Well, I managed to get everything on the list done yesterday, it was 10: 30 when I finished breaking down the pork shoulder, but it was done and the scraps went out in the garbage, whew.
This evening I tried two new recipes. The first, was a skirt steak, not marinated, not grilled. It was simple enought for a weeknight meal, even though it carried the Sunday dinner. Skirt steak is a long thin steak commonly used for fajitas; it has a thin, opaque membrane on one side which should be removed (omission of this step yields a very tough cut of meat). All recipes that I have for skirt steak call for it to be marinated; this recipe called for the steak to be seasoned with salt and pepper and then seared to medium rare. The recipe below reflects the minor changes I made,
- I used olive oil rather than vegetable oil
- I increased the steak from 12 oz. to 2 lbs. (have you seen teenagers eat?)
- I doubled the other ingredients to accomodate the increased amount of steak
- I used “normal-sized” shallots rather than small ones
Skirt Steak with Shallot Pan Sauce
makes 6-8 ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source Bon Appétit | January 2015
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 lbs. skirt steak, cut crosswise into pieces 6-8″ long
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 8 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heat oil in a large stainless-steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally, until deeply browned and an instant-read thermometer registers 130° (for medium-rare), 8–10 minutes. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Reduce heat to medium and cook shallot and mustard seeds in residual fat, stirring occasionally, until shallot is softened and mustard seeds are toasted, about 4 minutes. Add thyme sprigs, wine, lemon zest, and water, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until liquid is reduced by about half, about 5 minutes. Add butter, swirling pan to melt; season pan sauce with salt and pepper.
My last change was more preferential than an actual edit, I poured the sauce right over in it the serving dish rather than set it on the side. I create enough dishes while cooking, another isn’t really necessary.
Sunday dinner has to have a vegetable, I opted for green beans with mushrooms. Green beans and I have a strange history, I had a special hate for them until I was almost 20. My mother gardened, and with her bounty of vegetables and fruit she canned and froze them the way she was taught by her mother. I honestly had no clue that green beans were ever served not canned; while she loves them, I do not. However she did teach me well, I discovered sautéed green beans with my future in-laws. She had made them one of the first dinners that I ate at their home, I couldn’t say that I didn’t like them, it would be insulting; as a guest my only option was to eat them and smile. I’m still happy I was raised correctly, they were wonderful and remain a regular vegetable in our house, and yesterday I served them with cremini mushrooms. I don’t really have a recipe for green beans, I snap the ends, par boil them in salted water for 3 minutes and then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. I then wash the mushrooms, trim the stems, and cut in half if they are large. The mushrooms are seasoned with black pepper and sautéed over medium-high heat so they get golden brown, I then add the beans, season the entire dish with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 3 minutes so that the beans are hot but still crisp. (Don’t add salt with the mushrooms, they will sweat and you won’t get that golden exterior.)
And Sunday dinner must have dessert; a recipe from epicurious caught my eye. I was again hesitant, but based on the ingredients I decided that the three reviews of the recipe must be wrong. They said it was horribly dry. They were VERY wrong, it’s perfect. Just be gentle when you fold so that you don’t collapse your egg whites. I served it with 2 gelatos, sea salt caramel and blueberry. The blueberry was the better match, it brought out the lemon.
Torta di Ricotta e Polenta
makes 8 servings ∙ source Epicurious.com
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup clear honey (preferably unheated)
- Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla powder or vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1¼ cups almond flour (or 1¼ cups almonds, blitzed into flour)
- 1 cup polenta
- 1 cup ricotta, generous
- ½ cup flaked (slivered) almonds
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the base of an 8-inch springform tin with baking parchment and set aside.
Place the butter, half of the honey, the lemon zest and vanilla in a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat everything until creamy. Add the egg yolks and continue to beat for a further minute. Add the almond flour, polenta and ricotta and fold everything together.
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until softly peaking in a separate bowl. Add the remaining honey and continue whisking until peaking again and well blended.
Slowly fold the egg whites into the cake mixture. Turn the mixture into the prepared cake tin and sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The center of the cake might look slightly wobbly at first, but it will firm up when the cake cools down. Leave to cool completely before removing it from the tin.
Served with a blueberry gelato. In the convection oven, I used convection bake set to 300 for 40 minutes.