Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Flat Iron Steak

It's been a long, long time since beef has made an appearance on our table. We're talking somewhere in the neighborhood of ten years. We both came to the relationship on a very little beef sort of diet, and together we just avoided it altogether. We would eat it periodically if it popped up on a chef's choice menu or if someone served it, but we hadn't personally prepared in ages.

Tonight all that changed. The reason for the change is several-fold, but part of it is certainly that we've found a source of meat that we're really comfortable with. We've been buying meat, mostly pork and goat (yes, goat), from Thundering Hooves for about a year. This week, we decided to take the plunge into beef and bought a flat iron steak. Then I spent three days looking for recipes for flank steak, because my brain apparently disconnected and I forgot what I had bought. This morning, I finally realized that I had flat iron steak and found a recipe for Flat Iron Steak with Red Wine Sauce. I would absolutely make this again.

I served this with roasted purple potatoes, which are absolutely one of my favorite ways to have potatoes. They're so simple and yet so good; the outside is crisp and pleasantly crackly and the inside is soft and comforting. And the asparagus! Don't forget the asparagus with sauteed onions and prosciutto.

This was a happy dinner.

Flat Iron Steak with Red Wine Sauce, from here, adapted slightly to tweak proportions.
Serves 4
2 medium flat iron steaks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 T cup tomato paste
3/4 cups red wine

Turn the grill to medium-high and give it a few minutes to heat up. Salt and pepper the steaks and drizzle with the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Grill about 7 minutes per side for medium. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand 10 minutes.

In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt. Add the garlic and oregano and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the wine. Simmer until the sauce reduces by half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small 1/2-inch chunks and whisk in the sauce a little at a time. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Thinly slice the steaks across the grain. Divide the steak slices among 4 plates. Drizzle the sauce over the steak and serve.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hearty Green Curry

Winter fairly begs for warm, toasty curries, soups, and comfort food. We've had quite a few grey days in a row and this morning I had some trouble dragging myself out of bed. A long day later, and comfort food sounded lovely.

I managed to cut all the vegetables without cutting myself, though it was touch and go there for a second.

When it all came together, it looked delicious. And happy. And yummy. And curry-y.

Simple, good food like this makes the end of the day a little happier.

Hearty Green Curry
Serves 4
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 inches ginger, peeled and diced
3/4 c crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 c green beans
1/2 c white wine, chicken stock, or water
2 T olive oil
1 can coconut milk
1-3 teaspoons green curry paste, depending on your spice tolerance
Soba noodles

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the squash. Cook for 10 minutes, until nearly tender. Remove the squash with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the cauliflower to the boiling water and boil for 4-5 minuutes, until nearly tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the soba noodles to the water and cook until done; 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmery and add the onion and mushroom to the pan. Sautee 5 minutes, until tender and slightly golden. Add the ginger and cook an additional 2 minutes, until fragrant and lovely.
Add the squash to the pan with the onions and reduce heat slightly. Cook 5-7 minutes, until the squash is slightly caramelized. Pour in the wine or stock to deglaze the pan.
Add the cauliflower and the green beans and stir to combine.
In a small bowl, combine 1-3 teaspoons of green curry paste with 2 T of the coconut milk and stir out any lumps. Add the mix to the vegetables and simmer for 3-4 minutes to toast the spices. Add the remaining coconut milk and stir. Simmer 5-7 minutes to heat it through.
Serve over soba.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Manly Quilt

Part of the reason that my posting has been so lackluster through November and December is that I spent a large chunk of my time trying frantically to finish a quilt. And finally, after what seemed like forever, I did finish it in time for the holidays. More specifically, I finished it with enough time to mail it across the country in time for the holidays.
And here it is.

I started this quilt an embarrassingly long time ago. May, to be specific. I am very, very good about doing chunks of quilting at a time. I'll do a bunch of work one weekend, and then not touch it again for a month and a half. End result: a quilt that takes seven months to finish.

I'll admit that I love this quilt - to the point that we contemplated "forgetting" to mail it to the intended recipient and keeping it for ourselves. It looked really nice with our new chair, you see. In the end, we mailed it, because we're (mostly) good people.

The back of the quilt is grey and happy and shows the quilting patterns in fun ways. Please ignore the bag of mulch on the porch behind the quilt. Just pretend it's not there. Please. Thank you.

AND! AND! One of the fabrics has a deer head in it!

So why is this a manly quilt? It was a gift for my brother, who probably wouldn't be too excited to get a girly quilt. I was very pleased by how it turned out, and it was well-received, which is really all you can ask.