Thursday, June 13, 2019

Some Grilling Notes

Grilled vegetables.The grilling season is upon us, so it’s time to expand our summer cooking horizons. Our most infallible item is still grilled salmon, but we’ve tried a few new things as well.


Ridgеfield's summers are great.I marinated the salmon in mixed garlic-lemon zest-lemon juice-olive oil-salt mixture last time. It had a bit of added flavor, but on the down side it separated from the skin and somewhat fell apart on the grill. I still like it as a variation of the plain grilled salmon, which I’ve grew quite tired off by now.

Grilled Italian sausages

Ignat, Vika and Alisa weekend.Of course we’ve grilled them before, but on occasion they were under-cooked inside or somewhat burned outside. So after doing some research we found that the secret step to insure evenly cooked, juicy and crispy on the outside sausages is poaching. Pretty much you put them in cold water, bring to a boil, let simmer minute, turn the heat off and let them cool in the pot.

Roasted peppers and onions

Welcoming summer.This is not a dish cooked on the grill, but it came out so nice, that I wanted to put it here before I forgot all about it. We found the recipe bounded together with the sausage recipe. Just in case the link will stop working: I mixed 6 bell peppers, large sweet onion, 6 tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves, a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, salt and olive oil. The vegetables were julienned, cut and sliced to my liking. I did not have any fresh basil on hand, but I’m sure adding it would have only enhanced the flavors. I roasted the vegetables in 370 F degree oven for a little over an hour, turning twice.


Thick ribeye steak.This is not a new item for us either, but Daniеl keeps experimenting with different cuts of meat. He figured out that the steak thinner than an inch comes out too dry and he actually liked the 2 inch rib eye the most so far. I marinated it in salt, pepper, oil and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce for about an hour. Not sure if that made the meat better, but it’s a possibility.


Marshmallows.We used to grill corn wrapped in foil, but I wanted to see if we can avoid this time consuming and waste-producing step. Turns out that you can. More over, the cooking time is shorter and the corn has more flavor! So we simply removed the husks, grilled the corn on medium heat for about 10 minutes turning once and rubbed it with butter right after, while it was still hot.


Grilled pineapple.We always loved pineapple in Brazilian steakhouses, but never grilled it at home before. I think Ilya got us excited about grilling it after our Canadian trip, so we tried it and the results were pretty nice. The process is simple — cut pineapple in wedges first, then cut the core and the skin off, then coat with a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon and grill.


Well done marshmallows.We’ve tried some recipe last year, but I can’t remember what it was. This time we marinated pork chops in mashed onion (I used an immersion blender to mash it), salt and pepper mixture. This is actually the recipe that I got from Illona for pork shish kebab, but we don’t have a mangal yet, so we just tried it with chops. They came out pretty well — soft and onion-y.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Rock

New York from the top.The past weekend was the last one for Alёna’s mom’s current stay with us. Because of the bad weather we didn’t really get out much this time around, so we decided to do something interesting for her on this last weekend. My mom agreed to take the kids for the day so we had it easy.

Alёna with her mom.We picked the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center as our destination. Alёna’s mom haven’t been to the top of any skyscrapers, so we figured this should be memorable. Rockefeller Center observation deck is my favorite location in the city as you can see a lot of famous landmarks around — Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, World Trade Center, Central Park and numerous bridges.

Central Park. Fisheye.We spent a while looking for parking, but there was no line to the top. As far as I can tell Alёna’s mom loved it. We couldn’t actually get her to leave for some time. She would go from side to side, trying to take in the views. I think it was a success. Once we got down we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral that was right across the street.

Alёna and Daniеl.After that we took her to our favorite Brazilian Steakhouse — Churrascaria Plataforma. Even though she is not a huge meat fan I thought she would like the experience. Open salad bar and then an endless stream of different varieties of beef, lamb, pork and chicken that waiters keep bringing to your table until you turn the green button given to you to red. Alёna and her mom didn’t eat quite as much as I did, but mom definitely liked it.

Self again.And that was a full day. I got some decent pictures, she got good memories. It’s really sad that she’s leaving tomorrow already.

New York through fisheye.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pocono Getaway

Mountain Springs Lake.Yesterday we came back from our third trip to Mountain Springs Lake Resort. It’s a beautiful place in Pocono Mountains that offers very cozy cabins, located on the lake and surround by forest, for rent. It’s not cheap, but is well worth it.

