Posts Tagged 'Grilling Recipes'

Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard (aka My Best Grilled Pizza Yet!)

I finally managed a restaurant-quality grilled pizza, y’all.  I’ve been using the same dough recipe since last summer and I’ve tried a variety of different toppings, but this last one – Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard – is a real winner.  If you want crisp yet chewy homemade crust and totally delicious (and pretty nutritious!) toppings, this one’s for you.

Basic Grilled Pizza Dough
Makes four 10-inch pizzas (1 pound dough total)

1 teaspoon sugar
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast.  Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.

Whisk oil and 1 teaspoon salt into yeast mixture.  Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry).  Turn out onto a floured work surface.  Knead until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl; brush lightly with oil.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, 45 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 30 minutes.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide into 4 equal pieces.  (To store, refrigerate dough pieces, covered, up to 2 days, or freeze, up to 1 month.)  Let rest 15 minutes before using.

Source: Everyday Food, July 2010

Onion, Ricotta, and Chard Pizza Toppings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds onions, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 pound chard, stemmed, leaves washed (can substitute spinach, if desired)
3/4 cup ricotta (6 ounces)
2 ounces Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup, tightly packed)

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet.  Add the onions.  Cook, stirring often, until tender and just beginning to color, about 10 minutes.  Add the thyme, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt.  Turn the heat to low, cover and cook another 10 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown and very sweet and soft.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, stem and wash the chard leaves, and bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Fill a medium bowl with ice water.  When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the chard.  Blanch for one to two minutes, just until the leaves are tender, and transfer to the ice water.  Drain and squeeze out excess water. Alternatively, steam the chard for two to three minutes until wilted, and rinse with cold water.  Chop the chard medium-fine.  Combine the ricotta, chard, and Parmesan in a medium bowl and set aside.

Make ahead note: The cooked onions and the blanched or steamed chard will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.

Source: The New York Times

To assemble pizzas:

Heat grill: Set up a grill with heat source, coals or gas, on one side over medium-high.  Clean and lightly oil hot grill.

Stretch dough: On a lightly floured work surface, separately stretch or roll 2 pieces basic grilled pizza dough or 8 ounces (two 4-ounce pieces) store-bought dough into 10-inch-long ovals or other desired shape.  Brush one side lightly with herb oil or olive oil and season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Grill dough: Using your hands, place dough, oiled side down, directly over heat source.  Brush dough with herb oil or olive oil and cook until underside is lightly charred and bubbles form all over top, 1 to 2 minutes.  With tongs, flip dough and cook until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes.  Slide dough to cooler side of grill.

Add toppings: Top dough with ricotta/chard/Parmesan mixture and caramelized onions.  Cover grill.  Cook until toppings are heated through, 2 to 5 minutes.

Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard

Holy cow, this pizza was deeeeeelicious.  The dough was crisp on the edges and chewier in the center, the caramelized onions were smoky and sweet, and the ricotta with the chard and Parmesan was creamy and super flavorful.  I served this with a beet and arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts and thought I was in heaven.  I will definitely make this pizza again, and the menu (with the salad) would make a fantastic casual dinner party.

I’ll admit that it took a bit of practice to develop a good system for getting the dough from the kitchen to the grill, so I’ll share what I know.  I roll and stretch the dough on my kitchen island and then put each piece on its own lightly-floured baking sheet before I brush it with oil.  Since I don’t have much work space on the sides of my grill, I make Dr. O carry the two baking sheets onto the deck and then I hand-transfer the dough to the grill.  The dough tends to shift and stretch a bit when it’s picked up, but that’s OK; rustic is good.

TIPS:  If I make the pizza dough ahead, I wrap it in plastic wrap before I store it.  If I freeze it, I wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in a freezer bag as well.  To use frozen dough, I typically just thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

Recipe links: Basic Grilled Pizza Dough and Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard

Dueling Veggie Burgers

I’m having a vegetarian dinner guest again this weekend, and my tried-and-true options (a) have been done before, and (b) aren’t seeming super appropriate at this moment with this gorgeous weather.  What does seem appropriate?  Grilling! Burgers and side salads make an easy entertaining menu, so I decided to try two very different vegetarian burger recipes: Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers and Balsamic Portobello Burgers with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese.

My use of the word “dueling” in the title might suggest that there was actually some hot competition between the recipes.  There wasn’t.  One recipe was leaps and bounds (truly!) above the other.  I wanted to include both, though, to help anyone who might be having their own veggie burger debate.

