Entries Tagged as 'Grilling'

The Dadoo Special

June 15th, 2012 · 14 Comments · Birthdays, Holidays, Celebrations, Dinner, Grilling, Pork and Beef, Posts by Andy, Quick, Uncategorized

I remember this vividly. When I was six years old, I was in the basement of our house on Aldenham Lane, playing with my dad. Our basement was the kind of basement I feel bad that my kids don’t have today – a concrete floor, an old wooden workbench, high metal shelves sagging with caulk and stains and Maxwell House cans filled with screws, a queen-sized foam mattress, a pool table (with ivory inlays and broken slate), and a paint-splattered station where my older brother would lose entire afternoons building these intricate models of Spitfires and Messerschmitts. The kind of basement, in other words, where you could dismember GI Joe dolls in relative peace.

Anyway, we were sitting on the floor, building something with my Erector Set.

“Dad?” I said.


“Is Santa Claus real?”

He paused.

(A parent now, I know what he was thinking.)

He looked at me.

“Nope,” he said.

Cue sound of bowling ball crashing through giant pane of glass. The bracing, ammoniac sting of honesty like that! Wow. Damn! I still, to this day, give him grief for this. (Me: I can’t believe you just came out and said it. Dad: Well, what was I gonna do, lie?) This could be the adult in me talking, but I feel like I remember the room going all wobbly, like the staircase shot in Vertigo. Clearly, my dad did not believe in secrets.

Except when it came to his cooking. And by cooking, I mean the one meal he was responsible for making all by himself, from start to finish. His lone specialty was known around the house as The Dadoo Special, a name which, it’s true, does have a certain grandeur to it, but which – no offense, Dad — also sounds a lot like something a dude with zero chops in the kitchen would name the one dish he figured out how to make on his own. I loved the Dadoo Special. Partly because I loved my dad, but also because it did, in fact, feel special. It tasted really good, and appeared only in the warm summer months, when school was out and the Weber was up and running and the grown-ups enjoyed their grown-up drinks outside, in the woodchipped area out back, behind the azeleas, where my dad had set up – this was the seventies, after all, the era of lawn sports, mandals, and non-ironic mustaches – a freakin’ horseshoe pit. Looking back, the Dadoo Special was nothing more than a souped-up burger – a little sweet, a little spicy – that, amazingly, required no ketchup at all. I would tell you exactly how my dad made it…if he had ever let me watch him make it. The Dadoo Special, you see, was always prepared in private, behind closed doors, on a need-to-know basis only. And I, apparently, did not need to know.

“What’s in it?” I would ask.

“That’s a secret.”

“Seriously, dad.”

“Get out of the kitchen,” he’d say, and to stay and risk not having Dadoo Specials for dinner always seemed a risk not worth taking.

I still don’t know exactly what was in the things, and – since my dad probably hasn’t made one in thirty years – I doubt he does, either. But I do remember the taste, and the slight crunch of the onion, and feel fairly confident that I can recreate it – heck, maybe even improve upon it — here. We’ll be making these on Father’s Day, in honor of my dad, and in the spirit of openness. No more secrets, not in this house. – Andy

P.S. Re the photo above: Yeah, that’s a puka shell necklace I’m wearing. And yeah, that’s zinc oxide on my nose. And yeah, I’m wearing plaid JAMS. The thing on my dad’s upper lip? That would be a mustache. Viva los 70s!

The Dadoo Special

Okay, so the Dadoo is basically meatloaf on a bun. Pretty sure my dad used Heinz barbecue sauce, but the homemade stuff is better. (See our recipe for that on page 238 of Jenny’s book.) In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ pounds ground beef, 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, ½ cup of finely chopped Vidalia onion, a couple dashes of Worcestershire, and lots of salt and freshly ground pepper. Combine gently, as you want to preserve some of that loose texture of the meat. Grill over medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.

Reminder: Tell me your favorite part of the book (not on the comment field of this post, but through the official contest survey) and be eligible to win some pretty awesome prizes. You have until July 9 to enter so get reading!

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Forward March! Andy, My Drill Sergeant of Leisure

May 29th, 2012 · 24 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Travel

We are officially T-1 week for Publication Date of Dinner: A Love Story, and T-3 weeks til school’s out, so I thought I’d share a section from the book that is one of my favorites. It’s about the transformation my husband undergoes when we are on vacation.

