As National Grilling Month approaches its final week, do you find yourself running out of recipe ideas? Well, allow me to refill your arsenal of options. I wanted to share some unique..and simple!…recipes that use more creative ingredients and will be a nice complement to your grilled steak or seafood.
Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges
(A hinged grilling basket makes cooking the potato wedges easier.)
2 pounds medium sweet potatoes, cut lengthwise into 6 wedges each
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
- Light the grill.
- In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, simmer the potatoes until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
- Drain, transfer to a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, black pepper and cayenne.
- Grill over moderate heat for about 15 minutes, turning, until tender and lightly charred.
- Serve warm.
Zucchini and Summer Squash with Oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2-by-2-inch sticks
1 pound yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-by-2-inch sticks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
- Heat the oil in a skillet.
- Add the zucchini, squash, salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until the vegetables begin to brown and are almost tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.
- Stir in the oregano.
Grilled Bananas with Ice Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce
(This dessert is easy to make on a cleaned rack after grilling a main course.)
½ gallon favorite vanilla ice cream
4 firm-ripe bananas
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- Prepare grill.
- Peel bananas and halve lengthwise.
- In a shallow baking pan large enough to hold bananas in one layer, stir together butter and brown sugar and add bananas, tossing gently to coat.
- Transfer bananas with a metal spatula to an oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals and grill until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side. (If bananas are difficult to handle you may grill them on 1 side only.)
- Serve bananas like a banana split with ice cream and chocolate sauce.
I hope you have some fun with these recipes. I’ll be back next Friday to offer up some more tips and recipes. In the meantime, I’m curious to know…What’s the most unique food you’ve prepared on the grill?
Did you know we’re half-way through National Grilling Month? Even though we talked a lot about grilling in June, in celebration of National Steakhouse Month (aren’t all these summer holidays fun, though?!?), I’m always looking for a reason to talk about cooking, grilling and meat. That said, I wanted to share some of my favorite tips and recipes, and today is the first of three “Friday Features” in July when I’ll do just that.
While grilling is something I’m very comfortable with, I know it can be confusing and intimidating for some people. I made a video a while back that helps explain where to buy your steaks, what to look for, and how to best prepare your meat, and I thought it warranted another go-round.
I also wanted to show you pictures of the different cuts of steaks, because I know a visual can be helpful for some people.
If all of this is old news, and you want to test your chops on how much you REALLY know about grilling, I invite you to take this online quiz from TLC’s website. Don’t worry…no one’s being graded, and your dinner guests will never know how you scored.
Speaking of dinner guests, I’ll share some great grilling recipes during next week’s feature that will make you look like a Grillling Guru at your next backyard barbeque. In the meantime, feel free to search our blog for recipes and tips or look for Morton’s Steak Bible online or at your nearest bookstore!
Last week’s “Wine Wednesday” blog post launched our “Above Par” wine series. I’m exploring the three incredible golfer wines that Morton’s is featuring as the Official Steakhouse of the PGA TOUR and started off the series with Greg Norman Estates.
For this week’s “Wine Wednesday,” I’m featuring Jack Nicklaus Wines, specifically the Jack Nicklaus, “Private Reserve,” Meritage from from Napa that we proudly offer at all U.S. Morton’s locations. (Click here for a beef tenderloin recipe that’s recommended as an entree pairing for this wine or search our blog for ‘beef tenderloin’ for other options.) As the story goes, Mr. Nicklaus had to be persuaded for several years before he decided to take the plunge into the wine world. When he made the leap, he chose to work with the esteemed Terlato family of Terlato Wines International.
So who really makes this wine? The winemaker who oversees day-to-day operations on the Nicklaus line-up is Marisa Taylor Huffaker. She is a winemaker in Napa whose main job is with Rutherford Hill Winery…a winery that has won many awards. Marisa was born and raised in wine country and has worked her way through the industry at such wineries as Piper Sonoma, J and has even spent some time in Italy to hone her skills. She graduated from the University of California, Davis, first with a B.S. in Chemistry and then an M.S. in Food Science/Enology.
But back to Jack…
His legacy includes not only a successful golf career and an impressive wine portfolio, it also includes golfcourse designer, businessman and philanthropist. He and his wife, Barbara, created the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting the health, safety and well-being of children in their local community. And in 2010, Mr. Nicklaus, along with Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, came together for “The Big 3” — a one-day event that raised an historic $15.1 million dollars for the Mountain Mission Kids!
Yet another impressive golfer wine (and golfer) that we’re proud to feature on our “Above Par” wine list. I’ll conclude this series next week with the story behind Ernie Els, “Signature,” Bordeaux Blend, Stellenbosch.
