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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Budget Cuts - Denver Steak + Marinade

So what if I have steak on the brain? It's nearly summer and grilling season is here. Though I try not to eat too much Red Meat, I can't deny that it's a treat now and again, and I am always looking for flavorful cuts that won't break the bank (though a nice Ribeye will always have my heart). Today's PSA is about a not-so-well-known budget cut of Steak I've just discovered, thanks to the good people at Fresh Direct

Say hello to the Denver Cut:




Denver Cut Steak in a foolproof marinade, Photo: NK 

A little chewy, a nice amount of fat but not grissly, and very flavorful - not unlike Hanger Steak. 

If you can't find it, some other cost-effective favorites include the aforementioned Hanger or less ubiquitous Edge of Eye - the former is tougher than the latter but also super tasty.

Now that you've got that all down pat, time to cook! Below you'll find a great marinade that we tried. Reserve half of it to make a dressing for your veggie accompaniments. The more you marinate, the better it will be. Overnight is ideal. Here's a pic of the delicious result.  Happy Memorial Day and have fun grilling! 

Denver Cut Steak Marinade with Caper Vinaigrette Sauce for Serving
Makes enough for 2 8-Ounce Steaks
Recipe from Fine Cooking

Ingredients: 
3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced 
1/2 teaspoon Anchovy Paste 
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard 
(+ 2 8-Ounce Denver Cut Steaks)
(+ optional Salad and/or Vegetable side dish as you wish) 

2 Tablespoon Capers
1 Tablespoon Minced Italian Parsley  


Method: 

Combine the first five ingredients and mix well. In a glass dish or tupperware, pour all but a quarter cup of the marinade over the Steaks and refrigerate for 2 hours to 24 hours (hint: 24 hours is better!).

When ready to cook, allow excess marinade to drip off Steaks and prepare them on the grill, stovetop or to your liking. When ready to serve, take the reserved 1/4 cup Marinade and add Capers and Parsley. Stir. Drizzle over steaks and any accompanying salad or vegetable for serving. Enjoy! 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Salads of Summer - Asparagus & Rainbow Carrot Salad

Summer is right around the corner and there's no season that inspires me more. That's why it's always about this time each year that the warmer weather gets me primed to try out new and different recipes that highlight the best produce of my favorite season. One theme that has always been on my radar - salads that push the envelope by going beyond humdrum, bland greens. Today's colorful and crunchy spring-into summer salad does just that. And it will equally delight as a hit barbecue offering or family side dish to a simple grilled fish. Made with Rainbow Carrots, raw Asparagus peeled into ribbons, sweet Pears and shavings of salty Pecorino Cheese, this dish is as tasty as it is pretty. The crispy, (mostly) raw greens really give it character.

The secret to this recipe is beautiful Rainbow Carrots. You can even find them pre-shredded if you're lucky. Add to them shaved raw Asparagus that has been sliced into thin lengths using a vegetable peeler. 


Asparagus, Carrot and Pear Salad with Shaved Pecorino, Photo: NK 


Finished Asparagus and Rainbow Carrot Salad, Photo: NK 

Shaved Asparagus, Pear & Rainbow Carrot Salad 
Serves 4

Ingredients:
Medium Bunch Thin Asparagus Spears
Rainbow Carrots, cut into a julienne or purchased pre-cut (about 2 Cups) 
1 small, ripe Pear, cored and sliced into half moons
2 Ounces shaved Pecorino Romano Cheese (use a vegetable peeler)
1 Tablespoon Salted Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1.5 teaspoons fresh Lemon Juice 
Salt 
Pepper 

Method:

Shave the Asparagus. The best way to do this is to lay the Asparagus veritically on a flat surface. Take vegetable peeler and shave from the base to the top, using strokes that go in the opposite direction from you. Repeat until all the Asparagus has been shaved. Add to a large salad bowl. 

Melt Butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shredded Carrots and cook, for 3 to 4 minutes, until they wilt slightly but remain crunchy. Toss a few times throughout. Remove carrots to the bowl with the Asparagus.*You can skip the warming the Carrots step but I feel it sweetens them a bit and adds texture complexity of the dish.

Next, add the Pear. In a small bowl, combine Olive Oil and Lemon Juice. Add a generous amount of Pepper and a few pinches of Salt. Stir.

Dress the salad and toss (you can do this up to a half hour in advance). Taste for seasoning and add Salt if needed (keep in mind the Pecorino will be salty).

To serve, plate salad and top with generous Pecorino shavings. Enjoy! 


Friday, April 29, 2016

Firing Up The Grill - Churrasco

The weather is warming up and grill season is nearly in full swing. Are you ready????
If not, there's no better time to try out an easy Steak Marinade that will please and impress a hungry crowd (with nearly zero effort). That's just what this Churrasco (an Argentinian Steak preparation usually made with Skirt Steak) did, and let me tell you, it made for one tasty dinner. Below you'll find the how-to for a wonderful, basic Cuban Mojo (a traditional citrus-driven marinade) and a link to the herby and delicious Chimichurri Sauce you see pictured. 


