Grilled Oysters with Spicy Tarragon Butter

serve

There’s a birthday in the house. A very special birthday. Our dog Bob is 2. We rescued him just about a year and a half ago. It was hard. He wasn’t very sure he wanted us and we weren’t sure we could handle all of the neurosis this rescue dog came with. We knew all about these difficulties when we decided to rescue him. He was born in Georgia. He and his siblings were immediately put into a shelter. They had to have been abused. He was adopted and returned (was this the abusive person?). He was then sent to another shelter – one of those horrific kill shelters. At 3 months he was rescued from that awful place, and then rescued from one rescue organization by the fabulous folks at Underhound Railroad. He spent 3 months under the care of Underhand Railroad living with a foster mom a few miles from here.

We talked about a dog. We talked about rescuing a dog. We scoured sites looking for the perfect dog. AND THERE HE WAS.

We met him. He wouldn’t look at us. He wouldn’t come near us. He hid behind his foster Mom (thank you, Jamie).

We glanced at each other across the lawn and knew. He needed a home. He needed love and support. He needed us. We wanted to be those people for him. We decided his name had to be Bob. Twofold – (1) Canned Heat from Woodstock – Woodstock Boogie “I’ve got a dog his name is Bob” and (2) the movie What About Bob – we say this an awful lot.

The first three days he spent under a table – shaking. Then we lost him, in the woods, for 3 days. Wet, scared puppy, rain, halter *poof* gone. When he came back we just weren’t sure anymore. Bob was just NOT happy with us. I talked the Dear One off the ledge. He talked me off the ledge. The folks at Underhound asked us to give it more than a week. So we did. Their support was incredible – phone, emails, texting.

Then Bob fell in love … with me. Not so much the Dear One at first, which was very difficult when WE wanted a dog and the dog didn’t want BOTH of us. Be patient, he will come around. Those words became our mantra.

We were patient. We were frustrated and sad. Our hearts were aching for this poor little dog who had to have been so badly treated that he had no faith in humans, even those who walked him and fed him and gave him treats – or our friends who fed him under the table when they thought we weren’t looking.

Suddenly, once day, without our realizing when or how it happened, OUR dog appeared. The one who jumps up and down when he hears my car. The one who wants only the Dear One to chase him around the yard. The one who knows if I say “time to brush your teeth” to come running to the kitchen. My secret service agent. The Dear One’s play mate. He is more of a puppy now than he was at 6 months old when he first entered our lives.

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Happy birthday, sweet dog. Thank you for letting us put a silly hat on your head. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you Dear One (as always) by indulging me with really wanting this insane dog. Perhaps this insane dog found the perfect insane home with two insane humans and all their insane friends.

So when Bob turned 2 and he was really and truly now OUR dog, he needed a special dinner. Enter the birthday dinner …

birthday-cake

A meatloaf cupcake, wrapped in bacon, mashed potato frosting and carrot candles. Maybe it was gone in 2 bites.

The grownups, however, didn’t want Bob’s birthday dinner surprise so we had Baked Oysters with a Spicy Tarragon Butter. This is a Bobby Flay recipe from Food & Wine.

We have a friend who grows oysters. When he calls and says he has oysters the only answer to be given is – OH.YES.PLEASE. We ate a bunch of them and had a bunch left over, but no shucking knife. Our dear friend said to just bake them in a hot oven and they’ll open right up.

These are so fresh, so sweet, so perfectly briney and grown just off the coast a few miles from our house.

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 dozen medium to large oysters, such as Gulf Coast or Bluepoint

NOTE: The oysters we used were farmed by a friend the day before. These are, without a doubt, the best oysters I have ever eaten.

Light a grill.

oysters

NOTE: It’s February – in Maine. The grill is away in the shed, shivering, waiting for spring to make an appearance. I turned the oven  up to 500 and baked the oysters for 10 minutes. The top shell lifted right off and we continued from there.

tarragon

In a food processor, pulse the butter with the tarragon, hot sauce, salt and pepper until blended. Transfer the tarragon butter to a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it into a 2-inch-thick log. Refrigerate the butter until slightly firm, about 15 minutes. Slice the butter into 36 pats.

