Monday, April 20, 2009

What's for Dinner?

Ahhh...the ultimate question at the end of a fab weekend. It was a gorgeous day and I cant help but want to take advantage of the good weather and our New York terrace and grill out. First thing that comes to James' mind is steak. Again. But, hey, I'm ok with it (as long as it's fish next time, of course!). We went to Gourmet Garage to see what was fresh. When you're cooking steak on the grill (with a guy) you need corn and potatoes. A little early for the fresh corn season but this "summer nights" preview was tempting our taste buds. So we bought the packaged stuff and I made my "guy-approved, girl-friendly" version...

Grilled New York Strip
with Charred Corn and Sweet Tomato Saute
Garlic and Parsley Red Potatoes to taste

2 New York strip steaks
4 small ears of corn
1/4 lb red potatoes, cleaned and halved
pint of exotic tomato medley
1 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
salt & pepper
pinch of sugar
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter (or butter substitute)

Before grilling steaks, always let sit out of the refrigerator, covered for twenty minutes. Start with the corn. Heat up the grill to medium heat. Place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 10 minutes. Remove the corn from the water and shake off the excess. Place the corn on the grill for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until the kernels are tender when pierced with a knife. Cut the corn off of the cob and transfer to a medium bowl. Toss with half of the fresh basil, 1 tbsp of butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In the mean time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and let simmer. Start to chop the fresh basil and parsley and set aside. Once the potatoes are cooked through (you should be able to easily slide a fork into each piece), drain and place in a bowl. Add the fresh parsley, some of the butter, smashed whole garlic cloves and salt and pepper to taste. Stir together. The heat of the potatoes will melt the butter and you will start to smell the aroma of the garlic (Note: mouth starts watering here). Cover and set aside.

While the potatoes are simmering, drizzle the steaks with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the steaks on the grill and let cook until golden brown, turning once, until done to your liking (about 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare). Remove the steaks to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing.

While the steaks are resting, heat the olive oil and remaining butter in a small pan until bubbling. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Stir through the basil, dash of sugar and salt and pepper. Serve the tomatoes atop of the charred corn. The sweet juicy pan sauce will reheat the corn and add a moist element to the dish.

Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter: Against the Grain

It was a long, fun-filled weekend with the family in town...A drunken Centro Vinotecca dinner-Tuscan Gemma brunch-cocktails at 5-dinner at Braeburn-Kingswood Easter brunch later... James and I were ready for a night in. We wanted simple. We wanted tasty. Maybe it's me but there's something about meat that just seems right on Easter Sunday, and we weren't craving lamb chops or pork loin. Steak it is. Pasta we wanted. And I love greens. Whole Wheat Penne with Steak and Arugula. Another Sunday night, of course, done right.
Whole Wheat Penne with Steak and Arugula
1 New York strip steak
1/2 tsp herbes de Provence
1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound whole wheat penne pasta
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/8 cup chopped fresh basil

1/8 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 cup chopped arugula
Season the steak with salt and pepper, herbes de Provence and the minced garlic. Heat the grill or a skillet to medium heat. Cook steaks for about 7 minutes per side. Remove the meat to a cutting board and let it rest while you cook the pasta.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but slightly firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. In the mean time, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, the basil and parsley in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil to desired liking.
In a large bowl, toss the pasta with half of the dressing. Set aside. Slice the steaks thin and add to the pasta with the arugula. Add more dressing and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that when tossing with the vinegar (or other acidic-based products) the meat will continue to cook post-grilling. I recommend cooking the steak rare or medium-rare to avoid ultimately over cooking the meat.

This pasta is also great hours later at room temperature. The heat of the pasta will warm up the sweet balsamic vinegar and wilt the arugula. Great idea for picnics or buffets!

Adapted from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe.