Grilled Corn with Spicy Miso Butter and Furikake

Camper Mike's corn!

Camper Mike’s corn!

Ryan and I were camping in the Eastern Sierras recently at a gorgeous locale called Silver Lake (also the name of our neighborhood in Los Angeles so I guess it was meant to be).  My friend Sienna, who you may recognize as the talented artist, food stylist and Hudson Workshops founder, her hubs Dallas and their mini-them, Dakota have been vacationing there for a while so this year we decided to tag along.  And thank god we did.  This was some postcard camping, boating, fishing and hiking at its finest.

Our neighbor at the campground, a happy well-fed man named Mike rolled in with his family to celebrate his 40th birthday and upon smelling the bacon I had sizzling on the camp stove, he promptly came over to say hello.  We got to talking about food (what else!) and both quickly discovered that we were crazed for it.  He showed me photos of his homemade grilling rigs, filled in Ryan on all the best fishing spots in the area and gave us some corn his coworker grew that was kicking around in his camper.  In some ways he reminded me of my dad, in others like every guy I grew up with in Wisconsin.  I like guys like Mike.  And the corn wasn’t too shabby either.

Sunset on Silver Lake

Sunset on Silver Lake


6 ears of corn

Cooking spray

1 stick butter, softened

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp miso (white or red)

1 tbsp gochujang*




Heat the grill or grill pan to medium high heat.

To make the miso butter, mix together the butter, sesame oil, miso, and gochujang.  If you are making a large batch of this, you can use the food processor and the butter doesn’t have to be softened.  This compound butter freezes well so you can wrap it in small bundles and keep in the freezer for future use.

Shuck the corn and spray it with cooking spray.  Grill until slightly charred, turning the cob so that it is cooked evenly, about 10 minutes.

Remove the corn from the grill and rub with the spicy miso butter.  Squirt some lime juice  and give them a nice dusting of furikake.

*Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that’s in like everything they make.  It’s delicious and you should go on the interwebs and buy some if you don’t have access to it where you live.

**Furikake is a Japanese dry seasoning that has sesame, seaweed, salt, sugar and dried fish. It is traditionally sprinkled on rice which is delicious.  Clearly also awesome on corn. Again, interwebs it if you can’t find it in your town.

Sienna Fishing for Trout

Sienna Fishing for Trout



Wisconsin Beer Brats with Pickled Sweet Onions

Wisconsin Beer Brats with Pickled Sweet Onions

If there’s one thing you should know about a Sconnie bratwurst is that they are nothing like the ones you find in Germany, or anywhere outside the Midwest, for that matter.  The great ones, like you’ll find at a brat fry in Sheboygan are the shorter, stubbier and spicier cousin to the long, pale versions you’ll find in Bavaria.  Every supermarket, big or small, and butcher shop throughout the state has their own recipe and people are pretty proprietary about their favorite.  Both the German and Midwest versions certainly have their merit, though I’m sure the Europeans would scoff at the notion of adding cheddar or jalapeños to their beloved tubed meat.  But hey, this is ‘Merica and we break the rules.  Speaking of the U-S-of-A, the 4th of July is right around the corner and if there ever were a day more mandatory, almost religious for grilling, it’s this one. In Wisconsin, no matter what the menu is, no matter how fancy or exotic, there will always be the obligatory brats, lest you piss off Grandpa!  If you don’t see them on the grill, you can pretty much bet the host is an imposter, most likely a FIB from some fancy Chicago suburb like Winnetka.

Serves 6


For the Pickled Sweet Onions:

1 sweet onion, such as a Vidalia, thinly sliced

1 cup white wine vinegar

3 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp salt

2 sprigs thyme, leaves chopped

For the Brats:

6 fresh bratwurst*

3 cans of beer

1-2 cups water

1 tbsp Worcestershire

1 onion, chopped

2 bay leaves

Salt, to taste


Hard rolls or pretzel rolls



Whole grain mustard


Heat the grill so that one side is very hot and the other is cool.  If you are using a charcoal grill, natural briquettes are your best option and wood chips can be added too for extra smokiness.

