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Grilled Soy-Ginger Flank Steak and Asian Cabbage Slaw

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I’ve written before about my Lucas and his regard for the truth. If Lucas tells you that pink elephants are falling from the sky, you’d better seek cover and fast. The kid doesn’t lie.

What I didn’t realize until recently is that his regard for the truth carries over into his assumption that everyone else around him is also always telling the truth. My first inkling of this issue occurred on an afternoon when Lucas approached the screen door, which was locked to prevent the baby from letting himself out. He called inside, where my husband and I were sitting, and requested to be let in. In what should have been obvious jest, my husband called back, Nope, sorry. You’re an outside kid now. I giggled. Lucas did not. He instantly crumbled to the deck floor and sobbed, But…I don’t want to live outside. 

His literal interpretation of any statement explains why he became so upset when his older brother told him we were going to put salt on his ice cream cone instead of sprinkles. It also explains why a simple game of hide-and-seek with his brother became so complex. Lucas was assigned the role of seeker. Liam came crashing into the house, ran into the bathroom and slammed the door behind him. Very un-ninja-like. Lucas began counting, 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. 100. Then, he began searching the house. Meanwhile, Liam is raising a ruckus in the bathroom…slamming the toilet seat, running the water, banging into walls. Lucas jiggled the bathroom door knob, but couldn’t get the door open. So, he called into the bathroom, Are you in there, Liam? Liam (clearly from the bathroom) shouted, No…I’m under the dining room table. Lucas ran off to check under the table. Unable to locate his brother in the dining room, Lucas returned to the bathroom to ask, Where are you? Liam then explained that he was hiding under the kitchen table. Lucas, of course, checked the kitchen table and then came to me and sadly said, I can’t find Liam. 

He’s in the bathroom, silly goose.

I cried myself laughing when I shared this story with my husband. As exhausting as it often feels to spend spend all day, every day, with my very busy kids, I am so happy to be able to witness these funny times in their lives.

At the end of a busy day of mind-boggling hide-and-seek, a delicious dinner is always in order. This meal is inspired by a cabbage salad I recently had the pleasure of tasting at a friend’s barbecue. I’ve tasted other similar salads; fresh cabbage in a sweet, tangy dressing, topped with some sort of nut and crushed ramen noodles. It’s the ramen noodles that sell me every time. Seriously, how addicting are uncooked ramen noodles?? I decided I’d come up with my own rendition of an Asian cabbage salad, sweetened with honey, mixed with sweet red pepper and bean sprouts, and finished with cashews and the gotta-have-’em ramen noodles. This recipe makes a bucketful of the addictive salad. I’ve been happily eating it for three days now.

But, this meal doesn’t stop with the salad. Using the same set of ingredients in different proportions, I came up with a simple soy-ginger marinade, which I dunked a nicely trimmed flank steak into. I let the steak chill out in the marinade for about an hour or so, then I threw it on the grill and sliced it up to serve over the cabbage salad. Let me tell you, aside from imparting savory goodness into the meat, this marinade did something magical to the steak. Even though I let my steak go a bit too long on the grill, the result was incredibly tender, practically falling apart around the exterior. Even the baby, with all of his six (almost eight) perfect teeth, thoroughly enjoyed this steak. I’m sure the tenderizing has something to do with the soy sauce in the marinade breaking down the proteins in the steak. Honestly, I’m just as content to believe it’s a magical marinade.

I told Lucas it was magic. He ate all of his steak, of course.

Grilled Soy-Ginger Flank Steak

Ingredients

  • 1 flank steak (1.5-2 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (ground chili paste)*

*Can substitute cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions

Whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, oil, honey, garlic, rice vinegar, and sambal oelek until well combined. Pour the mixture over the steak in an air-tight container. Refrigerate for about an hour or two. Periodically turn the steak in the marinade so that all sides are coated.

After the steak has been well marinaded, preheat the grill at medium heat. Place the steak on the grill. Allow the steak to cook for approximately 6 minutes on each side, or until it reaches your desired doneness. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serves about 6

Asian Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients

  • 1 head cabbage, shaved or very thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, ribs and seeds removed, shaved or very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
  • 1 package ramen noodles, uncooked, broken into small pieces

Directions

In a very large bowl or container, combine the cabbage, red pepper, and bean sprouts. Toss to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, honey, ginger, soy sauce, and sambal oelek until well blended. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss until well combined. Add the cashews and toss to disperse. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Add the crushed ramen noodles just before serving.

