Month: August 2012

Summer Charred Caesar Salad

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A misconception of Italians is that pasta is very important to us. I’m not going to lie, it was a staple in my youth growing up. But just as important, if not more so, are vegetables. Everyone in my family gardened, my uncle even had fig trees so large that they busted through his green house in Connecticut. Many of my early memories are sitting in the dirt at my grandparents house, gnawing on a cucumber I picked off the vine while they harvested the other fruits of their labors. And salad was always served at the end of the meal. After the heavy stuff was out of the way, it was onto lightly dressed lettuces, sliced pears, and shared granny smith apples. It seemed like my grandparents always had a pen knife tucked in a pocket or folded into the waist band of an apron, just to easily hand out slices of nature’s bounty.
This was a great way to be raised. If my dinner doesn’t contain a lot of vegetables today then it’s not complete, it only half done to me, or I think it’s simply not healthy. I’m always on the look out for new ways to do the same old – same old. Recently I had made some grilled corn and liked it so much I decided to expand on it. I decided my less than exciting romaine for a Caesar salad needed to be smokey, charred, a flavor you just couldn’t add to salad without real flame.
Salad (Serves 4)
2 hearts of Romaine cut in half the long way
…Yep. That’s it. This is a spin on a Caesar Salad, the magic is in the dressing and preparation, not its contents and co-stars. I also tend to look at croutons as sode: empty calories that ruin anything healthy and are the salad equivalent of a soda with a meal. It may be tasty, but you might as well have a candy bar or something. If your salad is about the croutons, you’re doing it wrong.
Summer Caesar Dressing
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste (Optional…or, in my house, Non-existent)

Caramelize the shallots. While those are working on their golden brown deliciousness, whisk everything else in a small bowl. Once caramelized, remove the shallots to cool a bit. You want to add them to the dressing when they’re warm so they don’t cook the egg, but do help thicken the dressing; letting them sit about 4-5 minutes should be fine.

Preheat your grill to high, clean the grates, and rub them down with vegetable or olive oil. Place the cut halves of Romaine flat/cut side down and don’t touch for 1-2 minutes. They char quick and you don’t want them completely blackened.

Remove from heat, and plate grilled side up. Drizzle the Caesar-ish dressing over the grilled side, allowing the dressing to drip in between the layers of lettuce. Top with a little more Parm if you’re so inclined. Served with chicken or a grilled steak makes a memorably delicious meal.

 

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Grilled Garlic & Herb Lamb T-Bones

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I prefer I high protein diet. Fat makes you fat, sure, but glucose makes you fatter. I tend to have fun coming up with replacements for pizza, bread, and potatoes. Looking for a new protein, I decided to try my hand at Lamb T-Bones. Lamb is under-rated. People tend to turn their nose up to it, thinking it’s a gamey outdated meat, but that’s just not accurate. It doesn’t have to be gamey, it doesn’t have to be anything but delicate and delicious, and it’s perfect when grilled. A simple marinade goes a long way, and a grilled Summer Caesar is a light and flavorful compliment to the charred medium rare meat.

I decided on 2 to 3 lamb t-bones per person. They’re about an inch to 1 1/2 inches thick, but we had one side to this dish, and that seemed to be the right amount to keep people full without feeling heavy after dinner.

Marinated Grilled Lamb T-Bones (Serves 2-3)

1.5 – 2lb. package of Lamb T-Bones, about 6 “steaks”

2 TBSP freshly chopped parsley

2 TBSP freshly chopped tops of fennel (the thin greenness that looks almost like dill), optional.

2 TBSP (about 6 cloves) minced garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 TBSP salt

2 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients in a plastic zip lock baggie. It’s best to marinate the lamb for a couple of hours at least, but you can do it for as long as over night if you’d like.

Take your lamb out of the fridge an hour prior to grilling and let come to room temperature in its marinade bag on the counter or in your sink. Heat your grill to high and clean your grates (which you do prior to to every time you grill, right?). Place the marinated lamb on the hot grill, close the lid, and turn the heat down to medium high. Grill for 3 minutes and then turn the lamb 1/4 turn and grill for another three minutes with the lid closed. That’s you’re “pretty” side. Flip the lamp t-bones over and grill for an additional 4-6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140-145 F. That’s for medium rare lamb. Keep in mind that lamb, like salmon, has a more delicate flavor the less it’s cooked, so stay away from gamey by staying away from medium to well done. We served ours with a hunk of rustic bread and the aforementioned Caesar Salad, recipe here.

Pink and delicious – no gamey-ness! So good for summer that you’ll miss it come winter!

PopTastic – The Hobbit, Ghost Busters, X-Men & More

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* So…The Hobbit is going to be 3 movies. There isn’t a script yet…or a budget…but, yeah, 3 films. [GeeksOfDoom]

* Global Warming opponents can go to Hell – and those in Oklahoma may very well be headed there. According to new reports, the current freak heat wave they’re experiencing is causing the street lights to melt. If we’re not going to alter our climate changing ways, we’ll have to at least tweak “Hot as balls” to “Hot as melting balls”. Naturally. [Inquistr]

* There have been a lot of talk about another Ghost Busters film claiming to be official. The newest comes from Cinema Blend stating that Bill Murray is officially out of any kind of future sequel. Granted, this story quotes Dan Aykroyd, but I’m still only taking it with a grain of salt. The only person who can say whether or not he’d be in is Murray himself, and even he wembles – it’s a word; look it up in the Fraggle Dictionary. The fact of the matter remains: These men are old. Like Indiana saving relics from the Nazi’s, perhaps this story should close completely. Can’t Hollywood come up with some new ideas, not simply “new-ish”? [CinemaBlend]

Photo Credit Inquistr

* The next X-Men movie has a name and it’s not “Second Class”. The next X-Men film, expected, will be called X-Men: The Days of Future Past, which to me is wordy and a bit Doctor Who-y. It’s also a fairly well known storyline of the comic book, making it a bit of a spoiler alert. This comes on the heels of set photos and video from the set Wolverine 2, which is currently filming. [HotOffThePressesHollywood Hills]

* There are rumors afoot that Jimmy Fallon may be in talks to host the 2013 Oscars. Lorne Michaels is expected to produce. Think he can get through any funny bits without giggling? I’m a fan of Jimmy Fallon, truly, and feel he’s definitely come into his own as a talk show host on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. [LATimes]

* Will Ferrell is super upset about Kristen Stewart cheating on Robert Pattinson, y’all. Like, super upset. Even calls BitchFace a TRAMPire. Oh, that “bitchface” thing? She’s got super bitchface, it’s just a matter of fact. Listen, if you want me to get all girly about it, no one should be so pussy whipped that he’s willing to dip his pen in the same ink at the same time as another man. Also, she’s shit for acting, also just matter of fact. Don’t let losers drag down your own rising star. Boom. What was I talking about again? [Inquistr]