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- Hardwood lump charcoal (not briquettes)
- 4 1 1/4-inch-thick porterhouse steaks or New York strip steaks (each about 16 ounces)
- Coarsely cracked whole black peppercorns
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 fresh poblano chiles, seeded, cut into 2x1/4-inch strips
- 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 12-inch-diameter cast-iron skillet
- Kettle-style charcoal grill
- Natural-bristle pastry brush
Prepare barbecue (high heat) using hardwood lump charcoal. When charcoal is orange, spread out in even layer on lower grill rack. Use newspaper to fan excess ash from coals. Sprinkle steaks generously with coarse sea salt and cracked peppercorns. Arrange steaks in single layer directly atop hot embers and grill until cooked to desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Using long tongs, transfer steaks to plate. Using natural-bristle brush, remove any embers and loose ash from steaks. Tent steaks with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
Add oil to 12-inch-diameter cast-iron skillet. Place skillet directly atop embers in grill. When oil begins to smoke, add chiles and all remaining ingredients to skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until vegetables begin to brown, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on heat remaining from embers. Using oven mitts as aid, carefully lift skillet from barbecue. Season pan-fry with salt and pepper. Pour over steaks and serve.
Nutritional ContentOne serving contains the following: Calories (kcal) 677.4 %Calories from Fat 70.6 Fat (g) 53.2 Saturated Fat (g) 15.3 Cholesterol (mg) 117.4 Carbohydrates (g) 6.4 Dietary Fiber (g) 1.8 Total Sugars (g) 2.7 Net Carbs (g) 4.6 Protein (g) 41.4 Sodium (mg) 116.4Reviews Section
Stephen Fries: Recipes for grilled halloumi and turkey burgers
Spring has finally sprung. May is National BBQ Month, and the upcoming Memorial Day weekend &mdash the unofficial start of summer &mdash is around the corner.
It is a time of year that many of us, especially in the Northeast, take to our backyards, patios and decks, lighting up the grill so we can enjoy the smoky flavor of food, the &ldquotaste of summer.&rdquo Grilling is a popular pastime that brings family and friends together.
A gourmet meal prepared under the blue sky at the comfort of your home is still an affordable luxury. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 75 percent of U.S. adults own a grill or smoker. The top reasons for cooking out? Seventy-one percent say it&rsquos to improve flavor, 54 percent say it&rsquos for personal enjoyment, and 42 percent do it to entertain family and friends.
No wonder there is a plethora of cookbooks devoted to grilling, BBQ and smoking. A recent addition to my collection is the 400-plus-page &ldquoThe Grilling Book: The Definitive Guide From Bon Appetit&rdquo edited by Adam Rapoport (© 2013, Andrews McMeel Publishing, $45). It makes a great gift for Father&rsquos Day and is a guide to take you out of your BBQ comfort zone for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and those lazy days of summer.
This book doesn&rsquot just show you what to grill, it teaches you how to grill. An entire chapter is devoted to grill prep that will arm you with confidence and improve even the most seasoned griller&rsquos game. With more than 380 recipes published in the popular Bon Appetit magazine, I found this book to be one-stop shopping for grilling, sauce, side, salad and refreshing summer drink recipes.
Whether you plan to serve up caveman porterhouse with Poblano pan fry, cook lobster paella, grilled halloumi &mdash one of my favorites &mdash with watermelon and basil minty oil, or just make a better burger, I think you will agree this is the ultimate resource for all things grilling.
Here are a couple of recipes to get you started. (For the recipes for grilled bacon and root beer baked beans, visit bit.ly/1TCOjIk.)
The book&rsquos editor writes, &ldquoHalloumi is our favorite cheese for grilling, and it makes the perfect accompaniment to a refreshing watermelon salad. Both are topped with a distinctive green herb oil that takes just seconds to make and adds intense summery zing.&rdquo
Halloumi is available at some supermarkets, specialty foods stores, and natural foods stores. I have purchased it at Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro (93 Whitney Ave., New Haven).
Consiglio's cooking demonstration and dinner: Thursday, 6:30 p.m., 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489, $65, bit.ly/1Wh98Of. Preparation of a four-course meal is demonstrated. Learn how to make some of Consiglio's trademark dishes: grilled shrimp with truffle vinaigrette, classic mixed greens salad, white clam and bacon risotto, crepes with bananas, walnuts, Nutella and gelato.
