Last two weeks the weather was, how shall I put this, not smoke friendly. So I pulled out my dutch oven, or, to be precise, a bigger brother of a wok, made of cast iron, which can be used on a gas stove top, and… well, there was a cubed beef, potatoes, carrots, onions…. so here we go – braised beef with potatoes, the way my granny used to make it 30 years ago.
Few days ago we were invited to a dinner at our friends… As it was one of those “collectively prepared” meals when everyone brings a plate to share, we were requested to bring the dessert. Making a long story short, my wife pulled few recipes out of her infinite stash of books, cut out magazine pages, notes and God knows what else, and there was this one, right on the top of that pile… As I saw it, I knew it’s going to be the one, and boy, it turned out to be a success!
When I posted this photo on my Facebook page I wrote “burgers and kabobs”. However, since I got quite a few complaints from my Greek speaking friends (and working in a company with a big branch in Cyprus, I have a bunch of those 🙂 ), I decided to give this post a Greek spirit. So, today we are grilling mpiftekia – Greek burgers, and souvlaki – chicken thigh fillet skewers. And yeah, you’ll get extra points if you’re able to actually pronounce those names 🙂 🙂 🙂
Those of you who follow my posts probably remember my origins, roots, if you like, are from Eastern Europe. Generally speaking, Russian, I would say, but being more specific, I was born in Bessarabia, a relatively small piece of land in between Moldova, Ukraine and the Black Sea. Throughout its whole history Bessarabia was a very desired trophy – it’s been conquered by Turks, Romanians, Russians and a handful of others who ruled the land for shorter periods of time… Such a mixture of cultures created a very interesting culinary fusion as well, and Bessarabia’ cooking is heavily influenced by that of the conquerors – Turkey and Romania mainly, but also Russia and Ukraine. So, today I want to show you my take on a traditional Romanian “mititei” – grilled ground meat rolls, as I remember them from my childhood.
So, the chicken breasts… One of the cheapest cuts you can get, and one might think, quite simple to cook. But here’s the catch – this cut is one of the leanest ones as well, so, to keep it succulent and tender, you will find all kinds of marinating, brining and wrapping techniques suggested in the recipes. No, I am not saying these methods won’t work… On a contrary, they will, and you’ll most probably love the results, but… what if I told you there’s a way to grill an ultimately juicy and tender chicken breast completely fuss-free and ridiculously simple? Do I have your attention now? Good! Let’s go!
Today I want to share something very special. Usually, buckwheat is found in the organic foods sections of the supermarkets and not really popular among those who are not after pure organic and healthy food lifestyle. However for me, born and raised in the long gone Soviet Union, buckwheat is a taste of childhood, no less than that. Back then, unlike many other foods, buckwheat was freely available in the stores, and that made it one of the pillars of russian cuisine. The dish I am about to show you had no name other than “buckwheat with meat”… But I’ve taken it a bit further, upgraded it to the next level, if you like, and took the liberty to compare it with another dish I really like – persian pilaf, as, mind you, the preparation steps are almost identical. Hence, here I am, giving you the “buckwheat pilaf”, a dish which is about to change all you’ve known about buckwheat till now!
Sooo…. I finally got my smoker! Before moving to Sydney I had a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker, which I unfortunately had to leave behind. For the last 6 months I’ve been doing market research trying to find a better smoker, but eventually I am back with my trusty “R2D2”, as my two little “Star Wars” fans named it.
Today I am going to talk about one of those recipes demonstrating how the basic techniques make an amazing outcome. Turkey legs are among the cheapest cuts of meat you can get, but, cooked right, will become a real treat!
Unless you are a vegetarian, vegan or anything like that, you probably do like a good burger… I mean, what’s there not to like?! A nice beef patty, topped with some good cheese, veggies and a toasted bun, dressed with barbecue sauce and aioli… So here’s my take on the all times classics – beef & lamb cheeseburgers, recipe I’ve been making for the past two years, mainly because my boys simply won’t give up on it every weekend 🙂
Pork loin is one of my favorite cuts. It is equally great for steaks, kabobs or, butterflied, as a wrap for stuffing it with anything you can think of. But today I am sharing a whole pork loin roast, a classic indirect grilling made simple.