I’ll start with the Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers since I made them first.  The patties were made of quinoa, carrots, scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, and egg; they were seasoned with cumin, salt, and pepper.  The patties came together easily and without too much mess, and I liked that they could be assembled a day ahead and held (uncooked) in the refrigerator.  The recipe called for the patties to be cooked on the stove, but I decided to use my outdoor grill since it would create less mess when I was entertaining my guests.  They cooked up easily (I did 8 minutes per side over medium heat) and didn’t stick to the grill at all.

The problem?  Despite all those delicious ingredients, they didn’t have a lot of flavor.  They were also super dry when we reheated the leftovers the next day.  The yogurt-lemon-scallion sauce helped quite a bit, but the experience really should be about the burger, right?  Carnivores would never trade a beef or turkey burger for one of these, but I figured the quinoa burger would be a not-amazing-but-good-enough backyard barbecue option for vegetarians.

Greek Style Quinoa Burgers

That was, until I tasted the Balsamic Portobello Burgers with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese.  Oh.  Mah.  Gawd.  They were just as easy to make as the quinoa burgers (maybe easier) and still had make-ahead convenience factor, but I would actually choose this over meat from time to time.  Portobellos are a meaty mushroom to begin with, and they soaked up the marinade so beautifully.  You know that wonderfully messy, juicy dribble you get when you bite into a fantastic burger? You get it here.  With roasted red peppers and goat cheese (two of my favorite ingredients!) on a grill-toasted bun, this was absolute heaven.

Balsamic Portobello Burger with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese

My only note is that you’ll use either one or two mushrooms per burger depending on the size of your portobellos.  Just make sure you get at least the weight recommended by the recipe (1 pound).  Consider making extras…  You won’t regret it!

Recipe links: Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers and Balsamic Portobello Burgers with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese

Greek-Style Pork Chops

Let the grilling begin!  Labor Day weekend is upon us, and cooking up some delicious grilled food and enjoying it outdoors is practically mandatory.  Today’s recipe – Greek-Style Pork Chops from the July 2010 issue of Cooking Light – caters both to those who have outdoor grills and those who don’t; the recipe is actually written for a grill pan but can be prepared either way.  Plus, it’s a super healthy option to work into what is typically (for us, anyway!) a pretty indulgent weekend. More room for cupcakes, right?

To make the dish, I started by marinating the pork chops.  In a large zip-top bag, I combined 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and 2 minced garlic cloves.  I added 4 boneless center-cut pork loin chops (mine were about 5 ounces each) and sealed the bag.  I marinated the pork at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning them after 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I whisked together 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 3/4 cup of plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt (I used Fage 0%), 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill, and 1/8 teaspoon of coarse salt to make a sauce for the pork.  I covered the sauce and stashed it in the refrigerator.  I also diced plum tomatoes (1 1/2 cups), cucumber (1 cup), and red onion (1/2 cup) and combined the ingredients to make a salad.  The recipe said to season the salad with 1/8 teaspoon of coarse salt, but I definitely thought it needed more.  I’d recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon and seasoning to taste from there.

Once I had the sauce and the salad prepared, the chops were ready for the grill.  I heated my grill pan over medium-high heat and sprayed it with my olive oil mister. (The recipe suggests cooking spray.)  I removed the pork from the bag, set the chops on my designated meat cutting board, and discarded the marinade.  I sprinkled both sides of the pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt and added the pork to the preheated pan.  I cooked the chops for 4 minutes on each side, removed them from the pan, and then let them rest for 2 minutes before serving.  I served the pork chops on top of the tomato mixture, topped with the yogurt mixture.

Greek-Style Pork Chops

This dish has so many fantastic qualities.  It was fast, easy, inexpensive, and (most of all) delicious.  The juicy pork chops and super fresh salad just taste like summer. The creamy yogurt sauce is such a treat, too; it really takes the dish to the next level.  I look forward to making this one again and again.

Whether you’re grilling, traveling, or just doing some much-deserved relaxing at home, have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!

TIPS:  To prepare pork chops on the grill, I would recommend grilling them for 3 – 4 minutes per side over medium-high heat.  Don’t forget to oil the grill grates before throwing the chops on!  (I forget at least one out of every four times, guaranteed.)

