Nelson Giddins

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Grilled Rack of Lamb Sous Vide

Rack of Lamb is a delicious and succulent dish when cooked with immersion cooking techniques.  I prepared this as a tapa or small plate appetizer to enjoy with cocktails or to pair with your favorite red wine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Rack of Lamb
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Mint Leaves

 

Instructions:

 

Step 1: Wash the whole rack of lamb.

Step 2: Coat the rack of lamb in olive oil, the Dijon Mustard and the whole grain Dijon Mustard.

 

 

Step 3: Preheat a pan on the stove top anywhere from medium-high to high.  Sear the rack of lamb in the pan until browned on the outside.  This step took roughly 2 minutes as you want to be careful not to burn or overcook the meat.  You want the meat to reach the intended internal temperature and cook inside the water bath.  Searing helps to lock in some of the and provides flavoring while cooking sous vide.  Below is a short clip of how the searing was performed.

 

 

Step 4: Step up your Sous Vide immersion cooker to a temperature that correlates to your preferred level of doneness.  I set the Sous Vide to 135.5 degrees Fahrenheit with a target of in between Medium and Medium Rare.

Step 5: Lightly Season the rack of lamb with salt and pepper and the place the mint leaves into either the vacuum seal bag or a ziploc bag.   Vacuum seal or ziploc the Rack of Lamb so that it is ready for Sous Vide cooking.  When using a ziploc back, it is best to remove as much air as possible from zip lock bag to ensure even and proper cooking.  You can remove the air from the ziploc bag by using the water displacement method.  This entails placing the food into the ziploc bag, then submerging the ziploc bag into water until the water is above the height of the food but below the ziploc bag seal.  Then carefully seal the ziploc bag while the air is removed.

 

 

Step 6: Place the rack of lamb in the water so that it is fully submerged and cook for about 2 and 1/2 hours at your preferred temperature.

 

 

Step 7: Prepare a grill to finish the Rack of Lamb with a final sear after it is done cooking in the water bath.  It is probably best to start this at about 20 to 30 minutes before the rack of lamb is finished in the sous vide.

Step 8: After about 2 and 1/2 hours take the zip lock bags out of the water bath and remove the Rack of Lamb from the zip lock bag.  Pat the Rack of Lamb dry with a paper towel.

 

 

Step 9: Sear the rack of lamb on the grill for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

 

 

Step 10: Allow the Rack of Lamb to rest for a few minutes after searing on the grill.

Step 11: Cut the rack of lamb into individual ribs and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sriracha, Lime, and Chili Spiced Kale Chips

Kale chips are a healthy alternative to traditional snacks such as potato chips or popcorn.  This all natural vegetarian snack can be made in several different fun and tasty varieties.  Flavors can vary anywhere from ginger coated to lemon pepper.  I’m going to try a Sriracha, Lime, and Chili spiced version of seasoned kale chips.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 Bunches of Kale

 

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1  Tablespoon Lime Juice (Roughly 1 Juiced Lime)

 

  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Chile Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

 

Directions:

Step 1: Wash the kale.

Step 2: Allow kale leaves to completely dry. This step is also crucial because you don’t want any residual water droplets to dilute the subsequent coating of Sriracha Lime Emulsion.

 

 

Step 3: Remove the kale leaves from the stem. Break apart or cut the kale leaves into large to medium size pieces.  This step is relatively important as the size of your kale chips will depend upon the size of the kale leaves that you remove from the stem.  I tried to carefully remove the kale leaves while attempting to keep large pieces intact so that there would be a good assortment of large and medium size kale chips.

 

 

Step 4: Combine the Olive Oil, Sriracha, and Lime Juice in a small bowl and whisk together to create a Sriracha Lime Emulsion.

Step 5: Combine the dry ingredients of Cumin, Chile Powder, Smoked Paprika, and Cayenne Pepper.

 

 

Step 6: Thoroughly coat the Kale leaves with the Sriracha Lime Emulsion by massaging the Kale leaves with your fingers to ensure that all the surfaces of the kale leaves are coated with the emulsion.

 

 

Step 7: Generously sprinkle the spiced chili powder mix over the Siracha Lime coated kale leaves and again massage the kale leaves to evenly disperse the dry mix throughout the kale leaves.

