Teriyaki-marinated Flank Steak with Pineapple Rice

Summertime in Minnesota is a lot like summertime anywhere else, only a little more so.  Big words, right?  I mean, why should a summer day in the north mean any more to me than it does to your average Floridian?  I’ll tell you why:  because we just don’t have enough of them!  Not like this, not like today.  When you live in the north you endure months of winter, with cold and snow and ice, with frozen ears and work commutes in darkness both morning and night.  It wears on you and beats you down just a little, until you start to think it’ll never end, because how could it, really?  These days are all you can remember anymore.  It’s really cold out there.

And then, like magic, summer comes.  Suddenly, on a day like today, you really notice how the sunlight washes over you and just makes you feel happy.  You appreciate fully how beautiful this place can be. 

So what’s the big deal?  What brings all this to mind?  Today was a long day of working in the yard under a summer sun, with my dog lounging nearby to keep me company.  When all the days chores were finished and the dirt washed away, my little homestead wasn’t perfect but it sure was beautiful.  For the perfect end to a great day, Cath prepared this delicious meal that truly tasted like summer feels.  Savory seared beef, with a citrusy-tart glaze.  A side of basmati rice infused with pineapple and mixed with edamame and pecans, and a side of  cold Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

I’m sure most of us love summer, no matter where we live, but I continue to believe that it’s special in the north.  We don’t see nearly enough of it, so when it comes we have the non-negotiable urge to wring every bit of enjoyment from it.  If you get the chance, you might want to give this recipe a try.  I suggest you enjoy it on the deck, with a late day summer sun and a cold glass of beer.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Flank Steak:

  • 3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Juice from 8-oz can pineapple chunks (reserve pineapple for rice, below)
  • 1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
  • 1 flank steak (1-1/2 lb)

Pineapple Rice:

  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp plus 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup basmati rice
  • 3/4 cup edamame
  • Drained pineapple chunks from 8-oz can, chopped
  • 2-1/2 tbsp finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Preparation:

1.  Flank Steak – Combine teriyaki, vinegar, sugar, pineapple juice and pepper flakes in plastic food-storage bag.  Add flank steak; seal; turn to coat.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

2.  Pineapple Rice – When ready to serve, coat 3-quart saucepan with cooking spray.  Place over medium heat.  Add shallot and 1 tablespoon water; cook until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add remaining 1-1/2 cups water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add rice; lower heat.  Cover, simmer 15 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, heat oven broiler or prepare outdoor grill with hot coals, or heat gas grill to hot.

4.  Remove steak from bag; drain marinade into small saucepan.

5.  Broil or grill steak 4 inches from heat 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare or longer for desired doneness.  Let steak stand 5 minutes, keep warm by covering with foil.  NOTE:  As we don’t have a great broiler, we simply heated a pan over medium-high heat and seared the flank steak for 6 minutes per side for medium-rare.

6.  Meanwhile, bring marinade to a boil; boil 3 minutes.

7.  When rice has finished cooking, stir in edamame and pineapple.  Heat through.  Just before serving, stir in pecans and cayenne.

8.  Thinly slice steak across grain.  Serve with marinade and rice.

Advertisements

Dry Aged Prime Rib

New Years Eve!  Sure it’s a little bit of a made-up event, a self-selected arbitrary point in the space-time continuum.  No other life on earth seems to notice the change from one year to the next, but maybe that’s the point!  Whatever your beliefs on how we got to this point, there is no disagreement that we humans have the gift (curse?) of self-awareness, and New Years Eve seems like perfect time put that gift to its best use.  Some of us make resolutions to better ourselves, some make plans for the betterment of the world around us.  Me?  I like to roast a big hunk of meat and savor a bottle of fine wine.   Sorry world, you’re on your own for one night…

There are so many great New Years Eve dishes, but prime rib is absolutely my favorite.  I don’t think I’m alone, because a quick Google search for prime rib recipes gave me 4.2 million results.  That seemed a bit much, so I pointed my browser to the Food Network site, where the same search yielded 49 recipes. I could work with that. They were all fantastic, but the Dry Aged Prime Rib Roast from Guy Fieri was the clear winner for me.  I was eight days out from the big night, the perfect amount of time to do my own dry aging, so I got right to work.