As we head in to the Fourth of July weekend, I thought today’s issue of ‘Wine Wednesday’ could instead offer a couple of festive cocktail recipes that capture the excitement and beauty of the quintessential fireworks and sparklers that so many of us enjoy during this holiday. But be warned…these recipes call for oil and matches, and therefore need to be handled with the utmost care and concentration.
It’s fun to watch someone make these drinks (providing you’re lucky enough to talk someone in to it), and the drinks get a nice, rich flavor from the caramelized citrus. So, here’s how create your flaming cocktail:
- You should have fresh, ripe fruit with thick skin, ideally lemons or oranges. Use a knife or a peeler to get a piece of the peel that is about 1 inch wide by 2 inches long with just a touch of white pith on the underside. The fruit should be firm and fresh to ensure there is enough oil present in the skin.
- To flame the oil, hold a lit match in one hand, and pick up the twist in the other very carefully…like holding an egg shell.
- Hold the twist by the side (not the ends) between your thumb and forefinger, skin side down, and about four inches above the drink. Don’t squeeze the peel, or you’ll lose all the oil before you flame.
- Hold the match between the drink and the twist, closer to the twist. Warm the peel by gently passing it close to the flame 2-3 times.
- Snap the twist sharply, propelling the oil through the lit match and onto the surface of the drink.
Here are some classic American drinks you can create as flaming cocktails, and they also happen to be in the order of red, white and blue!
2 oz. Belvedere Vodka
½ oz. Cointreau
2 oz. Cranberry Juice
Flamed Orange Peel
Pour Vodka, Cointreau and Cranberry juice into a shaker. Shake 15 times and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel.
2 oz. Beefeater
1 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Liqueur (this is a clear liqueur)
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Flamed lemon peel for garnish
Pour Gin, Cherry Liqueur and fresh lemon juice into a shaker, add ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with flamed lemon peel.
1.5 oz. Absolut Vodka
½ oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
Dash Blue Curacao
Flamed Orange Peel for garnish
Pour Vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice and Curacao into shaker. Shake 15 times and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with flamed orange peel.
Again, please exercise caution when making these cocktails. Your eyebrows are too precious for you to be careless! But if you’re entertaining over the holiday weekend, you’re sure to impress your guests with these flaming creations. Have a safe, happy Fourth of July!
James Patterson is an accomplished author who holds the New York Times record for most hardcover fiction bestselling titles by a single author (63 total), which is also a Guinness World Record. Today he releases a new book for kids, “Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life.” (Click here for a review from ABC News and the Los Angeles Times.)
Patterson is also a frequent guest at Morton’s and a fan of one of our recipes from Morton’s The Cookbook… our Roasted Prime Rib with Shaved Fresh Horseradish. So in honor of his new book release today, we thought we’d release his favorite Morton’s recipe, too!
Morton’s Roasted Prime Rib with Shaved Fresh Horseradish
Serves 10 to 12
One 12 – 14 pound seven-rib aged prime rib
½ cup seasoned salt
1 pound fresh horseradish, well washed
¼ cup Au Jus (optional)
- A day before cooking the roast, season it on all sides with the seasoned salt. Transfer the roast to a pan. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
- Position the over rack in the lowest position possible and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Remove the roast from the refrigerator about 1 hour before roasting and allow to come to room temperature.
- Set a rack in a large roasting pan and set the roast on the rack. Roast for 2 ½ to 3 hours for medium-rare, or until the roast reaches the desired degree of doneness. The meat will be more well-done at the ends and rarer in the center.
- Lift the roast from the pan and set it on a cutting board. Loosely tent the roast with aluminum foil to keep it warm and let the meat rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the horseradish root.
- Remove the lip of the roast – the portion on top of the bones in front of the eye – and discard.
- Starting with the small end, carve the roast into thick pieces. To serve, spoon some of the au jus onto a plate, if desired. Put a slice of meat on top of the sauce.
- Using the vegetable peeler, shave 4 to 5 thin slices of horseradish on top of each serving. The horseradish shavings should be as long, thin and dramatic looking as you can make them. Serve with more jus spooned over the meat, if desired.
Makes about 1 generous cup
I cup reconstituted store-bought veal demi-glace
2 ½ teaspoons commercial beef base
1 ¼ teaspoons commercial chicken base
½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1 ¼ cups water with the demi-glace, beef base, chicken base, peppercorns, garlic powder, thyme, bay leaf and white pepper. Whisk well.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook at a boil, uncovered, whisking occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until glossy and smooth.
- Strain through a chinois or fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Discard the solids
- Let cook, then over and refrigerate for at least 1 hour until chilled. Scrape off any fat that has congealed on the surface.
