Correction: If you printed this recipe on July 5, there was a mistake in the ingredients for the blue cheese salad dressing. It is corrected today, July 6. Thanks and apologies.
Mid-summer heat. I’m doing a slow burn while the garden is drooping perilously and the grass is being watered daily simply to survive. 4th of July is over and maybe you, like me, are burger-ed/brat-ed out. The thrill of the grill might be gone or at least waning. It’s the time that stretches between holidays without another one in sight until Halloween unless you count that last gasp of summer Labor Day BBQ. I kind of like that part.
If you’re lucky enough to have leftover steak, you’re lucky enough. At our house, red meat is well-loved, but kept in its healthy place. So we invest in a good quality product and eat it usually only once a week. If there’s a little left, and it’s steak, there’s usually a next day steak sandwich for my husband, Dave. Occasionally, though, there’s more than a little left and I make a steak salad or tacos for us both. Maybe steak and eggs if we’ve been really good. A tiny bite for the pups could be forthcoming, too.
Her ’70s old school style was to take pot roast — yes, pot roast — cut it up and marinate it for a day or so– before grilling the pieces along with whatever vegetables hit her fancy. I seem to recall canned small potatoes. I’ll admit I liked this meal just fine. I couldn’t believe it was pot roast and neither could anyone else. It was just like steak. Well, nearly.
(June, 2017 addition: my MIL tells me the marinating was just overnight–not days and days!) Continue reading
|Just add fork|
Sometimes I don’t know what gets into me. I know I have something leftover and simple from which to create a meal. Say a piece of steak or two small pieces, in this case. (Neither Dave nor I could finish our dinner the night before. Is there something wrong with us?) I didn’t set out to make a homemade potato chip-steak salad…but here’s how it happened:
First, I take the steak out of the frig and begin casting around for something to go with it. Toast? I could make a sandwich. Pasta? I could cook up some vegetables to go with the steak while the water boils. Stir fry? Omelet filled with steak? Steak and eggs? I could make mushrooms in velouté sauce with cream (Supreme is the name, I think–I made it up as a young cook without knowing its name.) and Dijon mustard, add the steak and serve it over rice. How about a childhood favorite, beef hash? (Who would waste great steak on hash, Alyce?)
Instead of beginning any of those dishes, I find myself at the Cuisinart making homemade mayonnaise, using Daniel Boulud’s method:
|Who is Daniel Boulud?|
Into the food processor bowl, pour 1T good-quality white-wine vinegar (such as Chardonnay or Champagne) and 1T Dijon mustard. (I like to use the whole grain variety.) Pulse until well blended.
Through the feed tube, with the machine running, drizzle 1 cup canola oil.* Process until thick. Season with salt and pepper.
*Daniel Boulud uses peanut oil
And then I take out a skillet, heat a little canola oil and fry up very thin slices of potato for potato chips. This is coming together, I think:
|Drain them on paper towels. Salt and pepper immediately. Don’t eat them all.|
Meantime, I “boil” an egg in the microwave. (Break an egg into a greased, microwave-safe cereal-sized bowl. With a fork, poke the egg white all over several times and the yolk once. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for one minute. Let sit one minute. Remove wrap, tip egg onto cutting board and chop)
Next: A large bowl comes out of the cupboard (nearly done now–pretty quick!) and I line it with
4 cups of mixed greens topped with the steak, 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, the chopped egg, 1/4 cucumber, chopped, 2 green onions, chopped, 1 carrot, sliced, 1 stalk celery, sliced, 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, 1/2 each yellow and red pepper sliced, and whatever other vegetables I can find–including a beautiful warm summer tomato (don’t refrigerate them ever) and even a little leftover grilled sweet corn.
When the chips are done, I put them around the outside of the salad bowl.
A half-lemon is located and squeezed over the entire salad. Salt and pepper are next. I’m generous, but don’t go overboard. After all, the salad will be dressed with real mayonnaise, right?
I slip a few pieces of baguette under the broiler. (brushed with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper)
And dinner is served:
|I serve the mayonnaise separately; no need to over-dress this lovely bowl of goodness.
This process made enough for Dave and me. He ate two servings; I ate one. So I’d say this was about 3 servings!
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
I’m tired of the daytime heat. Like the whole rest of the country, I guess. Storms often arrive late afternoon or early evening. Things blow and go; little rain arrives, though when it does, it’s incredibly forceful. I water everything daily. A beautiful part of near-mountain living is the coolness of the evening and night. While we resort to air conditioning during the day, in the evening after suppertime it’s turned off and the windows are thrown open wide to welcome the sweet breeze. All night long the air graces our rooms unlike the midwest where the heat lingers heavily.
