Cooking presents two ways in which to experiment. You can experiment with ingredients, and you can experiment with cooking methods.
Chicken, as I’ve noted, can get boring very quickly. You can bake it, roast it, fry it, and grill it, but in the end, chicken still tends to taste like – well, chicken.
Then I noticed beer-can chicken, and the method looked so easy, but so much fun. And it was. Positioning Continue reading
After our adventures in Tuscany, we headed to Rome. And as the saying goes: When in Rome, eat like a Roman.
On our third night in Rome, we decided to skip the hotel concierge and consult a higher authority: Google. Google sent us to Pizzeria Baffetto in the Campo Marzio neighborhood.
The cab driver dropped us off as close as he could, and we set out on the cobblestone streets to find the pizzeria. After a minute of walking, we saw a line extending several feet out of the door. If this was the line at 9:00 at night, it had to be good pizza.
After forty minutes passed, we took our seat Continue reading
I am such a mess sometimes.
Yesterday I treated myself to a steak. This was the first steak I’d ever made for myself, so I spent the morning looking online and through several of my cookbooks, hoping to get my steak just right. I wanted to learn the perfect marinade, the precise cooking time, and how to get the steak done at the ideal temperature.
The best steak, I learned, should be cooked until medium-rare. According to the finger-method,this happens when the feel of the steak approximates the feel of your index finger pressed into your slightly clenched palm. According to the meat thermometer, this happens anywhere from 145 degrees to 125 degrees — depending on whom you ask. Cooking Light’s Grilling, and Steven Raichlen’s How to Grill call medium-rare at 145 degrees. But in James Patterson’s Cooking, it’s 125 degrees, while an online source says it is between 130 and 135 degrees. For what it’s worth, the U.S.D.A. recommends that steaks be cooked until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. The lower temperatures may reflect the willingness to sacrifice absolute food safety in the name of greater flavor and tenderness. Fortunately, Peterson and Raichlen both ascribe to the finger-poke method, so I may try to become comfortable with that method.
But for my first grilled steak, I decided that I should play it by the numbers, and settled on 145.
I grabbed the steak, a little oil Continue reading
I’ve been feeling a little blue lately.
After making the blue cheese souffle, I wanted to find another recipe for the pungent cheese. With a crisp Fall day on hand, and several pumpkins beckoning, I decided to throw some pumpkin slices on the grill. I marinated the pumpkin slices with ginger, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then tossed them on the grill. A few grill marks later, I combined the hot gourds with blue cheese and the salad regulars, for a real American salad.
Indeed, pumpkins are one of the continent’s oldest crops, having been first cultivated thousands of years ago by Native American tribes. During the colonial era, the tribes routinely prepared Continue reading
Summer is a good time for fresh fruits and vegetables. But it’s not the best time to spend stuck in your kitchen, laboring over a hot stove. The perfect summer salad solves this potential paradox.
The grilled peaches took me outside for a few minutes, and provided a sweet taste and a vibrant color for the salad. After that, I laid some arugula down as a base, topped it with roma tomatoes, feta cheese, toasted pecans, and a homemade vinaigrette. The salad was ready in fewer than five minutes – which left me plenty of time to enjoy a sunny Sunday stroll in Saint Louis.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for more salad ideas, Continue reading
Jeffrey Tennyson, an artist and satirist, once remarked that the real American icon is not apple pie, but the hamburger. And Tennyson would know; he spent a good part of his life writing about the hamburger and collecting hamburger memorabilia. When it opened in 1993, Tennyson’s memorabilia formed the core collection of the now-defunct Hamburger Hall of Fame, in Seymour, Wisconsin.
Seymour, Wisconsin, according to some, is the birthplace of the hamburger. In 1885, Charles Nagreen stuck a meatball between two slices of bread, and served the sandwich at the Seymour fair, giving rise to what would later become the modern burger.
Meanwhile, in New Haven Connecticut, Louis Lassen was busy grilling the leftover trimmings Continue reading
It seems almost unpatriotic to serve a burger without fries. So when grilling my favorite hamburger, I always make sure to have a few servings of these grilled sweet potato and white potato fries ready!
These fries are yet another expression of my love for sweet potato wedges and/or sweet potato fries. Like those recipes, these grilled fries are a healthy alternative to deep-frying. Throwing them on the grill makes them quick and easy to make, with less mess. The colors and grill marks Continue reading
After I made the curried couscous, I thought it would make a great base on which to lay an entrée. Always eager to fire up the grill in our courtyard, I decided on tuna steaks. As luck would have it, the colors and flavors of each worked well together.
I cooked the tuna for four minutes on each side, with the grill cover up. The steak cooked through but without being tough or overdone. If your preference Continue reading
If you were thinking about making my seven-layer spinach lasagna from the other day, grilled garlic bread would make the perfect appetizer. Continue reading
Bruschetta (broo-SKET-uh), as you might suspect, is an Italian dish. It does not refer to the topping, however, but to the grilled bread. The word itself owes its origins to the 13th Century word “brusare,” which referred to the act of passing a flame over the keel of a boat to aid in waterproofing. A few centuries later, the word evolved to the Latin word “bruscare,” and came to mean to toast.
All of which is to say that bruschetta Continue reading