Serves about 8

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Watermelon Tomato Summer Salad

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I’m beginning to feel like I’m being set up to play the role of the little old lady who swallowed a fly. I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood outside of Syracuse, NY. It’s a peaceful neighborhood, filled with big, old trees; trees with stature and history. But it’s not a wooded area, by far. It’s neither city, nor country. Just a nice, old suburban neighborhood.

And as in many suburban neighborhoods, we have the occasional sightings of small woodland creatures; squirrels, chipmunks, an infrequent rabbit…nothing too unusual. Every so often, we have the pleasure of spotting a befuddled deer standing in the middle of the road, before it gallops off to find its family. But lately, these sightings are becoming more common and increasingly bizarre. Deer seem to be everywhere these days. (One of them even charged my husband’s car the other night.) And I’ve yet to figure out the large crane-like bird I spotted standing beside the small creek which runs behind my local Target.

Since our yard is fully fenced, animal sightings (aside from our own labrasaurus rex) on our property were once rare. Lately however, it’s a practical wild kingdom out there. Our perimeters have been breached. We are now the proud step-parents of a sweet brown bunny with a fluffy white tail, an orange mouse-catching tabby cat, at least one chipmunk, and a woodchuck…all of whom visit on a regular rotating basis whenever the kids or dog are not occupying the yard. Just this morning, I watched as the tabby cat (sans mouse) took his patrolling position atop the fence, much to the dismay of the woodchuck who was leisurely roaming the yard. It’s like my very own menagerie out there. Anyone know what woodchucks eat?

She swallowed the deer to catch the woodchuck. She swallowed the woodchuck to catch the crane. She swallowed the crane to catch the cat. She swallowed the cat to catch the mouse. She swallowed the mouse to catch the fly… I don’t know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she’ll die.

I don’t think I like where this is all headed.

But it’s no wonder my neighborhood is being taken over by the wild. It’s been absolutely gorgeous out there. Gone are the winter coats and gone are the days of heavy macaroni and cheeses, filling casseroles, and slow-cooked roasts. This is the time for simple grilled foods and light, refreshing side dishes, like this watermelon and tomato salad. This salad just screams summer to me. Sweet watermelon and fresh orange segments are tossed with summer-ripe tomatoes in a light orange-dijon vinaigrette. It’s beautifully vibrant in both color and flavor!

I served this summery salad as part of our Father’s Day dinner, aside slices of grilled flank steak, which I drizzled in balsamic reduction and topped with gorgonzola and homemade crispy onion straws. It’s a perfect meal to bring in the summer!

Watermelon-Tomato Summer Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon, scooped into small balls
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 oranges, segmented*
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly shaved
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade**
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (from one of the oranges)
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper
*Click HERE to see my photo guide on how to segment an orange.
**Click HERE to see my photo guide on how to chiffonade.

Directions

Combine the watermelon, cherry tomatoes, orange segments, red onion, and basil in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, and orange zest until well blended. Season with salt and crushed red pepper as desired. Pour the vinaigrette over the fruits and toss to combine. Serve chilled.

Broiled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

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Broiled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

I’d like to begin this post with some interesting background on chimichurri sauce or perhaps some funny anecdote explaining the creation of this dish. I’d like to tell you about my love for skirt steak or how I adore the horseradish and cheddar I added to my smashed potatoes. I’d even like to explain how fast cooking at high heat produces the most tender, juicy steak. But, I can’t do any of that right now, since the only thing ringing through my head is…

Chim chiminey, Chim chiminey, Chim, chim cher-ee, A sweep is as lucky as lucky can be… Chim chiminey, Chim chiminey, Chim, chim cher-oo, Good luck will rub off when I shake hands with you. Or blow me a kiss and that’s lucky too…

So, I’m going to skip the background and the stories and get right to the recipes. Then, I’m going to close my computer, load Mary Poppins into the Blu-Ray player, and spend the rest of my day singing about chimneys and spoonfuls of sugar.

Today’s meal consists of a fast broiled skirt steak served over smashed red potatoes, loaded with cheddar and horseradish. Topping it off is a vibrant chimichurri sauce, oozing with the flavors of fresh parsley and garlic.

It’s a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious kind of meal!

Broiled Skirt Steak

Ingredients

  • 1 pound skirt steak (hanger steak would make a great substitute)
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

Preheat broiler. Trim any excess fat from the exterior of the steak. Season with salt and pepper. Place the steak on a baking sheet. Cook several inches under the broiler for about 10-15 minutes, to your desired doneness. Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Slice diagonally against the grain.

