Sausage and Peppers

It’s a difficult dish to cook on the grill but I finally cracked the code.  If you grill sausage you get dry, tasteless meat.  I dabbled with poaching the sausage in wear first and finishing on the grill but something was missing.  Today, my friends, we broke on through to the other side.  Sausage nirvana was achieved.

I cooked my peppers and onions down on the stove in a dutch oven first.  Separate batches with a healthy splash of olive oil.  Mixed them in an aluminum tray and piled my raw sausage on top.  Grilled on medium heat for twenty minutes, turning once.  I then removed the sausage and crisped it directly on the grill grates, 2-3 minutes a side.  Wound up with juicy, moist, crispy and flavorful sausage.  Oh yeah, the onions and peppers simmered in olive oil and sausage fat weren’t half bad either.

Sausage and Peppers

It’s a difficult dish to cook on the grill but I finally cracked the code. If you grill sausage you get dry, tasteless meat. I dabbled with poaching the sausage in wear first and finishing on the grill but something was missing. Today, my friends, we broke on through to the other side. Sausage nirvana was achieved.

I cooked my peppers and onions down on the stove in a dutch oven first. Separate batches with a healthy splash of olive oil. Mixed them in an aluminum tray and piled my raw sausage on top. Grilled on medium heat for twenty minutes, turning once. I then removed the sausage and crisped it directly on the grill grates, 2-3 minutes a side. Wound up with juicy, moist, crispy and flavorful sausage. Oh yeah, the onions and peppers simmered in olive oil and sausage fat weren’t half bad either.

Chicken Done Right

I normally disdain chicken as a proper grilling meat but by the time I’m done it is amazing. Recipe includes:

olive oil
red wine vinegar
basil
chopped garlic
powdered garlic
kosher salt
turbinado sugar
sweet paprika
smoked paprika
ancho chiles
hatch chiles
apricot preserves
mango preserves
pineapple preserves
tomatoes
butter
oregano
old bay
apple cider vinegar
soy sauce

Braised Chicken

Made a super simple and delicious dish last night. Enjoyed it even more this morning.

Take eight bone-in chicken thighs. Toss them with flour, salt, pepper and a healthy dose of old bay seasoning. Brown them in butter over medium-high heat, about four minutes a side. Start with the skin side down to render out that delicious fat. Set aside. Cut a half dozen vidalia onions into quarters, toss them and a half dozen cloves of minced garlic into the butter and cook until translucent, about ten minutes. Add a healthy squirt of dijon mustard and a cup of dry white wine, whisk til mixed. Add chicken back to pot along with a quart of chicken stock. Bring to a boil for five minutes. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for an hour. Serve over rice and thank me later.

Tags: food recipes

Mâcheroni with homemade lamb ragu and cave aged Parmesan.

Mâcheroni with homemade lamb ragu and cave aged Parmesan.

Tags: food pasta

Look at the striations in that cheese. That’s three year cave aged Parmesan there. Oofa.

When I was young I bought the shakers of preground Kraft cheese laden with preservatives and chemicals.  Eventually I graduated to grating my own chunks of Parmesan.

In time I discovered aged cheese. The edges of this stuff are candy.  The striations illustrate breaking points in the progression from creamy to crunchy. The taste progression follows suit.

Christ I love good food.

Look at the striations in that cheese. That’s three year cave aged Parmesan there. Oofa.

When I was young I bought the shakers of preground Kraft cheese laden with preservatives and chemicals. Eventually I graduated to grating my own chunks of Parmesan.

In time I discovered aged cheese. The edges of this stuff are candy. The striations illustrate breaking points in the progression from creamy to crunchy. The taste progression follows suit.

Christ I love good food.

Sunday Dinner

I am terribly blessed in that I have a wonderful Mother-in-law who not only loves to cook but also has no problem with letting me do the work sometimes. We brought back a cooler full of goodies from Cleveland including several pounds of traditionally made beef kielbasa from my favorite Polish butcher and a couple dozen handmade potato pirogies. I fried the pierogi in vidalia onions and Buerremont pastry butter (83% butterfat. Oof.) and crisped the kielbasa on the grill in their backyard. It’s as good a meal as I’ve eaten this year and Harper got a taste of both. Next week my Mil is making her veal and vinegar peppers and I honestly cannot wait to taste it again.

Tags: Food family

First time tasting sausage. She takes after her Daddy.

First time tasting sausage. She takes after her Daddy.

Making baby food.  Completely organic, made-from-scratch chicken soup.  Perfectly seasoned, I might add.  Seems a shame to puree such a delicious dish but the kid deserves the best and hey, I got my taste.

