Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What's on the Grill #189: Planked Haddock with Lemon Zest Tartar Sauce

As of late, it appears everything I've been grilling is "planked". I blame this on my desire to fix easy grilled dinners and Adler & Fertig's Techniques for Planking. Not only does grilling on a plank a.) look cool and b.) make serving easier, it provides for easy grill clean-up. I failed to mention that a plank which catches fire on the grill provides a wonderful ambience, even though some don't prefer 18 inches of burning cedar in their grill a good thing. Oh well.

Standard planking procedure commences: soak the plank. Mount your haddock (I used 2 - 8 ounce filets) to the soaked plank.

Haddock on Board


Mix together 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup pickle relish, 2 tbls grated onion, 2 tsp fresh lemon zest, 2 tsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper to taste.

The Slather


Cover the filets with the tartar sauce, being certain to "seal" in the fish to the plank with your tartar "mortar".

Board on Fire


Prep your grill for direct medium and place your plank directly over the heat. Your fish will only need about 5-8 minutes to cook. If your plank catches fire, pull up some chairs and enjoy the moment. I often find it pretty.

Served


The fish is done when it flakes and is opaque.

If grilling fish bothers you, forget about the grate and move to a plank. And since I am now inadvertently rhyming, I will sign off. Peace. Enjoy your fish.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What's on the Grill #188: Cast Iron Nachos

While on a long bicycle ride this afternoon, I used my free mental time to decide on what to eat later. For some, I am certain it comes of no surprise the fact my "down time" consists of thinking about upcoming meals.

With a crisp fall breeze in the air, which oddly enough was constantly blowing at me, and thoughts of Sunday football, I immediately gravitated towards that perennial snack: nachos. After putting 22 miles on the bike with Bob, I wasn't in a mood for making a whole lot of anything from scratch, so I went the Sandra Lee route. Forgive me.

Although it is easy enough to throw nachos in the oven (not literally of course), I prefer to do them on the grill. While I wish I had a grill plate, I find it even easier to use a cast iron skillet.

Nacho Prep


This is a no-brainer, crowd pleasing, easy clean-up, last minute snack.

Pile a stack of your favorite nacho chips into a large cast iron skillet. Top with a a can of chili, a mound of shredded cheese and whatever else you want to stack: olives, jalapenos, shredded pork...mmmh, shredded pork.

Off the Grill


Prep the grill for indirect medium. Place the skillet o' nachos on the grill, close the lid and cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and your toppings are hot.

Into my mouth


Once done, I threw my skillet on top of cutting board and served our Sunday treat right from the pan. Fast, easy and fatting. All good too, especially when served with a pint of Eric's Birthday Belgian Tripel.

Eric's 40th Birthday Tripel


Eric brewed it a year ago to celebrate his fortieth birthday, which was today.

Eric's Tripel


Ensuring I was in good health, as the label suggested, I flipped the top and poured a wonderful treat, brewed by a dear friend. Happy Birthday Eric and you can bet next brew day, we are having nachos!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's on the Grill #187: Grilled Asian Goose with Polenta

I must first admit, I have no idea if Asian's grill Goose. Duck? Yes. Goose? I would assume yes, but we all know what happens when you assume: awkward public moments.

My friend/hunter from work went hunting a few weeks back and brought me some of his catch: goose breasts. It's great to have fresh meat in the fridge and by fresh, I mean hours before being butchered and stuffed into a zip lock freezer back it was flying over Ohio trying to decide who to vote for Governor.

Goose on Grill


For dinner, I turned to Weber's On the Grill App. Although the recipe called for duck, I figured goose would be an easy substitute. You know substitutions, just like chicken and turkey or bison and beef or lamb and lobster.

Grilled Asian Goose with Polenta

Based on Asian Duck Breasts from Weber's Art of the Grill

Goose

3 Goose Breasts, about 10 ounces each
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper


Polenta

3 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup sour cream
salt & pepper


Sauce

1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tbls honey
2 tbls rice wine vinegar
1 tbls soy sauce
1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder


1. Prep your grill to direct medium-low.

Cornmeal In


2. For the Polenta, bring your stock to a boil. Add in the cornmeal, whisking as you do to prevent lumps. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 30-45 minutes. Add in the sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Polenta Stir


3. For the sauce, mix together the ingredients in a small pan and warm under low heat.

4. Season both sides of the goose with a mixture of the five-spice powder, salt and pepper. Place the goose on the grill directly over the coals. Grill for approximately 10 minutes and then flip. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. The FDA says 180 degrees, but everything I've read says you can pull goose off as low as 130 for medium rare. The longer you cook goose, the tougher it becomes.

