By Genevieve Taylor
Let’s start with the rules. Always build a two-level fire so you can adjust heat levels. Don’t use too much charcoal. The thicker the meat, the lower the cooking temperature. A reverse sear (start low, end high) is a good technique for thicker meats. Pick flavorful cuts of beef, such as flank steak. Move steaks around on the grill so the whole surface gets nicely browned. Meats will never come up to room temperature if left on the counter. Dry brining is easier and works as well as wet brining. And feel free to put pots and pans on your grill. Got it? With “Seared,” British barbecue expert Genevieve Taylor gets the basics right, but also offers a fresh take on the classics. Burgers can be jazzed up with grated halloumi and date syrup or chorizo and pork. Try flank steak stuffed with nduja, prosciutto and Parmesan, or pork belly with gochujang. Taylor is big on grilling sausages and cooking meatballs directly on the grill grates, and she has no fear of calling for oxtail, goat or pig cheeks. She first got into the habit of outdoor cooking when preparing meals for her family—doing it outside made it easier and more fun. So, why not take a page from “Seared” and do more of our meals on the grill? Seems like good advice.
By Jess Damuck
These days, if one asks, “What is a salad?” the answer is going to be unsatisfying because almost anything can be salad, whether it contains meat, dairy, fruit, nuts, greens or vegetables, and whether the ingredients are raw, cooked, charred or roasted. The good news is that most of us need to up our salad game. You can add burrata to peas or other veggies. You can start off by charring leeks or asparagus. You can make dressings with turmeric and tahini. You can mix raw Brussels sprouts with roasted. You can crisp prosciutto to add texture. You can pair chicory with persimmons. You can even go back to the classics, such as Waldorf salad or salade Niçoise and do them better. I am not a fan of scannable QR codes for playlists for making salads—one feature of “Salad Freak”—but, then again, I only listen to Italian opera, jazz and the Grateful Dead, so do as you like. But if you want to jazz up your salad repertoire beyond a soundtrack, “Salad Freak” is a good place to start.
By Don and Petie Kladstrup
Charles Heidsieck introduced hard-drinking Americans to the pleasures of Champagne in the mid-19th century through a mixture of bravado, salesmanship and publicity. Known as “Champagne Charlie,” Heidsieck was a marketing whiz: When faced with the problem of fake Champagne—a majority of the so-called Champagne sold in America was in fact ersatz—he used a massive newspaper advertising campaign to promote his own high-quality brand. It worked so well that instead of a bottle of Champagne, people started ordering a bottle of “Charles.” But his story grew very dark, very quickly. After discovering that his distributors had swindled him, he went south to collect what he was owed. In New Orleans, Union General Benjamin Butler arrested him as a spy. From there, he was transported to a Louisiana prison in the Mississippi Delta, rife with alligators, snakes and yellow fever. By the time Lincoln had him released, Heidsieck’s business had gone under. He fled to New York, where there was an assassination attempt, perhaps organized by the vengeful Butler. In a final incredible twist, the brother of the sales agent who had cheated him left him the deeds to vast tracts of land in Denver as recompense. This windfall helped, but the huge debt that resulted from his failed enterprise was not fully paid until 40 years later, eight years after his death. A riveting story of where the Old World meets the New, with elements of punishment, revenge, honor and redemption. And all of this caused by a passion for bubbly!
Hear interviews with Genevieve Taylor, Jess Damuck and Don and Petie Kladstrup at 177milkstreet.com/radio.