Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Cast Iron Steak with Spring Vegetables

Steak, it's what's for dinner. And what a glorious steak this was. I can't ever eat an entire steak anymore, so I usually just buy one and split it with M (just like at a fancy steakhouse!). I think after a few slices, I'm done and he can happily eat the rest. This meal was so good - one skillet, minimal cleanup, lots of veggies, amazing crust on the steak. I didn't think the cast iron pan would be capable but it was fantastic.

Since spring is coming up, this is a great transitional dish. I made this months ago but had gotten some carrots at the local farmers market, which I roasted with red onions while the steak was being prepared. Though most of the country is in lockdown mode right now with COVID-19 on the loose and steak might be hard to find (along with rice, pasta, toilet paper, bottled water, hand sanitizer, etc) ... save this dish as a celebratory meal once all of this craziness is over.

Cast Iron Steak with Spring Vegetables
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 2

Boneless ribeye steak or New York strip steak, patted dry
5 garlic cloves (1 clove grated, 4 cloves thinly sliced)
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
5 green onions, thinly sliced
1 10oz bag frozen peas
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1" pieces

Season steak generously with salt and pepper. Use more salt than you'd think you'd need.

Whisk together the grated garlic, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, honey, cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 Tbsp water until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper until it tastes great. Set aside.

Heat a medium cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Rub steak all over with 1 Tbsp oil and cook, turning exactly every 2 minutes, until medium-rare, about 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak. Make sure to get the fat cap along the side at the end, using the tongs to hold the steak up on its side. Transfer steak to a plate to rest. Pour off oil from skillet, leaving crispy bits behind.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in same skillet over low heat. Add sliced garlic cloves and most of the green onions (save some for garnish) and cook, stirring often, until translucent and softened, about 3 minutes. Add peas and a splash of water and cook until peas are tender, about 3 minutes. Finally, add asparagus; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until asparagus is just tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Slice steak, which has had ample time to rest, and arrange prettily in the skillet over the vegetables Drizzle with some mustard sauce, garnish with reserved green onions. Serve with additional mustard sauce on the side.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Cabbage Roll Soup

This soup may not look like much but I assure you, it was glorious. I think M and I were both surprised at how delicious it was. We had so much cabbage left over from St Patrick's Day that I needed to find some uses for it! After all the corned beef, I think this was a pretty healthy choice.

Cabbage Roll Soup
Serves 8

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 lb ground beef (I used grass-fed, since that was in the freezer) or turkey
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cabbage, cut into 1" pieces (whatever size)
2 carrots, sliced or chopped (I like coins)
4 cups beef broth
2 8oz cans diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is nicely browned, breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon. Add onion and garlic; mix thoroughly throughout and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients except fish sauce and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, then turn the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf and add fish sauce. Taste, then season with additional fish sauce, salt and pepper.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Doesn't this salad look incredible? Am I tooting my own horn? Does it just scream "springtime" when you look at it? Whatever the answer to these questions are, let me assure you that this salad is the epitome of spring flavors at their best. I couldn't stop photographing it and M couldn't stop eating it, which was pretty surprising.

It does take some time to make, since you have to remove the strings from and then slice up all the sugar snap peas but I find it pretty therapeutic. Slice them in thirds the long way or at the diagonal and you'll get this cool slivered-but-kinda-fancy look.

I took inspiration from a BonAppetit article called "Which Trendy Spring Vegetable Are You?" and I was like "M, we need to go to the farmers market RIGHT NOW!" ... and luckily for him (and his stomach), he decided to oblige. Aside from the time spent on slicing the sugar snap peas, this dish comes together really quickly, making it a perfect weeknight side.

Sugar Snap Pea Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 2

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (whole or 2%)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, grated
3/4 lb sugar snap peas
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon zest

Stir together yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and some salt until smooth and sauce-like. Adjust for seasoning. Spoon and smooth onto the bottom of a plate.

