Friday, August 31, 2012

Movie Night

Finally, it's Friday night! The last day of a tiresome week, the end of a very long month.  It's too hot to eat real food and I'm too tired to make a decent salad.  So I'm settling back to watch some movies and eat a big bowl of buttered popcorn with some raspberries, cantaloupe, and cheddar sticks.

I always use Orville Reddenbacher's popcorn because it really does pop up bigger and fluffier and have fewer unpopped kernals.  I pop it in plenty of grapeseed oil and usually toss a clove or two of fresh smashed garlic into the pot as well.

As soon as the popping is almost stopped, I turn off the heat and add melted organic butter and pink himalayan salt (or sea salt, whatever I've got on hand)

The popcorn, organic butter, and salt all come from Costco.  I believe the cheese was cut from some English Cheddar that came from Costco's awesome imported cheese selection as well.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Steak Sandwich

Steak Sandwich with Whiskey Mushrooms

I pan seared one of those cheaper london broils from Super Target in a hot cast iron skillet with a little bit of grapeseed oil. Salt and pepper the meat while cooking only to rare or medium rare at most (because it will continue to cook while the rest of the meal is prepared and nothing is worse that a tough chewy shoe-leather steak sandwich).

Into the grungy skillet, I tossed a large knob of butter.  Don't skimp on the butter.  When the butter was melted and frothy but before it browned, I added several thinly sliced white mushrooms and all but the top green shoots of scallions (I saved the green  bits for garnish).  After stirring to coat, I left them to brown in the butter and steak crumbs.  This part takes several minutes to get a good crispy sear on the mushrooms so don't rush it and don't stir it too often.

When the mushrooms began to get those lovely golden edges, I added a healthy slug or two of Jameson's whiskey to the pan.  Then I scraped all those crusty bits off the bottom of the pan and mixed it all up well so that all the flavors could get comfortable together. After pouring the accumulated juices from the resting steak back into the pan, I let the whiskey cook down to about half the volume. I added some more fresh ground pink salt and peppercorn and removed to the warming plate holding the steak--it wasn't really very saucy at this point, which I regretted; I should have made it with more butter and more whiskey.  

In the empty but not cleaned pan, I grilled lightly buttered slices of toasted French bread.  Pre-toasting the bread before grilling it gives it a little more sturdiness under the heft and damp of the meat and sauce.  While the bread was grilling, I sliced the steak thinly against the grain and poured the juices into the mushroom sauce.

I removed the bread to individual plates to assemble the sandwiches.  It was a simple assembly: bread, generous steak slices, spoonfuls of mushroom sauce.  I grated a bit of gruyere on top and garnished with the reserved scallions.

This sandwich was served unaccompanied but would have paired well with some roasted, grilled or sauteed carrots and a salad of dark greens.