Tag Archives: fresh ingredients

Flavorful Flank Steak with Tomato Relish!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….. loving more delicious dinners on the grill! I’m always so inspired by the fresh and beautiful flavors of the summer, especially sweet and juicy tomatoes. One of my favorite memories of my grandfather is eating the tomatoes we helped him pick right off the vine from his garden. Maybe that’s why I am so partial to this Flavorful Flank Steak with Tomato Relish.

Just like the Boy Scouts, I love to be prepared! This dinner is so tasty and simple; you’re going to love it too.

Flavorful Flank Steak

Serves 4-6

 

1 – 2 ½ lb flank steak

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cracked black pepper

Salt

Place flank steak on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet

To make the rub, in a small bowl, mix;

Sugar

Cayenne pepper

Cracked black pepper

 

Rub the rub all over the steak on both sides

Cover and refrigerate

Tomato Relish:

1 cup chopped red onion

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 – 10 oz containers of grape tomatoes halved

½ cup chopped green olives

2 Tbsp olive brine

2 Tbsp horseradish

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

A couple dashes hot pepper sauce

½ tsp celery seeds

¼ cup olive oil

In a medium size bowl, mix;

Onion

1 Tbsp vinegar

Allow the flavors to blend for about 10 minutes, mixing often

Add;

Tomatoes

Celery

Olives

In a medium bowl, whisk;

2 Tbsp vinegar

Olive brine

Horseradish

Worcestershire sauce

Hot pepper sauce

Celery seeds

Slowly, whisk in oil

Add the liquid mixture to the tomato mixture

Season to taste with salt and pepper

Cover and refrigerate until dinner

When you’re ready for dinner, pre-heat the grill to medium-high

For medium-rare, grill for approximately 5-7 minutes per side

Allow to rest for approximately 10 minutes

Cut steak against the grain and serve with Tomato Relish

 

My family loves a piping hot bowl of creamy mashed potatoes on the side

If you’re lucky enough to have a little relish left over, it’s awesome as a topping on a grilled hot dog, served…..Chicago Style!

More reminiscing, more fresh ingredients, more do ahead dinners, more mouth watering meals………

To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Throw a Great Memorial Day Party…..Part Two: The Main Course Menu


Setting the stage for a fun-tastic, blow out bash is only half of the equation. While I completely agree with Billy Crystal’s sentiment (channeling Ricardo Montalban), “You look mahvelous; absolutely mahvelous. You know, it’s much better to look good than to feel good”, while entertaining I want everything to be visually attractive, but it’s equally as important that everything taste good too.

I love the fantasy 0f a party and satisfying all of the senses. The visual presentation should be a feast for the eyes. The different textures incorporated in to your bar, buffet and table should be interesting to the touch. The sounds should be soulful and thoughtful, be they subtle or obvious; music to your ears. The scents should be reminiscent of the theme of your party through candles, or the heartwarming smells wafting through your kitchen. The final detail, of course, is a menu lovingly crafted for your guests to savor.

As the More is More Mom®, I am a huge proponent of……more food. Throwing a cocktail party is always a blast. It’s the perfect opportunity for a dazzling array of interesting appetizers. Dinner on the other hand can be a tad bit more complicated. Once you have developed a menu suitable to the occasion, there is still the matter of determining what little snicky-snacks to offer your guests while they are gathering and the finishing touches are being put on the meal. Then of course there is the ever important matter of dessert. While dessert may seem like an after thought, I think it is the perfect opportunity to end the evening on a high note….even if the note is small, it should be meaningful.

Today I would like to share with you my main course menu for a Memorial Day Celebration. I want for you to have plenty of time to consider incorporating these delicious dishes in to your own celebration this coming weekend.

Lemon and Herb Marinated Chicken:


This chicken smells so ridiculously good while cooking on the grill your neighbors are going to invite themselves over for dinner (so make extra!). It’s always great to find a dish that serves a crowd, so feel free to double and triple as needed.

3-4 lbs of chicken (my family really prefers breasts and drumsticks, but you can choose whatever you like.).

