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Jun 25, 2016
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By the Book

By the Book: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016



To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled for the blogger book series. I’m into a number of food blogs, but some of the book options felt like a bunch of boring filler recipes. I flipped through Seven Spoons with a bad attitude: roasted chicken – boring; roasted chicken with couscous – boring; baked salmon – come on. There were a couple Indian recipes that sounded more interesting, but they were sides and soups. I almost picked up a different book, but then I saw the mushrooms and greens with toast recipe under the lunch section.

This is what food blogs are for. This recipe isn’t life changing. It’s not complicated. It’s just something I wouldn’t have thought to make that also tasted great. Mushrooms, bread, greens and cheese assembled in a new way. It’s like a custardless savory bread pudding or a knife-and-fork-able fondue situation. The recipe was simple, infinitely adaptable and clearly written (though it did tell me to tear mushrooms and chop greens, which I reversed).

I used a loaf of Light and Mild from Union Loafers in Botanical Heights (Bread matters with so few ingredients.), Gruyere, kale, shiitake, baby portobellos and crimini mushrooms. I couldn’t find a fresh red chile, so I subbed a teaspoon of red pepper flakes plus another pinch to finish, which was just right. As a meal, it feels like it’s lacking something (an egg on top?), but it would be a great brunch side or classy Super Bowl snack. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is cook the mushrooms in batches so they caramelize better. Otherwise, see you soon, bread-cheese skillet.

Skill level: Beginner – easy
This book is for: Those in need of simple, reliable recipes with the occasional Indian flare.
Other recipes to try: Pakora (Indian vegetable fritters), rhubarb-raspberry rye crumble
The verdict: Winner! This is a make-again recipe.





Mushrooms and Greens with Toast
4 servings

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1½ lbs. (680 g.) mixed mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
2 thick slices from a large, crusty boule
2 cloves garlic or 1 shallot, minced
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 fresh red chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
Medium-grain kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. (170 g.) chopped greens such as kale, chard, spinach, or nettles
9 oz. (225 g.) good melting cheese, thickly sliced*

• Melt the butter in the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Tear the mushrooms into bite-size pieces and add to the pan. Cook, stirring regularly, until the mushrooms have given off their water and started to turn golden brown, 8 minutes or so.
• Meanwhile, grill or toast the bread.
• Once the mushrooms look nice, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Still stirring, drip the vinegar around the pan. Add most of the chile and season with salt and pepper. If using hearty greens that need some cooking, dump them in now. Move them around until wilted. After around 5 minutes, rip the bread into irregular croutons and push them into the vegetables. Lay pieces of cheese atop everything. Turn the heat down to medium-low, pop on a lid, and let the cheese melt, maybe 5 minutes, depending on the cheese. Sprinkle with the rest of the chile, hand out forks, then bring the pan to the table.

*The cheese doesn’t have to be one kind in particular. The point of this is using what’s around — anything from a young chèvre to a robust, oozy blue. As long as it melts well, it’s fair game. Fresh mozzarella or burrata, Taleggio and Fontina are specifically good.

Reprinted with permission from 10 Speed Press

By the Book: What Katie Ate on the Weekend by Katie Quinn Davies

Thursday, June 16th, 2016



I’ve been following Katie Quinn Davies’s blog, What Katie Ate, for years. In fact, her travel photos of Positano, Italy are the reason I made a trip to the Amalfi Coast a couple years ago (Let’s just say I’m highly influenced by pretty pictures.). In the last year, Davies blogged less and focused on creating her next cookbook, What Katie Ate on the Weekend. This is her second book, and like her blog, the food photos are delicious and the travel photos inspire.

I chose to make her crab, lemon and chile spaghetti. It’s what I imagine Italians eat every day on the southern coast while sipping chilled white wine. The recipe is simple: a few ingredients combine for a simple lemon zest, olive oil and breadcrumb topping that adds bright citrus and crunch texture to sweet crab and pasta. This is a perfect summer dish: sweet crab, a little heat from the chile and fresh lemon. All it needs is that glass of wine.

Skill level: Medium. There’s range here. Most of the recipes are easy with a few more complicated recipes here and there.
This book is for: People who like to cook or just want a cool coffee table book.
Other recipes to try: Self-saucing mocha pudding
The verdict: Check back next week when What Katie Ate on the Weekend takes on the next challenger, Food 52: Genius Recipes.