NOTE: I had 2 dozen oysters, but made the same amount of butter. There would have still been a lot left over with 36 oysters. I sliced the butter and froze it. There’s a salmon somewhere just itching for this butter!

baked

Place the oysters on the hot grill, flat-side up. Cover the grill and cook until the oysters open, about 5 minutes.

NOTE: A baking sheet and 500 degree oven for 10 minutes did the same thing.

with-butter

Using tongs, transfer the oysters to a platter, trying to keep the liquor inside. Quickly remove the top shells and loosen the oysters from the bottom shells. Top each oyster with a pat of tarragon butter and return the oysters to the grill. Cover the grill and cook until the butter is mostly melted and the oysters are hot, about 1 minute.

NOTE: Turned on the broiler and put the baking sheet back into the oven.

Serve right away.

Grilled Swordfish with Husk Cherry Salsa #SundaySupper

done

It’s been a long time, but know that I feel the urge to blog again, I’ve rejoined the fab people over at Sunday Supper. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a great bunch of food folk who post recipes from a specific theme each Sunday. There’s information at the bottom of this post on how to join. I’m going to do my best to keep up! This week’s #SundaySupper Tastemaker event is being hosted by Candace from Authentically Candace. Thanks for the hosting!

A friend of mine with a garden that is fair size bigger than ours and with some ingredients that are ‘experimental’ for my limited gardening knowledge, lets me come over and explore. While she and I were walking around her garden one day, I came across these Husk Cherries. They’re also called Choke Cherries or ground cherries.

husk-cherry

As you can see, they’re covered in paper, much the way a tomatillo is. They’re about the size and color of  a Sun Gold tomato, maybe a little smaller in size. Inside, they’re structurally akin to a tomato.

picked

peeledThey’re sweet. They’re tart. They’re like candy. They’re fabulous. Definitely going in my garden this year.

But now that I have them, what am I going to do – aside from admiring them!

They’re a pain to peel because they’re so small. They’re sticky.

But once peeled and rinsed, you just want to do something fabulous with them. I searched and searched until I came across a recipe from Michael Simon, who I am liking more and more every day.

 

FOR THE HUSK CHERRY SALSA

  • 1 pound ground cherries (husked, washed, and sliced in half, about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup thinly shaved red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. For better flavor, let sit for 1 hour before serving.

made

FOR THE SWORDFISH:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (5 to 6-ounces each) swordfish steaks

Prepare the grill (medium-high heat). Whisk the oil, mint, lemon juice, basil, and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Season the lemon and olive oil mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Brush the swordfish steaks with 2 tablespoons of the lemon and olive oil mixture. Grill the steaks until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (depending on thickness of steaks). Transfer the steaks to plates.

Add the Husk Cherry Salsa to the top of each Swordfish steak and you’re done!

Take a moment to visit the other great Easy Dinner Recipes for Two!

Chicken Recipes

Pasta Recipes

Pork Recipes

Red Meat Recipes

Seafood Recipes

Veggie Recipes

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Grilled Steak with Red Wine Shallot Sauce

Steak Finished

Nice. I have to do something nice. Well, much more than nice. Something … something to thank someone for patience and support, for loving and caring, for pulling you through a very difficult time and still really liking you on the other side of the mess.

As a person whose life events are remembered by meals, what better way to say thank you than a really good dinner and creating a memory.

Dinner. A spectacular dinner. It has to be simple, as most of my kitchen gear is still in boxes.

He’s not too picky and is always happy being the recipient of my experimentation. But it’s a birthday and a celebration and we are tired. My thought has to go to his go to fav … hmmmm … that’s really very simple. Can you say carnivore?

Steak is simple and this red wine shallot sauce makes it a little bit more than ‘just’ a steak. I coupled the steak with Hasselback Potatoes and a salad. A bottle of champagne. THAT Chocolate Cake for dessert. Hopefully this meal will show the dear one just how special I think he is.

  • 4 shallots, sliced in thin rings
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 C red wine
  • 1 C beef broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) piece flank steak
  • 1 T cold butter, in small chunks

NOTE: If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it!

Shallots Cut

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the shallots in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Raise the heat to high and add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the broth and reduce by half. Check for seasoning, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep warm on low heat.

Sauce

NOTE: I am becoming my mother! I read the recipe. I really did. But in my haste, I mixed the red wine and broth together and then realized that they were added seperately. No, the sauce police didn’t come, but I think it would have been thicker and little more syrupy if I had done it properly.

Brush the flank steak on both sides with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Place on the center of grill and sear 5 to 8 minutes per side for rare to medium rare, testing by pressing the meat with a finger: The spongier the meat feels, the rarer it is cooked. Remove from the grill and allow to rest, very loosely tented with aluminum foil, 5 to 10 minutes, to allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat.

Slice the flank steak on the diagonal and place on a large platter. Finish the sauce by swirling in the chunks of cold butter, then top the steak with some of the sauce and serve the rest on the side.

Churrasco Steak with Candied Red Pepper Chimichurri

Done

I made a promise. No more cookbooks.

No more cookbooks forever, or no more cookbooks for right now, she asks, shocked and wounded? Right now, Well, perhaps forever. You have over 200 cookbooks. Really, dear, how many cookbooks does one need, he asks, trying to find a place to hide. All this coming from a man who owns a dozen hammers, pliers of different ilk, shapes and sizes, and more dust and noise making things than one could shake a salt shaker at!

Need? What do cookbooks have to do with NEED!? Doesn’t he understand, cookbooks are like air? Food? Wine?  As the main beneficiary of all the goodness that comes out of these books, you’d think he’d be a little more understanding! And truthfully, he is always very happy to be my favorite guinea pig!

Take this fabulous book, New Latin Classics by  Lorena Garcia. Loaded with updates on some of my favorite Latin dishes.  This will be just the first of many to be tried from this fab cookbook.

Shhhhhh … this new book will be our little secret!

I saw this recipe on line and I knew this one would be a winner. I became a little nervous about the chimichurri after candying the peppers. They seemed a little sweet and a little strange, and the big guy thought they smelled funny. But, when you add in all the garlic and shallots, they counterbalance the sweetness with a sharp kick, the herbs add some freshness. The capers? Well, we l eft them out. SOMEONE doesn’t like them!

This was absolutely great. Steak, a fab arugula salad, crispy potato planks, add wine and the perfect guy … you are in store for a wonderful evening!

For the Chimichurri:

  • 1/2 C finely minced candied red pepper
  • 1/4 C candied pepper liquid
  • 1/4 C brine-packed capers, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1/4 C finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 2 shallot, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

Chimichurri ingredients

To make the chimichurri, place the candied peppers in a medium bowl with their liquid, capers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, and shallots and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Set aside.

For the Steaks:

  • 4 8-ounce skirt steak
  • 6 1/2 t coarse sea salt
  • 3 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 4 C baby arugula
  • 1 C halved cherry tomato

Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill.

Season both sides of the skirt steaks with 2 tablespoons of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the black pepper and set on the grill. Cook without moving until there are grill marks, about 5 minutes. Turn over the steaks and cook the other side until there are grill marks and the steaks are cooked to your liking, about 3 minutes for medium-rare, 4 minutes for medium, and 5 minutes longer for medium-well. Use tongs to transfer the steaks to a large platter and set aside.

While the steaks rest, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Add the arugula and cherry tomatoes and gently toss to coat.

Arrange the 4 steaks on a large platter in a circular shape. Fill the center of the circle with the arugula and tomatoes and serve with the chimichurri on the side.