Sliced Goose


5. Remove the goose for the grill and serve with the polenta and sauce.

Goose w/sauce & Polenta


Goose has a great flavor all on its own. Add in the unique taste of the five-spice powder and it takes it somewhere else. Add in my last bottle of Stone's 14th Anniversary Wow.

Stone's 14th Anniversary


Goose, duck, chicken...any of them will work. All you need is a plank, a bird and a plan.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Open Mouth, insert...whatever

This past weekend, Zoe and I traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Every time we go, Zoe always says it's the "last time", but somehow I manage to successfully debate beg a return trip. There are several things I love about Vegas: the heat, the people watching, the scenery and most importantly, the food.

photo.JPG


On our last night, we were torn on where to eat and at the last minute decided on Michael Mina's Nobhill Tavern at the MGM Grand. This last minute decision turned out to be a great choice.

Starting off with a Chimay, my menu choice teetered from his Lobster Pot Pie and my go to favorite, a ribeye.

Although the Lobster Pot Pie looked incredible (I about broke my neck checking one out as it trolleyed its way to a table for serving), I wanted a steak since I had yet to have one in Sin City.

Well I ordered the ribeye and all I can say is: wow. I wasn't expecting much and I don't believe my low exceptions launched this well crafted piece of meat to the lofty height I was placing it, but man. This was a great steak. I ordered it medium rare and after cutting in, found a uniform warm pink middle throughout the whole steak. The beef was seared with a perfect crust and had, nor needed, any other adornments outside of some root vegetable and creamed spinach with crispy shallots I ordered on the side. The ribeye was the centerpiece.

As often happens when I have a piece of meat I really like, I try to figure how I can recreate it at home. Is it the rub, the preparation or just simply the meat? In this case, the meat was obviously prime, but there was one more thing I took away: salt. The steak was salty. Not too salty, but more salty than I usually have it. While reading Michael Ruhlman's Ratio
on the way home, he hit on the importance of salt. Ruhlman's comments and my experience set off my little grey cells.

From Above


On my next ribeye, I plan on upping the salt. My Doctor might frown, but I haven't been listening to him for some time.

Flame Lit


Next time I engage in a successful debate bribe to return to Vegas, I most definitely plan on a return trip to the Nobhill Tavern. I dare say, my ribeye was the best steak I've had and when you add in the service and atmosphere, it was really the best all the way around.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sweet Memories, Blah Taste

Last night, Zoe and I attended a charity auction for SICSA, the Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals. A couple years ago we adopted Tessa from this great local organization and jumped at the chance to attend the dinner with friends.

Before the meal, we caught up with Tessa's foster Mom and scouted out all of the silent auction items. About ten items in and what do I see? An unopened bottle of Pete's Wicked Summer Brew.

I used to really enjoy Pete's Wicked Summer Brew, albeit about 10 years ago. Although I was dubious as to how well a beer, well this beer (and a lager no less) survived the last eight years since it was brewed, I thought it would be fun to see. So, in order to take this bit of beer history home, I first had to win it.

Unopened Bottle of Pete's Summer Brew


Apparently I wasn't the only beer nerd at the auction, as #23, whoever you were, kept pushing me to up my bet. I kept a vigilant eye towards my prize, but every time I thought I saw #23, I bounced over to realize it was either #48 bidding on a Monica Lewinksy/Bill Clinton commemorative dual blade pocketknife or #95 checking up on his Cincinnati Bengals 1985 license plate bracket.

Well the bids ended and I'm happy to report...I won! After sticking my precious bottle in the fridge last night, I pulled it out tonight. It was 2000 all over again. I had hair, had just finished dusting off my Billy Bass and was ready to crack open a bottle of Pete's Wicked Summer Brew.

My first clue should have been the broken liner from the bottle cap. The second clue was a lot of "something" floating in the glass after the pour. The final clue?