Crab, Lemon and Chile Spaghetti
4 servings

2/3 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
14 oz. spaghetti
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 long red chile, seeded and finely chopped
15 oz. cooked fresh crabmeat, drained and shredded if chunky
Lemon wedges, to serve

• Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and salt and pepper, then cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and lightly golden. Transfer to a bowl to cool, then stir through the parsley and set aside.
• Cook the spaghetti according to the packages instructions, then drain, reserving some of the cooking water.
• Meanwhile, wipe the skillet clean. Add 4 teaspoons of the oil and place over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add the chile and cook for 1 minute, then add the crabmeat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until warmed through.
• Add the lemon juice and the remaining oil to the pan and stir to combine. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.
• Add the hot drained pasta to the pan along with a few tablespoons of the cooking water to moisten. Toss together to combine well, then add half the breadcrumb mixture and toss again to combine.
• Transfer to a platter and scatter over the remaining breadcrumb mixture. Serve immediately with lemon wedges to the side.

Reprinted with permission from Viking Studio

By the Book: Experimental Cocktail Club

Friday, May 27th, 2016



The four bartenders behind Experimental Cocktail Club published a compendium of recipes from their four international locations: Paris, London, New York and Ibiza, Spain. While the Ibiza cocktails certainly lent themselves to summer drinking, I was swayed by a cocktail from a section inspired by the bartenders’ friends: Julien Gualdoni’s St. Nicholas Manhattan, billed as “a Bajan twist on a Manhattan,” perfect for blue waters and white sands.

Assembly was simple; mix Barbados rum, sweet vermouth, coconut water and bitters, freeze until cold enough to survive the hottest Caribbean afternoon, then pour into a glass. The ingredients were the trickiest part, and I did have to swap the rum for something more accessible. I settled for 5-year-old Barbados rum. It was less expensive, and if I do get my hands on a good 12-year-old bottle, I’ll sip it neat, not diluted with coconut water.

It’s a boozy concoction, and one I’ll gladly sip on a hot day. Freezing the drink rather than shaking over ice gave it a thick, syrupy mouth feel, and the sharp bitters kept the sweet rum and coconut water from overpowering the palate. The best part: no need to shake up another round. It’s a batch cocktail – just refill your glass and dream of Caribbean waters.

Skill level: Medium. While there are definitely more complex recipes in this book, it was nowhere near the complexity of The Dead Rabbit.
This book is for: The globetrotting cocktail connoisseur
Other recipes to try: Brazilian Prescription, Pineapple Express
The verdict: Despite this cocktail’s simplicity and balance, in the middle of a hot summer day, all we really want is a cool piña colada sipped from a coconut. Cuban Cocktails takes the crown.




St. Nicholas Manhattan
5 to 6 servings

470 ml. (16 oz.) St. Nicholas Abbey 12-year-old rum
235 ml. (8 oz.) Cinzano Rosso
470 ml. (16 oz.) coconut water
6 dashes Angostura bitters

• Mix all the ingredients together, stir well and store in the freezer.
• Once well chilled, pour straight into a chilled coupette and garnish with a twist of pared orange rind.

Reprinted with permission from Octopus Publishing Group

By the Book: Classic Cocktails by Salvatore Calabrese

Friday, May 20th, 2016



There’s something romantic about a classic cocktail. What’s romantic (or drinkable, for that matter) about an appletini? Nothing. The romance of a classic cocktail, though, is indisputable. Invented in dark underground speakeasies, on the beach of a far-off island or by a brash barmaid who doesn’t take shit from anyone, classic cocktails are the subject of Salvatore Calabrese’s unimaginatively titled but conveniently alphabetized Classic Cocktails.

Almost equaling my ridiculous affinity for romantic cocktail backstories is my newfound enthusiasm for rum (particularly the funky kind.). How delighted I was to find not the recipe for a Bee’s Knees, but a variation that swaps Jamaican rum for gin in a Honey Bee. Three simple ingredients and a vigorous shake later, you’re done.

While the idea was good, the result was unbalanced. I tried a version of this at home, which resulted in a sweeter, smoother sip, but the ratios in this recipe resulted in a drink that was sour and lopsided. The good news: These cocktails are easy, fun to play with and use basic ingredients. So go ahead, switch up the proportions, add a splash of bitters and create your own riff on a classic. Maybe there’ll be a romantic story of your own to go along with it.

