Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A steak for all seasons.

I’m going to tell you about some steak now.  We haven’t beefed in a while, you and I…waxed poetic about the magic of red meat (Vegetarians, cover your ears, I’m legit making carrot soup as I write this, I swear!).

This past weekend I was on a quest to create the perfect menu for a dinner party happening on the cusp of summer and fall.  It’s a tough enough time of year to get dressed in New England (Sandals? Courds? Is it boot time yet?  Do I need a jacket?  Will I look foolish in tights?), and cooking is an equal challenge.  I’m starting to crave roasted root veggies and all things apple, pork and cheese related…but I’ve still got tomatoes, cucumbers and basil coming, and it’s definitely still warm enough to grill outside.   So it’s tricky.

I solved the problem this time around with steak – gorgeous flank steak marinated in a potion with distinctive fall sensibilities: red wine, rosemary, toasted aromatics, garlic…and then tossed onto a hot grill and seared to a perfect medium rare.  When paired with roasted rainbow carrots, an arugula, celery and Asian pear salad, homemade buttery parsleyed garlic rolls, and a parsnip Yukon gold pureed soup to start, I felt it straddled the line and was the perfect transitional meal.  It sounds a little crazy now that I’m typing it, but it really did work rather well.  We topped it off with a ridiculously buttery sugary chess tart, accompanied by a sour raspberry reduction.

The craving for steak was first inspired by this, from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, and the chosen execution was adapted from a recipe in an old issue of Saveur.  I took my liberties and changed it up, switching out some ingredients and eliminating others, and was very pleased with the result.  You can prep the marinade and steak early in the morning, or even the night before – it will be best if you let it chill out in the marinade for 12-24 hours.  Then all you need to do at dinnertime is flip it on the grill…in any season really!

Marinated Flank Steak
adapted from Saveur

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 generous tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 fresh bay leaves

1/2 cup dry red wine (I used a puckery pinot noir)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire 
5 crushed cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 gorgeous 2 pound flank steak

Combine peppercorns, coriander, red pepper flakes and bay leaves in a small skillet.  Place over high heat and toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer aromatics to a hard surface and lightly crush with the bottom of a heavy skillet.  Transfer to a 13x9 baking dish.

Add red wine, red wine vinegar, worcestershire, garlic, rosemary and olive oil.  Whisk to combine.

Poke flank steak all over with a fork, both sides.  Place in marinade, spooning some of the mixture on top.  Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, 12 to 24 hours.

An hour before grilling transfer steak to a plate and set aside at room temperature.  Transfer marinade to a small pot and bring to just a boil - set aside.

On a gas or charcoal grill create medium heat (we use a gas grill, so we set it to medium and presto!)  Grill steak, turning once, brushing with reserved marinade until browned and medium rare - 7 to 8 minutes per side.

Transfer to a cutting board.  Tent with foil and allow steak to rest for 10 minutes.  Slice thinly on the bias and serve with any accumulated juices.

Serves 4.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eggplant and Oyster Fest...tasty photography.

So I never do all-photo posts because honestly, my camera leaves a lot to be desired.  It's okay, but it's old, and I could do a lot more with something more powerful.  It's something I just need to work on.

I consistently have camera envy for my friend Nick.  He always has unique and amazing cameras, and has a great eye for taking photos.  This weekend he and his lovely lady Emily were down visiting for the Island Creek Oyster Fest (which was amazing as usual!), and he took a bunch of awesome shots in my yard and at the festival using his PowerShovel Digital Harinezumi camera.  The macro abilities of this little thing almost make me weep...it can do with ease exactly what I CAN'T do with my old beast of a camera.  Please note that the Harinezumi does not take square pictures - Blogger just decided to crop them and I'm not sure how to talk it out of that.  If you click each pic you can see the whole unedited version (sexy!) on Flickr.

Anyway, here are some shots from the weekend - thanks for sharing Nick!


Eggplant 1 (see what I mean about that macro!?)

Eggplant 2 (this one might be my favorite)

Eggplant 3 (or maybe this is my fave)


Castor Beans (will yield crazy alien pink puffball flowers when planted this spring!)

Oyster Fest Tent on Duxbury Beach


Chowing down...

Green Sunbeam over Dux Beach

All photos by Nicklaus Hubben (c) 2010, used with permission by Effing Delicious.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Summer's Last Stand...almost.

This is just a quick post!  But I had to share this recipe with you, because the last bastion of summer is upon us, and pretty soon I’m going to be all up in butternut squash and maple this and cider that…I can feel it coming.  This morning when I left my house at 11:00am it was only 64˚ out.  Fall is sneaking up on us, and I wanted to give stone fruits and luscious berries one of their last opportunities to shine.  This recipe is for a simple stone fruit cobbler that honestly doesn’t contain horrifying amounts of butter OR sugar…gasp!  It really showcases the gorgeousness of these seasonal fruits, with just a bit of naughtiness in the form of a crumbly golden topping.  It was a hit (thankfully) at my husband’s family reunion today, along with these.

I’m hoping to sneak in a few more summery recipes before I get distracted by autumnal goodness…I need to find something to do with all of these tomatoes!  Stay tuned!

Stone Fruit and Berry Cobbler
by moi

3 cups peeled sliced stone fruit (I used plums and nectarines)
1 pint fresh blueberries, cleaned, washed and drained
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed crispy sugar cookies (organic and not overly sweet, preferably)
1/3 cup flour
1/4 packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus a pinch
Pinch ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat over to 350˚.  Butter a 10-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine sliced stone fruit and blueberries with sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and a pinch of cinnamon.  Fold ingredients together until coated, then pour into prepared baking dish.

In a food processor, combine the cookies, flour, dark brown sugar, the rest of the cinnamon, and nutmeg and process to combine.  Add butter and pulse until crumbly.

Sprinkle topping evenly over the fruit and bake for 35 minutes, until lightly browned.  Best immediately, but certainly not bad the day after!