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Chasing Smoke

12 Aug

I woke up 3 am Sunday morning to the smell of smoke.  After checking to make sure the house wasn’t on fire, I went back to bed.  By daylight, the smell was stronger and a haze of smoke hung in the air.  A check of the internet revealed that a small wildfire had started northeast of Foresthill.

The American Fire.

The American Fire.

I had planned to cook a big Sunday supper, and since it was smokey already, I figured it was a good time to run the smoker. I rubbed a chuck roast with one of Allen’s mixtures and threw it in the smoker for a quick two hours of smoke.  My goal wasn’t to cook it, but rather to give it some flavor before I cubed it and made chili.

Dipping water from Sugar Pine Reservoir.

Dipping water from Sugar Pine Reservoir.

While the chili was simmering, we ran up to the lake to watch the helicopters get water for the fire.  These guys were working hard all day fighting the fire – true heros!  We really appreciate the work they do to protect our homes.

Smoky chili with Texas toast

Smoky chili with Texas toast

After our trip to the lake, we ate chili.  The idea of smoking it was an experiment, and it turned out pretty great.  The meat had the perfect level of smoke and added a richness to the chili. I was worried that I hadn’t made it hot enough, but spice level was just right and didn’t cover the smoke.  There was something missing – Allen thinks more garlic, but I’m not sure.  We have some more work to do one the recipe, but it should be ready to go public soon.


Matambre a la Pizza

2 Aug

Not your ordinary flank steak.

Two of the foods they love in Argentina are beef and pizza.  In matambre a la pizza they have found a way to combine these two favorites into one delicious dish.


Flank Steak

Whole Milk

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Pizza toppings of your choice

Pizza Sauce

Parmesan Cheese




The trick to grilling flank steak is not making it tough.  To overcome that you can just boil your steak in milk and let the enzymes break down the meat.  In a pan large enough to hold your steak, bring some milk to a low boil.  Be careful or the milk will scorch to the bottom of your pan and it’s a real bitch to get clean.  Boil your steak for about 45 minutes.  Remove the steak from the milk, rinse it off, pat it dry. This wasn’t included in the original recipe but I found that when you boil the steak it kind of shrinks up so it’s smaller and thicker.  So what I like to do is just carefully slice it into two thinner pieces.  On a grill that has been preheated to high cook your steak on one side for about 5 minutes.  Flip it and reduce heat to medium.   Lightly salt and pepper each side as it’s cooking.  After flipping, cover your steak in pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, and your selected toppings.  You already have plenty of meat that is going to be your crust so I generally just add some veggies.  One of my favorites is sun dried tomatoes, minced garlic, onions, peppers, and some fresh basil.  From this point it’s just like cooking any other pizza, close the lid and cook it until the cheese starts to brown up around the edges.  Remove from the grill and sprinkle some Parmesan on top.  This is a great recipe for when you’re trying to keep the carbs low but still have a craving for some tastey pizza.

The next time I make this I’m thinking of trying something a little different and instead of boiling it in milk I will throw the steak in a crockpot with some marina before grilling it.

Spicy Tri-Tip and some grilled onions

31 Jul

We grill tri-tip pretty regular so I am always looking for new recipes to keep it interesting.  Luckily that’s pretty easy these days with all the recipes to be found on the web.  Last night I found a couple good ones.  In order to give credit where it is due, and because I’m lazy and it’s easier than typing out the recipes, here are the links.

Spicy Tri-tip

Grilled Onions

I rarely use a recipe without changing it a little to suit my taste.  In this case in spite of being called “spicy” the tri-tip looked pretty tame to me so I doubled the red pepper and it came out pretty good.  For the onion, I used beef bullion instead of chicken and it was great.  The next time I make it I’ll add some cheese to the stuffing and drop it on a piece of Texas toast to serve.

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