Recipe link: Greek-Style Pork Chops

Grilled Portobello Quesadillas

When I sat down to make my most recent menu and store list, I decided to just grab all the August issues of Everyday Food from my archives to look for inspiration.  I spent so many years without an outdoor grill that I figured I probably missed some fantastic recipes.  I was right!  Lately, I’ve been thinking about trying portobellos on the grill in some form or another, so I couldn’t pass up the recipe for Grilled Portobello Quesadillas.  This recipe goes so far back (2003 – I can’t even believe I’m admitting to having a magazine from back then!) that it isn’t on the Everyday Food site, so here it is:

Grilled Portobello Quesadillas
Serves 4
Prep time: 25 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound portobello mushrooms (3 – 5), trimmed and cleaned
4 flour tortillas (10-inch)
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Salsa and sour cream, for serving

Heat grill to medium.  In a small bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.  (I used 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.)  Brush both sides of mushrooms with oil mixture; starting with stem side up, grill mushrooms until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, 8 – 12 minutes, turning once.  Remove from grill; slice 1/2-inch thick.

Layer one half of each tortilla with cheese, scallions, mushroom slices, and then more cheese, dividing toppings evenly.  Fold tortilla over filling; using your hands, carefully transfer filled tortilla to grill.  Cook until tortilla is slightly charred and cheese is melted, 2 – 3 minutes per side.  Serve with salsa and garnish with sour cream, if desired.

Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2003

Grilled Portobello Quesadillas

They aren't exactly pretty, but they sure are delicious.

These quesadillas are tasty!  The portobellos are so meaty and smoky from the grill, and the ooey-gooey factor from the cheese is fantastic.  If you need to please a vegetarian and a meat eater in one meal, this is your ticket; Dr. O said he didn’t miss the meat at all.  Plus, the quesadillas are so filling that I couldn’t even eat the whole thing (and I was really looking forward to doing just that, believe me.)   I would absolutely, 100% make this recipe again.

Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

Dr. O’s brother and his girlfriend came to stay with us this past weekend (our seventh set of houseguests in under three months!).  I planned a barbecue for Sunday afternoon, knowing that we had family and friends who would want to see them before they left that evening.  The challenge, though, was in the timing… Every minute of their visit was scheduled until Sunday morning.  What kind of menu could I put together in a pinch that would still allow me to spend time with my guests?

Our friend Paul made part of the menu planning easy for me.  His family owns Gold’n Plump Chicken, so he bought me a whole pile of it at SuperTarget on Wednesday.  (He was our houseguest earlier in the week, so I got wine and chicken as my hostess gifts.  I’ll take it!)  I’m all for supporting his family’s business, but I don’t typically buy Gold’n Plump chicken because I don’t do my grocery shopping at Target.  I was curious to see, though, how it would compare to my usual generic grocery store brand.

I wanted to marinate the chicken in something before I grilled it, so I settled on Prudence Pennywise’s recipe for Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken.  Since I tripled the recipe for my crowd, I combined 1 cup of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of lime zest, 3/4 cup of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 finely chopped jalapeno, 1 tablespoon each coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, 6 tablespoons of honey, and 1 cup of chopped cilantro in a medium bowl.  I divided the marinade equally between two large zip-top bags and placed six boneless, skinless chicken breasts in each (about 3 pounds total).  (I had pounded the chicken to 1/2-inch thickness for faster and more even cooking.)  I stashed the chicken in the refrigerator until it was time to grill it; my marinating time ended up being about six hours.

When we were ready to eat, I heated my gas grill to medium heat and grilled the chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side and then let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.  I rounded out the menu with Hill Country Coleslaw, Southwestern Two-Bean Salad (my next post, promise!), and watermelon wedges.

Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

I adore this recipe.  It’s so simple but incredibly delicious!  The lime is the predominant flavor, though you can definitely taste the garlic and cilantro as well.  I should have been braver with the jalapenos since they didn’t really come through; next time I’ll use two or three.  Other than that, though, the flavor balance was spot on; everyone at the table commented on how good the chicken turned out.

As for Gold’n Plump versus my regular grocery store chicken…

I promise I’d never sell out for a freebie (it would take a lot more to buy me off than some free chicken!), but I do think the Gold’n Plump product is superior to the stuff I buy on sale at King Soopers.  The breasts I grilled were exceptionally tender and juicy.  My cousin and I were talking about it on Sunday, and she said that she likes to buy it occasionally because she doesn’t have to trim hunks of fat or stringy veins off of it.  So true.  Plus, Gold’n Plump doesn’t add any hormones or fillers, which is a positive in my book.  It reminds me a lot of the chicken we used to get at Central Market when we were living in Dallas…  It’s more expensive, but you get what you pay for.  I will probably start picking it up for entertaining from here on out.

