Posts tagged Meatlovers

Making Mexican Madness At Home

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Salsa Verdeimage

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Roasted Nopales
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Jicama & Mango Salad
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Honey Lime Chicken Tostadas

After 10 plus visits to various neighborhood delis, restaurants, trucks and even tracking down a lady rolling a granny cart stacked with packed coolers,  I’m still hooked on Mexican flavors. Over the past month, along with some friends (who I kindly call Team Taco), we’ve probably managed to eat our weight in tacos, tostadas, tamales, sopes, huaraches, spicy tripe, nopales, and chilaquiles.

My love for spice, meat and cilantro has not been lost - instead a strange surge of cravings has surfaced.  

Admittedly, I rarely eat out meals - and I like it that way.  I was the kid that didn’t go out to lunch and could be found in a corner of the lunchroom, book in hand and chowing down on lentils pasta patate or cabbage and rice (straight out of a California Raisins thermos).  I grew up in a home where we never went out to dinner or ordered in. Mom would shop at large produce markets on Ave. U, in Brooklyn, and walk out with 12 bags filled with greens, root vegetables, beans and what not for $60 (which fed a family of 5+ for a week). Father’s Day was the only exception to the dining out rule because my grandpa favored Danny’s Szechuan Garden.  Their offering of orange beef served on giant, crispy, bright green romaine leaves with red chilies, thick brown sauce and flecks of orange peel was his kryptonite.  Food for all other occasions - be it a birthday, Mother’s day and all holiday’s were prepared at home.  

Given an evening to cook at home (they’ve been rare and, truth be told, I made this meal 3 weeks ago), I craved spices, cilantro, onions, green sauce and meat. I wanted a meal that was lighter than the deli-made chorizo tacos I’d been chowing down on (which tasted so good, but left me with morning regrets.  Like many men I went home with in my 20’s).  

Happily surprised that my local supermarket had nopales and tomatillos, I knew what I was supposed to be making at home.  

Throughout this Mexican food award tour, there have been bad nopales and good nopales.  My preference is grilled (some came steamed and sitting in water baths - not my style), but I braved my oven for this meal because I could only imagine they would be delicious slightly charred and roasted when slicked up with olive oil and salt.  When cooked, the taste of a nopale could be likened to the flavor that would come about if an asparagus slept with a string bean.  Somehow those two skinny bitches would make this giant, flat, paddle like, thorny threat of a vegetable.

Salsa verde samplings also ranged from stellar to poor.  Thank you, Rick Bayless (I prefer roasting and adding more garlic and less water, per comments on the site).  

The chicken was seasoned with fresh green and red chilies cumin, adobo, fresh garlic, honey and lime, and served  with a side salad of jicama and mango (the delis were DELIGHTFUL but crunchy super fresh and a sort of sweet salad was in order).

Dear Kitchen, Pots, Pans, Knives, Mixing Bowls and Cutting Boards,
I’m glad we’re back together.
Love,
Nomnoms 

Chicken & Marinade

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast (sliced thinly crosswise and cut into chunks)
1/4 c. olive oil divided)
Juice of 2 limes 
1 1/2 tsp. adobo 
2 tsp. cumin 
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3 chilies (red and green, seeded and diced)
3 T. honey
Fresh cilantro
Diced Onions 
Tostadas 

-Set chicken pieces in a pyrex dish with all ingredients, mix to coat, and let sit for 30 minutes
-Add remaining oil to a pan, over a medium high flame, and cook chicken (strained from liquid) for 8-12 minutes until no longer pink
-Spoon chicken on tostadas, top with fresh cilantro and onions and/or salsa verde
 
Roasted Nopales

4-6 nopales (de-thorned and sliced lengthwise)
1/4 c. olive oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper 

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Coat nopales in olive oil, salt and pepper
-Roast on a baking sheet (spreading out evenly) for 20-25 minutes until browned on edges

Jicama & Mango Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

1 mango (cut into cubes)
1 jicama (sliced lengthwise)
1 small red onion (thinly sliced) 
Juice of 1 lime 
2 T. olive oil
3 T. chopped cilantro 
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper 

-Place mango, jicama and red onions in a large bowl and toss with lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro
-Salt, pepper and serve  

Friday, August 24, 2012 — 1 note   ()

On Found Magazines & Using Beet and Radish Greens


Beet & Radish Greens with Rice Vermicelli 

Pork Larb Letttuce Wrap

Once a month I walk into my office to find a Food & Wine magazine on my chair.

