Grill On! Put the Sizzle in Your Steak This Summer

Truly, has anything changed when it comes to grilling and good times, hanging out at home?  It reminds me of summers when I was a kid, growing up in Pasadena.  My brother Lance’s job was to stoke up the hibachi on the front porch, where it lived on a permanent, ever expanding grease spot.  We grilled Spencer steaks from a stash my mom kept in the freezer, bought when they were on sale.  A big watermelon got tucked into the ice cooler and we waited for the coals to turn red hot and ashen, and steak ready.  I can still taste the delicious char on my steak, and feel the cool Bermuda grass on my bare feet, in the shade of the old camellia hedge.

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When the weather gets hot, cooking outside with live fire beats turning on the oven. These days, you’ll catch me barefoot in the back yard, chillin’ with my friends and a cool cocktail in my hand. At home, I grill the old fashioned way on a baby Weber kettle grill with charcoal briquettes, matches and newspaper. This summer, put the sizzle in your steak with one of my all time favorite recipes – Grilled New York Steak with Zinfandel Chive Butter. This recipe is perfect for family dinners, summer parties and outdoor entertaining.

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I find the New York cut more flavorful than tenderloin, and it grills really well. When you buy your steak, choose the one that’s well marbled, meaning it has a lot of fat running through the meat. This adds flavor and helps it stand up, nice and juicy, to the heat from the grill. I season simply with salt and pepper. Make sure your grill is hot so you get a good sear on the meat. And for the sauce, I love the simplicity of making a compound butter. For this recipe, I use reduced wine and chives. Or get creative and flavor your butter with ingredients like savory spices, herbs, garlic, caramelized onions and cheeses like parmesan.

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You need a few delicious side dishes that pair perfectly with grilled steak. Slice heirloom tomatoes, add chopped herbs and drizzle with vinaigrette to make an easy and delicious salad. Try corn on the cob – slide back the husk, pull the silk strands from the corn and pat the husk back in place around the cob. Pop it on the grill to cook. For the perfect ending, brush peach halves with honey and grill them too! Serve the warm fruit with vanilla ice cream for an incredible summer dessert.

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click-here-for-free-receipeSummer’s Here!  Kick off your shoes and get your grill on!

Pamela

Spring is Here, and Strawberry Season Galore!

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At CuisineStyle, we love entertaining all year round, but springtime is extra special because it’s strawberry season – ripe, juicy, sweet and delicious. Strawberries inspire our ideas for creating beautiful menus and buffet designs that show off our “berry-licious” creations.

There are so many scrumptious options for including strawberries in your spring menus. For our catered events, we blend them into cocktails and smoothies, toss them into salads, transform their perfumed sweetness into sauces and jams, and of course, we create glorious desserts.  One of our most popular spring desserts is Strawberry Shortcake, made the old fashioned way with cream biscuits. For your next party, try something different and treat your guests to a serve-yourself Strawberry Shortcake Bar.  From corporate events to weddings, and casual backyard parties, we know firsthand from our guests just how much they love the shortcake bar. The glory of this classic dessert is, it’s perfect any way you serve it – a simple presentation of biscuits, berries and whipped cream, or an elegant affair with Grand Marnier syrup and Tahitian vanilla ice cream.

The orange-zested biscuits are incredibly easy to make.  And infinitely superior to the packaged sponge cakes available in supermarkets.  For busy hosts, you can bake the biscuits in advance and freeze for later. Prepare the dough and drop it by the spoonful onto your baking pan. Once the biscuits are baked, let them cool. Hull and quarter the strawberries, and whip the cream with sugar and a bit of vanilla, to create a Chantilly Cream.

click-here-for-free-receipeTo create your shortcake bar, you’ll want to design a mouthwatering invitation that beckons guests to the dessert table. Select a favorite space or counter in your home where you can decoratively arrange the components of your shortcake bar.  Stack the baked biscuits on top of each other, piled high on a white platter, a woven, flat basket, or even a silver platter.  Choose a pretty bowl for the berries, filling it high above the rim so guests can see the heap of sweet fruit.  Do the same thing for the bowl of whipped cream. Finally, I love this touch – set out a pitcher of good quality chocolate sauce. Guests will love adding a drizzle of dark chocolate over their shortcake creations.  And be sure to make a very special serving for yourself.

Enjoy the applause. You deserve it. I hope you enjoy this wonderful dessert as much as I do.

