Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time to Grill! (The best london broil marinade recipe)

Memorial Day Weekend at the Jersey Shore signals many things. For the locals like me, it signals lots of traffic on the weekends and our once lonely beaches crowded with folk from "up north", for several months. It signals the warm and balmy weather, and the date to plant the Big Boy tomatoes, pole beans and squash. For a foodie like me the most anticipated signal is the beginning of grilling season.

I have been trying to hone my grilling skills over the past few years. I used to be a gas grill man. Just step out onto the back deck, fire the grill and throw on the burgers, dogs or steak. It's quick and easy. However, grilling this way does not really add anything to the flavor of the food. So I made the switch back to old fashioned charcoal grilling. There are a couple of essentials for charcoal grilling. I got rid of my gas grill and picked up a Weber Kettle. I also picked up a fire chimney starter. Starting your coals this way eliminates the biggest objection to charcoal grilling which is taste of lighter fluid which can ruin the taste of a great steak. A fire chimney starter is a way to get red hot coals really fast. You put a sheet of newspaper in the bottom chamber of the starter and pile the charcoal in the top chamber. Light the newspaper with a match or lighter and about ten minutes later---searing hot coals. Another step that I took in my development as a charcoal griller was to buy hardwood chunk charcoal instead of briquettes. This kind of charcoal is more expensive, but it is worth the extra money.

Now that you have your grill set-up its time to grill and one my favorite things to grill is Savory Marinated London Broil. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Savory Marinated London Broil

1 4-7 lb. beef round for london broil (the oyster cut is the best if you can find it)

1/3 cup of olive oil
1 clove of garlic smashed
3 T ketchup
2 T soy sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Mix marinade ingredients together, pour into zip lock bag. Put London broil into bag and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Grill London broil until it is medium rare to medium (about 145 internal temp). Rest for 10 minutes. Slice thin across the grain of the meat. (This last step is especially important because if you don't the meat will be tough.)

Enjoy! Summer Essentials banner

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cavatelli with Broccoli

This is one of my family favorite recipes and one I developed on my own. You can find many different variations on this dish, but I think what sets this recipe apart is that it does not have a heavy and gloppy sauce. The secret is create the sauce by deglazing the pan with cooking water to the pasta and then enriching it with some butter and parmesan cheese. I think you will enjoy it.

Cavatelli with Broccoli (a Meyer family secret recipe revealed)

2 T extra virgin olive oil
A bunch of fresh broccoli chopped (usually the broccoli is sold with three heads in a bunch)4-7 cloves of garlic
one package frozen cavatelli
1 cup pasta cooking water
2 T butter
1/2 Parmesan cheese
a splash of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook pasta, being sure to reserve some of the water.

Chop broccoli. Saute in 2 T extra virgin olive oil. when broccoli is bright green make a hot spot in the pan and saute the garlic. Add about a 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam for about 5 minutes until broccoli is tender. Remove from heat.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan and deglaze the pan with about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Cook off most of the liquid. There should be a light sauce that clings to the pasta and broccoli. Add the butter and the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Add a bit more extra virgin olive oil just before serving.

This is a really quick, easy and inexpensive family supper.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's Rhubarb Time

Rhubarb is one the harbingers of spring and one of those seasonal items that makes this time of year special. We don't have rhubard growing in the back yard, but this past week we took a trip out to Columbus Flea Market in western Jersey and in the Amish bakery they were selling rhubarb for a dollar a bunch. I had my wife buy some so we could make some rhubarb bars, a recipe we picked up while we were living in Pennsylvania during my seminary days. I think you'll like it.

Rhubarb Bars


1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter

Combine ingredients and press into a 9x13 cake pan.


2 cups sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs
3 cups chopped rhubard

Mix the filling, spoon into the crust and bake for 45 minutes at 350.