Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guardian Service Backyard: Buffalo Ribs, Corn on the Cob and Brownies

As the dog days of August continue, we fixed another meal over coals last night, juggling items on the portable grill in a similar method to the "tandoori" dinner in our last post. Here's another attempt at cooking a complete meal out–of–doors with our Guardian Service cookware.

Last night's menu featured:

  - Grilled Barbecued buffalo ribs and peaches
  - Corn on the cob (steamed with Anaheim pepper and Brussels sprouts)
  - Fruit and nut brownies (almost, see below)

...all prepared over 12-15 briquettes on a portable grill, using the Guardian Service Tureen and Duplex Utility Pans.

Timing and preparation are crucial: Start with the corn (and/or other vegetables) in the Guardian Service Tureen, set to one side of the grill. Once the pot is warm to the touch, stack the marinated ribs (and peaches) on the remaining grill space. When the corn is tender (roughly 30 minutes) remove the Tureen and set nearby to keep warm. Glaze the ribs with remaining barbecue sauce and finish cooking. Remove ribs and cook the brownies in the Duplex Utility pan for half an hour, flipping the pan after 15 minutes.

Corn on the CobSmoky, slow cooked peppers are traditional to Southwestern cooking; to get the same flavor with our Guardian Service Tureen, we added Anaheim pepper to our corn on the cob before cooking over the coals. Lined with corn husks and layered with Brussels sprouts (employing the "basket" technique, which I blogged about in our last post), the Guardian Service "waterless cooking" technique marries and infuses flavors with spectacular results: garden–fresh corn tinged with sweet, spicy pepper and caramelized sprouts.

Ribs: We marinated the buffalo ribs (grass-fed and organic from Handy Market in Burbank) in garlic, bacon drippings, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup homemade barbecue sauce, grilled them, then re-glazed them with plenty of sauce, finishing on the grill for another 20 minutes. Alongside the ribs, we grilled barely-ripe, locally-grown peaches, halved and marinated in the same barbecue sauce, as a compliment to the ribs. NOTE: You'll want a damp rag handy as the Tureen is bound to get messy during this process, and clean up is a snap, when it's warm.

Brownies on the Barbie?: Not really. Since the coals were still hot, we whipped up some Trader Joe's packaged brownie mix and threw it on the grill in a buttered Duplex Utility Pan. This turned out not to be the best method for brownies, which need moisture to escape to form a chewy crust—the opposite of what the Guardian Service pans are built to do. Warm from the coals and topped with ice cream, the gooey chocolate lava flow was yummy, just not an ideal brownie.

For our next post, I'll try using the Duplex Utility Pan to make a classic "Knickerbocker Nut Bread" from the recipe in the original accompanying leaflet—will the result be a doorstop or delectable?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Guardian Service Backyard Tandoori

We were spared the scorching temperatures that socked most of the nation last month, but yesterday's warmer weather drove us out of doors rather than face heating up the kitchen for dinner. Our improvised meal was not only memorably delicious, but a solid adaptive use of Guardian Service cookware—a Pan-Asian Fusion meal undreamed of by the cookware's designers, yet one that honors their tenets of nutrition and economy in our common pursuit of "Good Health, Pleasure and Profit."

This method is inspired by tandoori* cooking, though instead of a clay oven, we use a portable 14 1/2" charcoal grill and our Guardian Service Casserole unit. When the coals are hot, the Casserole unit builds up a head of steam, gently cooking the vegetables at the grill's center, while the meat is grilled on the perimeter. The seared meat is then added to the mix. As the fire cools, it finishes the meal at the perfect low temperature required for "waterless cooking" with Guardian Service Ware.

Guardian Service Backyard Tandoori
(Five basic steps. Try any combination of vegetables and/or meats.)
  1. Marinate the meat or fowl.
  2. Layer the vegetables in the Casserole unit according to cooking time required—fibrous vegetables (carrots, celery, turnips, parsnips) in a "basket" layer (the bottom and sides), starchier vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes) to the center and the juicier, more delicate vegetables, which require little to no cooking, on top (tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, peppers).
  3. Place the covered unit over a small amount of charcoal (12-15 briquettes) in the center of the grill.
  4. Grill the meat: place the pieces of marinated meat around the outside edge of the grill, searing the outside edges until brown. (We use the Guardian Service Economy Trio trivet to prevent grill marks from burning into the Casserole, but it's not a necessity).
  5. As the meat browns, place each seared piece into the Casserole along with any remaining marinade and cover. Finishing cooking for 30 minutes.

Note the color retention in the vegetables (and thus nutritional retention) from start to finish. The low, constant, contained heat of the waterless cooking method creates an incredibly nutritious meal and works wonders with inexpensive cuts of meat and any variety of vegetables and sauces.

Andrew improvised a Chicken Masala Tandoori last night employing the above method (carrots, sweet potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cauliflower, jalapeño peppers, scallions, basil and chicken thighs marinated in Masala Sauce  with sesame oil, juice of half a lemon, juice of half an orange, salt and pepper). Served withbread and chutney. Bon Appétit!

Chef Andrew. Not only does he cook an outstanding meal, but he suffers this dopey apron. And he's kinda cute too... I guess he can stick around.
*A true tandoor is made of clay and is used throughout India, the Middle East and Central Asia and employs high temperature cooking in a cylindrical clay oven or a grill. Andrew combined the grilled, smoked effects of tandoori cooking, with the slow, low heat requirements of Guardian Service Ware.
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Stretch the fuel economy even further? As dinner was served, we placed a carafe of water over the remaining coals, enough fuel to bring it to a boil and brew a pot of Guardian Service Coffee (with dessert accents of fennel and cinnamon added to the grounds).