Besting Bon App: Double Grilled Salad

I rarely like to write about recipes I read in magazines. I tend to think that if it passed the editorial muster of print publication, my skills of improving upon it usually fail. However, once in a while I manage to get it right and when I do, I like to share. I’m a giver like that.

A couple of weeks ago I had a couple of friends over for dinner. One of them is a picky eater — yes, I sometimes think to myself, why do I bother to have these types of friends at all, let along invite them over to eat? I was cooking chicken and I wanted a simple, but fresh and summery side, and I came across this Bloody Mary Tomato Salad in July’s Bon Appetit. I made this salad to the letter, and it was delicious, my guests loved it. But there was something not right. I gave it some thought and decided to make it again, this time over July 4th. Again, I was hosting, so I increased portions and changed it up some. And again, my guests loved it, all 15 of them. To see what changes I made, keep reading.

 

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Happy Grilling Season! Endless Simmer’s Top 10 Favorite Things to Cook Outside

Not that we wait until Memorial Day to pull out the grills, but the unofficial start of summer does mean it’s time to start getting serious about BBQ season. Need some help? Here are Endless Simmer’s top 10 favorite things to throw on the grill.

10. Grilled Pickles

Just trust us on this one, it works. Grilled pickles.

9. Grilled Pizza

Any pizza is better with a few char marks. Grilled pizza recipe + the perfect pizza dough recipe.

8. Grilled Ribs

Of course you already know if you have a beautiful rack like this, it’d be a sin not to cook it on the grill. But you don’t have our secret hoisin sauce BBQ ribs recipe. Now you do.

7. Grilled Sweet Corn with Chili Lime Butter

This one doesn’t need any sales pitch, does it? Grilled corn on the cob with chili lime butter recipe.

6. Grilled Sliders with Onion Marmalade

Why eat one burger when you can have 14 tiny ones? Grilled sliders with onion marmalade recipe.

Next: Our Top 5 Favorite Things to Cook Outside

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Top 10 Things to Eat Before the End of the World

It’s no secret that May 21, 2011 is Judgment Day—the end of the world—as so eloquently articulated (or do we mean ridiculously predicted?) by Family Radio Worldwide’s Harold Camping. Here at ES, we think the best solution to eminent annihilation is to indulge at one of our favorite foodie destinations. And if some of us survive, at least it’ll be easier to get a reservation.

10. English Pudding All Night

The stickiest way to finish up your time on Earth is at the  Three Ways House Hotel in Gloucestershire, England, where they have created the Pudding Club, an “end of the world” experience where you can indulge in a tasting of no less than seven puddings, from oriental ginger to jam roly-poly, and even stay the night in a pudding-themed bedroom. Talk about going out with a bang.

9. Salt-Baked Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon Butter and Anchovy Mayo

Chef Megan Johnson at Elsewhere Restaurant in New York City has created a deceptively simple dish combining the best of all things fatty, starchy, salty and creamy—all the palette pleasers you’ll miss when forced to live on dirt and ants if you’re lucky enough to survive.

8. Mexican-Style Street Corn with Cotija Cheese and Ancho Chile Powder

Austin’s La Condesa restaurant not only serves up more than 100 varieties of blue agave tequila (an essential for pre-Judgment Day partying), but also offers this signature south-of-the-border street corn side dish. If the world really were ending soon, we’d start covering every vegetable we eat in cotija cheese and chili. (Photo: Shelly Roche)

7. East Mountain Pork Live Paté

A beautifully decadent house-made paté is accompanied by onion confit and rye toast at Mezze, a classic bistro and bar nestled in the Berkshires with views straight to heaven. (Photo: Gregory Nesbit)

6. 1949 Chevalier-Montrachet Maison Leroy

Our bomb shelter of choice would have to be the St. Regis Deer Valley’s wine vault, stocked with more than 1,000 different rare labels. Acclaimed sommelier Mark Eberwein recommends popping one of these 60-year-old whites for your last night on earth. (Photo: My Wines and More)

Next: Top 5 Things to Eat Before the End of the World

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Meatless Monday: Will You Go Meatless For A Day?

