Archive for the ‘On the Grill’ Category
My buddy Steve and I have been friends for about 30 years now. We have been to San Diego,The Kentucky Derby, The King Biscuit Blues Festival (several years) and Ocracoke Island ( 9 years running I think?). So when Steve asked me to help run his boat from Cape Coral to Marathon Florida (Middle Keys), I immediately began making plans. After all, 10 days in the tropics appealed to me! The plan was for his wife to drive the car with the ladies and the kids down across Alligator Alley and on to Marathon.
On July 11th we set off. Joining us on our journey was Tom, Steve’s friend from Ohio. The Journey consisted of markers (GPS) Steve had meticulously put into his GPS. The first leg was easy…Down the Caloosahatchee River to the gulf. From there, follow the GPS to each marker and make the appropriate adjustments. It was a first for Steve, as well as myself, but I trusted my friend!
Six and a half hours later (several on open water with no sight of land) we arrived in Marathon to applause. The ladies and kids got there before we did. We tied up and went into the Marina Restaurant for refreshment.
The day after next we headed out in search of fish- Mahi Mahi (dolphin fish) specifically. With Steve and I were Tom (from Ohio) and Tim (from Florida). I didn’t understand it at first but the bowling pin Tim brought (painted bright green) was a lure.
It seems a bowling greenling pin,painted bright green, looks just like a Mahi! After a 26 mile trip out into the Atlantic it all began to make sense. With the Outriggers rigged and a bright green bowling pin trailing (fake bait) the hunt began!.
After a short ride the Mahi hit! Being a fish that swims in schools, it was easy pickings for the rest of us on the boat to catch one. For me …it was a highlight!
We headed in, satisfied with our catch. The evening meal was served 3 ways: fried, blackened and grilled!
The next morning we headed out again… this time with kids on board. It was a short day. We found a spot and I cast and immediately hit into a nice grouper! On the down side, some of the kids weren’t comfortable so we headed back in. It ended up being a perfect day to explore!
July 18, 2015:
Heading back to Cape Coral, Tom took a pass on the return ride and Steve’s stepdaughter joined us.
Crystal clear waters on the way out but, as we approached the Florida Coast, we ran into a line of squalls. Ten miles later and drenched to the core we emerged.
It was a safe journey both ways!
I have added a recipe for Blackened Mahi with Tropical Salsa The sweet of the Mango plays well against the heat of the Blackening Spice
Grilled Blackened Mahi with Tropical Salsa
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/8 cup diced onion
1/8 cup diced red pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 mango, diced
8 oz fresh pineapple diced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 mahi steaks 6 oz
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup blackening seasoning
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion and diced red peppers in hot oil until softened slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir brown sugar with the onion; cook until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Add mango, pineapple, and cider vinegar; simmer until hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Return skillet to stove.
- Coat Mahi filets with oil. Season mahi mahi steaks with salt and black pepper. Coat steaks with blackening seasoning. Cook steaks on grill until until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Plate the steaks and top with the mango salsa to serve.
Thanks for Checking in! I am still working in Grand Rapids and, as I love to do, explored the local food scene. I found a Vietnamese bakery that serves up a respectable Bahn Mi Sandwich and something call a snowball ( Chicken Vegetable and egg steamed inside a bread dough). Most recently there was an Indian grocery nearby that had Potato and Pea Samosas that were outstanding. The balance between the potato, curry and lime was beyond description. I know they were not made there but someone is making an excellent product. I had 4.
On July 4, 2010 I returned to my home in Eastpointe for a few days of Rest & Revival. Due to my late arrival my wife and I had an impromptu feast featuring some Ribeye steak, Hebrew National Hot Dogs,Grilled Romaine ( with Maytag Blue) and sautéed grape tomato with fresh basil and Olive oil. The evening finished with a very pleasant fireworks display supplied by several of our neighbors.
“Today is the actual Grilling Day/Holiday for me. As much as I enjoy my steak and salad the call was put out for salmon! Up to the challenge I came up with a menu. Salmon(Cedar planked) , Dilled Redskin Potato Salad and Grilled Corn.
Cedar (or planked) Salmon is a method acquired from the native Americans who attached there fish to a wood plank before placing them near the fire to cook. For the Salmon I was fortunate in having Cedar planks in house. They were a foodie gift and I look forward to every opportunity to use them. I have some Maple syrup and will rub my salmon down with it before placing it on the grill.
For the grilled corn I know there are several schools of thought. One involves soaking the husk (and corn) and putting it on the grill. To me, this only steams it! Grilled corn, to me, is fresh corn rubbed with butter and spice and thrown directly on the grill until slightly charred. I like chili powder and cumin.
To finish the menu I like Dilled Potato Salad. The potatoes are Michigan new potatoes. The dill grows wild around my house ( I love to forage!). I also have oregano, basil, rosemary and mint that grow wild around my house.
In my last post I alluded to my new position.I wanted bring you up to date with my current status. I am currently in Grand Rapids Michigan. I am living on-site and ( doing what I do) creating/implementing first rate dining services programs. I do return to my house in Detroit weekly.
