Happy Birthday to Me

There are many fine restaurants in Reno and I have enjoyed many of them, not all, to be sure.
Word around town is that LuLou’s is the place to go for celebrating a special occasion. Without consulting me, Carol and Brian made a reservation at LuLou’s for my birthday. I’m good with that.


pineapple express eve

Reno had no precipitation in January. Zero. First time in 10 years. On Groundhog day, the weather guy started talking about the Pineapple Express, a “river of weather” traveling with 80 to 100mph winds moving in a straight line from Hawaii through Reno, bringing with it great gobs of rain below 8000 feet and three or four feet of wet snow above that. Will his wishful forecast be correct this time? You betcha, came on my birthday.

Here’s the 8000 foot line in the California Sierras about 8 miles to the West.

I heard the wind before I got up to make coffee at 6:30. Fierce. Trees I could see bent over, wind coming from the West-South-West, so our back yard and courtyard are sheltered. Weather guy said dust storms until the rain starts and wets the earth. We experienced that — and rampant tumbleweeds — when we went to our Chiropractic appointment at 11am. Driving into the wind and dust on our way home, Carol said NO WAY she’s driving out tonight.

Approaching Sierra Canyon on I-80

Sprinkles started around 3pm and dampened the dust, rain started in earnest and dampened the wind. It wasn’t really a storm storm, but by the time we left for LuLou’s, an inch of rain had fallen at our house. Not so much downtown.


The menu of first courses. Everybody ordered exclusively from here, except yours truly.

No wonder LuLou’s is known as a place for celebrations. They do personal stuff, like this.

Fried Calamari / Thai citrus glaze / crispy noodle “mee krob”
Pork Buns / 24 hr pork belly / shiitakes / pickled cucumbers / long onions

[Note: I described what I ate, I’ll leave the description of what others ate to them, by way of comment or as noted below.]

The chef at LuLou’s happens to be the brother of our hairdresser. Carol was tipped in advance to order these appetizers. Thanks Doug.

The two Appetizers recommended by Doug were delicious. The calamari was not dipped breaded and deep fried but very lightly tossed with spice and perfectly tender without grease. Served over rice noodles with crunchy noodles on top and light vinaigrette. A really well executed dish…never had calamari done that way.

The pork buns were melt in your mouth delicious. They were more of a savory taco design…a large piece of well cooked pork belly tucked into a pork bun dough wrapper and sauced as described by M. One for each of us was just enough to satisfy as the start of a meal. [Carol]

 The pork bun served in a paper boat for easy handling gave us layer after layer of different flavors and textures from the soft, almost gooey pastry to the crunchy tart cucumber to the unctuously rich pork belly  and finally the onion finish. YUM.

As a first course for Brian and Natalya, they shared these appetizers (no pictures):

Dungeness Crab Skillet Cake / sunchokes / creme fraiche . Himalayan truffle

Baked Maine Lobster /  “escargot” butter / preserved lemon / garlic confit

As their main course, they shared Foie Gras times two…

Seared Foie Gras / chestnut griddle cakes / bourbon aged maple syrup


Foie Gras Terrine / huckleberry jam / pine nut crumble / brioche

Carol selected the Dungeness Crab Bisque for her main course.

Dungeness Crab Bisque / scallion jus / saffron potatoes / urfa pepper

The crab bisque made a perfect course to fill out my meal. Warm, rich and lightly seasoned and filled with crab and small chunks of fingerling potatoes. Yummy with the focaccia bread served on the table. [Carol]

I leapt off the appetizer menu for my main course and went straight for the Steak. This one was unlike any steakhouse steak I had ever experienced — no slab of meat and foil wrapped baked potato and undercooked vegetables here — instead, a harmonious and composed dish of the steak, perfectly tender and juicy, fat and succulent trumpet mushrooms, bright and almost crisp broccoli rabe, and “The” potato gratin, may I use the term *rich and fulfilling* again. Hey, it’s my birthday and this dish will be remembered.