Recipe link: Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

Niman Ranch Burgers

After years of rental housing, moving, and making do with a grill pan, I have to say that I love my real deal Weber grill.  This is the second summer we’ve had it, and I’m determined to become just as good of a cook outside as I try to be inside.  I’ve had some success, for sure, but the one meal that keeps throwing me for a loop is burgers.

Burgers!  You’d think they’d be the simplest thing.  I had an absolute disaster with them last year…  When I cook on the stove, I usually try to buy the leanest ground beef I can find to avoid having to drain it.  On the grill, super lean beef is a bad idea.  Like it or not, fat provides flavor; we ended up with dried out, tasteless little pucks.

This year, I accepted that I was going to have to use beef with a higher fat content in order to get better results.  I found a tasty-looking recipe – Ina Garten’s Niman Ranch Burgers – and decided to give them a whirl.  (Full disclosure: I did not seek out Niman Ranch beef specifically, so I suppose these are just “burgers.”  I did use 80/20 beef as recommended, though.)

Prior to starting the burgers, I heated my grill to medium-high.  In a large bowl, I combined 2 pounds of 80% lean beef, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.  I gently mixed the ingredients with a fork (overmixing will toughen the meat).  I recently acquired a burger press – I figured that uniform patties would help me get to uniform cooking – so I used that to create six 1/3-pound patties.

Once the grill was ready to go, I oiled the grates to prevent the burgers from sticking.  The recipe said to cook the burgers for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.  We are definitely medium to medium-well hamburger eaters, though, so I decided to give mine 5 minutes on each side.  (I’ll probably drop this to 4:30 or 4:45 on each side next time.)  Once the burgers were done, I served them on toasted rolls (I used mini Kaisers from Target, which are so not mini!) with caramelized onions.

Niman Ranch Burgers

I overcooked the burgers slightly, so they weren’t amazing, but they were strides ahead of last year’s disaster.  The olive oil and the higher fat content of the meat kept the burgers moist, and the seasoning combination was simple but so good. This is a great “basic burger” recipe that I fully intend to try again, next time with ground chuck (a tip from my dad) and slightly shorter cooking times.

TIPS:  The burger press took a little getting used to.  I initially had a hard time getting the patties out of the press, but running a butter knife around the edges before inverting the press over a plate helped a lot.  If you are going to freeze any of your patties (I froze half), be sure to freeze them on wax paper or some other surface that will easily release them once they’re frozen.  I must have mentally checked out when I went to freeze mine because I put them directly on a plate to flash freeze them before putting them into freezer bags.  Getting them off of that plate took a little bit of thawing and quite a bit of coaxing.

Recipe link: Niman Ranch Burgers

Orange-and-Thyme Grilled Shrimp

I wasn’t even planning to blog this meal.  The colors of the shrimp when I took them off the grill Monday night were so beautiful, though, that I couldn’t resist snapping a few quick shots.  Plus, the shrimp were so easy and delicious…  How could I not share? 🙂

First, I did make a couple of minor substitutions based on what I had.  The recipe called for 1 pound of large tail-on shrimp, “large” meaning about 24 shrimp per pound.  My grocery store had tiger shrimp (16 – 20 per pound) or “medium” shrimp (31 – 40 per pound, if I remember correctly), but not “large” shrimp.  I decided to go big with the tiger shrimp.  The recipe also called for 8-inch skewers, which I *used* to have.  I decided to combine two servings per skewer and go with the 12-inch skewers I had on hand.

To prevent the skewers from catching fire on the grill, I soaked them in water while I marinated the shrimp.  (Always soak them for at least 30 minutes.)

For the shrimp marinade, I combined 1 teaspoon of orange zest, 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large zip-top bag.  I added the shrimp (1 pound, peeled and deveined but tails left on), tossed everything to coat, and marinated the shrimp until I was ready to assemble the skewers.  (I marinated for about 2 hours; 30 minutes is the minimum and 8 hours is the maximum.)

While the shrimp marinated, I made the dipping sauce.  In a small bowl, I combined 1/3 cup of light mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest, 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme.  I seasoned the mixture with salt and pepper to taste and then set it aside.

I set our grill burners to medium and oiled the grates.  While the grill heated, I threaded the marinated shrimp onto four skewers.  Shrimp cook very quickly (and they get rubbery if they’re overcooked), so I cooked them until they were just opaque – 2 minutes on the first side and about 90 seconds on the second side.  I served the shrimp with the dipping sauce.

