Really are the ones that you come up with on the fly, using the ingredients you have, and that you enjoy with friends. Don't get me wrong, a night out on the town is great, too, but when you by good fortune instead of preconceived notion come up with a good menu, it's something to celebrate.
I've been a little bit radio silent over the last couple of weeks. Let's just say that we're probably going to have to change the name of the blog nashvilleeats.blogspot.com instead of westnorthinstl.blogspot.com. I'll leave it at that. Also, I've been trying to cook almost every day on the egg to learn about it and how it handles temperature. As others on here can attest, it's relatively easy to get it hot, easy to keep it slow and low, but hard to get to both in the same time period. There will be many recipes to follow as the experimentation continues. I'm still trying to figure out ribs, having not quite gotten it right, yet.
In a spontaneous dinner with some good friends/neighbors we came up with this menu:
Korean-style whole short ribs
Miso paste marinated Buffalo fish fillet
Burrata cheese spread on charcoal-grilled Tuscan bread
Summer herb/tomato/cucumber salad with lemon-fennel vinaigrette
Peach cobbler ice cream
Korean-style whole short ribs
I wholly admit that I used the marinade recipe from Bobby Flay's Grill It! who was guest-hosted by Judianne Woo, a pastry chef in New York.
It's pretty easy, but here's the difference. I was at Whole Foods, and they didn't have the thin-sliced Korean style ribs, they just had the big ones. I decided what the hell, and tried it anyway. The recipe I used called for 5 lbs, and I think it would have worked fine for 6 whole short ribs. Brown sugar while you make the marinade, then soy sauce, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, whole pear, rice vinegar, and sesame oil round it out. Marinade overnight in a large gallon freezer bag in the fridge.
The hard part? What I've struggled most with is figuring out how long to cook ribs, and I have erred on overcooking because I hate having them undercooked. I set the dome up for indirect cooking by just placing heavy-duty foil over the main grate, then put the ribs on there. About 2-3 hours around 300 or so, and they were incredible.
Miso marinade Buffalo fish fillet
Have to admit, I've never had it before, and I wasn't really sure what it was. It's freshwater, caught recently and in a midwest farmer's Market (Soulard). Miso paste, fresh ground pepper, a freezer bag, and about 24 hours was all it took for prep. Dome to 400-450, and wrap the fish in foil. Poke holes at 15 minutes with a fork to let some steam out, and in about 25 minutes or so, you have some of the most buttery, creamy fish I've ever had. It's not a strong flavor, and it is bony, so watch out. Could conceivably do the butter/cilantro/salt/pepper treatment to it as well. It's fresh fish. Don't screw it up.
Grilled bread, burrata cheese
While I thought I had finally found buffalo mozzarella, I had not. However, it was better. Again, Whole Foods gets the credit for having it, but if you didn't know what it was or had not ever heard of it, it's stealthy. It like a combination of water packed mozzarella with a super creamy center. I thought if it were chilled enough that it could go on a salad, but really, it's too creamy for that. Think of it more as a spread for crostini with maybe anchovie, salt, and some olive oil. The bread, well, just find some good crusty Italian or French-style bread. The bigger and more dense, the better. Drizzle with good EVOO, sprinkle with sea or kosher salt, and I like to put some Herbes de Provence on there for good measure. Put on the grill at 400-500 and watch it carefully, because it will burn before you know it. Pull it off when it's got good grill marks and is golden brown, spread some of the burrata and maybe some veg from the summer salad, and you've really got a meal all by itself. Goes great with a Merlot, Cab, Cotes du Rhone, pick your favorite, just make it be RED.