We are celebrating in the Florida Keys with a classic Hornitos Platas, lime juice, and Cointreau mixture. How are you celebrating?
They call it a “Sweetheart Ribeye.” You butterfly a 2-inch thick rib roast and it’s supposed end up looking like a heart.
It looks like a heart, right? Kinda? Maybe? Sorta? Glad my dear wife loves me for more than my cooking skills.
Anyway, I gave it my standard hot and fast treatment on the Big Green Egg and it was very tasty. It was not, however, the big hit of the evening. That was the Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee from She Cooks… He Cleans. It was rich, chocolatey, not too sweet, and decadently good. I highly recommend it.
Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day!
I’ve loved this fiery Korean side dish ever since I had it with our New Year’s Bo Samm. While our local Korean market carries jar upon jar of it (some as large as a small child) in their cooler, I know that this is traditionally a home-made dish and have been wanting to try my hand at making it myself.
Kimchi is like sauerkraut’s kick-ass evil twin. They both start out as innocently enough as lacto-fermented cabbage, but sauerkraut ends up tart and humble, while kimchi gets hot and funky.
This is actually my second attempt at making home-fermented kimchi. The first batch was tasty, but it got a bit over-fermented and very odoriferous. It was tasty, but well… let’s just say I got a whole seat on the bus to myself the next day.
1 pound Napa cabbage or bok choy
1 small daikon radish
1 small onion
1/2 inch long finger of fresh ginger
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons Singsong Korean Hot Pepper
4 tablespoons sea or kosher salt
6 cups bottled or filtered water
Make your brine by adding the salt in 6 cups of water and stirring until the salt completely dissolved. Note: using sea or kosher salt and filtered water is not just a bit of foodie pretentiousness – iodine, anti-caking additives, and chlorine will screw up your fermentation and kill the good bugs that you want to foster.
Wash and dry all the veggies. Slice the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and then chop into bite-sized chunks. Julienne or grate the carrot, radish, and ginger. Quarter the onion.
Put the cabbage, carrot, radish, and ginger in a very large bowl and cover with the brine. Put a plate on top to keep them submerged, then let sit for at least 2 hours.
Put the garlic, onion, fish sauce, and pepper in a food processor and give it a whirl to combine. Add a bit of the brine if needed to form a thick paste. Stash in the fridge while the veggies soak up the brine.
After 2 hours, taste the cabbage – it should have softened a bit but still have a little crunch and be pleasantly salty. How salty? It should taste like the sea, or that first sip of a salt-rimmed margarita. You can do some adjusting at this point by letting it soak for another hour if it’s not salty enough, or by rinsing with fresh bottled water if it’s too salty.
When you’ve got it tasting right, drain the veggies, reserving the brine.
Add the chile paste to the veggies and (wearing gloves to avoid stains and smells) use your hands to mix everything together.
Pack the kimchi in a clean quart-sized jar or pickling container. Tamp the veggies down to remove any trapped air bubbles, making sure to leave 1 1/2 inches of head space at the top of the jar.
Add enough reserved brine cover the kimchi and still leave an inch of head space to allow for expansion during fermentation.
If you are not using an airlock, seal the jar loosely to let air escape as the fermentation bugs crank out their CO2. If you are using an airlock, seal the jar tightly, insert the airlock and add water up to the fill line.
Let stand for one to two days in a dark place at about room temperature. You may see bubbles forming in the jar or bubbling through the airlock – this is a good thing. Taste the kimchi now and then to see how it is progressing. It should start to taste a bit wild and tangy after about 4 days. This flavor will get stronger as it sits, so once the flavor is where you like it, remove the airlock and seal the jar then move it to the fridge.
I like to let it sit for a week in the fridge to mellow a bit. It keeps for several months, longer if you push the remaining back down as you use it to keep most of the cabbage submerged in the brine.
Serve as a side to any Korean dish, particularly anything with pork. It is also a great addition to fried rice, or omelets and makes a great hearty soup.
This dish has it all – tangy, savory, funky, rich and spicy. There are so many things going on (including a slight tingle from the fermentation) that it gives your taste buds a real wallop. It’s hitting so many flavor buttons that it’s pretty addictive.
I am particularly happy considering this one of my early attempts at lacto-fermentation. I’ve been trying to get more healthy, probiotic bugs into our diet and kimchi is definitely the gateway food for that. I am already looking at getting another fermenter to keep us in all the sauerkraut, pickled onions, kimchi, and hot sauce we can eat.
No beans, no tomatoes – it’s all about meat and heat. This is a modern version of the chili dish that the Aztecs introduced to the Spaniards and that the Mexican vaqueros brought north with them. A warm and hearty dish like this to ward off the sub-zero weather is just what a lot of us need right now.
3 to 4 pound beef chuck roast
10 dried chile peppers (I only used Guajillo, but a mix of New Mexico, Ancho, and pequin would be good too)
1 (7-ounce) can Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 quart beef stock
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano (Mexican, if you can)
Sea or Kosher salt and black pepper
Pre-heat your oven to 300°F.
Wearing gloves, stem and seed the dried chiles. Cover with hot (but not boiling) water, and let steep until they are softened – about 30 minutes.
While the chiles are soaking, coat the roast with a little peanut oil on all sides and then dust with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a large dutch oven until smoking. Sear the roast on all sides until browned (about 4 minutes a side). Remove roast to a plate.
Drain the chiles, discard the soaking water. Put the chiles, can of Chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and about half the stock in a food processor and give them a whirl until they form a smooth sauce.
Put the onions in a layer in the bottom of the dutch oven. Top with the roast and any accumulated juices. Pour chili sauce over it all and add enough of the remaining beef stock to bring the liquid in the pan about a quarter of the way up the roast.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put the lid on and move to the whole works to the oven for an hour.