Orange-and-Thyme Grilled Shrimp

Aren’t they just beautiful?  I couldn’t get over the pinks in the tails, the oranges and yellows in the shrimp (from the marinade), and the gorgeous dark charred spots.  The taste measured up as well…  There was so much flavor in the shrimp from the marinade that we didn’t even really need the dipping sauce.  Since the shrimp can be assembled and cooked in 10 minutes or less if you marinate ahead of time, this makes a terrific weeknight meal *or* a great option for entertaining with minimal time spent in the kitchen.

TIPS:  The key to assembling shrimp skewers is to make sure you pierce the shrimp through the top and bottom of its “curve”; this prevents the shrimp from spinning on the grill when you turn the skewers.

Recipe link: Orange-and-Thyme Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions (aka The First Thing I Ever Legitimately Grilled)

We *finally* got a grill.  (Thanks for the housewarming gift, Mom and Dad!)  After letting it sit on the deck for a couple of weeks looking pretty and brand new, Dr. O and I decided to get down and dirty with it (after lining the drip pan with heavy-duty foil, of course).

We never, ever, ever eat steak – probably because we never owned a real grill and I tend to torch steak in the grill pan – so I thought a perfect first project would be Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions from the June 2009 issue of Everyday Food.  It’s a good first recipe because it calls for flatiron steak, which is a nice, inexpensive cut of meat.

First, we prepped the grill.  (I say “we” because Dr. O wanted us to grill together, though we agreed that I was the “captain” and he was the “first mate” because I was the one with steak and a plan.)  We heated the grill to high, oiled the grates, and waited for the temperature to get to about 450F.  Meanwhile, I cut an 18-ounce piece of flatiron steak into three 6-ounce steaks and seasoned the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper.  I also washed a pint of cherry tomatoes and one bunch of scallions; I used my kitchen shears to cut the scallions into 2-inch lengths.

When the grill was ready, we grilled the steaks for 4 minutes on each side (with the lid closed, of course).  After they were cooked to our liking, we placed the steaks on a clean plate and tented them with foil to rest.  During the resting time, we placed a double layer of foil over the grill grates and put the cherry tomatoes and scallions on top.  We drizzled them with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, closed the lid, and grilled them until they were tender and lightly charred (about 7 minutes).

When the tomatoes and scallions were done, I placed them in a bowl, tossed them with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and seasoned them with salt and pepper.  I topped the steaks with the tomato-scallion mixture and served an orzo and zucchini salad on the side.

Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions

Drumroll, please…  The steaks turned out!  The two thicker steaks were perfectly medium, though the thinner steak ended up a bit overdone.  All in all, I’d say it was a success.  My cherry tomatoes didn’t burst (as they apparently did in the Everyday Food test kitchen, based on the recipe photos), but they were charred and warm.  The scallions caramelized a bit too, which I *loved*.  I feel like a champion griller! 🙂

TIPS:  Check out the original recipe if you want to make this recipe for more than two people.  I cut the tomato-scallion mixture in half and made three steaks instead of four since it was just Dr. O and me.  And yes, he did eat two steaks.

Recipe link: Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions

Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce

I don’t know why I’m surprised, but it’s actually getting a bit nippy here in Denver.  Last week, it was just cool in the evenings…  Today, I felt like I needed a jacket all day long.  Dr. O and I are so messed up with our seasons since it was spring in Australia and it’s basically summer in Texas until November.  It’s time to trade in the shorts, I’m afraid.

Since it’s getting a bit chilly for outdoor grilling and the heat from the broiler might actually be *welcome* in the kitchen at this point, I thought I would post Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce from the March 2008 issue of Everyday Food.  It’s quick, easy, and flavorful, and it would be a great match with a bit of roasted butternut or acorn squash.

First, I soaked eight 6-inch wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes (longer is fine) to make sure they could withstand the heat of the broiler.  During the “soak time,” I preheated the broiler, lined a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and started making the garlic-rosemary mixture for the meat.

On a cutting board, I chopped 2 cloves of garlic and 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves.  I sprinkled the mixture with a bit of coarse salt and then pressed the blade of the knife back and forth across it to make a paste.  (I don’t think my technique was very good…  Just do what feels right until you have something paste-like.)  I transferred the paste to a medium bowl and stirred in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.