When I was growing up, we never took typical family vacations. We never booked a house on the Cape for a week or went to Fort Myers in February; we never sat at the kitchen table with a map of the country circling national parks we wanted to visit like I imagined most families doing. Part of the reason for this was that my mother, once she found her calling as an attorney, turned into a workaholic— today, at seventy-five, as partner in her own law firm, she still works harder than all of her children combined—and, like all workaholics, she derives pleasure from work, thereby rendering the need to get pleasure elsewhere useless. (I’ve always gotten the feeling that she finds vacation from reading ninety-five-page contracts a whole lot more stressful than reading those ninety-five-page contracts.)

Another reason we never went on typical vacations was that my sister, Lynn, was a nationally ranked tennis player who competed in tournaments all over the country. Naturally, we’d all tag along with her on all of these trips no matter where they were—Charlestown, West Virginia, Raleigh, North Carolina, Indianapolis. They were always during July and August, and the organizers seemed to find some sick pleasure in selecting venues where the average temperature was a hundred degrees in the shade and never ever near a water park with one of those long, twisty mountain slides. But the truth was, I didn’t mind. I was ten, eleven, twelve years old. All I needed was a hotel pool to be happy.

But now that I am not a kid—now that I am a grown-up and I have kids of my own—vacation is a different story altogether. I need the pool, yes, but I also need a whole lot more. Most of the time I need a kitchen. I need a grill. I need to go to a place with lots to do. In fact, from the moment we arrive at wherever we happen to be vacationing, Andy and I are crafting ways to make sure we are squeezing the maximum amount of pleasure out of every moment of our waking hours. We take our vacations seriously. Before we have finished our morning coffee we have a plan for the day, one that usually includes exercise for the grown-ups (we usually tag-team our runs while the kids watch their morning TV), a large chunk of time in or near a pool or beach, some sort of afternoon adventure that involves exploring the local terrain (like a road trip or a hike or a bike ride), and of course, shopping for dinner that we will make in our own kitchen while drinking gin and tonics.

One morning when we were on vacation in South Carolina (where Andy’s parents have a house near the beach), the girls were finishing up watching an episode of The Backyardigans, and Andy looked at the clock.

“It’s ten o’clock in the morning and we still don’t have a plan,” he said.

“It’s only ten in the morning,” I said, taking a sip of my iced coffee that Andy had prepared the night before so it would be ready for us when we woke up.

“Yes, but we have a lot to do today.”

“We do?” I asked. The way he said it made it sound as if we were on deadline for something serious. “Like what?” (more…)

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Happy Memorial Day

May 26th, 2012 · 7 Comments · Grilling, Uncategorized


This is how much I worry about you guys — I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that I hadn’t written a single thing this week to help you out with a meal to kick off the best season of the year. We’re guests this year, but any of the dishes here would have certainly been gracing the Memorial Day table if we were in charge. Have a great holiday.

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Fava Bean Crostinis (that’s the loveliness you are looking at above)

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Burgers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Apricot-Rum Glaze with the Cabbage and Lime Slaw at the bottom of this post.

Grilled Summer Salad with Chicken

Grilled Lamb Chops with The Ultimate Spring Salad (I’d add some chopped mint) and how good does mayo-less potato salad look?

Fancy Hot Dogs from Bon Appetit. (And while you’re there, check out our column this month wherein Tony’s Steak goes bigtime!)

Baby Back Ribs with Fennel Slaw and Potato Salad

Grilled Vegetables with Haloumi

Andy would like to remind you to make friends with your chimney.

I would like to remind you that if you showed up to a BBQ at my house with a jar of  special sauce, you would be my friend for life.


Wherever you are this weekend, I hope you’ll be able to hit your farmer’s market. If you are really lucky, maybe you’ll even hit the market with one of these awesome Jane Marvel totes. Jane Marvel was the sponsor of last month’s newsletter giveaway and I’m pleased to announce that Beth M is the lucky winner. Remember, you have to be a newsletter subscriber to be eligible to win these giveaways — and trust me there are some good ones coming up. Special thanks to Jane Marvel and congrats to Beth!