You may be wondering how this magazine mysteriously appears every month…

A good friend, who shall remain unnamed, moved into an apartment where the last tenants never transferred their subscription to Food & Wine - so she has bestowed upon me this monthly gift.

I’m trying to get in the habit of using more recipes to cook, so I’m not drawing everything from past meals with my family and our four star Southern Italian peasant food (which I do love to make and share).

Why not use this stolen, rather, found (stolen is harsh and it’s not really stolen), magazine subscription to do so?

I took the liberty of tweaking the Food & Wine recipe for Thai lettuce wraps by adding radishes and cucumbers so there was more crunch with my meat (since boston lettuce is so buttery and soft, and the red onions were the only item to add different texture alongside the meat).  I also added more lime to the dressing to balance the sweet of the sugar and heat from the chiles. 

Using leftover beet and radish greens from the farmers market (I never waste my greens, they always make their way into a meal) I cooked up some rice noodles;  infusing those with similar Asian flavors of fish sauce, sugar, chiles, garlic, shallots and lime - to tie it in to the lettuce wraps.

A refreshing meal for a 90 degree night.

*The meat from the lettuce wraps was spooned a top the noodles so as to combine leftovers and make a tasty lunch. 

Rice Vermicelli with Beet & Radish Greens

1/2 pack of rice vermicelli (cooked until soft)
Greens (spinach, diced bok choy or any left-over leafy greens work - I used beet and radish greens)
2 T. sunflower oil
6 cloves of garlic (thinly sliced)
2 shallots (minced) 
2 chiles (minced - do not discard seeds)
2 tsp. sugar
1 T. fish sauce
Kosher salt 
Juice of 2 limes 

-In a large skillet, heat oil and cook garlic and shallot until light brown
-Add chiles and saute for an additional 2 minutes
-Add sugar and fish sauce, mixing with ingredients until sugar dissolves
-Add greens and saute until cooked down
-Salt and remove from heat
-Add noodles to the greens and top with lime juice

Pork Larb Lettuce Wrap
*I doubled the Food & Wine recipe and added 3 diced radishes and half of a cucumber - also diced.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012   ()

Hail Mary, Filled My Face: A Story of a Super Bowl Belly


Deviled Eggs


Guacamole


Buffalo Wings

Recipes follow story

I’d like to make a public apology to my friends:

Thank you for coming over for Super Bowl, I really love having my tiny apartment filled with the scent of wings and friends.  

If you woke up mad bloated this morning, like me, which you probably did because we all ate the same food, then I’m terribly sorry. 

——————————————————————————————————-

Deviled eggs, guacamole and wings were only some of the bloat inducing food I served at my small Super Bowl gathering.  I also made spinach dip, you know the one with the mayonaise, sour cream and the packet of Knorr or Lipton Vegetable Mix?  There’s enough salt in that shit to send you right to the ER upon a first spoonful.  Then Nan brought piggies in a blanket, and I can never resist nitrates masked in the buttery goodness of a Pillsbury Crescent Roll.

Now, I tried to balance out the salt by serving vegetables - but chips are just so much more desirable to munch on.  Celery does have a loud, healthy crunch, but it’s not and never will be a blue corn chip.   

This morning I woke up, walked straight to my refrigerator and downed lemon water like I was stuck on a desert all night with no access to hydration.  Then I got on my exercise bike in an effort to “sweat it out.” 

I went to sleep thinking I should’ve given real consideration to Glamour magazines healthy Super Bowl snack suggestions, but I have this thing about eating like a girl - I just can’t do it. 

I’m sure carrot stick houses glued together with hummus are delicious, but that’s what I eat every day.  I needed to eat like a boy. I needed salt.  For one night.    

