Friday, January 25, 2013

Skirt Steak Marinade

The beauty of skirt steak is that it cooks quickly and the meat takes on the flavor of the marinade in as little as an hour.  Anything over two hours is marinade overkill (the acid will start to cook this thin cut meat and turn it mushy).  I found this recipe by Alton Brown and it infuses the perfect amount of flavor into the meat. 


1/2 cup - Olive oil
1/3 cup - Soy sauce
4 - Scallions (washed and cut in 1/2)
2 - Garlic cloves
1/4 cup - Lime juice
1/2 teaspoon - Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 teaspoon - Ground Cumin
3 tbsp - Brown sugar
2lb - Skirt Steak (cut into equal serving portions)
Canola Oil

1) In a blender (or using a hand blender), blend the olive oil, soy sauce, scallions, garlic, lime juice, red pepper, cumin, and brown sugar.  In a large zip lock bag, put in the pieces of skirt steak and marinade, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2) Remove the steak from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. 
3) Add canola oil to a cast iron skillet on medium/high heat and sear the steak on each side for 2-3 minutes.
4) Rest the meat on a cooling rack for 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute and enjoy. 

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Veal Scaloppini with Saffron Cream Sauce

Sunday dinner is an all out event - few things make me happier than trying a new dish (or having hours to make pork shoulder / beef short ribs).  After hitting up Trader Joe's / Fairway, I found a Giada recipe (I know the sacrilege, but it performed).


1lb - Veal Cutlets (pounded thin) 
3 tbsp - Unsalted Butter 
3 tbsp - Olive Oil
12oz - Cremini Mushrooms (sliced)
2 - Shallots (finely chopped)
3/4 Cup - White Wine
1 Cup - Beef Broth
Pinch - Saffron Threads
3/4 Cup - Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup - Peas
8 oz - Farfalle Pasta
Kosher Salt
Pepper (freshly cracked)
Lemon (squeezed over the pasta/veal)
Parmigiano Reggiano (grated)
1) Season the veal with salt and pepper. 
2) Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat.
3) Saute until golden for about 1 minute on each side and transfer the veal to a plate.
4) Melt 2 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in the same pan over high heat and add the mushrooms and shallots. Sprinkle with salt / pepper and saute until the mushrooms are golden brown about 8 minutes. 
5) In a separate pot, add the farfalle to boiling salted water and cook until al dente for 10 minutes (drain and set aside).
6) Add the wine, broth and saffron, and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half for about 5 minutes. 
7) Add the cream and stir often for about 4 minutes. 
8) Add the peas and season the sauce with salt and pepper. 
9) Add the veal and farfalle to the sauce and stir to coat.
10) Serve with Parmigiano and squeezed lemon.

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Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

Nature's perfect sauce is an egg yolk - it sits at the top of the food porn hierarchy and can get you salivating in seconds just thinking about its velvety viscosity.  What's more basic, simple, and delicious than a perfectly soft boiled egg?  Everyone has eggs and should be able to boil water.  I found the following recipe in Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Chef.  Enjoy!


1 tsp - Baking Soda (optional)
2 - Eggs
Drizzle - Truffle Oil
Pinch - Salt

1) Fill a pot with water, add baking soda (it makes the egg easier to peel), and get the water boiling.
2) Gently add the eggs to the boiling water with a spoon and remove after 7 minutes.
3) Run the eggs over cold water (to stop the cooking process and make them easier to peel), crack them on a flat surface, and gently peel the shell off.
4) Season with truffle oil and salt.  

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chuck Hughes' Short Ribs Recipe

I've tried countless short rib recipes and nothing is more satisfying than running your fork through short ribs that don't require a knife ("fork tender").  The secret is at least 3 hours of braising (you should also reduce the braising liquid to a thick sauce).  I prefer to use boneless beef shorts ribs from Whole Foods (Butcher Counter) - they are meatier, the fat is marbled and not a quarter inch of glob, and I hate trimming the gummy cartilage from the bone (for presentation purposes at the end).  Here is my take on Chuck Hughes' recipe.  This is not my "go-to" recipe, but what I love about it is it taught me to experiment with different flavor profiles (his use of cocoa powder / star anise / cinnamon and his omission of chicken/beef stock).