My favorite breakfast these days…when I’m not having yogurt and berries:
|On the dinnerplace blog now: Egg+Egg White Omelet filled with Nonfat Cottage Cheese on WW Toast|
If I don’t get out early to walk the doggies (by 7:30), and sometimes even if I do, I later get in a power walk on youtube. Sometimes two! There are several walks from which to choose–3 minute for a desk break, 5 minute, 2 mile, etc. They are easy to fit into the day and I often stick up the laptop (with the walking video on and the sound off) next to the tv when a favorite show is on. I do the walk/exercise and watch Ina all at the same time.
I’m working on the soups for the cookbook almost daily. Once I develop a recipe, it must be tested several times and then I pass it on to someone else for testing. Does it work when someone else makes it? I’ve now made posole several times, shall we say. (I think I’ve got it down.) My dear friend, sommelier Drew Robinson, was to come today to taste three of the soups (and one secret very-fast dessert) in order to begin the process of pairing. Long ago, at some far-away dinner with our wine group, Drew let it be known he would provide the wine pairings for a cookbook I would someday write. Not sure either one of us believed it would ever happen, but it’s happening! Anyway, Drew forgot he has another wine-tasting tonight and we’re rescheduling. I am a bit relieved because as much as I love my new posole recipe, I’m ready for something else to eat. The next soups are a quick vegetarian bean and a cold avocado. As the book will not have photographs, I keep forgetting to take pictures….I must do it!
I play inside with Miss Gab in the afternoons for a few minutes–too hot for her to run outdoors.
|You’re throwing the ball, right?|
We’ve had plenty of time to visit with old friends and worship at First Congregational…one of my very favorite churches anywhere. Last Sunday, the ample sanctuary was filled to capacity. Nothing special occuring…and it was summer when a lot of churches are fairly empty. Why is FCC so full? While I might not be qualified to say why, I do know these things: there’s a bow toward tradition…while embracing the new. All are truly welcome and these folks are joyful; what more could you want? Except that when the table is laid and communion is about to begin, these words are said, “Come, all things are ready.” Such a breathing place.
|off to a beer festival…|
and lunches/shopping trips in the middle of the day:
Trip to Toys r Us: expensive
Smile on grandson’s face: priceless
Sing a new song,
|Late afternoon, 12/30/2010|
When it’s nice and cold,
I can hold my baby closer to me–
and collect the kisses that are due me.
I love the winter weather
’cause I’ve got my love to keep me warm….
Today, Emi and I ran out to get a video game, hit Whole Foods and King Sooper’s. In the middle, we just had to have lunch together. As we sat by the window of the restaurant, I looked outside and said, “We’ve got to get home.” There’s just this look in the skies and about the air when all hell’s about to break loose. The snow began to fly as we drove south, but it let up by the time we got to the grocery store. I ran in the liquor store to grab a little Cotes du Rhone to round off the bean soup and wienies for dinner, while she got started on the grocery list. Five minutes later, I walked in to find no carts at all. I knew we were in trouble. It was us and everybody else in Colorado Springs. All at King Sooper’s. Together. The bread aisle was slim indeed and I was thanking God I got my bread earlier at Great Harvest. Milk? Same story, but thanks be I only needed heavy cream for a horseradish sauce for a friend’s New Year’s Eve tenderloin. The lines were 6 deep, but all of registers were open. Thanks for good planning, store manager. Emi said, “This is how the store where I live is all the time… and people are not happy in line. No one talks or smiles. New Jersey, ugh.” I seldom wait for more than one or two people in front of me; often I’m first. Wow.
By the time we got out to the car, visibility was zero. Snow was flying in all directions, mostly sideways. The wind had picked up to an amazing pitch and the temperature had dropped ten degrees. Two inches of snow were on the ground and it was a freezing mess to just open the trunk door and throw the bags in. We felt our way home behind a crawling car in front of us and were very grateful to see the little grey, wooden house coming up on the right…finally. It was about 2pm and it was obvious it would be dark early, which it is.
Thanks, God, for a warm house, heat, hot water, loving family, a working stove (where the bean soup bubbles) and a lovely fireplace where we’ll roast wienies tonight. Why not?
If you don’t cook in the fireplace, try it sometime. Fun, fun. This pic if one I took last spring when the menu was the same as tonight.