Do men bloat?  So many of my man-child friends openly admit to eating like shit all the time.  How do you eat wings and drink beer as often as you do and still look hot?  You mustn’t feel hot, I know it.   

*While writing this post, my co-worker just walked by my cubicle admitting that he’s bloated today because of his massive wing consumption last night.  He ate 60 wings.  And a sub or something.  I can’t believe he’s alive and walking around today.  I’m stunned that I’m not passing by his bed in a hospital.  

Thanksgiving doesn’t even do me like those wings did, but I have to be honest - I’d probably roll the dice and do it all over again.  

Happy Eating (and then detoxing).

Deviled Eggs
makes 1 dozen

6 hardboiled eggs
2 T. Grey Pupon
1/4 c. mayonaise
1 tsp. white vinegar
Dash of cayenne
Sprinkle of salt (if you dare)
Paprika or Cayenne for topping 
Pastry bag (if you have one, if not you can pipe the mixture back in to the egg white by using a ziploc bag and making a small cut in one of the two tips at the bottom of the bag) 

 -Slice hardboiled eggs in half, lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks and place in a bowl and arrange egg whites on a plate and put aside
-Add all ingredients to the yolks and mix until smooth
-Place mixture in a pastry bag and fill each egg half
-Top with paprika and serve

Guacamole
serves 6-8

4 ripe avocados (slice lengthwise, pits removed and reserved, and cut into cubes)
6 campari tomatoes or 2 medium plum tomatoes
1 medium onion (diced)
2 jalapenos (seeds removed and minced)
Juice of 1 large lime
Salt to taste
Cilantro (optional)

-Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well
-Place pits in the bowl with the guacamole (just warn your guests they’re in there) as they will prevent your guac from turning brown
-Serve with chips (use leftovers to top off scrambled eggs or indulge in Taco night, but I wont - too much salt)

Buffalo Chicken Wings

I pretty much followed this recipe for baked buffalo chicken wings from allrecipes.com but made some Nom nom tweaks as noted below. 

I’m not into frying, so finding a baked wing recipe was the only way I was going to let these chicken parts in my home.  I did half the amount of butter and added more hot sauce to the mixture I used to coat the wings.  Some reviews also noted a lack of flavor in these baked beauties, so I upped the salt (which I why I’m sitting here wanting to unsnap my bra right now), garlic powder and cayenne.  I also might’ve added a douse of onion powder because I thought - well, why not.

Here it is:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 T. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
20 chicken wings
1/4 c. melted butter
1 c. hot pepper sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot)
 
-Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with cooking spray
-Place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt into a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Add the chicken wings, seal, and toss until well coated with the flour mixture
Place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet, and place into the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl
-Dip the wings into the butter mixture, and place back on the baking sheet
-Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and crispy on the outside, about 45 minutes
-Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly

Dear Crobin, my little pulpo -

Thank you for the Hail Mary, Filled My Face part of the title. 
You’re such a wordsmith.

Love,

Tbag  

Monday, February 6, 2012 — 3 notes   ()

Eat Your Way to Good Luck


Black Eyed Pea Soup with Country Ribs

Recipe follows story

My mother recently informed me that my grandma used to make lentils with sausage as the first course to dinner on New Years Eve.  I couldn’t recall this memory, and I thought I remembered every memory and moment of lentil consumption that involved my grandmother and other members of the Corrado clan.  I can still hear all of the men at the table slurping and chugging glasses of wine, but I don’t see lentils.  I thought I remembered every moment of eating, period, but, somehow, this one didn’t stick.  

Celebrating the New Year with pork product is one tradition I am not opposed to, especially since it’s supposed to bear good luck.  I can use all the luck I can get, after all I lost a book to someone I used to date and my appendix in 2011. Amongst a little bit more of my pride, waning with every year that goes by.

