Category Archives: Holiday

Grilled New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

Finally. Yes, finally we are back to a few good months of weather in Wisconsin. Let’s face it, this past winter was brutally long, and finally everything is blooming. The smell of late spring and summer is here, and well, it’s just plain awesome. It’s funny how something so simple that mother nature provides makes us all cheer up a bit.  With that said, it is also that time of year where grilling becomes part of the everyday ritual. Whether it is lunch during the weekend, or by default the dinner cooking method during the work week, my little grill is getting it’s workout week, especially during this long holiday weekend.

As I got the ‘house’ ready for the long weekend, meaning, cut the grass, plant the vegetable garden, etc, I was really hungry and I knew I was going to want to fill up on a good meal. So with that said, about 80% through my cutting of the grass, I lit some coals in my charcoal chimney starter, and took a small break to season a New York strip, generously with salt on both sides, and cracked black pepper on the other. Then I thought, after having a recent conversation with a friend regarding morel mushrooms, that I would throw together a bit of blue cheese butter. Yes, blue cheese, and butter are amazing with steak if you have never had it, now then, please try.

New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

After I cut the grass, the coals were finally heated, and so I placed the grate onto the grill, cleaned it, heated it, and got pretty darn excited for lunch. Steak for lunch? Hell yes. It wasn’t that I was so excited as the steak, as it was for the blue cheese butter. Trust me.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 New York Strip, to your liking
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp softened, unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 tsp chopped chives

That’s it. And TRUST me, the combination is out of this world.

Start by seasoning both sides of your steak with salt. Pat it into the steak. Season one side with the cracked black pepper. Let this sit on the counter, at room temperature for about 30 minutes. During this time, heat you grill. I always prefer charcoal, but do what you want on this step.

Take the butter and add it to a small bowl. Add the blue cheese, and chives. Mix well and set inside the refrigerator to cool.

How to make New York Strip with Blue Cheese Butter

Once the grill is preheated, clean your grates, then take the steak, and place onto direct heat, cracked pepper side down. Sear the steak for about 4 minutes.

Turn, and cook until your desired tenderness. I go medium, to medium-rare nowadays.

Remove from the grill, and place onto your serving dish. Top with the blue cheese butter, and gently spread onto the top before slicing into it.

Yes, this is what I had for  lunch, and after 3 hours of working outdoors, it was well deserved.

The result is a perfect flavor combination. My brother-n-law turned me onto the blue cheese and steak combination years ago, and to this day, it’s one of my favorites. As much as I love cooked mushrooms with my steak, this one tops it. The grilled New York Strip with blue cheese butter has this creaminess, along with that great kick from the blue cheese that will just blow your mind. Trust me, it’s a good one. Hope you enjoy!

Moroccan Style Eggs

If you are like me during any weekday morning, I’m on the run. My routine typically consists of working out, and heading home to make a batch of juice, greeting those who are still there (also on the move), and getting in my car to head to work. It’s rare that I eat much of a breakfast, and if I do it is typically a hard boiled egg and toast, or an egg of some sort for that matter. The weekends on the other hand tend to make a 360 with my normal weekday routine. I don’t work out, and I look forward to a hearty breakfast to start the day out right.

This past weekend was no exception to that thought, and I had my mind set on having a substantial breakfast that was loaded with flavor, simple to make, and would get me through my first commute to downtown Milwaukee. This is where the Moroccan style eggs came into the picture.

Moroccan Style Eggs Recipe

This pretty much all started because I was looking at a jar of marinara sauce, and also the realization that I had some great spices I wanted to use to really warm things up. This dish is typically known as Shakshouka, and can be eaten any time of the day. I’m thinking of it right now, and it would be perfect for lunch, or dinner, along with some crusty bread for swiping up the sauce. Did I mention how great the sauce is?

Let’s get started.

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 links Italian Sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 tbsp hot harissa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Moroccan style spice (cumin, curry, coriander, cardamon, cinnamon, salt)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Start by heating the canola oil in a small cast iron skillet. Bring to a medium heat, then add in the sausage, without the casing. Begin breaking up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the sausage is fully cooked. Drain about half of the oil, leaving some in the pan.

Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.

In the meantime, add the onions to the pan, along with the Moroccan spices. Stir, and let these sweat for about 4 minutes, then toss in the garlic. Stir again. Once you smell the garlic, add the sausage back in, along with the marinara sauce. Keep in mind that you could used crushed tomatoes if you want, but I did not have that in stock, so I used marinara which worked out just as well.

How to make Moroccan Style Eggs

Give a good stir, let the sauce come to simmer, then crack in two eggs. Cover, and cook until the egg whites have set, however you still have a warm yolk, about 8 minutes.

During this time, add the harissa powder and the olive oil to a small bowl, and mix until combined.

Uncover, drizzle on the harrisa mixture, and shower with the fresh cilantro. Serve in the skillet with some crusty bread.

Moroccan Style Eggs

These Moroccan style eggs are to seek after. You get the awesomeness from your classic onion, garlic, and marinara that you are so accustomed to, but then this great warmth from the Moroccan spice and harissa paste, that when paired with the creaminess of the egg yolks, and texture of the cooked sausage, well, I say no more. Hope you enjoy.

Root Beer Glazed Ham

I’m still here, don’t worry about me. It seems like it has been an eternity since my last post, and there are reasons for that. One is that I have been busy, and too is that our family was on vacation. We went to the great state of Kentucky, just south of Paducah to do some fishing with the kids and relatives. The trip to say the least, was fun, but only a handful of fish, unlike we were expecting. We took the road trip back on Saturday morning, just in time to wind down for Easter Sunday. The last thing I wanted to do, in all honesty, was cook on Sunday morning. I had a hankering for some Mexican food, however I woke up early and decided to hit the grocery store, and do what a man’s gotta do, and that was make an Easter meal. The classic ham and scalloped potatoes. I couldn’t resist.

Jet holding a crappie

Jet holding a crappie

With that said, we came back from our vacation with things that the other members of the family did not want, and one of those things was an almost full 12 pack of A&W Root Beer, something my kids would normally drink, but not for my wife and I. As I stared down at that soda, I decided I was going to use that product and great a sugary, savory glaze that I knew would just be amazing, and it was.

Root Beer Glazed Ham

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 pound bone-in ham
  • 24 oz A&W Root Beer
  • 3 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

Simple, and delicious, I know.

Start by cooking your ham, according to the directions. During this time, start making your glaze. Combine all of the ingredients (with the exception of the ham, of course) into a sauce pot. Mix, and cook on medium heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the sauce reduces by half. You want a thicker glaze. Reduce the heat about 40 minutes in, and stir frequently to prevent any sugars from burning to the pot. Also keep in mind to keep an eye on it. I know this as I stepped away only for a few minutes and my daughter yelled from the kitchen “Dad, I think you want to come in here now!”. I knew exactly what that meant, and yes, it was boiling over. A bunch of cleanup I was not looking forward to, but it happened, and I moved on.

About 30 minutes before the ham is cooked, begin glazing the ham with the sauce. Remove the ham from the oven, and begin brushing on the glaze, all over the ham. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes, and repeat. Continue until the glaze is done (or reserve some to pour on your ham), and the ham registers 145 degrees in the thickest portion.

Root Beer Glazed Ham

Slice and serve. My family devoured (and I know they totally appreciated it) the root beer glazed ham, and loved it. One of my kids is a ham junkie now, and he made about 8 sandwiches that day, because lord forbid he eat the scalloped potatoes!

French Onion Soup

Every year that I am able to cook beef around the holiday season, I get excited, not only because we get to enjoy some beef, but I know that I will have some leftover beef for simple sandwiches, or probably one of my favorite soups, the french onion soup. A few years back, I had family members come over after Christmas day to play games, and to eat some more. It seems that it how it goes with my extended family around any holiday, and I am perfectly content with extending the party over the course of several days. Board games, a continuous fire in the fire place, and lots of food and fun. It was then when I threw together a French onion soup that was to die for. This year, I decided to make the same soup using some leftover New York Strip roast that I had made for Christmas.

This soup is really satisfying, and I cannot just stop at one bowl.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 5 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
  • 8 cups of beef stock
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cooked beef
  • 1/3 cup of sherry cooking wine
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 French loaf, cut into 2 inch rounds
  • olive oil
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • Gruyere cheese, or good Alpine-style cheese, shredded
  • additional salt and pepper, to taste

Start by caramelizing your onions. If you have a mandolin, use it to thinly slice your onions. Heat a large skillet, and toss in the butter, cooking on medium heat. Add in all of the onions, and stir. About ten minutes into cooking, toss in the pinch of salt, pepper, and sugar. Stir, and cook until the onions caramelize, about 30 minutes. Reduce the heat if you have to, to prevent burning.

Next get a soup pot on medium heat, and add in the stock, two cloves of minced garlic, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss in the caramelized onions, and give a good stir. Bring to a light boil, then add in the sherry cooking wine. Cook for about 30 minutes.

How to make French onion soup

When you are ready to prepare the soup, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Brush some olive oil onto each side of the French bread slices. Depending on the size of your bowl, you can get away with one or two croutons. Cook the bread until golden, then remove from the oven, and rub a clove of garlic onto the top and bottom of each slice.

Ladle the soup into your French onion soup bowls. If you do not have  them, don’t worry, as you can most likely use a microwave safe bowl as well, and substituting the oven for the microwave. Add the crouton to the bowl, and top with a generous amount of cheese. It’s all about the cheese, is it not? Place into the oven (or microwave), and cook until the cheese is nicely melted.

Remove, and dig in. Keep in mind this soup is going to be very hot. Now I have never been a fan of soggy bread, but whoa, in this soup it is just the best thing on Earth!  Take a bit of the bread, and scoop down into the onions and beef, and trust me, you will get cheese in every bite. I ate this soup for three days straight, and I’m still thinking about it to this day. Oh yeah, have fun scraping every little bit of cheese from the spoon. That’s my favorite part!