Hot Mulled Cider

1 gallon apple cider
3/4 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay
1/4 cup honey 2 quince—peeled, cored and finely chopped
One 4-inch rosemary sprig
Two 3- to 4-inch cinnamon sticks, broken
4 cloves
1 star anise
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Combine the cider, wine, honey, quince, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and lemon zest in a large saucepan and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Strain the mulled cider and discard the solids. Serve the mulled cider warm.

Beef Braised In Chianti

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1kg stewing or braising beef – chuck, flank or neck, cut into large chunks of about 5cm
3 garlic cloves, peeled but whole
1 bottle red wine, ideally chianti
Salt
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns, plus a few extra just in case

To serve
Bread or buttery mashed potato

Warm the olive oil in a heavy-based casserole or stockpot, then brown the meat in batches over a medium heat. Return all the meat to the pan, add the peeled but whole garlic cloves, the red wine and a pinch of salt. Use a pestle and mortar to pound the peppercorns until fine, then add that to the pan.

Bring the pan almost to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is very tender but still holding its shape. If you like, remove the lid for the last 45 minutes to reduce the sauce. If you want it reduced further, remove the meat and boil the sauce until slightly thickened, then return the meat to the pan.

Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Ideally allow to rest for a few hours – better still, overnight – then reheat gently.

Cuban Black Beans

1 pound dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
1 green bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow pepper, minced
1 large white onion, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato paste
Salt

Put the black beans, quartered green pepper and bay leaves in a large saucepan add 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove and discard the green pieces and bay leaves.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the minced bell peppers and onion and cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the cumin and oregano. In a small saucepan, cook the garlic in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil over moderately low heat until golden brown.

When the beans are tender, add the sautéed pepper mixture, the garlic in its oil and the tomato paste. Season with salt and simmer gently for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Rub for Smoked Brisket

1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup ground espresso beans
1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

Combine the sugar, salt, espresso beans, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne in a resealable container, cover tightly, and shake well to combine. Store in a cool, dry place.

The rub will keep for up to 2 months, at which point the coffee will began to taste stale

Eastern Carolina Barbecue Sauce (four kinds)

1 Gallon Cider Vinegar
1 1/3 Cups Crush Red Pepper
2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Salt

Mix the ingredients and let stand for at least 4 hours. This one requires no refrigeration.

———–

1 Gallon Cider Vinegar
1 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar or 1/2 Cup Molasses
3 Tablespoons Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tablespoons Cayenne
1/4 Cup Salt

Again, mix the ingredients and let stand for at least 4 hours.

————

3 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Cups Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Hot sauce
2 Tablespoons Red pepper flake
2 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 Cup salt

Mix together and heat until sugar and salt is dissolved. This sauce can be served hot or cold. Shake well before using.

————

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple juice or white grape juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
Dash of salt

Combine ingredients in a non-reactive bowl.

Whisk until sugar dissolves and pepper flakes begin to settle

It is best when left to sit a day or two.

Grilled Okra

2 pounds okra, cut in half lengthwise
Sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Get your grill lit and hot. If you use charcoal, make sure you burn it down to nice hot embers.

Place the cut okra in a mixing bowl and season it well with sea salt. Add the olive oil and toss to combine. Place the okra on the grill, cut side down, perpendicular to the direction of the grates. Grill for 3 minutes, or until slightly charred. Turn the okra over and cook for 3 more minutes, until it is nicely charred and a little softer, but not really soft.

Return the okra to the mixing bowl and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley. Toss to combine, and serve.

Grilled Corn Salad with Chilies, Basil, and Lime

4 ears fresh corn, shucked
2 red jalapeños
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Sea salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn in small pieces
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Light the grill and get it really hot. If you are using a charcoal grill, which I strongly recommend, make sure the coals are cooked down to a fiery-hot gray.

Place the corn and the jalapeños on a baking sheet, and brush with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the corn and chiles all over with sea salt, and place them directly on the grate of the grill. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, turning halfway through, until well charred. Remove the corn and the chiles from the grill and set them aside to cool.

Using a knife or a corn shucker, cut the corn kernels from the cob and place them in a bowl. Finely chop the jalapeños, discarding the stem (I leave it up to you if you want the seeds in there). Add the jalapeños, basil leaves, and lime juice to the corn. Taste, and add more sea salt if needed. Toss well, then add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and stir. Let the salad sit for 30 minutes at room temperature. Serve.
 

Grilled Ribeye with Soy Butter

1 thick-cut rib-eye steak
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

Rinse the steak under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle on all sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat your grill to the max heat–that means at least three of the burners on full blast high, and keeping the lid closed for a good 5-10 minutes.

Mix the melted butter together with the soy sauce in a small bowl. When the grill is heated, put the steak on the grill, letting it brown for about 1-2 minutes. You can close the grill lid to let the heat build up and get some nice caramelization on the edges of the steak. After 1-2 minutes, turn the steak 45 degrees to get those pretty grill marks. Let cook again for 1-2 minutes. Flip the steak and repeat the above steps for the other side.

