Category Archives: Recipes

Scottish Punch

I call this one Scottish Punch:

  • 1 part cherry syrup
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 3 parts peaty scotch

Shake with ice and pour over rocks. Garnish with a cherry.

Sweet balanced with smoke.

DIY Hibachi & Yakitori

I built this cool hibachi grill using some clay pots that I picked up at Home Depot.

As you can see, the first thing I cooked on it was some thick cut bacon. That’s lamb bacon, by the way. Really nice.

I lit the coal brick with a blowtorch.

This baby made my apartment really smokey because the fat drippings were hitting the hot coal. Otherwise, if there was no fat dripping, the hibachi was relatively smokeless. The cooking itself was more like a slow roast. I think, since I only used one brick, that made the process take longer. Next time I’ll try with two or three.

Sunday Sirloin Roast

This past weekend I went all in and made a Sunday roast out of some Strassburger Steaks sirloin that I butchered myself at a butchery class. I had it netted/trussed so that it held its shape during the cooking process (that’s why it has lines on it).

First I rubbed it with some delicious Botticelli extra virgin olive oil. I really love that stuff. It’s the best olive oil I’ve had, and it doesn’t take on a bitter taste like some extra virgin oils do.

Then I seasoned with kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. After that, I sealed it up in a sous vide bag with a few sprigs of rosemary. I left it in the bath overnight for 12 hours, set to 128 degrees.

After I pulled it from the bath, I poured out any meat juices into a cup for using later.

I let the meat cool own to room temperature before searing it in a pan with some butter and the rosemary. I spooned the excess butter over the top as I cooked it, and ensure that I got a good sear on all sides.

Always let your meat rest before slicing. I rested this roast for about 15 minutes. While you do that, you can pour the meat juice into the melted butter that’s left in the pan and reduce it gently into a brown gravy sauce.

I served with a big salad and some roasted potatoes. But man, oh man. That beef was so delicious.

Oh and speaking of Botticelli Foods, they happened to send me and my wife a nice package of stuff to try out here at home.

I just used the EVOO with my roast, but my wife used almost everything here and baked these awesome little farfalle muffins – a take on my spaghetti pie, but with prosciutto cups, bow tie pasta, roasted red peppers, mozz, eggs, parmesan cheese and spinach. Insanely delicious.

 

Gin Lane

Gin Lane 1751 sent me a bottle of their London Dry Royal Strength Gin, as well as a pre-mixed negroni, to test out and make some tasty cocktails.

As some of you may know, I’m a huge gin martini fan. I pretty much always have one with steak. I especially like London dry gins, so I was excited to try this brand out.

Naturally, the first thing I went for was a classic dry martini, a little dirty. I barely fill the twist cap with vermouth, and pour that over the ice that’s already been chilling my martini glass as I prep.

By the way, I’ve had that bottle of Martini & Rossi vermouth for about 10 years now. That’s how dry I like my martinis…

Next I pour in some olive juice, and finally, the gin. Shake the fuck out of it and strain into a chilled glass for absolutely crisp, salty perfection. Olives as garnish, of course.

The pre-made negroni instructions are simple: Pour over ice and garnish with an orange peel.

As you can see, I had a lemon on hand, so I mixed it up a bit with that. I also threw in a splash of seltzer to give it some mouth-pop. Nice! Not too bitter, and just the right amount of sweet.

The third cocktail I made was my own. I squeezed out the juice of that one large lemon, added some raw sugar simple syrup, then stirred that together with gin and seltzer in a tall glass with ice. I garnished with a burnt lemon peel and a lemon wedge, and let the ash from the burnt peel fall into the drink to provide some natural bitters. Very refreshing and delicious.

If you’re a fan of gin like me, then I think you’ll dig this stuff. There’s elements of juniper, both sweet and sour citrus, barks, roots, coriander and other spices. But it’s not overpowering, and it stays true to the London dry style without becoming floral. With a strength of 47% alcohol, this packs plenty of wallop for a good cocktail, too, if you aren’t into drinking gin straight up.

