Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sometimes a small bite can take a lot of preparation, and you just don’t appreciate it until you decide to make it yourself. That’s especially true with the classic Danish open sandwich called Smørrebrød. The ingredients can vary, but one of my favorite versions is with smoked salmon, which I enjoyed here in Rhode Island, at Persimmon, in Providence.

Chef Champe Speidel’s Salmon Smørrebrød at Persimmon.

A couple of years ago, some very special friends were coming over for dinner, and I decided this would be the event where I debuted my own version of Salmon Smørrebrød. I had my work cut out for me…

It starts with the salmon. One of the finest sources of wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon is Vital Choice, a purveyor of extremely high-quality wild-caught seafood. I ordered several large fillets and had them shipped frozen to my home. I thawed a couple of the fillets in the fridge, and then cured them for several days.

 

Make sure you get your salmon from a reliable source, and always get wild-caught, never farmed.

 

The recipe for the cure mix is simple:

1 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns

Combine these ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

Use a container that will hold the fillets without bending them. It also needs to be watertight, because the salt extracts moisture from the fish, and you don’t want spills from the liquids released during the curing process.

 

First, the plastic. Then, a layer of the cure mix. Then the salmon fillet, skin-side-down. More cure mix on top. Then the second fillet, with more cure mix on top of that.

 

Lay a few sheets of plastic wrap on the bottom, allowing them to fall over the sides of the container. Sprinkle a good, even layer of the cure mix on the bottom. Lay down the first salmon fillet, skin side down, on top of the cure mix. add more cure mix on top of the fillet to cover it completely. Lay the second fillet on top of that, then cover it completely with more of the cure mix. Fold the plastic wrap tightly over the top, pressing out as much air as you can.

 

Finally, wrapping the whole thing up tightly in plastic.

 

Pressure on the salmon helps the curing process, so the cure mix makes good contact with the flesh. I weigh it down with a few cans of tomato sauce.

 

Even pressure on the salmon fillets helps the curing process.

 

Put the salmon in the fridge for at least 48 hours, until the fillets are firm to the touch.

 

The fillets have changed color and are firmer to the touch once cured.

 

Once the salmon has cured, remove it from the plastic wrap and wash it thoroughly with clean, cold water to remove as much of the salt as possible. Some of the peppercorns will imbed themselves in the fish…remove those, too. Pat the fillets dry with paper towels.

 

The salmon is ready to eat just like this, but…

 

At this point, you’ve got Gravlax, and it’s delicious just the way it is. But I chose to go one step further and smoke the salmon, so I put the fillets on a metal rack in my fridge, skin side down, and let them dry out a bit for an hour or so. When the salmon dries, the flesh gets a bit tacky. That’s called the pellicle, and the sticky surface of the fish helps the smoke molecules adhere better. It’s a good thing.

 

The salmon fillets, drying in the fridge.

 

While the salmon is drying in the fridge, I get my smoking gear ready.

I like to use charcoal briquets and hickory chips for the smoking process. I bring my small camping grill next to my larger home grill. Using my charcoal chimney, I light the briquets and let them burn until they’re ashed over. Using a small smoking box, I place some hickory chips inside, then add a couple of hot briquets to it, making sure they burn the chips and the smoking starts. I place the smoking box inside my large grill with the vents open, laying my salmon fillets (skin-side-down) next to the smoking box. I close the lid of the grill, and let the smoking begin.

 

Lighting briquets in the camping grill before moving them to the larger grill.

 

Ashed-over coals in the chimney.

 

This is as close to a cold-smoking process as you can get at home. There is no heat actually cooking the salmon, just a smoke-filled grill that needs to be replenished every once in a while with hot coals and more hickory chips. I smoke the salmon for a couple of hours.

 

Let the smoking begin!

 

Once the salmon has smoked, you’ve got yourself a really special treat. You must eat some at this point, just to reward yourself for a job well done! Then, wrap the rest of the salmon tightly in plastic wrap, and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it. It will stay fresh in the fridge for several days.

My research for Salmon Smørrebrød resulted in many variations, but I ultimately chose one that used a horseradish cream on the fish. Just so happened that I have a giant horseradish plant growing in my garden, so it was time to dig some of the roots up!

