we {finally} got a grill: a deliciously easy grilled (london briol) dinner

easy grilled london broil dinnersometimes all you (or i) really want for dinner is a nice piece of grilled meat. something about meat cooked on the outdoor grill that makes it just that much better. which brings me to the grill. i’m so happy to have one again! it’s opened up a world of new (culinary) options. we’d been planning to get one ever since our move a few months ago, but somehow it seemed complicated (as in we were being lazy)  and we basically procrastinated until the heat wave (it is literally in the 80’s and 90’s in san diego right now) hit-that’s when we had no choice but to get one-and fast. it would be a big shame not to take advantage of

rosemary marinated london broil

the unusually warm (even though san diego probably has the best climate, anywhere, the nights tend to be pretty cold year round) nights for grilling outdoors and dining al fresco. so we (or he, i should say) went out and finally got one, and there it was all shiny and new and ready to be put to good use-and we have been: we’ve had persian style chicken kabobs, grass fed new york strip steaks, tons of grilled tomatoes (because we all know how much i love those), and a spicy fire roasted eggplant salad. then this: rosemary grilled london broil, spaghetti aglio e olio with fresh tomatoes and basil, and a side of quick fired broccolini. tell me it doesn’t sound like an amazing dinner? all you need to make this meal a success  is really good  ingredients-quality organic (in this case local) grass fed beef, juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh vegetables & herbs. marinating the beef ahead of time helps. and you’re good to go:

sliced grilled london broil

 

for the marinade:

 

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh rosemary
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper
  • a touch of worcestershire sauce
  • red pepper flakes

make sure the grill is super hot before you start cooking. place the beef on the hot grill (on high heat) and sear one side (about 2-3 minutes) then the other. reduce the heat to medium and close the lid. allow beef to cook (cooking time depends on the size of meat and your serving preferences). ours was a smaller, thinner piece and cooked very quickly-it was served medium and slightly pink inside.

for quick fired broccolini:

  • wash and dry the broccolini, cut in half (optional)-spread on a baking dish
  • drizzle with 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, move around to make sure oil is evenly distributed
  • sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, give it a good shake
  • cook broccolini on the grill in a grill-friendly skillet (my new spiffy grill has a built in skillet option) while the beef cooks-it takes just a few minutes-you’ll have to use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir it a couple of times
  • sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan chess, add a dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice

spaghetti with fresh tomatoes & herbs

for the spaghetti aglio e oli with fresh tomatoes & herbs combine in a bowl (4 servings):

  • easy dinner ideas4-5 ripe tomatoes, cubed
  • a good bunch of fresh basil, leaves rolled carefully together, then thinly sliced (chiffonade)
  • a few sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves separated and roughly chopped
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves

in a bowl combine tomatoes, herbs, sea salt & pepper and allow the mixture to rest for 15-20 minutes. in a small saucepan heat the oil and  garlic together (aglio-e-olio story and recipe here) until the garlic turns just golden before turning off the heat. remove garlic from the oil and pour the hot oil over the bowl of tomatoes & herbs. taste and adjust seasoning. add your just drained choice of pasta cooked al dente (per package instructions) to the sauce and toss. serve right away. don’t forget the freshly grated parmesan cheese! buon appetito!

easy dinner idea

my fragrant garden roses being recycled after wilting in the vase

my fragrant garden roses being recycled after wilting in the vase

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birthday dinner: steak with tarragon shallot sauce, home made fries(!!), hk’s oyster mushrooms, and roasted asparagus!

it was a certain some one special’s birthday recently right after he had returned from a big journey, so we decided to have a nice meal at home-the birthday boy chose the menu: organic grass fed new york steaks (he claimed we hadn’t had any steak recently-which was technically true) served with a heavenly (and rather rich) tarragon sauce (le relais de l’entrecote secret sauce wannabe), hand cut home made french fries which tasted much better than they looked, quickly stir fried oyster mushrooms with dijon mustard (his recipe from the bachelor days), and finally- roasted asparagus. we ate well that night. happy-happy!

ingredients for the (entrecote wannabe) sauce:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch tarragon
  • 1 shallot
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt, cracked pepper
  • 2 tbs creme fraiche or sour cream * see creme fraiche recipe below*
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • a splash of good wine (optional)

pulse together-tarragon leaves (no stems), 1 small shallot (or 1/2 large), garlic, a touch of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

melt 1-2 tsp butter in a sauce pan and add the herb mixture to the pot on med/high heat, stirring constantly for about 2-3 minutes

reduce the heat and add either a nice squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of wine (not too much), 1 tbs good french dijon mustard, mix well, then and 2 tbs creme fraiche (or sour cream), stirring for a minute or two on med/low heat before removing from from the stove. add the juices from your steak (or deglaze the pan with a splash of wine) to the warm sauce and mix well prior to serving. i marinate my steaks (grass fed) in a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and some rosemary or thyme-sea salt is added once the steak is in the frying pan or lately always on the grill.

*creme fraiche*: in case you ever need some and can’t find it at the store (it happens), you can make creme fraiche at home- combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a container (glass). cover and let it stand at room temperature for a minimum of 8 hours and up to 24, or until the mixture is very thick. stir well, cover, and refrigerate.

for the oyster mushrooms a l’hk:
oyster mushrooms (a good amount-keeping in mind they shrink drastically)

  • 1 heaping tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, cracked pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • a small bunch flat leaf parsley or fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

add the olive oil to a frying pan on high heat, then add the mushrooms to the pan as soon as the oil is just hot, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste, and stir fry until just tender-
combine the mustard and lemon juice, mix well, then add to the hot pan of stir fried mushrooms, stirring well,  stir fry for just another minute or two until the liquid is absorbed.

top with fresh herbs and freshly ground pepper. serve.

for the grilled asparagus:
remove the hard stems of the asparagus, lay them on a sheet pan, add a touch of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and cracked pepper, make sure they are all coated well, then bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. done.

for the fries…they didn’t look so good, so i’m not sure i should be sharing my fabulous technique (haha), but they were delicious:

  • about 10 medium organic yellow potatoes (you can peel them if you prefer)
  • safflower oil & extra virgin olive oil (i used half of each)-enough to fill up to half of your pot.
  • sea salt to taste
  • cut the potatoes into evenly thin slices and soak them in cold water for about 20-30 minutes, then remove and pat them dry (completely).

heat the oil to about 325 degrees, then carefully add the potatoes, and fry them until golden brown. remove carefully with a slotted spatula and place on a few paper towels to drain the extra oil. sprinkle with sea salt and serve right away. obviously i could use some tips on making better looking fries, so any comments/recommendations would be greatly appreciated (although i don’t foresee making fries again any time soon)!

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