Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sesame Pork Chops

OK, this is a recipe I just sort of made up.  We are fortunate to have access to the Meat Lab at Michigan State University.  We have used the animal protein we have purchased from the Meat Lab to our benefit.  The spouse of one of my co-workers at GE Aviation is a Ph.D. candidate at State and he lets me know what beef, pork, lamb and poultry is available for purchase from the Meat Lab.  The pork chops from the Meat Lab have never let us down, and I made up the recipe because we like everything in it.  Here we go:

- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 T sesame oil
- Seasoning to taste
- 2-4 pork chops (can be boneless or bone-in)

Season the chops to taste with salt and pepper.  Place the chops in a zip lock bag or sealable plastic container.  Mix together the soy sauce and the sesame oil, and pour the mixture over the chops.  Place the chops in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for 4-6 hours.  Remove the chops from the refrigerator about and our before you place them on the grill.

Prepare a your grill.  When the grill is up to temperature, cook the chops until done, 12-14 minutes total.  Remove the chops from the grill and place on a plate or a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil for 8-10 minutes to rest.  After the chops have rested, serve and enjoy.

Cook's Notes:
You can season the chops as you like, but we use a seasoning called "All American Season."  You can purchase this amazing season at this website.  We know the owner, Mickey, and we can vouch for all of his products.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tri-tip Sirloin Steak Marinade

A few weeks ago, my oldest friend shared a trip-tip sirloin marinade recipe with me, and he urged me to try it.  I told my friend that I would make it that night as we had a sirloin steak with us at our cottage.  I made the marinade, and we had a lazy day at our place.  We eased into the evening, and I did not put the steak on the grill until almost 7:30PM.  We did not finish dinner until almost 8:30PM and we were not disappointed with the result of the marinade.  My friend sent me a text message just as we finished dinner asking me if we liked the marinade, as he was concerned that he had shared a bad recipe with me.  Well, I am happy to report that we loved the marinade.  It has just taken me some longer than I thought it would to post it.  So, here is the recipe for the marinade:

- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup garlic salt
- 5-6 crushed or minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup dried onion
- 2 lb trip-tip sirloin steak

Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Once well mixed, place the sirloin in a zip-lok plastic bag and pour the marinade into the bag.  Force the air out of the bag and seal the bag.  Place the bag in the fridge and let the meat marinate for 4-6 hours.

Prepare a grill.  When your grill is ready, remove the steak from the bag and discard the marinade.  Cook the steak to desired doneness.  Once the steak is done, remove it from the grill, place it on a slotted cutting board and cover the steak loosely with aluminum foil.  Allow the steak to rest for 8-10 minutes.  Slice and serve.

Cook's Notes:
This marinade was fantastic!  I would use it on virtually any tender cut of steak.  I used Lawry's Garlic Salt for my first attempt at the marinade and I was very happy with the outcome.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sarah's summer tacos



1 pound salmon, skinned and cut into cubes  (I used shrimp
1 rounded T cumin
1 rounded t chili powder
2 T+ olive oil for sautéing 
1 medium yellow onion, chopped  (I used white onion
1-2 limes, quartered
1- 8 ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
1 can chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1-1/2 T chicken soup base

Chopped lettuce 
Sour cream 

Toss cubed salmon in cumin and chili powder. Set aside for at least an hour.  (I seasoned for 4 hours
Chop onions, cilantro, and chilies (I had chopped chilis
Heat oil over medium heat and cook onion until it softens.
Turn heat up to medium high. Add salmon to skillet. Lightly sear salmon cubes for about 2-3 minutes, turning gently (don't break the salmon into pieces!). (The shrimp took longer
Return heat setting to medium. Add canned tomatoes and chilies, cilantro, green onions, and soup base. Gently incorporate and heat through. 

Squeeze quartered limes over the salmon mixture.
Serve with fresh warm flour tortillas, sour cream, sliced avocado, and chopped romaine lettuce.

Cooks notes:
I seasoned the shrimp all afternoon.  I like a little kick so I used more cumin and chili powder. 
I didn't completely drain the tomatoes and chilis. I like a little sauce in my tacos.  
I skipped the chopped lettuce. Why take up room with lettuce when you can have more shrimp? 
I added a can of chopped black olives.  I could also see adding corn.  