 

Digging up horseradish.

 

Once I dug the roots out and washed them clean, they needed to be peeled down to their white center. Then they were ready to be grated. I used the same system my grandfather did, many years ago: a simple hand grater for the job. If you thought you cry when you slice onions, you ain’t seen nuthin’ until you’ve grated horseradish! But it’s worth the effort.

 

Cleaned horseradish roots, before peeling and grating.

 

You need freshly grated horseradish, not the prepared stuff you find in the supermarket for the cream…

12 tablespoons sour cream
6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
4 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
8 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 pinches of sugar
Kosher salt to taste

Combine these ingredients in a bowl and mix well. It keeps for at least a day, so you can make it the night before serving. This is a lot of horseradish cream, but I was making enough to serve 12 people.

 

The horseradish cream…delicious on a lot of things!

 

1 fennel bulb
2 Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

A few hours before serving, thinly slice a fennel bulb–paper-thin if you can–and place the slices in a bowl of ice water. Peel and core 2 Granny Smith apples and slice them as thinly as you can, placing them in the ice bath as well. After an hour, remove the fennel and apple slices from the ice water, pat them dry with paper towels, and place them in a bowl, sprinkling them with the lemon juice. Toss, mixing well, and then place the bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

 

Slicing the fennel as thinly as possible.

 

A few last ingredients…

Sliced bread
Softened unsalted butter
Fresh dill sprigs

Smørrebrød is a sandwich, so of course, I needed some bread. I chose something from my heritage: Lithuanian bread, a combination of rye and pumpernickel that I find when I go back home to New York. I keep it in the freezer until I need it, and for this recipe, I sliced it thin.

 

Getting the ingredients together. The Lithuanian bread is the brown bread. We also had a couple of slices of gluten-free bread.

 

Now we’re finally ready to build this thing!

 

Slicing the salmon as thinly as possible.

 

Rather than making all the sandwiches myself, I decided I’d teach a Master Class of Smørrebrød-making with my fabulous guests. So I brought all the ingredients out, and we started building our sandwiches as I sliced the salmon as thinly as possible.

First, you take your slice of Lithuanian bread and spread some of the butter on it.

Then, layer the fabulous salmon on top.

Next, a healthy spread of the horseradish cream.

Top with some of the sliced fennel and apple.

Garnish with just a few fresh sprigs of dill.

And then top it all off with a friendly sprinkling of Fleur de Sel, or your favorite sea salt.

 

Fleur de Sel at the end makes all the difference!

 

And that’s my Salmon Smørrebrød…a labor of love. But that’s what you do for friends, right?

 

Time to eat!

 

Leftover ingredients make a great sandwich on an everything bagel the next day!

Let’s face it: there’s no such thing as healthy eggnog. This recipe is absolutely delicious but is also a heart attack in a glass. I’ve updated it this year so that you don’t need to worry about salmonella…though the alcohol will still get you!

My buddy, Rick Sammarco, a wicked talented bartender, credits his father, Al, for the eggnog recipe I started from. The original recipe called for a lot more of everything. I’ve cut it down to a more “user friendly” size, I’ve made it a touch sweeter, and it no longer contains the usual raw eggs found in traditional eggnogs.

Some say that “aging” eggnog–literally letting it sit in the fridge for up to 6 weeks–will give the alcohol time to kill the salmonella. But there’s no tried and true scientific evidence to support this. Sure, if you pour a ton of alcohol in the batch, 15% or even more, it might be safe. And I might risk it on myself, but I would never take a chance and serve it to friends or family. The only thing that really kills salmonella is heat, and that’s not something the average homeowner can easily do without actually cooking the eggs.

The solution is to buy pasteurized eggs.

 

 

Fortunately, some supermarkets now carry whole eggs in the shell that have been pasteurized, though they are hard to find. But my area Whole Foods does carry pasteurized real whole liquid eggs under the Vital Farms name, and they work perfectly with this recipe. The original recipe called for 15 (!) raw eggs. A 16-oz. container of Vital Farms liquid eggs is the same as about 9 eggs. So I need one full container, and then another 10 oz. or so for this recipe.

Now the only thing I need to worry about are too many calories and too much alcohol!

 

eggnog

1.5 quarts vanilla ice cream (I use Breyer’s)
1 pint half & half
Just over 26 oz. Vital Farms liquid whole eggs (the equivalent of 15 whole raw eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
6 oz.  of each:
spiced rum (I use Captain Morgan)
whiskey (I use Crown Royal)
brandy (I use E&J)

 

 

I let the ice cream soften 1 day in the fridge. I mix the ice cream, half-and-half, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg in a blender.

My blender is pretty big, but I find that it’s full at this point. So I pour everything into a gallon-size glass jar.

To the jar, I add the maple syrup and all the liquor. Then I whisk everything together, making sure I get down to the bottom of the jar.

 

 

After it’s fully mixed, I place the lid on the jar, and move the eggnog to the fridge, where I let it sit for at least 12-24 hours for the flavors to blend. Even longer is better.

One final taste to determine whether I want more cinnamon, nutmeg or maple syrup, and it’s good to go!

 

It goes well with coffee…just maybe not for breakfast!

 

 

And by the way, it’s pretty darn tasty with coffee! Just imagine a variation on a White Russian, with eggnog and freshly brewed coffee, and a bit of a drizzle of maple syrup on top!

Cheers!

 

 

CLASSIC CACIO E PEPE

Posted: November 1, 2022 in Uncategorized

There are a handful of Italian dishes that can be considered classics. They don’t require dozens of ingredients…just a few quality ingredients prepared in a particular way. We all know their names: Pasta alla Carbonara…Fettuccini Alfredo…and Cacio e Pepe.

 

 

Carbonara requires pasta, guanciale, egg yolks, black pepper and a hard cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano). Alfredo: just  pasta, butter, cream and cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano). And Cacio e Pepe: pasta, black pepper, cheese (Pecorino Romano), and a little pasta water. Simple, but simple requires the best quality ingredients and the right method of preparation.

 

 

1 lb. spaghetti
4 teaspoons roughly ground black peppercorns
7 oz. Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated

 

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti until it just about reaches the al dente stage.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a dry pan and dry fry the roughly ground peppercorns until they start to release their aroma.

 

 

Add a ladle of the pasta water to the pan with the peppercorns.

 

 

When the pasta is ready, move it to the pan with the peppercorns, saving the pasta water.

 

 

Mix the pasta and peppercorns together, and then slowly start adding the grated cheese, stirring constantly. Keep adding the cheese until you use it all. If the pasta is too dry, add more pasta water. You want the cheese and pasta water to blend to make a beautiful, creamy sauce.

 

 

When you’ve achieved ultimate creaminess, it’s ready to serve!

 

BONE BROTH: MAKING YOUR OWN

Posted: October 30, 2022 in Uncategorized
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Bone broth has become all the rage…and why not? Bone broths are nutrient-dense, easy to digest, taste great and heal the body. Many people with bad digestion, or “leaky gut,” swear by it.

I use grass-fed veal or beef bones or pastured chicken bones and get great results.

Much like making a stock, the ingredients are simple and healthy. It just takes time to make a really delicious and healthy bone broth, cooking the broth ingredients for at least 24 hours…48 is better! I usually start the boiling process on a Saturday morning, letting it boil all day, literally until I go to bed that night. I turn the heat off, then restart it the next morning and boil all day again before pouring the bone broth into containers. I replace the water as needed.

 

It goes without saying that you need a large pot. I just recently bought a huge 30-quart stainless steel pot with a strainer for lobster cooking. It’s also perfect for making bone broth. I fill the pot with clean, filtered water and put it on high heat.

Meanwhile, I heat the oven to 400 degrees.

 

The pan of bones and veggies goes in the oven.

4  or 5 lbs. grass-fed veal bones
large pot clean filtered water
4 onions, quartered (no peeling needed)
4 carrots, roughly chopped (washed, but not peeled)
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped (washed)

I cook until the vegetables are slightly caramelized and their flavors are concentrated. I remove them from the pan and toss them in the pot of water. I put the bones back in the oven until they start to release their fat and flavors.

 

The veggies are ready for the pot. The bones stay in the oven a bit longer.

