Steak with chimichurri sauce

Steak with chimichurri sauce

We recently had a bunch of cilantro and parsley that needed to get used quickly. Luckily, we found an amazingly delicious and surprisingly easy chimichurri sauce to enhance a skirt steak. (You might notice the meat in the photos isn’t skirt steak, our local grocer had thin New York Strips on super sale, so the second time we made this, we used those. But I promise the recipe works just as well with the skirt steak.)

Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients:
bunch parsley (about 1-2 cups worth)
bunch cilantro (also, about 1-2 cups worth)
olive oil (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup, enough to make a paste, not a soup)
lime juice (about 1/4 cup)
garlic, minced (2-3 tablespoons, but we like garlic. If you don’t try 1 tablespoon first)

Directions: Put everything in the food processor and pulse to make a paste, don’t over pulse or you’ll make a soup and that’s not tasty.
chimichurri sauceNow add about half to two-thirds of the chimichurri sauce to a plastic zip top bag. Add your skirt steaks and squish to coat.
chimichurri sauce
Let marinade for a few hours (the longer the better!) in the refrigerator. The day we made this dish was rainy and blustery, so grilling it was out (trust me, it’s best grilled). We ended up broiling it.
Steak with chimichurri sauce

How long will depend on your cut of meat and what temperature you like your meat. To enhance the flavor, we basted the steak with more of the chimichurri sauce about half way through cooking. You’ll want to make sure you have some of the reserve left over to spoon over the finished meat.

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My Opinion:
I love this dish. It’s bright, flavorful and works very well with rice. When we grill the meat, we often add skewers of onions and green peppers and if there’s extra chimichurri sauce, spoon that over the vegetables too.

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Carbonara


We’ve put off trying this recipe for a while because it seemed complicated. That couldn’t be further from the truth! It was really very easy, though a bit temperamental. The original post cites Rachel Ray as the original creator as published in Woman’s Day magazine.

Ingredients:
1 box spaghetti (about a pound)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta, roughly chopped (we ended up using about 3 ounces because that’s what came in the package)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (we used a pinot grigio)
3 large egg yolks
freshly grated Romano cheese (optional, but J swears it’s better with the cheese. Parmesan works too in a pinch)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (you’ll want to use more pepper than salt!)

Directions:
Boil the pasta according to the package directions in salted water. (You will need to reserve at least a cup of the pasta water for use later in the recipe!) While the pasta is boiling, heat a large skillet over medium heat (you;ll be adding the pasta to the skillet). Add the olive oil and pancetta to the warmed skillet. Brown  the pancetta for about two minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for up to three more minutes (remove or turn down the heat if the pancetta starts to burn). Add the wine and deglaze the pan. In a separate  bowl, beat the egg yolks and add 1/2 cup of the pasta water. According to the original recipe, adding the pasta water to the yolks tempers them so they don’t scramble. If you haven’t already drained the pasta, do so now. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss to coat the pasta. Don’t cook the egg! Remove from heat. Add cheese, pepper and salt. Continue tossing the pasta until the egg mixture thickens and the pasta absorbs most of it. Serve immediately with extra cheese.

My opinion:
Salty and creamy, this is the perfect dinner for a fall evening. If you find the dish too salty, cut back on the added salt at the end. When reheating, make sure to use a little olive oil or reheat by covering the bottom of a pan with chicken stock or broth and adding the pasta. Otherwise, it dries out.

Mongolian Beef

The secret behind good Mongolian Beef is apparently a super heated wok to caramelize the beef. While we can’t recreate a super heated wok, J came very close to mimicking the flavors modifying this recipe from Big Oven using brown sugar.

Ingredients:
lbs Flank Steak cut into strips
1/3 cup Cornstarch
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
1 bunch Green onion, sliced

Sauce
1 tbs Vegetable oil
1 tbs Ginger, minced
3 tbs Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Brown sugar

Directions:
Put cut up steak into a plastic bag along with corn starch. Shake well to coat and let sit for 10 minutes. In small sauce pan, heat 1 Tbs of oil until hot. Add red pepper flakes, ginger, and garlic. Saute briefly making sure not to burn. Pour in soy sauce and water, then add brown sugar. Boil sauce for 2-3 minutes to thicken slightly. Remove from heat. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in wok or large skillet. When oil is hot, add beef and stir fry until brown and cooked through. Add sauce and green onions. Cook for 1 minute. Do not leave in pan too long or the sauce will thicken from the corn starch.