I decided to end the year with DC friends and, yes, a lot of pork.  Our New Years Eve breakfast started out with plates of maple glazed bacon and our dinner party preparation, although slightly haphazard and marginally rushed, managed to incorporate various iterations of pork - that which was slow cooked and combined, along with other meats, to form a tomato based and wine doused ragu.  Our mixed meat ragu was delicately spooned over plates piled high with creamy polenta.  Ok, maybe the meat ragu was plopped a top plates piled high with creamy polenta. Heaping portions were doled out in the kitchen and served.  Leftovers were distributed to guests and reheated on New Years Day.  A contribution from another dinner party guest, which is always a crowd favorite, sweet and delicious dried dates, stuffed to the brim with blue cheese, wrapped in thin strips of prosciutto and baked.

Heavenly pork laden treats were bestowed upon all 10 people that sat at a very long table, on a very charming street, on a somewhat warm weathered East coast New Years Eve day, at a dinner party on Capitol Hill.     

I’ve no photos of the meal, just the memory of making it with friends.  I’m also currently harboring a giant bowling ball of pork, short ribs, lamb and oxtail in my stomach.  I relinquished this meal to pure enjoyment and fulfillment outside of making every meal into one that needs to be plated perfectly and photographed, with recipes and notes recorded line by line and in between bites.
 
Not because I didn’t get my fill of pork this weekend, but because a lady has to eat - upon arriving back to Queens on Monday afternoon I made a black eyed pea stew with country ribs.  I know, why didn’t I make my grandmother’s lentils?  Because I make them at least once a month.  I celebrate her need for sausage and spice often.  I welcomed myself back to my kitchen and my dinner table by enjoying something new.


A hearty soup brimmed to the top with the other white meat, coupled with black eyed peas and mustard greens.  I had black eyed peas in the house, so I gave a nod to southern tradition by incorporating them in to the soup.  In the south, this special little pea is prepared and eaten to ring in the new year with good luck and prosperity.
I sat eating a bowl of peas with pork and prayed, yet again, for this was my fourth pork bathed meal in 3 days, that some sort of god would bestow upon me a fine year ahead.


I believe I’ve eaten enough pork to secure some good luck in 2012, but I’ll have to wait and see. 


From my kitchen to yours, Happy New Year.


Black Eyed Pea Soup with Country Ribs
 

1.5 - 2 lbs. country ribs
2 T. butter
2 sweet onions (diced)
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. fennel seeds
5 medium carrots (cut into rounds)
1 pint of grape tomatoes (halved)
2 yukon gold potatoes (peeled and cubed)
3 quarts of chicken stock
1 lb. dried black eyed peas (cooked/prepared according to instructions on bag)
4 large dried bay leaves 
1 medium bunch of mustard greens (washed, de-stemmed, and cut into bite sized pieces)

-Place dried beans and 8 cups of water in a pot, bring to a boil for two minutes, cover, remove from heat and let beans soak for 1 hour
-To a large stock pot add butter and country ribs, browning for 4-5 minutes on each side, and removing from the pot once browned
-Add diced onions and garlic, sauteing until sweating - about 5-7 minutes
-Add cayenne, fennel seeds and carrots - tossing with onions and garlic and cooking for an additional 5 minutes
-Add tomatoes and potatoes - tossing with other vegetables and spices
-Place ribs back in the pot, add chicken stock, black eyed peas and bay leaves
-Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and incorporate mustard greens in batches and simmer for 40-45 minutes until potatoes are fork tender
-Serve hot, with crusty bread or crostinis

*The flavor of the soup intensifies as it sits, so if you could make this ahead and serve on day two, you’ll have a bolder soup with a stronger pork and herb infused taste.   

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 — 9 notes   ()

Heaping Helpings Of Hot Pepperpot Stew: A Guyanese Christmas Treat


Hot Pepperpot Stew

Recipe follows story

I picked up this recipe for Guyanese hot pepperpot stew when I was out in Canarsie, talking to Smally, on day two of my visit to the neighborhood.

Hot pepperpot stew is made with a hodgepodge of meats onoins, garlic, hot peppers, fresh herbs and cassereep.  Cassereep is an extract made from the root of the cassava plant and it has a molasses like consistency.  This ingredient serves as the primary source of flavor in Guyana’s national dish and it is also responsible for giving hot pepperpot stew its distinct, rich brown, almost black color. 