Wishing you extra helpings of luscious sweet berries this spring, Pamela

A Favorite Holiday Lamb Recipe from CuisineStyle Catering!

One of my all time favorite recipes is a simple lamb chop, with the bone dressed in the French-style, sporting a vivid crust of fresh mint and napped in a delicious port wine cherry sauce. When I entertain, I serve these gorgeous chops as hors d’oeuvres lollipops, or as the main dinner course. By the way, this versatile recipe is also one of our most requested dishes at CuisineStyle catered events. Our clients love this lamb dish, and you’ll love this recipe.

Thank you to all our clients and friends, for giving us another magical year of cooking and creating memories at the table.

I wish you a very merry table, filled with delicious foods to eat, shared with people you love.

Pamela

Rack of Lamb with Mint and Port Wine Cherry Sauce

Yield: 14 to 16 Hors d’Oeuvres Portions or 4 Dinner Portions (14 to 16 chops)

Sauce:

¾ cup port wine

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1 shallot, peeled and diced

1 whole star anise

1 ½ cups veal stock

¼ cup whole cherry preserves

1 tbls. unsalted butter

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lamb:

2 racks of lamb, trimmed of all fat down to the “eye,” rib bones “Frenched,” cleaned of all meat

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbls. canola oil

4 tbls. fresh mint leaves

METHOD:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a saucepan, using medium high heat, add the port wine, shallots and star anise. Bring to a boil and reduce to 1/4 cup. Add the veal stock and continue to cook, reducing the sauce volume to 1 cup. Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve. Stir in the preserves, then slowly stir in butter. Do not whisk in butter. It will “muddy” the look of the sauce and destroy the sheen. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

2. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.  In an oven-proof sauté pan, using medium high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, place the lamb, meat side down, in the pan.  Sear two minutes, then turn and sear another two minutes on the other side.

3. Transfer the pan directly to the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, or until medium rare. An instant read thermometer will register 130 degrees for medium rare. Allow the lamb to rest ten minutes before slicing. Slice the lamb, cutting between each rib bone, to completely separate each chop from the rack to form the “chops.”

4. Finely chop the mint leaves and place them on a plate. Roll the round outer edge of each chop onto the chopped mint and place a dollop of sauce in the center of each chop.

Copyright Pamela Keith 2013

Strawberry and Rhubarb Galette: A Sweet Homage to Mom this Mother’s Day!

Skip the usual brunch for mom this Mother’s Day and make her something sweet and from the heart. My homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Galette is the perfect way to show your appreciation for Mom. A “galette” is the French term for a free-form pie, or open-faced tart.  With a flat bottom, round and rustic, and filled with fruit, galette is the name given to a variety of tarts, from filled yeast cakes to potato pancakes, and thick crepes, both savory and sweet.  A cup of tea or a scoop of lavender ice cream is absolutely divine with this galette.  A sweet homage, with love, to Mom this Mother’s Day! Continue reading »

Happy National Roast Leg of Lamb Day!

It’s Springtime and there’s nothing more perfect than a rosemary-scented leg of Spring lamb with garlic, lemon, and roasted vegetables for dinner this time of year and since today is National Roast Leg of Lamb Day, why not make it for dinner tonight? Eating lamb dishes is a celebrated Spring tradition, being a symbol of rebirth in various religions including Christianity, Judaisim and Islam, hence the “spring” reference. It was commonly used in ancient cultures as a sacrifice to the gods, and is prominently featured in biblical texts. A lamb is a sheep that is less than a year old. And even though we use the term “spring” lamb, modern livestock techniques now make lamb available year round. Preparing Lamb dishes at home may seem a bit daunting for the everyday cook, but I have the easiest, most succulent recipe for lamb you will ever prepare. What I love about this recipe is that it’s a one-pot wonder. The juices from the lamb caramelize the vegetables, saving you the extra time to make a separate side dish.  This dish can  be prepared in advance and easily serves a gathering at the table or a big crowd. Open a bottle of wine and you’re all set! I recommend the Syrah or Shiraz varietals  to accompany the dish. The wonderful layers of fruit and spice in these wines complement the flavors in the lamb. For white wine lovers, a great choice is a Torrontes from Argentina. A fruity, aromatic wine, the spice and mint in this wine tango fabulously with the lamb! No matter what wine you choose, my ultimate advice would be to surround yourself with family and friends at the table, and let this delicious roasted lamb warm your hearts and tummies this season. Enjoy! Continue reading »