Yuck...


The taste.

A necessary crime


I don't regret my purchase one bit, as the cause was great. Unfortunately, time was not gentle to this brew. In fact, I kind of wonder if it had survived if I would have even liked it. I believe my palate's changed a little bit since Pete's Summer Brew was available.

Post Road Pumpkin Ale


Thankfully, I had a back up plan in the form of Pumpkin Ale and a great dog to enjoy it with.

Tessa

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spin, Spin, Spin...

With wonderful late summer weather taking over Ohio, and subsequently killing all of my grass, I have had the luxury of sneaking in a number of posts. Just like the waves of the ocean, my dinner posts come and go. This week there are crashing on to the beach. Next week, they will be way out at sea.

Throwing together week night meals is a blast and the easiest way to grill a whole meal is with a rotisserie chicken.

Front
Side
Bottom


Stuffed with garlic and thyme from the garden and mounted on a spit, this is a great set it and forget it meal. With the waves crashing in, I'll hurry and make all the food I can. You never know when the tide is going to change.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

What's on the Grill #186: Goat Cheese Stuffed Pepperdews

I'm certain everyone is getting tired of this, but I keep finding things I really, really like in Techniques for Planking. Enter, Goat Cheese Stuffed Pepperdews. This really shouldn't come as a surprise, as if you were to stick cheese in anything, especially peppers, it will be half way down my gullet before you finish rattling off the ingredients past cheese.

The hardest part about this recipe is finding pepperdews. I first wanted to try this recipe last week, but after being stuck at Meijer, I discovered the odds of finding pepperdews there about as high as finding someone competent in front of me at the U-Scan. This week I had almost forgotten about them until I spent an extra few minutes perusing the new cheese section at Kroger. After an inadvertent turn, I stumbled upon several plastic containers of pickled peppers and there they were, pepperdews. Hoorah.

This recipe couldn't be any easier. Drain the peppers and pat dry. Stuff them with goat cheese, mount them to a plank and than drizzle with olive oil.

Drizzlin


Prep your grill to direct medium. Place the plank directly over the flame and grill for about 15 minutes.

Peppers on Plank


Once done to your likeness, like when the cheese and peppers blacken a little, take them off. Sprinkle with some rosemary and serve.

Pepperdews stuffed with goat cheese


We only prepared about 20 and they were gone in just as many minutes. Pepperdews are rather mild, and a little on the sweet side. Add in some goat cheese and wow. These bad boys are a great appetizer that don't take much work, but look great when served on a smoldering piece of wood. That's my kind of snack!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

What's on the Grill #185: Garlic & Rosemary Slathered Planked Pork Chops

Much to the chagrin of my co-workers, bi-weekly, I meet a good friend of mine for lunch. Their angst doesn't come from my lunch date, it comes from the location: Waffle House. Yes, I get the intestinal trouble, gut wrenching, you eat waffles in a gas station jokes, but what can I say, I like the occasional scattered, smothered and covered potatoes.

So, when I was flipping through Techniques for Planking (again), I was immediately drawn to a recipe which included the word "Slathered". Slathered? Can I get my potatoes slathered please? Probably not, but I can get my pork chops that way!

Garlic & Rosemary-Slathered Planked Pork Chops


This recipe is incredibly simple and amazingly delicious. Soak your plank. Prep your fire to indirect medium. Drop 3 or 4 boneless pork chops on the plank and then cover the pork chops with a mixture of olive oil, mayonnaise, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, and salt & pepper. Grill for about 25 minutes until the internal temperature of the chops hits 140 degrees.

Garlic & Rosemary-Slathered Planked Pork Chops with Grilled Leek


The pork comes off incredibly moist and when you can't eat it all for dinner, slice it thinly for sandwiches for the next day's lunch. I did, I wasn't due back to Waffle House for three days.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

What' on the Grill #184: Planked Brie with Amaretto-Peach Chutney & Cranberry Conserve

In this case, not only is this dish a mouthful, the title is too. I chose to receive Karen Adler's & Judith Fertig's 25 Essentials: Techniques for Planking


through Amazon's Vine program. On occasion, I select items to review and on my monthly list, their book immediately caught my eye.



