grilled meat

The Birthday Dinner Dilemma

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It's my daughter Gillian's birthday today. A round numbered one. And she asked if, instead of going out to dinner at some fancy shmancy joint to celebrate, whether I would make a special dinner at home.

Of course!

With the fancy shmancy china and silverware and different size wine glasses for different wines for different courses.

Of course!

So, okay, I have the china and silverware and wine glasses. All I have to do there is make sure I have candles for the candlesticks, iron the napkins, fill the salt cellars, set the table and so on. Ed will take care of the wine.

It's all good.

BUT WHAT SHOULD I COOK?

Something new and glamorous? Fancy shmancy?

Or old favorites like Pearly Meatballs? Fried Chicken Wings? Sticky Spicy Chicken Wings? with pre-dinner cocktails.

Should I make a soup? Like Beet Soup with Orange and Mint (even the name sounds fancy doesn't it?).

For the main course I'm thinking maybe lamb. Everyone in the family eats that. But she really does like turkey. Unfortunately turkey is not the universal family favorite, so maybe no? Plus -- Gillian is our family carver, so could I really ask her to do all that slicing and deboning for her birthday dinner?

Another dilemma is that Gillian is not such a big dessert person. Or at least what people consider the usual kinds of dessert. This dessert thing would be easy if the birthday person was my son-in-law Greg. He likes chocolate cake.

Ed would always welcome chef Raymond Oliver's Normandy Ice Cream (coffee with Grand Marnier).

For me, birthday dessert is always apple pie

We are celebrating in a few weeks, so I have some time to finalize the menu plus make sure I buy those candles. 

If anyone has suggestions -- I am all ears.

In the meantime, should I also make some candy? Like chocolate dipped dried fruit?

Chocolate Dipped Dried Fruit

  • 2-1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flavored brandy or rum
  • 50 pieces (approximately) dried fruit such as crystallized ginger, apricot halves, candied orange peel (about 6 ounces)

Melt the semisweet chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and butter in the top part of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Let the ingredients melt, remove the top part of the pan from the heat, pour in the brandy and stir to make a smooth, uniform mixture. Dip each piece of fruit in the chocolate mixture, shake off the excess and place on waxed paper or parchment paper to dry.

Makes approximately 50 pieces

BEEF RIBS WITH SPICY RIB RUB

I don't have a lot of go-to meals. I like to mix things up, change recipes, add a new ingredient or change a seasoning or try a different sauce and so on.

But when I'm in a hurry or too busy to cook I make something quick and simple, usually something I've done dozens of times. One of my favorite go-to quickie recipes is: beef ribs. I preheat the grill or broiler, sprinkle the ribs with salt, pepper and garlic and that's that. Dinner (add a vegetable or salad or maybe some cut up avocado/tomato) is done.

Before last week I had never made beef ribs with a rub. I know you can buy all sorts of rubs and marinades but I wanted to try my hand at it so I made my own rub mixture. Instead of my usual -- grill the meat for 10-12 minutes -- I let them cook ever so slowly, tightly wrapped in foil, for 3 hours, until they were as soft as .... fill this in for yourself. Then I quickly grilled them until the surfaces were crispy.

Oh my, dinner was awesome. I will make this again.

And by the way, I poured the pan juices into a jar, put it in the refrigerator for a few days, then scooped the fat that rose to the top and used the juices to baste a chicken. So with this rub we got double the flavor, fun and good food.

 

Broiled/Grilled Beef Ribs with Spicy Rib Rub

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds beef ribs

Combine the brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt, chipotle and cayenne in a bowl and whisk to blend the seasonings evenly. Add the olive oil and mix thoroughly. Spread the mixture all over the ribs. Refrigerate the ribs for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Wrap the ribs tightly in aluminum foil. Place the foil wrapped ribs on a cookie sheet. Bake for 3 hours. Remove the package from the oven. Remove the ribs from the package (there will be pan fluids*).

To broil: preheat the oven broiler. Place the ribs on a cookie sheet. Broil for about 3 minutes per side or until crispy.

To grill: preheat an outdoor grill. Place ribs directly on the grids and grill for about 3 minutes per side or until crispy.

Makes 4 servings

*Pour the pan fluids into a jar, refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the fat rises to the top. Remove and discard the fat. Use the fluids as a basting sauce for beef or chicken.

