Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pan-Roasted Porterhouse

Suggested by a recipe at Cook's Country™ for slow-roasted beef. The salt marinade is similar to the method for "koshering" beef -- but the loin is never used. The salt both flavors and tenderizes by dissolving muscle proteins, mostly myosin, I would guess. Prepared January 23, 2010.

Cross-Cut Porterhouse Roast 
with Haricot Vert and Roasted Potatoes
2 inch thick Angus Porterhouse, about 2-1/2 lbs
1 T olive oil
1 T kosher salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
garlic granules, to taste
1/4 c brandy
2 T butter
2 T capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
1 t fresh thyme
1/2 c light cream
To cook at 6 pm, start at 10 am. Rub salt evenly on all surfaces, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate about 6 hours. Let steak warm to room temperature. Wipe surfaces carefully with a paper towel to remove excess salt and dry the meat so that it will brown and crust in the oil. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Saute in 12 inch oven proof sizzling hot saute pan over medium-high heat in olive oil. Will be smoke, so turn on range hood. About 5 minutes a side, until nicely colored. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven to finish cooking. For medium-rare, remove to a platter when temperature in the middle of the steak reads 118 to 120 degrees F (about 48 C). Tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. While meat is resting, prepare the sauce. Deglaze pan with brandy, then whisk in the butter, a bit at a time. Off heat, add the seasonings and whisk in the cream. Bring to a slow boil for a few minutes to reduce. Carve into thin slices across the grain by turning pieces of the steak on the side (see Note). Coat slices in sauce and arrange on a dinner platter. Serves 4. Suggested sides:
haricot vert braised in butter and tarragon
oven-roasted yellow potato wedges with rosemary and olive oil
Note: Muscle fascicles in the loin run mostly front-to-back and Porterhouse steaks are cut transversely. Thus to produce the tenderest mouthful of beef, it should be cut en face. That is, bone out the steak, cut into large pieces, turn sideways, and cut thin slices across the surface with a very sharp knife. This also separates the well done from the rare. Take your pick.

Tuna-Helper Helper

Recorded January 28, 2010. Fresh broccoli boosts flavor and noursishment.
1 pkg Creamed Broccoli Tuna Helper™
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 cup milk
1 7-oz can albacore tuna, including pack water
3 T low-fat soft margarine
2 T dry minced onion
1/8 t crushed red pepper
1 stalk of broccoli
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Prepare Tuna Helper™ according to package directions except include the dry onion and crushed red pepper. Cut the broccoli into bite-size piece and microwave two minutes on high and set aside. When the noodles have five minutes more to finish, add the par-cooked broccoli, and continue cooking until it's just tender. Fold in the cheese, cover, and wait 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken. Serves four.

Easy-Open, Crunchy Pistachios

Recorded January, 31, 2010. Mild heat makes them even easier to open and crisps and refreshes the nut meats.
approx. 1 cup dry roasted pistachios in the shell
Preheat toaster oven to 250 degrees F (120 C). Spread nuts in a single layer in a metal pan. Roast 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Shell and reserve meats. Keep in a dry cool place.

Friday, January 22, 2010

REVIEW Byrd's Barbecue

Byrd's Barbecue
2816 Cheek Rd
Durham, NC 27704
Phone: (919) 530-1839
M to F, 7 am to 7 pm
In short: Solid, savory, and cheap. $/***1/2.

Originally posted February 2009 to triangle.dining Usenet group. Son Jon and I lunched today (Wednesday) at Byrd's. An online comment mentioned that they offered a ribs or brisket special on Wednesdays. Who could resist? The place is on Cheek Rd., less than a mile east of the Cheek Rd. exit off US-70. On the right, you will see a simple single-story building with plenty of parking surrounding. A sign on top indicates they have been smoking meat since 1959. No pig statue evident anywhere!

Just inside the front door you enter a simple cheerful dining room, brightly lit by many windows. C&W plays quietly on the boom box propped above the vinegar assortment and plastic tableware. To order, pass through the dining room to the counter behind and place your order. They offer both sandwiches and plates. Desserts too. We both ordered the rib plate special. Includes two sides and free bottomless ice tea.

Take a seat in the dining room (almost empty at 2 pm), and the counterman will deliver your food when ready. Each plate held generous portions of ribs, the sides, and pups. The ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, meaty, and moist. Lightly dressed with a tangy sauce, tomatoey and slightly sweet with molasses with a mild smoke flavor. The green beans were simply seasoned with salt and pepper and appeared to NOT be slick with fat back. I also ordered "fried corn on the cob". Sounds like a state fair item but turned out to be very tasty with a caramelized color and flavor. Frying rescues frozen corn! The pups were crisp, fresh out of the fryer, and slightly sweetened. The tea was homemade and delicious. Son ordered the ribs too, but had mac and cheese and fries as sides. Said the m&c was "gooey", that is, very good. He pronounced all MOST acceptable. Plates were $7.99, including tea. I took half of it home with me for later.

As we left, I ducked in to tell the counterman and the cook how much we enjoyed their food. Both were conspicuously grateful. I promised to put the good news online. Here 'tis. Y'all come.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rigatoni, Sweet Italian Sausage, & Peppers

Prepared January 20, 2010.
1 lb sweet Italian sausage, bulk or removed from links
2 T olive oil
2 T tomato paste 

1 t fennel seed
2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1 c sweet red peppers, cut into large irregular pieces
1 c sweet green peppers, cut into large irregular pieces 

1 leeks, white part only, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 T finely minced garlic
3/4 c red table wine
26 oz container prepared marinara sauce
28 oz can diced tomatoes
about 1/2 c pasta water
2 t salt

1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c fresh basil, torn into pieces
1 or 2 lb dry rigatoni, depending on desired yield
Heat olive oil in a heavy 6-quart sauce pan over medium-high heat. Cut or tear the sausage meat into bite-size pieces and fry in the oil. When nicely browned, clear a spot, add a bit of oil, then toast the herbs and tomato paste for a minute and then add the peppers. As they begin to color, add the leeks and onions. After a minute or two, clear a spot and add the garlic. After 30 seconds, mix into the vegetables. Continue frying until they begin to soften. Add the wine, and scrape up the fond. When reduced by half, add the tomatoes and marinara sauce. Fast simmer covered at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Add salt, pepper, and basil when done. Boil the rigatoni in plenty of salted water until al dente. Mix the drained pasta with about the sauce adding pasta water as necessary. Alternatively, cook only 1 pound of pasta, and reserve half the sauce for later use. Simmer for a few minutes to finish cooking the pasta. Drizzle on some nice olive oil. Pass grated Parmesan cheese. Serves a crowd.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Abbrev. Used in this Website

t        teaspoon; 5 ml
T        tablespoon; 15 ml
oz      ounce; 30 ml as a volume, or 28 g as a mass
        cup; 8 oz (~24 dl) by volume

qt      quart; 32 oz, scant liter (0.96 L) by volume
AP      All-Purpose (unbleached flour)

EVOO  extra-virgin olive oil
lb       pound; 454 g

Orangeade by the Quart Quickly

Recorded March 18, 2006. March! Already warm! Less acidic than straight juice but thirst quenching.
12 oz cold water
4 oz ice
2 T sugar
2 c prepared orange juice (Simply Orange™ is hard to beat)
To a one-quart plastic bottle, add the water and the sugar, shake until dissolved, add ice, and shake until it's melted. Bring to the 4-cup mark with orange juice, and mix gently by inversion (to reduce loss of vitamin C by oxidation). Chill. Serves 2 to 3.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuna Noodle Hot Dish