Techniques for Planking



I wasn't sure what to expect at first. The book was small and spiral bound. It almost appeared gimmicky, until I started flipping through the pages. As with any cookbook, stellar pictures are a top priority for me and Adler & Fertig had plenty. I was already hooked.



As I've blogged before, I am a huge fan of planking (...food). Techniques covers the process and procedures in an easy to understand format. The recipes also cover the gamut from the typical to the wild and the wild is where I typically like to go.



I love brie, but never thought of planking it before. Add in chutney and conserve and I have a new entertaining appetizer I plan on bringing out a lot this fall.



First, be sure to soak your planks. To make it easy, I use a baking sheet and hold the planks down with a cast iron skillet. I allow them to soak for about an hour.



Soaking Planks



Planked Brie with Amaretto-Peach Chutney & Cranberry Conserve


from Techniques for Planking



Amaretto-Peach Chutney



One 12 oz jar peach preserves

2 tbls amaretto

1/3 cup raisins

2 tlbs cider vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

kosher salt & freshly white pepper



Cranberry Conserve



One 12 oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brandy


One 8 oz wheel of Brie

One French Baguette


1. Make the chutney by mixing together all of the ingredients. Salt & pepper to taste.



2. For the conserve, place the cranberries, juice and sugar in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the cranberries pop and their skin bursts, stir in the brandy. Cook for an additional minute and allow to cool.



3. Prep your grill for indirect medium. I like to place my soaked plank over the fire to allow the plank to start to char. This usually takes about a minute or two. Once marked, remove the plank from the grill. Place the brie on the plank and then top the brie with the chutney and conserve.



Griddle-Planked Brie with Amaretto-Peach Chutney & Cranberry Conserve



4. Place the planked brie back on the grill directly over the heat. Close the lid and allow the brie to cook for about 15-20 minutes. When done, serve with slices of baguette.



Ooozze



I was not prepared for how good this was going to be. The presentation is great by itself, but once you dip into that oozing brie and slather it across a piece of baguette...wow. This didn't stick around long.



IMG_8540

Friday, September 03, 2010

What's on the Grill #183: Minimalist Strip Steak

Last Sunday night, my friend Matt and I went and saw Rush at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Rush is one of my all time favorite bands. We first saw Rush together almost 20 years ago. The biggest differences between then and now would be the presence of my hair (which some might call mullet like..., but I disagree) and our eating habits.

Rush at Nationwide!


20 years ago we would hit a fast food drive thru before the show. Now, we go to a steakhouse. Times have changed, and I'm not just talking about my missing well coifed hair.

I have been to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse a number of times over the years and have always been pleased with the food. I have long subscribed to the minimalist approach when it comes to seasoning steak. My standard rule of thumb is salt, pepper, and a third. The third being one additional ingredient: rosemary, paprika, cayenne, whatever.

So, as our exuberant waitress went on about the steaks, she listed the rub: salt, pepper, parsley and butter. For some reason, I thought there was more too it and I don't mean their 1800 degree fire or skin melting hot serving plates.

After a great meal, and then concert, on Sunday (truly one of Rush's best IMO), I decided to mimic their rub on Wednesday.

Instead of a ribeye, I opted for a 1 1/2 inch strip steak. I know I'm not off to a very scientific start, sorry. Although I can't get the Summit to 1800 degrees, I can incinerate grill grime at 700 degrees. While the grill rocked and rolled through the pre-heat, I prepped my strip by rubbing it with copious amounts of salt and pepper.

First Touch


I dropped the meat on to the hot grates and watched it sizzle.

Sizzle, Sizzle, Sear


Three minutes, rotate, three minutes, flip, three minutes, rotate, brush on the combined butter and parsley and three more minutes, done.

Done


I do not normally butter my steaks, but I have to admit I may start. This certainly wasn't a Ruth's Chris prime steak, but it was my beef and my grill, and in my book, just as good.

Ch Ch Ch...Changes!

Over the last week I have been tweaking the site a little. If you happened to stop by during this time, you probably wondered what the hell I was up to, as my ability to break html is pretty good.