Once the bones have a nice brown color to them, I put them and the veggies in the pot. Any fat that was released by the bones also goes in. (This fat is healthy and full of flavor.)

Then it’s time to boil…for a very long time. I replace the water in the pot as needed, starting the boiling process on high heat, then reducing to medium, cooking with the pot covered, letting it cook for as long as I can.

 

After 48 hours, I finally get delicious bone broth that was worth all the effort: hearty, satisfying, healthy.

Rather than try to skim the fat off a huge pot of bone broth, I choose to portion out the broth in pint-sized containers, and keep them in the freezer. Then, when it’s time to use the bone broth, it’s easy to scrape the fat off the top of the frozen broth before I re-heat it. But I have to tell you: I don’t usually do that! The fat is go-o-o-d!

 

I leave spices, salt, pepper and garlic out of the bone broth, choosing to add them to the broth later, depending on what I’m using it for. If I’m simply sipping the bone broth by itself, a little sea salt as I reheat it is all that it needs.

 

A batch of bone broth that will last a long time!

I use bone broth to make tasty soups and stews, sauces and gravies, to flavor rice, or just heat it and drink it as is.

MARINATED LAMB LOIN

Posted: October 27, 2022 in Uncategorized

Lamb is such an underrated meat. It was one of the things my Mom cooked really well, so I grew up loving it, and was never bothered by the gaminess of it.

If the gaminess does bother you, look for American lamb. If gamier meat doesn’t bother you, go for the gusto and get grass-fed New Zealand or Australian lamb.

I recently got a couple of lamb loins and decided to marinate them, and then simply sear both sides of the loins in a hot pan, putting a lid on the pan to finish cooking. Simple and delicious.

Here’s the marinade I used…

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon granulated onion

 

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. 

Place the lamb in a plastic bag and pour the marinade in, squishing it around to make sure it makes contact with the meat. Place it in a pan or a bowl to prevent accidental leaking.

 

 

Let the lamb marinate for several hours at room temperature, or in the fridge overnight.

Before cooking, bring the lamb back to room temperature.

 

 

Use some oil in a hot pan, and then sear the lamb on both sides. Place a lid on the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low.

 

Cook the lamb until you get the lamb to a perfect medium. Cooking to 145 degrees will get you to medium-well, so I back off that a bit for medium. But cook it the way you like it!

 

PASTA WITH FIVE CHEESES

Posted: October 20, 2022 in Uncategorized

Al Forno in Providence, RI, is a legendary Italian restaurant that was established in 1980 and has graced the pages of many a food magazine ever since. Chefs Johanne Killeen and George Germon made it a culinary destination, creating dishes that many have copied, but never equaled. 

One of those creations was the grilled pizza. These days, you can find grilled pizzas just about anywhere in the country, but it was Al Forno that started it all.

Sadly, George Germon passed away in 2015, but the restaurant continues. And although the menu offers a wide variety of dishes, the one my daughter and I crave–that isn’t on the menu–is their 5-cheese pasta dish. It’s not baked ziti. It’s not lasagna. It’s something way beyond. (They do offer a four cheese pasta dish with pumpkin, but it’s just not the same, as far as I’m concerned.)

 

Taking the recipe from one of Johanne and George’s cookbooks, my daughter and I decided that we would re-create this magical dish at home as best we could.

One element obviously missing in our home is a wood-fired oven, something Al Forno uses.

And looking at their list of 5 cheeses (mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, fontina, ricotta and gorgonzola), I found that gorgonzola was a bit of a surprise. Having had the 5-cheese pasta dish at least 4 times at Al Forno, I never detected even a hint of blue cheese. In fact, if I would have, I don’t think I would’ve ordered it again. So we chose to remove the gorgonzola and add another favorite, sharp provolone, instead. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

 

Other than that, we stayed true to the recipe, using shell pasta because that’s what we always got at the restaurant.

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes in heavy puree (San Marzano’s, if you can get ’em)
4 oz. thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
1.5 oz. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1.5 oz. coarsely shredded Fontina cheese
1.5 oz. grated Provolone cheese
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
6 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 lb. conchiglie (medium shell) pasta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced thinly
Shavings of raw scallion for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 500°, or as close to it as your oven will get.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the pasta and the butter. Stir well to combine.

