Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Guardian: Grilled Steak with Cucumber-Tomato Salad

Mike and Julie missed out on this one.

Mike came over to Julie's house one evening for a romantic dinner for two. (Read more about these lovebirds from The Guardian in my previous post.) Julie prepared a couple of steaks, Mike grilled them, and they threw together a salad of cucumbers and tomatoes. Quick and easy. The table was set, the food ready to serve, and they decided to take a quick trip to the bedroom. They didn't emerge until morning.

Who can resist a good steak dinner? Not my family. This was probably the easiest meal I've prepared for this blog: I made my own rub for the steaks, one I invented a few years ago for a contest that Rachael Ray had for her show that I never entered; my own cucumber salad that we eat a lot during the summer when the cucumbers and tomatoes are in season; and baked potato "fries" that I prepare from time to time when I need something fun and simple to make with potatoes.

The Rub

(These amounts are estimates. I tend to cook Rachael Ray style, by "eyeballing" things rather than measuring them):

2 T smoked paprika
2 t. onion powder
2 T Kosher salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper
About a teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A tablespoon or two of rosemary, either fresh or dried

I even sprinkled the steak with a little meat tenderizer, since I had some that I'd bought for another steak dinner from one of Nick's books.

(The mortar and pestle is for crushing the rosemary into smaller pieces. The dried rosemary I get at Costco tends to have long leaves, and crushing them helps bring out their flavor and aroma.)

I don't always remember to do this, but I like to drizzle a little olive oil on the steak before coating them with the rub.

As always, Joe was in charge of grilling the steaks.

The Cucumber Tomato Salad

One large or two small cucumbers
One ripe tomato
Half a red onion
Fresh or dried dill and/or basil (optional)
Olive Oil
Red Wine vinegar (Balsamic vinegar works well too; it makes the salad a little more tangy)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut up the cucumbers however you'd like. I usually peel off some of the outside and leave some, so the cucumber looks like it's striped; then I cut it in half lengthwise and slice up the halves. If you like your cucumbers peeled, unpeeled, sliced, diced, or whatever--you're the cook. (The same goes for the tomatoes. I don't usually seed them, but that's only because I'm lazy.) Slice the half onion thinly and separate the pieces. Mix in a little olive oil, vinegar, dill, and basil, and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

(I don't think I added any herbs this time, just some salt and pepper. It was delicious anyway You can't really go wrong with this simple salad.)

The Fries
A few good-sized Russet potatoes
Olive oil or cooking spray

Wash and cut the potatoes into strips. (I don't peel them, but you can if you want.) If using cooking spray, coat a baking sheet with some, put the potato strips on the pan, salt liberally, and spray the potatoes. If you're using olive oil, you can put the potatoes on the pan, salt them, drizzle them with oil, and stir them to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for about half an hour, turning once. You can cook them for a longer or shorter time depending on how crisp you like them. The boys asked me if I would fry them next time. I guess they taste better fried; I figure this way is probably healthier. And delicious, with or without ketchup!

Nick doesn't say what Mike and Julie did with the uneaten steaks the next morning. Probably fed them to Julie's dog, Singer. (If he's anything like my dog, they would have emerged to find them gone. We've learned not to leave food out at my house.)

We ate every bite.

(There's that dang green astro-turf tablecloth again...)

Next I'm taking on something a little more challenging: pork medallions in Marsala sauce, stuffed mushrooms, and a fun vegetable dish I found in the latest issue of Fine Cooking magazine. I can't wait to see how it turns out. After a brief blogging hiatus (mostly so I can catch up on home and work duties), we're diving into The Wedding, and there's all kinds of great food in that one, let me tell you! I'll try not to be gone too long. We've got many more books left and so much good food and wine to share!

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