If you look at the recipe link above, you’ll find that Guy provides a nice 3:17 minute video where he demonstrates his technique.  It’s very helpful, and I highly recommend you take a minute or three to watch.  I found the process of dry aging to be quite simple.  I simply rinsed our five pound roast and patted it dry, then covered it in cheesecloth and left it alone in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  At that time I removed the cheesecloth, which had soaked up quite a bit of the juices, covered the roast with a fresh layer of cheesecloth, and put it back into the fridge.  There I let it sit undisturbed for another eight days.  At the end of that time (on New Years Eve) I removed the prime rib from the refrigerator and it looked fantastic.

So far so good!  Guy was right, it had a real weathered look at this point, but we trusted him when he said that’s exactly what we wanted.  We trimmed a little of the fat cap on top to remove the excess, and then it was on to the next step, covering the roast with a spice rub.

Full disclosure, our roast came with a seasoning packet, and after a little discussion we decided that we’d just use this rub rather than making the rub Guy lists.  It was purely a matter of convenience, and I certainly intend to try the recipe at some point.  From the ingredient list it looks fantastic.

On to the seasoning.  For this, my daughter – and skilled assistant – Kelly helped me to cover the roast with the seasoning rub.  The scent of the salts and herbs was intoxicating by now.  We took our time to ensure that we covered every square inch of that roast with the rub, and when we we were finished, our mouths were literally watering.

Finally, we’re ready to roast!  For this we peeled and cut our carrots and onions, layering them on the bottom of the pan.  The meat was placed carefully on this bed of vegetables, and then I added two cups of water to the pan.  As noted in the recipe, I was careful to watch the level of liquids during the roasting process, as they would be needed later for the au jus.  I’m well aware that a great au jus can elevate the prime rib experience to something sublime, and I also know that a bad au jus can put a damper on the entire meal.  This was New Years Eve and so I wanted to do it right!

After placing a meat thermometer in the heart of the roast, I placed it in the oven which had been preheated to 450 degrees F.  We’ve had this oven for many years, and so I knew that a good long pre-heat would be necessary to get it to a legitimate 450 degrees.  I held that temperature for 45 minutes beforehand, so ensure that we’d be cooking as prescribed by the recipe.  After 40 minutes at this temperature, I left the door closed and reduced the cooking temperature to 275 degrees F.  After nearly two hours the meat thermometer showed an internal temperature of 135 degrees F, and the roast was removed to a cutting board, and kept under tented aluminum foil for 15 minutes.  During that time I prepared the au jus per the recipe, and the results were fantastic!  The spice rub carmelized in the inital heat to create a slightly crunchy crust of flavor, while internally the meat was perfectly pink and medium rare.

In my mind New Years Eve is a special night, and should be spent with family and friends.  I believe in making the event memorable, and this recipe fit perfectly with that intention.  It required some forethought and care, but the results were well worth the investment of my time.  I’d gladly prepare it again, and probably will!  We savored it with a bottle of 2006 Banfi Brunello di Montalcino which I’d been holding for a special occasion such as this, and the pairing was sensational.  I hope your New Years Eve was special as well.  All the best to you in 2012 and beyond.

Ingredients:

  • 6 rib beef roast, bone in, approximately 10 to 12 pounds
  • 1 package cheesecloth, cut in half (approximately 1 yard)
  • 1 sheet pan
  • 1 roasting rack to fit in sheet pan
  • Special equipment: Space in back of refrigerator for up to 10 days

Seasoning Mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 4 tablespoons freshly cracked tri-color pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated onion
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coriander, toasted and cracked
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 carrots, washed, ends trimmed and cut into large (3-inch) chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups water

Au Jus:

  • Pan drippings from roast, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Preparation:

For the roast:

Remove roast from packaging, rinse well. Pat completely dry, wrap with 3 layers cheesecloth. Place on a rack on a sheet pan in back of refrigerator, fat side up. After 24 hours, remove, unwrap, discard cheesecloth and wrap with a fresh piece. Place back in refrigerator for 6 to 9 days undisturbed.

Remove roast from refrigerator. Remove cheesecloth, cut away the fat and trim the ends and any discolored parts of roast.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place roast on a rack in a large, heavy roasting pan.

