I am not always documenting my food like I used to in days past. The abandon of cooking, going free-form, is exquisite and in this busy life, a necessity. Many things are spinning in my mind: work, play, working-out to de-stress, cooking (always cooking + food, good, good food) and now, teaching a class in the Fall. The Summer has swept us away. It has been hot, lovely, relaxing, plus stressfully busy at work. As yoga brings me to a peaceful place, cooking brings me to a happy place. Eating good food is a requirement of our happy life. Writing it down has played a distant memory, for now! I have typed a few versus as the weeks move on and those I will share here, if not only to remember (or hopefully have you ask me to remember) to do them again, but this time, just to write it down. This Post will inspire me in the future. I hope it inspires you today!
Beer-can chicken, flavored in-part, from a bottle of toasted sesame seeds with garlic and sea salt by Eden Organic called, Gomasio (so good). Also used Kona coffee grounds and Maui Brewing Co. coconut stout ale with nothing else in the can. I put garlic and lemons in the cavity with only a little olive oil on the bird, no butter (but I think whole garlic cloves in skin on breast). Cooked on our Mak wood pellet grill at 450-degrees indirect for about 2 hours with mesquite pellets (or was it hickory?, says Tom). I think it was actually a combo of hazelnut left in the hopper and new hickory. Served with home-made heirloom cannellini beans that were amazing with the chicken plus drippings from beans and fresh-grown garden lettuces. Tom was in love. He kept complimenting the dish more than usual!!!! Perfectly cooked! Yummy! Oh, so damn good. Moist and delicious. Melt-in-your-mouth kind of yum! I think he liked it! I certainly did!!! I didn’t get a picture though!
Wood-smoked lamb rack covered in coffee grounds with smoked jalapeño-cherry sauce polenta and fresh garden lettuces. We licked these greedily off the bones and the pups sucked the bones clean! Moist and perfectly cooked on a 450-degree temp in the Mak. First, seared over flame and then moved to indirect for ??10-15?? minutes. So good! So, so, soooooo gooooood! Do it again…and again, exactly this way! If only I will be able to remember the way enough to actually write it down next time.
Chicken + black beans in fire-roasted poblano peppers with tomatillo sauce and mozzarella. Have made this multiple times now and it has never disappointed us once! Perfect for a Mexican-inspired craving and a nice hearty, late-night summer meal. Smokey, sweet, hot and satisfying. Easy to prepare and perfect for company too!
Lamb+beef burgers flavored with cilantro/parsley/cumin/garlic and served on an english muffin with PCC’s kale caesar salad and our own home-grown tomatoes – yum!!!! I was not wanting to cook this night. Truth be told, I really wanted to cook a fillet of salmon and serve it over a caesar salad because someone at work had done this very thing for lunch (yes, we have a grill outside at the office). I was tired at the day’s end and had not been to the grocery market for a few days. Once I got to market, the skies opened up and I found way too many things to buy. This took time and I ended up with much less time to cook.
The stop at Gemini seemed indulgent since I had more than 4 pounds of meet in my bags from market (albeit, half was to cook the pup food). In any case, I opted out from a Gemini stop and cooked half of the grass-fed beef and lamb for Buddy and Ginger instead. I also made burger patties for Tom and I from the other half of their meat. I flavored ours with ground cumin, chopped, fresh cilantro and parsley, plus a little Dijon, sea salt and pepper. They were grilled in small patties on the Mak grill until medium. We served them up in a bun of English muffin, smothered in freshly-made mayonnaise,
Then I really cheated…
PCC’s pepperoni pizza enhanced by me with Mama Lil’s Peppers turned out fantastic for a Friday night, movie night, outside!
But then I didn’t…
Tuna Niçoise for brunch – Photos are missing; imagination not hard to muster. No dressing other than fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Potatoes and green beans are stars but the hard-boiled eggs are a perfect accessory. We used Blade’s albacore tuna which is a show stopper. You can’t skimp on the quality if you want this to impress, or even if you just want to eat an amazing brunch that you will be oohing and awing over all morning. A glass of crisp Albariño alongside is perfection.
Then I made something for Tom…
Tom wants me to remember a pasta I made a few nights ago (or weeks ago now). I had a few really good fully-cooked Italian sausage on hand. I grilled one, then cut it to dice. I cooked a 1/2 lb quinoa-pasta spaghetti and mixed it with about a 3/4 cup tomato sauce made the day before with a can of diced tomatoes, chopped garlic, a little red wine, oregano and basil (super simple). These sausages were delicious from Olympia Provisions (I’m gonna’ check out their products further + it turns out there is a restaurant; actually two).
I added in some fresh-chopped tomatoes from our hanging pot, 1/2 a yellow, roasted pepper, chopped, 1 small onion grilled and chopped. I then grated over parmesan and tucked in some fresh lettuces that included fresh basil. Easy and yum!
Pork Ribs and a Cauliflower Soup
I now make my braise bath as I do my cocktails, by intuition, not measurement, but with intention. You want all the components: sweet, hot, acid, tart, salty…. Don’t worry about exact measurements, it should just taste balanced and won’t even do much harm if the balance is off a little.
Louisiana ribs this time. Boiled in water with the rest of our coffee, about 1 tsp chipotle chile powder, 1 tsp kosher salt, squirt of honey, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, squeeze of Sriracha chile sauce, a Dijon glop and 1 cup tomato juice + water to make up enough liquid to, almost, cover. Boil about 45 min – 1 hour. Remove and set on a baking pan. They will still be slightly tough but the fatty meat will be worth picking for a quick taste.
Make the rub/glaze (or a wayward glue as it happened with me), in a small bowl by mixing chipotle chili powder (a sprinkle to equal, say 1 tsp), 1 tbsp Dijon, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, a big squeeze honey, ground pepper, 1 tsp-ish of the sesame mix I found, mix well and brush over ribs.
Put on the grill, set indirect at 280-degrees and cook approximately 1.5 hours. Remove and brush on barbecue sauce (I used the sweet, spicy, Honey Stinger that I got with grill but you should make your own if you have time, or not, as I didn’t have time) put back to smoke, turning down heat to 225F or so. These will be pretty much done at this point and you can keep them warming, eat them straight away or simply wrap them up to save for the next day.
The soup was made by roasting a head of cauliflower then bathing it and the leeks in the rib bath. I used 1 large leek and added 2 smallish potatoes that cooked until soft. I then puréed it all (using about 1 cup chicken stock for the liquid). This puree was spicy from cooking things in the rib bath. I added the juice of 1 lemon and a drizzle of olive oil to help temper the heat. Season as needed with sea salt and pepper. I also shaved some truffles I had found hanging out in the freezer; don’t tell Tom
The soup is not best served with the ribs by the way, just happened to make them at the same time. A nice salad with fresh corn, peas and mint is better to round out the meal. The soup can be a start but was best served for us (AKA me), as lunch the next day and the day after that, followed by soup, yet again…yum! I did mention truffle, yes?
Don’t worry, they are not eating ribs. I make them a special meal each night; ingredients include love!