Not only is hot pepperpot stew Guyana’s national dish, but it is often eaten on Christmas day.  The longer this stew sits, much like any meat packed stew or gravy, the sweeter it gets.  For breakfast, hot pepperpot is enjoyed with homemade bread and for dinner it’s eaten over rice.

So, thank you - Smally - for sharing your family recipe and helping me shop for ingredients.  Last weekend, my friends and I celebrated a Guyanese Christmas with a large vat of hot pepperpot stew.

And the stew kept on giving, as I ate it for dinner all week long.

Next time you find yourself on the L train, get off at the last stop, walk over to Smally West Indian Food Market on Avenue L and tell Orin Small you’re looking for ingredients to make hot pepperpot stew - he’ll be more than happy to help you out and share more recipes if you ask. 

Hot Pepperpot Stew
makes 8-10 servings

4 cows feet (optional)
1.5 lbs each - lamb shoulder, beef oxtail, veal neck bones (or any meat on the bone of your choice)
.5 lb. pork stew meat
3 large onions (diced)
Water to cover meat
1 bottle Cassereep
8 cloves of garlic (minced)
8 wiri wiri peppers (minced)
1/3 c. dried thyme

-Place cows feet in a large stock pot
-Cover with water and place over a medium high flame, brining to a boil and cooking for 1 hour
-In a separate pot, add oil and brown lamb shoulder, oxtail, veal neck bones and pork stew meat for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Then remove meat from the pot and set aside
-Add the onions and garlic and saute for 7-8 minutes or until they are sweating
-Combine all meat in one pot with onions, and garlic, cover with water, add cassereep, thyme, wiri wiri peppers and bring to a boil
-Once boiled, lower flame and allow everything to simmer for 2.5-3 hours, or until meat is shredding, tender and falling off the bone
-Serve with Guyanese bread or rice

Friday, December 23, 2011 — 1 note   ()

There’s No Place Like Home

I packed a carry-on.

Five days of beach, food and family stress in front of me.

I promised myself, more beach and food than stress.

I succeeded, I think.  Who doesn’t go home to visit family and return to their own lives completely unscathed?  I’d love to meet the gent or gal who can do that, so they can give me some pointers.

Regardless, I went down with the best thoughts in mind.  I hadn’t seen my family in almost 6 months.  I was craving mother’s cooking and dimply smile, dad’s hugs and ridiculously kind words, Lou and Tom’s awkward brother silence, bonding time with my soon to be sister in law and bonus laughs and meal time with my aunt and uncle.  

I packed a carry on.

I packed a carry on with 6 wife beaters, stretch pants, a sundress 2 bathing suits, 2 dozen bialys, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, frozen fava beans and my dad’s favorite licorice.  I was trafficking more food than clothing.  I don’t think I even packed underwear, as my intention was to be in a bathing suit for the majority of my days.  A bathing suit is bra and underwear built into one and it also has the ability to graciously expand while eating. 

I was set.  

I spoke to my mother the evening before I left, I said: my first stop will be to your refrigerator and then to the beach.  She replied: I’m sure it will be, Tinamarie.  My mother knows me all too well.  I can’t sun on an empty stomach.  I need to be satisfied.  Not full, but just full enough to sustain my tanning energy through lunch.

On the same call, she asked if I wanted her to make me anything special.  I’m 31 and love that my mother and my aunt, without fail, every time I visit, ask if I want anything special.  I requested a roasted vegetable tart that my mom makes. It’s impeccable.  A work of art, really.  Layers of roasted eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, tomatoes and grated pecorino - swaddled in a homemade cornmeal shell.  This is one of my favorite food items on the planet.  Were I to make it, it just wouldn’t taste the same.  I haven’t even attempted to make it at home.  This is my mom’s mini-masterpiece.  I want it to remain my mom’s mini-masterpiece.  I want it to be something my mom will forever make when she knows I’m coming home for a visit…  

I opened the refrigerator door, the one in the kitchen - not to be confused with the one in the garage - as we have 2 refrigerators - and found a vegetable tart that was thick and stacked and laden with love.

