Monday, May 28, 2012

Chicken And Asparagus Survival Kit

I just recently got home from a trip to Vegas. And while I was lucky enough to dine at spots like Joël Robuchon in the MGM and Le Thai in Old Vegas, the remaining hours were wholly unwholeful. Exiting off the plane, I was basically in survival mode. So I found this recipe in the cab ride. Upon arriving home, I dropped my bags at the front door, and lit up the egg. Here's how it's done.

Thaw out 10 chicken drumsticks. Put this spice rack-decimating half cup of each of the below into a large bowl:
- dry mustard
- sweet paprika (or a mixture of hot and sweet)
- onion powder
- garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
- dark or light brown sugar

Then mix with your hands. Keep some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper on-hand.

Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, then drop them into the rub bowl until they're covered. Don't hesitate to reach under the skin and get the rub right up in there.

Then cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge for 1 - 2 hours. Next, take the Big Green Egg up to about 270, indirect. Once you're there, drop those chicken guys on the grill for 2 hours minimum. The longer the duration, the softer the chicken will be. About 1 hour through the cook time, flip them over.

With about 20 minutes to go, wash the asparagus and place them in a baking dish. Drizzle with
 - olive oil
- Ground pepper
- Kosher salt
- and Fennel seed powder

While the process is a little lengthy, the result is the secret to dismounting from any liver-taxing trip to the worst place in the world.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spicy Grilled Shrampz

This recipe came from a Mark Bittman cookbook. Check out Mark's site here. Saying he's killing it would be making a monumental understatement.

- 1 lb 15 ct shrimp, peeled to the last section leaving the tail for a handle, butterflied
- 2 Clove Garlic, minced
- 1 Tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp Lemon juice
- 2 Tbs Olive oil

The only wrong road you can take when grilling shrimp is to overcook.

Take 1 Tbs of kosher salt and 2 garlic cloves (minced) and mash them into a paste.

Add to that paste 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 2 Tbs olive oil.

Thaw and peel the shrimp, except for the tail section. When doing so, I found using a really sharp-tipped knife to be indispensable. If you're into collecting a ridiculous number of knives (a pastime I couldn't recommend more, check out the Japanese Mcusta Zanmai VG-10 Type Petty 3.5" by Marusyo Industry Inc. Thaw and peel the shrimp, except for the tail section. When doing so, I found using a really sharp-tipped knife to be indispensable. If you're into collecting a ridiculous number of knives (a pastime I couldn't recommend more, check out the Japanese Mcusta Zanmai VG-10 Type Petty 3.5" by Marusyo Industry Inc. Butterfly the shrimp by cutting down the back halfway through the shrimp. If they have a vein, remove it. Mix the shrimp with the marinade then grill direct.

 Go about 2 minutes on the first side at about 400 direct, when they start to curl up, flip them and watch until they curl fairly tight and remove immediately. Some of them won't curl tight but you can pretty much tell when they are done. Let them chill for a couple minutes, and it's on.

Pair with almost anything...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rum-Glazed Pirate Ribs

I'll break right of the galleys here with with an admission: pirates very rarely, if ever, ate ribs. The pirate's diet is a source of much discussion. One could spend a ton of time talking pirate diet, as I most certainly am about to.

The diet of the average swashbuckler was decent for the first few weeks of a voyage - bread, hard tack sea biscuits, salted meat, dried beans, cheese, oatmeal, peas, pickled vegetables, and eggs. However as the weeks wore on, the cows and chickens relied on for produce would be eaten themselves, meat would become rotten, and alternatives were sought out, like sea turtles.

While not technically pirate, this from the August, 1768 London Gazette: "....Provisions now stowed in the hold of Endeavour as she starts her long journey include nine thousand pounds of flour, four thousand pieces of beef, six thousand pieces of pork, twenty bushels of salt, and nearly eight thousand pounds of Sour Krout, which Lieutenant Cook proposes to use as a Preventative to scurvy. In addition, there is livestock consisting of seventeen sheep, five fowls, four ducks, a boar, sow and piglets, and a goat to supply milk for the Officers. Lieutenant Cook proposes to replenish supplies with fish at sea, and fruit, animal life and water at various landfalls…….."

Two of the most well-know dishes tell the whole story. Pirate Bone Soup was a combination of all the bones left over from the weeks previous. Salmagundi was a dish made up of whatever was available - chopped meat (beef, fish, chicken, pig, turtle, etc.), eggs, anchovies, onions, grapes, cabbage and herring. Salt, pepper, garlic, oil and vinegar were often used as seasoning. Refuges of a sea-borne scoundrel.

From a drinking standpoint, rum was the name of the game, especially in and around the Caribbean. In addition to be used to mask the awful taste of rancid water (grog), it was also used more conventionally - to get hammered. Some great pirate drinks include: Maize, Glogg, Ginger Rum, Bumboo, Rumfustian, Sangaree, and Flip. Look em up.

Because pirate ships didn't have the same level of organization and on-board democracy as say the British navy, sobriety wasn't observed closely. There are some interesting stories about ships being boarded and taken over quite easily as a result.


So what makes this dish pirate? Well first: rum. The second, it's heavily rubbed, and thirdly, if you eat ribs with utensils, you almost certainly have 'issues' with looking people in the eye.

So here's how it goes- Ingredients:
- 1 rack spare ribs (3 to 4 lb.)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup dark rum
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

In a bowl, mix brown sugar, paprika, cumin, pepper and salt. Rub mixture evenly over ribs. Let sit for 20 - 30.

In the meantime, get your bbq up to 250, indirect. Place the ribs on the grill, and let sit for about an hour and start with the glaze- in a small pan, mix rum, sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After an hour, brush the ribs heavily with about 3/4 of the glaze, and let smoke for another 45 minutes to hour. Then re-brush and let smoke for 30 more minutes.

The rum you use here can make or break you. While I'm still experimenting, what I have found is that why the Nicaraguan Fleur de Cana is your best friend, while Bacardi Select or any of the lighter variations don't serve the purpose, and make the sugar canee taste to apparent.

This will be the first in a series of posts about pirate food.