Skill level: Easy peasy, lemon squeezy
This book is for: Thirsty, booze-loving romantics. Sigh.
Other recipes to try: Basil smash, sidecar
The verdict: While this book is easy to digest and chock-full of recipes, the unbalanced nature of the cocktail kept it out of the winner’s circle. Cuban Cocktails prevails.




Honey Bee
1 serving
2 oz. Jamaican rum
1 oz. lemon juice
2 bar spoons organic honey
• Combine the ingredients in a shaker and stir the mixture to ensure that the honey is diluted. Add a scoop of ice and shake long and hard. Strain into chilled coupe. Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Reprinted with permission from Sterling Epicure


By the Book: The Dead Rabbit by Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry and Ben Schaeffer

Friday, May 13th, 2016



Making cocktails from The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual has the same allure as going back in time to the 19th century when most of its recipes originated. It sounds romantic, until you consider the realities of the situation. Do you enjoy reliable electricity and paved roads? Would you like to make more than a dozen tinctures before even getting started on a cocktail?

Like history, this book is just for reading, and it does make a great read. Each original recipe is led by a fascinating introduction on the history of the cocktail that inspired it. The drink I chose, Whiskey Smash à la Terrington, was inspired by the 1869 book Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks. As delightful as that sounds, I have never complained more (recently) than while making this drink. I’d like to say I chose it because the cocktail sounded fresh, balanced and delightfully seasonal – which is was. Instead, I chose this recipe because it required me to buy only two bottles of booze, instead of the 57 every other recipe demanded.

It’s probably the best cocktail I have ever made – but it took three damn days to make. First, I had make a tansy tincture. I had no idea what tansy was, but luckily Cheryl’s Herbs in Maplewood did. So, I infused Everclear and water with the dried herb for three days and had my tincture. Next, I had to make lemon sherbet. No, not the easily accessible frozen treat. Lemon sherbet is an intense syrup made with lemon juice and oleo-saccharum. (Again: what?) Oleo-saccharum is basically citrus zest muddled in sugar and allowed to sit until the oils release. The oleo-saccharum took half an hour, as did the sherbet, which then had to cool. This is a drink that will make you drink.

After the sherbet was cool, the cocktail came together like any other. Measure, pour, shake, strain, garnish, sip – one of the best cocktails I’ve ever made. Complex but balanced, fresh but rich, and it had the smooth, viscous texture of a professional cocktail It’s a drink that should be made by professionals who presumably have large batches of sherbets and tinctures at their disposal.

Skill level: Professional. The instructions are good, but the ingredients aren’t at all reasonable for a home bar.
This book is for: Professionals or a those interested in a cocktail education.
Other recipes to try: Champagne à la Fouquet
The verdict: This book is interesting and impressive, but if you want recipes you can actually make, Cuban Cocktails is a better option.





Whiskey Smash À La Terrington
1 serving

3 dashes Tansy Tincture (recipe follows)
¾ oz. Lemon Sherbet (recipe follows)
6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
2½ oz. Bulleit Rye Whiskey
Fresh nutmeg, grated, for garnish

• Add all the ingredients, except the garnish, to a shaker. Fill with ice and shake. Strain into a punch glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.


Tansy Tincture
10 ounces

1 oz. dried tansy*
4½ oz. Everclear
4½ oz. water

• Combine the tansy and Everclear in a jar. Allow to macerate for 3 days, then strain though a chinois into a fresh container. Due to the alcohol content, this tincture should last indefinitely at room temperature.


Lemon Sherbet
24 ounces

4 lemons
1½ cups granulated sugar
12 oz. fresh lemon juice

• Prepare an oleo-saccharum (recipe follows) with the lemon peels and sugar.
• In a small saucepan, combine the oleo-saccharum and lemon juice over medium heat, but do not boil. Slowly stir to dissolve the sugar. When the syrup has thickened, remove from the heat. Strain through a chinois into bottles. The sherbet will keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.


8 servings

• Peel each lime, being sure to remove only the peel, with none of the white pith. A Microplane grater or vegetable peeler is best.
• Add the peels to a bowl, along with the sugar. Using a muddler or heavy wooden spoon, press the peels into the sugar. You will see oil from the peels collect in the bowl. Let the combination sit for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Mix to collect all separated oils into the sugar before using.
• You may use the peeled limes for juicing as needed in the recipe above.