When the steak is pretty well-browned on both sides, use your tongs lift up the steak and brown the edges. Thick cut steaks need TLC on the edges too! Now for the soy-butter glaze.

Liberally brush the steak with the soy-butter mixture using a heat-proof basting brush. Flip the steak and brush the other side. You may want to wear an oven mitt for this process, as the butter may cause some fairly strong flame-ups. The glaze will make the steak perfectly caramelized and charred on the outside! Those grill marks we worked on earlier add the perfect uniformity of char and color!

Liberally glaze the steak continuously until it’s cooked to your preferred doneness–rare, medium-rare, medium, etc; this translates to grilling the steak for an additional 3-5 minutes for medium-rare, 5-7 minutes for medium, or 8-10 minutes for medium-well, though this does depend on steak thickness. A better test for doneness is to poke the steak gently with the tongs. The squishier it is, the rarer your steak will be. More firm means more well-done. Simple right?

Remove the steak from the heat and let rest for 10-15 minutes. It’s a long time, we know, but it’ll all be worth it when you cut into your steak and skip the lake of beef juice that escapes onto your cutting board!

Serve with additional soy-butter glaze on the side (you can make a fresh batch or reheat what you used to baste the steak–remember that you basted the steak once it was cooked on the outside, so it’s safe to consume post-grilling).

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri

1 bunch of parsley
1 bulb of garlic
2/3 cup neutral oil (such as canola oil, light olive oil, or grapeseed oil)
1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
? teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of half a lime
Skirt steak (Make however much you want! You’ll have plenty of chimichurri to go with it.)

Pick the leaves off your bunch of parsley, and finely chop them. Peel all your garlic cloves and mince finely. You can use a food processor, garlic press, or an old fashioned knife and cutting board.

In a small bowl, combine the parsley, garlic, oil, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper, and lime juice. Stir well to combine.

Fire up your grill to preheat. Season your steak with salt and pepper. When your grill is extremely hot (if you have a thermometer on your grill, it should be in the range of 500-600F), lay the steaks on the grill. Skirt steaks are very thin, so this process will be quick. Do not close the grill, and don’t walk away!

When the first side has been on the grill for about 1 minute, rotate the steaks to get some solid grill marks. After another minute, flip the steak, letting cook for 1 minute, then rotating, then letting cook for another minute or two. Once you’ve established a solid criss-cross, you can start moving around a little bit more erratically. This will ensure that you get a delicious uniform grill crust. These instructions are for medium rare, which is in our opinion the best way to enjoy your steak. If you like it more or less well done, add or subtract cooking time.

When the steak is cooked, transfer to a plate and let rest for a solid 10 minutes. Don’t cut into it before then. Serve as large steaks or slice against the grain and top with generous amounts of chimichurri.

Black Diamond Steak Marinade

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30ml) balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Freshly ground black pepper
About 2 to 3 pounds (900g to 1.4kg) steak of your choice

In a large zipper-lock bag, combine Worcestershire, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and a generous grinding of black pepper.

Add steak to bag, press out air, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade, blot dry with paper towels, and grill as desired.

Beer and Lemongrass Steak Marinade

1 (12-ounce; 355ml) bottle light lager beer
3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 (6-inch) length fresh lemongrass, lightly bruised with the blunt side of a knife
1 (2-inch) strip fresh lemon zest
1 (1-inch) knob peeled fresh ginger, sliced
1 teaspoon (5g) toasted coriander seed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon (5g) kosher salt
About 2 to 3 pounds (900g to 1.4kg) steak of your choice

In a large zipper-lock bag, combine beer, oil, lemongrass, lemon zest, ginger, coriander seed, thyme, and salt. Swish until salt is dissolved.

Add steak to bag, press out air, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade, blot dry with paper towels, and grill as desired.

Cocoa-Coffee Steak Marinade

1 cup (235ml) hot, strong brewed coffee
1/2 ounce (15g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15g) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon (5g) kosher salt
Pinch chili powder or cayenne pepper
About 2 to 3 pounds (900g to 1.4kg) steak of your choice

Stir together coffee, chocolate, sugar, salt, and chili powder or cayenne, until chocolate is fully melted and sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Let cool.

Transfer marinade to a large zipper-lock bag, add steak, press out air from bag, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade, blot dry with paper towels, and grill as desired.

Chicken Kebab

1 skinless and boneless chicken breast, 12 oz.
2 tablespoons olive oil, for grilling

Marinade:
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 – 1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Cut the chicken into 16 equal-sized cubes, pat dry and marinate with the Marinade ingredients for 30 minutes.

Thread four pieces of the chicken meat onto a metal skewer or bamboo skewer. Repeat the same and make four skewers. Set aside.

Fire up your outdoor grill (or indoor grill) and grill the chicken kebab until cooked. While grilling, brush the chicken with olive oil. Serve hot.

