Archive for the Category ◊ Grilling ◊

06 Jun 2011 Flank Steak Pinwheels

As I mentioned in my previous note, I’ve had a rough few months, so last Friday I invited my girlfriends over for a BBQ.  This much I know is true: nothing heals and rejuvenates more than a gathering of kind, funny, independent women.  And when you put kind, funny, independent women in a room with good food, some of it experimental, a bottle of wine, and five desserts…WOW!!!  We didn’t get up from the dinner table until 12:12 AM Saturday morning!!! I feel MUCH better!

One of the experimental foods I tried was the Grilled and Stuffed Flank Steak from the Summer 2011 edition of Cook’s Illustrated “Summer Grilling” magazine (page 15).  Truth be told, the recipe was a bit of a hassle.  The flank steak had to be butterflied, then it had to be stuffed, then tied with string, then sliced, then skewered.  But, the recipe worked and it wasn’t hard.  I had fun making this, and the results were very pretty!  Perfect for a girlie BBQ!

I am going to make these again.  I like special, fun, and pretty, and I don’t mind a bit of a hassle to get that.

Flank Steak Pinwheels

You’ll need some metal skewers and some kitchen string to assemble the pinwheels.  The pinwheels are meant to be grilled on either a charcoal BBQ or a gas grill.

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 flank steak, 2 – 2 1/2 lbs.
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced provolone cheese
  1. Freeze the flank steak for 30 minutes (slightly frozen flank steak is easier to butterfly).  Meanwhile, chop ingredients, assemble the stuffing in step 2, unwrap the prosciutto and cheese, and find the skewers, the kitchen string, and a ruler.
  2. Combine the garlic, shallot, parsley, sage and olive oil in a small bowl.
  3. Lay the partially frozen flank steak on a large cutting board, with the grain of the meat running parallel to the counter edge.  With a sharp knife, butterfly the flank steak, leaving 1/2 inch of uncut meat along the top edge of the meat.
  4. Open the meat and lay flat.  It will probably look like a raggy rectangle.  Cover the top of the meat with plastic wrap and then pound the meat with a meat mallet or small pan until the meat is a uniform thickness and the steak is roughly in the shape of a rectangle.
  5. Spread the herb mixture from step 2 over the flank steak.
  6. Lay the prosciutto evenly over the steak, leaving a 2 inch border along the top edge.  Layer the cheese over the prosciutto, again, leaving a 2 inch border along the top edge.
  7. Starting from the bottom edge of the pounded and garnished flank steak, and rolling away from you, roll the flank steak into a tight log and place seam side down on the cutting board.
  8. Now use your kitchen string and tie the rolled flank steak at one inch intervals. (Hint:  Use a ruler to measure the intervals.  You don’t want the string any more or any less than 1 inch apart).
  9. Now skewer the rolled flank steak near each string.  Depending on the size of your flank steak, you should  have about 8 pieces of string, so you will probably need 8 skewers and get 8 pinwheels to grill.
  10. Now slice the rolled and stuffed flank steak at one inch (or slightly smaller) intervals.  Be sure each slice–each pinwheel–is held together with a piece of string and a skewer.
  11. Grill the pinwheels until the center of the pinwheel registers 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  This should take approx 6 minutes of grilling time on the first side, and 5 minutes of grilling time on the second side–but of course this has a lot to do with the heat of your fire.
  12. Remove cooked pinwheels from the grill, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove skewers and string from pinwheels, and serve!

I served the flank steak pinwheels with grilled artichokes, marinated Portobello mushrooms, and baked Hassleback potatoes.  The recipe for Hasselback potatoes is posted on my site, and in the next few days I will post my recipe for grilled artichoke and marinated Portobello mushrooms.  Send out the evite!  Have a BBQ this weekend.  Invite all your special friends and rejuvenate your spirit.

Thanks for stopping by my (outdoor) kitchen today.

P.S. This grilled entree is being added to the summer grilling link party at Family Fresh Cooking! Let’s get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France Cheese, Rösle, Emile Henry, ManPans and Rouxbe!

