Friday, August 27, 2010

Flank Steak with onions

This was a quick dinner that we cooked after kids had eaten. We finished just in time to put them to bed. We enjoyed it with a Nuit-Saint-George from one of our favorite wineries that we are trying desperately to get in California. Dinner was perfect, even though the girls popped out of their room every 5 minutes with another request:

Bavette a L'├ęchalotte: Bistro Steak with Shallots and Red Wine Jus

We substituted the shallots for a yellow onion (because that was what we had) and served it with a combination of peas, broccoli, sugar snap peas and spinach because those were the frozen veggies we had in the freezer.

It is important to note that we had a thinner steak than the recipe called for (the same kind you can easily find in the U.S.) so we carmelized the onions longer and didn't put the whole thing in the oven. We cooked it a little longer on the stove top. Perfection! We ate every last bit. I guess we should have made more. We're still remembering it.

The kids might have enjoyed it too, but we were not really interested in finding out.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Need to Cook in Summertime...Why Not Corn Chowder?

So, tearing through the refrigerator, the confounded urge to make something out of nothing surrounded me. Filled every cell of my being. There had to be something I could make that could fill the empty spot inside. Something...comfortable. Soup. That was it. I'd seen a recipe in a Parent's Magazine the night before. Something that called for corn.

Inside the crisper, six neatly wrapped ears of corn, and beside it, rolling in the back of the drawer lay a lonely yellow onion. Yes. I could make this work.

Summertime Corn Chowder:

  • 6 ears fresh corn
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 slices bacon (preferably thick-cut), chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Shuck the corn, then stand each ear up in a bowl and use a knife to scrape off the kernels; set aside. Put the cobs, 1 cup water, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a 4-qt. pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the water bubbles gently, cover, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes. Leave the cobs in the pot until you are ready to make the soup, then discard them, reserving the corncob stock

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until it begins to render its fat and turn golden-brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, another 5 minutes or so.

3. Add the milk, reserved corn kernels, and bacon and onion to the stock, and bring to a boil; lower the heat so that the soup bubbles gently. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the corn is tender, about 10 minutes

4. Whisk the cornstarch in a small bowl with 2 Tbs. water until smooth. Add to the soup, stirring until the soup thickens, about a minute. Taste, adjust the seasoning, garnish with parsley, and serve.

The whole corn chowder preparation was therapeutic for me, I have to admit. With all the bubbling, sizzling, and chopping, I really reached some sort of summer cooking nirvana. I was out of corn starch, opted instead for flour with a pinch of salt.

I also substituted salt and cracked pepper for Lawry's Garlic Salt and fresh Costco Lemon Pepper in generous portions. Tasting, bubbling, adding some of this and that, and it made for a delightful meal with a side salad and glass of Chardonnay.

Next time, I'll let the bacon get crisper, I'll add in some cheese, and I'll time it better with something the kids will actually eat, like chicken fingers.

I Want to Cook! Who's Gonna Eat It? Why Do I Care!

Yes, today I was confronted with information... heartbreak. Pain. Agony. Angst. Friends in need. My own mom dealing with her grief in Arkansas, going through my grandparents' home.

I got out the kitchen aid. I frowned around the kitchen, in search of ingredients, and saw some bananas in need of attention. Done. I started mixing up a batch of Banana Bread.

Ellie wanted to help. I doubled the batch, allowing her to crack eggs with her delicate touch. Seriously. The kid is amazing. Almost five, and though I have her crack them in separate bowls, there's not a shell to be seen.

We used:

6 Bananas
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
dash of cinnamon
dash of sugar to top

In the mixer, let the bananas mash up, but not too much.
In a separate bowl, whip up the eggs in a frenzy. Add to bananas until combined.
Then, stir together dry ingredients and slowly shake into mixing bowl until mixed.

Pour into bread pans, either that have been lined with parchment, or sprayed with cooking spray. Top with sprinkled sugar and dashes of cinnamon.

Bake at 350 for one hour and just hold the kids off until it's done. Mine want to break down the oven door!

Banana Bread rising in the oven, hungry misses shooed out the door to the pool with their daddy, I finally had some time to think. But that's only half of it. The second thought came that my starving little waifs and their dad would all expect to be fed upon return.

But I still had the urge to cook...a recipe burning a hole in my pocket, and bread to deliver as soon as friends in need returned...