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I’ll Take My Steak Rare, Cut in Microscopic Pieces

April 2nd, 2012 · 19 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Pork and Beef, Sides, Salads, Soup, Uncategorized

I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t call up about a line that Lisa Belkin wrote in the New York Times two or three years ago. In an article about overparenting and the self-esteem generation used to getting praise at every turn, she asked Are we raising kids who are prepared for college, but not for life? I think about it when my 8-year-old refuses to tie her cleats by herself because she likes the way her parents tie them tighter. I think about it when I read about Ramona walking to kindergarten by herself (or maybe with Henry) while we have a really hard time letting our 10-year-old walk home from a friend’s house around the corner. I think about it when I’m reading about 11-year-old Laura Ingalls helping Pa turn straw bundles into kindling in sub-zero blizzard conditions during The Long Winter. I think about it when I see my daughters’ ballerina classmates twisting up their own buns (complete with hair net and bobby pins), when I am picking up their rooms, and hanging their wet towels, and reminding them to pack their homework, and on “Steakhouse Night” when I’m cutting their filets into teeny tiny pieces because if left to their own devices they’d probably shove Buick-sized chunks into their mouths. Or at least that’s what I think they’d do. Since I’ve never trusted them to cut their own steak, I don’t really know what they’d do. And even though I wish I was a different kind of parent, the way things are going, I don’t think I’m going to find out any time soon.

Steakhouse Night
“Steakhouse Night” includes about 2 pounds of filet, Andy’s no-cream creamed spinach, and pretty much always takes place on a Saturday night. The only variable is the potato dish. This past weekend we did a rosti (or, as Abby calls it “the hugest potato pancake ever”) but nothing should stop you from switching it up with twice-baked potatoes or oven fries.

Grilled Steak

Generously salt and pepper four steak filets. Grill over medium-high heat about 5-6 minutes a side (depending on thickness) until meat is firm but not rock hard. Cut into microscopic pieces if serving to a child under 21.

Potato Rosti (or “Hugest Potato Pancake Ever” as Abby calls it)
This is the kind of thing you don’t really need a recipe for. If you have two or three baking potatoes you can make a thicker rosti; if you only have one, it will work fine, too. Just be sure to add the potatoes to the pan as quickly as possible after shredding to prevent the potatoes from turning brown. But if it does turn brown, fear not, they’ll still taste as good. They just won’t look as golden.

1 to 2 baking potatoes, peeled
1/4 to a 1/3  small onion
salt and pepper
vegetable oil and butter

Using a grater or the shredding attachment on a food processor, shred your potatoes and onion into a large bowl. If you have time, take a paper towel or dishtowel and pat the potatoes to soak up as much moisture as you can. Add salt and pepper and toss. (You can also get creative with add-ins here — herbs, shredded cheese, etc.)

In a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a tablespoon of butter. Add potatoes to the pan, spreading and pressing flat so it looks like a large pancake. Let sit for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges look golden and crispy.

Place a large plate on top of the skillet and, working carefully, invert pan so cake flips onto plate. Add a little more butter and oil to skillet and slide the cake back into pan, uncooked side down. Cook another 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Cut into wedges and serve.

Creamed Spinach

Thaw a box or a bag of frozen spinach by placing it in a colander and running warm water over it for a few minutes. Press down on the spinach to squeeze out all the liquid. In a small frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil and a half a large onion (chopped), salt, pepper, a few red pepper flakes (optional, as always). After about 5 minutes, add spinach and toss with onions until spinach is heated through. Sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons of flour (this will prevent curdling of milk in next step) and stir. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of milk (lowfat, 1%, whole…any kind but chocolate!) depending on how creamy you like your creamed spinach, and a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg. Stir until heated through and serve.