You could easily make this with chicken, any kind of fish, and even steak.  So delicious. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Garlic-skewered Shrimp

This recipe has been with us for years.  Like in long-before-the-internets years.  From a BOOK. When we had recipe books.  This recipe book has been used and abused for years, suffering mightily through the great coffee catastrophe of 2004 but managed to survive with a few scars.

This recipe is a staple in our home.

12-16 whole cloves garlic (for skewers)
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 lb large or jumbo shrimp
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tomato sauce (we use more - like 1/2 cup,  especially if we use more shrimp)
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T chopped fresh basil (the recipe says you can use 1 1/2 t dry but we recommend the fresh. We can definitely tell a difference)
1/2 t salt (we skip this)
1/2 t cayenne pepper (we use way more - like 2 T. We LOVE the kick this gives to the shrimp)

Peel and devein the shrimp.

In a large bowl, stir together the oil, tomato sauce, vinegar, basil, minced garlic, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Add the shrimp and toss to coat evenly.  Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, tossing once or twice.

Blanche the whole garlic cloves. Drop them into boiling water for about 3 minutes.

When ready to grill, skewer the shrimp, interspersing the blanched garlic on the skewers.  Retain the marinade for basting while grilling. Grill shrimp 6-8 minutes, turning and basting.

Make extra. If per chance you have leftover shrimp, it is fabulous chopped up for the next morning's scrambled eggs.

Cooks notes

We let the shrimp marinate for a few hours.
We put the marinating shrimp in a large, plastic bag.  Makes tossing once or twice really easy.
We soak our wood skewers in water for a few hours so they don't burn on the grill.
We buy really big garlic so the cloves are easy to skewer.
Seriously use fresh basil. Makes a difference.
Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper for personal taste. I don't mind crying a little with some spices but food shouldn't hurt.

PS.  This recipe is courtesy of Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library, Grilling book, 1992. We love this little book so much that we have given it as gifts for birthdays and holidays. I looked for this book online and it appears that the title of Grilling has gone through many updates and iterations.  On Amazon, it has the right cover picture but the table of contents no longer have this recipe, which in my opinion, is a shame.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sinbad's Chili

For anybody who grew up on the east side of Detroit, or who might have been fortunate enough to have been a boater (or be a friend of somebody who was a boater), there is a restaurant located on the Detroit River called Sinbad's Restaurant and Marina.  Sinbad's has been in business since 1949, serving boaters and landlubbers alike.  The restaurant has a commanding view of the Detroit River and Belle Isle.  Sinbad's has great food, and serves a great version of chili.  Decades ago, the Detroit Free Press would publish recipes from local restaurants.  One day, they published the recipe for Sinbad's Chili.  Here is the recipe once again:

- 1 1/2lbs - 2lbs ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 large can (28 oz) of tomatoes (I used diced tomatoes)
- 1 can (14-15 oz ) tomato sauce
- 1 cup (8 oz) water
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 10-12 oz tomato juice (I used two 5.5 oz cans of V-8 Juice)
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 heaping teaspoon cumin (my addition)
- 1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed (optional)

Combine the large can of tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, crumble in the ground meat.  Add the chili power, onions, tomato paste, tomato juice, cumin (if desired), and kidney beans (if desired).  Lower heat and simmer on low or medium low for one hour.

Cook's Notes:
You can allow the chili to simmer for hours.  The original recipe did not have cumin.  I added it a few years after I read that cumin is used in a lot of chili recipes.  I think that it really added a nice taste to the chili.  What I really like about this recipe is how easy it is to make.  Also, you can add shredded cheese or sour cream to it, if you like those ingredients.  This chili is great for days after you make it.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Beef Tenderloin Roast in a Ruby Port Reduction

Over the course of the past few months, I have gone back to the east side of the state to spend some time with my Dad.  Conveniently, there is a wonderful butcher shop called The Village Market.  It is a magical place to shop if you are a cook.

