This week on KitchenDaily I sing the praises of arugula–along with two great recipes. One is for a simple salad (with strawberries and balsamic vinegar), and the other is for my favorite chimichurri sauce. It’s peppery, spicy, tangy, and all around fabulous–especially when served on a perfectly grilled steak, like the one below. Check it out.
Makes: 2 to 4 servings
Time: About 10 minutes
A gas grill simply will not do the trick for the best grilled steak. If you want your steak crisp and slightly charred on the outside and rare inside, you need a blazing hot fire and no cover; use real hardwood charcoal if at all possible.
2 beef strip, rib-eye, or other steaks, 8 ounces each and about 1 inch thick, preferably at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Build a medium-hot charcoal fire; you should not be able to hold your hand 3 inches above it for more than 2 or 3 seconds. The rack should be 3 or 4 inches from the top of the coals.
2. Dry the steaks with paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Grill them without turning for 3 minutes (a little more if they’re over an inch thick, a little less if they’re thinner or you like steaks extremely rare). Turn, then grill for 3 minutes on the other side. The steaks will be rare to medium-rare.
3. Check for doneness; if you must, make a small slit and look or use an instant-read thermometer. (With practice, you’ll know by sight and touch.) If you would like the steaks better done, move them away from the most intense heat and grill for another minute or two per side; check again. When done, sprinkle with more salt and pepper if you like and serve.
By Kerri Conan
The only bottled dressing I have ever liked was Wish-Bone’s Green Goddess, which I ate in the 1960s. I grew up in California with a nightly salad—iceberg (torn, never cut), cukes, tomatoes, and sometimes raw mushrooms—tossed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, and salt and pepper. For company, Mom would make a classic Caesar in front of the guests, and I clamored for the soggy leftovers at the bottom of the salad bowl after she cleared the table. Bottled dressing was sheer heresy in our house.
Back then my Dad took clients out to lunch a lot and developed a serious lust for trendy Green Goddess, a creamy, peppery emulsion with the color—if not the flavor—of fresh herbs. Suddenly a curvaceous bottle appeared in the door of the fridge and proved irresistible. One or two nights a week we’d opt out of oil and vinegar or pour a shot on our grilled steaks or baked potatoes. The goddess is long gone, but each summer I duplicate the naughtiness of that dressing with a little number I call Green Ranch. Continue reading
By Cathy Erway
Rhubarb came and went, flooding the farmers’ markets and our food media (including this great savory application) for a few weeks of spring – like a sudden bout of hayfever, only more welcome. Then, it was gone, while new arrivals like strawberries took the spotlight. I had no reason to think that I’d see rhubarb again before next year, until an overnight package from an exceedingly generous acquaintance with a home garden in Massachusetts arrived at my door: Rhubarb: five or six pounds of the juicy, pinkish green stalks.
Such an overload for a one-person dwelling requires swift action. That weekend, I made an enormous pie, piled inches deep with rhubarb — just rhubarb, no room for strawberries here — and covered with a crust that bowed like a circus tent. That used up about a fourth of them. A week rushed by and I worried that the rest of them would get claimed by the compost, but a rainy day proved to be their salvation. Continue reading
By Tom Laskawy
[This piece by Tom, originally posted over at Grist, was exactly what I was thinking when I read Michael Moss's article: Salt isn't the problem; processed food is. But poor Alton! What a mistake. Anyway … - mb]
The biggest loser in Michael Moss’s New York Times exposé of the food industry’s fight against salt restrictions isn’t the food industry. It isn’t government, either. It’s Alton Brown.
With salt under attack for its ill effects on the nation’s health, the food giant Cargill kicked off a campaign last November to spread its own message. Continue reading
By Casson Trenor and Mark Bittman
I (Mark) found this salmon filet at Shaw’s, in Berlin, Vermont. Frozen hard. It looked good, and the price was right ($12 a pound, I think, which for real sockeye isn’t at all bad), so I bought it. I had no idea what the numbers meant, so I asked Casson Trenor.
“Accurate species name — Latin name — certification # — FAO catch area — verbatim wild-caught language – Yes, this is very good. It’s nice to see grocery stores putting Latin names on their seafood – it helps consumers avoid confusion. Some fish are plagued by this problem – a big one on the West Coast is Sebastes spp., or the Pacific rockfish. You see that sold as all sorts of things – rock cod, Pacific red snapper, whatever. If we added a Latin name on the label it would be a lot easier. So it’s great to see stickers like the one on this salmon. Where did you find it?” Continue reading
I was going to say “I don’t want to become the spokesperson for the oddball, savory breakfast,” but then I realized I do want to become the spokesperson for the oddball, savory breakfast. Or if not the spokesperson a leading advocate.
This is nothing new for me – I wrote about Asian breakfasts, which are almost all savory, in the New Haven Register in, I would say, 1984. But since the vegan-before-six thing started, it has taken on a new life, probably because there are always vegetables around. And I wake up hungry.
By Tyler Cowen
(Tyler Cowen blogs – mostly about the economy and related issues – at Marginal Revolution. But he also knows more about food than any economist I know, and I thought his insights into food in Istanbul worth posting here. -mb)
My favorite sight has been the mother-daughter pair I saw on the Bosporous ferry. They were hugging each other on the bench and had virtually the same profile features, yet the mother carried full traditional dress and the daughter wore a mini-skirt and was otherwise dressed comparably. They loved each other dearly.
How you interpret these women is central to how you view Istanbul. One intuition is that they are quite alike, another is that they are quite different. Continue reading
By Mrs. Q
[Mrs. Q. is a teacher in the Midwest - she (we assume; I don't actully know) remains anonymous - who is eating school lunch every day in 2010 and blogging about it at Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project. Her goal is to raise awareness about what many kids eat every day in school, and she's doing a good job of it.]
I love how enthusiastic little kids are about school. When they line up for school lunch for the first time, kindergarteners get so excited to be eating in the cafeteria just like the “big kids.” There is a line leader, the student (or two) from each classroom appointed for the week to keep order when they are walking throughout the school. At lunchtime the line leader struggles to maintain any kind of formation with kids jumping all around. The kids are hungry, but they also chat with their friends and look around with anticipation. Fumbling with their bulky plastic trays, they grip their lunch tickets firmly and smile from ear to ear.
I don’t know if disappointment would be how they feel when they receive their first meal from the school cafeteria. It’s more like shock. Shock over the strange plastic and paper packaging, shock about how little time they get to eat (20 minutes including lining up and cleaning up), and shock over the spork in plastic wrapping with a small straw and paper napkin. Eating school lunch in the cafeteria is a rite of passage, but it shouldn’t be similar to getting prison food.
By Paula Crossfield
The film What’s Organic About Organic? explores how the organic label has evolved, how organic farmers view their work, and the tension between maintaining high environmental standards and rapid market expansion. I recently spoke with the film’s director, Shelley Rogers, about the real meaning of organic, the barriers to going mainstream – and the meaning of good dirt.
PC: Your film presents both the large organic and small organic story. Is one truer to the original meaning of organic than the other?
SR: That is a tough question. The film has an element of a cautionary tale about what can happen when the vagaries of regulation are exploited, which really drives home one of the core principles of democracy—that whole Jeffersonian idea that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The good news is that as citizens we have a voice to shape the way the organic standards are maintained and upheld.