Prime Dry Aged N.Y. Steak / king trumpet mushroom / “The” potato gratin / black garlic

Dessert came without menu or description, a lemony moist, balanced unsweet confection that made a palate-cleanser and dessert altogether.

How can lemon curd bar topped with small merengue curls and whipped cream be anything but tart, rich and the perfect dessert to end a birthday dinner! Well the trick candle hit the spot… keep blowing it out and it relights — until you reach the number of your birthdays — if you can get there. [Carol]

Lemon Dessert with Plum Jam

…and Happy 15th Anniversary LuLou’s!


My leftover steak and potato… portions on the right to be heated for dinner;  portions on the left for my Sunday breakfast.

Bon Appetit. Saturday dinner served with steamed broccoli and cauliflower.



It all started with an innocent text message from Brian on Wednesday morning:
“Do you have binoculars?”
“Can we use ‘em?”
Yes. When are you coming?
“Dunno. When’s foie gras night?”
We can cook up good chow any time with notice. You want foie, you’ll have to bring it.
“How ‘bout Fri supper we grill a big fish, maybe on your salt lick.”

I responded by email:
Friday is good.
Fish is good.
SaltROX is good.
But cut fish is better than whole fish. Rock isn’t that big.
We’re going to the fish store on Thursday, so I’ll get some appropriate fish.


Salmon on SaltROX May 2013

Swordfish on SaltROX May 2013 on Weber Q gas grill.

SaltROX box

At Sierra Gold Seafood in Sparks, I couldn’t resist 10ct wild caught shrimp. Perfect for the SaltROX

I texted Brian from the fish store: We got 10ct wild caught shrimp for the grill tomorrow. Do you have a favorite marinade?

Of course, I have marinade recipes for fish and shrimp, but Brian is creative and inventive… I thought he’d come up with something unusual.

He gave me a dry rub (see recipe)

I hadn’t used the SaltROX on the Big Green Egg, only on the Weber Q gas grill, but I’ve retired that. On the gas grill, just put the cold SaltROX on the grill and light it. Can’t do that with the EGG. So I created a recipe to use the EGG and SaltROX for large dry rubbed shrimp.

for SaltROX with Brian inspiration for the Rub.
January 2015

Peel 16 10ct wild caught shrimp and rest at room temperature.

shrimp drying

Toss the shrimp in a mix of
(1 part = 1/2 tsp)
4 parts fine corn meal,
2 parts paprika,
2 parts turmeric,
1 part cayenne, and
1 part fines herbes
1 part dry mustard (optional)
and let that permeate for an hour or so in the fridge.

shrimp tossed with the rub

Brush your SaltROX.

SALT ROX has rules:

Start cold on a cold grill or in a cold oven.

Let the rock cool completely before moving.

Do not wash with anything, including water.

Scrape “clean.”

Stains are okay.

For the Big Green Egg, prepare the EGG as usual and light the fire. When all of the charcoal is engaged,  put the cast iron grate on and the ROX on that and close the lid with all vents wide open.
— watch it and see what happens. It got up to about 400° Left the vents wide open.

Wash and trim greens. Reserve the stems to use in another dish sometime. Tear the greens and reserve in water.
When the ROX is hot, toss the greens on the ROX until cooked. Keep warm in the Counter Oven.

Take out of the fridge 1/2 hour before grilling.
When the ROX is ready again, lay the shrimp on in a single layer. Grill until just cooked through, about 2 minutes each side. (With this size shrimp, it took a bit over 3 minutes a side.)

shrimp cooked. lovely

Serve on a bed of the greens.

Dang All.
I didn’t take a picture of the plate, but it looked great! Three big shrimp over greens, with Rosemary Garlic Potato Gratin alongside.

Grilled Duck Breast

duck breasts and fixins

On one of our irregular trips to Whole Food, we found these lovely duck breasts in a package in front of the meat counter. Oh yes.

I can’t remember the last time we had duck breast, but Brian always remarks on their availability in France: the leftover from the foie gras ducks. I think the last time, I cooked them quickly to rare in the cast iron skillet.

For these babies… straight to the Big Green Egg.

