Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Wet Rub (sounds kinky, doesn't it?)

This week's recipe is a real find. Besides being hearty and flavorful, the vegetables give you a mix of colors and textures that make it a joy to partake. I pan-zapped the steak, because of apartment grilling regulations, and I have to say this is a delicious summer dish.

I found this one on the Eating Well website. I'm not sure if I got there by search terms or if I was clicking links and found myself here. I love the combination of lime and chile together (this also works well with tuna. When I perfect that, I'll post it here), and even more so I love the mellowness of sherry vinegar. Further, here was a potato salad that wasn't loaded with mayonaise. I sincerely prefer my potato salads with a vinegarette-style dressing instead of mayo. While a creamy salad can often offset a spicy main dish, the lime, chile powder and garlic on the steak's rub are not going to make you turn red, sweat, or have steam blow out your ears while you're scrambling for some bread or a glass of milk.

When I looked at the ingredients, my first thought was, "This is not enough." So I doubled all the supporting players.

        1 teaspoon lime juice
        1 teaspoon chili powder
I prefer "Mexican hot" style
        1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
        1 clove garlic, mashed into a paste
        8 ounces sirloin steak, trimmed
        3/4 pound small purple potatoes, (see Tip), scrubbed
I was not blessed with finding purple potatoes at Whole Paycheck, so we went with some baby reds; unpeeled.
        2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
        1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
        1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
        1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
        4 large radishes, sliced
        3 scallions, thinly sliced
        1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    1.    Mix lime juice, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic in a small bowl to form a paste; rub onto both sides of steak. Refrigerate the steak.

I think the next time I make this, I'm going to make the rub and prepare this step a day ahead of time. While it's important to marinade in the fridge (there are exceptions), it's also easier to get an evenly-cooked piece of meat if you let it sit (covered, of course) and come to room temperature before you cook it.

2.    Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Drain, let cool for 10 minutes, then quarter.

3.    While the potatoes cool, preheat grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Oil the grill rack (see Tip) or pan. Grill the steak, turning once, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140°F, about 10 minutes total on the grill or 16 to 20 minutes in a grill pan. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

4.    Whisk vinegar, oil, cumin, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the steak and any accumulated juices, the potatoes, radishes, scallions and cilantro; gently toss to coat.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. I got raves from my primary audience, and while I had issues with the amounts, I wouldn't change the ingredients at all.

Questions? Comments? A recipe to deconstruct? Let's hear it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Which Kate wonders when a recipe becomes hers

Recipes evolve. Sometimes you're out of one ingredient and need to substitute another. You may not like an ingredient, but like everything else about the recipe. Sometimes local ingredients creep into your traditional cuisine, even if the tradition is based hundreds of miles away. I'm pretty sure that's how we got the California roll (nothing against the California roll, mind you. I do prefer my avocados with eels, though)

A while back, I bought some hing powder. I'd originally bought it for the possibility of making samosas, but after realizing that none of my cooking equipment was really appropriate for deep frying, I scrapped that idea. Anyway, I came across this recipe and thought it sounded tasty. Then, upon my second reading, I noticed that the author got it from Manjula's Kitchen. So I thought, why not go to the source?

Well, remember what I said about being out of ingredients? Yeah, that. While Manjula's recipe is, I suspect, more authentic, there are some things like fenugeek seeds that I don't usually have in the house. Manjula also didn't use mustard or hing, but she did use coriander, which I love.

So following both recipes, I came up with this:

4 small new potatoes, chopped into cubes My personal definition of a "small" potato is one about the size of my fist. I'm 5'3". Cubes here, I typically make about 1"
2 Tablespoons Oil I had also bought peanut oil in preparation for the aborted deep frying. I've also used olive oil and they've been wonderful either way
1 teaspoon cumin powder  I was out of seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon hing
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon tumeric powder
about six grinds of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 long green chile or two serranos chopped the serranos were about three inches long. I liked it better with the serranos, but the milder lighter green chile (I forget its full correct name) was also tasty

Heat oil in pan on medium heat. When oil is hot (test with a drop of water, listen for sizzle), add seeds, stirring well until seeds start to pop. Add powdered spices, and stir a few times. Add potatoes and about 3 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (occasionally for me means every 3-4 minutes). When you can comfortably pierce a potato with a fork, add the peppers and stir well. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, until peppers are soft, but still have a little crunch to them.

Serve topped with yogurt, if you wish. Fight over leftovers with boyfriend. Consider a success.

So what do you think folks, can I call the above "Kate's spicy potatoes?"