23 Sep 2010 Asian Glazed Thighs

My friend Anne, has a brother John.  He’s a rugged Man’s Man from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  He canoes.  He scuba dives.  He sports shark tattoos. He swims in Lake Superior  (In the winter.  I don’t know why. Something to do with Polar Bears.) John also cooks.  Often on a grill.  John offered to be my guest poster today with this recipe for Asian Glazed Thighs (Note to John, you might consider revising the recipe title…the mind does tend to wander a bit…)

John  found this recipe in Parade Magazine a few years ago.  Damn.  He reads the newspaper, too.

John said, when introducing this recipe to me, “Too often, very tasty Asian cooking is drowned in soy sauce.  Not so with this dish.  The orange flavor really comes through because you’re using both the zest and the juice of the orange. You’ll taste the soy sauce, but just a hint of it.”  Now, I did mention that this man swims in Lake Superior, right?  In fact, he took his scuba check out dives in Lake Superior in April.  He had to wade through the ice floating in the lake before submerging…makes you wonder a bit about his judgment, doesn’t it?  🙂  So…, just to be on the safe side,  I tested this recipe before I posted it.  YUMMMMmmm.  I knew, with the first stolen tester off the grill, that he had a GREAT recipe.  I was licking my fingers and moaning, impatiently waiting for the rest of the chicken to be done.

Just to be on the double-safe side, I took the chicken to Yoga-Massage night to share with my friends and to get their feedback.  To keep their minds on the food, I didn’t mention the name of this dish.  I know them. If they knew they name of this dish they would have gone where we don’t want to go…

We all loved the chicken.  I got multiple requests to post the recipe ASAP.  So here it is.

Thanks, John.  If this recipe is well received, John has promised to share his Coffee and Soy Marinated Pork Chop recipe.  Double damn.  He likes coffee, too.

Asian Glazed Thighs

Eight boneless/skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil (I used regular sesame oil)
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
¾ c fresh orange juice (juice from about 3 medium oranges)
1 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp soy sauce
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ c honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Sesame seeds (for garnish)

1.       Rinse thighs and pat dry.

2.       Combine rest of ingredients for marinade.  Reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of the marinade, cover and refrigerate (you’ll be using this to baste the chicken later).  Toss the chicken in the rest of the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

3. Remove chicken and basting marinade from fridge 30 minutes before cooking.

5.       Grill  thighs, basting often, for about 15 minutes. (This is the fun part.  Toss the thighs on a very hot grill-hot enough to char the outside a little.  Then baste often and flip often.  John moves the thighs onto and off of the heat, assisted by a glass of wine, and finds he usually grills the meat for about 15 minutes.)

6.       Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

John says,  “The honey caramelizes very nicely on the grill. You can bake the thighs in the oven (350° for about 45 minutes), but why?  The grill adds a very nice smoky flavor.”  John  also grills some sweet peppers (coated in olive oil and sprinkled with Kosher salt) and often  serves over a bed of rice.  See his picture above.  Looks like he eats veggies, too…

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, especially you, John!

07 Sep 2010 Beer Can Chicken

My friend Adele is the queen of Beer Can Chicken.  She even tried to teach me how to do it. I failed miserably.  Mine just didn’t have the flavor that hers had.  Knowing I was beat, I decided that Adele would reign as Beer Can Chicken Queen forever. And ever.

…but the flavor of her chicken kept nagging at me.  For two years I let it bother me…

Then, the theme of my Cookbook Club in August was “Grilling”, with the book being any BBQ/Grill book by Steven Raichlen.  I already had a few of his books (BBQ Bible, How to Grill, and Sauces, Rubs and Marinades) so I thought I was all set. Wouldn’t you know I would casually wander past the cookbook section in the bookstore ANYWAY?  Just to look, of course. What should I see there but another cookbook by Steven Raichlen!  The title of this book?  “Beer Can Chicken“!  I couldn’t NOT get it. It was only $12.95…, and I had a 40% off coupon!  It was a sign!  It was time for me to attempt Beer Can Chicken, again.