3 - Onions (coarsely chopped)
3 - Celery (coarsely chopped)
4 - Carrots (Peeled, trimmed, & cut into 2 inch chunks)
3 - Garlic Heads (cut in half)
2 - Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary (I prefer more than 2)
2 - Sprigs of Fresh Thyme (I prefer more than 2)
1 - Cinnamon Stick
1 - Star Anise
6 - Beef Short Ribs
2 - Bottles of Red Wine (I prefer Cotes du Rhone)
1 cup - Flour
1 cup - Brown Sugar
2 tbsp - Cocoa Powder
2 tbsp - Butter (unsalted)
Handful - Black Peppercorns
Kosher Salt
Canola Oil

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) In a large bowl, combine the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic.  Add the rosemary, thyme, star anise, and cinnamon stick (and set aside).
3) Trim the ribs of excess fat (you wouldn't have this problem if you got them from Whole Foods), season with kosher salt, and dredged in flour.
4) In a dutch oven, pour in enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  On medium/high heat, add the ribs to the hot oil and sear them on all sides.  Remove the ribs and set aside.
5) Add the vegetables from the bowl and stir to caramelize.  Add the meat back to the pot and pour both bottles of wine over the top.  If the wine does not completely cover the ribs/vegetables, add water.
6) Add the cocoa powder, brown sugar, and peppercorns and bring to a boil.  Once it is boiling, cover with a lid, and put in the oven for 3 hours.
7) Remove the ribs, strain out the solids, and reduce the braising liquid by half to make a complex sauce.  Once the sauce is to your liking, add butter, and reheat the ribs in the sauce.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Simplest Thin Crust Pizza Recipe Ever

Nothing makes me happier than preparing a quick, delicious, and easy lunch using 'leftovers' in the fridge.  It doesn't get any thinner than a flour tortilla, plus who wants to mess around making dough or rolling store bought dough.  The recipe is simple, but the taste is complex: the prosciutto gives a subtle meaty saltiness, the shallot adds a light onion flavor without an overbearing dominant onion taste, the egg yolk is nature's perfect sauce, and the sauce/cheese join everything perfectly together. 


1 - Mission Brand Flour Tortilla (burrito size)
1 - Egg
1 - Shallot (chopped)
Prosciutto (torn)
Basil Leaves (torn)
Tomato Sauce (I had phenomenal sauce leftover)
Trader's Joe's Quattro Formaggio Cheese Blend
Kosher Salt 

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the tortilla on a cookie sheet and spread tomato sauce with a spoon and sprinkle the shallots, prosciutto, and cheese evenly.
2) Crack the egg in the middle of the pizza and be sure to season it lightly with salt and pepper.
3) Bake it for 15 minutes (or until the egg is fully set and cooked).
4) Garnish with basil.

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Scarpetta Spaghetti Recipe

Only in New York will you find a $26 burger (Minetta Tavern), $1,000 ice cream sundae (Serendipity 3), $10 grilled cheese sandwich (Morris Grilled Cheese Truck), and $24 spaghetti (Scarpetta).  Scarpetta's spaghetti is life changing - the beauty of the dish is in its simplicity: spaghetti, tomato sauce, and basil.  I came across (and modified) the following recipe from Food & Wine magazine (by Roy Choi) that attempted to recreate Scarpetta's recipe.  I love his addition of a mushroom stock and pureeing the fried garlic to make the flavor of the tomato sauce complex (its a far cry from sacrilegious Prego or Ragu).  

4oz - White Button Mushrooms (thinly sliced) 
2 heads - Garlic Cloves (peeled) 
2/3 cup - Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 
2 - 28oz  San Marzano Tomatoes (whole)
16oz - Spaghetti
Kosher Salt

(freshly ground)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Basil Leaves (torn)
Parmigiano-Reggiano (
Freshly grated) 
1) In a saucepan, bring the mushrooms and 3 cups of water to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat for one hour until the broth is reduced to 1 cup. Strain and discard the mushrooms.
2) Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the garlic and olive oil to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the garlic is golden for 30 minutes.
3) In a stock pot, bring the tomatoes and the garlic and oil to a boil. Add the mushroom broth and use an immersion/hand blender to puree the sauce until smooth (if you don't have an immersion blender, in small batches, us a blender and hold the top of the blender with a kitchen tower to prevent the top from exploding on your kitchen wall). Bring the sauce back to a boil and simmer over moderately low heat for 1 hour. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. 
4) Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the spaghetti and return to the pot. Add 2 1/2 cups of the sauce and cook / toss for 1 minute. Transfer the spaghetti to bowls, top with basil, and serve with grated cheese. Mangia!

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