Rub the skin side with a spice rub. Rest a bit while the fire is forming, put on skin side down for four minutes, flip, four minutes to finish. Rest five minutes and slice.

Hoo Baby.

Recipes on line warned of serious fire flare-ups from the fat, but either my duck was excellent, or the EGG doesn’t allow fire. We did get heap big smoke.

served with mashed sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar; Brussels sprouts with blue cheese dressing

Brussels Sprouts with Blue Cheese Dressing
Bacon, about 1 ounce in bits
Trim and halve sprouts, Steam for four minutes.
Bacon inna pan… brown. Off heat, toss in creme fraiche and chopped blue cheese, stir for a minute or so to get the flavors going.
Slowly heat crème fraiche and blue cheese until it melts.
Sprouts inna bowl… fold dressing in. Serve.

next morning’s breakfast

Heat LO Brussels in microwave for 33 seconds.

Spread mashed sweet potatoes on a plate and stick in the Toaster Oven to warm while the toast is finishing.

That’s good.

The way we cook now; simpler times

We still cook every day. And after 2 1/2 years in Reno, we’ve learned to live with each other. Carol and I each do our own breakfast and lunch, but we’ve learned to (often) share the cooking of dinner. When I grill, she will do sides, when she cooks the entrée I will do the vegetable or salad. Agreeing in advance on “What’s for dinner?” helps.

And, to a great extent, we’ve reverted to simple, often-used recipes. Oh, Carol still reads her women’s cooking magazines and peruses Epicurious, Food 52 and the like on her iPad, but what ends up being cooked is basic and good — most often from books or my recipe files.

When there is a question, out comes the well worn copy of Julia Child’s “The French Chef Cookbook” from 1968… autographed in 1976 at the opening of Boston’s Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

So here’s some stuff we’ve cooked lately, and where it came from (breakfasts are all mine, C does yogurt and fruit most often).


Carbonnade de Boeuf a la Provencale accompanied by Bonnie Doon Cigare D (Central Coast Red Wine) from The French Chef Cookbook. Basically, a beef, potato and onion stew baked with Parmesan on top. We probably do it twice a year in cold weather. If we do it for the two of us, there’s always leftovers, if we cook for more, it’s long gone. It’s rather elegant in a way, and the leftovers are fabulous.

latkes with candied carrots and sausage slices

Latkes: “Potato Pancakes w/Apple Sauce & Sour Cream” (Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus) from the Time Life Foods of the World Series, 1968 German Cookbook.
This is Carol’s old standby recipe tailored to goodness.
Actually, I prepped the potatoes and onions… C saw it and said, “That’s a lot!” Well, yeah. So we ate 3 or 4 each and had maybe 8 left over… I ate for breakfast twice, and there was still some left for another dinner.

Thin Sliced Brussels Sprouts With Mustard-Caper Butter, Virginia Ham slice and baked potato.

SF Chronicle 11.3.04: Brussels Sprouts With Mustard-Caper Butter
Adapted from “Local Flavors,” by Deborah Madison (Broadway Books, 2002). I modified by slicing the Brussels sprouts very thin and made BRUSSELS SPROUTS IVa: Thin Sliced Brussels Sprouts With Mustard-Caper Butter
Recipes left from SF call for things such as salt-packed capers and green garlic. Not in Reno, so just substitute what you have. I subbed chopped garlic for green garlic and regular capers for the salt packed. Still an EXCELLENT dish. C sez we might even try slipping it to Brian.
Used the Japanese slicer with the “batch box” to slice the Brussels. Perfect. Cooked in the Wendell Wok.

Dole Carrot Ginger soup, melon, steamed broccoli, sliced fresh curd cheese

Sometimes I like soup for breakfast on a cool morning. Not too much, and it has to be creamy. This is Dole Carrot Ginger soup from a box. I get about three servings from one box. Put it in a small bowl and tuck it in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Yum.

fruit and vegetable breakfast

The Usual melon, vegetable and fresh curd cheese. This time with some steamed broccoli and white beans tossed with a vinaigrette and served in a new bowl I bought at the Dollar Store.

