Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Best Father's Day Menu: Part 2

This section has been written by Seth (with comments from Courtney)

Chili-Garlic London Broil 

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tbsp chili sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp veggie oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
4 lb london broil

I am not what you would call an expert griller. I have learned how to grill from many failed attempts in often desperate situations, situations like not having any charcoal, but just sticks and old newspapers around the house. Being what I would call frugal (cheap), I find that sticks are just as good as charcoal when it comes to flavoring. I do not like gas grilling due to the bland taste that it often gives. It is also more expensive than I'd like. This is just an example of grilling London Broil, and I'm sure many other people would be better suited for this task. 
London Broil is one of the more tricky meats to grill due to its often tough consistency. Lemon juice added to the marinade allows the connective tissue to break up, making the meat more tender. Mix all the marinade ingredients together and pour over the meat. We put the meat in a Pyrex dish so that the meat is just sitting in the liquid, not necessarily covered by it. Cover and let sit in the refridgerator for 3-4 hours.
I like to grill the old fashioned way with plain old sticks. However, I did not use this method this time because I had charcoal and it was easier (I tried to insert a smiley face here, but Seth said he couldn't have a smiley face in his section). I laid a good set of coals on the bottom of the grill, about twenty brickets. You can use a chimney starter, which puts charcoal in a small cylinder with paper beneath, but we used a stick teepee made from sticks and paper. 
Once the coals are evenly gray to orange, make sure the heat is not too high by putting your hand 2 inches over the grate. If you need to remove your hand within 2-5 seconds, you are ready to put the meat on the grill. Cover the grill with the holes on the lid open. Grill for about 6-8 minutes. Flip. Grill for another 6-8 minutes. 
If you like a bark on the meat like I do, make sure your temperature is a little higher when first putting the meat on. A lot of good flavors are trapped in what appears to be a burnt crust of the meat. We like our medium well to well. If you like it a little more rare, I would just put it on for 4-6 minutes on each side.

Maryland Crab Cakes

1 lb crabmeat
1/2 C breadcrumbs
1 beaten egg
5 tbsp mayonaisse 
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley 
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper

We are blessed to live in the state of Maryland - except for the taxes - where we have such wonderful meals such as crab cakes. First, you want to make sure your crab meat is completely thawed but not warm. Once you add all the ingredients, be sure to mix the crab meat in by hand as you need to feel the primitive cakes (I don't know why he used the word primitive. I guess he just feels it's more manly to not use utensils). Grab a lump of the mixture about a baseball in size and place it on a plate. 
We made them about an hour before cooking and just covered them and placed them in the fridge. 
Coat a pan with oil and let it heat up. Place the baseball sized crab cakes on the pan and press carefully with a spachula. Once one side is bown (4-5 min), flip with 2 spachulas as they easily fall apart. 
Wait until browned and place the finished cakes onto a plate with a paper towel to soak up some of the grease.

Now it's Courtney's turn again :) For the side dish, we made my favorite summer potato. All you need is:

aluminum foil

Before doing anything, slice the onion into about 1/4 inch pieces. Then thinly slice the potato into 1/8 inch pieces and half wrap in foil until potato is standing and still in a potato shape. Add a square of butter to the top, 4 or 5 slivers of onion, a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper.
Wrap it all the way up in the foil and place on the grill. Now, in order to not burn one side of this potato, I have found it is best to flip them with tongs every 10 minutes for 1 hour. It may seem like you're running in and out to the grill, but it will be worth it! 
For Father's Day, we ran out of grill room, so you can also make these potatoes in the oven at 350, still flipping every 10 minutes to cook evenly.
This potato is soft and slightly buttery with just a slight flavor of onion. The onion also caramelizes nicely with the butter in the foil. I can smell these when they're on the grill from all the way in the house, and it makes my mouth water just thinking of them!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Best Father's Day Menu: Part 1

If you haven't already noticed, we encourage dessert first ;) So, it is only fitting for me to start this blog off with a dessert!
For those of you who didn't realize, this past Sunday was Father's Day :) Thankfully, Seth's and my parents are actually friends, which makes holidays like this one much easier. Instead of splitting our time after church into very small and stressful chunks between the two families, they are both able to come over to enjoy a meal and some laughter :) The meal was specifically designed by my hubby to fit the manly men that are our fathers. He will be covering the actual meal in Part 2.