 

Step 8: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 9: Prepare a baking sheet with Parchment paper and place the kale leaves on the parchment paper in a single layer. Be sure to prevent stacking the kale leaves on top of one another because arranging the kale leaves to close together may result in the kale chips cooking unevenly or coming out moist and not crispy.

 

 

 

Step 10: (Optional) I prepared two different types of kale chips; one with extra spicy dry seasoning sprinkled on the kale chips right before baking as pictured below, and another without, as shown above.  This step is a matter of preference and this step may also be performed by applying a light dusting of spicy dry seasoning after the kale chips are done baking and are removed from the oven.

 

 

Step 11: Bake in the oven at 300 degrees Farenheit for roughly 10 to 15 mins or until the kale chips appear dehydrated and feel crispy.

 

 

 

Step 12: Remove the kale chips from the oven and allow the kale chips to cool for 5 to 10 mins.

Step 13: Serve the Sriracha, Lime, and Chili Kale Chips and enjoy!

 

 

Farm-to-Table Grilled Pineapple

This is a very special treat because the pineapple is from our pineapple plant in our home garden and has been growing for several years.  Pineapples can take anywhere between 2 to 3 years before flowering.  This pineapple plant began flowering during the first week of March 2018.  Pineapple flowers are very pretty and they radiate outward in a circular pattern with hues of purple, pink, and red as illustrated below.  Pineapples are generated from a cluster of flowers, known as an inflorescence, grown out of the center of the plant.  The cluster of flowers eventually fuse together to create the pineapple fruit.

 

 

After about 4 months, the pineapple was finally fully ripened and ready to eat after having flowered back in early March. This pineapple was incredibly sweet and far better than any pineapple I’ve purchased at a grocery store.  Pineapples procured from stores are often harvested from the plant prior to the pineapple being fully ripened.  As a result, store bought fruit is good, but it simply can’t compare to the sweetness of a pineapple that was fully ripened on the plant.

When pineapples begin to ripen, the leathery exterior of the fruit starts turning yellow at the base of the fruit and the yellowing continues upward toward to the top.  The longer the fruit remains on the plant, the longer it has an opportunity to sweeten as the entire fruit turns yellow.   Once the entire fruit is yellow, the pineapple is ready.  Another way to determine whether the fruit is ready for harvesting is to place your nose near the base of the plant, and when it smells sweet like pineapple juice, it is ready for eating.  This pineapple was so amazingly ripe, you could smell its sweet fragrant aroma from about two feet away.

 

 

 

After the pineapple is ripe, it is time to carefully remove it from the plant.  You can do this by gripping the base of the stem with one hand and grasping the fruit in your other hand while applying light pressure in either a twisting motion or an angular motion.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Fresh Pineapple
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Canola Oil

Directions:

Step 1: Preheat the grill.  Use the Canola oil (or any oil with a relatively high smoking point) to oil the grates of the grill.

Step 2: Cut off the top of the pineapple and cut the pineapple into several disc shaped slices.

 

 

 

 

Step 3: (Optional) Season the pineapple slices to taste.  Some potential seasonings include brown sugar, coconut sugar, honey, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, or even cayenne pepper if you like sweet and spicy.  I did not season the pineapple slices because this was my first time eating a home grown pineapple that was ripened on the plant.  I wanted to taste the natural deliciousness of a fully ripened pineapple.

 

 

Step 4: Place the pineapple slices on the grill and cook for about 4-8 mins on each side or until sufficiently heated to your taste.  I like to grill pineapple until golden brown grill marks appear on the flesh of the fruit.  This enables the sugars of the pineapple to caramelize and creates a delicious snack or dessert.  However, you may grill it to your preference.

 

 

Step 5: Cut the pineapple slices into bite size pieces and enjoy!

 

 

Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak

Ingredients

  • New York Strip Steak (1 to 2 inches in thickness)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/8 Stick of Butter
Coffee Rub
  • 1/8 Cup of Ground Coffee
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Chile Powder
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoons Cayenne Pepper (season to taste if sensitive to pepper)
  • 1 to 2 pinches of Crushed Chile Pepper (season to taste if sensitive to pepper)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Coriander
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Powdered Garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper

 

Ingredients for Coffee Crusted NY Strip Steak

 

Instructions:

Step 1: Combine all the ingredients for the Coffee Rub and mix thoroughly.