Here we go again: conflict in the Middle East and the discussion incessant bitching about gas prices. I can hardly wait until the summer travel season. With a barrel of oil topping $100 for the first time since 2008 (my muscles start to twitch as I remember this era of my finance career), it’s a great time to talk about why our industrial meat system burns my bacon. I still wonder out loud why the average person hasn’t made the broad connection between meat consumption, the environment and the world’s resources.

Mark Bittman got it right three years ago in his New York Times article Rethinking the Meat Guzzler:

Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.

As 925 million people in the world suffer from malnutrition he points out the following:

…about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, according to Rosamond Naylor, an associate professor of economics at Stanford University.

This brings me to my question: will you go meat free for a day?

There are a swath of Meatless Monday participants around the country including Baltimore Public Schools, Sodexho, and University of California Davis. The effort, started in 2003, is in large part directed at public health (heart disease and high cholesterol), but I would argue that we should take a moment to examine our eating patterns.

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There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Husky

I was running late for work the other day and realized I didn’t have time to make lunch.  The forecast of sleet and snow all day pretty much assured that I wouldn’t feel like going out to grab something midday so I pulled a few tamales from the freezer and was out the door. It wasn’t until I had unwrapped my first pickled jalapeno tamale that I realized, I had not written anything about  my efforts to make them a few weeks ago!

Depending what part of the country you are from, tamales may be easy to purchase at local restaurants and markets but I assure you that in upstate Pennsylvania, that is not the case. Thankfully part of my family is originally from south Texas so tamales have been part of many holidays and family gatherings growing up. I still get blamed reminded about the first family gathering with Wifey when I forgot to tell her to not eat the husk.

Tamales are as much about the time and comraderie that goes into making them as they are the rich, flavorful and sometimes spicy result. Years ago, I put no thought into how they were made but lately, I have  made a point in figuring out  a pretty decent version. Slightly intimidating due to the time required, if you take the time to try, you can easily test them in small batches and come up with all sorts of tasty combos. This last time we went with pickled jalapeno and peanut chipotle chicken varieties. The basic prep is below but feel free to play around with these true  hot pockets.

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I’ll Take that as a Condiment….

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Salsa! Like any good condiment — ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, sriracha, horseradish, kimchi, hot sauce, chutney, etc… — we’ve all got a jarred version in the cupboard that we turn to when needed to cover up a dish that would otherwise be a mistake. But a good condiment shouldn’t just enhance our food, it should also be good enough to stand alone.

Salsa, of course, just means sauce, and can come in many varieties. At their best, they’re straight-forward to make, but their beauty is in the abundance of fresh local ingredients available this time of year. Here are my four favorite recipes using the season’s great tomatoes, tomatillos, avocados, corn and more…

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The Second Life of Corn Chowder

I don’t know why I had such a limited view of corn usage. Corn = grilled corn on the cob. That’s all. But then I let it pop and brown in hot oil and butter and threw it in with kale and roasted tomatoes for a salad.

I bought another four ears but did not have a plan of attack. And then I saw a corn chowder recipe over at Macheesmo. I never made corn chowder before, and I’m pretty sure I hadn’t followed a recipe all summer, so as the unofficial end of warmth approached last week, I fell in line and replicated a proper summer soup.

With the leftovers, however, I refused to simply reheat. Instead, I recreated a hotter, fattier soup and a slightly soggy frittata.

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Corn Chowder Frittata

I think I botched this up, as I rushed to the broiler instead of letting the egg cook longer in the oven. I whipped one egg with hot sauce, salt and pepper. Then poured that over corn chowder leftovers, stirred it together and put the entire mixture into a pre-heated, buttered cast iron pan. Then I added sliced tomato to the top, with more salt and pepper and then slid it under the broiler. And waited and waited and waited. The mixture browned nicely on the top, but remained slightly soggy in the middle. I think cooking this in the oven for 15-20 minutes and then finishing in the oven, with a late addition of crumbled feta on top, would have worked better.

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