Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New York Strip Steaks with Crushed Garlic and Tennessee Barbecue Sauce

We received the book Weber's Real Grilling as part of a cute barbecue gift basket for our wedding, and it has some great recipes in it. It seemed fitting that for our anniversary, I would use something out of the book.

We celebrated our second anniversary with dinner at home, then driving around in the country with our dogs in the back and found our country dream home!! Something to strive for, anyway :) Pretty low key and wonderful! Norris got me all my faves--Sabra hummus with Stacy's pita chips (even my favorite brands!!), peanut butter M&M's (let's not talk about how fast those were gone..), pretty flowers, and made me a nice homemade card!

The flavor of the meat was very good with this garlicky rub on the outside. I served it with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and sauteed green beans (a little blackened for the perfect flavor and texture!). If you're a steak purist, you can just make the sauce for others! The simple rub is a good flavor boost, though. As you can see, I had to cook our steaks stovetop and finish them in the oven because we were out of propane for our grill. Oops!!

New York Strip Steaks
with Crushed Garlic and Tennessee Barbecue Sauce

from Weber's Real Grilling

1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp Jack Daniel's whiskey
1 tbsp steak sauce
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 New York strip steaks, about 8 oz each and 1 inch thick
3 medium garlic cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
To make the sauce, combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk together with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Trim most of the extra fat fromt he steaks and allow to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling/cooking (to prevent that curled steak thing you sometimes see).
Chop the garlic, then sprinkle the salt on top. Using your knife to smash the garlic and salt together to form a paste. Combine garlic with oil, rosemary, and pepper. Rub this mixture over all the steaks.
Grill over direct high heat until cooked to desired doneness. (or sear in hot pan and finish in hot oven for a few minutes). Let meat rest for 5 minutes after cooking, then serve with sauce on the side.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Culinary School: Part 2

Just returned from another week in sunny (HOT) Orlando at Le Cordon Bleu Orlando College of Culinary Arts...whew, a mouthful! They changed their name as a part of the alignment process for all of the North American branches of Le Cordon Bleu.

Anyway, it was a fun week, I learned a lot, and got to connect with a lot of ProStart teachers from around the country, which was fun! Some of my "classmates" from last summer were there too, so it was great to see them again. The school treats us like kings and queens--they're so great to us. They feed us the best, give us so much attention, and mostly really great instruction.

They have a Certified Master Chef on staff, which is a really big deal since there aren't very many in our country, and many other instructors that have done great things in there careers.

For year two, we made all sorts of stocks, sauces, soups, and breads. We went through some techniques I haven't used before, and I got graded a 5/5 on my consomme, which I was extremely proud of!! :) I don't even care much for consomme with all the babysitting you have to do for it and in the end it tastes a lot like chicken broth to me, but I do have to say that it was crystal clear and garnished beautifully!! I'm totally bragging here, but I hear it was the only 5/5 of the class that day..wahoo!!

We spent one evening at Downtown Disney and toured the kitchen at Captain Jack's, which was seriously smaller than my guest bedroom. The restaurant has over 100 seats, and their kitchen looks like a submarine kitchen. Pretty impressive what they do with such little space!

We also ate a lot at Machon, the student restaurant. If you live in Orlando or are visiting, you should try it out. A lot of the other teachers told me wherever they go on vacation, they look for a culinary school nearby and try to eat at the student run restaurant. That sounds like a good idea to me! Machon is definitely worth going to!

I took my first trip to IKEA while in Orlando!! I went with Ash, who came from Tampa to hang out, and I was totally overwhelmed. It could take hours to walk through that place, and the whole "have to follow the arrows to get out and you can't see the front door from where you are" part was a little weird and claustrophobic to me, but it was still a cool place. If I would have had more suitcase space, or if it didn't cost another arm to bring another suitcase, I would have bought some stuff, but I left with just a jar of lingonberry preserves. Can't wait to try those, though.

I'll be making some of the Cordon Bleu recipes in the weeks to come, and I am planning on working quite a few into my curriculum this year, too, so I will be sure to share those when I get to them!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

Last night on the way home, I was thinking about breakfast (as I often do before bed because I get way too excited about it:) and realizing we didn't really have much left. We will both kind of be in and out over the next week or so, and we are trying to save a little cash by eating from what we have, so I was thinking of how great whole wheat oatmeal pancakes sounded. A search led me to epicurious and their version, which I thought was really great! The changes I made are noted below. use old fashioned oats (since that's what we had) and soaked them for about 20 minutes, and then I had to add about 2 more Tbsp of flour since the batter was so thin. They're great!! How good would they be with cooked cinnamon apples on top?? YUM!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

from epicurious
3/4 cup oats
1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp skim milk, divided
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
1 tbsp packed brown sugar

Soak oats in 3/4 cup milk for 10 minutes if using quick oats, 20 minutes for old fashioned.
While oats soak, whisk together all other dry ingredients except brown sugar.
Stir in egg, butter, brown sugar, the rest of the milk, and the oat mixture until just combined.
Heat a griddle over medium high heat and spray with oil if necessary. Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake and cook until bubbles appear on surface and pop. Flip and cook about 1 more minute.

In other news, I have really felt like summer for my first few days! Scheduled dr. appt's, etc., cleaned out my closet for Goodwill, time to exercise every day, and work on my tan. This is awesome! Life will get much busier in the weeks to come, but it's nice to relax a while for sure! I also found out that the dogs do exactly what I suspected all day long (except that they're normally outside doing this when we're not here!)