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Last Gasp

October 4th, 2011 · 6 Comments · Grilling, Quick, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup

We’re not the types who keep the Weber burning all year long — something just doesn’t feel right to me about grilling a leg of lamb while wearing a parka. Which means that this past Saturday night, when the sun was on its way down before the girls’ muddy cleats had been kicked off, may have just marked our final grilled fish dinner of the season. But it was a good one. (more…)

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Grilled Pizza

June 30th, 2011 · 33 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Picky Eating, Vegetarian

When it comes to summer cooking, we have a pretty strict family policy: Do everything you can to avoid turning on an oven. Which is all well and good except that it clashes with our other family policy: Eat pizza once a week. By pizza, we don’t mean the takeout pie from Tony’s on Main Street or the personal pans the kids get on Fridays at the school cafeteria. We’re talking pizza – made, when possible, with a homemade crust — that may or may not include cheese, is topped with fresh ingredients (potatoes and bacon, arugula and ricotta), and can bring even the most reluctant eater (e.g., Abby) to her little knees with gratitude. In our minds, pizza is the ultimate family dinner – you can have three entirely separate meals on one crust and still, if you close your eyes, pretend that you’re all eating the same thing. But to keep our strict family pizza policy intact this summer, we had to learn how to do it without turning on the oven. We had to learn to cook it outside. This took some doing. We burned a lot of crusts, and yet, we fought on, grilling pizza after pizza after pizza until we got it right. Here is what we learned.


1. Oil Everything. If the crust sticks to the grate, you’re done. Avoid this by brushing the grate and both sides of the crust with olive oil. (more…)

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Grilling for Dummies

June 29th, 2011 · 20 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Domestic Affairs, Grilling

I’m going to start this story with a personal note to my Women’s Studies professor from college: Please do not continue reading. OK are we good? Are we alone now? Because I’m about to venture into some serious damsel-in-distress territory here.

I can’t grill.

From May through September, I depend on Andy – my totally evolved, equality-minded husband – to be my dinner hero. I know I’m not alone – I know that this scenario plays out in backyards across the country and that the Weber remains a shady, unknowable realm to even my most kitchen-savvy women friends. But come on, this is 2011. How is this OK?

I know what you’re thinking – how exactly is it a bad thing that for four months out of the year, someone else is responsible for feeding Phoebe, Abby and me? (And feeding us well, I might add.)  I can only respond with this anecdote: Remember last year how I miraculously arranged my work schedule so I could take a two-week beach vacation? The girls and I headed out for the first week, then Andy joined us for week two. Fun, right? I thought so too until Night One, when I found myself setting the oven to 425° to prepare Abby’s favorite baked drumsticks. This is not the way to cook in the summer. On vacation. In South Carolina. In August. (more…)

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Holy Smokes

June 28th, 2011 · 15 Comments · Grilling, Posts by Andy, Rituals, Uncategorized

Beautiful, ain’t he?

I mean, if you can get past the dreary little jacket of rust, and the melted plastic handle, and the whipped-dog, eyes-averted, kind of sad posture of a guy that has been forced to spend his life outside, alone, on a patio. In the fall, he catches dying leaves and plays home to a colony of spiders. In the winter, he sits out in the snow, frozen at odd angles, working on his…patina. In the spring, he emerges again, only to spend the next few months as a makeshift goal post in backyard soccer games, or as a receptacle for garden shears, empty seed packets, and bug-hunting kits. But in the summer, this ugly little customer asserts his true greatness. He becomes the single most important piece of cooking equipment we own. And how I love him. (more…)

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A Fine Mess: Baby Back Ribs

June 27th, 2011 · 11 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Pork and Beef, Sides, Salads, Soup

I’ve gone on record saying that there is no such thing ever as a gimme meal when it comes to cooking for kids. But I’m just going to come right out and say this: If ever there was a gimme meal, these ribs are it.* Not only because they are so melty and gooey and quintessentially summer, but because they demand the complete abandonment of whatever table manners you have attempted to hammer into your children thus far. I think it’s the only time all year I encourage my girls to eat with their hands and get as messy as they want to. (It’s not like they’re ever more than 10 minutes away from washing up via pool/sprinkler/hose anyway.) (more…)

