Monthly Archives: August 2012

Dave’s 3S Rub and Flank Steak


I love rubs.  I will post my favorite rib recipe at some point which is purely a dry rub prep.  This rub can be used for steaks, chicken, even sprinkled on grilled vegetables.  Here we go.

2 T Paprika

2 T packed Brown Sugar

1 T crushed Red Pepper (again I use Turkish red pepper here)

1 T lightly crushed Cumin seeds (use a mortar and pestle)

1 T lightly crushed Mustard seeds (use a mortar and pestle)

2 t Kosher salt

1 t Thyme

1/2 – 1 t granulated sugar

1/2 – 1 t Garlic Powder (or two cloves minced fresh garlic)

It should look something like this…

I used a 2 pound flank for this and had rub leftover.  Press the rub into the steak all over…

And let sit at room temperature for at least and hour (you can also refrigerate for 2-8 hours).  It should be glistening by now…

I used my little indoor grill for this prep and it worked fine.  Cook for 8 minutes on medium-high heat for medium doneness (or cook to internal temp of 160).

The outside should get nice and crispy and caramelized a bit due to the amount of sugar in the rub.  Let sit for ten minutes (look at the juices).

Slice and enjoy!


The Grilled Atheist

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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Cooking, Grilling, Recipes


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Panko breaded tomatoes and zucchini.


Very quick and easy recipe, and you can utilize your goodies from the garden.  Grab a zucchini and a tomato, like so…



Slice into 1/4 inch rounds, like so…



Now, I’m not usually one for cutting corners.  But I was feeling exceptionally lazy and particularly hungry this morning.  So I just wanted to get the job done.  Mix together panko breadcrumbs and whatever savory spices you like.  I love using panko for this as the breadcrumbs are larger and give a really nice crunch to offset the soft vegetable.  I used the Italian Herb grinder as well as granulated garlic and onion.  If the breadcrumbs seem too big, crush them somewhat as you mix everything together.  Set up a breading station, two or three eggs (beaten) in one bowl and the panko mixture in another.



Heat some vegetable oil in a skillet (medium high heat).  Dredge the tomato and zucchini rounds in the eggs, let residual drip, then bread both sides and gently lay into the oil.



Allow to brown for a couple of minutes per side, then lay on a paper towel to rid the excess oil.




The Grilled Atheist













Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Cooking, Ingredients, Recipes


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Favorite Smells.

The olfactory system is a primitive and complex part of the human brain.  From an evolutionary standpoint, humans seem to have lost a significant portion of this sense comparative to other mammals.  Many mammals sense of smell is millions of times more acute than humans.  Despite this, our amazing olfactory system can distinguish among 10,000 different odors.

It is linked very closely to the sense of taste (remember holding your nose while eating brussel sprouts as a kid?).  As part of the limbic system, it is also tied closely with memory.  Ever notice how certain smells not only bring back a memory but also and emotional state?  I distinctly remember walking into my son’s school and the smell of the hallways instantly transported me to my first grade elementary school…I mean, I felt like I was there.

Just for fun I decided to post some of my favorite smells.  Those things that don’t just smell good, but evoke some kind of emotion as well.

Fresh cut grass

A well stocked spice cabinet

Meat on the grill

Sesame oil – Weird, I know.

The air after a summer rain


A bookstore with really old books.

Well, those are some of mine.  Please feel free to post yours.



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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Random Thoughts, Science


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This is a great paste to slather on your favorite cut of meat.  I personally like it for flank or skirt steak.


1/3 cup oregano


1 1/2 T Red pepper flakes


Mix these together in a bowl along with one cup of warm water.  Massage and let stand until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.


Add in 1/2 cup of chopped flat leaf parsley, 4 minced garlic cloves, and 1/2 t salt.  Stir in 2/3 cup (or more) of olive oil, mix well, and let stand for at least an hour to let the flavors meld.  Season with red wine vinegar, or more garlic, salt, or oil to taste.


Then put the paste on your flank steak, grill, and serve with some remaining Chimichurri on the side.




The Grilled Atheist









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Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Cooking, Grilling, Recipes


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Egypt II

So I just watched and episode of “Louie” called “Duckling: Part 2.”  The premise is that he is on a USO tour in Afghanistan and his helicopter goes down due to mechanical problems.  They’re in the middle of nowhere and are approached by locals.  At first the situation is hostile, then due to Louie becomes friendly.  They all end up spending time together despite language and culture barriers.

This made me completely nostalgic, and I wanted to post one of my writings from when I was in Egypt.  I think the message is that our world is small, and that we are more alike than different.  We should embrace this fact.  We should venture into the world and meet people.  Explore other cultures.  Be open to the world around us…

Egypt II

My shoes are covered with dust.

I bought them at Track and Trail, a nice brown pair of Merrell hiking shoes. “Do they look ok?” “I guess so,” says the sixteen year old saleswomen. “My dad has a pair.”

After cruising at an incredible pace, dragging the kids to ride on camels, seeing the Pyramids, the Sphinx, enduring drives through Cairo, walking in the desert heat, and pressuring them to catch a flight, I now sit on a plane flying from Cairo to the fabled Luxor. This is the second round trip I’ve made across the Sahara, this time on the eastern side of the great desert.

Upon reflection about coming to Egypt, I cannot help but remind myself that I never thought I would see this place. Not so much from a financial perspective, but more so a political one. “Is it safe for Americans to travel there?” seems to be a typical mantra of many in our country. Now, being here in this culture, seeing the sights, meeting the people, I am disappointed with the presupposition that I would never have come to this place for that line of reasoning.

Everyone we meet is gracious and kind.

Our guide to the Pyramids is a Professor of Egyptology. He is young and has the patience of a Saint, kids running, laughing, screaming, crying in the background as he tries to tell us details of the magnificence we stand before. “It is ok, I hope to have children someday too. It is nice to see you in Egypt.”

Everywhere we walk in Luxor is the same game as elsewhere. But they say, “where you from? Europe?” “No, the US.” “Obama! We love Obama! You look strong. You have sons. You have beautiful family. Welcome to Egypt.”

“We love America!” My driver to the airport says. Mahmoud, his English strained, tells us of the changes that he has seen in Egypt, and of the things that he finds curious about the visitors he meets. “Me? I am proud to be Egyptian. We controlled by many people, English, French, Turkey, for many years. We get freedom in 1950’s. I am proud. My people build great things. My people build Pyramids. We build on the Nile.” Impressive indeed. “Americans, dey come to Cairo, dey do not like it. Busy. Traffic. Maybe dirty. But the people are too kind. It is safe. Everywhere. My wife, she can go out at night. Kids out at night. No worry. You go out at night. No worry. Everyone help you if you need. People can eat. If you have a lot of money you can eat good. If you have one [pound] you can go and eat. If you have no money you go to place and say, ‘I have no money,’ and you can eat. At Ramadan, at night, after work, free food. You go out, everyone go to place where dey bring much food. You understand?”

I understand.

Everywhere we go there are people of two types, rich and poor next to one another in stark contrast. The poor in this country are very poor indeed. But they help each other. And people help us when we need it. A man helps us down stairs with the stroller. Another picks up a child’s binky cast away from him for the tenth time. There are those who look for what is called baksheesh, not unlike a tip. This, though, is for doing something that you didn’t necessarily want but that was nice anyway. The customary amount varies but is usually around $1USD. You understand when you see many who have nothing, but don’t necessarily want to beg for something.

We are at the seat of civilization and we see many people. We are on the little train at The Valley of the Kings. It takes us from the ticket booth to the vast walkway housing the tomb entrances. There is a couple in the seat behind us, Saudis, the man in shorts and a polo, the woman in a full, black burka covered head to toe, the son probably five sits quietly. The man laughs loudly, “KHALLEN!” We recognize each other from the plane, and he remembers my son. We all laugh and smile. His wife smiles, I can see it in her eyes. “This my son Khallen.” I have no idea how to spell his son’s name. But our sons separated by vast distance and culture and language share something. I am humbled. “You come to Saudi Arabia some day.” “I will, and you come to the US.”

I look at my shoes covered in the dust of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. They’ve followed the steps of the Priests that carried a Pharaoh to his tomb in the Great Pyramid. They’re covered with sand from a great desert. They’ve walked through the Valley where ancients were buried. Maybe some day they will be covered with sands from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere.

Every time I think the world is unfathomably big, it becomes smaller still.

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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Travel


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Positions in The French Kitchen


Who knows.  It’s how my brain works.  Maybe it’s because I was watching Ratatouille with my kids, but I was interested in all of the positions in the French kitchen.  Turns out there are 27 of them altogether…  The system was created by the legendary chef and innovator of Haute Cuisine, George Auguste Escoffier.

It’s a rather complex, and presumably archaic, system.  And although most kitchens are based on this ranking idea, very few have every position.  So, here they are:

Chef de cuisine (Kitchen chef)

Sous-chef de cuisine (Deputy kitchen chef)

Chef de partie (Senior chef)

Cuisinier (Cook)

Commis (Junior cook)

Apprenti(e) (Apprentice)

Plongeur (Dishwasher)

Marmiton (Pot and pan washer)

Saucier (Saucemaker/Sauté cook)

Rôtisseur (Roast cook)

Grillardin (Grill cook)

Friturier (Fry cook)

Poissonnier (Fish cook)

Entremetier (Entrée preparer)

Potager (soup cook)

Legumier (Vegetable cook)

Garde manger (Pantry supervisor)

Tournant (Spare hand/ roundsman)

Pâtissier (Pastry cook)




Boulanger (Baker)

Aboyeur (Announcer/ expediter)

Communard Garçon de cuisine.

Whew…  Well if it works.  All I know is that I’m going to refer to myself as a “Grillardin” from now on…


The Grilled Atheist

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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Cooking, Random Thoughts


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To all of my atheist, agnostic, secular, freethinker, humanist friends.  There are a couple of conferences coming up that you may be interested in.

The first is the PA State Atheist/Humanist Conference in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, September 28-30th:

This conference will unite a number of organizations in Pennsylvania and proves to be a wonderful time with a ton of great speakers.  It’s inexpensive ($50 for a weekend ticket) and if you live in PA you should definitely think about attending.

The second is NAPCON, the annual convention for the National Atheist Party.  More politically driven, this also promises to be a wonderfully informative conference.  It will be in Boston, October 5-7th.  NAP’s mission statement is “The National Atheist Party (NAP) seeks to politically represent U.S. atheists and all who share the goal of a secular government by gathering the political strength of secularists nationwide while being guided by the values of secular humanism and evidenced-based reasoning.”

If you are so inclined then GO!!!



Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Atheism, Politics


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The Last Pork Chops You’ll Ever Make…

To quote Homer Simpson:

“(Lisa) “I’m going to become a vegetarian” (Homer) “Does that mean you’re not going to eat any pork?” “Yes” “Bacon?” “Yes Dad” Ham?” “Dad all those meats come from the same animal” “Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!””


“Porkchops and bacon, my two favorite animals.”

After this recipe I will never prep pork a different way again.  In researching some well known chefs many say that you should always brine pork (especially chops).  So I did…and so should you.

Grab three bone-in double cut pork chops.

Prepare the brine: Boil 2 quarts of water.  Add in 3/4 cup each salt and sugar to dissolve.  Take off of the heat and stir in a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary, 1 T mustard seeds, 1 t whole peppercorns, and 1 t coriander seeds.  Add about 2 quarts of ice and stir to dissolve.  Allow the brine to cool completely.  Then place the chops in the brine and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

This is my little pork chop aquarium…

Remove the chops after brining and pat dry.  Allow to come to room temperature.  In a large skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of oil (canola, sunflower, etc).  Brown the chops for about four minutes on each side.

Then add 2 T butter to the pan, melt and baste the chops constantly for about 5 minutes (turning the chops every couple of minutes).

During the last few minutes of cooking add in one crushed garlic clove, and a sprig each of fresh rosemary and thyme to infuse the basting juice.  Continue basting.

Cook to an internal temperature of 125.  Remove from the pan and let sit for about ten minutes.  Baste again with the pan drippings if desired.

I guarantee that you will never cook chops any other way again…


The Grilled Atheist

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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Cooking


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Bacon Meatballs!

Everything is better with bacon.  A mantra to live by.

Short entry, and will keep you guessing a little bit on the recipe.  Mostly because meatballs are a very personal thing.  As with many recipes, people take their meatball creations to the grave.  But here is the one that I modified and love. (Sorry about the photo quality).

Dice and fry your bacon.

Drain grease, let cool, pat dry several times, and crunch into bits.

The basic ingredients for mine are ground beef (85%), ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, eggs, flat leaf parsley, fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt.

Mix thoroughly but not enough to take the fat out of the meat.  Roll into little golf ball sizes packages of love.


I think you’ll be very pleased with the addition of the bacon.  I promise…


The Grilled Atheist

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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Cooking, Grilling, Recipes


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