Next, I cut 1 1/2 pounds of trimmed flatiron steak into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch chunks.  I added the steak to the bowl and tossed to coat it with the garlic-rosemary mixture.  I threaded 3 chunks of beef on each soaked skewer and placed them on the prepared baking sheet.

The recipe said to broil the skewers (without turning) 4 – 6 minutes for medium-rare meat; Dr. O and I like our steak closer to medium, so I went with 7 minutes.  While the meat was broiling, I threw together the horseradish dipping sauce, which was just 1/2 cup of reduced-fat sour cream, 1 tablespoon of prepared white horseradish (drained), and salt and pepper to taste.  I served the sauce alongside the skewers.

If you’re craving red meat, this is a great weeknight meal.  I absolutely loved the way the garlic-rosemary paste flavored the steak.  I have to admit that I wasn’t so crazy about the *cut* of meat; the flatiron steak was a bit chewy for my taste.  It’s pretty lean and reasonably priced (and it’s actually kind of hip right now, if steak can be hip!), so I’d be willing to give it another shot, though.  Even if you don’t try this particular recipe, I would strongly recommend trying the garlic-rosemary paste on any old steak you plan to cook.  It’s amazing!

TIPS: Don’t be afraid to ask your butcher for flatiron steak if you don’t see it on display.  Central Market didn’t have any in the case, but the butcher was happy to cut some for me.

Recipe link: Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce

Tomatoes Stuffed with Grilled Corn Salad

I need to sneak this one in before prime grilling season comes to an end… I can’t believe summer is almost over! The tomatoes and corn at Central Market are so beautiful right now that I just had to find a way to work them into my menu for the week. Tomatoes Stuffed with Grilled Corn Salad from the July/August 2006 issue of Everyday Food seemed like a tasty way to go.

The first part of this recipe involves grilling corn in its husk. Knowing now what I didn’t know then, I can’t say I recommend doing this indoors with a grill pan. If you have an outdoor grill, though, fire it up!

First, I had to prepare 3 ears of corn for grilling. I pulled back the corn husks, leaving them attached at the base of the ears. I removed and discarded the corn silk, pulled the husks back over the corn, and then soaked the ears in a large bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. (This helps to ensure that the husks won’t ignite on the grill.)

While the corn soaked, I cut off and discarded the top third of 4 beefsteak tomatoes. Using a paring knife, I cut around the walls of the tomatoes to loosen the flesh. I gently scooped out and discarded the seeds. Next, I used a melon baller to scoop out the tomato interiors, leaving the wall intact. I coarsely chopped the interiors and transferred them to a large bowl.

After brushing it with olive oil, I heated my grill pan over high heat. I drained the corn and arranged the ears in the grill pan. I covered the pan with a skillet lid and cooked the corn, turning occasionally with tongs, until the husks were slightly charred and the corn was tender (15 minutes). This kicks up quite a bit of smoke indoors, which is why I recommend doing this step outside if you can. Meanwhile, I cooked three slices of bacon in a skillet and then set them aside to cool.

When the corn was ready to go, I removed it from the grill pan. Using a kitchen towel, I held the base of the hot corn, peeled back the husks, and used a sharp knife to cut the corn kernels from the cob. I added the corn to the bowl of tomatoes.

Finally, I added 1/2 cup of chopped scallions, 1/2 cup of crumbled soft goat cheese (minus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling), 1 tablespoon of white-wine vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the corn and tomatoes. I seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed the mixture gently to combine. I spooned the corn salad back into the hollowed tomatoes (I had more salad than would fit in the tomatoes), sprinkled them with the remaining goat cheese, and then crumbled the cooked bacon over the top to serve.

I thought the tomatoes and salad were just delicious, but this recipe is definitely for goat cheese lovers only. If you’re not a goat cheese fan, I think feta or Gorgonzola would be good substitutions. The bacon is listed as an optional ingredient in the original recipe, but I think it added depth to the flavor of the dish. I wouldn’t go without it!

TIPS: Next time, I’m going to put the chopped tomato flesh in a colander to drain while the corn grills. I ended up with a lot of moisture, which (in combination with the heat from the corn) basically caused the goat cheese to melt and form a sauce. I’d rather have things a bit chunkier.

Also, I recently discovered that Central Market sells applewood-smoked bacon by the slice at the meat counter. I loved the convenience of being able to buy just the amount I needed. If you’re like us and you struggle to finish an entire package, you might check your local store to see if bacon by the slice is an option.

Recipe link: Tomatoes Stuffed with Grilled Corn Salad

The Daring Kitchen

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 559 other followers

I want to cook…