You know I am totally obsessed with Zip-Loc Baggies. Rather than use a bowl, or a large lidded container, I mix all of the ingredients in a gigantic 2 gallon Zip-loc baggie (much easier cleanup!). Combine:

• ¼ – ½ cup of olive oil
• 2 tsp finely chopped lemon zest (fresh is best)
• 2 tsp soy sauce
• 2-3-4 tsp rosemary, finely chopped (it smells sooooo good!)
• 1-2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
• Lots of garlic, 5-6 cloves pressed or minced
• 1 large shallot (or 2 very small) finely chopped
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper……Hot! Hot! Hot!
• Salt and pepper to your liking….

 

Add your chicken to the bag and marinade over night, flipping over a few times to make sure the marinade is well distributed. You could allow for just a few hours of marinating time, but that would scarcely allow all of the fresh flavors to infuse the chicken.

You have the option to do one of two things here.
1. Roast the chicken.
Preheat the oven to 425°.
Place the chicken on a rack in a large roasting pan, pouring 1 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan.
Baste occasionally, until the outside of the chicken is a nice golden brown and an instant read thermometer registers at 180°, for somewhere in the neighborhood of 45-60 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Transfer to a platter and garnish with any leftover sprigs of rosemary.
Tent with aluminum foil until ready to serve.

2. Warm up grill.
Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 45 minutes (when you poke a fork in to the chicken, you’ll want for the juices to run clear.)
Remove from the grill.
Place on a platter, adding garnish if desired, and you’re ready to serve.

I almost exclusively have employed the grilling option as I grill 12 months a year. Everything on the grill is super tasty and clean up is a snap!

Bacon and Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes:


These potatoes are so good it’s criminal! I frequently make your basic D0 Ahead Mashed Potatoes (especially for the holidays when the need for planning ahead is at a fevered pitch), and have never made this particular recipe before this weekend. After eating a spoonful of mouth watering goodness my family has informed me that I should only make the Bacon and Smoked Gouda variety forever more……

This is yet another recipe that could easily be multiplied, even if just for yummy leftovers. Some things are even better the next day.
Ingredients:

3 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped up in to cubes

 

8 slices of bacon (or more…..and who wouldn’t enjoy more?). I like a nice smoky flavored bacon, but maple is good too for a sweet treat.

A bunch of scallions….you choose how many you like. I used about 6 onions, finely chopping them until I got to the dark green ends

¾ cup sour cream
½ cup of milk
¼ – ½ stick of butter

2 plus cups of Smoked Gouda (I used a peppercorn flavor enhanced Gouda and it was to die for!), coarsely grated. Reserve ½ cup for topping at the end.

Cook bacon in either a skillet, or my favored method for making pounds and pounds of bacon, on a rimmed, aluminum foil lined, cookie sheet (for pounds and pounds of bacon you’ll need several….) cooked at 350°, for approximatley 20-25 minutes. It depends on how crispy you like your bacon. I’m a fan of more crispy……. Truly, if you are going through the mess of the bacon, make enough to warm up through the week; great with breakfast, on a sandwich, in a salad or even by itself. In any case, drain the bacon on a paper towel to soak up some of the grease and chop it up. Place the chopped bacon in a bowl.

Chop the scallions, add to the bacon and combine. Set aside.

Place the peeled and cubed potatoes in a large pot, fill with cold water, place lid on pot slightly ajar, and boil for 20 minutes or so until tender.

Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. On a very low heat, cook potatoes until all of the moisture evaporates. This should only take a minute or so.

 

Add the sour cream, milk and butter. The potatoes will be nice and hot, and the good creamy stuff should melt in quickly. Mash with a potato masher until nicely smoothed.

Stir in both the shredded Gouda (reserving ½ cup) and 1 cup of the bacon mixture (reserving the balance). Season with a little salt and pepper….you know me, I love, love, love the cracked black pepper for a kick (and a field goal!). Mix well.

 

Butter a 13x9x2 baking dish and evenly spread the potato mixture.

At this point, I topped the Heavenly mashed potatoes with the remaining shredded Gouda and the left over bacon and scallion mixture. It was so pretty!