For the seasoning mixture:

In a medium bowl, combine spices and mix well. Be sure to crush the larger spices well for a uniform rub. (You can use mortar and pestle or large wooden end of a pounding mallet in non-glass bowl.) Rub roast with olive oil, then rub with seasoning. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Prepare vegetables, make a bed in the roasting pan with the vegetables and pour in the water. Be sure to check the liquid level in the pan occasionally and add additional water, if necessary. (You will need this liquid to make the au jus.) Place roast on top of vegetables and place in hot oven. Roast at 450 degrees F for 40 minutes.

After 40 minutes, reduce heat to 275 degrees F and continue to roast for approximately 2 hours, or until internal temperature (stay away from the bone while checking temp) reaches 135 degrees F. Remove from oven, remove from roasting pan, loosely tent and allow to rest for 15 minutes while making the au jus.

For the Au Jus:

Strain drippings from roasting pan, skim fat from drippings. Place roasting pan over 2 burners, heat on medium high and add in drippings, stir to deglaze, add in wine and stock, reduce by 1/3, about 5 minutes on steady boil, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, add in butter. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Strain once more into serving vessel.

Osso Buco

To quote Bob Wiley in “What About Bob?”: “It’s so simple, yet so brilliant!”  I had this dish on my mind for a long time, and Valentine’s Day seemed like a great time to enjoy it once again.  Once upon a time a Valentine dinner was a grownup affair, but now the girls are old enough to be invited as well.  Their palates have matured, and this Osso Buco was met with a rousing chorus of “Yum!”.  As a Dad, I can’t imagine a better compliment.  We enjoyed it with a bottle of wine purchased for a special occasion, a bottle of 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape from Le Vieux Donjon. The meal, the wine and the evening were equally incredible.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 (10 oz.) veal shanks (1-1/2 inches thick)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup minced carrot
  • 1 cup minced celery
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 (14-1/2 oz.) can plum tomatoes, undrained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Fresh rosemary (optional)

Preparation:

Combine first  3 ingredients in a shallow dish; stir well.  Dredge veal in flour mixture.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add veal, and cook 2-1/2 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove from pan; set aside.

Reduce heat to medium; add carrot and next 4 ingredients, cook for five minutes, stirring frequently to deglaze pan.  Return veal to pan; add tomatoes and next three ingredients.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for two hours or until veal is tender; discard bay leaf.  Garnish with rosemary if desired.  Serve sauce with veal.

Grilled Corned Beef and Fontina Sandwich

grilled-corned-beef-and-fontina-sandwich

Talk about your savory dishes!  This is our favorite variation on the classic Reuben sandwich, and it was brought to us by our friends at Bon Appetit Magazine.  We’ve enjoyed this amazingly tasty sandwich for St. Patrick’s Day several years in a row, and it is holding on as one of our favorites.  We’ve tried packaged corned beef, but this year Cath stopped at the deli counter and had them shave it very thin.  We piled it high and topped with the fontina cheese, which became a soft, gooey delight.  The layer of onions on this creation adds a delicious snap, and the dijon mustard is a welcome change from the usual russian or thousand island dressing with which we grew up.  The ultimate compliment for this meal was provided by our Irish daughters, Megan and Kelly, who both raved at the amazing flavor.  As I said good night to them they even recounted to me the textures and flavors they enjoyed so much.  It was that good!

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices Jewish-style rye bread
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound thinly sliced corned beef
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced Fontina cheese
  • 1/2 sweet onion (such as Maui or Vidalia), thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided

Preparation:

Place 4 bread slices on work surface. Spread mustard on 1 side of each. Divide corned beef among bread slices. Top with cheese and onion. Cover with remaining 4 bread slices, pressing slightly to adhere.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in each of 2 large nonstick skillets over medium heat. Place 2 sandwiches in each skillet and cook until golden brown on bottom, pressing occasionally with spatula, about 3 minutes. Turn sandwiches over and cook until golden on bottom and cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Transfer sandwiches to plates, cut in half, and serve.