The biggest change to APP is the addition of static pages. Using Blogger is kind of like being married to your cousin. It works, but it isn't right. Well I've been married to Blogger for so long, I've come to accept the scorn and public ridicule. A break-up is impossible. I've thought about moving to Word Press or Square Space, but with as much content I have linked to me, I feared a move would screw up all of those inbound links. So, although I'm 8 months late to the party, Blogger rolled out static webpages, which is something I've been waiting for. To provide a little more flexibility, I've added a true about page, a F.A.Q., a grilling equipment page, and a contact me link.

NavBar.png


I'll most likely tweak these in the coming months, but for now, it's a start.

Following up on my implementation of Disqus, I added in some social media shortcuts to the right hand bar. Among those shortcuts, you might also notice that all too familiar "f". Yup, Another Pint Please now has a Facebook page. I realize a lot of people use Facebook as their source of news and information, so I felt it only fair I have the opportunity to fill their wall with pictures of grilled meat.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

And then there were two...Dad's Weber S-670

Ever since I purchased my Weber Summit 650, I have tried to convince my Dad to do the same. His Weber Genesis has served him well through the years, but that withstanding, I knew he needed more grilling surface and more heat. Well, after two years of prodding and tweaking, his upgrade finally arrived in the form of a Weber Summit 670. Yup, not only did he finally get a new grill, he bested me in the process. Well played Dad.

Summit


Thanks to Amazon, his grill was delivered not only to his house, but to the backyard. As I arrived, I found the lid of the shipping box peeled back. Someone was awaiting the unveiling, and I am willing to bet it wasn't Mom.

Out of the Box


The entirely assembly took about thirty minutes for the three of us. Weber's two pages worth of instructions made the process easy and straightforward. The hardest part, as it was with mine, was getting the grill off of the shipping tray.

Those guys...


Our maneuver certainly didn't look like the one in the illustration (two of those guys, I bet, weren't card carrying Golden Buckeyes), but in the end, the result was the same.

I have somewhat ignored the features of the 670 since its unveiling, as looking into them more would have certainly made me want one. So, the assembly of Dad's grill was a great chance to really see what Weber did to improve upon my model.

Sear Station


First up was the Sear Station. There is a lot of debate, at least in my mind, of the pros and cons of ceramic IR burners. It appears that the Sear Station was Weber's way of meeting the demand/trendiness of a ceramic IR burner by adding in an extra concentrated burner between the center two. It looks cool, but until I try it out....errr Dad gives me his opinion, time will tell.

Burners


When we assembled the flavorizer bars and the grates, I realized just how dirty well used my grill is. I think I need to give it a clean this weekend.

Grate


Next up is the hide away rotisserie. I love my rotisserie. Love it. With this love, however, comes the pain in the ass part of lugging around the 5 foot spear/spit and the assorted accessories. Weber must have realized this, because they made a hideaway spot in the cabinet for the spit and these very cool holders for the forks.

Holders


The motor is housed on a swivel shelf which tucks away under the left side table.

Open


One second it's there, and the next it's not. Cool.

Closed


In terms of cosmetic touches, Weber removed the stainless on the far left and right of the side tables and replaced it with the same steel that houses the side of the hood. They also added some trim stainless around the front doors and made the burner knobs illuminated thanks to a handy on/off switch.

Lighted Knobs


Although at first I thought gimmicky, I really like the lighted knob idea. It is one way, I figure, I could remind myself that the grill is on. With a natural gas supply, any sort of reminder to turn the grill off versus getting an unexpected $300 gas bill is a good thing...I'm just saying in case that happened, not that ever has, of course.

Oddly, the hardest part of the assembly was the grill lights. I have refused to put the grill lights on my grill. Although handy, I have enough outside lighting to illuminate the cooking area and more importantly, I think they detract from the great lines of the grill.

Grill Light


What should have been the easier thing to assemble, was the hardest. To install the batteries, you just unscrew the on/off knob. Yeah, unscrew it, not disassemble the entire thing. Who would have known, because the directions were pretty clear. If, I had read them.

First Light


With the natural gas line connected and the joints soaped, Dad was ready for his first light. One click and voooom, she was lit. Although Dad didn't have time to grill, I know he soon will. I can't wait to hear his opinion on the 670, because everything I saw says his new toy is going to provide him lots of enjoyment and many, many great meals to come.

Summit