Now that I’m cooking more steaks at home these days, I’ll be making lots of martinis and cocktails with this stuff. Go grab a bottle.

New York Prime Beef

This will serve as sort of a double whammy review, since I used some nice products while cooking up these amazing steaks from New York Prime Beef.

New York Prime Beef is a high end middle meats (ribs and loins) brand that operates out of Hunt’s Point in the Bronx. I was invited in to meet the owner and employees, get a sense of the business, and try out some of their amazing products.

New York Prime Beef sells top notch prime, American wagyu and kobe beef steaks. They ship fresh overnight to anywhere in the US – never frozen unless the customer asks for it.

Each cut is beautifully packed in shrink wrap and butcher paper – even signed/initialed by the butcher who does the cutting.

Now let me tell you; I’ve had some really great steak in my day, as you can imagine. But the American wagyu strip that I took home and cooked was fucking flawless. Seriously one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, and I made it myself!

Look at the freaking marbling on this. Even the marbling has marbling.

It was a really simple cooking process. You can’t fuck it up. Season first with some salt. Heat up a little bit of oil in a cast iron pan until it’s screaming hot. Pop the steak on there for two and a half minutes per side.

But I actually used some truffle oil, truffle salt and truffle butter that I got from The Truffleist to boost up the decadence even more.

Take a look at the video:

The finished product was absolutely stunning. To be honest, this beef doesn’t need anything except for salt, but this truffle wagyu meal was fucking TITTY BAGS. I want to eat like this every day!

The texture is melt-in-your-mouth. You can cut this shit with a fork. The flavor has a buttery quality to it that sets it apart from standard beef or even prime, dry-aged beef. This stuff is like the foie gras of beef!

And that’s not to knock the other cuts they offer. Wagyu or Kobe isn’t in everyone’s budget. I also tried a prime porterhouse, and a prime dry-aged rib eye. The minimum these guys will age a cut of beef is 28-days. When I was at the facility, I saw some that had been aging for 60 days.

But anyway, let me get back to what I made at home. These babies were cut nice and thick, so I wanted to make sure I got a proper cook temp all the way through.

Sous Vide machines are all the rage these days. Everyone is buying them up because they allow you to cook meat perfectly every time. No more worrying about fucking up an expensive cut of beef!

I set mine to 128 degrees and let the fucker crank for about six hours. Then I pulled the meat out of the machine and let them rest and reabsorb some juices in the bag. Once they were about rom temperature plus, I removed them from the bag, patted them dry with a paper towel, and blasted them with a blowtorch. See below:

As you can see, I seasoned AFTER slicing and plating. This allowed me to get a better sense of the actual beef flavor for reviewing purposes.

The meat is fantastic. There’s a nice mild funk from the dry aging process on the rib eye. It doesn’t clobber you, which is good. The beef was tender and juicy, and really responded nicely to basic seasoning like salt, pepper and olive oil.

I think I liked the porterhouse a bit better. The tenderness of both the strip and filet sides was incredible.

I highly recommend this stuff. Order some today and let them know that Johnny Prime sent you. You’ll probably have the meat in time for dinner grilling on Sunday.

One of the coolest things about this spot is that the owner, Vinnie (great name), is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

He’s a drag racer, a pilot, an old car guy (like me), and an art enthusiast. He even has some wild graffiti art on his rooftop (he supplies the paint for the artists).

I think that about covers it. I hope to see his products flood the market. They’re so good.

The Steakhouse Sandwich

I hate wasting food, but I’m also not a fan of leftover steak. That’s why I will always try to finish every scrap of meat on my plate. But sometimes you just can’t pack it all in, and you have to bring some of that meat home. If you’re like me, you don’t like to re-heat quality meat. Something just changes and it’s not the same.

I’ve had some sliced cold in a salad before, but I also hate salads. I’ve also made a lot of beef stocks and broths with bones and meat scraps. But making the same thing can get tiring, and that’s a long process as well. So I came up with this recipe to satisfy my urges.

What you need:

  • Leftover steak
  • Leftover creamed spinach
  • Leftover potato element
  • Cheddar and/or American cheese
  • Sub sandwich bread

Okay so here’s how it goes down. First, slice up your leftover steak scraps as thin as you can get them.

Inevitably, you’re going to have some congealed beef fat mixed with butter in the bottom of your take-out container.

Don’t throw that away!

Grab your bread.

Slice it open and spread that buttery beef fat onto each side of your bread, like so, and then heat up a pan.

Toast this baby as if it were grilled cheese.

Then start layering your components. Creamed spinach:

Potatoes and cheese:

Those were crispy potatoes mixed with onions, so that was a bonus ingredient for me!

Meat:

More cheese, because why not?

Close it up and wrap it in tinfoil.

Bake this fucker for a quick stint at like 450. It doesn’t need too long in there. Once the cheese is completely melted down it should be good to go. Also, you don’t want to overheat the meat since it should already be a nice medium rare from the steakhouse.

Done.

Unwrap, slice and eat. Just try to do a better job slicing it than I did.

The “Banh Mia” Sandwich

Last night The Cake Dealer put together the most incredible sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life. A successful combination of Vietnamese and Italian cuisines – a “Vietalian” banh mi sandwich that she called the “Banh Mia” sandwich.

Mortadella, prosciutto, pickled carrots, pickled daikon, fresh cucumbers, cilantro, mayo, maggi sauce, sri racha sauce, and nduja on a baguette. If this isn’t a thing, it will be soon – mark my words. She would have lines down the block if she opened up a sub shop with these.

I was pushing for Italian bread to make the circle complete, but the French baguette is a very important part of Vietnamese banh mi, so it had to stay.

We had actually seen something similar before, in Philly, but more along the sausage route.

Although we didn’t try that sausage and pepper banh mi, I think my wife’s is better and actually makes more sense as fusion cuisine for the following reasons: (1) the mortadella is similar to the bologna and head cheese; (2) the prosciutto is similar to the ham, and (3) the nduja is similar to the pate – which are all used in the classic, traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.

Pat LaFrieda Meats: A Steak Feast At Home

Pat LaFrieda. You’ve all probably seen the name before, and you’ll definitely see it again – especially because I’m about to publish a feature article on LaFrieda early next month for my “Meet Your Meat” series. But the man is a top notch, high quality beef purveyor with a rich family tradition of killing it in the meat biz. He provides the goods to the restaurants and chefs that make my favorite steaks.

He recently sent over two cuts of steak for me to enjoy at home; both dry-aged for 60 days, both prime, and both 2.5″ thick. One was a porterhouse, and the other a rib eye.

A video posted by Johnny Prime (@johnnyprimecc) on

This stuff is not just set aside for restaurants and hotels! You can order it for home delivery right here.

So, what to do with all this beef? I mean, I would have loved to eat it all myself, but that’s just rude. Instead, I invited over a handful of foodie friends and cooked up a feast for them.

Here’s how it went down:

Appetizers

For starters, I sliced up some truffle salami and made a very basic wedge salad with iceberg, grape tomatoes, thick bacon and a crumbled blue cheese and black truffle oil dressing.

Main Courses

I decided to cook the porterhouse in the sous vide machine, and then finish it off with a hard Searzall blowtorch sear. I loaded the sous vide bag up with some truffle oil (I froze this ahead of time, that way the contents in the bag were dry when I sealed it), rosemary and thyme. I also seasoned the steak with salt and pepper before sealing it up.

After about four hours in a 128 degree bath, I pulled it out and dropped it into some ice water to stop the cooking process. After a few minutes, I removed it from the bag, dried it off and blasted it with the Searzall to get that nice outer crust.

Before serving, I sliced it up and plated it, then drizzled black truffle oil on top, and hit it with some finishing salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

I picked up an extra filet from the grocery store as well, which I cooked the same way. This was mainly as extra meat, in case we didn’t have enough, and also as a control group to compare the meat quality from a nice grocery store cut against Pat LaFrieda. The cut I picked from Morton Williams looked nicely marbled and it was reasonably thick for just under $12.

When comparing the filet side of the LaFrieda porterhouse to the grocery store filet, the LaFrieda steak was hands down WAY better. There is no question about it. That 60-day dry-aging process really infuses an incredible amount of flavor into the meat.

If you are a beef lover, then Pat LaFrieda cuts are the way to go. In fact, one of my friends cooks up Pat LaFrieda steaks every Friday, and he calls it “LaFrieda Fridays.” HA!

For the rib eye, I went with a traditional cast iron skillet sear with maple bacon fat and herbs, and then I finished it in the oven. I let it rest, and then sliced that up and served it on a salt block, also with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Unfortunately for me, the temperature jumped from 120 to 145 WAY faster than it was climbing while going from 68 to 120. I turned around to snap pics of the porterhouse and BOOM. The steak went beyond medium rare. Lesson learned. In any event, it was still incredibly delicious at medium. The fat cap was heavenly!

To go with these steaks, I roasted some bulbs of garlic for slathering onto the meat and grilled some lemons.

Sides

I put together a nice side of roasted mushrooms and onions, sauteed broccolini (got to have something green I guess), and made a big bowl of tater tots.

Dessert

But no meal at Johnny Prime’s Food Research Lab would be complete without a dessert by The Cake Dealer!

The inside of the cupcakes were marbled vanilla and red velvet, which was perfect to represent the marbling of good prime beef!

Or it was just because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner…

Oh and by the way, here are the foodies that came by. Check out their profiles for pics of the feast, if you have a chance:

@thecakedealer (she’s always there, because she’s my lovely wife)
@thedishelinguide
@theninabobo
@rebecca_chews_nyc
@dequinix

Salt Block Tenderloin

I decided to go bonkers this year on Superbowl Sunday with some Omaha Steaks tenderloin cuts that my wife and I received as a gift from her father. It had been a while since I used my sous vide machine, so I knew I wanted to use that.

I also figured this would be a good time to bust out the Searzall again, since the cuts were only about an inch thick, and, fearing a blasphemous overcooking, I didn’t want to put them in a pan to get that coveted sear on the outside.

Nothing new there. I’ve given you recipes for that before. The ringer here, for this meal I envisioned, was the Bitterman Salt Co. Himalayan salt block that I had chilling in my freezer. I keep it cold for serving sliced sashimi and raw fish items, but I thought it might be nice for medium rare, seared, thin-sliced tenderloin as well.

Essentially, I cooked the steak to rare at 130 degrees in the sous vide machine, right from the sealed Omaha Steaks bags (no seasoning beforehand). Then I popped the steaks into an ice bath to cool them down quickly and halt the cooking process. I know that the Searzall can continue to cook the steak’s interior with prolonged exposure, so I wanted them rare when they came out of the sous vide machine.

After blasting them with the Searzall, I had a good crisp on the outside and a perfect medium rare pink on the inside. Then I sliced them on the salt block, using that as a serving platter. I finished them off with a drizzle of Trader Joe’s black truffle oil, a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper, and some ground sea salt.

Check out the video demo that I posted on youtube:

And some photos of the finished product:

It was a great, cool-temperature, lean beef dish that really packed a delicious flavor profile. The truffle oil was a great way to bring out the earthy flavors from the steak. Simple but robust. Try it at home!

Asian Beef Lettuce Cups

This is a pretty simple and healthy recipe for getting your beef on. The first thing you need to do is procure some spices.

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground Szechuan peppercorns

The above spices can be substituted with the same amount (2 & 1/2 teaspoons) of Chinese Five Spice, if you have it.

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Brown a pound of ground beef in a pan, the same way you would for something like tacos, and strain off any excess liquids and fat. Add in the spices and continue browning until the beef is fully cooked and the spices are evenly distributed across the meat.

Scoop out portions of the beef into Bibb or Iceberg lettuce. Drizzle on some toasted sesame oil, sprinkle on some sesame seeds, and top with fresh cilantro, sliced fresh scallions and crispy fried shallots or onions. Then shove it into your mouth and eat it.

DSC08211 FINAL

If ground beef isn’t your thing, you can use this as a spice rub for grilling or searing steaks as well. Just make sure you coat the steaks generously with the spices first.