Like the perfect mother, my favorite beach and pool snack was awaiting me.   
She cut me a piece for lunch.  We sat together, at the dining room table and ate.  Tania and my dad joined us.  And, although I didn’t want to share my vegetable tart - I did.  
I did share it.
Quite reluctantly and with a half “of course I’ll share this!” smile. 

With the 110 degree heat index, I sunned myself much like I normally do - with SPF 15 and like a rotisserie chicken.  I turn my body, in my chair, like a human sun dial.  Straps down, chest out, 30 minutes.  Rotate.  I even got my mother to join me.  We’d pack a cooler, together, in the morning.  Vegetable tart, roasted vegetable dip (my other favorite), crackers, cubes of Jarlsberg cheese, watermelon and chocolate chip cookies.  And water.  Yes, water is important when sunning and taking in so much salt.

The 5 days went to0 quickly.     
The food didn’t stop coming.

Below are the noms with a brief description of each.   


Roasted Vegetable Tart
No further description is needed.  
This veggie tart is the noms.  

Asian Slaw
Made by Mom with hints of sesame oil and diced scallion; making this slaw a treat and a delightful accompaniment to any family BBQ (which it was, see steak below).  

Grilled Corn
First boiled, then rolled in oil and salt and placed on the grill.
Next time I want mom and dad to take this to another place…
Like with mayonaise, queso fresco, cayenne and scallions and chives sprinkled on top. Note to self.  

Flank Steak
Grilled by Dad and Uncle Al, but prepared and marinated by mom, these pieces of steak were big.  Like Fred Flinstone big and marinated with a brown sugar and soy sauce concoction.  The asian slaw made a fantastic side for this steak.  

El Completo 
The epic Chilean hot dog I’d been telling my family about for 5 years - since my trip to Chile.  Diced avocado, tomatoes and onion perfectly spooned a top a grilled weiner and topped with mayonaisa.  I like to line my bun with the mayo and plop the dog and trimmings on top.  My mom agreed that this is an exceptional way to wolf down a weiner.   

Spaghetti Aglio et Olio
A la Aunt Deb - this was the main pasta for Father’s Day with the Corrado’s and Parker’s.

Mussels In White Wine 
Also prepared at the hands of Aunt Deb - the mussels were served as the after pasta pickins.’  I could drink shallot, wine and butter broth now.  At 11 am.  

Tilapia With Peach Salsa & Cous Cous With Sauteed Zucchini
Mom worked late, so Auntie made some tilapia with a sweet and spicy dry rub for dinner.  The tilapia was rubbed down, drizzled with olive oil, baked in the oven and topped with peach salsa.  I did some minimalist cooking, by dicing up some zucchini and onions and sauteing, to add a little flare to some cous cous.  

Bulgar Salad
This is another Auntie staple - bulgar steeped in hot water and mixed with various veggies and dressed with olive oil.  She often serves this with fennel, avocado and grilled chicken - for a fancy little lunch that always impresses the masses. 
BBQ Baby Back Ribs With Homemade Special Sauce
Aunt Deb thought my last meal should end on the pig.  Since I do so very much dig the pig.  Mom whipped up some awesome BBQ sauce, from scratch, with ketchup, brown sugar and other ingredients (I was too busy taste testing) and Dad, Lou and Tania stood in front of the BBQ, in the 110 degree heat to make this farewell meal one I will crave until the next time we meet.  
All the baby back ribs that made their way to my tummy
Biscuit (Southern, nommy, buttered and grilled) Biscuit
No trip to South Carolina would be complete without a big, fat, buttermilk good and buttered up - biscuit.  Dad and I shared a very emotional and delightful breakfast at the Eggs Up Grill - before I departed on my flight back to NY.  The biscuit, as always, quite memorable.  The time with my dad, stamped in my being - forever.  Big guy, big heart, beautiful words.  

Monday, June 27, 2011   ()

The Art Of Grilling (Anywhere)



Marinated Skirt Steak

Sometimes I have fantasies. 

These fantasies often times involve having a kitchen with multiple countertops, large cabinets, a custom butcher block and such…

In the summer, these fantasies often times involve having a yard with enough room for a grill, 2 chairs, a few herb plants and a chaise - so I can sun myself.