Drop the pasta in the boiling water and parboil it for about 4 minutes. Drain it in a colander and add it to the ingredients in the mixing bowl. Combine it well.

Divide the pasta mixture into small ceramic dishes, or just use one large baking dish. You want it to sit in a relatively shallow 1-inch layer.

 

Dot the top of the dish with the butter, and bake it until it’s bubbly and brown, about 7 to 10 minutes at 500…a little longer at lower temperatures.

Funny how help arrives when it’s all about pasta and cheese!

It’s the creamiest, cheesiest pasta dish you’ll ever have…and everyone will fight over those little charred pasta shells!

Optional: When I ordered this dish at Al Forno, they would top it with thin shavings of raw scallion on top. I loved that touch and do that at home as well.

 

RISOTTO

Posted: October 13, 2022 in Uncategorized

Good things come to those who wait. Risotto makes you wait!

 


When I recently made my slow-cooked braised beef short ribs, my daughter requested more than just a simple starch to go with it. One of her favorite dishes in the whole wide world is risotto, and though I’ve never made it before, I knew it wasn’t difficult…just time consuming. Well, a recent rainy Saturday was the perfect day to give it a try.

Like many great Italians dishes, risotto requires love. It requires patience. And it requires few ingredients, but they need to be the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Arborio rice (basmati is a good substitute)
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups chIcken or vegetable stock, kept warm on the stove top (homemade is best)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano 


In a large pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. 

 


Add the onions and sauté them until they’re translucent.
Add the garlic and sauté for 10 seconds.

Add the rice and stir really well, so that every bit of the rice gets coated with the butter and oil mixture.
Add the wine, and stir gently, letting the rice absorb it.

 

Homemade chicken stock really brings the flavor!


Add a ladle of the stock to the rice, stirring gently, letting it absorb all the stock. Only once the stock has been absorbed do you add another ladle of stock. Repeat this process until all the stock has been used and the rice has softened. This should take about 25 minutes, and you need to be standing there, stirring gently, the entire time.

 


Just before the last bit of stock has been absorbed, add the parsley and the peas.

 


Stir for a bit and then add the grated cheese.

 


Serve immediately!

 





AL MILUKAS

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BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS

Posted: October 10, 2022 in Uncategorized

Although beef short ribs can be an expensive dish at many a fine restaurant, the expense is not in the ingredients, but in the time it takes to prepare it. But it is definitely worth the effort!



I used grass-fed beef short ribs for my recipe, and I think it made a huge difference in taste. But use what you like, and can easily find. Short ribs can be extremely fatty. Although you want to keep some of the fat, remove any excess fat that will only make the final braising liquid taste greasy.

I didn’t have a Dutch oven, which is really the right tool for this recipe, so I seared my beef and cooked the veggies in a pan, and then transferred everything to a deeper oven-safe pot with a lid when it was time to cook.

In doing my research for this recipe, I found dozens of variations. I wound up going with a hybrid of two, both from Food Network chefs: Ann Burrell, and Robert Irvine. Burrell’s recipe was heavy on the wine, and used water. Irvine’s was heavy on stock, a little wine, and no water.



3 to 5 lbs. grass-fed beef short ribs, trimmed
3 large carrots (200g)
3 stalks celery (200g)
1 medium onion (200g)
3 cloves garlic
Olive oil
Bacon fat (optional)
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 cups red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon
3 cups chicken or beef stock (homemade is best)
Kosher salt and pepper

About an hour before cooking, trim the beef short ribs and season them all over with Kosher salt. Set them aside.


Pre-heat the oven to 325.


Place the carrots, celery, onion and garlic in a food processor and process until you get something that resembles a paste.
Right before searing the short ribs, re-season them with salt and pepper.

Heat a large pan on high, and when hot, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Sear the beef short ribs in the oil, making sure they’re nice and brown on all sides.


Set the beef aside in a bowl, pour out the fat in the pan, and replenish with new olive oil, (and some bacon fat if you have it and want to use it), just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.


Pour in the veggies from the food processor, season them with salt and pepper, and sauté them until they really caramelize. You want them to start taking on a brown color. 