While the grill is heating, make the pickled onions.  In a small bowl, add the onions, vinegar, sugar, salt and thyme.  Mix well and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.  Afterwards, these onions will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely.

Once the grill is hot, put the brats on the cool side of the grill.  Make sure the vents on the bottom and lid of the grill are slightly open.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Flip the brats, cover and cook another 10 minutes.  It is important to cook the brats over low heat so that you do not split the casings, which would result in a dried out sausage.

While the bratwurst are cooking, prepare the beer bath.  In a medium pot bring the beer, water, Worcestershire, onion, bay leaves and salt to a simmer.  Cook over for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft.

In a medium pot, heat the sauerkraut with a splash of beer.

Once the bratwurst are done, transfer them to the beer bath and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes.

Butter the rolls and grill until toasted.

To serve, place a brat on a buttery grilled roll, top it with sauerkraut, pickled onions and a smear of mustard.  Prost!

*My bratwurst of choice are from Sheboygan Bratwurst Company, Miesfeld’s, or Nueske’s.  If you happen to live in WI, every supermarket has their own recipe and the ones from Sendik’s in the Milwaukee area are the bomb!



Surf and Turf Kabobs with Spicy Sesame Butter

Let’s pretend it’s 1965, you’re wearing a fabulous muumuu poolside and a man who eerily looks like Don Draper is making Mai Tais.  Your friends are coming over, you probably have Don Ho playing in the background and you need something to nosh on at this fabulous make-believe party.  I’m thinking Ramake, Crab Rangoon, a pineapple carved out like a boat and filled with fresh fruit and these delicious, sorta fancy Surf and Turf Kabobs.  You can mix up the seafood to your liking; prawns, scallops, firm fish such as mahi or halibut work well and colorful veg like bell peppers or onions won’t disappoint.  The real kicker with this recipe is the spicy sesame compound butter so don’t be stingy with it.  I’m pretty sure I’d eat a dirty sock if it was covered in that fatty goodness.

Serves 4


For the Skewers:

2 lobsters (1 ½ – 2 lbs.)

3 cloves garlic

2 inch piece of ginger, grated

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

2 lbs top sirloin or filet, cut into ¾ -1 inch cubes

For the Butter:

½ lb. cold butter, cubed

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp Asian hot sauce, such as Sriracha

Zest of 1 lime

Salt, to taste

1 tbsp black sesame seeds


½ bunch cilantro, chopped for garnish



Bring a large pot of water to a boil and par-cook the lobster for 4 minutes.  Plunge it into an ice bath to cool and prevent from further cooking.

In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, lime, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper and set aside.

By now the lobster is cool and you can remove the meat from the shell.  Crack the claws with the back of a knife and twist from the body.  Carefully remove the meat and put it in a bowl.  Cut the underside of the tail using either a knife or kitchen shears and remove the tail meat.  The small tentacles are of no use for the skewers, but are certainly tasty to snack on while you’re cooking.  Discard the shells and chop the lobster meat into 1-2 inch pieces.

Either using bamboo skewers that have been soaked in water or metal skewers, begin to assemble the surf and turf, alternating between the steak and the lobster.  Place the skewers in a baking dish, cover with the marinade chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to high heat.

To make the compound butter, in the bowl of a food processor add the butter, sesame oil, hot sauce, lime zest and salt.  Process until it is smooth.  Scrape the butter into a bowl and stir in the sesame seeds.  At this point, you can also roll the butter into a tube using plastic wrap and then it is very easy to cut a piece off whenever you want to use it.

Grill the skewers over high heat for 2 minutes per side for medium rare.  To serve the surf and turf skewers, serve them on a bed of butter lettuce and top with the spicy sesame butter and cilantro.