I dream of having a yard so I can grill meat and baste myself in oil and tan.
Yes, at the same time.

I don’t have an ideal kitchen (at all), but the noms don’t stop coming - since the noms are certainly not making themselves.  

I don’t have a backyard, but the grilling happens and I manage to maintain a luscious tan.

In my tiny part of the world, off of a big avenue on a tiny road in Queens, I’ve made it work.  

The day my mom and dad showed up to my apartment with my cast iron grill/griddle - I thought: my life will be forever changed. 

I haven’t asked for much or wanted ever since.
I’ve been content.  

But after leaving my parents home in SC and returning to NY, my life is suddenly seeming too compact.  Rare exposure to houses, pools, BBQ’s, cars and daily hugs - makes me forget that these things really do exist.  And when my nasty cab driver dropped me off in front of my tiny apartment this morning, I sighed.  I sighed with one part relief, one part unhappiness and one part confusion.  Happy to be home, sad it’s so small, torn between a life of galavanting and making life happen and the want and need to  just stop and enjoy life a little bit more. 

While in SC my mom made her staple marinade for two Fred Flinstone slabs of Flank Steak - that my dad and Uncle then grilled to perfection on their BBQ.  In their yard, next to their herb garden - which looks out on to a lake.

The meat pictured above was made with the same staple marinade - for two Wilma sized portions of Skirt Steak - that I grilled to perfection on my cast iron pan.  In my kitchen, next to the counter where I’m planting an indoor herb garden - which looks out on to a very small and charming street.

Both were delicious.
Both were memorable.
Both were made with heart.

I left my house for work today, looked at my stoop and thought it might be the ideal place to put a small outdoor grill?

Then I looked to the right of my stoop, when I exited my front door, and I took in the 5’ x 5’ gated space filled with dirt.  It lies there empty - fallow.
I sighed. 
I walked to the subway and started reeling. 

A while back, I was dating someone, and I told him:  you know that space in front of my apartment, that my landlord lets weeds grow out of?  I think it would make a great garden.

I was met with: you mean that patch of dirt?  It’s not a garden.  

I sighed.
I didn’t even argue with him.
I could only surmise that the main problem with so many things in life, is never seeing the good that’s lying right in front of us.

He saw dirt, I saw a garden.   

I thought about this more and more, as I walked up the stairs to the subway and paved the way through my day.  Making a garden, that is.    

I take out my grill and see an indoor BBQ - someone else might see a pathetic excuse for a BBQ.

And today my stoop became the patio I’ve been dreaming of.  Sure, only my perfectly round ass can fit on the stoop - wait I have sat on the stoop with Susana…  

So, perhaps, if I put my new little grill on the street and my guest and I sit on my stoop, there will be enough room for everything to unfold.  You know, if I don’t get a ticket from a random street walking cop for grilling on the street.  I’d like to think anything is possible.  And for the sake of wanting, I will believe grilling on my stoop is possible…

Suddenly I feel as though I inhabit the perfect amount of space.  

There’s something to say, I suppose, about seeing fantasies within our own realities.

Indoors. 
Outdoors.
Outside of your front door, this marinade makes for a perfect steak.
Anytime.

Marinated Skirt Steak

1 T. brown sugar
2 T. soy sauce
2 cloves garlic (peeled and grated)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper

-Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk well
-Coat any cut of meat (your choice) with this marinade and let sit for 2-3 hours
-Remove meat from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before grilling 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011   ()

Pork Is Beautiful, Pork Is Good - Not Everybody Eats It, But Everybody Should


The First Bite

Swoon

Smoked Beef Fat Fries

Chicharrones

Chicken Wings

Smoked Gouda Pops

Angry Pigs In Blankets (so happy in my belly)

Chorizo Grilled Cheese

Bacon With Maple Mustard

Roasted Pig Round 2

Pulled Pork Burritos

Pork Belly Sliders

Chorizo & Roasted Pig Round 3

Pulled Pork Tacos

Skin & Fat

I went for it…

Nan went for it too…

Peach Donuts

Deep Fried Oreos

Swoon 

The nom celebration hasn’t stopped.