Wine-Braised Chicken Legs with Root Vegetables ingredients

Wine-Braised Chicken Legs with Root Vegetables
Bi Rite Market Cookbook
Eat Good Food

“This take on coq au vin has it all: tender, moist chicken, flavorful root veggies and an incredibly rich sauce;to top it off, it’s a one-pot meal. If it’s your pleasure, duck legs are a great substitute for the chicken legs.”

browned legs and Kungfu Girl Riesling

This recipe is why I bought the book. As with the Carbonnade, we cook this a couple times a year. I made it with three chicken legs… 1 3/4 pounds from Reno Provisions . These are trimmed to perfect serving pieces. Beautiful. Kung Fu Girl Riesling, a wine that the RGJ claims is “best value of 2014” was used for the cooking. [We discovered it months ago.]

This is a fine step-by-step recipe of assembly. Served with Bonny Doon “The Heart Has it’s Rieslings”

The authors of the Bi Rite Market Cookbook start with an essay on “Creating Community Through Food.” Here, they explain their philosophy and family:

buy it with thought
cook it with care
use less wheat & meat
buy local foods
serve just enough
use what is left
Don’t waste it.

That was written in 1914, and as is noted on the sign, it’s still a go-by.

dover sole and asparagus

Pan Fried Dover Sole.
No recipe. Just flour it and saute in butter. C does a really fine job with pan fried fish and I’m happy to let her do it. When she suggested asparagus to go with, I said, “Just don’t broil the asparagus, the buds tend to get all burnt.” So she went for The French Chef Cookbook and cooked it in water just like Julia always did it. Perfect.

fish for breakfast, a favorite

So I’ll end with my breakfast of the LO Sole with vegetables and a side of melon. I put the thin fillets on a plate with the vegetables and stuck it in the Breville countertop convection oven for 10 minutes at 250°F. YUM.

thresher shark

I saw Thresher Shark steaks in the fish case at Raley’s: pure white, about half the size of swordfish steaks (and about half the price); about 1/4 pound each at an inch thick. I have grilled shark steaks in the past — probably in San Francisco — but don’t remember much about them except they weren’t memorably bad. And I don’t recall they had a name.

I wondered what a Thresher Shark might look like. From the size of the steak, not overly large, the way one thinks of a Jaws-variety shark.
I found a picture on the website of the Florida Museum of Natural History

thresher shark in its habitat

thresher shark sizewise

thresher shark on my plate — along with Dijon roasted cauliflower and roasted tomato

Well, they look odd. But they taste gooood. I cribbed a Swordfish with Dill Vinaigrette recipe from the days of Siren Sea SA and adapted it to the EGG for Thresher Shark.

Thresher Shark with Lemon Dill Vinaigrette
Adapted for Big Green Egg from recipe By Anna, Nov 12, 2011

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons table salt
a pinch of granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper — lots

Marinate your inch-thick, 4 ounce Thresher Shark steaks in some of the vinaigrette.
Grill the steaks at about 350 and set the timer for about 4 minutes per side until the temperature approaches 130°F. Transfer the steaks to a platter and poke several holes with a fork so that the vinaigrette can seep in. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the fish. Reserve some vinaigrette to dress you salad or vegetables.

I grilled tomatoes alongside the shark and C made Dijon Roasted Cauliflower. Perfect.

Grilled Lamb Chops

Roasted potatoes and cippilini onion, candied carrots, lamb chops.

6:30pm — dark, but we have a light on the wall by the door.
Note the swell clip-on battery powered LED light.
Wind — none
Air Temperature — 41°F
Green Egg Temperature — 600°F
Time to Fire Up — 50 minutes
Grill time — 6 minutes

Lamb chops are only great, grilled with a good sear. No reason not to grill.  I’m only outside to a) light the fire, b) check the fire, c) close the lid and open vents, d) put on the chops, e) I can see temperature gage from inside, f) turn the chops, g) close the vents and take off the chops.
The EGG is one step from our back door.    (note: EGG picture taken at 4pm)

Can o’ Soup (NOT)

It was a cold, gray Veterans Day in Reno — OK, mid-50’s is SF weather — but gray in Reno seems especially gray as most days are so bright and sunny-warm looking. A hot can o’ soup seemed appropriate for my lunch (C is already into her cold yogurt).