Chimichurri Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more if desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more if desired

Directions

Combine parsley, garlic, shallot and white wine vinegar in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, until well blended. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil until a sauce forms. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, as desired.

Cheddar and Horseradish Smashed Red Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into large, even chunks
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water until the potatoes are just covered. Bring to a boil, then cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Strain. Add the butter to the hot potatoes and smash to your desired consistency. Add the milk, cheese, and horseradish. Stir until combined. Add additional milk, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

Broiled Flank Steak with Pomegranate-Balsamic Reduction

Our garbage disposal threw its hands up and surrendered to the land of broken appliances. We fought it for awhile, clinging to the hope that our dear friend would stay with us. But, its conviction was strong and we’ve had to say goodbye. It’s funny, because I never had a garbage disposal growing up, yet I’ve somehow become so very attached to the one in our home that I hardly know how to function in the kitchen without it. A new, super monster of a disposal is waiting to be installed, but in the mean time, we’ve been learning to throw our scraps in the garbage.

No one has benefited more from the broken garbage disposal than our giant labrador disposal. We do not feed him people food. No, he just helps himself. And so, during he night, while the rest of the family is sleeping, our labrador sticks his giant head into the garbage bag and enjoys a midnight snack. His most recent snack included tender pieces of broiled flank steak drizzled with a pomegranate balsamic reduction and served with garlic-sauteed broccoletti and roasted sweet potato wedges. He greeted me in the morning with the enthusiastic tail wags of gratitude.

Interested in pleasing your canine friend? Here’s how it’s done…

P.S. Humans will also enjoy this tasty meal.

Broiled Flank Steak with Pomegranate Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients

  • 1 Flank Steak (about a pound)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar

Directions

Preheat broiler. Season the steak with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place it on a baking sheet and broil a few inches below the broiler, for 10-15 minutes, depending on your desired doneness. Allow the steak to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

For the reduction, combine pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling until the mixture has reduced by 3/4. Spoon the warm reduction sauce over your cooked slices of steak.

Garlic Sauteed Broccoletti

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of Broccoletti (or broccolini, rapini, rappi, broccoli rabe)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Insert the broccoletti and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Strain. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the broccoletti to the pan and toss in the olive oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients

  • 3 large Sweet Potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Cajun Seasoning

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Thoroughly wash the sweet potatoes and cut in half across the middle. Place in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for about 5 minutes. The potatoes should still be quite firm at this point. (Microwaving the potatoes for a few minutes will help to reduce the roasting time and makes the potatoes softer and safer to slice into wedges.) Allow the potatoes to cook for a minute, then slice each potato half into wedges. Toss the wedges in olive oil until well coated and season with cajun seasoning. Arrange the wedges in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.

Serves 4 Humans (with enough leftovers for one large dog)




Pizza Dragon and Chairs of Stock

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Childhood can be a confusing time. So many new experiences to take in, so much to learn about the world, the potential for confusion lurking around every corner. As a child, I remember the day our father told my sisters and I about the shares of stock which had been purchased for us. Our youthful minds heard chairs of stock. We continued the discussion with our father, he talking of the shares, we talking about chairs. Imagine our confusion when he tried to explain that our chairs were going to help us to pay for college. How in the world, we asked. Well, we could sell our shares, he explained. People will want to buy our chairs? Yes, he explained, people buy and sell shares all of the time. Hmm… We continued trying to process this whole chair thing. So, where do they keep all of our chairs? My father paused for a moment. We continued, Is there like a room somewhere filled up with our chairs? And, that’s when he realized we weren’t talking about the same thing.

Or take, for example, our first experience at Chuck E. Cheese. My family sat down and ordered some pizza and sodas. On the wall was a giant movie screen, the size of the wall. On it, the movie Pete’s Dragon was playing. Our parents told us the name of the movie. Between bites of our pizza, we heard Pizza Dragon. Eat pizza, watch Pizza Dragon. Made sense at the time. Took us a few years before we realized the movie was not actually Pizza Dragon.

Speaking of pizza, we’re having my signature pizza tonight. My brother in law is visiting and his top food request for the weekend was this very pizza. I’ve taken a Steak Bordelaise dinner; steak in a rich wine sauce with caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, and gorgonzola cheese; and I’ve turned it into a pizza. It’s the steak dinner you can eat with your hands. I told you I really enjoy handheld meals. You can use either, neither, or both mushrooms and onions on the pizza, depending on your preference. The best part is that all components of the pizza can be prepared ahead of time! This is a very hardy pizza, so it works well with a side of fresh salad.