The good news: nom research has been and continues to be very enlightening - not only in terms of food…

Spending the day at a pig roast has taught me a few things about my likes as a woman.  My likes as a carnal being, if you will:

1.  Watching a chef dig into a pig, with grease coated hands, is a total turn on
2.  A healthy belly on a food loving dude is hot, as it’s a true sign of happiness and zest for life

Today Nancy and I tackled the First Annual Summer Spit BBQ.

Today Nancy and I tackled pork product in bold fearlessness, meaning we both wore jeans and still made it through the nom-fest.  We walked to the venue and home, thereby allowing us the mental ok to consume more product.

The weather was perfect, with light wind, 73 degrees and cloud covered sun.

The day was ripe for eating and drinking bourbon and beer with Nancy.  
I was ready for the plates of pork to be broughten.   
I did do a lot more eating than drinking…
Sometimes we have to pick and choose our love.
Pig is my first love over booze in an all out battle of consumption… 

Upon walking in, David Burke was slicing into some hog.
Hot.  Super hot.  

Upon walking in, and spotting him, Nan turned to me and said: You should get a picture with the chef right now.

I was reluctant, but Nan told me to go for it.

Sure the guy opened up the Hawiaan Tropic Zone restaurant in Times Square, filled with bobble headed boobie chicks in bikinis, but he was slicing into meat and had a perfectly round belly…
He’s my demo…
I was inches away from someone who probably digs pig more than I do. 

I had to make the swoop…

And, so, mid-bite in to a piece of pork Nan passed my way, I turned to David Burke and asked if he wouldn’t mind taking a picture with me … 

I was met with: Of course not.

Parting the two of us were barrels covered with plates of sliced pork and maple glazed bacon…
The air smelled of heaven.
I’m sure were I to nuzzle my nose into his neck, ever so creepily, he too would smell of a pig roasted swaddled heaven.   

But how would I manage to get behind the barrels? 
How would I get to this pork loving dreamboat of a man?  

David Burke then cleared the way, by moving a steel stand holding bits of chicharrones - so I had a pathway to enter his embrace.

He looked at me, right in my big food loving eyes, with a most sincere pork loving gaze and said:  Come here.
He then wrapped his big, chubby, strong arm around me, and swaddled me into his chef coat.

Nan prepped to take the photo…

Before the snap went off, he said:  I’m not giving her back.

I swooned.

I walked away…
I regained my focus… 
I was ready to eat…
This was going to get serious.
Screw thoughts of a man, I had some eating to do.    

Nancy and I proceeded to make our way through the venue, taking in the lay of the land.  We took turns going back and forth to the main table, to re-fill our plates, which was perfectly situated in the center of the beer garden.  Directly behind the table, was a giant pit, with two spits, and two 400+ pound pigs that were ripe and ready for the taking.

We snacked on angry pigs in blankets, smoked gouda pops (passed around by cute girls wearing giant foam cheese hats), chorizo grilled cheese, pulled pork tacos, pork burritos, pork belly sliders, chicken wings, smoked beef fat fries and bacon with maple mustard.  We were even able to get our vegetables in - with grilled asparagus, fried green beans and sweet potato chips.

Resting delicately a top of the main noms - peach donuts, cotton candy, fried oreos and dark chocolate dipped cheesecake lollipops.

A cover band was playing all of the white girls hits, from Living on a Prayer to Lady Gaga and the B52’s.  We did the bench dance, along with the girls next to us.  They were wasted.  I love drunk white girls.  

Old men danced.
Big fine women danced (I do have video).
And food love was in the air.
There was no shame in refilling one’s plate 5 or 6 times, the staff and chef encouraged it.   

All you can eat BBQ = love.

And now, a song: Pork is beautiful, pork is good, not everybody eats it - but everybody should…

That’s as far as I got with my pork tribute lyrics…
For tonight. 

And, let it be known that I do respect all veggies, vegans and those who are Kosher.

But if you know me, you know I love my pork.
I love my food, period.
But pork is tops.   

Thank you for the birthday love, Nan and Su.
Thank you for digging the pig as much as I do.

Sunday, June 12, 2011 — 1 note   ()