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We Went Off

June 20th, 2011 · 15 Comments · Dinner, Grilling

I was deep in dreamland on Saturday morning at 6:00 when the dog woke me up with her howling, but still, my first thought was Why am I so happy? And then: Holy s*%t did we rock dinner last night! Does that ever happen to you? When you are so pleased with the food you prepared for someone that the high lasts a solid weekend long? That’s what the past two days have been like for us — We grilled a feast for Andy’s parents on Friday and clearly, haven’t stopped patting ourselves on our backs for it yet. Andy was in charge of the leg of lamb (Abby: “It’s like steak, only better!”) which he cooked to perfection (not surprising, as you may remember, his report card indicated he aced Grilling) and I took care of the accessories: a wild rice salad, bright green fava beans smashed on crostinis, and a new take on Swiss chard. A chard that was so successful that the next day, Andy turned to me on the sidelines of Phoebe’s last soccer game and asked “Our defense is awesome today, no?” and then “What did you do to the chard last night?” I’m telling you, it will be hard to shake this one.

Grilled Leg of Lamb

In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup country style Dijon mustard, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 sprigs of rosemary, destemmed and roughly chopped. Whisk together and spread all over butterflied leg of lamb. (This one was 2 1/4 pounds.) Add salt and pepper and let sit for about an hour. Grill over medium-hot coals (Important: Do not put over high heat; mustard will get charred.) about 5 minutes a side for medium.

I could eat this entire platter.

Fava Bean Crostini

Remove fava beans from pods. (I had about four handfuls of pods.) Boil beans in water for about 2 minutes, then immediately plunge in ice bath. Remove each bean from its casing and add to a medium bowl. Add a tablespoon olive oil, frehsly grated Parm (wished I had Pecorino) a small squeeze of lemon, 1 sprig of mint (chopped) salt and pepper. Mash together until it’s the consistency you see above. You want it to be a little chunky. Spread on top of baguette toasts. (more…)

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How to Blow a Small Person’s Mind

May 31st, 2011 · 13 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Sides, Salads, Soup, Vegetarian

Abby: Mom, what’s for dinner?
Me: Grilled cheese!
Abby: For dinner????
Me: Yes! On the grill!
Abby: What? The grill?
Me: Yes! And without bread!
Abby: What the…let me get this straight. Grilled cheese made
outside on the grill with no bread? For…dinner?
Me: You got it. And we’ll have some chicken and vegetables on the side. (more…)

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How Lucky Are We?

May 18th, 2011 · 18 Comments · Grilling, Quick, Seafood, Sides, Salads, Soup

Have you ever stopped to think about how lucky we all are to be parents in 2011? Not just because DVD players are built into back seats or that iTunes offers a staggering selection of white-noise-for-baby songs (including vacuum!), but because cooking for our children is overlapping with the here-to-stay movement of cooking simple, fresh, food. I don’t know about you, but when I first decided I was going to teach myself to cook, I was picturing fancy and dreaming big. The recipes I gravitated towards involved lots of steps and artery-clogging ingredients. (I’m talking to you Silver Palate Tortellini with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce!*) Those were the meals that professional cooks made, right? I realize that Chez Panisse had been open for a full 20 years by that point in my life, but if you asked me who Alice Waters was when I was 22, there’s a 100% chance I would have told you she was the author of The Color Purple. The point is, we are so lucky that simple food equals good food, and that you can brush a little smoked paprika butter* on a piece of just-off-the-boat super-mild tilefish and have a sophisticated dinner that doesn’t necessarily alienate the kids. And that’s just what we did last weekend.

**Yes, I debuted it for Andy on July 16, 1993 and took notes.

*I loved every page of Blood, Bones, and Butter, but I think every page I dogeared mentioned smoked-paprika butter.

You can find smoked paprika in the spice section of most ethnic markets or at Penzeys.com.

To make the smoked paprika butter: Beat together 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick) with 1 tablespoon smoked paprika and a large pinch of kosher or sea salt until it’s blended together.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt your smoked paprika butter and pour into a heatproof bowl.

Grilled Fish with Smoked Paprika Butter
This is the second Sunday in a row that we’ve started off on a healthy note and I’m hoping to keep it up through summer. The formula is pretty simple: grilled seafood +  healthy grain + anything with kale.

Prepare Your Grill. Marinate a 1-pound piece of firm white fish (such as tilefish, swordfish, mahi mahi) in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. (Add the lemon only about five minutes before you grill.) Once grill is hot, grill filet about 4-5 minutes a side depending on thickness brushing smoked paprika butter as you go. (Fish is done when it’s firm to the touch with out being rock hard.) Remove fish from grill and brush one more time with butter. Serve with braised kale salad and herby barley salad (simple!) below.

