Archive | August 2012

Rosemary Pork Skewers

The other day I was looking for fresh ideas to use some of the ground pork and beef I get every month in my meat CSA.  I came across an interesting recipe.  I have to confess: I made this dish a few weeks back and I can’t track down the recipe online.  So I can’t give you the recipe and I can’t give credit where credit is due.  (I know, I shouldn’t quit my day job to start writing about food professionally).  All I can give you are some pictures and a basic idea of what I did.

First I mixed some ground pork with some rosemary, an egg, some bread crumbs, and I’m sure some other seasonings.  I then formed them on rosemary sprigs which I’d stripped halfway.

I quartered some red onions skewered those with bamboo, and threw them on the grill with a couple of peppers.

A note about the peppers.  I used to cut bell peppers into one inch squares and grill them on a skewer.  I liked the crispiness and the char.  I was always skeptical of roasting bell peppers whole and then skinning them.  It seemed like you’d lose the grill flavor.  Well, after seeing this preparation method a few different places I decided to give it a try.  Of course, I should know better than to doubt those who have been doing this much longer than I have!  I’ve been converted.

More about finishing the peppers later.  First, I had to put the pork on the grill.

I figured the rosemary would burn, but I also figured that would simply add aroma to the cook.  If I were concerned about presentation I could re-skewer the pork at the end.

I grilled the skewers basically the same way you would a hamburger, flipping intermittently and pulling them after about 8-10 minutes.  You can see that some of the rosemary skewers survived better than others.  I also prepared a greek yogurt and olive oil dressing for the pork (sorry, no recipe for you!).

Here are the peppers when I pulled them from the grill.

After allowing the peppers to cool, I skinned them, sliced them open, and scraped out the seeks and membranes.  Then I sliced them into short strips.

They were delicious!  So moist, yet with that smokey, roasted flavor.  I’m a big fan.  Together with the pork and greek yogurt, this made a nice little meal!  As always, thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Double Level Grilling

Just a quick post to share a photo.  The other day I tried some double level grilling in my Mexican redware.

Those are mushrooms and onions on the top (for hamburgers) and potatoes and onions on the bottom.  My raised grill has hinged sides, allowing me to flip up half of the grill to reach the food underneath.  When it was time to stir the veggies I shuffled the top deck, flipped up half the raised grill, stirred the potatoes, then shuffled the top deck to the other side and stirred the other batch of potatoes.  It was pretty slick.

One takeaway from this – I was surprised at how much the restricted air flow reduced my temperature.  I’ve loaded down the grill with pork butts and brisket without noticing a difference.  I guess the reduced airflow has a bigger effect at higher temperatures.  This makes sense.  I just have to crank it up when I do this in the future.

ABTs

I’d never heard of ABTs until I started reading barbecue blogs.  Soon it became apparent to me that this appetizer is a staple of the barbecue pastime.  How had I made it to the ripe old age of 33 without ever eating ABTs?  I guess I’ve been running with the wrong crowd.

What are ABTs, you ask?  Well, the full name is Atomic Buffalo Turds.  I’m not allowed to call them that, however.  Mrs. Esquire believes you shouldn’t serve your guests a “turd.”  She’s probably right about that.  Plus, we’re entering 18 years of “we don’t say that word in our house.”  We haven’t drafted the list of “bad words” yet, but using “turd” to refer to food probably won’t fly.

Mrs. Esquire and I went back and forth about what I should call my ABTs.  She said I should come up with a new name.  I disagreed.  You can’t serve a hamburger and call it a ground beef sandwich.  It’s hamburger, plain and simple.  When I serve ABTs, I don’t want to pretend like I invented the dish.  Or, worse yet, I don’t want to serve them to someone in the know and get called out on my fake name.  In the end, we settled on a compromise.  I can call them ABTs, but if anyone asks, I have to say they’re Atomic Buffalo Tidbits.  That’s good enough for me.

So you’re still probably wondering – what are these turd/tidbits?  The basic recipe is fairly simple: half a jalapeno, filled with cream cheese, sometimes topped with some sort of meat, and wrapped in bacon.  The traditional recipe calls for a Lil’ Smokie on top of the cream cheese.

I didn’t want to use Lit’l Smokies in my ABTs.  I’ll admit, Mrs. Esquire and I have become food snobs since we moved to San Francisco.  In my days growing up in Minnesota I ate many a hotdish, the central ingredient of which was usually Cream of Mushroom Soup.  Now, Mrs. Esquire and I have a philosophy: prepackaged food is not an ingredient.  I just couldn’t bring myself to put Lit’l Smokies on my ABTs.

I decided to buy a chorizo sausage instead of Lit’l Smokies .  I didn’t know exactly how I was going to use it.  I was thinking of cooking the chorizo and laying it in slices across the top of the jalapeno.  Then I figured I should see if others have used chorizo.  Sure enough, the often-inspiring Griffin’s Grub recently posted a recipe for ABTs with chorizo.  I followed his technique.