- Use right away or transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
NOTE: If you decide to double or triple the amount of au jus you make at one time, cool the strained sauce in a bowl set in a larger one filled with ice cubes and water. This is the best way to cool large amounts of hot liquid. For the 1 cup we make here, it’s not necessary.
As summer really starts to heat up, I thought it would be a good time to share one of our lighter recipes from Morton’s The Cookbook. Making it an even more timely recipe…it’s recognized in the cookbook as Fran Drescher’s favorite!
Her biography on Wikipedia describes Drescher as an “American film and television actress, comedian, screenwriter, director, producer, author, singer, talk show host, political lobbyist and health activist.” And starting tomorrow, she’ll be adding a new TV series to her resume when TV Land premiers Drescher’s new project, “Happily Divorced,”of which she’s both creator and star. Based on her own marriage and eventual divorce, the show’s pilot is getting good reviews, as is her tenacity, strength and resiliency !
I hope this refreshing summer salad gets equally good reviews from you and your guests. Enjoy!
Tomato, Mozzarella and Prosciutto Salad
4 romaine lettuce leaves
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cored and each cut into 4 slices
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 8 slices
8 to 10 paper-thin slices of high-quality prosciutto (about 1 ounce)
8 large fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Line each of the 2 salad plates with lettuce leaves.
- Shingle the tomato slices over the lettuce and top with mozzarella slices and prosciutto, shingled also so that they overlap.
- Tuck the basil leaves between the cheese and ham.
- Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar over the salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer, you can serve the oil and vinegar on the side and let your guests dress their own salad.
Tis’ the season that keeps on giving! Only yesterday, we concluded National Hamburger Month, and today is already the beginning of yet another festive and special month-long celebration…National Steakhouse Month!
As stated on Chase’s Calendar of Events and Ask.com, National Steakhouse Month is, “To celebrate the steakhouse, that uniquely American restaurant, and to recognize and promote the art of expert grilling. Sponsored by Morton’s The Steakhouse, the world’s leading fine-dining restaurant brand.”
So I thought it would appropriate to start with the basics to help ensure that everyone can truly celebrate “the art of expert grilling” and feel comfortable behind the grill by month’s end. That said, take a look at this video that we took of my esteemed colleague, Executive Chef Eddie Bernal out of our San Francisco location. In it, he talks about the “hand test,” a tried-and-true method that anyone can use to figure out if they’re serving their guests bloody-rare burgers or too-well-done t-bones.
Another one of colleagues, Executive Chef Nick Butler from our Louisville location, was recently interviewed by the Courier-Journal and offers some simple tips on grilling a burger, along with one of our best recipes…the Morton’s “Million-Dollar” Burger! So between his tips, this recipe and your hand, your next backyard bbq is sure to be a good one.
Stay tuned throughout National Steakhouse Month for more tips, recipes and contests! You can also visit our YouTube channel and search for previous videos and TV clips that feature grilling tips and recipes. And to celebrate not only National Steakhouse Month, but dads and grads as well, today is the start of our June Gift Card offer. Click here for more details or to make your purchase.
Today closes out the month of May, which also means it’s the last day of National Hamburger Month. Over the last four weeks, our Corporate Chef, Chris Rook, has offered some tasty and diverse burger recipes…something for everyone to enjoy! So to take your burger to the next level, I wanted to step in and provide some pairing suggestions for each of those recipes.
This burger sounds simple, but there is a lot going on. And depending on whether you use mayonnaise or mustard… or both…will change the pairing. Mayonnaise is rich, while mustard is acidic and spicy. So, this is when we would look to Napa Valley. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, “Hands of Time” would be awesome, because it has a full enough body to handle the rich meat, yet the tannins are integrated enough to work with both mayonnaise and mustard. Something like St Supery, “Elu” Meritage would be great as well. This is certainly a recipe to have fun mixing and matching with, and you could even do something like Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay, or if you like bubbles like we do, Schramsberg Blancs de Blancs would be amazing! Morton’s offers all these wines by the glass or by the bottle.
Here is where pairing with burgers can get tricky. We have rich meat and bacon with spicy horseradish cheese. The wrong pairing could turn this into hot mess.
So let’s break this down. We have rich meat and bacon, which means we need a full-bodied wine. Then we have spicy horseradish cheddar, and we know that strong tannins in a wine will make the heat explode. What does that mean? We need a full-bodied wine with softer tannins, otherwise all you will taste is horseradish — which is fine if that’s what you are looking for. But if you want all the delicious flavors to harmonize, you should stick with something like Shiraz or Syrah, or even an older vintage Cabernet Sauvignon in which the tannins have had a chance to mature.
Some suggestions would be Mollydooker, “Blue Eyed Boy,” Shiraz, Spellbound, Petite Sirah, or Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon —of which we are currently serving the 2002 vintage by the glass at most Morton’s locations.