Shad Bake: June 4, 3-6:30 p.m., Connecticut River Museum, the Essex waterfront at 67 Main St., ctrivermuseum.org, $30 adult, $10 child (10 and under) includes the meal and admission to the museum, $5 additional fee for walk-ins, beverages at an additional price. For shad lovers, the lure is the secret ingredients and the authentic method of preparation and cooking handed down from Connecticut natives. Done in front of the fire, the fish picks up the smoky flavor of seasoned oak boards. The meal includes homemade potato salad, tossed green salad and pies from Lyman Orchards. BBQ chicken and hot dogs are also available. Live music by the Corinthian Jazz Band.
GRILLED HALLOUMI WITH WATERMELON AND BASIL-MINT OIL
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint, plus thinly sliced mint for garnish
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces cherry tomatoes on the vine
1 8- to 9-oz. package halloumi cheese, cut crosswise into 8 slices
6 small triangles thinly sliced watermelon, rind removed
Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Purée basil, chopped mint and garlic in a blender. With machine running, add ½ cup oil. Set a strainer over a small bowl strain, pressing on solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Brush grill grate with oil. Drizzle 2 tablespoons basil-mint oil over tomatoes and cheese season with salt and pepper. Grill tomatoes, turning occasionally, until charred and bursting, about 4 minutes. Grill cheese until nicely charred in spots and beginning to melt, about 45 seconds per side.
Arrange watermelon on a platter. Top with cheese and tomatoes. Drizzle remaining herb oil over garnish with sliced mint. Makes 4 servings.
The editor says, &ldquoThis recipe makes more jam than you&rsquoll need for the burgers. We recommend using whatever you have left over as a sandwich spread or as a condiment with grilled or roast meat.&rdquo
TURKEY BURGERS WITH TOMATO JAM, OLIVES AND FETA
1 pound ground dark-meat turkey
2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup crumbled feta (about 2 oz.), plus more for topping
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives (about 6), plus more for topping
1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more as needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (scant) finely chopped onion
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes with juices
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the burgers: Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Gently mix turkey, onion, 1/3 cup feta, 3 tablespoons olives, 1 teaspoon olive oil, garlic, rosemary, generous ½ teaspoon salt and generous ½ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Form into 4 patties, each about 1-inch thick. Using your thumb, make a small indentation in the center of each patty. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Brush grill grate with oil. Grill burgers until charred on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Grill cut side of buns until toasted, about 2 minutes. Assemble burgers with tomato jam and additional feta and chopped olives.
For the tomato jam: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add diced tomatoes with juices, sugar, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid has evaporated and mixture is reduced to about 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
The jam can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and chill. Makes 2½ cups.
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Originally our love affair with charcoal began years ago in our first apartment. Mr. Spock and I had completely gutted our entire living space and decided to embark upon an ambitious kitchen reno which rendered our cooking space unusable for several months. Finding a little hibachi out on the patio left by the previous owners, we began our foray into the world of charcoal grilling and BBQ. It’s amazing but you actually are able to cook three meals a day on a hibachi! By the time our kitchen was once again in working order we had become quite creative with our BBQ culinary efforts, producing tasty egg dishes for breakfast, various warm salad concoctions and even dessert.
We were hooked. The taste from charcoal is just so much more appealing – the flavour is incredible! In comparison, gas BBQs seem to make everything taste like propane. Now you’ll notice that I keep saying “we” when referring to our BBQ efforts. Let me set the record straight and say that it is the royal “we” I am using! The Spock man is the genius behind the grill in our house and I quickly became relegated to sous chef, a position I am quite happy to fill. (Hey – I know where my strengths lie!)
Given our love for BBQ we recently jumped at the opportunity to register for a course in order to become certified Pacific Northwest BBQ Judges. In fact, that is how we celebrated our wedding anniversary! (Doesn’t everyone?!)
Over at Well Seasoned in Langley, owner Angie Quuale hosted a BBQ competition judging class on behalf of the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association (PNBA). Throughout the evening our group of BBQ lovers learnt all about good “Q” and what to look for during a competition. At the end of the course we emerged as certified BBQ judges, able to participate in any PNWBA sanctioned contests.
It was great to hear Angie’s stories of BBQ successes and failures, along with other interesting anecdotes about what it’s like to be on the BBQ competition trail. We also learnt the difference between grilling (cooking directly over flames) and traditional American BBQ (meat cooked over indirect heat within a closed pit, using low heat and smoke from a charcoal or wood fire). It is the method of low and slow that allows the connective tissues of the meat to break down and turn what would have been tough cuts into delicious, tender morsels.