 

Coffee Rub

 

Step 2: Drizzle Olive Oil over the steak.  Evenly coat the NY Strip in Olive Oil by massaging the Olive Oil over the steak and then begin to let the steak rest at room temperature.

 

New York Strip Steak Drizzeled with Olive Oil

 

Allowing the steak to come to room temperature will improve the cooking process as the internal temperature will be significantly lower than had you taken the steak out of the refrigerator and grilled immediately.   I generally allow the steak to sit at room temperature (roughly 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least one hour prior to grilling.  Allowing the steak to rest at room temperature may be performed prior to or after coating the steak with the coffee rub.

 

Coffee Rubbed New York Strip Steak

 

Step 3: Coat the steak with Coffee Rub

In hindsight, I over coated the steak with Coffee Rub.  For my preference, I’d use much less Coffee Rub in the future.  Perhaps I’ll post an update at some point.  While your steak is sitting at room temperature, preheat your grill to roughly 550 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

 

Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak After Grilling

 

Step 4:  Once the grill is preheated, placed the steaks on the grill and cook to your desired internal temperature.  When your steak is closer to 2 inches thick or more, a meat thermometer comes in handy, otherwise estimate when its ready to come off the grill in accordance with your preferences.  One way to estimate when your steak is ready in accordance to your preference is by performing the touch test to feel meat’s firmness.  Checking the internal temperature is the best approach.

 

Buttered Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak

 

Step 5 (Optional):  This step is a tasty alternative to simply eating your steak after it is finished cooking.  I often enjoy steaks covered in melted butter.  Cut small slices of butter and place on top of steak.  If you have any prepared compound butter such as Herb Butter or Garlic Butter, feel free to use that instead.

 

Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak Covered While Resting

 

Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak Covered in Melted Butter

 

Step 5 (Optional):  Cover the steak to facilitate melting the butter slices over the steak while the steak is resting.  Most grilled steaks require a resting period after taking the steaks come off the grill to enable the juices within the steak to settle.

 

Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Grilled Asparagus

 

Step 6:  Plate your Steak and enjoy your meal!  The Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak is paired with oven roasted sweet potatoes and grilled asparagus.

 

Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Grilled Asparagus

 

Coffee Crusted New York Strip Steak with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Grilled Asparagus

 

Lump Crab Cakes

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 to  2 lbs of Lump or Jumbo Lump Crab Meat
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ¼ to ½ Cup of Mayonnaise to Taste
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard (may also substitute with powdered mustard)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Parsley
  • ½ Cup of Fresh Bread Crumbs (may also substitute or mix with Saltine Cracker Crumbs or Panko Bread Crumbs)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 Lemon
Instructions:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease the aluminum foil.

Step 3: Place the Crab meat in a medium size bowl and carefully go through the crab meat and pick out any remaining shells while trying not to break up any of the lump crab meat.

 

 

Step 4: In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until thoroughly scrambled and combine with the Mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Old Bay Seasoning, and Parsley.

Step 5: Pour the liquid mixture over the crab meat and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top after pouring the liquid mixture over the crab meat.

Step 6: Gently fold the lump crab meat and lightly combine the crab meat together with the bread crumbs while being careful to not break apart the lump crab meat.

Step 7: Form into large patties and arrange the patties onto the lightly greased aluminum foil. I was able to form 6 good sized crab cakes with 2 pounds of lump crab meat

 

 

Step 8: Place the backing sheet into the oven on one of the upper racks.

Step 9: Bake for 25 to 30 minutes while checking on the crab cakes every 5 to 8 minutes as needed to prevent overcooking. Do not flip or turn the crab cakes, let them bake.

Optional Step: During the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking, switch the oven from bake to broil and place the oven rack on the top most rack. Finish off the crab cakes by broiling until golden brown.  May also add small pieces of butter on top of the crab cakes right before broiling.

Step 10: Remove the baking sheet from the oven and serve immediately.  Garnish with lemon wedges and sauces in accordance with preference or tastes and enjoy!