Other comments, questions, recipes, let me know!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Memphis Barbecued Chicken or Kate's favorite spice rub

Back in the day, I used work part time in bookstore, a job/hobby I've had off and on for several years. Besides the generous discounts, there was the opportunity to read books as they hit the streets, or before somebody snatched the last copy off the bargain table.

You never know what you're going to find on the bargain table. By sheer good timing, I came across this small book called The American Grill. I can't find it on Amazon, but if you want to go hunting, the ISBN is 0-8118-0699-5

I've made this recipe several times, in four different states, and everywhere it's received rave reviews. My sweetie's reaction was to tell me it was horrible and he had to eat the whole platter to protect me. My knight in shining armor.

One 3.5 pound chicken, cut into quarters (this can also be made with boneless skinless breasts or tenders)
Olive oil for coating
1 Cup Hickory spice chips (I've never used these, but if you try it, let me know!)

1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
4 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika.

Coat chicken evenly with olive oil. I use a basting brush. My favorite is a silicone one. Bristles tend to soak up the oil, and might tear chicken skin.

Mix spices in a bowl and blend thoroughly. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken and let it sit at room temperature until your coals are ready (if you're using a gas grill, let it sit about 20-30 minutes).

Sear chicken on each side for 5 minutes over high heat, then cook the chicken on medium heat for ten minutes a side for a total of 30 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil and let sit ten minutes before serving.

I actually don't have any bones to pick with this recipe. It's flavorful, it's not overly spicy so can be served to those with delicate palates. For accompaniments, I suggest corn on the cob and a light potato salad.

I may try it with smoked paprika, just for variation. Watch this space!

Questions? Comments? Recipes to deconstruct? Let me know!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here's the rub (adapted for roasting)

One thing about living in an apartment is it tends to be frowned upon if you grill on your balcony, should you have one. I don't let that stop me, nor should you let it stop you.

Sometimes the broiler works in place of the grill, but in this week's recipe, I opted for roasting. I also served the fruit for dessert because someone else who lives in this apartment doesn't like fruit with his meat. is a new site to me. I found it when a friend of mine linked to it on Facebook and checked it out. It's a sharing site, and one thing I liked about it is you can upload your version of a recipe. I may do that with this one:

  • Spice Rub
  • 4  teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 4  teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4  teaspoons garlic salt
  • 3  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  to 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • Pork
  • 1  pork tenderloin (1 1/4 pounds)

Mix all Spice Rub ingredients. Place pork in heavy-duty resealable food-storage plastic bag. Sprinkle with Spice Rub. Turn bag several times to coat pork. Seal bag; refrigerate 15 minutes.

I made two adjustments in the ingredients. I put in 2 teaspoons of garlic salt and 2 teaspoons of garlic powder. I also increased the cayenne to a full teaspoon

If I'm handling a spice rub, I usually do just that, *rub* it on the meat. Pat the extra all over it. Get to know your meat a little bit, learn it, love it. No, not that way you silly pervert. You know who I'm talking to.

I used a roast, which is a little fatter than a tenderloin, so I wasn't sure how to time it. Fortunately, the recipe does come with some advice: cook until it reaches 160 on a meat thermometer. Mine is a dial-style like this $10 one here. There are others that are digital and cost three times as much. If you need to go digital, by all means do.

The roast I cooked was about a pound and a half after I trimmed the fat off it. The total time was a little over an hour. I took it out when the temperature reached 155 degrees, and then let it sit for 5-10 minutes before carving.

Tender and juicy pork goodness with a little bit of spice. For sides, some black beans with chiles and onion, and some blue corn chips.

Next week: a Memphis bbq rub!

Questions? Comments? Recipes to try? Let's hear from you! And as always, thank you for reading.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There's the Rub (placeholder)

Hi everyone! I took a much needed break last week and am going to be getting back to regular blogging . . .tomorrow.

It was going to be tonight--I have a pork roast that will be covered with a Caribbean spice rub and served with rice and beans, with fruit for dessert. This was going to go up last week, but I discovered I left out a crucial ingredient, so I have to make it again. 

Please stand by, I really appreciate your patience. Meanwhile, there should be an entry up tomorrow night, and I have another winner of a spice rub to go up next week.

Meanwhile, I come to you, spatula in hand, for some assistance. 

I need something to tear apart, folks. Or send me an idea, and I'll research like I did with the pesto. 

I have tons of recipes that work, some (like the ones I got from the food Network's Mario Batali (and why did they release him from Iron Chef? Idiots) that don't need any adjustment at all. You'll see some of those in later weeks.

Until tomorrow!