Nothing says fall like a pumpkin. Growing up I was only a fan of the carved creations. Of Pie and seeds I had no need. Then I went to celebrate my first Thanksgiving in England and felt obliged to serve pumpkin pie for dessert. That proved quite the challenge. No cans of Libby's pie filling could be found anywhere. My only choice was to use the pumpkin Val, at the green grocers down the street, had conjured up. After a call to my Grandmother for instructions, the effort proved a revelation. It was the most amazing pie I had ever tasted. I have been a pumpkin lover ever since. The key to the best tasting ones is knowing how to pick them.
What is your favorite all American food?
What is your favorite all American food?
Whenever I hear that ice cream truck jingle, I think of ice cream sandwiches. I am a bit like Pavlov's dog in that regard. The combination of cold, cream and chocolate on a hot summer's day is as good as it gets for my sweet tooth.
You can easily recreate and improve the Good Humor man's version with brownie mix. Use your own recipe or your favorite brand. We are pretty impartial around here. When the heat rises we are relentlessly experimenting with our own.
How do you like your steak cooked?
Lately I have been waxing poetic about steak. It all started months ago when I asked my friend Dan"What is your favorite food?" His response was immediate and clear; "A good steak."
While my favorite food is bread, I do often dream about a good cut of juicy red meat. Growing up I refused to eat steak. When my mother made it she had to prepare something else for me. That was often a frozen dinner of fish stick parmesan. I know, I know - how did I get from there to here? I am also embarrassed to say my boycott of steak had nothing to do with a better diet or a concern for animal rights. Meatballs, hamburgers, bring em' on. The steak issue for me was about the marbling and texture. Yuck.
My poor attitude started to change the summer I spent backpacking through Europe. I seldom ate red meat and often found myself craving it. In London, my friend Kjrsten Madison often spoke about the virtues of red meat. When my mother met me in Italy our first stop was dinner at a restaurant in a medieval walled village. She ordered steak, it turned out to be a side of beef, fatty, but grilled over charcoal. It was well done to a succulent perfection. We both enjoyed it thoroughly. My resolve to never eat such fare dissolved when I finally realized how I like it cooked.
Local, grass fed beef, rubbed with a bit of seasoning, butterflied and grilled so that any fat on it is a golden crust of flavorful juices, that is how I like my steak....
Baked Potato Salad
Everyone has a favorite baked potato salad recipe. This one is a little off the beaten path. The ingredients are closer to what might be in a French style salad, but this works with a mayonnaise based dressing. It incorporates our Dill Salt: dill weed, garlic, lemon peel and kosher salt, all great flavors for potatoes. Tomatoes, celery and chives combine to make it unique, yet reminiscent of a loaded baked potato.
My sister's steak sauce
I had dinner at my sister, Marita's house last night. She often has steak, this is the first time I had it with her sauce. Different and Delicious! Here is her recipe;
"I don't measure anything I just make it to taste."
Just in time for grill season, terrific tips for the perfect steak
It has been ages since I had a good steak. At least since the grill was packed away last November. There is something a grill does to meat that a pan or broiler can't come close to. Here are some tips for stellar steaks.
Picking your poison! 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch Cuts are best for grilling. A thin cut is likely to get dried out. Marbling is also important, fat throughout the steak gives it great flavor. USDA Prime Aged Beef is best, the next recommended grade is Choice.
Making it Magnificent!: Have steaks at room temperature before grilling. Soaking them in water with a pinch of Aussie Outback Rub (optional) for 1 hour will ensure they remain juicy.
Get out the Grill!: Lightly oil the grilling rack before putting steaks on (it keeps meat from sticking and cracking while keeping the natural juices in).
Heat: Preheat your grill to 600 to 800 degrees F and keep it at this temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before putting steaks on.
While on the grill: Only flip once after five minutes of grilling.
Ditch the Fork: Use tongs or a spatula (A fork allows juices to spill out).
A fabulous finish: To see if steak is finished, press on it with the palm of your hand. It will feel spongy when rare, have some resistance when cooked to medium and be firm when well done.
Rare: Squeeze the pad at the base of your thumb. It should feel spongy and feel very little resistance.
Medium: Press on the middle of the palm of your outstretched hand. It should feel firm.
Well Done: Squeeze the base of your small finger. It should feel firm with no give.
Caramel Apple Slab Pie
As I bike through Granville in the morning I am over joyed by the site of trees prolific with fruit. Through a mist that promises a beautiful day, I spy dots of red through the green leaves and my mind swirls with how I am going to enjoy the local bounty this week.
By the time I got to work on Friday my plan was to rework our recipe for Caramel Apple Pie into a bar treat. Going from formal to casual this desert can come to work where Justin will be eager to critique the evolution.
I always forget how easy pancakes are to make, they are also crazily versatile. Toss in chocolate chips, pumpkin, apples, bananas or top with any manner of berries; pancakes have personality.
This is my go to recipe, and yes, I use a mix. Pancakes are also unpretentious and don't require a from scratch ceremony.
One of the most surprising things for me to see in China was corn. I have read that it officially came to Asia from the Americas during the "Colombian Exchange" of 1492. However there is some evidence maize was being grown here prior to that year.
In fact the Chinese have a love affair with corn. There are corn vendors here like you see hot dogs vendor in New York. You can get corn juice, tea, and ice pops. So far my favorite way to enjoy it has been from the BBQ stands that set up all over Jimei at night. Their preparation is simple; soak corn, stick it on a skewer, brush it generously with oil and sprinkle with seasoning. As the grill marks the ears, the sugars in the kernels begin to caramelize. In my opinion it is a far superior to our old stand by steamed corn.
What inspires you on a lazy weekend morning?
Scottish Oat Scones
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