Our Churrasco is marinated in a Mojo and served with a non-traditional Cuban-Style Chimichurri, Photo: NK  

Here's the finished product which will be served to guests. Everyone gets a long-cut serving of medium-rare (don't even get me started) Skirt Steak with a side of Chimichurri (the one we chose to use has, again, a Cuban twist, thanks to Cilantro) . Easy grill sides you could add might include Asparagus and Sweet Potatoes or Yams. You'll finish with a fresh and colorful plate that would stick to anyone's ribs. If you love this sound of this dinner, you should definitely check our favorite Tacos Carne Asada too! 

Churrasco is usually Skirt Steak Cut long and into strips
Photo: NK 

Mojo Marinated Churrasco (Argentinian Style Skirt Steak)
From 3 Guys From Miami
Serves 4 

Ingredients: 
3 Pounds Skirt Steak, cut long
30 Cloves of Garlic
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
1.5 Cups Sour Orange Juice (**OR 1 Cup Orange Juice plus 1/4 each Lemon Juice and Lime Juice)
1 Cup finely diced White Onion
2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
1 Cup Olive Oil

Chimichurri - see Recipe

Method: 
Toss everything in a blender until fairly smooth. Poor over steak in either a glass dish or ziploc bag and let sit a minimum of 5 hours or, better yet, overnight. 

TO MAKE THE STEAK: 
Heat a grill until blazing hot! Cook steak a few minutes on each side until medium rare (roughly 4-5 minutes per side if the meat is about 1 inch thick), but press on the meat frequently and use your judgment. Remove from the grill and let it sit for 6 to 10 minutes. Serve a strip of Meat to each guest alongside their own personal portion of Chimichurri. Instruct them the slice meat against the grain and tell them to enjoy!  

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bowled Over - Hawaiian Inspired Pork & Greens Bowl

Bowls are definitely a thing these days. They are everywhere. From breakfast bowls, to protein bowls, to acai bowls, you're apparently not really eating until you're face-first into a big mishmash of all kinds of good stuff. I was reluctant to get into the bowl gimmick but you know I am never opposed to a delicious meal, and I created today's bowl as a way to address my frequent craving for sweet, sour and salty flavors all in one place. Incorporating spicy, Chipotle-marinated Pork Chops, tangy Pineapple and shredded raw Greens, our Hawaiian-inspired Bowl hits the spot. 


Island Flavors in a low-carb, protein-packed bowl with a ton of leafy greens! Photo: NK 


I include Barley, a favorite grain of mine, in the recipe because I think it lends some nice texture while making this extra stick-to-your-ribs. Any grain would make a worthy substitute, and the best part is, you're only using a small amount so the dish remains relatively low carb. No worries if you want toss the Barley and make it totally carb-free. 

The prep for this recipe can be done the night before and is super fast --- all you have to do is crush a few Garlic cloves, core a Pineapple (for the marinade -- Pineapple Core is pretty inedible but it does a great job imparting flavor with no wast)  and crack open a can of Chipotle in Adobo. Then just look forward to tomorrow's cooked Pork will emerge from your skillet nicely spiced, tender and juicy.  

I know a recipe is a winner when I am compelled to make it twice in two weeks. Until next time, and I hope you enjoy our Hawaiian-Inspired Pork Bowl as much as we did. 

Hawaiian-Inspired Pork & Greens Bowl
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:
2 - 1 inch Boneless Pork Chops, about 8 ounces each
1 small can Chipotle in Adobo
1 Tablespoon Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice (optional) 
1 Tablespoon Neutral Oil (Olive or Grapeseed)
2 Cloves of Garlic, Crused. 
3 Pineapple Rings, cut into bite-sized wedges, core set aside and sliced up for the marinade
1/2 a small Yellow or White Onion, diced 
1 Cup cooked Pearl Barley 
4 Ounces Mixed Asian Greens (Bok Choy, Mizuna, Mustard Greens) such as Gotham Greens Blend chopped into bite-sized pieces. 
1 teaspoon Neutral Oil
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
10 Grape Tomatoes, sliced in halves (optional)

Method: 

The night before, place 2 Pork Chops in a large lidded bowl or ziploc bag. Add 3 whole Chipotle Chilis from the can, followed by 2 Tablespoon of the Adobo Sauce. Add sliced Pineapple Core to the marinade, crushed Garlic Cloves, Soy Sauce and Lime Juice. Let sit in the fridge overnight, tossing occasionally if possible. 

Remove Pork from the marinade and wipe off the excess with a paper towel. Cook Pork Chops over medium heat in a pre-heated cast-iron skillet, 3-4 on one side. Flip and lower the heat. Continue to cook another few minutes until medium. Allow to sit 5-6 minutes and chop into one-inch bite-sized pieces. 

To serve, toss Greens and Cooked Barley together in a large mixing bowl. Add Pineapple chunks and Grape Tomatoes. Drizzle in 1 teaspoon of Oil (Olive, Grapeseed, etc) and 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar. Toss. Divide Greens Mixture into bowls, and top with equal portions of cubed Pork. Serve alongside your favorite Hot Sauce and enjoy!