Prepared and recorded January 14, 2010. An improv lunch.
8 oz package elbow macaroni
1 can cream of mushroom soup (Campbell's™ of course)
about 1/2 can of milk
1 5 oz can chunk light tuna with pack water
2 T dried minced onion
1 small can mushrooms with pack water
2 roasted piquillo peppers, diced
1 t Frank's RedHot Original Hot Sauce™
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese
Preheat toaster oven to 325 ºF. Boil noodles for about 12 minutes in two quarts of well-salted water, until just tender. Drain well. In the same saucepan over medium heat, combine all the other ingredients except the cheese. Mix well, stir in the cooked noodles, and heat through. Transfer to an 8X8 inch metal baking pan. Sprinkle on a generous layer of parmesan. Bake 30 minutes uncovered. Let stand about 15 minutes at room temperature before serving. Serves 3 to 4.

Onion-Tomato-Cucumber Salad

Onion-Tomato-Cucumber Salad
Inspired by the small salad served in tomato season at Bullock's, Durham's beloved "meat + three" restaurant. Marinade adapted March, 2008 from a recipe on

2 oz vegetable oil (To double: 1/2 c)
1 oz apple cider vinegar (1/4 c)
1 t salt (2 t)
1/2 t ground black pepper (1 t)
1 t sugar (2 t)
1/2 t dry minced parsley (1 t)
1/4 t mayonnaise (1/2 t)
1/4 t Dijon mustard (1/2 t)
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 large ripe tomato, cut into large cube
1/2 large sweet onion, blossom cut through poles
Combine the marinade ingredients, except for the oil, in a Good Seasons bottle; cover and shake well. Let stand 10 minutes; add oil and shake vigorously. [The mustard and mayonnaise help stabilize the suspension.] Combine vegetables in a serving bowl. Pour marinade over vegetables, combine, and refrigerate 2 hours before serving, turning occasionally. Keeps well in refrigerator for a day or two.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cheese-Onion Grits

Inspired by Elmo Barnes' 'world's best grits' as served at Cousin Martha's B&B in Beaufort, NC. First prepared January, 2010. A novel, lump-free method was introduced in April, 2020.
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 T olive oil 
1 c water
1 c milk
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup stone-ground grits
1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 T grated parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
Saute the onion in the oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the water, milk, grits and and salt and bring to a fast simmer with constant stirring. Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens to a creamy texture, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Lower heat as needed to control splatter. Off heat, stir in the cheddar cheese until well combined and then the parmesan. Serve at once. Serves 4, as part of a 'country breakfast', sausage, grits, fried eggs, coffee, and OJ. Variation: Saute the kernels and cream from a large ear of sweet corn with the onions.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dorothy's Stewed Meatballs

Reconstructed by DrDaddy from Phyllis Pliskow's hand-written notes recalling Dorothy Magid's recipe. Recorded 18 November 2005.

Carrots, Onions, Celery, Peppercorns, and Allspice Simmer
4 onions coarsely cut through the poles (Note: preserves structure)
4 large carrots coarsely cut
1 cup cut celery
about 1/4 c ketchup (see Note)
3 allspice berries + 6 peppercorns (put in cheese cloth or tea ball)
1 T salt
Place ingredients in an 6-quart pot, cover with water, bring to boil,
and then simmer covered until onions are soft.
1 lb ground sirloin
1 large onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, mashed
about 1/2 cup matzoh meal, or dry bread crumbs, as needed to form balls 
salt, pepper, garlic powder
3 white potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 c cabbage, coarsely chopped
Form small meatballs with wet hands. When broth is ready,
raise heat to a boil and add the meatballs, cabbage, and potatoes.
Simmer slowly, partly covered until potatoes and cabbage are tender.
Remove spices before serving. Serves 6 or more.
 Dorothy with cigarette in Phyl's garden
That is, about what can be rinsed out of an "empty" bottle, or to taste. What triggered our mom to make this dish, which we all loved, was when the Heinz ketchup bottle reached the state where no amount of robust thumping of the overturned bottle would coax any more out.