Actually, a POM jar of Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye beans has been front and center in the refrigerator for a few days, those would be good with tomatoes. I found a can of Raley’s Petite Diced tomatoes in the pantry and asked Carol if she had a use for the bulk sausage she bought the other day.

“Nothing special,” she said. So there’s that. I drained the beans and tomatoes into a small bowl to catch the juices.

Probably should chop an onion to sauté as a base course, but I hate to chop a whole onion for a little lunch, maybe a shallot. We didn’t have a shallot, but did have a cippilini onion; even better. I rough sliced that across the grain and started it going in olive oil and a bit of butter. After five or six minutes, I squeezed some fingerfuls of sausage out of the tube and into the sauté pan and stirred it around until all the pink was gone.

onion in the pan with some olive oil and a bit of butter

added sausage to the pan

Added the beans and tomatoes together and stirred around and added some pinches of salt and pepper. Needed liquid, so I added back about half of the bean/tomato juices, got it bubbling and let that go on for a few minutes.

added beans and tomatoes

looks like lunch

Tasted. Good.

I can’t seem to do a straight out of the can lunch, and a cold lunch on such a day as today just doesn’t appeal to me. For me, a lot of the joy of eating comes in finding some things to put together.

Bean Stew (YUM)


and a lagniappe of Drunken Steak

On the EGG, the big ol’ steak is the yin to the halibut yang… or is it the other way? No matter.

We don’t eat much steak anymore. What you can get outside of a steakhouse is generally low grade, not marbled, and just tough and tasteless. That said… I find it hard to pass up a porterhouse when I see a good looking one in the meat case.

porterhouse on the cow

So, how to cook a perfect porterhouse on the EGG?

Build the fire the same way. as for all things EGG.

I generally do a Cooks Illustrated recipe for marinade called “Drunken Steak,” [below] but this time was in a bourbon mood, so I looked up a recipe on line from the Certified Angus Beef folks. Their recipe made 1 1/2 cups and went in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Too much and too long for my taste. I like to marinate on a plate. If the meat’s any good, an hour to add a little flavor is just fine.

So I got out a rimmed plate big enough to hold the steak and

measured 1 ounce each of bourbon and soy sauce. Added 1 Tbsp of brown sugar and a little bit of Worcestershire Sauce, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a few grinds of black pepper. I swirled that around with the back of a fork and carefully laid the steak in the mix on the plate — this is often where I splatter marinade all over me and my counter. Turn the steak a couple times while the fire gets going.

porterhouse marinating

About 20 minutes BC (before cooking) I checked the fire, cleaned my cast iron grill grate and put it over the fire.

At cooktime, I closed the top and took the top vent clean off, patted the steak dry and slathered with some oil and put the puppy on the grill. Closed the top and started timer.

steak and fire

top vent clean off

What we want is 2 minutes at 500 – 600 degrees, flip and two more minutes. Shut all vents and flip at 1 minute intervals until the internal temperature hits 115°F — about 2 flips. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let it rest. Oh baby, that is one fine looking steak.

porterhouse cooks

porterhouse done, steak-flipper at its side

For flipping, I used my new steak flipper I bought at the Silver Legacy Wings Cook-off on Virginia Street, July 6. Brian said it was way overpriced, and I agree, but it’s a handsome devil, perfect for flipping steaks and I also use it to pick up my grill grates and lift the insides in and out of my egg poacher. A multi-tasker.

We served the steak with Carol’s cold tomato soup, kind of like a Gazpacho.


So, here’s the Drunken Steak story from March 2010 in SF…

Just a Steak
Carol’s brother, Alan, called about 6:15. “Yo Alan, what’s up?”

“You cookin’ dinner?”


“What’s for dinner?”

