"Ach... what a dog's life.
Work hard all day I must, then in the evening I speak English yet!
- Quote from a Pennsylvania Dutch Farmer
Once again, reading Brigid's dinner menus over at Home on the Range has gotten my mouth watering for food off the grill. She did a bang up grilled chicken dish that looks great. I eat chicken several times a week, though, so I thought I'd go in a different direction for the weekend.
That... and the grocery store had a good deal on Rock Lobster Tails this week :)
My grill is nothing fancy. I use a Weber Kettle Grill that I've had for several years. I convince myself every summer that I'm going to "upgrade" to a propane grill. Its faster to get cooking on a propane grill. When you're done, you just turn if off and forget about it - no waiting for the coals to burn down and out all evening. I usually even go look at them at the hardware store at some point during the grilling season.
But that's as far as I get.
I'm not a grilling snob, mind you. I don't profess that I can really tell a difference in taste between charcoal/wood grilled food and propane grilled. I like to think that I can, but that could just be in my head. Something about cooking over fire just really appeals to me on a gut level, even when it's a pain in the ass to deal with. It lets me get in touch with my inner caveman, I guess :)
The menu tonight:
Grilled Ribeye steaks with roasted garlic, Grilled rock lobster tail with herbed-garlic butter baste, boiled sweet corn on the cob, rolls, and Shoe-fly Pie (no garlic involved).
If you like garlic, even a little bit, you'll LOVE roasted garlic. It's very easy to do. Take a head of garlic and rub off most of the outer papery skins. Leave the individual cloves attached to each other. Take a sharp knife and cut off the top 1/2" or so of the head. You'll be able to see the meat inside the individual cloves now. If you can't, slice off a tad more until you can. Place the head of garlic on a piece of aluminum foil (maybe 6"x6") cut end up, drizzle a touch of olive oil over the exposed cut end, and then fold the foil up sealing the head inside. Place these little bundles in a pan (I usually do 5 or 6 heads at a time) and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.
Take them out of the oven, and let them cool a bit. The garlic inside is all mushy and delicious now.
It's also unbelievably fucking hot, so leave it alone until it cools off. If you want, carefully unwrap the heads a bit so they cool off faster. When cool enough to handle, take a head in your hand and squeeze it, cut end down like you squeeze a lemon, over a bowl or container. The mushy roasted garlic comes squishing out and you are left with the papery shell remnants in your hand to toss out.
You can use roasted garlic in all sorts of ways. I mush it up and mix it with fresh herbs and store bought mayonnaise to make my own sandwich spread. You can spread it on bread and broil it for garlic bread. Or you can use it like I do in the following recipes.
First, the Shoe Fly Pie - which has no garlic in it what-so-ever:
Refrigerated pie shell
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbls packed dark brown sugar
2 tbls cold butter cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup boiling water
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup molasses
1 egg beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place the pie crust in a glass pie dish, and prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Place the empty pie shell in a 425 degree oven and bake it for 10 minutes. Check the pie and make sure no large air bubbles are poofing it up - if they are pierce them with a fork. Continue prebaking the pie shell for another 5 minutes or so. Take it out of the oven to cool, and turn the oven down to 350 degrees while you prepare the rest of the pie.
Combine the brown sugar with the flour and kosher salt for the crumb mixture. Pinch the butter pieces into the flour/brown sugar mixture until there aren't any pieces larger than a BB. Scoop out 1/4 cup of this mixture and set it aside.
For the filling, put the 3/4 tsp baking soda in a large bowl and pour in the 3/4 cup boiling water. This is to release the leavening effect of the soda - 'cuz you don't want your pie filling to rise up like a cake. Whisk the two together well, and then whisk in the molasses, egg, and vanilla. Lastly, whisk in the large amount of crumb mixture.
Pour this liquid into the now mostly cool pie shell, and sprinkle the 1/4 cup of crumb mixture on top. Place the pie in the 350 degree oven and bake for 50 minutes. The top will poof up a bit and you'll start to see little cracks in the pie surface.
When its done, take the pie out and let it cool completely before cutting.
Shoe fly pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch staple, and popular with the Amish community. It's sweet, but not cloying as you might think, even though it has both brown sugar and molasses in it. It reminds me a little of gingerbread, with the upper half of the pie being a moist cake like consitency and the lower layer being even more moist.
Now the Rock Lobster and Garlic Steak:
I buy the rock lobster tails when they are at a good price at the grocery store. It's not the same as buying fresh live lobster, and it's REALLY not the same as eating fresh lobster steamed on the pier in New England.... but it's still pretty damned good. Here's how the little guys look when I buy them:
To get them ready to grill, take some heavy scissors/shears and cut through the shell along the back, down to the fan of the tail. Then take a sharp knife and slice down through the meat, but don't cut through the bottom shell. When your done, you should be able to spring the tail open a bit like this:
A made a basting butter from half a stick of butter (melted), mixed with a couple of tablespoons of fresh chopped basil and a good clove sized lump of the roasted garlic. I mixed all that together well and brushed the exposed meat of the lobster tail before grilling.
When the coals are ready, you place the tails over the hot coals cut side down. This will help sear in the juices of the meat. After three minutes or so, I flip the tails over and cook them until the meat is white and firm - but not dried out. Usually this is another 7 or 8 minutes, and I baste with the garlic herb butter a couple of times while they are cooking.
For the ribeyes, I bought somewhat thin ones, since we were having lobster as well. I rubbed them with some of the mashed up roasted garlic earlier in the afternoon and sprinkled with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. I kept the steaks in the refrigerator until about an hour before grilling. Then I put them out on the counter to come to room temperature before grilling them 4 to 6 minutes per side.
Since I'm cooking thin steaks, and split lobster tails, the total cooking time is about the same for both items - around 12 minutes - which works out pretty much perfect.
Here's the pairing:
And a parting shot of the Shoe-fly Pie:
No actual flies were harmed in the production of this pie.