Wednesday, August 25, 2010

wordless wednesday? not quite....

August is National Sandwich Month....
need I say more than this?
BLT on ciabatta. Wow, just wow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

cheap eats - grilling edition

Stretch Your Grilling Dollars with London Broil
Got filet tastes on a hot dog budget? Satisfy your "steak tooth" with London broil for a change. London broil is considerably less expensive than traditional steaks and can be stretched farther. It has a deliciously big beefy flavor and when cooked properly, can be just as tender and satisfying as any old sirloin.
The term "London broil" is actually a term for the method of preparation, not the cut of meat itself. Typically London broil used to be flank steak but nowadays it could be a cut of from the round or sirloin as well. The meat is first marinated for tenderizing and flavor, then grilled to perfection and sliced across the grain to serve.
( Heh. Yikes, didn't notice that at first.)
Begin by pounding the beef if you wish, but this will be wonderful even if you don't.
Prepare a marinade with:
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons of red wine
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (like Colman's)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • lots and LOTS of black pepper
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and add the meat. Refrigerate at least overnight, 24 hours is ideal.

Before you light the grill, take the meat out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature; this can take about an hour. I think this is one of the single most important things you can do to ensure proper cooking on the grill. That, and if you aren't doing this already, switch to real hardwood lump charcoal like Cowboy Charcoal Co. It really makes all the difference in the world; it produces a much more even and reliable heat with no yucky chemicals, petroleum residues or weird composite materials mixed in.
The meat will take 20 minutes to grill, about 10 minutes per side (assuming it's at least one inch thick). No constant flipping, flopping, poking or pressing down please, just let it cook (well, okay, you can give it a quarter-turn to make some nice-looking grill marks, but don't get carried away). When done, the meat will be perfectly medium-rare. Transfer to a platter and let it rest for another 10 minutes, then thinly slice across the grain.
The classic accompaniment to the meat and its lovely juices is mashed potatoes, but it makes a fine fajita as well. Since it doesn't re-heat very well, I suggest serving cold leftovers as part of a big salad with lots of fresh greens, beefsteak tomatoes (of course!) and maybe a red onion slice or two. Throw in some mushrooms while you're at it.
See, eating on the cheap doesn't have to be boring, unhealthy or unsatisfying!

Monday, August 23, 2010

so... many.... tomatoes!

Well, it has finally happened. The Lonesome Road Studio Kitchen is about to be inundated with a bumper crop of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness. Eventually I will be getting out the heavy equipment and spending some time making pizza sauce to freeze, but in the meantime I'm making dishes that really emphasize the freshness and quality of a good garden-ripened tomato. In fact, just a couple of days ago, I made a delicious insalata caprese, a simple Italian salad of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, olive oil and um.... oregano. Basil is the traditional herb of insalata caprese but we have plenty of fresh Greek oregano on hand so that is what went into my salad.

Hm. Will these become pizza sauce? Or maybe a nice cool Panzanella (Italian bread and tomato salad)?
Look at the size of these things!

Greek oregano.

Isn't this just gorgeous? And so fast and easy to prepare, it literally takes minutes. Just slice the best ripe tomatoes you can find, and layer alternately with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. You can actually buy 7 ounce containers of the sliced cheese, which makes this even quicker. If serving for a special occasion, a large beautiful platter works well but I also use an 8 inch by 8 inch glass baking dish for the job. The salad can be chopped if you prefer, but the slices look prettier and and are obviously faster to prepare.
Drizzle with a high-quality olive oil, then sprinkle with slivered fresh basil (or in my case, oregano tastes very nice as well). Season liberally with sea salt and black pepper and allow to sit in your refrigerator, covered, for a little while. Before serving, allow the salad to warm up a bit to almost room temperature. An 8 inch by 8 inch dish of insalata caprese will serve 4 to 6; if you have any leftovers it is delicious tucked into an omelet for breakfast the next morning.

Monday, August 9, 2010

the dog days of summer are upon us...

Beat the heat with fresh, fast and lemony Shrimp, Feta and Basil Linguine Salad!

A Lonesome Road Kitchen exclusive - I created this delicious, cool and simple Mediterranean-inspired linguine salad during a particularly steamy hot spell on the gravel road outside of Prisontown. (!)

Yes, the dog days of summer are upon us here in the northern hemisphere. Seriously. Or, "Siriusly." The dog star Sirius is rising with the sun and temperatures are in the 90's in the Chicago area and looking to stay that way for a while. In fact, the city is poised to break a record for the most consecutive days of over-80 temperatures this summer. Phew!

So now is the time to dig out all of those salad recipes you've been wanting to try; if I do say so myself, this one is especially tasty and worth a try in your salad repertoire. Except for a few brief minutes to boil the water for the linguine, this dish is "stove-free." It also makes good use of garden bounty, if you now happen to be inundated with tomatoes and peppers of the all-at-once variety. The salad's ingredients are flexible; you could also create an all-out seafood extravaganza, or add even more veggies including cucumbers, or olives, or whatever you like and have on hand.

The salad starts with a beautiful basil-infused linguine; many larger supermarkets or gourmet shops carry many varieties of pastas now and it's fun to experiment with flavors. Add some cooked shrimp, tomato-basil feta cheese, veggies and my simple vinaigrette, and you have dinner or lunch for 3 or 4 on a hot summer day.

For the shrimp, feta & linguine salad:

  • 8 oz. basil flavored linguine, cooked per package directions
  • 1/2 pound cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp
  • one 4-ounce package tomato-and-basil flavored feta cheese
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
  • 2 Cubanelle peppers, chopped and seeded
  • 2 or 3 teaspoons minced red onion
  • juice of one small lemon

Combine cooked pasta, shrimp, cheese and veggies, then liberally squeeze on lemon juice. Using the lemon juice first really gives the salad great flavor before you add the dressing.
Then, whisk together the vinaigrette:

  • 6 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced basil, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pour vinaigrette over the linguine salad ingredients, tossing gently and thoroughly to combine.
This does taste even better the next day!
Makes about 4 servings.


Related Posts with Thumbnails