Thursday, July 25, 2013

Marinated & Grilled Flank Steak

           He is at it again, Grill Master Matt (GMM) is continuing on his BBQing journey. For me, this has been one tasty trip so far!

            This week I picked out a cut of meat I wanted to try and found the marinade recipe below via Pinterest. Through doing this, I also learned there is a difference between Flank and Skirt Steak. Yes, I know, you also thought they were the same. They are not:

Flank: sometimes labeled “London Broil”, lean and wide cut, marinating a must
Skirt: long and ultra-thin cut, cooks quickly, marinating optional

            The cooking time difference was crucial for GMM as he was reading the recipe that used Skirt Steak, not what I bought. He attempted to grill it for the recommended 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare and what we were left with was something that I swore could have moo’ed! While he mumbled a few choice words and grabbed his meat thermometer (his new bf), I wrapped up all the sides to keep warm and let him go out and continue to grill and do his thang….

            About 10-15 minutes later, after checking the internal temp of the steak, he was ready to bring it in. Thank goodness because foil can only do so much to keep stuff warm and well, I’m not going to lie, I was kind of  flippin' hungry!

            What a masterpiece he made us. I loved every forkful from the charred ends to the tender middle cuts. The marinade was key here for depth of flavor. The meat itself, although cooked expertly ;), was basic in nature. The intense spice flavor we had was one to remember. The pineapple juice permeated just enough to offer a little sweetness while the red pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce evened everything out. When you’re making the marinade, you might think the amount of dried basil is ridiculous. I say this because I had to reread the recipe to make sure I wasn’t making Basil Flank Steak! Anywho, the amount was right so no worries my friends.

            I highly recommend this recipe to you. I’d say go with either a Flank or Skirt steak too. Watch your cooking times though and be sure to marinade overnight! In other words, grab your meat thermometer and get whisking tonight! Enjoy…

Marinated Flank Steak
Serves: 4
Slightly adapted from The Chew

OBJ: TCW be able to let Grill Master Matt take over dinner

1   Flank Steak, 2 lb
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/3 Cup Pineapple Juice
2 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp Onion Powder
3 TBS dried Basil
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 cloves Garlic, minced

1. Combine everything but the steak in a large bowl using a whisk
2. Add steak and make sure the entire steak is covered. Marinate in refrigerator overnight
3. Preheat grill to medium-high
4. Season the steak generously with salt and fresh ground pepper
5. Grill the steak for 8-10 minutes per side for medium rare/medium. Use a meat thermometer to cook to your desired temperature then remove from grill and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing
6. Slice against the grain and enjoy


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Co Pizza, NYC

Co. Pizza

Final Grade: B

            More pizza, Gina?!? I know what you’re thinking, believe me I do. But even after eating way too many slices aboard The Pizza Patrol  or writing this review, or that review, or a Jersey Bites review , I always find myself craving a pie. Having visited the majority of the ones in good ol’ Jersey, lately I’ve been wanting some city pizza. Something about them sort of having their own genre if you will of pizza, I have a list of places I need to get to. I won’t bore you with that list, just know that for one, you can definitely find those places in my pal, Mr. Genovese’s newest book,  Pizza City and for two, I set my standards high. :)  

            So while I was in NYC last week for a blogging event, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to hit up one of the places I wanted to try.  It doesn’t take much anything to get Hubby to try a pizza place so after he stepped out of work and subway’d himself to meet me, we headed to my choice of the night. Co. or as the website states, Co Pane, was our destination.
            Nestled in Chelsea, this small and simple space, serves up some well known slices. When we arrived, although it was early, I was still a bit nervous about the lack of patrons. To me, when I don’t see a full restaurant or at least a more on the occupied-side than not one, I tend to have doubts. Apprehensively, I brushed aside my worries and took a seat. Within 30 minutes, I was glad I made that decision, let me continue….

            We started with order of their Truccione Sar Bread with Ricotta ($6). My oh my, if you are anti-carb, you need to let loose and indulge here. The darkened rustic and charred bread was hearty and whole, which lent itself to my favorite way of eating bread- ripping it apart. The ricotta was creamy and seasoned just enough while being saturated with a glistening stream of extra virgin olive oil. We split a salad next and were again impressed. The option we went with was comprised of roasted baby beets, shaved fennel, toasted seeds and a citrus yogurt vinaigrette ($11).  Fresh, light, and dressed well, it left us and especially me, unbeknownst to the now lively and crowded restaurant surrounding us. I guess we missed the memo that no one in NY eats before 6:30.
            So even though through the first two courses, I knew it had to be us not the kitchen that was responsible for the empty tables, it was once we got to the “read goods” aka pizza, that I knew why I had already heard about this place. We went with two pies- one vegetarian and one not. That’s me being me and having to have a bit of variety on the table. If it were up to Matt, I think you know which one would have been ixnayed.

            Anyway, we shared the Popeye ($17) and the Meatball Pie ($18). Just take a look, the popeye pie lived up to its namesake, no doubt. But what was more impressive than that, was the sublime-ness that awaited us underneath. Gruyere, pecorino and mozzarella cheeses were the platform for which this Popeye stood, the best platform I’m sure he’s ever come into contact with. Heck, I’d love to hang out in those cheeses all day! The crust had gusto and held up each bite from beginning one to last. Better yet, I loved how immediately the greens popped not only visually but tastefully, however once you continued to chew, the salty, oozy, and sharp cheeses invaded your sense of anything else going on. The meatball pie was next on my plate and this was a new version for me: veal meatballs, tomato, mozz, caramelized onions, olives, pecorino and oregano. No, I can’t say that again! But what I can do over and over is eat it! I didn’t think I’d be swooning over the meatballs as I rarely request them, but these balls of velvet were divine. Perfectly proportioned, each crumble of meat had me eyeing up my next bite. The olives were omitted as per Hubby but I had them on my slices, I thought they added a nice brininess against the sweet onions. The pizza, actually both ones, were timed right and nicely teetering on the well-done/but not burnt side. Bravo, I wish more pizzerias knew how to do this.

