clean your grill in the fall

Clean your grill before it sits all winter. Otherwise you have a lot of work ahead of you the first time you open it up in the spring. I scrapped and scrubbed and got myself and my kitchen sink coated in ashes and grease. Still the grates are just not looking as pretty as they used to… oh well.. But now it is done and I can make all of my meals on the porch instead of heating my apartment up by turning on the oven. Yay!

Something about the first grill is just better. Besides this mole and black bean burger was delicious. It is topped with jicama slaw in very creamy-spicy chipotle dressing. I don’t know that I will eat the slaw by itself but it is really tasty on the burger. The original burger recipe actually called for salsa from a jar and some cayenne but I had defrosted some homemade mole recently so that is what I used instead.

Here is my best try at a recipe. I don’t measure anything so if I stray too far from the original recipe it is probably better that I let you decide how much meat you want and then eyeball the other ingredients yourself.


ground chuck (mine was organic, grass-fed)
some black beans (from a can)
mole (mine was homemade but definitely you could buy a jar)
minced garlic

1. Combine the above and form into patties. Set aside.


1 chipotle pepper in adobe
1/4 cup lime juice

1. Puree the above in small food processor or blender.

handful of cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream (creama)
2 tablespoons mayo

2. Combine the pepper/lime with the above.

1 small jicama (shredded)

3. I squeezed out a lot of liquid from the shredded jicama with my hands and let drain for a few minutes in a strainer to keep my slaw from getting runny.
4. Add drained shredded jicama to creamy-spicy dressing.
5. Grill the burgers (I only lost a few of the black beans) Toast the buns a little on the grill. (Especially if  like me you could only find smoochy white bread buns.) Top the burger with the jicama slaw. Eat!

The green bean salad from Food52 with marjoram was also delicious. Marjoram is really not my favorite herb but the lemons were really good so the dressing was really good. I think people don’t appreciate that there is such a thing as a really good lemon.

Finally I had some fresh pineapple rings and I pulled a couple out and threw them on the grill for dessert. I love traveling but I also love being home and cooking in my own kitchen again when it is over.

really, 80 degrees in March

I planned to make a pot roast last weekend. This sounds perfect in March, right? It is still a little cold and dreary… nothing is growing yet so you are stuck with red meat and root vegetables. It was even St Patty’s weekend. Perfect. So I bought a chuck roast.

It was sunny and 80 degrees on Sunday. (sigh)

Pot Roast (original by BH&G 2003 prize winner Gail L. Jenner)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

1 3-4lbs boneless beef chuck roast (mine was grass-fed and organic)

1 Tbsp of oil

2. Heat the oil in a dutch oven and get a good sear on the roast. This helps if the roast is clean, dry and room temp.

1/3 cup of water

1/3 cup of Marsala wine (I used Dry but the recipe does call for Sweet)

basil (I just used all the fresh basil I had left in the fridge. the recipe calls for 2 tsp of dry)

1 tsp garlic salt

ground black pepper (I didn’t measure, I guessed, but it called for 1/2 tsp)

3. Mix these together and pour over the roast. Cover. Roast for 1.5 hours.

1/2 cup plum preserves

4. Melt the preserves in a small saucepan and pour over the meat.

4 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into sixths

4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into chunks

1 large rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1 inch cubes (I LOVE RUTABAGA!)

1 medium onion, peeled, cut into large wedges

5. Arrange vegetables around the roast, put back in the oven to roast for 45 – 60 minutes until vegetables and meat are tender.

1 Tbsp of cold water

2 tsp of cornstarch

6. Put meat and veggies on a platter. Add cornstarch-water mixture to juices in the pan. Cook until thick. In other words, make gravy.

carbonnade de beouf et le creuset en aubergine

cabonnade and la cruesetAs unhappy as I was about my whole Pottery Barn experience (that cabinet still smells chemically inside) and as much as I realize it was still really my money….I feel kind of like I have been given a present of a very wonderful and expensive kind. The merchandise card they gave me was also good at William-Sonoma with which I purchased Le Crueset in aubergine (eggplant)! Do I need to say more? Can you feel the joy?