How about a beer instead? Same concept – you will need a beer with a full-mouth feel, like Orval Trappist Ale. A pilsner will end up tasting like water if paired with this burger…so be aware!
Anytime I hear anything remotely related to sushi, I think Riesling. The bright acidity with that hint of sweetness really balances the minerality and body of the fish, while at the same time taking the bit of heat and richness in the Thai cream sauce and making it really all tie together perfectly.
Kung Fu Girl from Columbia is a good Riesling, and one that we serve by the glass at Morton’s. Penfolds also makes a really nice Riesling from Eden Valley in Australia. If you want something from the old world, try a Riesling made by Hugel in Alsace, France…you won’t be disappointed. Germany is of course another classic place for Riesling, so look for the name Dr. Loosen on the label, and you should be pleased!
If you don’t want wine, a cucumber-flavored vodka like Square One mixed with some muddled green grapes and a splash of soda would be a good choice. Interested in beer? A Kirin Light would be perfect!
The chili sauce, pepper and green bell pepper make this recipe work really well with a Malbec from Argentina. The rustic, earthy character of the wine will balance out the different components in the recipe and make them all work together like a team. There are a lot of good Malbecs out there in a huge range of price points, so look for something from Mendoza, Argentina in a price point that works for you.
I hope that I’ve provided some options that will satisfy most everyone and enhance what already promises to be a great meal. As you can see, National Hamburger Month is certainly something to celebrate, so I hope you fill your glass with a brew, wine or spirit that’s worthy of the occasion!
Certified Sommelier and Morton’s Beverage Manager
We’re more than half-way through National Hamburger Month, and we’ve shared the recipes for Morton’s “Million-Dollar” Burger, Morton’s Two-Fisted Bacon Burger and our Tuna Sashimi Burgers. Today we’re featuring a recipe that offers a new take on a traditional hamburger…our Chopped Steak patty. The secret to this simple recipe (featured in Morton’s The Cookbook) is to use ground sirloin. As explained in the cookbook, “The meat should be a nice, rosy red without any graying or brown spots. Ground sirloin has less fat than other cuts but should still be evenly mixed with creamy-looking, small particles of fat. Look for ground beef with an 80 to 20 ratio of lean meat to fat (although of late it’s more common to find ground sirloin with a 90 to 10 ratio, which is okay, too.)”
I tried to feature a wide variety of hamburger recipes over the course of the month, and I hope you’ve found at least one burger option that intrigues you enough to try it at home. If you’d rather leave the cooking to us, you can stop in any Morton’s bar for our Prime Cheeseburger and french fries, or if you’re looking for something more bite-sized, you can enjoy our trio of Miniature Prime Cheeseburgers on our Bar Bites menu (available at most locations for $6 or $7 during Power Hour)!
Morton’s Chopped Steak
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
2 pounds ground sirloin
6 tablespoons tomato juice (we recommend Sacramento)
¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Store-bought thick chili sauce, for serving
- Preheat the broiler and position a rack 4 inches from the heating element
- In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and sauté the onion for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, use your hands to gently mix the ground beef with tomato juice, both bell peppers, egg, salt, black pepper and cooled onions
- Shape into 4 oval patties, each about 1 inch thick
- Put the patties on a broiler pan and broil for about 7 minutes. Turn with a spatula and broil the other side for 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare or until the desired degree of doneness.
- Serve with the chili sauce
Next week we’ll culminate National Hamburger Month with a feature from Sara Fasolino, Certified Sommelier and Morton’s Beverage Manager. She’ll provide wine and beer pairings for the four burger recipes we posted this month…so stay tuned!
Morton’s The Steakhouse
On Saturday, May 7, we saw Animal Kingdom win the first jewel in the Triple Crown during the Kentucky Derby. Perhaps you were enjoying one of our Julep recipes while enjoying the hats, the tradition and the excitement.
This Saturday is the second of three races—the 136th Preakness Stakes! To keep our tradition going on this issue of Wine Wednesday, we wanted to provide the recipe for the Preakness Black-Eyed Susan, the official drink of the Preakness. This isn’t offered on Morton’s drink menus, but it’s an easy cocktail to make at home.
1 ounce Absolut vodka
1 ounce rum
3/4 ounce triple sec
Fill a 12-ounce glass with ice. Add vodka, rum and triple sec. Add lime wedge and equal parts of pineapple juice and orange juice. Shake well and serve.
If you’re in the Baltimore area for this weekend’s festivities, make sure to stop by our Morton’s location in the heart of downtown for the a memorable evening and unforgettable hospitality! The GM, Michael Warner, and his staff will welcome you and make you feel like a champion!
Certified Sommelier and Morton’s Beverage Manager