I cannot help it, I just have food on my mind like crazy this time of year. So much freshness on both the fruits and veggies side, it is just incredible. With that, I would like to take this newsletter to share with you some tips and tricks that I have learned over the years from chefs and farmers. I also encourage you to jump on our Facebook page and share your food tricks with our members. Personally, I am not a huge Facebook advocate, but I have seen it do pretty cool things with connecting people to new recipes/ideas.
First up on the chopping block, the poor eggplant. Do you know in the produce world that eggplant’s brother is the tomato? Talk about living in the shadow of a sibling. I don’t think anyone wants to be brothers with the tomato.
Anyway, I have always had a hard time with eggplant because you have to cook it. Well, I found a fun way to use up the eggplant and actually really enjoy it. What you do is fire up your grill and when it is super hot, throw the eggplant skin and all on there. Char the heck out of it on one side. Rotate and repeat until the whole eggplant is just a charred mess. Remove and let cool.
When you can handle it without burning your tender paws, peel away charred skin and place in a bowl. Use a potato smasher or stick blender to mash the poor eggplant. Add some salt, olive oil, minced garlic, green chile or whatever else you feel like throwing in there for flavor. Keep mixing it until it is a chunky spread consistency. Eat as a dip with fresh veggies, crackers, or spread on a sandwich/wrap. Easy and amazing smokey flavor you will love.
Stay with me here on the grill. Cast iron skillet! If you do not have one of these, you need to get one. They work great obviously on the stove top, but they are much better on the grill. Use the cast iron directly on the grill top to oven roast potatoes, onions, beets, or other stuff that you want to roast without firing up your oven in the kitchen.
Steaks. This has taken some time to get down, but here is a cheat sheet for you to remember.
1. Never grill cold steaks. Always allow the meat to sit out and get to room temperature. When the steak is room temp, it will cook more evenly and not leave you frustrated. 2. Hot n cover. The best steak restaurants do NOT grill the meat. They place the steaks in a very hot 450-500 degree oven (or hotter) and sear the meat as it “oven” cooks it. You NEED a lid for your grill. That is what creates the “oven” effect for your grill.
3. Turn them only once. Flipping a steak back and forth just gets the juices all dizzy and you end up drying out the meat. Resist the urge to flip it. Flip it once and when you do, move it to a new place on the grill where it will sear. 4. Rubs not marinades. A local chef taught me this. Rubs will season the meat without drowning out the flavor of the meat. If you are buying cheap meats, marinade it so you can trick yourself into thinking it was a good piece of meat. But if you are buying meats from us, let the meat speak for itself. Salt, pepper, and red chile powder is my favorite. Simple and let’s the flavor stay in the meat.
Quick no fail recipe with our sirloin steaks. Bring steaks to room temp. Bring covered grill to 450 degrees. Rub steaks with salt/pepper (chile if you like). Place steaks on grill, cover, start timer. For medium rare (my fav) turn the steaks at 2:30 seconds. Cover grill for another 2:30 seconds. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. For medium, do the same but increase cook time to 2:45 per side. For well done, same but 3:00 per side. Try this out and you will feel like a pro on grill.
The last of my 2 pesos from the kitchen this week is tomatoes and fruit. Refrigeration is one of the most amazing things to ever happen to produce. But…with that said, you do not want to eat some things cold. Refrigeration locks up the activity of a fruit. It is like it makes the fruit dormant. So please refrigerate the fruit to give it shelf life, but let them get room temp before eating them. I like to take the strawberries I want for breakfast out the night before. Takes some planning, but so worth it for the flavor.
Happy munching, Farmer Monte