Simple Barley Salad

Bring 1 cup pearl barley, (rinsed and picked over), a teaspoon salt, and 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes until barley is firm but cooked through. Toss with a few tablespoons chopped herbs (I used parsely, thyme), olive oil, salt, pepper, chopped scallions, and a squeeze of lemon (or tablespoon of white balsamic vinegar).

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Two-Minute Dinner

May 11th, 2011 · 12 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Grilling, Quick

I had the world’s greatest assignment for the June issue of Bon Appetit. I can’t tell you all the details because it hasn’t hit newsstands yet, but it involves summer and it involves rules and it involves cooking. I was putting the story together in the middle of February — during one of those stretches of bean-soup-making snow days — so I’m warning you in advance that you may pick up a strong undertone of dreaminess. (Does anything seem more romantic than summer cooking and al fresco dining when you are sitting in your kitchen wearing Uggs?) Anyway, today I want to talk about one particular nugget of dinner wisdom in the story. It went like this: “Always grill twice as much protein as you need. You’ll never regret having leftover chicken or steak when dinner rolls around the next night.” You know I’ve never met an advance-planning strategy I didn’t love, so that stuck with me all the way to the first night of grilling — a rainy April night when we actually had no business grilling, we were just so sick of the cold spring and just really really wanted grilling season to be…NOW. And so we christened the patio with our grilled chicken for people who hate grilled chicken (coming soon: a knock-out variation on it) and, of course, made twice as much. And on Day Two had all the makings of a delicious, healthy two-minute dinner.

Abby’s version of the dinner: Most likely the first Mediterranean platter in the history of the world served with Trader Joe’s Soyaki.

Grilled Chicken Mediterranean Plate

Place 4 whole wheat pocketless pita rounds on four separate plates. (Or tear pitas into pieces if you don’t think your kid wants the fully assembled sandwich.) Spread a generous layer of hummus (I like original creamy — none of that jalapeno or sundried tomato business) on each plate. Top with leftover pieces grilled chicken (about 3-4 pieces, sliced should be enough; or some shreds of storebought rotisserie if you didn’t grill last night), crumbled feta, salted cucumber (chopped), a little fresh thyme or oregano, a drizzle of olive oil, and freshly ground pepper.

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For a Limited Time Only

May 9th, 2011 · 7 Comments · Grilling, Pasta, Posts by Andy, Quick, Sides, Salads, Soup, Uncategorized, Vegetarian

It’s Mother’s Day morning, and Jenny is standing over me with her iPhone, timing me as I type this. The goal is to write this post in seven and a half minutes or less, which is exactly how long it took us to get this dinner going the other night. So: have you had ramps before? We hadn’t either, as of three or four years ago. Were they the same thing as garlic scapes? Were they spring onions? Did you have to cook them first? All we knew was, they were one of those slightly mysterious things we’d heard serious food types talk about rapturously every spring, but we’d never willingly eaten one, let alone cooked one in the comfort of our own home. Thanks to some generous friends upstate, who happen to have them growing all over their yard, all that has now changed, and we’re here to say: ramps freakin’ rule. They’re a fleeting, fragrant, oniony-garlicky vegetable, also known as the wild leek, that pop ups every spring for a few weeks (if you’re lucky) and then disappears. They look kind of delicate, like green feathers, but don’t be fooled; these things announce themselves, flavor-wise. We’re now among the geeks who look forward to their arrival, spend time tracking them down, and then eat as much of them as humanly possible over their limited engagement in our lives. (Jenny just announced that I am about to pass the five-minute mark. “Hurry,” she says.) Anyway, ramps: They’re embarrassingly (more…)

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Just Add Salt, Pepper, Lipitor

January 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments · Dinner, Grilling, Quick, Uncategorized

Phoebe proclaimed last Sunday her best day ever. It began with knocking around some tennis balls, segued into an indoor soccer clinic, then ended with lamb chops for dinner. And other than the moment of punch-in-the-gut sticker shock at the butcher (almost $40 for eight double-cut chops!!), Mom would have to agree. This is about as simple as it gets.

