I’ve written about pastrami short ribs, and love them because they’ve got the perfect meat-to-fat ratio. But ever since the arrival of a Big Green Egg (planning a review soon), I’ve wanted to do a proper pastrami, which is essentially a corned beef brisket, coated with pepper and coriander and smoked (the result above was perfect—look at that awesome fat). While I’ve published the corned beef recipe from my book Charcuterie, I haven’t really talked about smoking strategies at home. I recommend two different methods: stove top and in a kettle grill. Stove-top smoking is easy with an inexpensive ($43) Cameron smoker. I bought one a few years ago and it works great for bacon and would work great for this brisket. Briskets require long low heat though, and this is tricky on a stove Read On »

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I’ve been finding amazing garlic at our farmer’s market, the skin thin and tight around the cloves, the cloves clustering around the hard core. (Why is only soft core garlic available in grocery stores?)  Garlic that is visibly juicy when you cut into it.  Garlic whose germ is small and white.  When I find garlic like this, I like to feature it, whether in tomato water pasta (this is a fabulous technique if you’ve got tons of tomatoes), plentiful and barely cooked; in a Caesar dressing, cooked only by the lemon juice; or minced and tossed with asparagus and olive oil then grilled. We did this last night at a friend’s, a boy’s night out, overlooking the Chragrin River Valley, humid-hazy as the sun set, playing with fire.  And a dinner consisting of nothing more than Read On »

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Just about anything can be grilled that won’t slip through the grate or grilling basket. You can’t grill batter, you can’t grill soup (though you could keep it hot on a grill). I don’t know that I’d grill a tough vegetable, like cabbage or kale, but you could try. One of my favorite vegetables to grill is radicchio.  Its natural bitter notes take on the smokey charred flavors of hot open flames deliciously. And when paired with the acidic sweetness of balasamic vinegar, it’s a great side dish. I’d like to underscore the importance of balsamic vinegar here. Its intense sweet acidity offsets the natural (pleasing) bitterness all foods grilled over high heat pick up. I love a product called Crema di Balsamico, which is basically pre-reduced balsamic. Just a few drops of it are Read On »

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It’s one of my enduring childhood memories, a gift from my mom.  I was seven or eight, my mom in her early thirties, late morning, august sun, we stared at the six full tomato plants we grew behind our garage.  I don’t know if she actually spoke but her urgent and determined movements said, “Let’s do this.” She wrenched two ripe tomatoes from the vine. I followed her to the kitchen. She rinsed both tomatoes briefly under cool water but they stayed hot the sun.  She gave one to me.  She shook salt on the one she held, and it stuck to what water remained.  Something was going on, but I didn’t know what.  Then she bit into the tomato as if it were an apple, closed her eyes once.  She salted the exposed flesh, Read On »

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A compilation of healthy corn recipes you should check out for the summer, via Epicurious.com

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