimentation. I agree, Ruhlman's got this one right.
Lil' Mike made it today from England. It took about two weeks. Thankfully, he's doing pretty good. The only issue was his iPhone came lose and that's probably because he's seriously ready to ditch his 3G for the new iPhone 4!
He's currently perched in the kitchen. When I walk to the grill, all I see is the back of his head. It gives me a strange out of body experience.
Even though his constant stares will take some getting use to, I'm just glad he's here.
In case you wondered why I have a small statue of myself, you can catch the details here.