P.S. There’s skirt steak on this pizza. Have I mentioned how much I love skirt steak??


Steak Bordelaise Pizza

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup Dry Red Wine
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1 sprig Thyme
  • 2 cups Beef Stock
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp Water
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Toppings

  • 1 Onion, chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups Mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Skirt Steak (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup Gorgonzola Cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Thick Pizza Crust, homemade or store bought (12 inch diameter)

Directions

For the sauce, combine red wine, shallot, and thyme in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer until the sauce reduces by 3/4. There should be about 1/4 cup remaining. Add the beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce reduces by half. There should be about a cup remaining. Strain the sauce to remove the shallots and thyme. Return the sauce to the saucepan. In a small dish, combine the cornstarch with the water. Add a spoonful or two of the hot sauce. Stir to combine, then add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce. Simmer for another minute or two until the sauce thickens. Season with a little salt and pepper.

For the onions, heat 1 Tbsp butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they begin to lightly brown. Turn down the heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until the onions are soft and sweet.

For the mushrooms, heat 1 Tbsp butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes until the are soft and lightly browned.

For the steak, preheat an oven to 450 degrees. Place the steak on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the steak into small bite-sized pieces.

To assemble the pizza, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread about 3/4 cup of the sauce over the pizza crust. Evenly distribute the steak over the sauce. Add the onions and/or mushrooms. Sprinkle with gorgonzola and mozzarella cheeses. Bake for about 15 minutes. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Grilled Ribeye Steaks and Grilled Fingerling Potatoes with Gorgonzola

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I’m not a lawyer or anything, but I’m pretty sure there is a law that mandates grilling on Memorial Day. In accordance with this purported law, we shall be grilling steaks and potatoes tonight.

Grilled Ribeye Steak with Chipotle Butter, Grilled Fingerling Potatoes with Gorgonzola, and Corn on the Cob

I chose a thick, marbled ribeye steak and fingerling potatoes.  Russet potatoes would work well, but will need more cooking time. And, remember that chipotle butter we made last week?  Throw a dollop of that on the steak!  Sprinkle a little gorgonzola on the potatoes and serve with a piece of corn on the cob!

A little guide for grilling steaks:

  • Take the steak out of the fridge about 30-45 minutes prior to grilling to allow it to come up to room temperature. Allowing the steaks to come to room temperature facilitates even cooking.
  • Meanwhile, fire up your grill. Whether using a gas or charcoal grill (my preference), get it good and hot. Charcoal should have a coat of white ash and glow red in the middle. Distribute the coals unevenly, so that one side is stacked with coals and the other side has a lower, single layer of coals.
  • Remove the grill plate and rub it with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Just prior to grilling, season your steak with a little salt and pepper. Avoid doing this until the last minute, as the salt will draw out the juices in the steak.
  • Sear the steak over high heat for a minute or two on each side. (If using a charcoal grill, sear over the stacked coals). Searing the steak over high heat seals in the juices.
  • If using a gas grill, turn the heat down to medium. If using a charcoal grill, move the steak over the lower heat, single layer of coals.
  • Allow the steak to cook for about 3-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the steak and your desired doneness. Rotate the steak 45 degrees halfway through, to give it a nice quadrillage (diamond pattern).
  • You can check the steak’s doneness by feeling the steak or using a meat thermometer.  My preference is to insert a meat thermometer into the side of the steak.  (Rare: 125 degrees,  Medium Rare: 130-135 degrees, Medium: 140-145 degrees, Medium Well: 150-155 degrees, Well: 160-165 degrees)
  • Remove the steak from the grill about 5 degrees below your desired temperature, as the steak will continue cooking off the heat.
  • Cover the steak and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes before cutting or serving. Resting allows the juices to redistribute within the steak.

Using a chimney starter eliminates the need for smelly lighter fluid.

To Grill Fingerling Potatoes:

Pour a small amount of olive oil onto a large piece of foil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pierce each potato a few times with a fork. Place potatoes onto the oil.  Thoroughly wrap the potatoes in the foil.  Double wrap if necessary to seal in the oil. Grill for about 30-40 minutes, until fork tender. For larger potatoes, allow for longer grilling time.

Corn on the Cob:

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Put the shucked corn into the boiling water.  Boil for about 5-8 minutes.

And for dessert…

Bordeaux Cherry Brownie Ice Cream with Fresh Cherries

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