steak frites Here’s my twist on a french classic.  The coriander and mustard provide savory, earthy notes that balance the saltiness of the blue cheese butter.  Add some julienned yam fries and a glass of Cabernet and you’ve got an unbeatable meal.

Makes: 2 enthralled Frenchmen
Total kitchen time: 45 mins

Shopping list:

  • 2 8-10 Ounce New York strip steaks
  • 2 yams, peeled (try to find evenly shaped yams)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 5 tsp sharp blue cheese (I recommend Rogue River)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • coarse salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 and set the upper rack about 8″ from the top. 
  2. Using a mandolin or v-slicer, julienne the yams.  You’re looking for thin strips, about 1/8″.  If you don’t have a slicer, you’ll spend the next 2 hours doing this by hand.  Oh well, it’s fun, right?
  3. Toss the yams with olive oil and garlic to coat.  Salt generously and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400, tossing often to prevent burning.
  4. In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, combine the coriander seeds, mustard power, white pepper, 3 wrists of black pepper, about 1 tsp of coarse salt and about 4 tsp of olive oil.  Blend until the coriander seeds are relatively small.
  5. Coat the steaks with the coriander mixture and set aside. 
  6. Preheat a very heavy skillet over high heat.  Seroiusly, get this thing hot.  Once it is smoking (literally) add the steaks and sear each side until a delicious crust forms, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove the steaks to a plate and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, combine the butter, blue cheese and half of the thyme in a small bowl.  Remove the yam fries from the oven and toss with the remaining thyme. 
  8. Plate the steaks and fries.  Place a generous dollop of blue cheese butter atop the steak and watch it melt in a ballet of buttery flavor.

Pour yourself a full-bodied glass of red wine and light a few candles.  This dinner can’t be beat.

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016 Did you find the original Lamb Summer Salad a little lacking in testosterone? Well, turn up the Top Gun soundtrack and light your afterburner: the men are cooking!

Instead of grilling your lamb loins whole, pound them flat (1/2″ thick) with a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Then, slice the meat ribbon-thin on a heavy bias. Skewer the lamb on some waterlogged bamboo spears, cover with the same marinate, and grill over high heat, turning once.

The cucumber vinaigrette makes a great dipping sauce, and a beer rounds out the meal. Welcome to the Danger Zone!

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red stripe ribs Although it would be a delicious experiment to add Red Stripe beer to a marinade or BBQ sauce, that is not the reason these ribs are so named. It turns out, quite accidentally, that these ribs are perfect (and I say that without exaggeration) when paired with a bottle of Red Stripe Jamaican Lager.

Makes: 5 lbs
Total kitchen time: all day (with 20 minutes of real work)

Shopping list:

  • 1 5-lb slab of pork spare ribs
  • 1 roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil (the large, wide roll)
  • 3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp red cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp meat tenderizer (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground cloves (not optional)

Additionally, for the BBQ sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup pan drippings (rib nectar)
  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Reserve about 3/4 cups of the dry rub to use for the BBQ sauce.
  2. Prepare your ribs by laying them on a doubled sheet of heavy aluminum foil, large enough to cover the slab of ribs (don’t cut the slab into smaller sections). Coat both sides of the slab generously with dry rub. Wrap tightly in the foil and refrigerate until ready to cook (for best results, let the ribs sit overnight in the dry rub).
  3. Preheat your oven to 200 F. Since this is an unusually low cooking temperature, you may want to use an oven thermometer to ensure the temperature is correct. Place the ribs on the middle rack and put a large drip pan (a roasting pan works fine) below. They’ll leak, so be prepared. [Alternately, you can cook the ribs directly on your grill. Turn on one burner to low and place the ribs on the opposite side of the grill.]
  4. Cook for about 8 hours or until the meat starts to separate from the bone. When you remove the ribs from the oven, the foil package will contain a lot of juice. Reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid in a large bowl. Add the remaining dry rub (that you saved in step 1) and the wet ingredients to make the BBQ sauce. Stir until combined.
  5. If you have a grill available, preheat it over medium-high heat. Cut the slab of ribs in half for easier handling and brush all sides generously with the BBQ sauce. Grill about 2 minutes per side. (If you don’t have a grill, just coat the ribs with the BBQ sauce and serve.)

Now, crack open a case of Red Stripe and enjoy the tender, succulent taste of all that hard work. Life (sip) is (bite) good.

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