            We skipped on dessert as catching our train was the next thing we had to conquer. We left Co. with some leftovers and a quick glance around the place. We realized every seat was taken and by the smiles on our faces and the feeling in our bellies, we knew exactly why. Oh and the now realized fact- New Yorkers eat after 6:00.

            Co. can be found at 230 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10001.

Total score 19/25

Final Grade: B

A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5

Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?






Thursday, July 11, 2013

Red Rubbed Chicken

          Mom always knows best. From ironing the back of your shirt first to keeping a tissue up your sleeve, the lady has the tricks. C’mon admit it, you’re Mom has taught you one or two things over the past ____ years. And if you’re lucky enough to have one like mine, then she’s taught you way too many to count and with that, one too many she keeps track of!

            Anyway, the rub below is not my Mom’s recipe. It is however a present from her. Funny, it is not the rub that I am getting to here; it is the vehicle in which she presented it to me that I love. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the rub. I just love the jar with the recipe on top better. Now I not only have a full jar of rub to resort to, but I have the recipe to refill it when need be! So clever, thanks Mom, you rock!

            And now for the chicken……here is the debut of…..Hubby, the Grill Master. Yes, Mr. Matt has taken it upon himself to conquer the open-flame. So far, with this item and the past month’s selections, he’s got me quite impressed. I’m actually not surprised because I have, what you would nicely call, a meticulous fellow to whom I’m married. To him, there’s no such thing as dabbling in a hobby, it is either do it 110% or get a new hobby. Consequently, I really can’t take any credit here for the chicken. All I did was rub it and hand it over to him. Which makes me chuckle because the rub was a gift so obviously I didn’t make that either.

            So basically, here is a recipe that I had nothing to do with besides eat it up. I hope you luck out like I did! Enjoy…

Red Rubbed Chicken
Serves: 2-3
Source: rub recipe: a variation from Dinosaur BBQ 

OBJ: TCW be able to grill skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts

Red Rub:
½ tsp cayenne powder
½ C paprika
½ C kosher salt
½ C brown sugar
½ C granulated garlic
6 TBS onion powder
¼ C chili powder
1 TBS black pepper
1 tsp cumin
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

1. Rinse and pat dry chicken
2. Rub about ¼ C rub into all sides of chicken. Make sure it is rubbed well and generously:
3. Place on place and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate overnight.
4. Preheat grill using 2 zones: one high heat, one low
5. Remove chicken from refrigerator and place breast-side down over high heat for 5-8 minutes
6. Flip and cook breast-side up over high flame for additional 5-8 minutes
7.  Place chicken over low flame breast-side up for 20-30 minutes or until chicken is done and is registering 165 degrees
8. Place on platter, let rest for 5 minutes, and serve
*Grill Master Matt's tip: invest in a meat thermometer. It saves you the trouble of cutting your meat and checking for doneness, which also drains the meat of flavor. He swears by it. *
* Red Rub is quite versatile: use it on chicken wings, spare ribs, pork, etc. In our family, it was first used as the beginning step for Mom's pulled pork sandwiches. Yum! *


Thursday, July 4, 2013

BBQ Bacon Chicken Burgers

        BBQ - good, bacon - great, burger - yes!, chicken  - oh jeeze, can’t we just have some beef? There lies ½ the conversation me and Hubby had when I began to tell him about these burgers a few weeks back. I know I’ve mentioned this a few times but here it is again, what is it with men and red meat?? Does it date back to cavemen days or is there something in their DNA that craves beef or are  steaks/burgers/meatballs/etc. all just survival requirements for the male species? If so, someone please queue me in….

            And until I get that answer, I will continue to replace red meat with white and have Hubby take back his remarks! J This burger was amazing, fabulous from the first bite to the last one. I loved adding the toppings into the burger for a few reasons. 1- the entire patty was flavorful rather than just the top half, 2- it was easier to prepare and to clean up this way and 3- (most importantly)there wasn’t one bite without bacon.  

            I realize this dinner isn’t revolutionary, but in my opinion it brings home some tried and true flavors that come together in a summertime cinch. Enjoy…

BBQ Bacon Chicken Burgers
Serves: 4

OBJ: TCW be able to incorporate a condiment into a burger rather than on top of one

1 lb ground chicken burgers
½ C BBQ sauce
6 slices, cooked and coarsely chopped bacon
2 tsp dried parsley
S & P: salt and pepper (healthy pinches)
Cheddar slices or 1 C grated
4 fresh rolls
Lettuce, tomato: optional

1. Heat the grill over medium heat
2. In a large bowl, mix chicken burgers, BBQ sauce, bacon pieces, parsley and S & P
3. Divide mixture into 4 portions and shape each into a burger. Place on plate, cover and let set in freezer for 10 minutes
3. Grill burgers 7-10 minutes per side, totaling about 15-20 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through
4. Top with cheddar and let melt
5. Place on fresh roll and add your lettuce and tomato if you’d like