I split open the chorizo sausage, browned the meat, and mixed it in with some neufchatel cheese (you can use cream cheese if you want).

I sliced each jalapeno in two and scraped out the seeds and the membrane.  I then filled each one with the cheese-chorizo mixture.  I had a few extra crumbs of chorizo, which I placed on a top of a couple of peppers.

Lastly, I wrapped each jalapeno with some bacon.  I used between 1/3 and 2/3 of a slice of bacon on each, with 2/3 being too much, 1/3 being too little, and 1/2 being just about right.  I used pepper bacon from Whole Foods, which I think added a nice kick to the finished product.  I also dusted them with a barbecue rub.  I placed them on a 300 degree Big Green Egg, set for indirect cooking (plate setter legs up), with some hickory chips for smoke.

My company arrived while the ABTs were on the grill.  Consequently I didn’t watch the grill as closely as I should have.  My temperature ranged from 275 to 350.  I kept the ABTs on the BGE for about an hour.  There’s no real science to the cooking time or temperature.  I think they should be cooked low enough to impart some smoke and long enough for the bacon to crisp.  Here’s the final product.

I have to admit, they were way better than I thought they were going to be.  Three of us dusted off almost that entire plate.  These will definitely become part of the rotation!  If I do them for a bigger group I will probably use my raised grill rack so I can cook more.  As always, thanks for reading!

T-Bone

This month’s meat CSA delivery included a couple of T-bone steaks.  As I pulled one out of the freezer recently, I realized I’d never grilled a T-bone for myself before.  Certainly, I’d eaten T-bone steaks, I’d just never bought one at the store.  Why not?

I know the reason why.  I have a little cheap streak that occasionally rears its head.  For example, when I was working construction as a kid I would buy warm 2 liter bottles of soda for $0.99 instead of a 32 oz fountain drink for $0.89.  I rode the bus long before I lived in a city where it was “cool” and practical.  I sometimes pull the stems off bell peppers in the grocery store so I don’t have to pay for them.  Mrs. Esquire is the same way.  When we traveled to China I couldn’t get her to stop bargaining over a $0.50 price difference so we could just get on with our day.  I guess we’re good for each other that way.

What does this have to do with the T-bone?  I think I’ve avoided T-bones because I couldn’t bring myself to pay good money for the bone.  Why pay for a steak with a bone in it when you can buy a rib eye or a New York strip?  But once again, that’s the great thing about a CSA.  It forces you to try different things.

And am I ever glad I grilled this T-bone.

This steak was great overall, but I’d forgotten how delicious the tenderloin section of the T-bone can be.  Just melt-in-your-mouth-delicious!  The best part?  I still have one more in the freezer!

As always, thanks for reading.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been awhile since I baked on my Big Green Egg.  I’ll admit, I didn’t come back to baking willingly.  Mrs. Esquire kind of pushed me towards making these cookies.  I’m so glad she did, though.  This is my new favorite cookie recipe.

I found the recipe on Take A Megabite.  The key to this recipe is the olive oil.   In the Esquire household we like olive oil on everything.  It works especially well for cookies on the BGE, leading to nice, crisp edges and light, fluffy cookie.

I prepared the batter per the recipe, the headed outside to the Big Green Egg.  I set myself up with batter and wax paper on the right side of the grill and cooling rack on the left side.  I set the BGE for indirect cooking (plate setter legs up) and put a pizza stone on the grill.  I warmed the grill (with the stone in place) to about 375.

Here are the cookies on the grill.  The first batch took about 20 minutes or so.  As a side note, you can see some collateral damage on my pampered chef pizza stone.  Two lessons learned on pizza night awhile back: 1) pampered chef stoneware is thinner than BGE stoneware, and 2) never set a room temperature stone on a 600 degree fire!

The cook time on the cookies shortened with each batch.  By the end I was pulling them at about 12-15 minutes.  The key is to just keep checking them.

The cookies had a nice, smokey flavor, as you’d expect from the grill.  They also had crispy edges and a light, almost cake-like texture.  They were quite unique, and really good.

I made a double batch of cookies, and good thing, too.  I absolutely pounded through them!  For the good of my waistline I need to use this recipe sparingly!

Recipe Recap (from Take a Megabite)

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 T milk, optional
  • 1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Using an electric mixer, beat together the olive oil, vanilla, and sugars until it looks like wet sand. Add the eggs one at  a time and beat until mixed in completely. With the mixer on low beat in the flour mixture gradually until just mixed. Add a tablespoon or two of milk if the batter is too dry. If the batter is too wet, add flour a tablespoon at a time until handle-able.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Preheat Big Green Egg to 375, set for indirect cooking.  Place spoonfuls of batter directly on warmed stone.  Cook for 12-20 minutes, until top of cookie just begins to brown.