My father-in-law has what may be the world's biggest sweet tooth. Anything with sugar is his thing :) However, what he really likes is anything made from peanut butter and chocolate. So, the best dessert for the occasion was Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

12 pieces of chocolate graham cracker
6 TB butter

1 C cream cheese
2/3 C peanut butter (we use creamy)
4 TB sugar
3/4 C whipping cream

2 TB sugar
2 TB butter
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 C whipping cream

To start, you are going to need to turn your graham crackers into dust. I like to break it into little pieces and pulse it in our food processor, but you can definitely also crush it by hand. Whichever way you do it, it should end up looking like this:

After you've made the crumbs, melt the butter and mix it together. Once it's all stuck together, press it into a 9-inch pie pan. After it's all spread out, bake it in the oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes. It'll look like this:
For the filling, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar until well-blended. At the same time, use the whipping cream to make whipped cream. Using a standing mixer, whisk the cream at high speed until thick enough to hold a shape. Once the cream had been whipped, fold it into the peanut butter mixture until the filling is creamy and light-colored. Spread the filling into the pie shell evenly. Here's a picture so you can see the color and consistency.
For the topping, put the cream and sugar into a sauce pan and heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and cream starts to boil. Lower the heat immediately until cream is only simmering and leave it for 5-6 minutes. Take it off the burner and add the butter and chocolate, stirring until melted. Let cool.
Once the topping has thickened slightly, pour it on top of the filling and spread it to the edges if necessary. Chill uncovered for several hours. 
This pie was delicious! Unfortunately, I was a little too impatient and I didn't let the pie set enough. But it was still delicious. It has the perfect peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio and tasted just like a Reese Cup. So, don't get nervous about whether or not the pie will be firm, because you really can't ruin this pie!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What You Can Expect

Being that this is our first post, I don't know how to start rather than with the always cheesy but always appropriate:

Welcome to our blog!

Seth and I were married on June 19th, 2010. Being young and newly married with a teacher's salary and the small wage of a part-time library worker, it was unlikely that dates out were going to be a common occurrence. However, we quickly realized that we had just as much fun and fulfillment when we cooked together. And I was surprised to find that we were both good at it! I had been cooking dinners for my family at home for a while, but I was marrying a guy straight out of bachelor pad cooking of George Foreman chicken simply sprinkled with seasonings such as barbecue or Cajun. While the Foreman does still make its way back onto our counter, its rarely graced by the bland chicken of yesterday :)
So, this blog was started to share our cooking adventures with the world. I can certainly say that we're not master chefs, nor will you find any fancy recipes here that feature truffle oil or Kobe beef. However, we have fun experimenting together, and we hope you enjoy what we come up with!

Some things you might want to know about us and our cooking:

  • Seth does not like cheese. I love it! I have tried masking it, but have yet to have any success. He won't even eat Parmesan chicken. So, unfortunately, you will not be finding many cheese-based dishes on this blog. We're also not huge fans of whole tomatoes, so you won't see a lot of those either.
  • Somehow, we've gradually started cooking mostly Chinese and Mexican foods. I don't know how this happened, because neither of us have any association with either ethnicity! 
  • We love spice! It's unlikely that you will see any recipe that is not covered with it.
  • We like to keep things fresh! So, you may occasionally see recipes for everything from homemade tortillas instead of packaged ones to references to our garden vegetables because Seth is a huge lover of our garden :)
  • We also like to keep things silly, so expect lots of videos of anything from food tutorials to pizza crust tossing :)