Tuesday, October 29, 2013

the new cookbook is here: grilled skirt steak with house steak sauce

No, no, no I have not written a cookbook.  It's in my goals on the walls at lululemon, but since I actually work at lululemon I feel very accomplished when I get one post written a week.  Remember when I would write three?  Me too.  Life has a very different rhythm that it did two and a half years ago.  I can't exactly say that I've settled into it really.  Just haven't completely found my groove.  Some days it's because I'm just tired.  Like Tuesdays, like today.  Mondays are one of my days off, but I always fill it to the brim:  spinning or yoga in the early morning, errands after class, walk with Greg before lunch, tennis after lunch and then home for a shower and before I know it:  time to make dinner. Why would I be tired on Tuesdays?  Some days it's because I just can't focus.  I want to, but I get distracted.  You know, I go up to put laundry away and end up cleaning a closet or I go outside to get the mail and end up working in my gardens for hours.  I think it's because no one really holds me accountable for all the domestic stuff.  It's always fine around here, or you can close a door and ignore it.  Greg is indifferent (a good thing) and would rather have company watching football than have me up in the kitchen organizing my cupboards (and they make so little sense after 12 years, it will happen eventually).  So that's how a cookbook does not get written.  That's why I write my blog.  Manageable bites of work.

But other people get their cookbooks written and I do occasionally buy them.  And with Amazon Prime, I can see one in the Oprah magazine and one-click it into my cart and have it at my door in 48 hours.  That's way too easy, by the way.  I had an entirely different plan for dinner until my new "The Lemonade Cookbook" showed up at the door.  Have we discussed Lemonade in LA?  On a whim Kelly and I ducked into one in Beverly Hills just a couple of hours before my flight home on a winter visit after she moved out to California.  It was just so cute with pretty hedges and tables outside on a (shocking) lovely day.  What a lucky find.  I am the girl that researches trips, but visiting Kelly frees me of that responsibility entirely.  She apparently learned from me very well and has taken entertaining out of town guests to a whole 'nother level.  She has excel spreadsheets with alternate plans for every block of time which comes in super handy in LA because traffic just might change your day entirely.  So Lemonade was not on the spreadsheet, but it has been every other trip.  And if I don't get to the Lemonade in Venice or wherever, I can get to LAX early and visit the one in the Delta terminal.  A little obsession.

Lemonade is fast-casual, Southern California comfort food served in a modern cafeteria setting to paraphrase the opening of the book.  It's vegetable-centric with my favorite plate being 6 half portions of the salads and sides.  If you know me, you know I take some fabulous dessert to go and smuggle it onto the plane for the ride home.  Oh yeah, the lemonades are amazing too but the real deal so they are sweet (but blueberry/mint or peach/ginger or green apple/jalapeno?  C'mon).  They always know a true Midwestern girl in LA.  I hope they appreciate that someone actually eats every delicious bite of the crazy good food they serve and orders a treat.

So this post is from dinner that was supposed to be butternut squash risotto, but then I started flipping pages and made the house steak sauce to go with skirt steak that Greg expertly grilled.  I also made a white wine vinaigrette to toss my par-boiled Brussels sprouts in before roasting them and serving them with some shaved Parmesan (recipe will also be posted).  Chopped a nice romaine salad and yum all around.

I would never use bottled steak sauce.  I would make this house steak sauce and serve it warm any day.       And the next time I make it I will know it's worthy of breaking out the camera for real step by step photos.  For now you'll have to do with this blurry iPhone photo of my dinner plate.

yep, need to use my real camera

buy it, or trust me that I'll share some highlights


Grilled Skirt Steak with House Steak Sauce

House Steak Sauce
1 T neutral oil (canola at my house)
1 small white, yellow or sweet onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 C fresh flat-leaf/Italian parsley, chopped
1/3 C low sugar good ketchup  (I know that's Barefoot Contessa like, but buy something without high-fructose corn syrup)
1/2 C vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
2 T low sodium Worcestershire sauce (because you are about to add kosher salt)
1 T espresso powder or instant coffee (does anyone keep instant coffee?)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Steak
1 1/2 to 2 pounds skirt steak (or flank steak would be good too)
olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Prepare sauce in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat:  add the canola oil and when it's hot cook the onion, garlic and parsley until softened (maybe 3-4 minutes).  Add the Worcestershire, broth, ketchup, espresso powder, kosher salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.  Puree with an immersion (stick) blender or carefully transfer to a standard blender.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Prepare steak:  rub with a little olive oil and sprinkle with chili powder, salt and pepper then rub it all in on both sides.  If you have time, let it warm up to room temperature and marinate a little (20 minutes or so).  Prepare the grill or a grill pan and when hot, cook the steak to sear on both sides for about 8 minutes total.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes and then slice thinly against the grain and serve with the sauce.  


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