My opinion:
This rivals the best  restaurant prepared Mongolian Beef. Fair warning, though, if you do have left overs, the cornstarch will make the gravy congeal in the container. It’s still tasty the next day, just with thicker sauce.

Perfected Pizza Margherita and Homemade Imos


We finally perfected our homemade pizza recipe! J has recreated his favorite Imos pizza. While the pizza Margherita I so loved from Florence is completely out of reach, this version is close enough I don’t mind. Buon appetito!

Margherita Ingredients:
pizza dough (store brand thick or thin is up to you)
Olive oil
garlic, minced
whole milk mozzarella, shredded (put it in the freezer for a few minutes before shredding, it helps.)
Roma tomato, sliced (or cherry sliced up if you’re in a pinch like we were)
fresh basil, Chiffonade

Margherita Directions:
Preheat oven according to package directions. For us, this was 400 degrees. Roll out the dough on a pizza stone. Place in oven for four to six minutes or until the dough starts to brown. remove from oven. Brush with olive oil. About a quarter cup should be plenty. Sprinkle evenly with the minced garlic. Put the sliced tomatoes on top of the olive oil. Then sprinkle with the mozzarella, covering the entire pizza evenly. Add the Chiffonade basil. Bake for the remaining time on the package. Keep an eye on it. When you think it’s done, give it two to three more minutes. This will ensure the dough is all the way cooked through.


Imos Ingredients:
pizza dough (store brand thin)
pizza sauce of your choice (we prefer Mid’s Pizza Sauce)
shredded provel cheese
mozzarella
pepperoni
small can of mushrooms, drained

Imos Directions
Preheat oven according to package directions. For us, this was 400 degrees. Roll out the dough on a pizza stone. Place in oven for four to six minutes or until the dough starts to brown. While waiting, microwave the pepperoni. Blot with paper towels (this keeps it from making your pizza too greasy.) Remove from oven. Brush with pizza sauce. About a quarter to half cup should be plenty. Sprinkle evenly with the provel and mozzarella. Put the pepperoni and the mushrooms on top. Bake for the remaining time on the package. Keep an eye on it. When you think it’s done, give it two to three more minutes. This will ensure the dough is all the way cooked through.

My opinion:
This has totally replaced delivery in our house. In fact, it takes less time than waiting for one to arrive at our door!

Thai Chicken Fried Rice with Basil


If you can’t already tell, I love Asian cuisine. Since we’ve been eating at home more often, J has tried to recreate my favorite dishes at home. He finally got my favorite Thai dish down. I won’t say it’s as good as my favorite Thai restaurant in town, because it might be better!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil (or peanut or sesame, whatever you have on hand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh Thai red chili pepper chopped (or if you can’t find fresh, rehydrate dry, or just use your favorite rooster sauce)
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces and velveted (again this is the secret!)
2 cups cooked rice cold (cooked and cold, really cold. Like from the refrigerator cold. Also, use Jasmine, You’ll thank me.)
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Fish sauce
1 tablespoon Soy sauce (if you want to be adventurous try golden soy sauce if you can find it)
2 tablespoons shallots chopped
1/3 cup Thai holy basil (regular basil or Thai purple is also delicious)
1 tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, chopped (we’ve occasionally accidentally left this out, opps!)

Directions:
First velvet the chicken by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Stir the chicken to separate and stir again. Simmer for about 2 minutes until the chicken turns white. Drain the chicken. In a wok or large skillet, stir-fry garlic in oil until golden; then add chilies and chicken and stir-fry until chicken is cooked. Add rice, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce, and stir-fry, mixing gently. When well mixed, add shallots, basil leaves and cilantro; cook another minute or so, and serve. If you desire, serve with lime wedges, chile sauce, fish sauce, or soy sauce at the table.

My opinion:
Could I really say more than I said above? I. love. this. dish. LOVE.