I had to make some carbonnade de boeuf and drink lots of Ommegang Belgian abbey ale!

Bad mashed potatoes?

Okay, I have not written anything in awhile but I’ve had a run of bad luck and who wants to read post after post about the really yucky food I made last week, which I threw out and ended up eating pizza and sandwiches. So here is the summary:

steakandmashedmasher cakes, steak in lots of steak sauce and salad

Yes, bad mashed potatoes, sorry Alton, they were actually bad. Maybe I did something wrong? Although I’m not sure how that is possible. I also did not like the cognac blue cheese sauce.

I did really like the ‘masher cakes’ recipe where you mix the leftover mashed potatoes with an egg and some green onion then cover in panko bread crumbs and fry…yummy. I then also doctored the questionable cognac blue cheese sauce into some homemade steak sauce that was pretty yummy. So take-2 was pretty good.

fish with fennel and couscous

And this one was really gross. Swordfish steaks with fennel. I put it on some whole wheat couscous…..seriously foul. There was no take-2 here and I threw most of it away. Thank you Moosewood.

taramasalataAnd finally Taramasalata…two bites…that is all I managed. The rest went in the dumpster.  This is supposed to be a very popular dip in Greece made with salted/cured fish roe. Now, I like smoked fish; I like roe (fish eggs); I like dip made with smoked fish; I really hated this!!!   I will not be trying it again.  If I ever find myself in a seaside cafe in Greece, then, perhaps, someone might talk me into trying it just one more time.  I will try not to memory gag.

poblano pepper sauce under stuffed steak

tenderloin with poblano sauceThis was not my favorite John Ash recipe. It is still better than lots of other recipes…That is one ugly picture though. The green sauce and the oozy cheese. Looking at it does not make me want to eat it again either.

It is a stuffed tenderloin. I don’t understand why I need to stuff the tenderloin. Couldn’t I just put the onion/pepper filling and cheese on top? Next time…

The sauce recipe calls for almonds or pepitas. I used almonds because I was out of pepitas but I should have bought some. I think I would have liked it a little better. I also wasn’t able to find any good jack cheese at either of my local stores and the pepper jack I used was just not very good.  The tenderloins were beautiful and they would have been perfect just grilled up straight. Oh well, next time…I think I said that already.

It you would still like to try it. -> recipe link

Skirt Steak: The Master Recipe

I forgot to take a picture of the steak and now it is in my belly. I will not be posting a photo of my belly.

I did follow the directions of this recipe. All Alton’s very… specific… directions. It takes two pages you will need to buy the book to read it.

It was good; juicy and perfectly medium rare.  I ate it with some Stilton blue cheese, olives and rye bread…Ooh and a Maibock (German Beer from Munich)

This is a very sad little blog post.

possibly addicted to

Beef-Broccoli-BokChoy Stir-fry

So while doing the silly “create a fake album cover” thing on facebook, I used the online photo editor called Now I must warn you of this because it was fun and I may be addicted.  Every photo on my blog for the next few weeks will probably look a bit like a Lean Cuisine box. Especially this time because it was a stir-fry!

bbb stir-fry with Japanese dressing

I just bought some flank steak, broccoli, bok choy, green beans, a few green onions and radishes. Cooked them in my fake wok with a little peanut oil and added the Japanese dressing.

  • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup Japanese soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup mirin
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbls sugar

Soak the mushrooms in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Take 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid and mix with the other ingredients. Drain the mushrooms, cut into quarters and add to dressing. Pour over the stir-fry just before it finishes cooking and boil for a few minutes to thicken a little, although this is not a very thick sauce. Sell to Lean Cuisine. Except there are probably too many actual nutrients (and calories) for them. I could try :) Does bok choy freeze well? Probably not.