Carne Asada

3 whole dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed (see note above)
3 whole dried guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed (see note above)
2 whole chipotle peppers, canned in adobo
3/4 cup fresh juice from 2 to 3 oranges, preferably sour oranges
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 to 3 limes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
6 medium cloves garlic
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, divided
1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, toasted and ground
1 teaspoon whole coriander seed, toasted and ground
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Kosher salt
2 pounds skirt steak (2 to 3 whole skirt steaks), trimmed and cut with the grain into 5- to 6-inch lengths (see note above)
Warm corn or flour tortillas, lime wedges, diced onion, fresh cilantro, and avocado, for serving

Place dried ancho and guajillo chilies on a microwave-safe plate and microwave until pliable and toasty-smelling, 10 to 20 seconds. Transfer to the jar of a blender and add chipotle peppers, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, cumin seed, coriander seed, and brown sugar. Blend until a smooth sauce has formed, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt. Transfer half of the salsa to a large bowl and the other half to a sealed container. Set aside the sealed container in the refrigerator.

Add an extra 2 teaspoons of salt to the salsa in the bowl. It should taste slightly saltier than is comfortable to taste. Add 1 piece of steak to bowl and turn to coat. Transfer to a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag with the top folded over to prevent excess sauce and meat juices from contaminating the seal. Repeat with remaining steak, adding it all to the same bag. Pour any excess marinade over the steak. Squeeze all air out of the bag and seal. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

When ready to cook, remove the extra salsa from the fridge to allow it to warm up a little. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

Remove steak from marinade and wipe off excess. Place directly over the hot side of the grill. If using a gas grill, cover; if using a charcoal grill, leave exposed. Cook, turning occasionally, until steak is well charred on outside and center registers 110°F on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain and serve immediately, passing extra salsa, lime wedges, avocado, onions, cilantro, and tortillas on the side.

Balsamic Vegetable Kebabs

For the Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
2 teaspoons DIjon mustard
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Skewers:

1 large zucchini, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 large yellow squash, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 3/4-inch slices
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch cubes and separated into 3-layer segments
2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
1 pint grape tomatoes

For the Vinaigrette: Whisk together balsamic vinegar, oil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, and thyme in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Place all vegetables in a large bowl, add vinaigrette, and toss to coat.

For the Skewers: Skewer vegetables, alternating between zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Reserve any remaining vinaigrette in bowl.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers, turning, until vegetables are browned around the edges and beginning to soften, 5-8 minutes total. Transfer skewers to platter and spoon on reserved vinaigrette. Serve immediately.

Halloumi and Vegetable Kebabs

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon, plus 1 additional lemon cut into wedges for serving
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound halloumi cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 medium zucchini, cut into into 1/2-inch rounds
2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 pint grape tomatoes
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use
Tzatziki, for serving (optional)
Pita, warmed, for serving (optional)

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and mint in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add cheese, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes, and toss to combine.

Alternatively thread cheese, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes on skewers.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers over direct heat until cheese browns and zucchini has slightly softened, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove skewers from the grill to a serving platter. Squeeze lemon wedges over skewers and serve immediately with tzatziki and warm pita.

Steakhouse Kebabs

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin tips, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and halved
1 large red onion, sliced into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 onion layers each)

Whisk together oil, Worcestershire, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, brown sugar, and black pepper in a small bowl. Place beef cubes and mushrooms in a large resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Marinate, refrigerated, for at least 1 and up to 5 hours.

Thread beef onto skewers, alternating with mushrooms and onions.

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over entire surface of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Grill skewers until beef is well seared on all sides and center of beef registers between 125-130°F on an instant read thermometer, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer skewers to platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Sirloin tips provide the right balance between tenderness and flavor for kebabs.

Using 1 1/2-inch cubes allows the steak enough time to sear over direct heat and still remain medium-rare to medium inside.

A robust marinade of Worcestershire, soy sauce, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic gives these kebabs a big steakhouse flavor.

Lemon-Garlic Chicken Kebabs with Tomato and Chimichurri

For the Kebabs:
3 medium cloves garlic, grated or minced (about 1 tablespoon; 15g)
3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (15ml) grated zest and 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon (5ml) maple syrup or honey
1 teaspoon (about 4g) coarse kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon (about 2g) freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon (about 2g) crushed red pepper flakes
2 pounds (900g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
1 pint large cherry tomatoes (about 12 ounces; 340g)

For the Chimichurri:
1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves (about 1 1/4 ounces; 35g)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/4 ounce; 10g)
1/3 cup (80ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing tomatoes
2 tablespoons (30ml) red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, grated (about 1 teaspoon; 4g)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Grilled Chicken Cutlets with Rosemary

3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh juice from 2 lemons
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 to 7 ounces each), cut into 8 cutlets

Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

Whisk together garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer half of mixture to a separate container and set aside. Add chicken to the large bowl and turn pieces to thoroughly coat.

Place chicken directly over the hot side of the grill, cover, and cook, rotating the pieces occasionally (but not flipping them), until the chicken is almost completely cooked through and only a few pink spots remain on the top side, about 4 minutes.

Flip chicken and cook on second side until just done, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving platter.

Re-whisk reserved marinade and pour it over the chicken. Serve immediately.