Now, you will either be covering up the pan, refrigerating and cooking the potatoes later, or plug ahead and heat your oven to 375°. Cook until the cheese starts to melt a little bit and the edges begin to turn a warm, golden brown (about 30-40 minutes fresh, 45-60 minutes from the fridge, but either way…watch ‘em.).

Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette:


I must confess, unless I mix up a quick bottle of Good Season’s Italian Dressing Seasoning with vinegar and oil, most nights we douse our salad with bottled dressing (we are fans of the Western French). When company is expected it’s always nice to prepare a little something different.

This dressing is lovely with the fresh basil and grated parmesan. It is special enough to simply toss on a bed of pretty greens. For this particular meal I have enough flavors colliding, that the richness of this vinaigrette doesn’t need to be complicated with a medley of other vegetables. How about that? Simplicity from the More is More Mom®? (Though I would prefer to view it as a well honed matter of restraint.).
Ingredients:
• 2-3 cloves of garlic
• ½ tsp or so of salt
• 2 Tbsp good balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp lemon juice (again, since there are so many other rich, fresh flavors, I don’t think it’s worth the time or mess of squeezing fresh lemon juice. Sorry).
• 3-4 Tbsp fresh, chopped basil (little smells as delightful)
• ¼ – ½ cup of finely grated parmesan
• ½ tsp cracked black pepper (I’m going through this stuff like crazy!)
• ½ cup or so of olive oil

With a mortar and pestle mash the garlic with the salt.

Whisk together with the vinegar, lemon juice, basil, parmesan and salt and pepper.
Slowly add olive oil and whisk until well blended.
Toss with greens and serve.

Fruit Kabobs:


The beauty of the kabob is that you know from the get go just how many servings you are preparing. You can select any number of different fruits, or stream line the process and select two or three, alternating them on the skewer for a pleasing display.

Over the next two days I will be sharing with you ideas for setting up your buffet and recipes for versatile, easy starters and dessert.

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A Recipe So Garlic-y and Delicious You’ll Want to Floss Your Teeth….But in a Good Way!


As the More is More Mom®, you know that I love amassing large quantities of all things…….which would include recipes! Cookbooks call my name, as do cooking magazines and the food section in the newspaper. My eyes are immediately drawn to all of the possibilities of a wonderful new dish. The pages of my cookbooks are dog eared, with colorful Post It Notes sticking out this way and that. So many recipes………only so many meals in a day.

I’ve had this pasta dish in mind for the past two years, but it just seemed to keep making its way to the bottom of my recipe pile. More fool me; this was delicious!

Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Fresh Gremolata:


This was so fresh and scrumptious! It appears that a Gremolata is a chopped herb condiment that is typically made of garlic, parsley and lemon zest. As a substitute, you can use other herbs, such as oregano, and other citrus’s, such as orange zest. Gremolata pairs as beautifully with pasta as it does with meat, poultry and fish. How about that?

I like to have all of my ingredients prepped before I even warm up the oven. Last minute chopping and mess making drives me crazy. My preference is to have the cutting board and knives washed up, and the counter wiped down before I even get started with the cooking. I know that’s totally OCD, but what are you going to do?

Fresh Gremolata:

 

1 bundle of fresh Italian parsley roughly chopped I cleaver off most of the stems, run the parsley under water until it is nice and clean and then spin it in my salad spinner to get it as dry as possible. Working with wet herbs results in a mushy mess (see, again with the mess).

Several cloves of garlic In a continued effort to keep the vampires away, I used something like 5 cloves. Rather than chop, I press. It’s so much faster. I hope I’m not perpetuating some horrible gourmet faux pas!
*Please Note: I prep all identical ingredients for the various recipes that I am making for one particular meal all at the same time. So, when I pressed garlic for the Gremolata, I also pressed a large handful of garlic for garlic bread. I pressed it right in to a sauce pan filled with two sticks of better. FYI.

1 lemon, for zesting Now, in this instance, I will use the zest from a fresh lemon because the flavor is an integral element of the Gremolata. I used a handheld grater and rubbed it all over the lemon for that fresh, beautiful aroma!

Mix the parsley, garlic and lemon zest together….and you have Gremolata! This can be made several days ahead of time, so use it on more than one dish over the course of the week. Pasta one night, perhaps fish another.

