"I wrote it for the guy just going off to college who wants to cook for his dorm buddies, the slightly older guy who is having a girl over for the first time for dinner and wants to get that right. The third state is when he becomes a young father and that's when he makes the pancakes for his kids. The guy who wants to have a hockey party and cook for his buddies or a poker game.
"And it's for the older guy who's either retired and wants to get into cooking or his wife has kicked him out and he's starting life over again for the first time."
Here are three recipes from "Man Made Meals" that would be perfect for entertaining on any occasion, including Father's Day.
Skillet Rib Steak
Not everyone owns a grill, such as those who live in apartments or condos, or can cook outdoors year-round due to winter weather, Raichlen points out. And some steaks — especially those from grass-fed cattle — are so lean they tend to dry out on the grill. Enter the skillet steak, which is seared in a cast-iron skillet on the stove, then roasted in the oven. The skillet holds the fat and meat juices, keeping the steak moist.
Rib steak is cut from a standing rib roast and you might need to order it ahead of time from your butcher. If rib steak isn't available, Raichlen suggests porterhouse and T-bone for skillet roasting. If the steak is done before the garlic cloves are soft, place the garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and return it to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes longer while the meat rests.
Time: About 5 minutes preparation time, plus about 20 minutes cooking time
22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
1 bone-in rib steak (4 to 5 cm/1 1/2 to 2 inches thick and 750 g to 1 kg/1 1/2 to 2 lb)
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
10 to 15 ml (2 to 3 tsp) of your favourite rub or 5 to 7 ml (1 to 1 1/2 tsp) each coarse salt (kosher or sea) and cracked black peppercorns
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary or 2 bay leaves
Heat oven to 200 C (400 F). Drizzle most of the olive oil over both sides of steak, rubbing it over meat with fingertips. Drizzle remaining oil over cut side of garlic.
Very generously season steak on both sides with rub or salt and pepper, reserving a little for the garlic. Rub or season cut sides of garlic halves.
Heat a cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. To check the temperature, sprinkle a few drops of water in the skillet. They should dance and evaporate in about 3 seconds.
Add steak and cook until bottom is darkly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn steak over and brown second side the same way. Add garlic halves to skillet, cut sides down, and cook until browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
Turn garlic in skillet so it is cut side up. Place rosemary sprigs or bay leaves on steak. Place skillet with steak in oven. Cook steak until it is done to taste, about 20 minutes for medium-rare. To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of the steak into the centre (do not let the thermometer probe touch the bone). The thermometer should read 57 C (135 F) for medium-rare.
Transfer skillet with steak to stovetop or a trivet and let steak rest in the skillet for 3 to 5 minutes. Present steak in the skillet — it's impressive — then transfer it to a cutting board. Remove and discard rosemary sprigs or bay leaves. Cut meat off bone, cutting meat into 1-cm (1/2-inch) thick slices. Return slices to the skillet with the bone.
Serve steak with roasted garlic on the side. To eat the roasted garlic, squeeze the cloves out of their skins and onto the steak slices.
Makes 2 or 3 servings.
If the BLT ranks as one of the world's great sandwiches, imagine what the combination can do for a salad. It's one of the rare occasions when iceberg lettuce works better than a designer green like arugula.
Time: About 20 minutes
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1-cm (1/2-inch) slivers
4 slices French bread, cut into 1-cm (1/2-inch) cubes (about 375 ml/1 1/2 cups)
15 ml (1 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil or butter (optional)
30 ml (2 tbsp) mayonnaise
30 ml (2 tbsp) buttermilk, heavy (whipping) cream or half-and-half
15 ml (1 tbsp) distilled white vinegar or rice vinegar
1 small or 1/2 large head iceberg lettuce
2 large or 4 medium luscious red ripe tomatoes
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
In a cold, heavy, large skillet, place bacon and heat over medium heat. Cook bacon until it is crisp, browned and most of the fat has rendered (melted out), 4 to 6 minutes, stirring often. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Leave bacon fat in skillet.