Grilled Lamb Chops

Bring chops to room temperature and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a stovetop grill or a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Cook turning fairly frequently, for a total of 10-12 minutes. (Note: Andy prefers single-cut because they take 6-8 minutes max and are more tender.) (more…)

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The Accidental Keepsake

September 27th, 2010 · 3 Comments · Grilling, Kitchenlightenment, Rituals, Seafood, Travel

Last week I forced myself to put together an iPhoto album from my massive file of summer vacation pictures. I try to do this once a season and enlist the girls help with caption-writing — the final product could rival a John Irving novel for how many exclamation points they make me use – and usually this is all I need to do to feel like I’ve sufficiently locked away the memories for safekeeping. But this time, I added a new album to the mix. It’s a collection of our “car quizzes” (above) which we’ve relied on as road trip boredom busters for the past few years. The quizzes are exactly as they sound: an assortment of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, or true or false questions about wherever we’re headed or returning from. My initial goal for the 828-mile trip back from South Carolina was to write a straightforward list of 100 things we did on vacation, but the girls, who have a sixth sense for dutiful, linear, decidedly un-fun games, of course refused, instead begging for quiz after quiz after quiz after quiz. It wasn’t until I got home and looked through all the questions that I realized I had a keepsake that was every bit as revealing as a boring old list.

The quizzes reminded me of so many moments that have already been pushed aside to make mental space for less lovely thoughts, such as Don’t Forget to Call the Oral Surgeon. Like the fishing trip (above) where the girls reeled in some sea trout (below). It was so fresh that all Andy had to do to make it memorable was add a little olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon before grilling to perfection.

Needless to say, more than a few questions end up being about food and dinner.

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Keeping the Flame Alive

September 10th, 2010 · 9 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Grilling, Quick, Sides, Salads, Soup

I think our “Grilled Chicken for People Who Hate Grilled Chicken” recipe has been the breakout dish of the season. And not only in your house as so many of you have mentioned — but in mine, too. I’d say we’ve served up some version of it at least once a week since June.

Which troubles me. I’m worried that it might become the Maque Choux of 2010. Maque Choux was this crazy delicious summer stew I found in Gourmet. It’s made with chicken and sausage and sweet corn, and if you haven’t ever made it, you should definitely remedy that matter as soon as possible. (Especially since fresh, sweet corn is disappearing rapidly.) When I met Maque Choux, I fell hard. We spent practically every Saturday night together for six weeks in the summer of 2002. With friends, with family, over candlelight. And then — you know how it goes — we flamed out. I look at Maque Choux’s photo now and feel nothing. Nothing except a deep sense of sadness and loss. We were so close once. What happened?? (more…)

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Summer Recipe Round-up

September 2nd, 2010 · 1 Comment · Dinner, Grilling, Time for Dinner: The Cookbook

We only have about 48 vacation hours left to squeeze in more body-surfing, spiral-honing, sandcastle-building, cannon-balling, shell-collecting, beach-snoozing (Mom), and bike-riding. But you have the whole month, starting with Labor Day to squeeze in a few DALS dinners you’ve been meaning to try out on the family all summer. Herewith, the best of summer:

Barbecued Chicken with Cabbage-Peanut Slaw (pictured below)
Sweet Salmon with Campfire Potatoes
Rigatoni with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Yogurt-marinated Grilled Chicken
Grilled Chicken and Vegetables Summer Salad
Grilled Flank Steak
Grilled Pork with Peaches
Grilled Whole Fish
Fettuccine with Corn and Bacon
Grilled Fish Tacos
Seven Summer Salads: Egg and Potato Salad, Beets with Goat Cheese “Fluff,” Classic Corn and Tomatoes, White Bean and Kale, Cabbage-Corn-Peanut Slaw, Soybean and Tomato Salad with Buttermilk Dressing
Grilled Lamb-burger Sliders
Grilled Tandoori Chicken Burgers with Yogurt Sauce

And from Time for Dinner:

Grilled Tandoori Lamb Chops (page 253)
Fish Tacos with Fruit Slaw (page 222)
Corn and Shrimp Salad (page 207)
Fresh Corn Spoon Bread (page 207)

See you next week!

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