Thursday, June 23, 2011

Steak on the Big Green Egg

Chronicling a Big Green Egg cook from last week. Here is the beast itself. This is a XL Egg. I've ordered a medium to handle smaller cooks but as good as their products are, the BGE service and distribution network leaves a great deal to be desired. I think they've literally hired tropical monkeys to handle all of that so caveat emptor if you want to purchase one.

Once I get the fire started, I close the shell and allow it to creep up to cooking temperature by leaving the top aperture and the bottom slot wide open. Once I hit the temp, I close to maintain the heat level.
The adjustment of the two openings allow or slow the movement of the oxygen that feeds the flame hence the heat.

The first thing to go on for this cook were a couple of corn cobs. I got the temp above 400 in about 25 minutes.

Got the temp right so the on goes the corn.

The corn's done so now we ramp up the heat to sear and cook the steak.

To get from 400 to over 600 only took about 7 minutes, no shit.

Now it's a freaking inferno so much care taken to not die or lose eyebrows.

Here's the steak after 2 minutes with a 90 turn halfway through to get the famous grill marks.

Completed with a total of 5 minutes cooking time to get it medium rare. This was a grass-fed rib-eye so had to take care not to overcook it which is surprisingly easy to do with the grass-feds. Now time to let it rest a few minutes so as to keep the juices in.

Throw some bread on for toast.

And here's the steak sliced after a rest.

Added it to a bowl of arugula from the garden,

and dressed with a olive oil-balsamic vinegar-based dressing and lightly cooked red onion slices.

Served on the porch. Delicious.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chicken Hash

So we had a roast chicken again last weekend. Just had a craving for it as it had been a while since we'd had so put a free-range chicken in the oven using a Marcella Hazan recipe as a starter.
For this, after I rinse the chicken thoroughly, I pound black pepper and kosher salt in the mortar to a fairly coarse grind and rub the chicken inside and out with it. I get a couple of small lemons from the garden, pierce them several times with a fork, put them inside the chicken cavity and tie the legs together. I put it on a rack in a roasting pan and cook back side up at 375 for 30 minutes, then turn it breast-side up and complete at 425.
We served this with roasted potatoes which were Yukon Golds cut into 1/2 inch pieces that were blanched in boiling water for a couple minutes then rubbed with minced rosemary, salt and pepper, and olive oil along with cloves from a whole head of pink garlic. We roasted these for about 30 minutes at 425.
For the past few years the two of us will eat a leg, thigh and wing for the first meal, have the remaining ones for a second meal and leave the breast meat for a third. That third meal lately has been used as the base for a chicken salad. This time we decided to make a hash of it.

2 leftover chicken breasts cut into cubes
2 cups leftover roasted potatoes cut into cubes
1 onion diced
2 bell peppers diced
3 cloves garlic peeled
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup chopped scallions
Leaves from several fresh thyme twigs
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large eggs

Pound the peeled garlic and leaves from the thyme with a pinch of salt in a mortar into a paste. Grind the black and white peppercorns with the paprika and chili powder.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot add the garlic thyme paste and stir until just when it starts to color.

Add the onion and bell peppers stirring them well into the garlic paste and heat while continuing to stir frequently until fairly soft about 4 minutes.

Clear a space in the middle of the skillet and add the ground spices allowing them to toast for about 30 seconds but not to burn.

Add the chicken, potatoes, parsley, and scallions into the skillet and stir to pick up all of the flavors and to heat thoroughly.

When everything is heated through, break the 3 eggs into the hash and stir to coagulate them and remove from heat.

When we had this last night I brought out some homemade mayo and Cholula sauce and added them as condiments into the hash at the table. My wife used Tabasco sauce rather than the Cholula. Very tasty and filling and proved to be a great take on leftovers.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weeknight Improv

Here's a pantry dish. We had asparagus left over from the weekend that we hadn't cooked yet and eggs so for a weeknight dinner I thought it'd be good to throw together something like a recipe that I'd seen in the NY Times last week, roasted asparagus and fried eggs. Since we were passing right near a Whole Foods on the way home from work we decided to pick up a couple of sausages too, in this case we got some pork Andouilles.

I cooked the asparagus in a skillet at a fairly high heat in olive oil with salt and pepper. Meanwhile I poached the sausage for a few minutes to firm it up then sauteed it in another skillet. Once the asparagus and sausage were done, I used the skillet in which I'd cooked the sausage to cook the eggs, fried sunny-side up. We served the eggs on the asparagus and seasoned with hot pimenton to complement the sausage.
Took all of 20 minutes to cook, was delicious and perfectly lightweight for a Thursday night dinner.

Salmon on the Grill

Family get together last weekend, my sister and her clan having come down from Portland for the weekend. We celebrated with a salmon cooked on the Big Green Egg served with roasted potatoes and broccolini with grilled toast on the side and a dessert of homemade strawberry shortcake.

We started with oysters from Drake's Bay with fresh lemon juice.

A salad with fresh roasted beets and greens from the yard (finally getting something from the garden!).  Dressing was one of Laura's magic concoctions: La Bodega sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, marsala wine, olive oil, dijon mustard seasoned with salt and black pepper.

Here's the full plate. The potatoes were my standard roasted Yukon Gold seasoned with rosemary, garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper. The salmon was wild Alaska King cooked on a bed of fresh thyme, oregano stalks, and very thinly sliced lemon on a piece of foil set on the grill. We served the 6 of us from a fillet of just under 2 pounds.

My sister and I made the shortcakes using frozen butter grated into the dry ingredients and mixed with egg and half-and-half. We whipped the cream with a hint of sugar and vanilla extract. We'd picked up the strawberries from the SF Ferry Plaza farmer's market in the morning.