I like to celebrate the holidays.
OK, so National Lasagna Day isn't really a holiday, but it gives me an excuse to make something I really like to make and my family likes to eat. So on July 29, I'll be making my famous Woz-agna. Add a nice bottle of vino, some Dean Martin, and that's amore!
But wait! It's National Chicken Wing Day too? Oh hell, now what? Guess I'll be whipping up some wings too!
Want to celebrate with me? Come on over! But if you can't make it, here are some great recipes to help you celebrate!
Nebraska friends, be sure to check out Sparky's Wing Sauce... it's made by Todd Morgan, one of our Husker tailgate friends. Ben swears by it and so do I!
So there you have it... solid recipes to properly celebrate these special observances. It also happens to be National Lipstick Day. May I suggest my personal favorite, Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice.
What's Hiccup, doc?
Tried and true hiccup cures
I hate hiccups.
One or two is fine. When they’ve been going on for five minutes or more, it’s annoying. Ask my niece, Kathryn, who had chronic hiccups when she was a teenager.
Everyone has their favorite hiccup remedies. Hold your breath. Scare a person. Eat a tablespoon of sugar. Yeah, yeah, none of that works for me.
So here are my top three tried and true remedies that I’ve either used or observed with absolute success.
3. The Staredown. Have someone look you in the eye, as close as possible without touching noses. The person without the hiccups says, “Hiccup for me… right now.” Eye contact is essential. The person repeats, “If you have the hiccups, then hiccup….. Do it!” They magically go away. I’ve seen Joan do it several times with total success. But… it usually doesn’t work with people you know super well, for some reason. Try it, it may work.
2. Upside-down washcloth gulp. Fill a glass full of water, at least eight ounces. Cover the glass with a washcloth, preferably clean. Bend over, and then drink the water through the glass from the opposite rim of the glass. Apparently, this method works because it forces your abdomen muscles to contract, which stops hiccups. I’ve done this, and it works. Most of the time.
1. Vinegar, neat. This works for me 95% of the time. One shot of vinegar and they’re gone. I’ve had the best success with apple cider vinegar, but you can use any type… white, balsamic, red wine, tarragon and so on.
So the next time you get the hiccups, stop holding your breath. Just order a shot of vinegar. Neat!
Make no mis-steak...
How to grill a perfect steak
I don't like to brag. Well... maybe I do.
I have a lot of friends and family who are amazing cooks. I can't even come close to their talent. But I do have a few things I do that are pretty good. If you like dirty gin martinis, I'm your guy. Best anywhere. I make a prime rib for Christmas that's amazing, and a really good beef tenderloin.
Not hard to tell that I'm a big beef fan. Over the years, I've tried many different ways to cook a steak, and discovered things I was doing wrong. I've tried marinades, and to me, all they do is overwhelm your steaks and make a huge mess on your grill. There are some seasonings out there that are pretty good. Grill Mates Montreal is pretty good, and so is Salt Grass Seven Steak Seasoning. But I tend to save those for the burgers.
Here's all you need... olive oil, salt and pepper, a nice steak and a really hot grill. Like I said in the salad posting, sometimes simple is better. When Joan's aunts were in town, we grilled them some nice ribeyes, and they all raved about the seasoning on the steaks. When it comes to steaks, simple is good.
I like to take my steaks out of the fridge about an hour before I cook them to take the chill off. About 20 minutes before I cook them, I rub them down with olive oil, then season each side generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. While they're relaxing, I fire up the grill to high, shake a martini, and get ready for some grilling goodness.
When the grill is nice and hot, place them on the grates at a 45-degree angle. Let them get some nice char marks for about 2 to 3 minutes, then rotate them 90 degrees on the same side. This will give you those beautiful diamonds. Like a judge said on Food Wars when they put Omaha's Piccolo Pete's and Caniglia's Venice Inn against each other, "I want to see it it was treated right when it was on that grill. When you see that beautiful diamond, it tells me the chef cared."
Grill another 2 minutes or so. After you've got your nice diamond char, flip them over and grill another 2 to 4 minutes. Tent them loosely with foil on a platter or cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. For a 1-1/2 inch steak, you should get a perfectly done, medium rare steak.
That's all there is to it! No reason to overthink it. Just make sure you pay close attention. I monitor them using the squishy test to make sure they don't get overdone. Check out this article to learn about the steak doneness test!
I made these last night, and they came out fantastic! Happy grilling!
Insalata Ooh Nana
Some things are best when they are the simplest.
Take grilling steaks, for example. People want to season the hell out of them or marinate them so they don't really taste like steaks any more. Salt, pepper and oil is all you need. And a hot grill.
The same could be said for salad. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of tasty salads and dressing out there. Ben makes a tasty raspberry vinaigrette with a spinach salad with candied pecans and feta. But one of the best salads in my memory is Nana's dinner salad. Nana was my step-father Tony's mom. She came over on "the boat" and made the best Italian food anywhere. Homemade ricotta over fettuccine. Yeah, good stuff. Anyway, her salad.
There's no real recipe for Nana's salad, but my sisters Sherry and Patty still have the touch. Nana always started with iceberg lettuce and very few other ingredients from what I remember. Maybe some carrots and cucumbers. For the dressing, just three ingredients: Mazola oil, white vinegar and salt.
It had to be Mazola. Like Nana said, "Mazola izza the best!"
The proportions are really left to the judgement of the salad maker. In my search for an "authentic" Italian salad recipe, I found the same thing. No real measurements. But what I did learn was that the directions for making salad were found in an Italian proverb.
A ben condire l'insalata ci vuole un avaro per l'aceto, un giusto per il sale e uno strambo per l'olio.
For those of you who don't speak Italian, this roughly translates into:
In order to properly dress the salad, it takes a miser for the vinegar, a right one for the salt and a strange one for the oil.
So, what does it mean?
It's a proverb that provides the recipe for a perfect salad. In order to season the dish, you put a little vinegar (the reference to the miser), neither too much nor too little salt (the reference to the "right" one), but for the oil, each one does as he wishes (the reference to the weirdo).
So here's the recipe ... very little vinegar, salt to taste and a generous amount of oil.
Give it a try! Sometimes, simple is better.
Bonus points if you understand this post's title!
If you know me, you know I love a good steak. Last weekend, my mother-in-law's sisters were in town for a visit. We had some great ribeyes, but we actually had two left over. So the next night, we wanted to reheat them. But how do you successfully do that without overcooking and ruining what used to be a perfectly grilled medium-rare steak? Low cook in the microwave? Uh... no.
After a very little bit of research I found the answer! And it's really easy. Slow warm those babies in the oven, then sear them in a hot skillet. You'll retain the medium-rare goodness with a nice, crisp crust.
Here's what you do:
It doesn't taste like it came right off of the grill, but it's pretty damn close. So don't ruin any more poor, defenseless leftover steaks! Happy cooking!