Saturday, August 14, 2010

Carnage du Jour - 13 August 2010

Well, there are storms coming, so we'd better do our grilling today, right?  Right.

I've got some chicken breasts and some bone-in ribeyes - guess I'll just cook them both and we'll eat whatever.
The chicken is a couple boneless, skinless breasts, so I dropped in some Italian dressing and mixed in some smoky horseradish sauce as a marinade before cooking.
As to the steaks, I'm usually a "salt and pepper is more than enough flavouring for a good piece of beef" kind of guy, but with the horseradish working in my head already, I made a quick glaze / sauce / whatever of some prepared horseradish, a bit of (real!) vanilla extract, and some (also real!) maple syrup.  It still tasted mostly like horseradish, but with a little of the edge gone and its flavours mellowed and pointing slightly back from where it normally would be.

Once the fire was ready, on went the steaks, having been salted on both sides.  A turn halfway through the first side to give those nice cross-hatch grill marks was executed to perfection, they were flipped, and given their turn on that side when the mixture was applied.
Oh my.
The smoke and heat really did a number on that stuff - it was still a tad hot, but mostly it just melded with the beef flavour and did a virtual dance on our tongues.

As to the chicken, they went on once the steaks came off to rest.  With them went a nice little head of radicchio that had been halved and slathered with a bit of Italian dressing and a few leftover ears of red corn to reheat on the grill.
The chicken was so tender, juicy, and flavourful that there were no complaints around the table.

Even better (although the radicchio and corn were fine), Heidi made her new variation on a Caprese salad, adding in some fresh chopped green chiles form the garden.  That extra heat is a beautiful addition to the flavour profile of that classic salad, and once again it was difficult to decide what to leave - so I didn't leave anything.  Fortunately, I didn't serve everything up, so there was only a little too much on the plate to start to go with the nothing left at the end.

Try that mixture on your next steak - it was spectacular!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Carnage du Jour - 11 August 2010

"There is simply no more versatile cut of meat than the pork tenderloin." 
- Antonin Lavoris
 OK, I actually made that up, but had Antonin Lavoris said that (or even existed), I would agree most heartily, and last night's meal was a particularly tasty example of that versatility.

A whole tenderloin was rubbed with a mix of chipotle chili powder and beau monde, then slow roasted on the charcoal grill, using the indirect cooking method.
This let the flavour of the charcoal permeate the meat - mixing beautifully with the chipotle's own smokiness - whilst not charring the outside.
In about 20 minutes (it's hard to know for sure, as I was also mowing the lawn as I cooked the tenderloin), with a couple flips and turns in there, the internal temperature was north of 160F and all was well with the pork. (I love my instant read thermometer!)

The side dish was a delicious chick-pea salad that Heidi made using scallions, tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, and white balsamic vinegar.

All in all, a delicious repast, and a wonderful end to an overly hot day.

Try it - you'll like it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reading List Update

OK, I've come up with some additions to the reading list, and they're likely quite familiar to many of you.
You may look at them and say (to yourself, one hopes) that those are just children's books - how can they be worth reading as an adult?
Well, my friends, here are my thoughts on that topic.  It seems to me that the best children's books are those that can be read at any age.  Typically, there is a period in one's life where reading those books (whichever they might be) is beneath one.  With maturity, though, comes a time when those books are once again appropriate.
I think you'll find that you appreciate much more of the stories and the writing than you did when you encountered them as a child, and that you'll have a doubled reading experience - you'll get that nostalgic feeling for when you first read the book, and you'll get the enhanced experience of understanding parts of it for the first time. 

Try it, you'll like it.
Here's the original list, just in case you haven't finished it yet:
Read, learn, and enjoy: