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Tomatillo Salsa

This is soooo easy, you will never buy Tomatillo Salsa again.

This is a Tomatillo.

It’s our green tomato to the south.  Wonderful for salsas and sauces.  You can find them here in some specialty grocery stores and Mexican markets.  Don’t be intimidated by this guy.  It’s very easy to cook.  For this recipe you will need:

1 Pound of tomatillos

1 Spanish onion

3-4 garlic cloves

*3 serranos (see note)

1 bunch of cilantro

1 lime

1/4 cup of chicken or vegetable stock

*Note: Depending on how hot you would like the salsa, the number and type of pepper can vary.  I used three serranos with half the seeds taken out of each.  And my salsa was SPICY.  Now I like spicy food so that was ok for me.  If you want it less spicy you can 1) use fewer peppers, 2) de-seed all of the peppers, 3) use jalapenos instead (serranos are 10K-23K on the Scoville scale while jalapenos are 3.5K-8K), or 4) omit the pepper altogether.

First, take off the husk surrounding the tomatillo.  They’ll be sticky.  Don’t worry, this is normal.  Just rinse in a colander until the residue is gone.

Then cut the tomatillos in half through the equator, quarter the onion, half the pepers, and lightly smash the garlic.  Place all of these items on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper (place the tomatillos skin side up).

Place under a broiler on high heat for about 5-7 minutes until all of the components begin to char slightly.  Don’t worry if some of the pulp from the tomatillos liquifies…it’s all going into the blender.

Let these cool slightly.  Place all of the tomatillos, onion, peppers, and garlic in a blender or food processor.  Add in a “bunch” of cilantro (just tear off a good handful), the juice from one lime, the stock, and a little more salt and pepper.  Blend on med-high until mostly smooth with some chucks left (be careful please if you’re blending while warm).

Enjoy with chips, tamales, eggs, on salad, etc.  Quick, easy, wonderfully tasty.  Cheers!

The Grilled Atheist

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2012 in Cooking, Recipes

 

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Smashburgers!

OMG.  You may never want to cook a burger another way again…

In making the smashburger (no relation to the restaurant) you’ll be utilizing a different technique.  Making the burger on the griddle instead of the grill.  This will ensure that you keep all of the juices in the meat.  Makes for a ridiculous taste sensation.

The burger:

I don’t care what you put in it…  Make the burger any way that you would like.  Most of the time I don’t even measure anymore when I make burgers.  I just kind of know how much of what that I like to go with the meat.

In the bowl I start with a lightly beaten egg, add in the ground chuck (this is about 1.75 pounds), and then I put in “shakes” of Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, granulated onion and garlic, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Mix thoroughly but gently.

Roll into 1/4 pound balls.  Slice onion into 1/8 – 1/4 inch slices (rounds).

I have a great cast iron stove top griddle that I like to use.  Otherwise use a large cast iron or other pan.  Place the griddle on the stove and put gas on high.  Grease pan (oil or Pam).  Place each ball of meat on the griddle with enough room to be smashed into a patty.

Cook that way for at least three minutes, then SMASH each ball into a patty.

Cook for a couple of minutes on each side for medium-rare (3-4 minutes for medium-well).  Meanwhile place a small amount of butter on the pan and an onion round on the butter.  Flip after 1-2 minutes.

When the hamburger is done place the patty on the onion round for another minute…  This step is critical!  It allows all of the good, heavenly juices to drain down into the onion.

Place onto a warm bun.  Top how you’d like.  I’m a purist, so just mustard for me please…

If it’s not the richest juiciest burger you’ve had…then you did something wrong and shame on you!

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

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

 

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Book Review – The Dog Stars

 

 

 

 

Just finished The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Knoff, $15.56 at Amazon.com).  Man.  What a fantastic novel.  Similar to The Road by Cormac McCarthy by a little less gruesome and a little more optimistic.  No spoilers given.

 

The story is post-apocalyptic in nature, taking place in the not too distant future after a virus wipes out 99.9% of humanity.  It revolves around Hig, his dog Jasper, and his somewhat unstable “friend” Bangley.  Hig and Bangley live at a rural air station, and have been there for almost ten years after the fall of humanity.  It is a story of their survival.  Their sometimes pressed but necessary relationship.

 

Just reading this makes me wish that I had an iota of the writing talent of Heller.  The prose is fluent, introspective.  Just a couple of examples:

 

“Is it possible to love so desperately that life is unbearable?  I don’t mean unrequited, I mean being in love.  In the midst of it and desperate.  Because knowing it will end.  Because everything does.  End”

 

“Grief is an element.  It has it’s own cycle like the carbon cycle, the nitrogen.  It never diminishes not ever.  It passes in and out of everything.”

 

“Life and death lived inside each other.  That’s what occurred to me.  Death was inside all of us, waiting for warmer nights, a compromised system, a beetle, as in the now dying black timber on the mountains.  And life was inside death, virulent and insistent as a strain of flu.  How it should be.”

 

If you like McCarthy, Hemingway, or post apocalyptic stories go out now and grab this…you won’t be able to put it down.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2012 in Books

 

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Dave’s 3S Rub and Flank Steak

3S = SAVORY.  SPICY.  SWEET.

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!

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.

 

 

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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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

Popcorn

A bookstore with really old books.

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

Cheers!

TGA

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

 

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Chimichurri.

 

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.

 

 

Enjoy!

The Grilled Atheist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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