Now I am not quite up to Queen Adele’s level, but I am loving this method of cooking a chicken.  For Cookbook Club I made Thai Coconut Chicken and Peach Nectar Chicken. (Pictured above.  I cooked them both on the same grill at the same time.  The darker color of one of the chickens is a result of a darker rub.)  Both went over well, but I thought the sauce for the Thai Coconut Chicken was too thick and had too much peanut butter in it.  I’ll have to make a few changes before I can endorse that recipe (like decreasing the peanut butter from 3/4 cup to 1/4 cup, and increasing the liquid a bit).  BUT, I like fruity BBQ’d stuff, so the Peach Nectar Chicken was a big hit with me.  Both of these recipes I made on the grill.

Yesterday when my 19 year old son was home, and said he wanted to learn to cook something (I couldn’t believe my ears, but I jumped right on it!). One of the things we made was Raichlen’s Basic Beer Can chicken in the oven.  I’m coverted!  He is too. This is one GREAT way to cook a chicken.  Once the nasty prep work was done (rinsing the chicken and removing the innards) it was a super easy dish to make that needed no babysitting once it was in the oven.  I told my son he could eat a week off of one roasted chicken (especially if he boiled the bones up for chicken stock and then used that for a pasta-veggie soup towards the end of the week).  I’m not sure he’s at the point to make his own chicken stock and then transform that into a soup, but I have hope for the boy.  If can master Beer Can Chicken at 19, he’s off to a good start.

Now, I’m pretty sure that you are wondering WHY you should roast a chicken when you can buy good ones at the supermarket or Costco…  The taste my friends, the taste!  This chicken is moist and flavorful.  If you give a supermarket chicken a 4 or 5, on a scale of 1 to 10, you’d give this chicken a 10 (and you’d be wishing for an 11 on the scale)!

Recipes below can be cooked in the oven at 400 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes (check after 1 hour), or on either a gas grill or charcoal BBQ for the same length of time.  If you are unsure of how to cook indirectly on the grill or BBQ, please consult one of Steven Raichlen’s books (or view an online video). The first recipe is a basic roast chicken recipe, which we roasted in the oven and served without any sauce.  The second recipe is the one for the Peachy BBQ chicken, which I cooked on a gas grill and  served with a sauce.

Once you make one of these, you’ll be whipping up your own variations.  Will we be bringing back the traditional Sunday Roast Chicken dinner this fall?  Maybe, just maybe…, it would be easy enough… 🙂

Basic Beer Can Chicken

1 12 oz can beer (or Coke-a-Cola)
a 3 ½ – 4 lb whole chicken
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

For the rub:

1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon  Kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like  a bit of a kick)

1. Position oven an oven rack low enough to accommodate an upright chicken sitting on a can. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine all ingredients for the rub into a small bowl.  Mix and set aside.

3. Pour out or drink 3/4 cup of the beer or Coke.  With a church key make 2 additional holes in the top of the now half full can (so more liquid can steam out and into the chicken).  Spray the outside of the can heavily with Pam.  Set can aside.

4. Rinse the chicken, and remove the packet of innards. Pat dry. (This is the nasty part)

5. Place 1 teaspoon of rub inside the body of the chicken.  Place ½ teaspoon rub in the neck cavity of the chicken. Drizzle 2 teaspoons veg. oil over the outside of the chicken and rub or brush it into the skin. Rub the oil covered chicken with 1 tablespoon of the rub.  I also put a bit of rub in between the skin of the breast and the meat of the breast. (Just pull up the skin, sprinkle in the spice mix, then rub it a round a bit) Pour remaining rub into the can of peach nectar.

6. Put the chicken on the can.  Then put the can with the chicken onto it into a roasting pan. Pull the legs forward.  The legs are two of a tripod, the can is the third. Tuck the wings behind the chicken’s back.  Chicken should look comfortable and be well balanced.