 


If the veggies start sticking to the pan, turn down the heat, but the stuff that sticks to the pan is full of flavor. Let that happen! It will all come off later when you deglaze with the wine.

 

You want those sticky brown bits!


Add the tomato paste and let it cook down for 5 minutes or so.

 


Add the red wine, and you’ll see how it deglazes the pan and cleans all those tasty brown bits off the bottom. Add the stock and continue stirring.

 

See how the wine cleans the bottom of the pan? It’s all about flavor!


Place the beef short ribs (and any juices that may be in the bowl) into a Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot. Pour the pan with the veggie-wine-stock mix over the top. Add water if needed to cover the beef.


Cover the pot and place it in the middle of the oven. Cook for 3 hours, flipping the beef ribs once halfway through. Add water at the halfway point if it looks like the meat is exposed.

 


After 3 hours, remove the lid off the pot and cook for another 45 minutes to an hour. This allows the braising liquid to reduce and concentrate its flavors.
You can turn the oven off at this point and just leave the pot in it until you’re ready to serve.

 


Serve with the braising liquid.

The risotto I made to go with it will be posted in another blog.

Bulgogi is the name given to the most common form of Korean barbecue. Unlike the daeji bulgogi that I cooked in a previous blog, this one is not based on a chili sauce that can take the roof of your mouth right off.

I used chicken, though this would work with pork as well, and for the best flavor, it’s best to marinate the meat in the fridge overnight.

 

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2/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chopped scallions
6 tablespoons sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
5 tablespoons fresh garlic, grated or through a garlic press
5 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 lbs. chicken pieces (I use skin-on thighs)

 

Combine all the ingredients except for the chicken in a bowl and mix well.

Place the chicken pieces in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade in. Seal the bag well and squish it around to make sure the marinade makes contact with the chicken. Place the bag in a bowl (to prevent accidental leakage) and keep it in the fridge overnight. Squish the bag around every few hours to make sure the marinade does its job.

When you’re ready to cook the next day, pre-heat the oven to 350 and remove the bag from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Place the chicken on a sheet pan (discard the remaining marinade) and bake it for an hour.

Light a hot grill and push the coals to one side of the grill. Place the chicken pieces on the cool side of the grill and close the lid, opening the vents. Every few minutes, turn the chicken pieces over so they get nice grill marks but don’t burn.

 

 

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Cauliflower seems to be the “it” veggie these days. You’ll find it riced to take the place of rice or mashed potatoes, in a crust for pizza, and now, the dish du jour is a cauliflower steak. All you need to do is to slice the cauliflower into thick, steak-like pieces, and then bake them. The thicker cut gives the cauliflower a more meaty texture. Of course, with a meat sauce, I’m using cauliflower as a pasta substitute in this dish.

 

The marinade I use for the cauliflower is pretty simple, with my favorite Italian flavors. I use fresh herbs when I can, but you can use dry as well.

 

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cups chopped scallions
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
chopped fresh parsley and oregano to taste
salt and pepper

Combine these ingredients in a bowl.

Slice the head of cauliflower across the whole head into 1 1/2-inch steak-like pieces. Place them on a baking pan covered with non-stick aluminum foil. Brush the cauliflower on both sides with the marinade. Use it all up!

Place the baking pan in a pre-heated 400-degree oven and bake it for about an hour, until the cauliflower is golden brown on the edges. Flip the cauliflower steaks over after the first 30 minutes.

 

It’s OK if your cauliflower steaks break apart a bit. They’ll still taste great!

 

This meat sauce I use is one that I make all the time with simple ingredients…

 

1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 28-oz. can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
dried oregano, basil and parsley
granulated garlic
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

 

Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onions. Sauté them until they’re translucent, then add the ground beef. Cook the beef until it has browned completely. Add the can of tomatoes, chopping the whole tomatoes up with a spatula (or squeezing them with your hands), breaking up the big pieces into smaller chunks. (I like my sauce a little chunky.) Add the oregano, basil, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

 

Let the sauce cook down until it has thickened.

 

When the cauliflower steaks are ready, place them on a plate and pour the awesome meat sauce on them. Garnish with some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.