In a separate bowl, mix together sugar snap peas, lemon zest, olive oil and some salt (fancy flaky salt, if you have it). Combine thoroughly and then arrange on top of the yogurt. Serve with anything! We ate it with grilled chicken but it would be a good side dish for any protein, or just on its own when the days are hot.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Green Bean Casserole

This is such a late Thanksgiving post! I totally fail. But since M and I have moved in together ... we were celebrating our first Thanksgiving. So I decided to make a little meal for the two of us, since we weren't going to be in town during Turkey Day (hello, Vegas!).

We went to Sprouts and I bought a turkey breast - it was $3.99/lb which is a little steep compared to the entire turkey selling for $0.79/lb but an entire turkey is SO MUCH TURKEY for two people. Even the smallest whole turkey was 12 lbs. So even though the turkey breast was the same cost as an entire turkey, it made more sense for the two of us. Though I did miss the dark meat.

The turkey was brined overnight with cider, brown sugar and salt ... then roasted to juicy turkey perfection in about 90 minutes. I made some stuffing from the box, roasted some tri-colored potatoes with garlic and rosemary, roasted some carrots with thyme, cranberry sauce and sauteed some pea shoots.

The green bean casserole (top right corner) was leftover from our Friendsgiving the night before and I was lucky to snag that little bit because people went CRAZY over it. So much better than the old school version which involves opening multiple cans.

Green Bean Casserole
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 8 as a side

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp fall-purpose flour
1 Tbsp panko or breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp table salt (more even distribution for frying)
Fresh ground pepper
High-heat oil for crying (canola, saffron, vegetable, peanut)

3 Tbsp butter
1 package cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Fresh ground pepper
3/4 tsp table salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tbs green beans, stem end trimmed

To make the onions, toss all the ingredients (minus the oil) together thoroughly. Heat about 1/2 an inch of oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Test the heat of the oil by dropping in one drop of water. Once it hisses, it will be hot enough for frying!

Fry onions in handful batches (it'll probably take you 2-3 batches) until they're golden brown. It'll take a bit longer than you think. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and spread them on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

Preheat oven to 400degreesF. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook green beans on a full boil for 5 minutes. Drain and then put in an ice bath immediately to keep the green color. Once cooled, cut green beans into 2 inch pieces.

Over medium-high heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and sautee until they release their liquid and are nicely browned. It'll take anywhere from 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute, then add flour and stir to evenly coat all the mushrooms.

Add the broth slowly, 1/4 cup at a time while stirring the whole time. Try to mash through any lumps with the back of your spoon/spatula so the pieces break up and melt into the sauce. Simmer for a minute to cook off the raw flour taste. Pour in cream, stir thoroughly and then bring back to a simmer, cooking until the sauce thickens up, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

Mix in cooked, drained green beans and stir until coated. Pour into casserole dish and top with the crispy onions. Bake for 15 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and the onions are a bit darker. Eat hot!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Berry Buckle Cake

The cake you see above was made with fruit that would have been abandoned! And the thing I absolutely hate the most is wasting food (and cockroaches, but that's another story). There's something about wasting food that makes me angry. Maybe it's all the hungry people in the world or the thought of wasting hard-earned money.

In any case, we bought some blackberries at Sprouts and after one berry, M refused to eat any more because we didn't get a good batch - they were admittedly very sour. He wanted to trash them but I said "NO, I'll just turn it into cake!" So I used a recipe from Half Baked Harvest to make our blackberries edible again.

Berry Buckle Cake
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Serves 8

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 stick salted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon zest
2 clamshells/pints fresh blackberries (or any other berries, about 2 cups - I used two clamshells because I wanted to use the berries up and because blackberries are larger)

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp salted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350degreesF and spray a 9" spring form pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, gently combine berries and lemon zest.

In a large  bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Once thoroughly combined, add the butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix just until combined, being careful not to over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with the berry mixture in an even layer.

Make the crumble by whisking together the flour, light brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until moistness is distributed and a crumbly mixture forms. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the berries.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown on top and a skewer comes out nearly clean. Let the cake cool and serve warm or at room temperature.