Tyler’s Ultimate Beef Stew

tylers-ultimate-beef-stew

There are few meals so satisfying as a steaming hot bowl of beef stew on a dark winter’s evening.  The aroma of carrots and mushrooms and new potatoes fill your mind with visions of warmth and comfort as they simmer in their broth of beef stock and red wine.  Tender chunks of beef, braised to fall-apart tenderness, wait to be savored.

We’ve had success with several of Tyler Florence’s “Ultimate” recipes, and this was no exception.  This meal simmered on our stovetop for approximately three hours on a Sunday afternoon in January, and with our every move through the house we could smell the scents and flavors developing.  I hestitated for a moment when Cath told me that the recipe called for a bottle – an entire bottle! – of wine, but in the end we knew it had to be done.  You can’t have an “Ultimate” anything if you’re not willing to commit.  I’m glad we did.  (And I’m sure our wine merchant is glad as well.)  It’s a great recipe, and I recommend you give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for frying, plus more to drizzle
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 3 pounds beef chuck shoulder roast, cut into 2-inch pieces (this cut is also called chuck shoulder pot roast and chuck roast boneless)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle good quality dry red wine (recommended: Burgundy)
  • 8 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 orange, zest removed in 3 (1-inch) strips
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 9 small new potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups frozen pearl onions, a large handful
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 pound garden peas frozen or fresh
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Horseradish Sour Cream, recipe follows, for garnish

Preparation:

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the oil and butter.

While the pan is heating, arrange the flour on a large dish. Season the cubed beef with some salt and freshly ground black pepper and then toss in the flour to coat. Shake off the excess flour and add the beef chunks in a single layer to the hot pan, being careful not to over crowd the pan, you might have to work in batches. Thoroughly brown all of the cubes on all sides. Once all the meat has been browned remove it to a plate and reserve.

Add the wine to the pan and bring up to a simmer while you scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon being sure to loosen up all those tasty bits. Once the wine has gotten hot add the browned meat, thyme, smashed garlic, orange zest strip, ground cloves, freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste, bay leaves and beef stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the liquids start to thicken, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 hours.

After 2 hours add halved potatoes, sliced carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms, along with a pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes more, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Add the frozen peas during the last minute of cooking. Season with salt and pepper and remove the thyme sprigs.

To serve, place the stew in a soup bowl, garnish with parsley, drizzle with olive oil and add a dollop of Horseradish Sour Cream.

Horseradish Sour Cream:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chives, finely chopped, as garnish

Combine sour cream, prepared horseradish and a drizzle of olive oil in a small bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Add a dollop of the mixture on top of the stew and garnish with chopped chives.

Cabernet-Braised Beef Short Ribs

Incredible.  This recipe was billed as a last chance for comfort food before winter comes to an end.  I can’t limit it to just that timeframe.  With a cooking time over three hours, we had ample opportunity during the day to wander through the house and breathe the intoxicating aroma emanating from our kitchen.   Six cloves of garlic, the celery, the beef and a cup of cabernet sauvignon.  The waiting was almost too much to bear.  Of course, since we needed a cup of wine for the recipe we opened a bottle of Rutherford Ranch cabernet sauvignon and enjoyed a glass.  Please click on the link to my review, as it was fantastic as well.  The fork tender beef and rich sauce over egg noodles was a fitting reward for an afternoon of anticipation.

This recipe provided by our friends at Cooking Light magazine.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup cabernet sauvignon, or other dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups (1-inch) slices celery (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 cup (1-inch slices) carrot (about 2 medium)
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 (6-inch) rosemary sprigs
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups hot cooked wide egg noodles
  • Chopped parsley (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.  Add ribs to pan; cook for 8 minutes, browning on all sides.  Remove from pan.  Add beef broth to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Combine broth, wine and tomato paste in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.  Place ribs, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary and onion in a 13×9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Pour broth mixture over rib mixture.  Cover with foil, bake at 300 degrees F for 3-1/2 hours, or until ribs are very tender.

Uncover dish, strain broth mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid.  Reserve ribs; discard remaining solids.  Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure.  Pour reserved liquid into bag.  Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag.  Drain liquid into small saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening.  Discard fat.

Add flour to pan, stirring well with a whisk.  Place pan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Serve sauce with ribs and noodles.  Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: 2 short ribs, 2/3 cup noodles, and about 2-1/2 tablespoons sauce)