Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's leftover time! (Grilled Tri-Tip Roast)

Well, those leftover biscuits came in handy today when lunchtime rolled around and we were fresh out of bread. 

Steve really wanted a sandwich made from the tri-tip we grilled Friday night. But fear not, the biscuits thawed out just fine and made a dandy samy.   A smear of Dukes mayo, some grainy mustard, pickle slices and crisp romaine.  Add a cold Heineken and his favorite spot on the deck, and he was a happy man.
Tri-tips are a staple in California, especially the Central Coast around Santa Maria.  I like to marinade ours for as long as possible in the concoction below and then Steve grills it up fast on a screamin’ hot grill.  The trick is to pull it off before it is too far gone and then let the meat  rest for at least 15 minutes during which it will continue to cook to pinky rare perfection.

I like mine sliced thin with crisp Caesar salad and a ear of steamed corn.  But between you and me, the leftovers are the best!

Tri-Tip Roast

  • 1 2 ½ to 3 pound tri tip roast
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper 

  • Mix the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, olive oil and rosemary in a large zip lock bag.  Add the roast and refrigerate 2 hours to over night.
  • 30 minutes before you are ready to grill, pull the meat, blot it dry with a paper towel and liberally apply kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  This is a big piece of meat. Don’t skimp on the seasoning.  Let the roast come to room temp.
  • Heat a gas grill to High/Medium/High
  • Wipe the grill with a paper towel soaked with oil (we use grape seed oil, which as a very high smoking point)
  •  Place the roast on the grill, close the lid. Set a timer for 9 minutes.
  • At the 9 minute mark, flip the meat.  Close the lid. Grill for another 9 minutes.
  • At the end of the second 9 minutes, check the temp.  You want to be at 115 to 125 degrees and the outside should have a nice charred crust.  
  • If you are not quite there, flip the roast and cook 3 minutes per each side. Check the temp.  You should be there. Do not over cook.  The end slices will be a bit more well-done and the center will be rare, but not raw. 
  • Remove the roast.  Tent LIGHTLY with foil and let the roast rest for 15 minutes.
  • Now you can slice – against the grain. 


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Look Ma, No Bisquick! (Homemade Biscuits)

Warm from the oven - ready for
scrambled eggs and some
strawberry jam.

Two years into my reincarnation as a Southerner and I finally made my first batch of biscuits. 

From scratch.

This may not seem like a feat worth rejoicing, but those of you who know me well also know I don’t really bake. My mother didn’t bake all that often.  Neither did my father.  Thank goodness my brother married a wonderful woman who does – and I had to move 3,000 miles to get closer to her apple pies.  But now, by golly, I just may have found my inner Betty Crocker.
Miss Katie at
our Biscuit Class

Unlike the other recipes I blog, I didn’t create the one I’m sharing today. It came from the “Parent and Child Biscuits Class” I took with my niece Katie in June.  Needless to say, we had a blast.  I learned a lot.  

Today I walked an extra half hour (I now know what goes into a biscuit!) and then hit the kitchen to give it a go.  

The results were perfect!  Flaky and tender.  I can’t wait to make an herb variety with Katie for Thanksgiving dinner.  Until then, we’ve gonna have plenty of biscuits in the freezer, ready to heat up with coffee on a chilly Saturday morning.

Willard’s Biscuits (Courtesy of A Southern Season, Chapel Hill, NC)


  • 3 cups soft white flour (Southern Biscuit, LIly White or similar)I only had all-purpose and it came out fine, but would have been even better with the special lower gluten flour.
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 Tablespoons cold shortening, cubed (they explained in our class that for biscuits use Crisco or lard (I don’t think I can do the latter), for scones use butter)
  • I ½ cups cold buttermilk (This is worth keeping on hand.  It lasts forever and is a nice low fat alternative to cream when you want to thicken a sauce. Plus I actually like to drink it! Go figure.)

  •  Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Sift dry ingredients
  • With a pastry blender, cut in cold shortening until coarse with a few lumps.
  • Stir in buttermilk with a spatula until a loose ball forms. Do not over-mix!!
  • Quickly turn onto a floured board and knead 4 turns.
  • Pat into a circle, ¾ inch thick and cut with a well-floured 2 1/2 sharp cutter.
  • Place close but not touching on a parchment-lined sheet pan (I was out of parchment, so I just sprayed lightly with Pam Spray
  • Bake for 15 minutes, turning half-way through baking.
  • Brush with soft butter and serve immediately