For the last 2 weeks I have enjoyed the Downtown Blues Festival in Grand Rapids Little Ed was the first week and Duke Robilard appeared last week. This week it was Janiva Magness.
Last week we had our first Al Fresco Dining event and it went very well. We had literally twice our usual number participants joined us.We will be doing this weekly as long as the weather allows. Our resident love what we are doing!! We have a wonderful Chef Manager who has a great relationship with our residents.
I am taking a day off but wanted to stay in touch
Michigan has great small cities. Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint and Grand Rapids each host an variety of cultural events.
My favorite meals lately has been steak with grilled romaine lettuce. I top the lettuce with an herb vinaigrette ( herbs from my garden) and Maytag Blue Cheese, as well as marinating the steak in fresh herbs from my garden. I am fortunate to have a butcher shop in my neighborhood and they will cut steaks to my specifications. I prefer to have my steaks cut to about 2 # and grill/roast when cooking.
The Romaine lettuce I drizzle with the vinaigrette after I have topped it with the cheese and slice the steak thin.
The results are spectacular!!!
Years ago I worked at a very well known restaurant here in Detroit. As a line Chef it was my responsibility to prepare several of the menu items to order. I remember many of the items I prepared. On the appetizer menu there was a Calamari with a Tomato and Basil Burre Blanc and Oysters Rockefeller. For entrees I remember Sautéed Whitefish, Sweetbreads,Roast Duck with a Rosemary infused Red Wine and Honey reduction and Rack of Lamb. I loved Rack of lamb. One of the reasons was that in a Lamb Rack (double rack) there are 9 bone. Now a portion at the restaurant was 4 bones so I would get 2 orders plus one end piece that couldn’t be served. being and end piece it wasn’t a full chop and only had a small amount of meat. What to do with this chop. Many times it was sacrificed for quality control. You can read into that what you like! Ever since this experience Rack of Lamb has been one of my favorites.
Due to the cost involved I don’t get to have Rack of Lamb often and almost never order it in a restaurant but I went shopping today and what did I find on sale but Rack of Lamb. It was still pricy but I couldn’t pass it up. I immediately took it home and started to marinate it. Since I was planning on cooking it over charcoal I though a Mediterranean approach would be in order. In Italy or Greece this would have meant meant olive oil, garlic,lemon and fresh rosemary but several years ago I discovered a Middle Eastern spice blend called Zatar. Zatar is a spice blend with many uses. It is sprinkled on pita dough before baking. It is also a seasoning for meats. Once I added it to my rack of lamb marinade there was no going back. The rosemary was out and the Zatar was in.
With the weather warming up again it was a pretty good day for grilling. I built the fire so that I could take advantage of indirect heat cooking while being able to move my Lamb onto the fire as I felt necessary. I also soaked a few hickory chips to take advantage of the smoke. This method produces a very nice Rack of Lamb!
Unfortunately I can’t really offer a real recipe for this dish as it’s always been something I have just done as a technique.I’m hoping that I’ve given enough information so that anyone who likes lamb but was intimidated by cooking a rack will it will give it a try. I am always available to answer question about cooking so folks shouldn’t hesitate to ask!
To go along with the Lamb I served a Mushroom Risotto and Sautéed Spinach.
Heat your stock up separately and reserve. Keep warm.
Sauté the onion and mushroom in a little vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until the onion is soft.
Add the orzo and continue stirring until the rice is coated with the oil.
Add the wine and continue stirring until all the wine is absorbed.
Lower the flame to medium and slowly add the stock a little bit at a time and stir constantly. You don’t have to stir fast but you must continue stirring. Continue adding stock until the orzo swell and your mix gets creamy (20 – 30 minutes). Test the orzo to make sure it is not crunchy if it is add more stock.
When the Orzo is done stir in the remaining Butter and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately)
- Zatar is available in any Middle Eastern grocery and a little goes a long way so it’s worth the investment.
- For presentation sake I like to buy Racks that have been Frenched. What this means is that the fat and connective tissue that exists between each bone has been removed and the bones scraped. This gives your chops that nice “Lollipop” effect If I can’t get it that way I French it myself.
- Remember to let your meat “rest”. This allows the juices to settle and they won’t run out of the meat when you cut into it.
- With lamb I never cook past medium rare. The meat should be pink but not bloody.
- For the Risotto I like to use orzo instead of Arborio Rice. It works just as well and I like the texture of the grain.
- Using a wild mushroom in the Risotto is a great way to go but not absolutely essential.
- Do not walk away from the Risotto it need to be stirred continually.
- If your Risotto seems too thick add a little heavy cream or stock to make it creamy again.
One of my favorite meals is BBQ ribs. I don’t get to have them as often as I like due to the fact that my wife doesn’t eat pork. This time, however, I came up was offered a solution. The BBQ gods, in their infinite wisdom, decided that beef rib and pork ribs should be on sale at the same time. Now I haven’t an opportunity to do beef ribs on the BBQ before but I figured the process shouldn’t be any different. Beef ribs, by the way, are the bones that are attached to a prime rib so they were nice and meaty.
