Grilled Dry-Aged Steak [Giveaway]

I’m giving away some beef today.  Are you ready for this?

Grilled-Dry-Aged-Steak2 And not just any beef.  I’m giving away a WestRidge Big Steaks package, including two Boneless Ribeye Steaks, and two T-Bone Steaks.  We’ll get to the giveaway details in just a bit.  First, let’s talk MEAT.  WestRidge Beef specializes in high-quality, dry-aged, antibiotic-free, hormone-free beef products.  Raised outdoors in a stress-free environment, their cattle are fed only natural products like grass, grain and hay.  I’m giving you these details, because they all have a major positive impact on flavor.  I got to sample a number of different steaks from WestRidge, and they are all so, so delicious.

This recipe for Grilled Dry-Aged Steak features two of WestRidge’s beautiful t-bones.  These steaks are dry-aged for 21 days, concentrating the flavor (as a result of moisture loss), tenderizing the meat, and adding rich notes of nuttiness and umami.  The dry-aging process also modifies the aroma of the steak, amping up the beefiness while adding a funky note similar to blue cheese.  I should also mention that these steaks are reddish-brown, rather than the bright, vibrant red you see with supermarket steaks.

Seasoned simply with flaky sea salt, these dry-aged t-bones are quickly seared on a screaming hot grill, adding savory flavors of caramelization, smoke and char.  The steaks then rest for 10 minutes in a golden butter bath infused with garlic, rosemary and thyme.  I need to tell you that these are some of the best damn steak I’ve ever had.  Tender, juicy and incredibly flavorful.  Once you learn this technique, you’ll want to cook all of your steaks this way moving forward.  Continue reading for the recipe plus a WestRidge Beef giveaway.

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Grilled Tri-Tip with Green Garlic Salsa Verde

I’ve got some exciting news to share!

Grilled Tri Tip with Salsa Verde For the next few months, I’m partnering with the new Jimbo’s… Naturally! located at Westfield Horton Plaza on some seriously tasty and organic recipes.  Jimbo’s… Naturally! is a local San Diego business that focuses on high quality organic and natural food.  Their new location at Westfield Horton Plaza is a beauty!  In addition to a juice bar, deli, and bakery, they’ve got a sizable selection of organic produce.  The green garlic I discovered in the produce department was the inspiration for this Italian salsa verde.

To showcase some of the products found at Jimbo’s… Naturally!, I put together this recipe for Grilled Tri-Tip with Green Garlic Salsa Verde.  Organic, grass-fed beef tri-tip is quickly marinated in a sharp blend of garlic, rosemary, lemon and olive oil.  The roast is then placed on a searing hot charcoal grill to develop a wonderfully charred, caramelized crust, and finished over indirect heat to keep the center tender and juicy.  After a brief rest, the tri-tip is sliced against the grain, and served with a Green Garlic Salsa Verde.  This vibrant condiment is made with fresh parsley, garlic, red chile, capers, lemon and olive oil.  Bright, fresh flavors permeate both the beef and the sauce, making them a perfect combination for any summer barbecue.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Jorge’s Bacon Cheeseburgers

Ok so I have a fun little treat for you all today.

Jorge's Bacon Cheeseburger If you weren’t already aware, my sweet, adorable boyfriend is Jorge.  One might think that because I am a food blogger, I do all the cooking in the relationship; however, that is not the case here.  Jorge loves to cook as well, and today, I’m sharing one of his best recipes for Bacon Cheeseburgers.

His burgers start with a mix of freshly ground beef chuck, short rib and bacon.  Sharp cheddar cheese is then worked directly into the burger blend, allowing the cheesy tang to permeate the burger.  These handcrafted patties are then thrown on a hot charcoal grill where they get wonderfully charred.  As the burgers cook, the bits of cheese throughout get all melty and gooey.  Stacked between a toasted brioche bun, this bacon cheeseburger is finished with our favorite toppings: butter lettuce, heirloom tomato, red onion, pickles, mayo, mustard and ketchup.  Let.  me.  tell.  you.  This burger is ridiculously delicious.  Each bite is incredibly juicy with big, bold flavors that can easily stand up to all of the toppings.  This is your burger for summer 2014.  Continue reading for the recipe plus some comments from Jorge!

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Carne Asada

April is one of my favorite months in San Diego.

Carne Asada Tacos

Often characterized by its warm to hot days, and crisp, vibrant sunsets, April in SD is just beautiful.  It’s like a taste of summer months in advance.  I take every opportunity I can get to engage in backyard grilling, drink cocktails as the sun dips into the Pacific, and escape to the beaches on Coronado for an afternoon getaway.

Recently, I’ve been obsessed with making my own Carne Asada.  Spanish for “grilled meat,” Carne Asada is a traditional Mexican dish, and recipes can vary greatly from region to region.  After asking several of my Mexican friends and co-workers how their families prepare Carne Asada, I came up with my own method, using different parts from each family recipe.  Thin steaks are marinated in a flavorful bath of garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, spices, citrus, vinegar, olive oil and Mexican beer for 4 to 8 hours.  The marinated beef is then thrown onto a searing hot grill, and cooked until tender and smoky.  The finished meat is incredibly flavorful with a bold citrus punch.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Zinfandel Short Ribs with Goat Cheese Polenta and Mixed Herb Gremolata

Zinfandel Short Ribs Can you even believe that Christmas is just 3 days away?  Where did the Holiday season go?  Well, I’ve managed to get most of my gift shopping done; however, I have yet to bake a single cookie or prepare any edible gifts for my coworkers.  AND I’m just finishing up all of my cards today.  Luckily they say “Happy Holidays”, so they are still relevant if they show up some time between Christmas and New Years ;).  I know you’re probably thinking: #firstworldproblems, but I have certain traditions I like to do each year, and it makes me a little sad if I don’t get to all of them.

This year, Jorge and I will be going up to LA on Christmas Eve to have dinner with his family, and then we’ll be driving back to SD on Christmas day.  Christmas dinner will be for just the two us.  Even though I’m not hosting a blowout party (like Thanksgiving), I still want to make our Christmas dinner special.

It’s during times like these when I need to prepare a standout meal with minimal effort, that I’m glad I have this Zinfandel Short Ribs recipe in my back pocket.  Zinfandel Short Ribs are fairly easy to prepare, the ingredients aren’t fussy, and the beef can be cooked a day in advance.  Goat Cheese Polenta and Mixed Herb Gremolata, the all-star accompaniments, come together easily an hour before dinner.  And really, who doesn’t love a good braised short rib?  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Marinated Flank Steak Salad with Feta and Arugula

Flank Steak Salad with Feta and Arugula I love a good flank steak salad.  First, flank steak is fairly inexpensive.  You can get a pound of meat without breaking the bank.  Second, flank steak cooks sooooo quickly.  8 to 9 minutes under the broiler, and you have a beautifully rare slab of meat.  Finally, flank steak is easy to master.  Just know that when cooking flank steak, it’s best to leave it rare or medium rare.  And when slicing flank steak, you need to cut across the grain.  Both of these practices will result in a juicy, tender steak (vs. a chewy piece of shoe leather).

I like to test the doneness of my steak by using the poke method.  Start by gently poking the top of the steak (at the thickest point) with your index finger.  If the act of poking leaves an indent in the steak that doesn’t spring back to place, it is too rare.  If the indent springs back, it is rare to medium-rare.  If the steak feels firm, then it is medium-well to well (aka overcooked).  This method takes a little time to get down, but just keep practicing.  By the way, if you are one of those people who likes their steak well-done, I wouldn’t recommend cooking flank steak.

In this recipe, flank steak is quickly marinated in olive oil, lemon, garlic, cumin, and sumac, then broiled until the surface is slightly charred.  Slices of tender pink meat are then arranged on a platter, and topped with arugula, scallion, parsley and chunks of salty feta, dressed in the tangy marinade.  This is a perfect weeknight meal that also holds up well for lunch the next day.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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4th of July Recipes

Beer Marinated Tri Tip The 4th of July was one of my favorite holidays growing up.  Each year, my parents would take me and a few of my close friends to Philadelphia for an afternoon of eating, sightseeing and celebrity spotting.  One year, we saw Rosa Parks!!  She was actually getting on a bus.  I was always so enthralled with the energy coursing through that city on the 4th of July.  You could feel the excitement.

Later in the evening, my friends and I would watch our hometown fireworks from someone’s backyard.  Fireflies blinking in the warm, dark summer air.  The back patio wet with pool water.  Hot dogs sizzling on the grill.  Tradition.  That’s what the 4th of July means to me.  I love the sense of tradition with friends and family.

Since moving to San Diego (far far away from my hometown and Philadelphia), I have had to establish some different traditions.  Summer flavors, backyard grilling, afternoon cocktails and bayside fireworks.  Cooking for friends and loved ones.  I do miss those old traditions, but I am also excited for the new ones.  Below is a collection of recipes perfect for a 4th of July bash.  Some of these recipes are from Independence Day celebrations of years past.  Some are recipes I’ll be making again in a few days.  I hope you enjoy :)

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Paleo Recipes: Week of May 13

Coconut Yogurt With posts like this and this and this, you may have thought I was off the Paleo Diet.  But that’s totally not the case.  I’m still going strong :)  I did put on several pounds after my trip to NYC though.  With dining destinations like Le Bernadin, The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, Eataly, Baked and the Momofuku Noodle Bar, it was close to impossible for me to follow Paleo guidelines.  But I don’t go on many vacations throughout the year, so I was totally fine with breaking the rules.  I’ve got three recipes below that have helped me get back on track.  They’re easy to prepare and packed with flavor.  Each recipe also has a richness that makes you forget the fact that you are eating diet food.  Citrus Avocado Dip, Coconut Yogurt, and Chorizo Meatloaf recipes below.

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How to Grind Meat in a Food Processor

Ground Chicken

With all of the diet changes happening in my life right now, I’ve become very aware of what I am putting into my body.  A month ago, I came down with a bad stomach bug after eating some homemade turkey burgers.  While I can’t exactly pinpoint the problem food, I am certain it was the ground turkey I got at the supermarket.  Since then, I’ve been grinding my own meat at home.  Now I did happen to experience a fair amount of weight loss from the stomach bug, so perhaps I should continue on eating the supermarket ground meat?  Really, I’m just two stomach bugs away from my target weight.  But, I’d rather not use up any more sick days at work for the same issue.  Also, it always seems like ground meat products are in the news wrapped up in some sort of scandal: recalls, salmonella, E. coli, and even horse meat!  So I’m going to stick with grinding my meat at home.  And let me tell you, the process couldn’t be easier.  Continue reading for the method.

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Paleo Recipes: Week of March 18

Chicken Larb1 If you haven’t been following along over these past 6 weeks, I’m on the Paleo Diet.  And I need to start by saying I’m now down 13 pounds!  This weight loss is purely from changing my diet.  I have yet to start working out.  I actually hate working out, but I know I need to get started soon.  Over the weekends, I’m still allowing myself to enjoy non-paleo foods (like Homemade Crème Fraîche).  This really helps to keep me on track during the week.

The paleo recipes I’ve got for you today are:  Flank Steak Salad, Chicken Larb and Green Soup.  These three recipes are packed with flavor and easy to prepare any day of the week.  Also, the leftovers are just as tasty the next day for lunch.  When I eat food that has big, bold flavors, I easily forget that I’m on a diet.  Continue reading for the recipes.

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