Beer Marinated Skirt Steak with Aji Sauce and Avocado, Mexican Street Corn

This was meal was basically an excuse to have skirt steak and grilled corn on the cob. The skirt steak was adapted from a flank steak recipe I’ve done a couple of times – but instead of the Columbian Guacamole, I just sliced up some avocado. The grilled Mexican street corn – also known as elotes – is a recipe I’ve been meaning to try for some time now…

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I decided to go with a bottle of the Bon Vivant – a Belgian golden ale aged for six months in Pinot Noir barrels – from Breakside.

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Merguez Sausage with Black Olive Mayo, Harrisa Carrot Slaw and Feta, Grilled Artichokes

This is something I’ve been meaning to try for a while. It’s basically a recreation of the Scott Snyder‘s “Chefwich” sandwich that was available all too briefly at Lardo. The original version had a ‘Moroccan lamb meatball’ – which I substituted with merguez sausage and topped with black olive mayoharrisa carrot slaw and feta.

I was trying to come up with what to serve with this, and then I remembered the cover of this month’s Saveur: Grilled Artichokes with Piment d’Espelette Aioli from Ox. I subbed out the Espelette with Aleppo pepper mainly because I have a lot of it.

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Instead of garnishing the artichokes with edible flowers, I decided to pair it with a beer made with flowers. I went with last year’s bottling of the Flora Rustica – a farmhouse ale brewed with calendula flowers and spring yarrow – from Upright.

Grilled Octopus Salad

This was improvised at the last minute.

I was at City Market, and realized that I needed to get something for dinner. I got a few octopus tentacles, some garlic scapes, shishitō peppers, a head of romaine lettuce and a lemon. I tossed everything except the lemon in roasted garlic olive oil, seasoned with fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt – and threw everything on the grill.

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While I was shopping, I saw a bottle of Fuck Art Let’s Dance from To Øl and it spoke to me…

Smoked Beef Cheeks, Grilled Sausage, Collards & Chorizo, Sour Cream Cornbread

I’ve been wanting to try smoking some Pig’s Cheeks for quite a while and it was an excuse to bust out the smoker once again. But when I went to order the cheeks from Tails & Trotters – they were out. So, I got some Beef Cheeks instead from the butcher down the street and found this recipe.

I also wanted to try out the Sour Cream Cornbread that was in a recent issue of Saveur. The Collards & Chorizo seems like a good idea for a side.

But this was an experiment… Since this is only the third time I’ve used my Kettle Smoker, I have yet to really get the hang of it. The recipe said to smoke the meat for 5 hours at 275. The kettle smoker at full heat only gets up to 225. Still, at five hours, the cheeks had turned to cinders… What was edible was very tasty, if a bit dry. But it was good enough for me to want to tray this again. Luckily, I had picked up a few links of sausage just in case…

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To drink, I went with a bottle of Shirley, You Can’t Be Serious – a wild ale with white peaches and wild plums aged in David Arthur Cabernet barrels – from The Ale Apothecary.

And don’t call me Shirley.

Jamaican Chicken Patties with Coco Bread and Cucumber Salad

One of the things that my wife and I miss about living in Atlanta was the Jamaican and Caribbean restaurants. For some reason, Portland does not have any. I mean none whatsoever.

I did a bit of research and decided to try making Jamaican Chicken Patties with Coco Bread and a Cucumber Salad.

Now if only I could find some conch meat to make some fritters

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I decided to go with a bottle of Wild Warehouse from Wander Brewing that I picked up in Seattle back in May.