The first step was to brine the meat. This step helps to ensure that the meat stays moist and flavorful. While there are a lot of brine recipes out there I chose to keep it simple. I brought 1 cup of Kosher salt, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 gallon of water to a boil the night before. Considering the ingredients I wasn’t concerned about any type of spoilage so I just left the pot (covered) on the stove to cool overnight. I also took the opportunity to remove the membrane from the back side of the ribs. Without this step the membrane would make the ribs tough. The next morning I placed my ribs in the brine and put the pot in the refrigerator for 4 1/2 hours.
The second step was to cover my ribs with a rib rub. There are many brands on the market but the fact is the all the ingredients are probably in your spice cabinet already. A good basic rub is:
After removing your ribs from the brine pat them dry with a paper towel. Then rub both sides of your ribs and allow to sit (refrigerated) for at least 1 hour.
While your ribs are resting you can be soaking your wood chips. There are several types of wood that can be used. I like hickory the best but many people will use oak,apple cherry or pecan. I will use mesquite when I am grilling (as opposed to BBQing). Mesquite burns at a very high heat and as such is great for steaks and chicken or anything you want to sear and cook quickly.
The rule about BBQ is to cook low and slow. I build my fire on one side of my grill and put a drip pan full of water on the other side. I also make sure to always have a thermometer inside the grill so I can monitor the temperature. Ideally I like to cook between 225 and 250 degrees. I control the temperature by using the vents on the top and bottom of the grill (I am currently using a Weber Kettle), as well as, partially opening the lid if necessary.
Having taken all these steps I am now ready to put my ribs on. I place the as far away as I can from the flame (over the drip pan) and sprinkle the moist chips on the fire. It takes approximately 4 to 4 1/2 hours for the ribs to finish. One additional step I take to keep them moist is to have a squirt bottle filled with apple juice which I use to make sure the top of the ribs stay moist. When the bones just start to pull away from the meat the ribs are done.
The final step before feasting is to sauce the ribs. While some BBQ experts will tell you that good BBQ need no sauce I prefer it. I do find that a simple homemade sauce is often far superior to a store bought sauce. I think that too many ingredients are added when a less is more approach should be used. ketchup,cider vinegar and brown sugar are all you need although this time I had some maple syrup in the house and used it to replace some of the brown sugar I would normally use. This was a great decision as the sauce was spectacular. It should be noted that , due to the sugar in BBQ sauce it should be added only at the end of the BBQing process.
A couple of notes:
I like to use a baby back rib. I find it more meaty (and less fatty) than a St. Louis rib.
While you can find inexpensive ribs remember that you get what you pay for so if the deal seems too good to be true it probably is. You could end up paying for all fat.
The beef ribs worked exactly as expected and were very meaty and moist.
I didn’t add a sauce recipe here due to the fact that my sauce only has 3 ingredients (4 with maple syrup but that’s optional). Just mix the three ingredients together until you get the balance of tart and sweet you are looking for and remember it’s not necessary to add every spice in the cupboard!
Wood chips can be purchased at Lowes,Home Depot, K-Mart etc. Watch the pricing. You shouldn’t have to pay more than 4 or 5 buck for a bag that will last you most of the summer!
I love to BBQ!! Something about the smoke and fire make it a primal experience for me.Through the years I have had a variety of grills from an oil barrel grill to a water smoker.I used to be a “Charcoal Only” person but several years ago i even had an opportunity purchase a gas grill , at a reasonable price. and learned to like it.I have grilled/ smoked everything from geese to potatoes! A goal of mine is to get comfortable enough with BBQ that I enter the world of Competitive BBQ ( I have a cousin on the east coast who does this quite successfully. Her team is the Purple Turtle team ).
It has gotten warm enough to start smoking again. Although I will, on a whim, grill/smoke in even the most inclement weather I try to save my resources for spring and fall. Whole chicken were on sale at the market this week and provided me with the opportunity.
One of the most important elements of BBQ is to prepare your meat. For the chicken I used a brine. This does two things. The smoke clings to the salt in the brine better and the chicken stays moist from the brine. This brine will be enough for 2 chickens. I brined them for 5 1/2 hours. Also, as long as you are getting a fire going you may as well smoke as much as you can. no sense wasting all that good smoke! When I do ribs I always throw a chicken on too.
A basic brine recipe:
One Gallon water
One Cup Kosher Salt
One Cup Sugar (Brown)
Right now I still have my trusty Weber Kettle ( 20 years old) and am using to smoke. One of the important things to remember about smoking is that the rule is “Low and Slow”. I put the charcoal on one side of the grill and a drip pan filled with water on the other. I place the chicken over the drip pan so the fat that is rendered doesn’t burn. Also the water help to moderate the heat. My goal is to cook between 225 and 250 degrees.
Although there are several types of wood people use to smoke I like hickory. I soak my chips in water for an hour before tossing them on my fire. I have a thermometer in the grill to monitor temperature and I adjust accordingly by opening and closing the lid and/or the air holes on the top and bottom of the grill. My chickens took approximately 2 1/2 hours to cook.
We ate our chicken hot off the grill. I am making a smoked chicken and vegetable Penne Pasta with the leftover from the one chicken and the other one will go in the freezer for another day!