pen rainbow

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday's Cupboard—It's Grilling Season!

Sweet corn with Queso Cotija and chipotle 
Grilled sweet corn in the husk with crumbled Queso Cotija & sirloin burgers over mesquite coals

First, some background...

With the national employment rate for young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 at an all-time low (at 54 percent), a lot of GenYs are moving back home.

According to a recent survey released in March by the Pew Research Center (a non-partisan, independent public opinion research group based in Washington, D.C.), boomers and their adult kids are, nevertheless, making it a positive experience.  While 12 percent of the GenY respondents said that it has hurt their relationship with their parents, 41 percent said that it has had a positive effect.  I think that's interesting, don't you?

Having said that, our 24-year old son moved back from New York City last month.  He's back, now a trained French chef, and he's cooking for us.  He's been preparing some of the incredible foods that he made in NYC, and today's post is about one of them.


The Menu
★  Grilled sweet corn in the husk with Queso Cotija
★  Sirloin cheeseburgers with smoked fontina or cheddar
★  Fresh watermelon chunks

The wood
Mesquite gives the food a sweet, light, smokey flavor.  Mesquite coals smell absolutely wonderful, too!  They stay hot for a long time, so be sure to spray down the coals to make sure that they're out after you're finished cooking.  Also, don't overload the grill with wood.  Mesquite coals produce a smokey, hot grill.

The corn
1.  Start with fresh corn in the husk.  Peel off a few of the outer husks, but leave enough to cover the corn.
2.  Soak the corn in cold water (fully submerged) for 30 minutes.  This will soften the husks and create steam for cooking.
3.  Peel back the husks and remove the silk.
4.  Rub the corn with sweet butter, olive oil, or duck fat (available at Mexican markets).  Mash in crumbled Queso Cotija, which is a seasonal artisan cheese from Mexico made only between the months of July and October when the cows graze on lush grass that grows on the mountainsides during the rainy season.  It's similar to Greek feta, so if you don't have a good Mexican grocery nearby, feta is a reasonable substitute.  This cheese is dry & crumbly, so pack it in as best you can.  ;o)
5.  Sprinkle with chipotle powder.
6.  Pull the husks back up around the cob, tie securely with a spare husk, and roast over hot coals until the husks are brown on all sides (about 15 minutes).  Cool for 5 mins. before serving.

Toasted sesame buns & a cheddar burger

The cheeseburgers
Purchase good quality lean ground sirloin.  The burgers in these pix were as good as they look!

1.  Zak brushed the burgers with butter or duck fat on each side while on the grill.
2.  He melted a slice of smoked fontina over mine and a slice of cheddar over his, then served them on toasted sesame buns.
3.  Mayo on one side, Dijon on the other.
4.  Thinly sliced shallots, grilled Roma tomato slices, and thin slices of avocado went on top of each cheeseburger.  Then, a handful of fresh spring greens.

Serve with a good Mexican beer or a glass of sparkling water over ice and fresh watermelon.


Monday—The Movie Corner: The Avengers in 3D

This film set a new record for the biggest opening weekend in North America.  It's REALLY GOOD!  

i ♥︎ the movies

Get your large, lightly-buttered popcorn and your bottle of water.  Napkins...check.  3D glasses...check.  Find a good seat, preferably in the middle of the theater, sit back and get ready for 143 minutes of Superfun!!!

All I can say is...IT'S AWESOME!  Based on Stan Lee's Marvel Comics series, this movie has not one, but 5 super-heroes.

Chris Evans is Captain America.  What's not to love?  If you're not up to speed on his long comic book history, he was an average, scrawny, comic book illustrator who submits to secret military medical experimentation and becomes the perfect human specimen.  In this movie, Captain America assumes a leadership role on the Avengers team.

Robert Downey, Jr., is Iron Man.  Downey plays it as sharp and irascible as he did in the IRON MAN movie (2008).  For anyone who grooves on really neat special fx, this movie delivers big time.  I never get tired of watching RDJ's character, Tony Stark, work on his 3D invisible workspace.  In this movie, suiting up and suiting down is taken to a new and delightful level.

Scarlett Johansson is super-spywoman, Natalia Romanova, a.k.a. Black Widow.  Sparks fly (figuratively speaking) whenever she's on screen.  I really love a smart, strong, female superhero, don't you?  She is full of surprises, and she plays it wickedly smart. Her friend and Avengers compatriot, super-archery guy, Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, is as equally mysterious and lethal.  Together, they're an interesting pair who stand out amongst the fractious Avengers.  In this movie, Hawkeye gets zapped by the evil badguy, Loki, and becomes one of his minions.  In a nice subplot, Natalia is bound by conscience to save him.

Everyone loves The Incredible Hulk, who when he's not busting up city blocks and chasing after pretty much anything that moves, is the sweet and unpretentious, but emotionally tortured genius /physicist, Doctor Bruce Banner—played to perfection by Mark Ruffalo.

Chris Hemsworth is the Norse god, Thor, one of the original five founding members of The Avengers, along with the Hulk, Iron Man, Wasp, and Ant-Man.  He is the do-gooder biological son of Odin and the ruler of his home planet, Asgard, as well as the caretaker / ruler of Earth.

His adoptive brother, LOKI, played lusciously evil by Cambridge-educated English actor, Tom Hiddleston, is the black sheep of the family and Thor's perpetual nemesis.  He comes to Earth on occasion to wreak havoc and destroy Humanity.  Thor and Loki are demi-gods, whereas the rest of the Avengers are humans with super-human powers.  As a side note, the Hulk can kick both of their puny asses.  ;o)

Last, but not least, Samuel L. Jackson plays NICK FURY, the executive director of S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate).  To retrieve the stolen Tesseract, an ancient Asgardian artifact with unlimited power, Nick Fury calls in five members of the Avengers team to retrieve it from Loki and save Humanity.  

I definitely plan to see the movie again.  And, I plan to see all of the other Avenger-related movies that I haven't yet seen.  I may have to start a small collection of comic books!  This may give me a reason to go to Comic-Con 2012 which is in San Diego this July.

Click here for a link to the Marvel Universe wiki which gives detailed descriptions and backgrounds on all of the Avengers.  There are a whole bunch of them, including those in the movie, and they have a long history together.

Captain America, The First Avenger (2011)  Starring Chris Evans

Thor (2011)  Directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Hemsworth

Iron Man 2 (2010)   Scarlett Johansson makes her first appearance as Black Widow

The Incredible Hulk (2008)  Starring Edward Norton as the Hulk

What more can I say?  THE AVENGERS is Marvel-ous!