Meantime, I thought I’d leave you with a great New Year’s Eve dinner that you might really like to make–either now or later. But I think it’d be a wonderful celebration for 6-8. Not a tenderloin and not the price, this time-taking (yes) prep is made with flank steak. Cool thing is, it braises slowly in the oven while you share a bubbly or two with your friends and put your feet up on the coffee table. Once the prep’s done, the work is nearly done.
Here’s what it looks like from nearly the beginning to end…. I like some skinny green beans cooked in the microwave, a great baguette, and some fresh pasta with it. You could make do with a salad and bread.
Ultimate Beef Braciole (Tyler Florence)-—Alyce’s altitude/seasoning adjustments in italics
Note: do not try and get this tender in the amount of time allotted if you’re at altitude
For the Braciole:
- 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 anchovy fillets, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup buffalo mozzarella bocconcini balls, sliced in half if large size
- 1/2 cup store-bought, drained and roughly chopped roasted red peppers
- 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2-pound piece flank steak
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered lengthwise
For the Braising ingredients:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, gently smashed
- 2 small onions, sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 c red wine
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
- 8 vine-ripened tomatoes, separated from vine
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish
To make the Braciole: Toast the panko bread crumbs in a dry skillet with a little olive oil over low heat, until golden. Add to a large mixing bowl along with the anchovy, garlic, bocconcini, red peppers, parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper, to taste. Stir together until well combined.
Set the flank steak on a piece of plastic wrap. Make a deep horizontal slice along the steak almost all the way through and fan open like a book. Lay another piece of plastic wrap on top. Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently flatten the steak until about 1/2-inch thick; take care not to tear. Discard the top sheet of plastic wrap; rub the surface with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread the stuffing evenly over the meat, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Arrange the eggs lengthwise down the center of the meat and roll up like a jelly roll log, using the plastic wrap as support. Tie the roll with kitchen twine in 4 to 5 places to secure – this will help hold the shape and keep the filling from falling out. Season outside of roll very well indeed with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put a roasting pan across 2 burners and heat over medium heat. Add a 3-count of olive oil and add the thyme and garlic. Cook for about a minute until fragrant. Carefully add the braciole and sear until evenly browned all over, approximately 2 minutes each side.
Add the sliced onions and bay leaves, then stir in the beef broth to deglaze. Add the canned tomatoes over the top, then nestle in the whole vine tomatoes around the braciole. Bring to a simmer, then cover with foil and put in the oven to braise for 45 to 60 minutes. Add 20-30 minutes if at altitude…serve when tender. When done, remove the foil and remove the braciole to a carving board to rest. Carefully remove the whole vine tomatoes, with a slotted spoon, to a plate. Let the sauce cool for about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaf, then add the sauce to a blender and puree. Pour the sauce back into the pan and set over medium heat to bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add the balsamic vinegar. Remove the kitchen twine from the beef and cut into 1-inch thick “pin-wheel” slices. Arrange the slices on a platter and arrange the whole vine tomatoes around the beef. Pour the sauce over the top, garnish with
chopped parsley and serve.
Haricots Verts with Lemon
1.5 # haricots verts
1 t freshly grated lemon rind
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large, microwave proof bowl, place beans with 1/4 cup water. Cover tightly and cook in microwave at full power for about five minutes. Test for doneness. Drain and place in serving bowl. Dust with lemon rind, salt and pepper to taste.
Here in the Springs, I buy pasta (linguine for this) at Mollica’s on Garden of the Gods. Two pounds for 8 people is plenty and will cost you about $11. Call ahead to make sure they have some; you can order some a few days ahead to make sure. Bring 10 qts of water, well salted and peppered, to a boil and gently place raw pasta into the water… you’ll need to carefully separate the strands of linguine. Cook until al dente…perhaps five or six minutes. Remove from water or drain and, after placing in a serving bowl, add 1T olive oil and 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley.
We liked a Barbera ($) or a Barolo ($$) with this. Vintages Wine on Tejon has some lovely choices.
Get your baguette at Marigold or La Baguette.
I like a little sparkler and some spiced nuts…not much more. This is a big meal. Gruet (New Mexico) makes a sweet sparkler that’s not overly priced and is nearly local. Otherwise, grab some prosecco and be glad.
Stay warm, be happy in 2011. You will be if you eat this for New Year’s Eve.
If you live in the Springs, I’m thinking you should have bought New Year’s Eve dinner already.