Wednesday, April 05, 2006

In Time All Things Haunt Us

I spent most of my childhood living a significant distance from my grandparents, and do visiting them was a big deal. A few times, my family would scrape up the money for me and my mom and later sister to fly to San Diego. When we'd leave, my grandmother would see us off at the airport. Invariably, I would begin singing "LEavin' on a Jet Plane", and my grandmother would cry. But being a kid, I didn't know they were real tears, so I'd encourage her to cry louder and keep on singing.

Now I'm getting on a jet plane, but she's the one who's leaving and I'm the one with tears in my eyes.

I won't be posting until we return. In the meantime, thank you to all my readers who have bothered to post their condolences, and please don't forget this little blog is here.

Mon Dieu!

I might end up having to root for the Miami Dolphins

Upgrading Food

For obvious reasons, my head just hasn't been into blogging the last few days, and the last thing I expected to be doing was recipe blogging. But I made an interesting discovery last night that I thought you'd all enjoy.

One of the things we had to do last night in preparation for tonight's trip to San Diego was clean out the fridge -- there was stuff in there that would have been fine for a few more days before we ate them if we were home, but would have spoiled while away for 6 days.

One of them was a buffalo tri-tip that I had thawed Sunday before receiving word of my Grandmother's worsened condition. I decided to do my best with it and make my buffalo (not Buffalo) Steak Sandwiches. The problem is, the grill has been in hibernation and wouldn't fire up. No problem -- I used our electric griller/Pannini maker/Waffle maker. I know, the meat doesn't get that smokey quality, but here's what you can do that's almost as cool:

This variation on the recipe requires an electric grill or a grill pan -- something with a solid surface and raised grill lines, not an open wire grill.

First, start with a good dry rub. I'd recommend 1/4 cup turbinado sugar, 1/4 cup kisher salt, and herbs and spices to taste. I use cumin, cayenne, parika, ground sundried tomato, ground Mexican oregano, mustard powder, onion and garlic powders. The dugar is important for later.

Let the meat stand for about 2 hours before cooking it. Rub the skillet or griller with olive oil and cook the tri-tip to taste (IMHO, if it isn't pink, it's burnt). While the meat is resting, deglase the surface of the griddle with 1-2 tbsp of red wine and 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar. Allow the deglaze to reduce, take your sliced ciabatta bread and lightly drizzle the cut surface with olive oil. Place face down on grill. Cook for 1 minute or until the bread is hot and has soaked up some of the reduction. Continue on with the rest of the original recipe.