Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New American BBQ - Dual Plating

I promised some barbecue last week and here it is. Now technically none of this is barbecued since that would mean cooking low and slow. This, technically speaking, is grilling. But really who cares? I sure don't. Whether you call it barbecue or grilling anything cooked over an open flame will always taste terrific.

The menu I made uses the last of my favorite summer produce in order to send off the season as the fall, otherwise known as the best cooking season of the year, starts to roll in. Here's what I've got:

I've listed everything as it would appear on a menu but by no means should it be prepared in that order. I did mine like so: 
Sunday; cupcakes - sherbet - pound cake - marinate steak. 
Monday; corn relish - potato chips - broccolini - grill steak - whip cream (right before dessert).

Teriyaki-Ginger Flank Steak; Charred Broccolini, Corn Relish
Sweet Potato Chips
Cherry Sherbet; Lemon Pound Cake Crumble, Whipped Cream

As I was working with the finished food I also came up with two ways to plate it all thus the "dual plating" in the title. 

With regard to pictures I still find myself struggling to remember to actually document the entire process and not just the good parts (the end). This particular menu required going between several moving parts all at once to get the food on the table for my family in time so photo ops came less frequently than I was anticipating. This cooking stuff is easier for me than the blogging part but I'm learning.

So in the words of The Joker "here...we...go."

This assuages some guilt for the underwhelming amount of pictures.

Special Equipment
Charcoal or propane grill
Kitchen Aid stand mixer with ice cream bowl attachment
Food processor
Mandoline slicer
Dutch over or deep fryer
Chinois/cone strainer

Teriyaki-Ginger Flank Steak

Step one for any sort of dish with meat is buy good meat. As I post more and more dishes I'll go into detail for specific types of meat. In this case - grilling flank steak - look for cuts about an inch thick as evenly around as possible with a healthy amount of marbling but not thick hard fat. Also buy USDA graded meat. It drives me nuts when I see people buying up ungraded supermarket meat unaware that that pretty bright red piece of meat with no fat in it is about as bad as beef gets. If none of this makes sense please read up on USDA grading and what makes good meat good. More people are doing it wrong than there are doing it right. With that rant out of the way (sorry about that) let's get back to it. 

Flank steak
Kikkoman Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade
Kikkoman Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Ginger root, about 6 medium to large 1/4" thick slices
6 Garlic cloves, sliced
Black pepper

Season steak with fresh ground pepper and place it in a resealable plastic bag. Distribute the ginger and garlic evenly on the steak. Fill the bag with teriyaki and soy sauce using about 3 Tbsp of soy sauce for every cup of teriyaki until the steak is mostly covered. Marinate the steak, turning the bag occasionally, 6-24 hours. 

Heat grill for both high (400F) direct and indirect cooking, which means leave an area of the grill without coals or a lit burner. Remove the steak from the bag and clean off any ginger and garlic on it. Grill over high heat until browned - about 3-5 minutes per side. Move to the cooler side of the grill and cook until desired doneness - 10 minutes for medium-medium well. 

Allow meat to rest 2-3 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain and serve.

Charred Broccolini with Garlic Oil

1 bunch of broccolini, stems trimmed
4 garlic cloves, roughly minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper

Simmer olive oil, black pepper, and half of minced garlic seasoned until garlic begins to shrink. Strain into heat-proof container, reserve cooked garlic. Boil broccolini until bright green and crisp tender, drain and mix with oil and garlic. Grill over high heat until smoking and just beginning to char. Remove from grill and serve or place in oven at 200F to keep warm.

Charred Corn Relish

Man I can't say enough about this little dish inspired by Bobby Flay. It's as easy as it is versatile. Feel free to add a charred minced jalapeno for a little heat. I omit it here since I'm the only person in my family who likes heat. 

2 ears of corn
vegetable oil
5-7 basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp chives, finely chopped
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Boil corn in salted water until just tender, drain and cool. Brush lightly with vegetable oil, season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat until charred around. Don't char the whole ear, leave some spots clean. Slice corn into bowl, mix with remaining ingredients, rest 15 minutes. Serve at room temperature. 

Sweet Potato Chips

The trick to these is trying not to eat all of them before it comes time to plate.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced 1/8" thin
vegetable oil for frying
kosher salt

Heat oil in Dutch oven or deep fryer to 325F. Fry potatoes in small batches, turning occasionally to avoid air pockets, until deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt.

Plating Dinner

Arrange sliced steak on platter, top with broccolini, garnish with corn relish and chips.

Family Style
Or fill the chips with small pieces of steak, corn relish, and broccolini florets.

Fancy Pants Style

Cherry Sherbet with Lemon Pound Cake and Whipped Cream

If summer were a dish this would be a strong candidate to represent it. The only thing missing is a splash of bourbon which I plan to remedy with the leftovers this week.

680g cherries
juice of 2 lemons
1C sugar, finely ground in food processor
2 Tbsp raw orange blossom honey
1C fat free milk
1 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream

Cook cherries and lemon juice in large saucepan until warm, soft, and beginning to burst. Puree until smooth with a little pulp. Mix in remaining ingredients. Chill in freezer until very cold. Process in ice cream maker and freeze to harden. 

Pound Cake:
1 1/2C cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4C sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
2 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
16 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and hot

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease loaf pan with a tiny bit of the melted butter then dust it with flour. 

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Process sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and juice in food processor to combine. Add hot butter to running processor in a steady stream to incorporate. Pour mixture in mixer bowl fitted with whisk attachment.  Sift flour in in 3 batches, whisking each to combine and scraping sides of bowl between each batch, until no lumps remain. Pour batter into loaf pan, smooth top, tap pan on towel several times to force out air bubbles. Bake 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a wood skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack. 

Whipped Cream:
2C heavy cream
4 1/2 tsp confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste

Whisk ingredients with mixer at medium speed until stiff enough to hold shape.


Fill a glass with sorbet, top with cake and whipped cream. 

I'm all about looks and this still wasn't worth it.
Make sure it's wide mouthed glass. I tried it with a wine glass and while it looked real pretty (in person) I ended up just doing this with it:

Business time.

So long summer, you've been very educational but it's time to start saying goodbye to light and refreshing and start getting into some "stick to your ribs" cooking. Hoodie weather looms on the horizon (as the forecast calls for 90's this week) bringing football and hockey in tow and there's no better venue for a home cook to show off than at a pot-luck. Might be high time to start practicing this week.

**To be honest this is all going much better than I expected it to. I find myself more motivated to cook than I usually am, which is a freakish level to begin with. I'm more comfortable in the kitchen than anywhere else and things come very easily for me there (except making rice - it's my kryptonite) so being bad at something in that setting, in this case documenting my process, is a welcome struggle. I've found that it's also improved my thought process in that I'm far more calculating when I prepare throughout the week instead of flying by the seat of pants in the supermarket every Friday afternoon. I've become efficient enough to start a back catalog of rainy day posts which are already hard to sit on. All in all I must say that I'm enjoying this exercise and I hope you are too. **

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