Watch out boys…

…there is a new grill master in town. I haven’t told the hubster yet, but since last week’s lesson on grilling, I may force him to let me run our massive Brinkmann this summer. Why should he be the only one with tong privileges anyway?

I’m a bit behind in blogging about week 5 of Viking University (seeing as how earlier today was week 6, the last of the series) but that’s largely because I’m lazy. Thanks to my readers for being okay with that.

Week 5 was obviously all about grilling with a menu that read thusly:
Grilled NY Strip with cabernet butter
Rosemary chicken breasts
Grilled veggies with basil and asiago
Miso-glazed salmon
Garlic bread
Mixed greens with blue cheese, candied walnuts and lemon-basil vinaigrette

Have I mentioned that I’ve gained 5 lbs. since joining this class?


Before I forget, want to give a shout-out to Chef Knifong. He rocks. If you ever decide to take classes at Viking, try to get into the sessions he teaches. Side note: he reminds me of my pal Dave Weaver. Really. They could be brothers. So, that’s cool.

Anyhow, let’s talk about my favorite dishes from this class, starting with the miso-glazed salmon. Now, miso is generally one of those things that it has never occurred to me to purchase for home use. That has now changed, as I will be adding that to my list before my weekly excursion to Tom Thumb or Albertsons-I-hate-you. Yes, I do hate Albertsons, but that is a subject for another time.

The recipe is super-easy and has a small number of ingredients. Moreover, I think because most people are like me and don’t think about cooking with items like miso, sake or mirin on a regular basis, this would have a decent wow factor should you decide to serve it to friends.

Miso-Glazed Salmon

Grilled deliciousness...steak, chicken, salmon

1/4 c Japanese rice wine (dry sake)
1/4 c Japanese sweet cooking wine (mirin)
1/2 c + 2 tbs white miso
1/4 c + 2 tbs sugar
4 salmon filets
pickled ginger, for garnish

Combine the sake and mirin in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat; boil for 20-30 seconds to cook off the alcohol. Reduce heat to low, stir in the miso and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the miso has completely dissolved. Increase heat to high, add sugar and cook, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil. Remove pan from heat and cool the miso marinade to room temp. Reserve 1/4 c of the marinade for garnish. Pat your fish dry with paper towels and generously coat with the marinade. Place in non-reactive container, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. When ready to cook, remove fish from marinade and grill. You could also do this in your oven, but isn’t grilling more fun? Grill presentation side down first. I’m not going to give grill times here because every grill is different. You’ll just have to watch it and you’ll know when to flip and then when to remove.

Serve with some of the reserved miso mixture and definitely use the pickled ginger. For me, the glaze is a little on the sweet side, so the tang of the ginger is a perfect complement. Then again, I love ginger in all its forms, so do what works for you.

The other item from class that made want to wax philosophical was the garlic bread. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking – in a class that is meat-tastic, you’re going to talk about garlic bread? Yes. I am. Here’s why. When I was a kid, garlic bread meant regular sliced bread (or sometimes hamburger or hot dog buns) with margarine and garlic salt toasted in the oven. Not bad – gets the job done – but not exactly gourmet stuff. Sorry mom. You’re still my favorite cook in the world.

This garlic bread uses real live, actual ingredients like roasted garlic, butter and Parmesan. And its absolutely rich and sinful in the best possible way.


Garlic bread

6 cloves of roasted garlic
1 tbs finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 tbs butter, at room temperature
12 (1/4″ thick) slices French bread, cut on diagonal

Preheat grill to medium. Mash roasted garlic with a fork then mix with the parsley, Parmesan, pepper and butter. Taste and season with salt as needed. Spread butter mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Grill the bread, buttered side up (recipe says buttered side down, but that’s just messy and you’ll lose some of the yumminess to the grill) until golden brown.

Simple, simple, simple. And – there was not a single slice of this bread left when class was over. Some of us (ahem – me) had more than their fair share.

Finally – let’s talk cabernet butter. Yes, I know, this item isn’t grilled. But it goes with items that are grilled. And let’s be honest, a great grilled piece of meat is awesome. But one topped with cabernet butter is enough to induce slightly more than a tiny o. I mean, it consists of wine and butter. If no one was looking, I’d just eat some with a spoon with a look on my face that says “what? I don’t know.”

Cabernet Butter

Cabernet butter - aka - possibly the world's greatest condiment

1 c full bodied dry red wine (stuff you’d be willing to drink)
1 medium shallot, minced
8 tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
salt and pepper

Combine the wine and shallots in a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Simmer until the liquid has reduced to approx. 2 tbs. Remove pan from heat and transfer the wine reduction to a medium mixing bowl to cool completely. Using a rubber spatula, stir the cooled wine reduction into the softened butter. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Transfer the compound butter to a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper and form into a cylinder about 1.5″ in diameter. Close the plastic wrap around the cylinder to seal and refrigerate until firm.

You can also freeze this stuff to use for later. And, once you know the technique, you can make any number of compound butters. Some with white wine. Some just with herbs – legal or illegal. Who says THC has to be restricted to brownies?

Now that I think about it, maybe I’ll let the hubster stay on tong duty. Seems like my love is really for the grilling accoutrements. Then again, I do love a good case of the meat sweats. Should be an interesting summer. Buen provecho!

Steaks on the grill

Grilled veg


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