Really! If I could think of someone else to lay blame for this meal I would. But I can't, I have no one else to blame. As the creator of the "On Our Grill's - 4 Ingredient Challenge I'm the nut job that comes up with the crazy ingredients my fellow "challenge" participants have to cook each month. Sometimes when the ingredients are announced they are easy, sometimes they seem hard and actually turn out to be somewhat easy. This was one of the occasions when the ingredients, rib eye, rutabaga, polenta and frozen strawberries, were announced that I thought I wouldn't be as difficult as some of the other "challenges." Oh, how wrong I was.
The “challenge” is not a contest amongst friendly BBQ bloggers, instead it’s designed to challenge each of us with ingredients that we may not use very often. I’ve never cooked a rutabaga or polenta so that was my challenge. Usually the process for coming up with what I’m going to cook is searching the internet for ingredient combinations. I’m also a big fan of The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity. I use this book a lot to help me match ingredients.
I wanted to combine the rutabaga and the strawberries into a puree. During my research I came across several interesting combinations of rutabagas and cardamon. At the same time I found several recipes with strawberries and cardamon. So, if rutabagas and cardamon go together and strawberries and cardamon go together it stands to reason that rutabagas, strawberries and cardamon would go together. Right? WRONG! Take a look at the picture above, you’ll notice there are no rutabaga or strawberry on the plate. It’s not necessary to go into great detail here on how I made the Rutabaga/Strawberry Puree. Suffice it to say that combine Rutabaga, strawberry and cardamon is something that should be outlawed in every kitchen in the entire world.
Take a look at the picture to the right. Compare it to the picture above. See a difference? Yeah, the grilled polenta doesn’t exactly look all the appetizing, does it. It seems I failed to cook the polenta firm enough. After chilling the polenta and cutting it, when it hit the grill it just sort of melted into the grill grates. Grilled mush wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. It’s such a bummer to plan a menu and then watch your plans for a great meal just sort of melt through the grill grates. Oh and just in case you were wondering, burning polenta doesn’t smell all that good.
So, in order to have something else to eat instead of perfectly grilled steak I pan seared some additional slices of polenta. They look pretty good in the picture above. Certainly a lot better than the picture to the right. Supposedly you can actually grill polenta but I’m not sure if it will really work. I’m not sure I like the taste enough to try it again. But we’ll see what the future holds.
Thank goodness the rib eye came out so incredibly good. Just a little kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper was all I used to season the steak. There isn’t a more flavorful steak than a rib eye so it really doesn’t need anything more than salt and pepper.
Additional participants in this month’s Ingredient Challenge include:
Paul Haight of No Excuses BBQ – ENTRY HERE
The No Excuses BBQ website was started in January of 2009 as a way to record the author’s goal of cooking outdoors at least once a week throughout the year and showing the results to the world. Somewhere along the way things got out of control…
Bob Fukushima of Bob’s Brew & Que – ENTRY HERE
Bob started Bob’s Brew and ‘Que in August of 2009 with the intent of sharing his views on food and drink. Originally focused on BBQ and Homebrew, it was inevitable that the influences of his upbringing in the San Francisco Bay Area and it’s wealth of ingredients as well as his heritage as an American of Japanese ancestry would help focus his blog, as it has his approach to food and drink.
Hanneke Eerden of The Dutchess Cooks – ENTRY HERE
After years of cooking, grilling, baking and reading other people’s blogs, I thought “why not start my own blog??” And I did, in 2010, but already after a short period of time, a blog wasn’t enough, and I started my own website. It’s not my goal to publish or come up with fancy and difficult recipes: just good and delicious food with an international twist! Straight from my plate to yours!