Friday, May 25, 2018

Grilled Root Beer Beef – Almost as Good as an Ice Cream Float

I’ve used something very close to this root beer marinade for lamb several times, and had great success, so I’ve been eager to try it with some skewered beef, which didn’t come out quite as well, but could have. Please, let me explain.

Since lamb has a stronger, “gamier” taste, the sweetness of this treatment works perfectly, but I thought it was a little too much for the beef. So, below in the ingredients list, I've made a few adjustments to the honey amount, as well as acidity level.

The beauty of a recipe like this is they’re very easy to adapt, and I’m not just talking about the pre-grill soak, but also the glaze we make with the extra marinade. Once reduced to something thick enough to coat our meat, you’ll want to taste it, and adjust with more heat, sweet, sour, or whatever else you think it needs. One thing mine definitely needed was more salt. I thought the soy was going to be enough, but I should have salted my skewers before they hit the grill, and/or add some salt to the marinade.

Adjustments aside, if you enjoy things like sweet/hot barbecue sauces, bourdon glazes, or even something like teriyaki, you will probably very much enjoy this. Even if you don’t use the marinade, I really loved the technique we used for the flank, which would work beautifully no matter how you flavor this. Either way, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 skewers/portions:
1 whole flank steak (about 1 1/2 pounds)
For the marinade
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
honey, optional (I used 2 tablespoons, but would omit next time)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar (I didn't add, but it needed it)
1 bottle (12 ounces) good quality root beer
kosher salt to season skewers generously

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Celery Sorbet – It Only Sounds Crazy

If you set out to make an ice cream or sorbet from a vegetable, celery wouldn’t be your first choice, but nevertheless, these unremarkable ribs produce a shockingly delicious frozen treat. And, I said “frozen treat,” instead of dessert for a reason, since this has as many savory applications as sweet ones.

The first time I ever had something like this, it was used to garnish a plate of salmon gravlax. It was presented next to the cold, cured fish, on a pile of crispy rye breadcrumbs, and the combination of tastes, textures, and temperatures truly was incredible. After that meal, I promised myself I’d figure out how to make this stuff no matter how long, or many failed attempts it took. Luckily, Mark Bittman had already posted a recipe for it in the Times, so I ended up nailing it on the first try, but still, promise kept.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, there are like a hundred hacks online for how to do this without one, or you can simply use the method highlighted in our strawberry granite video, which will produce something closer in texture to a snow cone, but amazing nonetheless. No matter what you use, I really do hope you give this very unusual, but absolutely delicious celery sorbet a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 pound (after trimming) sliced celery
1 cup white sugar
1 cup cold water
pinch of salt (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
1 lime, juiced

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fried Cheese Egg Toast – The Breakfast of Champions (In a Rut)

I’m not sure what your usual breakfast routine entails, but chances are you occasionally get bored with it, and crave something completely different, and when that happens, it doesn’t get much more different than this fast, and easy fried cheese egg toast. Be careful though, since afterwards it’s not easy going back to that bowl of oatmeal.

While pan-frying cheese may not sound particularly healthy, as it caramelizes, it gives up a fair amount of butter fat, which stays behind in the pan. So, you could actually spin this technique as a new, fat-reducing hack – unless you use that to butter the toast, which isn’t a dumb idea.

By the way, I hope you like your yolks runny, since if you don’t, this is not going to be nearly as great. Which reminds me, why do people not like runny yolks? What’s not to like? I hope they don’t think they’re dangerous, because they’re not. Anyway, if you are a fan of the flow, this fried cheese egg toast is the way to go, so I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for one Fried Cheese Egg Toast:
1 ounce grated cheddar cheese
pinch red pepper flakes
1 large egg
1 piece of toast
sliced green onions to garnish
pinch of salt

*Note: For best results, rub your non-stick pan with a few drops of olive oil

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Barbarian Beef – Our Oldest Recipe Yet

Ever since I saw Alton Brown grilling skirt steak on hot coals, I’ve wanted to try this technique for a larger hunk of meat, but it was the realization that no one had yet called a recipe “barbarian beef,” that provided the final push. 

By the way, I did no historical research, but I assume your average barbarian was too busy pillaging to lug a grill around, and just cooked their meat right on the coals. So, for the purposes of this post, that's the story we'll be going with.

I used top round for this, and if you’re just going to slice it thin, and make sandwiches it’s fine, but now that I have a little experience, I’d like to try it with a tenderer cut. No matter what you use, you’ll want to take it off a few degrees under whatever your regular internal temp target is, since it definitely continues to cook after you take it off the coals.

It’ll depend on the size/shape of your cut, but use a thermometer to check, as the temp will probably climb by at least 10 degrees. Above and beyond doneness, the flavor of the beef really was great. Very similar to something off a grill, but with a little bit deeper level of smokiness. Even if you don’t cook your steak on the coals, the sauce was quite nice, and comes highly recommended, but officially, I really do hope you give both a try soon. Enjoy!


For the Sauce:
4 cloves garlic
1 Fresno chili pepper, or other fresh hot pepper
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil