Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chile Garlic Peanuts! Bet You Can't Eat Just One!.......That's Stupid. Who Would Eat Just One Peanut Anyway?......Maybe Someone Who Was Highly Allergic.......This Title Sucks

You know how people say "(Something I like) is like crack to me?" You know what I mean. For example. "I love American Idol. American Idol is like crack to me." I wonder how crack became drug we chose for this cliche. I'm sure crack cocaine is plenty addictive, but if you're going to use something extreme to stretch your simile, why not go for the whole kit and kaboodle. From now on, I'm substituting Crystal Methamphetamine. Widely known as the most addictive drug out there (Wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt), I think this one fits better. So, here we go:

Chile Garlic Peanuts are like Crystal Methamphetamine to me.

So, one day, we were shopping at the Teet (thanks, Nathan Moore), and they had this bargain book bin (thanks, alliteration) full of cookbooks for like, $5 each. I couldn't decide, so I bought three volumes of The Best of the Best Recipes from the 25 Best Cookbooks of the Year. I realize that that sentence might make you think you are in the Matrix. You aren't. Probably.

Anyways, one of the recipes from one of the cookbooks featured in one of the books I bought was for Chile Garlic Peanuts. The original cookbook is called Big Small Plates, by Cindy Pawleyn. These couldn't be simpler to make, but they are literally like a highly addictive recreational drug once you jump in there.

Chile-Garlic Peanuts
From Big Small Plates by Cindy Pawleyn
2 whole heads garlic
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 pounds raw spanish peanuts with skins
4 HOT dried chiles. (I used Chile De Arbol, which I found in the Mexican section at the Teet)
1 tbsp kosher salt.
Grated zest and juice of one lime.

Separate the garlic into cloves and smash the cloves. The recipe calls for not removing the skins of the garlic cloves, but they come off in the mix anyway, so I removed them. Heat the oil to medium high in a large skillet. Cast iron is best. Place the garlic and chiles in the oil and let them soften and brown for about 3-4 minutes.

 Then add the peanuts and stir continuously for about 10 minutes until all the peanuts are thoroughly coated in the flavored oil and are piping hot. Transfer to a large bowl and add the lime juice and zest. Stir thoroughly, and serve when they are cool enough to handle.
Be Careful! Peanuts hold heat very well, and if you eat them right off the stove, they will be hotter than Earth's yellow sun, and might burn your face off, Raiders of the Los Ark style.

These little babies are the best snack of the year. Thanks Teet! Now go get started on your own little Chile-Garlic-Peanut-Meth-Lab

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Grilled Ribeye with Chimichurri Compound Butter......Screw You for Judging Me.

I'm all about sticking it to the Man. The Man is always trying to keep you down. The Man hates happiness, puppies, birthdays, Christmas and butter. Most of all the Man hates butter. Well listen here, the Man, consider yourself stuck to, because this guy loves some butter, and sometimes, I put it on steak.
Of course, I guess in this case "the Man" is my right ventricle, and "sticking it to the Man" means sticking little deadly pieces of cholesterol to my coronary arteries, but that's neither here nor there. the point is, from time to time, it's okay if your food is not made of wheat germ and bean sprouts, and you can add a little butter to your meat. Deal with it....Is it getting hot in here?

According to Wikipedia, Compound Butter is of French origin (Beurre composé), and it means butter mixed with supplementary ingredients to enhance the flavor of dishes. Of course, any doof can put anything on Wikipedia, so I reject that definition and insert the following:

Compound Butter: Mixing delicious ingredients with butter, hence making the butter more delicious. First invented by the Yaohnanen tribe on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, who worship Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Get you some of that, Wikipedia. I'll be submitting the Yaohnanen's contributions to compound butter to Wikipedia forthwith.

Either way, you can use compound butter in place of a sauce on meat, vegetables, bread or just about anything. It can be flavored with whatever you want, and it is extremely easy to make.

Chimichurri is an Argentinian steak sauce made from garlic and fresh herbs. Did I say Argentina? I meant its origin is from the people of Mons Gruithuisen Gamma. Boom. Wikipedia moderators, better drink a cuppa, because I'm on fire tonight!

I use chimichurri on lots of proteins, and I thought the ingredients would make a wicked compound butter for steak. If you ever have a steak at a high end steak house, and afterwards, you wonder what it was that made it so juicy and buttery, here's the secret: it was butter. Broiling or basting top quality beef in butter is the ultimate way to make it restaurant quality, so how could this go wrong?

Chimichurri Compound Butter
(A Jacked Up Grill Original)

2 sticks real butter, unsalted and warmed to room temperature
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

Whip butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. It really helps to have the butter at room temperature.
In a food processor or blender, mix all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.

 Gently combine the green ingredients and the butter until the whole mixture is evenly colored.

Lay a large piece of plastic wrap out on a clean work surface. Near one end, spoon out the butter mixture in a loaf shape about 2 inches across. Leave about 3 inches on either end of the loaf so you can wrap it.

 Gently roll the plastic around the butter until it is completely enclosed in wrap. Be careful not to lose the cylinder shape. Hold the plastic by the ends and twist them until it is sealed inside.

 Place the wrapped butter in the freezer for at least one hour. When ready to serve, unwrap the butter enough to slice off however many pieces you will need to serve. The rest can be rewrapped and returned to the freezer. It will keep for about a month.

Serve the pats of butter on top of a steak fresh off the grill, and prepare to amaze your dinner guests and appall your cardiologist. You'll thank me. In fact, you already have, even if you don't know it. You're welcome.