Yogurt Pancakes

Looking for something hearty, but not overwhelming, for Monday morning to soak up all the Super Bowl fun?

1 cup honey Greek yogurt
7 tablespoons gluten-free pancake mix (I used Wildroots)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
Butter

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, pancake mix, baking soda, and eggs until just combined.

In a medium non-stick fry pan, melt a pat of butter over medium heat.

Drop 1/4 – 1/2 cup servings of pancake batter into pan. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to form on the surface and edges are starting to brown. Flip and cook the other side for about a minute.

Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
These are definitely different from any other pancakes I’ve made. It’s kind of hard to explain – airy and tender, but also rich and filling. Let’s just call them “lightly decadent” and leave it at that.

Rooster Wings

Rooster Wings

I love hot wings and playoff time is as good an excuse as any to fire up a batch. This time I went sweet and sticky with most of the heat coming from sriracha (aka rooster sauce).

12 chicken wings
Juice of 1 orange (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1-2 tablespoons sriracha
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Combine the juice, chili sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, sriracha, oil, and fish sauce. Put the wings in a zip-top bag and pour the marinade over them. Turn to coat, then squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up, and stash in the fridge for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better). Turn the bag every so often to make sure all the pieces get a coated in the marinade.

Set a cooling rack on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Reserve the marinade and move the to the rack and let them sit uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight to let the skin to dry out a bit.

Set your grill up for a raised direct cook at 350°F. On the Big Green Egg I used an extender to move the grate up to the level of the rim, putting the chicken further away from the heat.

When the grill is ready, put the wings on the grill and cook undisturbed for 30 minutes. Flip and cook for another 20 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

Pour the reserved marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until it has reduced by about a third (5-10 minutes). Taste and adjust the seasonings. Baste the wings on both sides with the sauce. Let them cook for another 10 minutes, then baste again.

Serve with remaining sauce for dipping.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
The wings were very tasty. I really liked how the orange juice brightened up the flavor and kept them from tasting too sweet or heavy. I went with 2 tablespoons of sriracha, but they could have been a little hotter.

While the marinade boosted the flavor, the skin didn’t get as crisp as I would have liked. Maybe they need a coating of a little oil or a longer rest in the fridge.

Smoked Prime Rib – Perfecting the Reverse Sear

I spent New Year’s Eve alone this year :(. I still wanted to celebrate surviving another trip around the sun, so I hunted up a small prime rib roast and tried my hand yet again at a reverse sear.

With prime rib, you want to maximize the amount of medium-rare meat from edge to center and still have a nicely browned, flavorful crust. This can be a bit tricky because most traditional roasting techniques end up overcooking the outermost layers, leaving you with a wide band of gray and dry meat.

The reverse sear avoids this by cooking the meat slowly until it’s just about medium rare, then pulling it out to rest for 30 minutes while you crank the heat up as high as it’ll go. Then searing the roast until the outside is brown and sizzling, but not so long that you start to cook the inside.

1 prime rib roast (2.8 pounds, boneless)
Sea or kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons Montreal-style steak seasoning

Prep the roast at least a day in advance. Score the deckle (fat cap 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 and plenty of salt, making sure to work it into the cuts.

If the roast is too oblong, tie if up with butcher’s twine to get it more round and compact. This will help it cook more evenly. Stash in the fridge overnight.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook over low (250°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg this meant using the plate setter (convEGGtor) inverted with the legs up and a drip pan to diffuse the heat.

When the grill is ready add a little wood for smoke. I use a mix of apple and a little mesquite.

Roast the meat at 250°F until it hits 120°F internal, about for 1 1/2 hours. I used a Maverick Et-732 Remote Thermometer to keep an eye on both grill and internal meat temp.

Prime Rib

Remove from the grill and let rest someplace warm for 30 minutes.

Prime Rib

While the meat is resting, crank up your grill as hot as it will go while still keeping the indirect setup. I got the Egg up to just a bit shy of 700°F.

Return the roast to the grill for 5-10 minutes, just long enough to crisp the outside.

Prime Rib

Slice and served immediately.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Perfectly rare/medium-rare with a crispy crust and not a titch of gray to be seen. The smoke added a little bite to the meat that helped to offset the richness. Now that I’ve got this reverse sear figured out I’m going to be using it a lot more.

For you food geeks – I took the roast off the grill when it hit 118°F Internal. The temp rose while resting to 123°F then dropped to 122°F.  There was less than a tablespoon of juices lost on the cutting board and the meat was so juicy that there were little pools of standing juice on the slices. The sear only took 5 minutes as was so intense that at the end the little fat in the drip pan got so hot it ignited.

Oyster Stew

My first experience making oyster stew was not a pretty one. I remember trying to follow some snooty recipe by scalding milk in a paper-thin tin pan over a temperamental electric burner while a certain persnickety relative told me how I was doing it wrong. It came out fine, but no fun was had that evening.

Since then I’ve learned a few things:

  • Good gear matters – it doesn’t have to be fancy, high-end stuff, but heavy pans and sharp knives make a world of difference,
  • Scalding milk is a waste of time.
  • Recipes are good starting places but nothing is written in stone. Feel free to experiment.
  • Cook with people or for people but don’t let anyone tell you how to cook.
  • Just like there is only one captain on a ship, there is only one chef in the kitchen.

Oyster Stew
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup clam juice
1 pint oysters and their liquor
1 medium leek, finely chopped
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon Chesapeake Bay seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the clam juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the juice has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Add the cream, milk, celery salt, Bay seasoning, hot sauce, and lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the oysters and parsley and simmer until the oysters start to curl, about 3 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread and more hot sauce.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
I don’t know why I don’t make this more often. It’s rich, elegant, tasty, and comes together in a flash. I’ve tried a lot of different aromatics in this dish and I really like the way leeks bring a sweet and subtle flavor to the dish without overwhelming the oysters.