The old school style of BBQ has its roots in the American south, although the popularity of this style of cooking has since expanded across the globe. That being said, each state still tends to have its own style of BBQ. For example in Eastern North Carolina the ‘Q’ traditionally involves pork shoulder (or whole pig) cooked with hickory smoke that is pulled and mixed with a vinegar based BBQ sauce and served on a bun with slaw. In Western North Carolina it is all about the pork butt, seasoned with a tomato based vinegar sauce. Texas prefers beef brisket smoked with mesquite or oak, in Kansas City it is all about the sauce, and in Memphis ribs and shredded pork rule (wet or dry).
Pictured above are the four competitive food categories for BBQ competitions: (left to right) pork ribs, pork butt, chicken, beef brisket
I must admit that it felt a little strange critiquing BBQ that may not have been up to its original grand championship standards, but was still pretty darn tasty and nothing we would ever be ashamed to pull off our grill. Taking the judging course has definitely given me a new appreciation for good BBQ and the amount of energy (and money) that goes into preparing championship worthy dishes. Hopefully my hubby and I will get a chance to flash our new shiny judging badges at an upcoming competition!
For more information on the PNWBA or Well Seasond’s upcoming BBQ on the Bypass event, please visit www.pnwba.com and www.bbqonthebypass.com
Bon Appétit Magazine: July Cover Recipe
Caveman Porterhouse with Poblano Pan-Fry
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (tasty & dramatic!)
When it comes to steaks Mr. Spock and I tend to be fillet/rib eye type people, and in fact prior to testing this recipe neither one of us had ever had a porterhouse cut. Being food geeks, we immediately became fascinated by the gigantic hunk of meat the butcher handed over to us.
The porterhouse cut consists of a T-shaped bone with meat on either side, the larger side from the strip loin and the smaller side from the tenderloin. While similar to the T-bone cut, porterhouse steaks differ in that they contain a larger section of tenderloin (and are therefore more expensive).
Because it was just the four of us, we opted for just one (rather than four) 1 ¼ inch-thick porterhouse steak which ended up being more than enough for us and the kids. I must admit it felt almost sacrilegious to just throw such a gorgeous (not to mention expensive!) steak directly on the coals. This technique is called a ‘dirty steak’. Apparently US President Dwight Eisenhower was a fan of having his steaks cooked in this manner.
WARNING: be careful when removing the cast iron skillet with pepper mixture off of the coals… we burnt a hole through a welder’s glove!
Right off the bat this recipe scored points with Mr. Spock as it requires the use of a charcoal BBQ…the only way to BBQ in our household. My hubby has always been partial to charcoal over gas, and even back when we moved into our first apartment he had a little hibachi which we lived off during our kitchen reno. The flavour from charcoal is incredible, and over the years Mr. Spock has truly mastered the technique of perfect grilling.
Amazingly enough there was hardly any ash to brush off when we removed the steak from the coals. And the flavour? Oh my the flavour! Delicious. The steak was cooked perfectly and the pepper mixture was a wonderful addition. The cilantro was an unexpected yet welcome taste, giving the dish a real southwest flair. We have made the peppers subsequent to testing this recipe they make a wonderful addition for fajitas.
I am so happy that this dish was chosen as a cover recipe as I doubt I would have attempted it otherwise. Well done Bon Appétit – it’s a keeper!
(For a copy of July’s cover recipe, please click here )
As part of my culinary new years resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine. Inspired by a New York restaurant owner who has been making the magazine’s cover recipes each month for the last 25 years, I decided to attempt to do the same while blogging about my monthly experiences along the way.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (challenging and time consuming but oh-so-delicious!)
Initial Thoughts: Gulp.
The Test: The last cover recipe in my year-long quest of making each of the 12 covers from Bon Appétit Magazine. Talk about going out with a bang! This picture perfect chocolate torte first appeared on the cover of the magazine in 1984, and apparently it has been the most requested recipe in the history of this publication.
Before attempting this recipe, I went online and read the 30 plus comments left by readers. This was probably a good thing as it enabled me to approach this recipe with my eyes wide open. With the general consensus being that the cake was very time consuming with mediocre results, I cleared my entire weekend and rolled up my selves determined to give it my best shot.