“Drunken Steak. A beautiful boneless New York Strip.”

“What’s a Drunken Steak? You gonna grill it?”

“It’s marinated in a cup of light rum, half-cup of soy sauce, some brown sugar, chopped garlic, ginger, scallion… that’s about it… then dry it and grill it. It’s a beautiful evening for grilling.”

“Sounds good, I’ll have to try it sometime. Is the Mrs. home yet?”

“Just walked in the door. Heeeerrrrrre’s Carol.”

I went on to light the fire and get to grilling. I threw on a sliced potato, as well, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. When I returned, Carol had set the table, opened a nice bottle of 2006 Cline Ancient Vines Mourvedre and made a salad of sliced Cherokee Purple tomato and fresh mozzarella.

“Why are you taking a picture of that? It’s just a steak.”

“Never know when I might need a picture of a steak.”

“Well, I’m hungry and you’re holding up dinner.”

“Besides, its not ‘just a steak.’ Its a grass fed, Marin Sun Farms boneless New York steak… and the first grilled steak of the year.”

“You grilled a flank steak when Tom was here.”

“OK, the first grilled steak of the Spring, in the twilight, not the dark… warm, not cold out. Besides I grilled this lovely asparagus, definitely the first grilled asparagus of the year.”

Dinner was served.

“This is really good steak,” said Carol.

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce (again)

I had not intended to spend this afternoon making roasted tomato sauce; but here it goes.

When I posted my most recent eats story (Grilled Whole Salmon) I got a couple of nice comments on Roasted Heirloom Tomato Sauce written way back in July 2011. (Hey, heirloom tomatoes are in season this time every year.) We brought many jars of similar sauce when we moved from San Francisco to Reno, but they’re all gone now. (YUM)

That was on my mind when shopping at the Farmer’s Market. The heirloom tomatoes didn’t look very good, but I got enough of those and some Early Girls to maybe make a test sauce. It turns out a couple of the heirlooms went bad by Monday and I was a bit shy of a full dish, so I went out and got a sleeve of Kumato at Scolari’s. (Eric introduced us to this amazing hybrid tomato on his recent visit.)

tomatoes — including a couple Kumato — fit their roasting dish

During all this unplanned thinking and motion, I decided to make the sauce on the Big Green Egg (EGG). Perfect for roasting: 40 minutes at 400 degrees. And not only that… I can throw in a barrel stave smoker stick.

So, here’s what I did…
As soon as I decided on the EGG, and before my trip to the store, I got out a wine barrel stave smoker stick and put it in a baking dish to soak.

I got out the roasting dish I would use and put my tomatoes in to see what fit. I had about 4 pounds and they fit nicely. Knowing they fit, I washed and cored the tomatoes.

Light the charcoal fire in the EGG.

Meanwhile, add to the tomatoes in the roasting dish:

15 pitted Mediterranean-style black olives
15 pitted green olives
1 clove garlic, minced
15 basil leaves, torn in shreds
Leaves from 3 to 4 sprigs thyme
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds

Drizzle the vegetables with 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon and 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.

When the fire is ready, throw in the soaked barrel stave, place the Platesetter in the EGG, legs up and place the porcelain rack on the Platesetter legs. Put your roasting dish of tomatoes and stuff on the rack. Close the EGG and open all vents. Bring to a temperature of 400°F and roast until the tomatoes are soft, and collapsing, about 40 minutes.

ready to go in the EGG with the Platesetter in position, porcelain grate sitting on its upturned legs

NOTE: This arrangement of EGG equipment acts as a convection oven, the Platesetter shielding your dish from direct heat while allowing heat — and smoke in this case — to constantly circulate inside the EGG.

tomatoes bubbly and collapsed

tomatoes rest — note that the smoke has coated the roasting dish… that’s a bitch to get off… next time maybe a disposable roasting pan would work.

