Category Archives: Holidays

Sweetheart Ribeye

Putting Your Heart Into It

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!

Gluten Free Chex Mix

Gluten-Free Chex Mix

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).

Gluten Free Chex Mix

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.

Gluten Free Chex Mix

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.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
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.

Grilled and Roasted Prime Rib

Prime Rib

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.

Prime Rib

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.

Prime Rib

The Verdict: ★★★★★
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!

Oyster Stew

Oyster Stew

It wouldn’t be the holidays without oyster stew. When I was a kid this was always a thin soup that had more oyster crackers in it than actual oysters. These days I like to make it as thick and creamy as possible.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 pint oysters and liquor
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
2 stalks celery,  finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon Chesapeake Bay seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-ish heat. Add the celery and onion and sweat the veggies until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook the mixture, stirring often, until the roux just starts to darken, about 5 minutes.

Slowly add the milk and cream, stirring constantly. Add the celery salt, Chesapeake Bay seasoning, hot sauce, and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper as needed.

Bring the soup almost to a simmer. Almost being the key word, as bringing the soup to a boil will cause the cream to separate. Cook over very low heat for 15 minutes until the soup is thick and creamy and the veggies are very soft.

Add the oysters and their liquor and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the edges of the oysters start to curl.

Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with more hot sauce on the side and some crusty bread for dipping.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This turned out downright decadent.  The roux is so simple, but makes a lot of difference in how creamy and rich the stew is.

Gift Ideas

It’s 8°F outside and my Big Green Egg is covered with a thick coating of snow, which means it’s probably time for my holiday gift guide. If you’re looking for gifts for your grill geek, here are some goodies that I’ve had a chance to try out over the past year and can highly recommend:

Google Nexus 7 Tablet – this has become my go-to device for checking recipes, updating grocery lists, and checking email. It’s easier to use than a smartphone and easier to carry around than a laptop.

Fat Daddio’s 15-Inch x 2-Inch Cake Pan – this heavy-duty pan fits perfectly inside an upturned large Big Green Egg plate setter, making it an ideal drip pan.

Tagine – I can’t tell you how many uses I’ve come up with for my Emile Henry Flame Tagine. It not only makes a great dutch oven, but I use the base all the time as a casserole dish or serving platter.

Oster Counterforms Blender – this inexpensive blender is a nice alternative to a food processor. I “wet blend” a lot of sauces to save food prep time.

Toastabags – I use these so that I can toast my gluten-free bread in a non-GF toaster, or so that my dear wife can toast her bread in our GF toaster.

On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen – Harold McGee’s definitive book on kitchen science is focused on the both the “hows” and “whys” of cooking.

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing – Michael Rhulman’s book is the undisputed authority on making confit, salami, prosciutto, pâtés, as well as smoked meats and seafood.

Cuisinart Elite Collection 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder – small, but mighty. Perfect for making whirly sauces.

Red Boat Vietnamese Fish Sauce – this artisanal nuoc mam puts the puts the “ooh” in umami.

Microplane Professional Coarse Grater – excellent for grating cheese, garlic, or zesting citrus fruit. Also makes fancy chocolate garnishes.

Stainless Steel Vented Chimney Cap – this Big Green Egg replacement cap from Smokeware easily does the job of both the ceramic cap and the daisy wheel and offers better features than either.