*Tansy is available at Cheryl’s Herbs, cherylsherbs.com 

Reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


By the Book: Cuban Cocktails by Ravi DeRossi, Jane Danger and Alla Lapushchik

Friday, May 6th, 2016



On a recent trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, I made sure to drink cocktails out of coconuts as often as possible. I also learned that Coco Lopez is the bartender’s preferred brand to use when making coconut-based cocktails. In Cuban Cocktails: 100 Classic and Modern Drinks, the authors also praise Coco Lopez as the first mass-produced coconut cream, making tropical fruity drinks like this much simpler to make. It was a tough to find this brand (It wasn’t in regular or specialty grocery stores.), but I eventually found it at Randall’s.

Get a taste of summer at bars all over St. Louis. Click here for our Summer Drinking Preview.

Quality coconut cream necessitates a piña colada. It turned out well, though it’s a very sweet drink that didn’t need the additional simple syrup the recipe called for. Fresh lime juice also would help to balance that sweetness. The authors do offer a Cuban take on a piña colada that added lime juice, but it cut the coconut cream. Still, when you pour this frothy cocktail into a coconut adorned with a paper umbrella, pineapple wedge and a bendy straw, quibbles like these don’t seem to matter much.

Skill level: Easy. Most recipes require only a few ingredients.
This book is for: People who really want to be on vacation right now.
Other recipes to try: Isle of Manhattan Fizz – a mix of gin, rum, coconut cream, orange flower water, club soda and pineapple and lime juices.
The verdict: Check back next week, when this piña colada takes on the next summer cocktail.



Piña Colada
1 serving

2 oz. white rum
3 oz. coconut puree
1 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. pineapple juice
½ cup crushed ice
Pineapple for garnish

• Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 15 seconds. Pour into a tiki bowl or frozen pineapple shell. Garnish with a pineapple wedge or a cocktail umbrella. For more of a kick, whip shake ingredients and serve over crushed ice.
• To make the Cuban version, omit the coconut puree and add ¾ ounce lime juice

Reprinted with permission from Sterling Epicure


By the Book: Grillhouse by Ross Dobson

Friday, April 29th, 2016



The last book in this grill-off isn’t a grilling compendium, but it does have recipes that move effortlessly from indoor grill pans to my trusty mini Weber kettle. Grillhouse: Gastropub at Home by Ross Dobson features elevated pub fare with relatively few ingredients and simple techniques.

The whole grilled chicken recipe I chose presented a few hiccups along the way, but turned out beautifully. Be sure to take note of the skill level at your grocery store butcher counter. Rather than butterflied or spatchcocked, my bird was handed over split down the breast (Fortunately, it cooked just as well). The chicken is simply prepared, stuffed with a lemon-garlic-rosemary salt before meeting the grill.

The recipe had impeccable timing. With less than 30 minutes on a hot grill, the chicken was cooked through completely. The crisp skin was imbued with a smokiness only charcoal can add, and every bite of white and dark meat was tender and juicy, with just a touch of lemon and rosemary. The only recipe confusion came with what seems to be an unnecessary flip on the grill before drizzling the bird with garlic-infused olive oil. Grilled chicken doesn’t get much easier than this.

Skill level: Easy. No fancy techniques or obscure ingredients required here. Basic knife skills and your average grocery store will provide all you need.
This book is for: Those who appreciate a proper pint while they grill – fans of Dressel’s, The Scottish Arms and other true gastropubs.
Other recipes to try: Stout beef burgers, fillet steaks with mushroom and whiskey sauce, crispy-skinned trout
The verdict: While last week’s steak au poivre was decadent and tender, Grillhouse needs no fancy sauces to take it over the top – just garlic, lemon, rosemary and smoke. We have our champion.




Butterflied Chicken with Rosemary & Garlic
4 servings

12 cloves garlic, left whole and unpeeled
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt flakes, plus extra for sprinkling
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 free-range chickens, about 3 lb. 5 oz. each, butterflied