The Cake Pretty straight forward although there are quite a few steps involved (beating sugar, cream and egg batter, melting and blending chocolate into the mix, folding dry ingredients into batter in multiple batches, and whipping and folding in egg whites). The end result is a batter that is very thick and dense in texture, but smells absolutely divine with the combination of spices that include cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Perfect flavours to pair up against rich, dark chocolate. NOTE: ignore recipe baking times as a number of people including myself found the suggested times to be much too long, and unfortunately my cakes ended up overcooked and a little dry.
The Buttercream Making the buttercream was probably my favourite element of the entire recipe. Would you consider me too much of a food geek if I said I had a lot of fun whipping this up?! It was incredibly satisfying to watch the icing froth up and become this lovely, glossy mass of light as air cake filler. Don’t know whether I can credit beginners luck for my success, but I didn’t have any problems with the icing seizing when I added the cooler tempered butter into the warm sugar and egg mixture. However if this happens, simply set your bowl over simmering water to relax the icing and melt all lumpy bits. Yes, ‘lumpy bits’ is a technical term. NOTE: chilling the buttercream makes layering the cake much easier, and I also found it useful to stick chop sticks into the cake to hold the layers together while placed in the freezer.
The Glaze Making the glaze was simple, but I did find I had to stir the mixture for much longer than the mere five minutes suggested in the recipe. I think I waited for close to half an hour before the chocolate had thickened enough to spread over the cake, and even after that long it was still runny enough to make icing the sides of the cake an extremely frustrating task. NOTE: next time I would trim the cake first, allowing for more of an even surface upon which to spread the glaze, and I would also let the chocolate firm up more prior to icing the cake.
The Ribbons As if a three layer chocolate torte with buttercream and rich chocolate glaze weren’t enough, the recipe calls for adorning the cake with white and dark chocolate ribbons! This is done by mixing corn syrup to melted chocolate which creates a pliable mixture called modeling chocolate. The recipe suggests using a pasta maker to roll out the sheets of chocolate prior to cutting into ribbons, but I would have to agree with the other readers who found this method to be useless and messy.
If I were to attempt the ribbons again I would simply use a rolling pin, a tactic which many people found to work perfectly well. As for my ribbons, I found the white chocolate mixture much too oily and soft while the dark chocolate quickly became much too hard to use. In the end I chucked the chocolate. Lord knows there would still be enough calories left on the cake without the decadent bow and ribbons! NOTE: according to the Sweet Silent Thoughts blog there are a whopping 1,235.9 calories a serving for this recipe!
The Results: As you can tell, this cake is a labour of love. So was it worth it in the end? I can safely say yes, but I would only consider making it for special occasions. VERY special occasions. Because of the length of time it takes to prepare this dessert as well as the expense of the ingredients (all that chocolate is not cheap people!) I would not whip this up for an ordinary Sunday dinner. That being said, I would definitely consider making a scaled down version of this cake on a more regular basis, perhaps making only two layers and not even bothering to attempt the ribbons. Despite being overcooked, the cake tasted incredible and the unexpected flavour of cloves really made this recipe stand out from the crowd of ordinary chocolate cakes. It was very rich and dense in texture Mr. Spock compared it to a moist version of biscotti which I think is an accurate description. The buttercream was silky smooth and not too sweet, the hint of rum cutting through the chocolate and adding a nice richness to the torte. The glaze was a fantastic way to top the whole thing off, although some people found it a little much. But that’s the whole point of this cake…it’s all a little much.
For a copy of the recipe for Spiced Chocolate Torte Wrapped in Chocolate Ribbons, please click HERE
These are the tools and ingredients that are in my kitchen. You won’t find many gimmicky tools here. I use a couple of sharp knives and a cutting board for most jobs. I like these things and they work, so when I refer to an ingredient or a type of pan, grill, thermometer, etc., you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Blender: I have a high-powered Vitamix, and I think it’s the best.
Broiler: The kind in a typical home oven with the pan set about 4 in (10 cm) below the heat.
Dutch Oven: A 6- to 8-qt (6- to 7.5-L) stainless-steel or enameled cast-iron pot.
Food Processor: I use a typical home food processor that can also be fitted with a smaller bowl that’s great for grinding spices.
Injector: I use a low-priced kitchen injector and keep a couple spares around.
Instant-Read Thermometer: The best on the market is a Superfast Thermapen.
Knives: I use a very sharp 10-in (25-cm) chef knife and a 6-in (15-cm) boning knife for just about everything. My personal choice is the Shun Ken