7. Place chicken in oven.  Bake for approx. 1 1/4 hours.

8. CAREFULLY remove the chicken from the oven.  Be even more careful removing the chicken from the can, don’t let any hot liquid spill on you. Removing the can from the chicken is really a two person job.  I had my son hold the chicken with foil covered oven mitts over the sink, while I pulled the can out of the chicken cavity with tongs. If you sprayed the can with Pam, this should be relatively easy to do, just a bit awkward.  If you forgot the Pam, may God be with you.

9. Let chicken sit for 15 minutes, lightly tented with foil, before carving.  We slice the breast, and serve in surrounded by thighs, drumsticks, and wings.

Peachy BBQ Chicken

1 12 oz can peach nectar
a 3 inch cinnamon stick
a 3 ½ – 4 lb whole chicken
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 cups wood chunks (peach or apple) soaked for one hour in water/beer then drained (not needed if cooking in oven)

For the Rub

2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cardamon

For the Peach BBQ Sauce

¾ cup peach nectar
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons peach or apricot preserves
1 tablespoon honey, more to taste if desired
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark rum (or peach schnapps)
½ teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
¼ cup water
Kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients for the rub into a small bowl.  Mix and set aside.

2. Pour ¾ cup of the peach nectar into a measuring cup and set aside for the BBQ sauce.  With a church key make 2 additional holes in the top of the peach nectar can.  Add the cinnamon stick to the can, Spray the outside of the can heavily with Pam. Set can aside.

3. Rinse the chicken, and remove the packet of innards. Pat dry. (This is the nasty part)

4. Place 1 teaspoon of rub inside the body of the chicken.  Place ½ teaspoon rub in the neck cavity of the chicken. Drizzle 2 teaspoons veg. oil over the outside of the chicken and rub or brush it into the skin. Rub the oil covered chicken with 1 tablespoon of the rub.  I also put a bit of rub in between the skin of the breast and the meat of the breast. (Just pull up the skin, sprinkle in the spice mix, then rub it a round a bit) Pour remaining rub into the can of peach nectar.

5. Put the chicken on the can.  Pull the legs forward.  The legs are two of a tripod, the can is the third. Tuck the wings behind the chicken’s back.  Chicken should look comfortable and be well balanced.

6. Set up grill for indirect grilling.  Place drained wood chips in smoker box.  Preheat grill to high or until there is smoke, and then reduce to medium.

7. Set chicken on can on unheated portion of grill.  Cover grill.  Rotate chicken ¼ turn every 15 minutes.  Cook until chicken temp is 180 in thickest part of thigh, about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours.

8. While chicken is cooking, combine all ingredients for BBQ sauce in heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add additional salt, pepper, and honey to taste.  Serve sauce warm or at room temperature with cooked chicken.  Any leftover sauce will keep for a week, covered, in refrigerator.

9. CAREFULLY remove bird from grill.  Let chicken rest for 5 minutes then wrestle the bird off the can.  DO NOT SPILL THE HOT LIQUID or burn yourself in any other way.

10. Halve, quarter, or carve the chicken and serve with Peach BBQ sauce.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Come back again!

22 Jul 2010 Grilled Orange Glazed Shrimp

I’m STILL immobile, thanks to this *&#$%! broken ankle (and still MAD about it, can you tell?), and my 19 year olds are cooking for me. Fortunately I have had plenty of time to cruise the food blogs (so there HAS been some good in this predicament). I found this recipe on Culinary Covers (from the cover of Everyday Food, June 2010)… Perfect! Three ingredients, with a bit of salt and pepper, then quickly grilled on a skewer! So it’s a fun-to-make recipe, too! My son used store-bought marmalade, but perhaps next time I’ll have him make my microwave marmalade recipe, too. He served this on a bed of white rice (all he knows how to make right now), but any kind of grain would work. Green beans or any other veg would have been nice on the side–but he was in a hurry to see a movie! The 19 year olds who came over to pick him up were very impressed with his culinary skills. I wish all nineteen year olds knew how easy it is to cook impressive food…

Note to parents of 19 year olds moving into their first apartment: add a Hibachi to that growing list of “nice-to-have” items.

