Sunday, June 27, 2010

Let's Go Giants... Gimme Some Garlic Fries!!!

It's summer in the bay area which means while the rest of the country is enjoying sunny, warm weather; we here in San Francisco are waiting out the foggy, breezy weather for our true summer to hit; which usually isn't until about September. We do have a few sunny, warm days here and there which I think makes us even more appreciative of those warm hidden gems amongst the masses of fog.

On the warm days that the hubs, hounds and I aren't rushing to Stinson Beach, one of the things I love to do is spend the day at the ball park. Clearly, I'm running out of days to spend at the ball park in SF before we move to the farmhouse so I took advantage of one of the warm days this weekend and met up with a very old friend to go watch the Giant's lose to those darn Red Sox. Now, I'll be honest, I really couldn't care less about baseball and even had to ask the hubs who won the game as we were leaving the park last night but what I do care deeply for are the Gilroy Garlic Fries that I feel no visit to AT&T park is complete without. Lucky for me, I can still enjoy garlic fries at the farmhouse, sun or no sun, now that I've stumbled upon the exact recipe used at the ball park. 

Gilroy Garlic Fries

oil for frying (vegetable or canola)
4 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup fresh minced garlic
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Cut potatoes into 1/2 inch to 3/8 inch thick fries. Heat oil in a heavy duty or cast iron pot to 360 degrees. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Remove from pan and add to bowl. Mix well with salt, pepper, and thyme. 

The potatoes should be fried 3 times for best results. In batches, place the raw fries into heated oil for 90 seconds. Remove and let drain. Drop fries again for 90 seconds. Remove and let drain. Drop fries in one more time, this time for 60 seconds or until fries are crisp and golden brown. While fries are still warm, toss with garlic mixture. 

Photo and recipe adapted from Garlic World

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pretty Little Piglet

The best thing by far, about living and working in the beautiful city by the bay is the food! There are new, delicious restaurants popping up all the time and I just can't get enough. I've been trying to be really good with not eating lunch out since buying the farmhouse but when The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen opened up a short 10 minute walk from my office I couldn't help but succumb to its sexually cheesy advances. I finally got the chance to fall hard in love with a grilled cheese sandwich today that goes by the name of Piglet. It really couldn't have been any more perfect. Unfortunately, I can't yet provide a recipe for the deliciousness that is Piglet so for now, I'll provide the components. But I promise to work on my very own version and will post once it's perfected.

2 perfectly cut slices of country style rustic levain
beautiful tillamook sharp cheddar cheese
2 giant slices of artisan cured ham
a dollop of apple mustard
and finally, all fried up in rosemary butter

Let's just say, today, I died for a pretty little Piglet!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vermont Cheese Alert: Grafton Village Maple Smoked Cheddar

I swear, my love affair with cheese grows by the minute! I can't get enough. I just have to share with all of you a beautiful cheddar I discovered this weekend and it comes from the great state of Vermont- where else?! It is Grafton Village's Maple Smoked Cheddar. It's not a stinky cheddar which you mild cheese lovers will be very happy to know and the smoking adds just enough smokey flavor but doesn't overwhelm the creaminess of the cheese. All in all- it's deliciously cheesy and absolutely cheese plate worthy! I think it'd be really great with apples- grilled cheese and apple sandwich, anyone???

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The North Country Delicacy known as Michigans- not from Michigan!

It's summertime and the livin is easy! One of the greatest things about summer is BBQ's. I love every single moment I get to spend outside and there is nothing better than hangin out with friends on a warm sunny day with the grill on enjoying a nice cold beer (or 2!) and some grub. The best thing about BBQ's and summer time in the North Country, where I was born and raised, are michigans- and no, I am not from Michigan! I'm from a tiny little town in upstate New York, right on the Canadien border, in an area that is dubbed The North Country by those who call it home.

If you ask anyone from The North Country about michigans they will know for sure what you are talking about and will probably even have a family recipe to share. If you ask anyone else, they will have no idea! To sum it up, it's basically meat sauce for hot dogs. Looks-wise, think chili dog. Taste-wise, think a million times better than a chili dog! So in an effort to spread the deliciousness that is michigans, I will gladly share my family's recipe for the best north country delicacy there is!

Michigan Sauce

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups tomato juice
1 can tomato paste
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp garlic
1/4 tsp chili powder
crushed red pepper to taste
2 tbsp sugar

In a large saucepan add onions and cook over medium-high heat till tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned. Add tomato juice, tomato paste, worcestershire, garlic, chili powder, pepper and sugar. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer 30-45 minutes.

Serve on hot dog. Add chopped yellow onion and yellow mustard as desired.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ad Hoc Grilling: Rubbed and Glazed Pork Spareribs

It's been a little while since I spoke about our dream farmhouse in Jersey. Things are moving right along but I'm trying not to jinx it by talking about it too much. Assuming things continue to go as they have been, we plan to start our move back east the weekend of July 4th... and I CAN'T WAIT to see our farmhouse again!

One of the things we took as a sign that our farmhouse was indeed our farmhouse when we first went to visit it was the gorgeous cookbook placed ever so perfectly on an end table in the dining room right next to one of the leopard chairs. Now, the hubs didn't know much about the cookbook but noticed the cover which pictures a chalkboard drawing of a pig, which he took as a sign due to well, I shouldn't have to tell you- Pretty in Pork- our nest egg! I, on the other hand, know all too well of this cookbook. It is Ad Hoc at Home by the infamous Thomas Keller, which is at the top of my need to own cookbook list. Thus, after gallivanting around SF one day with my cute friend Su Chin, she brought me to the most amazing bookstore- Omnivore Books (an all cookbook book store- needless to say, I died inside!), where I found and purchased my very own Ad Hoc at Home.

Last weekend, we attempted our first Thomas Keller dish and it was delish! The hubs actually made this one because it was BBQ ribs and well, he is the BBQ master (or so he likes to think). It was the perfect Memorial Day grilled dinner.

Rubbed and Glazed Pork Spareribs

1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 slabs pork spareribs (each about 3 pounds), cut into 3 bone portions

Combine all the rub ingredients in a medium bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub spareribs on all sides with the rub. Put on a baking sheet and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours.

Preheat your grill, about 20 minutes, with half the grill on high heat and leave the other half off so you can cook first on direct heat then move to indirect heat.

Place ribs meat side down, without crowding, on the hot section of the grill and cook about 2 minutes, until grill marks appear. Turn ribs 90 degrees to make a crosshatch pattern and cook 2 more minutes, or until well marked.

Transfer ribs meat side up to the cool section of the grill. Close lid and cook until tender but not falling off the bones, about 2 hours. Move ribs around after the first hour so they cook evenly. The temperature of the grill should remain at about 250 degrees.

Cut spareribs into individual ribs and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

Modern Housewife Tips:
1. Thomas Keller's recipe doesn't call for BBQ sauce. The hubs likes his ribs with just the dry rub but I on the other hand like them glazed with a little sauce at the end of cooking. It's fine to glaze them if you are like me, but like Mr. Keller says- be sure to use a BBQ sauce with some dignity!
2. When making ribs the hubs often starts off cooking the ribs wrapped in foil. They were good directly on the grill, but we've found that they retain more moisture when starting them off in foil. This is all about your personal preference though because you'll loose that crispiness from the grill marks if you use the foil.

recipe adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home