Our cabin #41.The cabin (#41) itself ended up costing us a little under $900 for 3 nights. There was a total of 6 of us — Alёna, Arosha, Maruk, Alina, Emma and I. We split all the costs in half which made it much more affordable. The overall total expense for each family came out to $594.

Best tasting beer in existence.I like this place so much because it is such a non-worry vacation where one can really relax. There is not much planning involved beside making a reservation for the cabin and getting there — and it’s only 100 miles away. This seems to be the only type of vacation where I don’t end up driving myself crazy by becoming a nervous wreck a day before.

On the lake.We drove out at 12pm for 4pm check-in — even though we got there quite a bit earlier, they had no problem giving us the keys to our cabin. We picked this time specifically for it to coincide with Arosha’s day-time nap. And luckily for us Arosha did fall asleep soon after and slept for hour and half — pretty much all of our drive there.

Maruk, Emma and Alina.We did all the shopping with Maruk on the first “morning” right after we got there. There is a number of huge supermarkets around it, Giant being the closest — a much more pleasant shopping experience than that of a shopping at any of the Brooklyn places.

Maruks marinated the shish-kebabs a day before using their own recipe for marinade.We filled our shopping cart with all kinds of organic things to be grilled. We ended up with $225 worth of food and proceeded to eat pretty much all of it during our stay there.

One of the salads.Our daily dining regiment consisted of early light breakfast (yogurt and tea), hamburger brunch, shish-kebab lunch and skirt steak dinner. Ever meal included a number of side dishes such as salads, fried pineapples, grilled onions, seared collard greens, squash and pumpkins. One day we grilled salmon steaks and shrimp.

Salmon steaks and shrimp.Everything was super-delicious and we are very grateful to Maruk for doing most of the grilling.

Emma and Arosha cooking a soup.The lake itself was no more than 20 meters away from us. Kids enjoyed playing in the sand and the playground.

Arosha getting ready to slide down.Arosha found one of his favorite objects on the playground — a юль (руль — steering wheel) and a slide which would propel him at freakishly high speed down — it was made of some very “slidy” plastic.

Mountain Springs Lake.I slept rather well during the nights — we brought our own blanket and didn’t have to deal with typical hotel type multilayered deal that I always hate. Arosha slept in his portable bed which he likes quite a lot, but he kept waking up several times a night. Sadly he did the same thing at home this night, but hopefully it will pass soon.

Grilled pineapples.In the evening after the kids would go to sleep we would sit around a fire and drink tea, hot-chocolate and eat some fire-toasted marshmallows. I myself stuck to tea, but Maruks loved their marshmallows big time.

Sitting by the fireplace in the evening.It was a great getaway spent in a small circle of family and close friends. I enjoyed it a lot.

Shish-kebab with a salad.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hempstead Picnic With Maruks

Skirt steak getting grilled.For today Maruk and his family has planned an outing and a cookout in Hempstead Lake State Park. They were kind enough to invite our family to join them and as a result we had a great day.

Arosha exploring the park by crawling.The park was beautiful — full of green trees that create shade all over the place, it had very few people, was clean and had nice benches and tables for us to use.

The cook. The host. Maruk.The company was great as well — Maruk and Alina really are great friends. They also do have a good family and even though we don’t see them too often it’s always nice to get together with them when it does happen. Maruk was a great cook and did all the work to keep everyone well feed and thus happy.

Emma and Arosha "reading" a book.Arosha got to explore a new place and play with Emma. Even though he still is too little to really socialize I think it’s nice for kids to be near other kids. I was always friends with kids of my parents’ friends. Arosha and Emma will probably and hopefully end up being good friends when they get older as well.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Restaurant Saul

Restaurant Saul business card.Today we felt “adventurous” — we decided to check out some new restaurant for dinner. I knew just the place to look for one. A while ago I was looking for some information on the lounge that Alёna and I had our first date at. Saul entrance.Sadly the place has closed down, but the search with the same address revealed that there was a new restaurant at the same location — Applewood. We have checked it out a while ago.

The same website, or rather forum, that I found Applewood at had a list of other good places people were suggesting in Brooklyn. We picked Saul and there we went.

The place was not cheap and the bill ran close to $200 for 3 of us, but I must stay that I haven’t eaten meat more delicious in a long time now. Alёna enjoyed her fish and Alex had the same meal as I. In short it was a good place that we should visit again sometime in the future.
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