Grilled Orange Glazed Shrimp

32 large-sized shrimp (with tails on)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
8 wooden or metal skewers

If using wooden skewers, soak in cold water for at least 30 minutes. Drain before using, and freeze leftover drained skewers for next time. Place 4 shrimp onto each of the 8 skewers (or 2 shrimp onto 16 skewers if serving as appetizers). Season shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste (use red pepper if you are into the sweet-spicy thing). In a small bowl, stir together orange marmalade and mustard. Brush glaze on all sides of the shrimp. Grill shrimp on a preheated, oiled grill for 2 minutes, flip, brush on more sauce, grill for 2 more minutes. Brush any remaining sauce on shrimp. Serve immediately.

Serves: 4 (2 skewers per person)

14 Jul 2010 Grilled Ahi Tuna

Ahi Tuna…, grilled…, rare…, it’s not just restaurant fare, you know! Costco sells great Ahi Tuna, and it’s not too expensive! There’s nothing fishy about this! Ahi Tuna is absolutely wonderful, it’s good for you, it can be bought for a reasonable price, and it can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. If you haven’t already tasted Ahi Tuna and fallen in love with it, I am not even going to try and convince you to try it. STAY AWAY! Leave it alone! We love it and we want it on the shelves when we go shopping.

Grilled Ahi Tuna Steaks

One or two 3/4 inch to 1 inch thick tuna steaks (about 4-5 oz. per person)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar (have also made with white balsamic vinegar)
2 Tablespoons BBQ sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients into a shaker or blender. Mix well. Marinate fish in 1/2 vinaigrette for 20 minutes or so. (Set the remaining 1/2 of vinaigrette aside for later use, you will use 1/4 to baste the tuna, and the last 1/4 to pour over the grilled tuna).
Heat the grill (or the grill pan), rub grill with oil (or place small amount of oil in the pan).
Place marinated Ahi Tuna on the heated surface. Quickly baste fish with 1/2 of reserved vinaigrette (save the last 1/4 for pouring over finished fish).
Grill for 90 seconds to 120 seconds on first side. There should be a VERY light golden brown color on the surface of the steak. Flip. Grill for another 90 to 120 seconds.  DO NOT OVER COOK. You should be lightly searing the outside of the tuna, leaving the inside raw, not rare, raw.
Remove fish from grill and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Pour remaining 1/4 of vinaigrette over the sliced Ahi Tuna and serve.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today,

10 Jul 2010 Hamburgers Italiano

The boy child cooks again! He likes all things sausage. So I gave him this recipe to try, a twist on the basic hamburger. It’s a pretty darn good burger, a very nice blend of beef and sausage accented with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. I taught him how to make his own “bun”, too, which often tastes better than those sesame covered packages ones. Toast two slices of good bread (in our case sourdough from Le Boulanger, although I love Trader Joe’s Cornbread Rye). Cut toast to fit the size and shape of the hamburger patty, slip the patty between the two slices of toast, and he was all set–after loading up on ketchup. I had him use a hamburger mold to form the patties. It’s a good tool for a beginner cook. I’ll have to add that to the growing list of kitchen essentials. I had him use a timer to cook the patties, too. It’s a skill to cook a patty all the way through. A timer helps.

Hamburgers Italiano

3/4 lb. ground beef
3/4 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 T. Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper

Break beef and sausage into small pieces in a large bowl. Add cheese, basil, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Using a fork, lightly mix ingredients together. Divide meat into 4 or 6 portions (we make 6, about 4.5 oz. each) and flatten to 3/4 – 1 inch thick. Place on hot grill. Grill for 2-4 minutes on first side, and 3-4 minutes on second side. Drain on paper towel if you want, then place on bun, or toast cut to fit the burger, or a toasted English muffin. Add condiments and veggies as desired.

Thanks for visiting the kitchen today!