the Grilled Sirloin

I just keep going back to the sirloin. It’s lean, has tons of flavor, and is fairly inexpensive. If someone else has a vote for the best steak value (post your comment), I’d be willing to listen, but the sirloin has my vote so far.

“Steak is yummy, especially medium rare!” says Camden, our youngest son. Apparently, I’ve trained him well. Of course, I would have to add, it’s even better with some grilled vegetables. Grilling is by far my favorite cooking method for broccoli, so don’t forget to include it in your selection of vegetables. I put olive oil and salt and pepper on all, and some loosely chopped rosemary on the steak, then off to the grill I go. While it may have been snowing outside as I was preparing… that’s no reason not to grill!  Put some slices of rosemary olive oil bread on the grill after the steak is done and resting, as it won’t take long to brown up nicely. Paired with a nice cabernet, this is a delicious, easy meal.

Sirloin steak and veggies on the grill. Note the broccoli on skewers.

Loosely chopped rosemary has a wonderful scent.

Sliced, plated and ready to eat!

Don't forget a nice cabernet!

Snow on the grill.

The view from the grill.

Meyer Lemon Ginger Martini

New York City has such a vivid nightlife that, on one of our trips there, we weren’t surprised to run across an exciting liqueur that was new to us: Domaine De Canton, we were told, after quizzing the bartender. We bought a bottle of this ginger liqueur upon our return home, and then had to come up with something to do with it! After a little mad-scientist-like experimentation, we came up with the Meyer Lemon Ginger Martini.

Rim a martini glass with brown sugar. Place 2 slices of fresh ginger in a shaker and muddle with 1 1/2 ounces Bluecoat American Dry Gin. While any gin may do, the Bluecoat has a nice blend of citrus and juniper. Add crushed ice, 1 ounce Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur , 1 ounce fresh squeezed meyer lemon juice, 2 ounces lemon seltzer, and 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Shake  and strain into your glass. Garnish with a meyer lemon slice.

Spicy, a touch tangy and a little sweet all in one. Cheers!

The meyer lemon ginger martini!

The splendid ingredients.

the NOLA Margarita

NOLA. New Orleans, Louisiana. A place storied in history, but Heather & I had never been… until August of last year. We were just there for a long weekend, but got a great glimpse into its fabulous culinary and liquid culture. One place stood out above all… The Green Goddess. During both of our visits to this fabulous little restaurant (yes, it was so good the first night, we went back!), we got to sit at the bar and witness Scotty’s incredible craftsmanship as he made drinks for his guests. He passed along one of his secret ingredients: Steen’s Cane Syrup, the cooked down juice from ripened sugar cane. A dark brown, sticky, sweet, molasses-like goo… yum!

We decided to introduce the cane syrup into one of our favorite drinks, the margarita (which had played a small role in our third date, a Cinco De Mayo party). With the addition of cloves, it’s a wonderful new experience!

Start by letting the cloves marinate in your tequila overnight, one clove per ounce. I suggest 1800 Reposado for its nice, deep mellow character at a fantastic price. The clove-infused tequila will keep for a while, so it’s o.k. to be generous in the amount you make.

Over crushed ice in a rocks glass, pour 1 1/2 ounces of clove-infused tequila (strain out the cloves), 1 1/4 ounces triple sec, 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice, 1/2 ounce simple syrup, and 1/2 ounce Steen’s Cane Syrup. Stir thoroughly as the cane syrup is quite thick. Salt the rim as desired…..Heather’s with, mine without. Garnish with lime and orange wedges, sit back and enjoy!

1800 Reposado tequila, with cloves.

Fresh limes are a key ingredient.

The NOLA margarita!

Heather enjoying her NOLA margarita.

the Cherry Tootsie Pop

“Can you please make me a dessert drink with a little caffeine?” Heather asked me. “Sure!”  I said… but hmmm, I thought… what am I going to do now? Thus the discovery of a drink that tastes just like a Cherry Tootsie Pop.

The below ratio works out well when splitting one can of Coke Zero. And… it has to be Coke Zero. It doesn’t work nearly as well with any other cola.

Put crushed ice into a tulip-shaped glass. Add 2 ounces light rum, 6 ounces Coke Zero, and  1/2 ounce creme de cacao, then stir. Pour in 1 ounce grenadine and drop in a maraschino cherry. You should have a nice red glow at the bottom. Garnish with another cherry or two, and enjoy!

The Cherry Tootsie Pop, featuring Coke Zero.

Raspberry Linzer Torte

Simply divine. Serve these raspberry linzer torte bars paired with a nice ruby port and your guests will think you worked all day in the kitchen (Note the extra powdered sugar to pull off the homemade look).

It’s better  to spend your time photographing these than making them….especially when you can get them for less than $3! That way you get to eat them sooner!

Enjoy and Happy Friday!

Rasperry Linzer Torte....with port.

A Little Slice of Heaven

By heaven, I  mean Manchego…. a Spanish cheese made in the region of La Mancha. Not just the regular sheep milk Manchego cheese, the raw sheep milk variety. Yeah, it’s a dollar more a pound, but totally worth it.

By little slice, I mean you need to cut it thin. Slicing it thin seems to enhance the subtle nutty, buttery flavors.

Pair it with a Marcona almond, and it goes to a whole new level. The flavors blend extremely well together, and are even enhanced. Both being produced in Spain, that would seem to make sense. If you haven’t had a Marcona almond, it’s nothing like the common California variety. It’s softer, sweeter, and has a slightly buttery flavor as well. They are packaged with a little salt and olive oil.

A little salami, a few olives and a nice Spanish tempranillo and you truly have an exceptional experience!

Manchego, Marcona almonds, and a Columbus Salame Secchi.

The olives make a wonderful addition.

Montebuena 2009, a Rioja tempranillo. Excellent and less than $10.

All paired together it makes a very appealing presentation. Enjoy!


Ceviche!!

Ceviche.  Yeah, I’d had it before.  However… when Heather and I were on our honeymoon a few years ago in Puerto Rico…I realized I hadn’t had ceviche. Just a lame attempt. There was this great little place called Aguaviva, in Old San Juan. We had 3 different types of ceviche that were all fantastic!  The mojitos we had were also an excellent part of that meal, but that deserves a separate post. Soon, I promise.

I perused many recipes and decided to come up with my own that would try and mimic (in one variety), the best of what we had in Puerto Rico. And so…here it is in pictures. Let me know if you want the recipe.

The avocados need to be perfectly ripe, and leave them chunky.

Fresh lime juice and cilantro are VERY important!

Red snapper, jalapenos, sweet peppers, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and red chili olive oil.

Serve with yellow corn tortilla chips.