The Market sells trimmed and tied beef tenderloins that will go on sale for $6.99-$7.99/lb.  When I was back in Grosse Pointe a few weeks ago, I picked up three of these beauties.  When I got back to GR, I cut the tenderloins in half, sealed them and put them into our chest freezer.  The past few weekends I have been experimenting with new recipes.  For Valentine's Day, I decided to try a recipe that was a mix of a beef tenderloin and a filet mignon recipe I have made in the past.  Here are the details:

- 1 beef tenderloin, 1.5-2lbs (this is half of a traditional beef tenderloin)
- 1 cup (8 oz.) ruby port
- 1 cup (8 oz.) dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 oz. drained capers (about half a bottle of capers)
- olive oil


About an hour before you are going to put the tenderloin into the oven, take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to stand at room temperature.  

While the beef is warming up, our the port and the white wine into a saucepan.  Reduce the mixture until you have between 2/3 and 3/4 of a cup of liquid.  Once the wine mixture is reduced, set aside for use later.

Preheat your oven to 450F.  Place the beef tenderloin into a cast iron skillet and rub the beef with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Once the oven has reached 450F, place the roast into the oven and cook to desired doneness.  I like to take the roast out when the internal temperature has risen to 125F (medium rare).

When the roast is done, remove it from the oven and place it on a cutting board.  Lightly cover the roast in aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar to the reduced wine.  Pour this mixture into the iron skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits.  Boil the mixture until it has a sauce consistency, 2-3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and add the butter.  Whisk the mixture until the butter is melted. Once the butter is melted, add the capers.  Just before slicing the beef, pour any accumulated juices from the roast into the iron skillet.

Slice the beef into 1 inch thick slices and serve immediately.  Gently spoon the sauce over the beef and enjoy.

Cook's Notes:

I have made a ruby port reduction before, but it was for a filet mignon recipe.  I thought that I could make this reduction and spoon it over the beef.  I was not disappointed.  The results were amazing.  

As for the reduction, the original recipe I had wrote that the wine mixture would be reduced to 2/3 of a cup in "8 minutes."  In reality, it takes between 20-25 minutes.  At the 15 minute mark of reducing, I started to pour the reduction into a Pyrex measuring cup to see how much more I needed to reduce the wine.  

As for knowing the temperature of the tenderloin, your kitchen is not complete without a remote sensing thermometer.  You can pick one up at Bed Bath and Beyond, or just about any specialty kitchen store.  Once you have one, you will wonder how you cooked a roast in the past.  A link to a description of the thermometer I use can be found here.  I swear by this gadget.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Beef Tenderloin with Capers in a Red Wine Reduction

I had a jar of capers that was about half full.  I thought I should out them to good use and I tried this recipe.

- 1 beef tenderloin, 2-3 lbs
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 t fresh chopped thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup full bodied red wine (Syrah or Cabernet)
- 2 T capers, drained
- 3 T unsalted butter

Let the beef tenderloin stand at room temperature for about an hour before cooking.

Preheat an oven to 450F.

Rub the tenderloin all over with the olive oil.  Next, rub the tenderloin with thyme, salt and pepper.

Place the tenderloin into a cast iron skillet (or a roasting pan).  Roast the tenderloin until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat registers 125F for medium rare, or 130F for medium.  Remove the roast from the oven, and place the roast on a cutting board and loosely cover it with aluminum foil.  Allow the roast to rest for 10 minutes.

While the roast is resting, place the cast iron skillet on stove at medium heat.  Add a little of the wine to deglaze the pan.  Slowly add more of the wine in small batches.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the wine and reduce it my nearly half (this will take 6-7 minutes).  Once the wine is reduced, add the capers and butter.  Mix the sauce for another minute.

Pour any drippings from the cutting board into the reduction and mix.  Slice the roast and serve immediately.  Spoon the reduction over the meat and enjoy.

Cook's Notes:  This is an incredibly easy recipe to make.  I removed the roast as soon as the internal temperature eas 126F.  If you do not have a remote sensing thermometer, I strongly recommend you get one at a kitchen store.  You will wonder how you ever cooked a roast before.  The wine I used for the reduction was a bottle of 2012 Blackstone Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our dinner guest brought a bottle of wine called E.  It is a Spanish wine made by David Phinney.  Here is a review of the wine.  It was a perfect compliment to the beef tenderloin.