Crunchtime Food Blog

honey grilled shrimp

This rave-worthy fare offers all we need out of a summer recipe. Little effort, big flavor and temperature agnostic to survive and thrive at most barbecue buffets.  We like to say it’s food served “roomcoldhappysad,” borrowed from a favorite satirical article exploiting absurdities of restaurant dining. Take five to read the amusing one-pager, we’ll wait.

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esquites in a cup

I first had this luscious Mexican street food at a cool haunt frequented by my daughter and her college friends in Manhattan’s East Village. Mexican street corn – elotes –  we’ve all have had, if not on the streets of Mexico, at most country fairs with its buttery cobs showered in grated cheese, dusted lightly with chili powder and lime spritzed. Esquites, I learned, is practically a cupped version of its cobbed brother and ideal for picnics or for using up leftover corn on the cob.

Kendall insisted we have esquites and housemade sangria, her favorites from this VW van food truck turned restaurant.  Hmm, she wasn’t of drinking age, yet her scene was much more sophisticated than my college days of downing PBRs at a rundown pub with fly paper flooring. Certain, as most parents of college students, that given our kids’ meager budgets and our very excellent parenting skills, college consumption of alcohol was limited to a serving or two on occasion. What to do?

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fired steak with fresh chimichurri

This is not a recipe for grilling steak.  I suspect that the grill champion in your house has already mastered meat and fire.  Perhaps that person even knows a thing or two about indirect heating or dry smoking or testing for doneness.

This is for those of us who may never master the fire.  This is a solution for a not-so perfectly cooked piece of meat.

This is about a perfectly prepared delectable condiment, of Argentine origin, a place where beef consumption is a way of life, double that of Americans, where Pampas eating grass cattle roam free and roam far from industrialization.  Although beef from Argentina needs nothing more than a searing flame and granules of salt, chimichurri, the ‘green sauce for grilled meat’ is a condiment that could make shoe leather come alive.

Chimichurri will make up for charred to tar surfaces, tough chews, greyed out medium rares, and dry to the bone bites.

We trust this flavor wash because it comes to us from supreme fire god, Francis Mallmann, renowned Argentine chef and author of Seven Fires, and most recently revered in perhaps television’s finest production about food, Chef’s Table.  Although chef concocted, this recipe for chimichurri sauce, is fairly simple with big payoff.  read more

vietnamese cucumbers

Summer is almost here and we’ll all be busy grilling. We desperately need a cool side dish that delivers do-ahead service, stands up on buffet tables, avoids spoilage risk (hit the road mayo), and doesn’t threaten those swimsuit physiques (you too pasta salad). 

Both recipes, inspired by two well-respected chefs, relying on two flavor combos that equally delight. One leans toward heat and one toward sweet, can you match the country to its taste characteristic?

swedish quick pickled cucumbers

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pantastic

We’ve had a few one-pot dishes lately. There’s something about using fewer pots and pans and a meal that’s ready all at once, that I can’t ignore, especially one that taunts us with pasta, water and all the sauce ingredients in one pot. How can that be?

I came across this one-pan dish quite awhile ago when it made the rounds apparently originating from this Martha Stewart Living recipe.

Linked to that same recipe was a video that explained how to slice garlic, which I imagined to be a insider tip perhaps using dental floss or the Goodfellas razor blade technique, Pauly style.

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