Bulgogi

This is not your grandmother’s flanken. But it is flanken, aka shortribs. And this meat can be tough and chewy, which is why grandma poached it in soup or in a slow-cooker with some good brown gravy or sweet and sour sauce.  I loved grandma’s flanken.  But, maybe because I don’t eat meat that often and yet think of myself as a devoted carnivore, I decided to put flanken and summer together using a grill.  So I made Bulgogi, a Korean dish in which the shortribs marinate in a soy-sesame oil based sauce before being grilled.  Yes, the meat is not as tender as other cuts, like rib. But much cheaper and, for meat lovers, gives quite a satisfying resilience. I served the Bulgogi with sauteed bok choy and steamed rice.  YUM.    Bulgogi    1/4 cup soy sauce 3 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons sake (or rice wine or sherry) 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 tablespoon sesame oil 3 scallions, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, finely crushed  1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper  3 pounds flanken or boneless short rib toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional  Place the soy sauce, sugar, sake, vegetable oil, sesame oil, scallion, garlic, sesame seeds and crushed red pepper in a bowl and stir, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Place the beef in a non-reactive dish and turn the pieces to coat all sides. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill (or use a grill pan), skewer the meat and grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until crispy and done to your liking. Garnish with a small amount of toasted sesame seeds if desired.    Makes 4-6 servings

This is not your grandmother’s flanken. But it is flanken, aka shortribs. And this meat can be tough and chewy, which is why grandma poached it in soup or in a slow-cooker with some good brown gravy or sweet and sour sauce.

I loved grandma’s flanken.

But, maybe because I don’t eat meat that often and yet think of myself as a devoted carnivore, I decided to put flanken and summer together using a grill.

So I made Bulgogi, a Korean dish in which the shortribs marinate in a soy-sesame oil based sauce before being grilled.

Yes, the meat is not as tender as other cuts, like rib. But much cheaper and, for meat lovers, gives quite a satisfying resilience. I served the Bulgogi with sauteed bok choy and steamed rice.

YUM.


Bulgogi


1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sake (or rice wine or sherry)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 scallions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, finely crushed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 pounds flanken or boneless short rib
toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Place the soy sauce, sugar, sake, vegetable oil, sesame oil, scallion, garlic, sesame seeds and crushed red pepper in a bowl and stir, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Place the beef in a non-reactive dish and turn the pieces to coat all sides. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill (or use a grill pan), skewer the meat and grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until crispy and done to your liking. Garnish with a small amount of toasted sesame seeds if desired.

Makes 4-6 servings

Grilled “Korean Style” Chicken

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Barbecue for Father’s Day: Ribs and Chicken

For years and years on Father’s Day our family, my brothers, parents and I, went to an extended family barbecue (called a “cookout”) at my Aunt Min’s house. All the cousins were there so it was a generally raucous event. My Uncle Herb made hot dogs and hamburgers.

I didn’t like it. I wanted to be with my father and and not everyone else’s. It wasn’t as if we never saw the cousins. There were always plenty of other occasions during the year.

Besides, I wanted my Mom’s delicious food. Uncle Herb was a nice guy and all but he tended to overcook everything so the hot dogs were shriveled and the burgers were like hardened play dough.

So one year I got really brave and told my mother I didn’t want to go.

Wow — she agreed! It was like a miracle. She loved the family thing (it was her family, not my Dad’s) so I was really surprised. Maybe she was looking for an excuse not to go? Maybe all the little, noisy kids were too much for her? Maybe the traffic was a hassle?

In any event, after that our family went solo with our own cookout and that’s the tradition I follow with my own children. It’s raucous enough just with us! 

We change the menu from year to year, but it’s always something on the grill plus a few veggie and grain salads and maybe potato salad.

I just bought some beautiful beef ribs for Sunday. And some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Here’s the recipe I’m going to use (it’s for the chicken, but you can use the same marinade for the beef ribs).

Grilled “Korean Style” Chicken

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup agave or honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 thick scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 large skinless and boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, optional

Combine the soy sauce, agave, brown sugar, vegetable oil, sesame seed oil, garlic, scallions, ginger and black pepper in a dish large enough to hold the chicken breasts. Mix the ingredients well. Immerse the chicken and turn them a few times to coat all surfaces. Marinate for 2-3 hours, turning the meat from time to time. Preheat an outdoor grill or oven broiler. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill the breasts, brushing occasionally with the marinade, for about 8 minutes, turning once or twice, or until the breasts are cooked through. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds if desired. Makes 4 servings 

 

Tagged: Father's DayGrilled ChickenKorean Barbecue Sauce