Braise the roast for an hour, then flip it over and add more stock if needed. Continue cooking until very tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours total. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside to shred the meat (I used a 9×13 cake pan to keep everything contained).
Shred the meat and remove any nasty bits. I used a pair of bear paws to break it into bite-sized chunks. Return the meat and any juices that have accumulated back to the Dutch oven.
Move the Dutch oven to the stove top and bring chili to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning. Let cook uncovered until the chili is thick and the meat has completely fallen apart.
Serve this with cornbread and garnish with cilantro, diced white onion, sliced radishes, sour cream, chopped green onions, grated cheese, avocado, tortilla chips – you name it.
This was a very rich and filling dish. Very meat-centric, but the Guajillo and Chipotles kept it interesting with a nice complex, smoky, and lasting heat. I can sure see any leftovers being used as a filling for tacos or tamales.
As always, the impending Super Bowl gives me yet another reason to whip up some wings. This is a hotter version of my Oil Drum Chicken Thighs. Normally I would do these on the Big Green Egg, but the Polar Vortex forced me to hunker down and use the oven.
2 pounds chicken wings
1/2 cup hot sauce (homemade in this case)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
Put the salt and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the hot sauce, vinegar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, onion, pepper, celery salt, basil, and parsley and give them a whirl until they are well-combined. Reserve half for basting the chicken.
Put the chicken in a zip-top bag and coat with the other half of the marinade. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, overnight is better, and 48 hours rocks.
Pre-heat your oven to 375°F. Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet or jellyroll pan.
Remove the wings from the marinade and arrange on the rack. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip and baste with the reserved marinade. Bake for another 20 minutes, then flip and baste again. Repeat every 10 minutes until the wings are crispy on the outside and at least 180°F on the inside (about 80 minutes total).
My dear wife really liked these wings, but I have some reservations. I liked the complex flavors that made them much more than your usual hot wing, but the balance was off. They needed more heat, less Worcestershire, and maybe some more salt and garlic. That said, I think they have great potential and am looking forward to playing around with the flavors.
P.S. Look for my lacto-fermented hot sauce recipe soon.
The holidays are over, but this classic party snack is perfect for any get-together. I’ve re-vamped it a bit to make it gluten-free using The Pioneer Woman’s recipe as a tasty starting point.
4 1/2 cups gluten-free Corn Chex
4 1/2 cups gluten-free Rice Chex
2 cups gluten-free pretzel sticks (Snyder’s Of Hanover or Glutino are both good)
3 cups mixed nuts (splurge for the extra-fancy ones, you’re worth it)
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 tablespoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is easy to find)
6 to 12 dashes Louisiana-style hot sauce
4 to 6 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Ground sea or kosher salt
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Pour cereal, pretzels, and nuts into a into a large mixing bowl or cake pan.
In a microwave-safe bowl, add butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, season salt, and onion powder and microwave until butter is melted. Stir together and taste. Add hot sauce and adjust seasonings as you see fit (I added a bit more seasoned salt and onion powder and went pretty heavy on the hot sauce).
Slowly pour butter sauce over cereal mixture, tossing and stirring as you go.
Transfer mix onto one or two baking sheets (I left ours in the large cake pan that I mixed it in) and bake, checking and stirring every 15 minutes until mix is toasted and fragrant, about 1 hour.
Remove from oven. Taste, and if you want to, grind just a bit of sea salt over it. Let cool and store in an air-tight container.
Chex mix one of my favorite snacks and I’ve really missed it since going gluten-free. This recipe knocks it out of the park compared to the commercial versions. The fresh garlic makes a huge difference, as does the hot sauce. I can see making up a big batch of this for the Super Bowl.
We had a quiet New Year’s Eve this year. For the first time in over 10 years we didn’t host a party, so it was just my dear wife and me, four spoiled cats, a roaring fire in the fireplace, and this lovely hunk of prime rib.
1 3-pound boneless prime rib roast
2-3 tablespoons Montreal-style steak seasoning
1 tablespoon prepared grated horseradish
1 tablespoon Penzy’s horseradish dip
2 tablespoons hot water
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the roast on a cutting board with the deckle (fat cap) on top. Score the fat by making shallow diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern at about 1-inch intervals. Generously dust the roast on all sides with the steak seasoning, making sure to work it into the cuts. Stash in the fridge while you set up the grill.
You’ll need a flame-proof roasting pan (I use an old 9×13 baking pan) with a rack.
For the sear, set your grill up for a direct cook over high heat (700°F). Get the cooking grate nice and hot and sear the roast directly on the grate for 90 seconds on each side. When the roast is browned all over, move it to the rack (fat side up) set in the roasting pan.
Move the roast to the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes. The idea is to stop the cooking process so that the outside gets nice and crispy while the inside stays a uniform medium-rare.
Normally, I would finish this on the Big Green Egg, but a record cold front moved in and discretion got the better part of me.
Preheat the oven for 300°F. Add 2 cups of water to the roasting pan and place roast in oven. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes per pound, or until it hits 125°F internal.
Move the roast to a cutting board and let rest while you make the horseradish sauce.
Combine hot water and dip seasoning and let sit for 5 minutes. Add grated horseradish, sour cream, and mayo and mix to combine. Let sit for another 5 minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings.
Carve roast and serve with horseradish sauce on the side.
This is becoming my favorite way to do prime rib. The searing gives the roast a nice browned and tasty crust while finishing it at a lower temperature after a rest makes sure you have minimum amount of overcooked meat and a maximum amount of yummy medium-rare.
The horseradish sauce was exactly what I been trying to make. I like the creaminess of horseradish dip, but it never has enough bite for me. Combining the two worked perfectly.
Hope you all had a happy New Year!