When the tomatoes are ready, let them rest a few minutes while you heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a wide skillet [green Le Creuset] over medium heat and sauté 1/4 cup minced shallots until translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.

transfer tomatoes to pot

Add the entire tomato mixture and 1 1/2 cups dry white wine. Season with about 1 1/2 tsp salt & pepper mix. Bring to a low simmer and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes are thickened and the flavors blended, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool somewhat. Run the sauce through your food mill, using the disk with small holes to remove the tomato seeds and bits of skin. Add salt and pepper to taste.

tomatoes become tomato sauce in the food mill

pot is empty, food mill is used and sauce is sauce

Georgianna Brennan Note from original recipe: This sauce has a slightly caramelized flavor, with a hint of tartness from the olives. Its color depends upon the tomatoes you choose, although I usually prepare this with a mixture of the biggest, juiciest heirlooms from my garden, and the resulting color is a shade of darkish yellow.

second batch of tomatoes… this time about 6 pounds, all heirloom

Cooked again 9.14 — 6 pounds heirloom tomatoes from that “CA Peaches and melons place” at farmers market. When I put the tomatoes on the stove to reduce. I still had plenty of fire in the EGG, so meanwhile I grilled Steelhead Trout with the leftover fire. That was good. [The trout didn’t experience direct heat, but rather roasted in the “convection oven arrangement”]. It was dark by now, but I still had fire, so I put the pot back in the EGG to further reduce the sauce. Took longer than a Ken Burns doc, but came out looking great. Took off EGG. Stuck in fridge about midnight. Next morning, warmed and put through food mill. Yield, about 7 cups sauce.
NOTES: With this batch, I used mostly red wine and some white, used LO grilled red onions instead of shallots.

ATE a test batch of sauce on Somen noodles for lunch. DIS is good.

Grilled Whole Salmon

A few days ago, Brian brought over a whole salmon, wild caught he said, sans head and tail. I didn’t weigh it, but I’d say about 2 pounds.

My recipe for Grilled Whole Fish — gleaned from Cook’s Illustrated and the Big Green Egg Cookbook is pretty simple and straightforward.

Set the EGG for direct cooking with the porcelain coated grid and preheat to 350°F.

Rinse the fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Slash the skin on both sides of the fish, coat the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the cavity with something flavorful. I had a leek cleaned and split lengthwise and 3 tender stalks of celery. If I had fresh herbs I’d stuff those in there.

Place the salmon on the grill so it can easily be rolled over its back to the other side.

fish on grill, placed to be easy to roll over

here’s the salmon rolled over

This fish is pretty thick, so grill for 8 minutes on the first side, roll over. Grill for another 8 minutes, roll over. Take its temperature… you want 135-140°F. Roll over at 8 more minutes if necessary. Grill until the internal temperature is proper.

Remove to a cutting board or platter and rest.

here’s that salmon on a platter


And then, and then… we were in Raley’s on Sunday and saw a bunch of pretty big whole fish in the fish case. “Are those salmon?” I asked.

The fish lady said, “Wild caught Sockeye Salmon.”

“How much,” I asked, “they look like about 3 pounds each.”

“That’s about right,” she said. “They’re $16 a pound today… but come back tomorrow on Five-Dollar-Monday and they’ll be $5 a pound.” I promised her I would do just that.
Our week looked pretty crowded around dinnertime, so I grilled it Monday evening.

my 3 pound salmon fresh home from the store

my wild caught sockeye salmon cut into two pieces… I’ll freeze the short piece for another time, cook the long piece

our salmon on the EGG with accouterment

Any time I light the EGG, I look around and think about whatever else might cook at the same time. Some summer favorites: Romano Beans steamed for 4 or 5 minutes before going on the grill; a peach, split in half and seed removed — this can be eaten with ice cream or creme fraiche for dessert, eaten with the meal or saved for breakfast; a smallish Haas Avocado, cut in half and seed removed.

here’s our Monday dinner. the avocado — the skin slipped off — is nestled into a corn and tomato stew

and here is my Tuesday morning breakfast — Carol eats more conventional things

There is that peach half, a couple hunks of salmon and half of a roasted beet atop a roasted red bell pepper (from a jar). That’s just a good way to start the day.