• Peel and finely chop 4 cloves of garlic and place in a small saucepan with the olive oil over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the rosemary and lemon zest and cook for 2 minutes or until the rosemary is aromatic. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Pour the oil through a fine sieve placed over a bowl, pressing to extract as much oil as possible. Stir the lemon juice into the oil and set aside. Transfer the solids to a small bowl, add the salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and combine well.
• Spread the garlic salt mixture all over the chicken skin, rubbing some under the breast skin. Set aside for 30 minutes.
• Lightly crush the remaining unpeeled garlic with the flat side of a knife.
• Preheat a chargrill to high.
• When smoking hot, place the chickens on the grill, skin side down; reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, ensuring the chicken sizzles constantly on the griddle, using a metal spatula to press down firmly on the chickens every 5 minutes or so. Turn the chickens over. Scatter the whole garlic cloves on and around the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, again pressing down with the metal spatula. Turn the chickens over. Quickly stir the olive oil and lemon mixture and brush on the skin side of the chickens. Turn over again and cook for just a minute. Remove and cover loosely with foil to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Lyons Press

By the Book: Feeding the Fire by Joe Carroll and Nick Fauchald

Friday, April 22nd, 2016




All the other books so far in this grilling series have dealt with fire outside the home. Attempting to overachieve, I chose a recipe from Feeding the Fire that required flames inside and out: grilling and a flambe.

This recipe calls for steaks so large, they were likely cut from a dinosaur, not a cow. I took the advice of the friendly butcher at Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions and opted for the bone-in version of the 2-inch thick strip steak. While the ingredient list calls for four of these monsters, I opted for three, which was enough to feed a family of four with one steak left over for a hungry Sauce team.

The grilling instructions were spot on. The two-stage fire made both a pretty sear on the steaks and the medium-low coals finished the cooking to a perfect 135 degrees. The sauce au poivre was a creamy, slightly peppery sauce that complemented the beef but could just as easily be spooned over green vegetables or potatoes. To flame the apple brandy, the recipe directed me to carefully tilt the pan toward the flame to ignite the alcohol. Those are also be the directions to burn down my house, so I turned off the burner, added the brandy and set it alight with the long-handled barbecue lighter. My house is still standing, and I learned that huge cuts of meat plus an abundance of fire equals primal cooking at its finest.

Skill level: Easy. The directions are easy to follow and the recipes are un-fussy, focusing on the quality of the meat and simplicity of preparation.
This book is for: Fans of the flame. There are recipes for vegetables and all kinds of proteins ranging from grocery store staples to more specialized cuts.
Other recipes to try: Chicken spiedies, grilled whole trout with lemon and garlic butter and charred long beans.
The verdict: Long was the reign of The Grilling Book, but this week Feeding the Fire came out on top.




New York Strip Steaks with Sauce Au Poivre
4 servings

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. very finely chopped shallots
1 ½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 Tbsp. apple brandy
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp. pink peppercorns
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 13-ounce strip steaks, about 2 inches thick

• Prepare a two-stage fire with high and medium-low sides in a grill.
• Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the coarsely ground black pepper and brandy and carefully tilt the pan slightly away from yourself to ignite the brandy (if you’re using an electric stove, carefully light the brandy with a match or lighter), then cook until the flames subside.
• Add the cream and pink peppercorns, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half. Season the sauce with more coarsely ground pepper, if necessary and salt to taste and keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
• Season the steaks generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Grill the steaks over high heat, turning every couple of minutes, until well charred on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the steaks to the medium-low side of the grill and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the middle of the steaks reads 135 degrees for medium, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
• Transfer the steaks to plates and let rest for 5 minutes then serve with the warm sauce.

Reprinted with permission from Artisan Press

By the Book: “Grill Skills: Professional Tips for the Perfect Barbeque”

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Grilling is a celebrated summer ritual in my family. We start out early in the afternoon, make a pitcher of margaritas and graze on tortilla chips and salsa while we fire up the grill. Grill Skills: Professional Tips for the Perfect Barbecue made for an excellent start to the season with approachable, internationally influenced recipes.

I chose a Swedish and American mashup: pork chops with rhubarb salsa. I’ve only cooked pork chops indoors before, and I’ve never worked with rhubarb, but it was worth it to explore the unfamiliar territory. I marinated the pork chops in a sweet, spicy paste for an hour before grilling as instructed, but I was disappointed that those flavors didn’t make it to the plate. More time to soak up all that goodness was definitely needed.

The rhubarb salsa, on the other hand, was a hit. Aggressive red onion was mellowed by the pickled ginger and honey. When we topped the pork chops with the salsa, it made up for the lack of flavor on the meat. I couldn’t find acacia honey, so I used an orange blossom variety. Like acacia, it’s lighter and milder than your standard clover honey bear bottle, and it helped to balance stronger flavors. I topped my salsa with a mix of toasted and black sesame seeds instead plain ones because I like the nutty flavor they bring to the party (and they were the ones I had in my pantry).

