Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dinosaur BBQ and Week 6

I am sold on Dinosaur BBQ. At least in Syracuse. I have yet to try the one in Troy. I desperately hope it lives up to it's flagship store, because this meal was one worth repeating.

We're still traveling, and this last weekend saw us in Syracuse for a Family Wedding at the Syracuse University Chapel. In between the ceremony and the evening reception at the OnCenter, we joined family outside under the awnings at Dinosaur BBQ.

Dave ordered the Carolina Style Pulled Pork Sandwich - "Smoked low & slow, hand pulled, & piled high" with coleslaw. It lived up to it's reputation. It was moist and flavorful with a kick of spice. The side of black-eyed greens was hearty, but it begged for more flavor - salt and onion would do the trick.

I ordered the Half Chicken Platter with cornbread, fruit salad and the black-eyed greens. The chicken was unbelievably juicy, turned pink from the the smoke. The skin was crackling, the meat infused with flavor. I was completely blown away.

The fruit salad was fresh and simple. The cornbread was dense cake, with a hint of sweet - not my favorite. That being said, the experience was good enough for me to want to give Dino BBQ in Troy a try. Here's hoping it lives up to its home store.

Week 6

Happy 4th of July! Many of us will be grilling tomorrow, and this week's share sets us up well to add some vegetables to the traditional barbecue mix.

Step 1: Triage

Short Life: Lettuce, Spinach, Mesclun, Tomatoes
Medium Life: Beet Greens, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Summer Squash/Zucchini, Fennel, Tomatoes
Long Life: Beet Roots, Radishes, Chinese Cabbage, Cabbage

Tomatoes are one of the true gifts of summer. If you are used to supermarket pale pink tomatoes, pulled frozen cold from the fridge, you are in for an awakening.

Do not ruin your tomatoes by refrigerating them. While putting them in the fridge will carry them longer, you will lose the majority of the taste. Place them on a window sill to full ripen. Keep an eye on them - they should still spring back without mushing down. Slice these. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and eat plain. Layer with fresh mozzarella and basil, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper for Salad Caprese. Add them to those burgers coming off your grill.

Step 2: Divide and Conquer

Both Radishes and Beets can be separated from their greens. We talked about beet greens last week - they can be sauteed and turned into deliciousness.

Radish greens are peppery. They can be sliced thinly and added to your salad or soup, layered on top of a rich sandwich (once again - think hamburger), or turned into chips like kale.  They are a green worth eating and should be treated as such. Be brave. You can do this!

Here's another Divide and Conquer - when you are ready to cook your fennel, remove the stalks and core the bulb, as you would a cabbage. The fronds can be used judiciously to season whatever you like with a spicy licorice flavor. Think about adding them and the sliced, cleaned bulb to 4 cups of vodka. Store the mixture in the back of your fridge at least overnight and up until a month. From there, you can drink on the rocks or mix it into your favorite cocktail. I recommend a modified mohito - muddled sugar and mint with a twist of lime.

Step 3: Everything in it's Place

This 4th of July, the goal is to create vegetable dishes that are sure to be a hit at whichever barbecue you're attending/hosting. Start with a traditional coleslaw with your cabbage and a broccoli slaw with sweet dried cranberries and almonds.

Your fennel can be sliced and grilled, your beets wrapped in aluminum foil and roasted for an hour on the grill. Summer Squash and Zucchini are ideal for grilling - individual slices or placed on skewers in between additions of your choice. Summer Squash and Zucchini can also be served raw with your dip of choice. Peel and slice your cucumbers thin and layer with onions, then toss through with olive oil, vinegar, salt, sugar and fresh herbs. Saute your spinach with lots of garlic, serve on pita/gyro bread with roasted red peppers and lamb burgers. Serve your radishes sliced thin next to your fennel on a relish tray, with butter to dip and sea salt to finish.

Step 4: Storage

Let's face it - many of us are on vacation this week, and getting through all those vegetables may not be doable. If you know you are getting more than you need this week, and you know that some will end up rotting in the back of your fridge, consider donating that extra to the Squash Hunger box at your pick-up site. Since it's creation in 2004, the Squash Hunger program has collected more than 90,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables donated by members of the community which is brought by volunteers to shelters, pantries, and soup kitchens throughout the Capital District.

If you are able to aim for long term storage, you have a few options this week. Beets and Cabbage will keep indefinitely if they are kept cold and dry. Broccoli can be blanched and frozen. Make sure you freeze individually first on a sheet tray, in order that they will defrost without turning to mush on you. Summer Squash and Zucchini can also be frozen via this method or by simply grating and freezing (think meatloaf and zucchini bread).

However you choose to use your vegetables this week, share them and enjoy them. I wish you potato salad, deviled eggs, grilled veg, burgers, hot dogs, lemonade, cold beer, sunburn, fireworks and family. Happy 4th!

Leah the Nosher

1 comment:

  1. I haven't been to the original Dino, but the chicken in Troy has been one of the winners from the menu. That and the ribs. I'm not the biggest fan of their pork, and I do believe there's a way to get good brisket there, but I've never experienced it in the dining room.