Add bread cubes to bacon fat and cook over medium heat until well browned, stirring often, 5 to 8 minutes. If bacon fat sounds excessive (or there isn't quite enough, say 22 ml/1 1/2 tbsp), wipe out skillet, add olive oil or butter and toast bread cubes in that. Do not let bread cubes burn. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bread cubes to plate with bacon.
Place mayonnaise, buttermilk and vinegar in a salad bowl and whisk to mix. Set dressing aside.
If you are using a whole head of lettuce, cut it in half. Remove and discard core and coarsely chop lettuce. You should have about 1 l (4 cups). Remove and discard stem ends of tomatoes, then dice tomatoes. Place lettuce, tomatoes, croutons and bacon in a large bowl but don't toss until serving.
Just before serving, gently toss salad with dressing (use a slotted spoon or rubber spatula). Season salad with salt and lots of pepper to taste (remember, the bacon is salty already).
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
BLT Salad Bruschetta: Prepare BLT Salad, omitting croutons, but do not toss the salad. Cut 8 slices of French bread sharply on the diagonal and about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick, and brush bread on both sides with bacon fat or olive oil. Bake bread slices in a 180 C (350 F) oven or toaster oven until crisp and golden brown, about 5 minutes per side, or brown bread slices on the grill. Lightly spread each piece of toast with some mayonnaise. Toss salad and spoon it onto the toasts.
Belgian Beer Brownies
Brownies pass three acid tests for world-class guy food: great taste, they're easy to prepare, and women find them irresistible. The twist here comes with the addition of beer — more precisely, a haunting cherry-flavoured ale called Three Philosophers from the Belgian-style Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown, N.Y. The ale adds a subtle malty, fruity flavour and guarantees moist brownies.
If you can't find Three Philosophers, you can make equally awesome brownies with kriek lambic (a Belgian cherry beer), chocolate stout or Guinness stout.
Time: About 15 minutes preparation time, plus 20 to 30 minutes baking time
250 ml (1 cup) Three Philosophers ale or 125 ml (1/2 cup) stout, such as Guinness
60 g (2 oz) bittersweet eating chocolate
250 ml (1 cup) unbleached all-purpose white flour
250 ml (1 cup) unsalted butter (2 sticks)
140 g (5 oz) unsweetened chocolate
4 large eggs
500 ml (2 cups) granulated sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract
Confectioners' or icing sugar, for dusting the brownies (optional)
Heat oven to 180 C (350 F).
If you are using ale, pour it into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil ale until it is reduced by half (to 125 ml/1/2 cup), about 5 minutes. Place reduced ale in a heatproof bowl and let it cool. If you are using stout, there's no need to boil it down.
Coarsely chop bittersweet chocolate into 1-cm (1/2-inch) pieces and place in a separate bowl. Add 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the flour and toss to coat chocolate (this keeps the chocolate from sinking to the bottom of the batter).
Wipe out saucepan, then add butter and melt over low heat. Brush or smear a little of the butter all over the inside of a 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) baking pan. Refrigerate pan to chill it for about 5 minutes, then sprinkle 15 ml (1 tbsp) of flour inside the baking pan, shaking and tilting pan to coat bottom and sides.
Add unsweetened chocolate to melted butter in saucepan and melt over low heat, about 4 minutes, stirring with a rubber spatula.
In a mixing bowl, place eggs and granulated sugar and whisk to mix. Whisk in reduced ale or stout and vanilla, salt and melted butter-chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining flour and bittersweet chocolate chunks. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan. Bake brownies until top is puffed and firm to the touch, 20 to 30 minutes. A skewer or toothpick inserted in centre will come out mostly dry (a little stickiness is OK).
Let brownies cool in pan to room temperature. Cut brownies into 12 rectangles for serving and dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.
Makes 12 brownies.
Source: "Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys" by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing Co. Inc.).