Skill level: Easy. Even with the global twists on recipes, it’s still the same process.
This book is for: People who want to grill outside the box and explore new flavors.
Other recipes to try: Grilled salmon with an apple and lemon glaze, Thai kebabs with the crispy noodle salad, and the triple smoky burger.
The verdict: While the rhubarb salsa wowed, the pork chops flopped. This round goes to Bon Appétit’s The Grilling Book.




Pork Chops with Rhubarb Salsa
4 servings

4 large pork chops on the bone
2 Tbsp. mild paprika, preferably smoked
1 ½ Tbsp. oregano
2 tsp. cumin
1 ½ tsp. chili powder, preferably ancho
1 lime, grated zest
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil

Rhubarb salsa
5.25 oz. rhubarb
2 tsp. sesame oil
¼ cup olive oil
½ red chili, sliced
2 Tbsp. mint, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. acacia honey
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1/5 cup pickled ginger, chopped
½ red onion, thinly sliced

• Make a cut in the fat at the edge of each chop and pat them dry.
• Mix all the spices, lime zest, garlic, sugar, sal, and pepper. Add olive oil and stir into a thick paste. Massage the paste thoroughly into the meat. Allow to stand for at least 20 minutes. The marinated chops can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours but remember that they should be at room temperature when you put them on the grill.
• Use this time to make the salsa: Slice the rhubarb (peel it if it’s tough). Mix the sesame oil, olive oil, chili, mint, honey and sesame seeds and add. Mix in the ginger and red onion. Add salt to taste. You can even cook the salsa for 10 minutes, but in that case add the mint after cooking.
• Place the chops on the grill over direct heat and allow them to color on both sides. Move to the edge of the coals and put the lid on. Grill until an inner temperature of 145 degrees is reached. Place on a serving plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
• Serve with the salsa.

Reprinted with permission by Schiffer Publishing


By the Book: “Bon Appétit’s The Grilling Book” edited by Adam Rapoport

Saturday, April 9th, 2016



I don’t usually grill. The whole to-do about cleaning the grill, setting up and lighting the charcoal, waiting for it to get to temperature … It’s not exactly my favorite. However, if a friend is willing to do all of that for me, I’m down for the cooking part.

I chose to cook out of Bon Appétit’s The Grilling Book with its clean design and delicious-looking pictures. I made skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, both of which were new to me. The simple recipes are exactly the kind I enjoy when I’m entertaining: quick dishes with bright flavor.

The chimichurri sauce is acidic and herbaceous with savory, pungent raw garlic. Treat it like a condiment that brightens up anything grilled. The recipe makes enough for leftovers, and it will go well on a number of things: seared fish, grilled lamb and roasted vegetables. As for the meat, it doesn’t get much easier than flank steak. Pat the meat dry, season with salt and pepper, cook four minutes a side and enjoy medium-rare.

Skill level: Easy. There’s a ton of recipes, so there’s something for everyone. The recipes seem easy to follow and uncomplicated. Some are time-consuming (ribs take several hours) but not difficult.
This book is for: People who want creative grilling recipes and people who like to entertain.
Other recipes to try: Cantaloupe-basil agua fresca  and Chinese-style lobster with ginger, garlic and soy sauce
The verdict: Check back next week when the first challenger takes on The Grilling Book.





Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
4 servings

1 1½-lb. skirt steak, cut in half crosswise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing
½ cup chimichurri sauce

• Season skirt steak lightly with salt and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels and season again with salt and pepper.
• Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Brush grill grate with oil. Cook until meat is nicely charred and medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
• Transfer steak to a work surface; let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain and serve with chimichurri sauce.


1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. kosher salt, more as needed
3 or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced.
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Fresno chile or red jalapeno, finely chopped
2 cups minced, fresh cilantro
1 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh oregano
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

• Combine vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, shallot and chile in a medium bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley and oregano. Using a fork, whisk in oil.
• Transfer ½ cup chimichurri to a small bowl, season with salt to taste, and reserve as sauce.
• To use as a marinade with beef or lamb: Put beef or lamb in a glass, stainless steel or ceramic dish. Toss with remaining chimichurri. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
• Remove meat from marinade, pat dry and grill. Serve with reserved sauce.

Reprinted with permission from Andrews McNeel Publishing


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