Making baby food. Completely organic, made-from-scratch chicken soup. Perfectly seasoned, I might add. Seems a shame to puree such a delicious dish but the kid deserves the best and hey, I got my taste.

West Side Market

West Side Market

The Cleve

The Cleve

Baby Diet

We’re packing for a trip and one of the bigger challenges is feeding Harper. At home she eats exclusively freshly steamed organic foods but we’re not sure what we will be able to get in Cleveland. And we are not interested in buying any prepared baby foods for her; she deserves better than that. Setting out my dry/canned foods for her I have:

Black Quinoa
Cheerios
Lentils
Apple/Apricot Sauce
Chia Seeds
Kale Chips
Pears preserved in vanilla syrup
Imported Italian Pastina

All organic of course. Will also take a cooler full of frozen vegetable and kobe beef purees with us. Parenthood is challenging.

This is where I get both my mozzarella and my parmigiano.  The mozz is made fresh daily and the park is aged 2.5-3 years.  I normally take issue with anyone who claims to have the “best” of anything in a city like NYC but this place absolutely does make the best cheese I have tasted in this country and Zagat’s agrees.

This is where I get both my mozzarella and my parmigiano. The mozz is made fresh daily and the park is aged 2.5-3 years. I normally take issue with anyone who claims to have the “best” of anything in a city like NYC but this place absolutely does make the best cheese I have tasted in this country and Zagat’s agrees.

Ground Beef Blends

Pat LaFrieda was on this many years ago and is the pioneer in the field. He was the first to widely distribute burgers blended from specific cuts of beef ground together. His basic mix is Flat Iron Chuck, Brisket and Short Rib. Each cut contains various amounts of fat, beef flavor and umami in different proportions. In this case the chuck brings the beef flavor, the brisket emphasizes fat and the Short Rib features more sweetness which serves as a (admittedly faux) form of umami.

It’s a fine mix and one that I enjoy. Years after he began selling it the idea was popularized and a arms race of sorts broke out, with everyone creating their own exclusive mix of beef cuts in a search for the perfect burger and the highest markup. It honestly got to the point of silliness. Kenji over at “A Hamburger Today” got a little bit Colonel Kurtz about the quest for the perfect mix as evidenced here:

http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/10/the-burger-lab-best-burger-blend-profiles-of-eight-cuts-of-beef.html?ref=search

While I recommend that you read his research for informational purposes, you can read it once and toss it out. It’s a burger, ferchrissake, let’s not get too precious about it. After extensive research I have come up with a simple and delicious blend that will leave you wanting more. I like a 50/50 blend of Chuck (regular, not flatiron) and Tri-Tip. It provides a delicious, intensely beefy flavor punch. Everyone I’ve served it to has absolutely raved.

One caveat: it is a little light on fat. I’m guessing it’s about 12-14% fat, tops. Most serious men accept no less than 20% in their blends and I am not one to typically skimp in that area. As long as you cook it as a true medium rare, however, it is more than juicy enough. The canard that “fat is flavor” is true to a point but not entirely. An excess of fat covers up flaws elsewhere. My mix is so close to perfect that even a typically low fat content is adequate enough to convey the intense flavors of other types. If you happen to be someone who eats their burgers medium or (gasp) well done then this mix is not for you. Nor am I.

Green Curry Skirt Steak Tacos

Green Curry Skirt Steak Tacos

Tags: Food Tacos Fusion

Heh. Bone. Heh.

Meat is always more flavorful when cooked on the bone and I do so whenever possible.  You are correct, though, that I debone lamb legs to enable them to cook more evenly. They are tricky on an open flame because the meat is so fatty, and between that and the oil from the marinade you definitely wrestle with flareups.  With the leg intact you’d have too much char on the exterior by the time the interior was suitably cooked.  I don’t waste the bones, though, but used them to make a gallon of tasty lamb stock.  Trying to come up with some creative uses for that and certainly welcome any suggestions.

Heh. Bone. Heh.

Meat is always more flavorful when cooked on the bone and I do so whenever possible. You are correct, though, that I debone lamb legs to enable them to cook more evenly. They are tricky on an open flame because the meat is so fatty, and between that and the oil from the marinade you definitely wrestle with flareups. With the leg intact you’d have too much char on the exterior by the time the interior was suitably cooked. I don’t waste the bones, though, but used them to make a gallon of tasty lamb stock. Trying to come up with some creative uses for that and certainly welcome any suggestions.