Pasta with Caramelized Onions:

1 onion, very thinly sliced The white onions at the grocery store looked good this week, but you can use a yellow onion too. I peeled the onion (an Ogre is like an onion, you have to peel back the many layers to get to the good parts, as Shrek would say) and set aside in a bowl.

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes I like a little kick, so I would use a bit more.

Kosher salt a pinch, a dash…whatever floats your boat.

1 seeded and finely diced hot pepper I had a jalapeño pepper on hand, but you can use a serrano pepper, a hot red pepper, or a green chile. Whatever you like or whatever you have.

1/2 cup of butter, cut in to smaller pieces unsalted preferably I’m a salt-aholic, but I suppose you get enough salt in the onions.

3-4 Tbsp. of lemon juice I am clearly not a purist. I think that squeezing lemons is an enormous, messy hassle (I certainly don’t mind a hassle, but you know how I despise an unnecessary mess), so I am inclined to use lemon juice out of a bottle. I mean in this particular application the juice is a mild flavor enhancement, not the main show. If it were a featured item, then by all means I would endure the mess. Otherwise the bottle is good enough for me.

1lb dried pasta This seems to be the kind of recipe that would lend itself to twirling a piece of spaghetti around on a fork, but my kids (teenagers actually) prefer a short tubular pasta, like a Penne or a Gemmeli. Use what your people will eat without complaining too much. In fact, my people won’t eat this concoction at all, so I will make a double serving of noodles, and butter half for them. I know…..I have raised total savages!

1 cup of a hard, grated cheese like a Pecorino or Parmesan

Now that we have all of our ingredients lined up and ready to go, it’s time to start cooking.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil is a large skillet over medium heat. I love my All-Clad skillet best (which I bought on an excursion to Williams Sonoma with my friend Margaret after we had been to a cooking demonstration) because it cleans up so beautifully (again, I am all about the clean up.).

Add the onion, red pepper flakes and salt. You will want to stir this frequently to ensure that the onions get nice and tender and brown, but not burnt. This should take 10-12 minutes.

Add your finely diced pepper and stir for another minute or so.

Take the skillet off of the heat and stir in the butter until it melts.

Add the lemon juice and a little more salt if you so desire. Keep warm until the pasta is ready.

When the water is at a roving boil, add the pasta and cook until the noodles are cooked to your liking (I like my pasta prepared a little softer than al dente, otherwise, why cook it at all?).

Drain the pasta. In this case I was using half of the cooked pasta for this dish, and I was buttering the other half for the kid’s (darn it…..teenagers.). It is so easy to just add the noodles to my nice big skillet, with the nice thick edge, and generously blend the pasta together with my caramelized onion mixture while the pan is still warm.

Toss on the grated cheese, and mix well.

Sprinkle the Gremolata over the pasta, and it’s good and ready to eat!

Sausage:
I stock up on this terrific chicken andouille sausage from CostCo and keep it in my freezer. They defrost quickly, at break neck speed, in a shallow baking dish filled with cold water. It’s perfect for a meal that I’m planning in the fly.

Rather than slather the sausages in a sauce, I toss them on the grill and cook them over a medium heat. They grill up quite nicely, like a juicy bratwurst.

Garlic Bread:


Whipping up a batch of garlic bread couldn’t be easier. We eat pasta at least once a week, so I always stock up on rolls to make nice think garlic bread. I typically pick up a package of sub-rolls (one half of a roll makes a perfectly generous serving size), and that way I’m all set if someone wants a hearty sandwich instead.

I use 4 rolls split in two (so there are 8 pieces of bread) and lay them out on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (again, I live for efficient clean up.).

Earlier, when I was making my Gremolata and pressing my garlic, I pressed a handful of cloves in to a sauce pan that held 2 sticks of butter.

Melt the butter and garlic on the stove.

Brush the melted butter on to each individual slice of bread.

Broil on High, but on the middle rack in your oven, for only a few minutes. These you have to watch very carefully. I have lost my fair share of trays of garlic bread by looking away for only a moment.

On a dinner plate serve the pasta, a sausage link and piece of garlic bread. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy……..

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