BBQ Steak, Sweet Potato & Squash

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My family has re-discovered the outside patio area. We; well actually I wanted a sitting area on the patio. Not just any sitting area I wanted someplace where we can; after a long hard day of working we could sit and relax comfortably. I finally pulled the trigger on an outdoor couch and we LOVE it!  We make plans of when we could meet, what we are going to drink and who has to get up and make dinner.

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Looks pretty comfortable huh? 

With the nights already getting shorter meals have to be something quick to throw together just so no one has to be away from lounging on the patio for too long. What fun would it be if I spent an hour in the kitchen while they are out there chilling out. No fun at all.

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As long as the raw meat doesn’t touch the tray; you can use it to take everything off the grill

Here is something so surprisingly delicious but so crazy easy that anyone can make this meal and you won’t hear any complaints from the loungers

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I use a little tinfoil so I don’t lose the veggies

Steak – you cannot go wrong with Ribeyes
Squash – whichever kind you like or both
Sweet potato or whatever you have on hand
Large Onion peeled and sliced
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

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You still get grill marks even while using tinfoil

That’s it!  Take the steaks out before you start anything else, they are best when the come to room temperature; season liberally with Salt and Pepper and put aside.
Start the grill, Slice the veggies and potatoes. Season those with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grab a sheet pan or whatever you use when you grill and head outside. I have a little plastic basket I put all the supplies I need like the plates, utensils and tinfoil etc. And I usually only have to come back in for a refill of my wine.

Have a wonderful long labor day weekend!

 

BBQ Marinated Shrimp

I am writing this week’s blog on Friday morning before my house becomes so busy and full of a lot of people. A girlfriend of mine is coming over to help me prep for an anniversary party we are hosting for my in-laws. My feeling was that it needed to be a step up or so from the normal backyard BBQ I throw since it is their 60th wedding anniversary BBQ and that is quite the accomplishment in my book and deserves something a little special.
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In a little bit a couple of my sister-in-laws will be here along with my girlfriend JC oh and did I mention that JC is a trained chef; no pressure for me to be prepping along side her ugh!  I even felt obligated to clean my oven last week just because I wanted everything “perfect” for her. I doubt she would judge me for a dirty oven, but I wanted to make cooking in my kitchen a pleasant experience.
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When deciding what we were having I wanted some of my favorite sides. Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Baked beans and BBQ Shrimp.  So I well I guess we are all going to work on cooking the pasta & potatoes. I cheated on the beans and doctored up a large can I had on hand already. We’ll need to marinate the shrimp and decorate some cupcakes that I made up yesterday. JC is going to be in charge of the chicken and steak tips. She mentioned making up a few for us to taste, I have no doubt that they will be delicious.
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The BBQ shrimp is a recipe a friend brought to a party many years ago and has been a staple at my parties ever since. I have shared it with many people over the years but I have never blogged about it before. Funny thing is I tell everyone where I got it but they still refer to it as my recipe. When I make it I still bring out the same page that on the top says Jack’s family recipe, it has many stains and blotches on it but it is still excellent and a crowd pleaser!
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BBQ Marinated Shrimp

1 cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 pounds large, peeled and deveined shrimp with tails on

In a large bowl or ziploc bag, add all the ingredients except the shrimp, mix well and then add your shrimp. Let them marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or best overnight.
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Skewer them and cook on your grill just till pink which means they are done. They cook quick but also depends on how hot you have your grill.

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The cook gets to get at least a skewer to themselves. At least that is how it works at my house.

Parmesan-Garlic Hasselback Zucchini

My garden has been pretty good to me this year with plenty of cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini. I really don’t want to talk about my non-existent eggplant or beefsteak tomatoes. Thankfully my cherry and roma tomato plants are picking up a little of the slack; and it also helps my husband has found a way to add tomato to his sandwich that he thinks works out pretty slick; he takes a bite of sandwich and pops a cherry tomato in his mouth and he likes that his sandwich stays dry. I say win win!

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Now how to get a win with someone who doesn’t like zucchini; which I can actually relate to; when I was growing up; besides my aversion to everything green; the only way I had zucchini and summer squash was steamed or boiled to death. I was reminded of this when I was talking with my dad last week about how I prepare versus how he prepares squash. I like mine on the al dente side and he likes his well on the mush side. No thank you!

IMG_4452Before this I had only made hasselback potatoes, never even thought about another vegetable before but why not?

IMG_4453Parmesan-Garlic Hasselback Zucchini

1 Tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
4 small or 2 medium zucchini
⅓ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

IMG_4454Preheat grill or oven
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl
Make crosswise cuts every ½ inch along each zucchini. Make sure to slice almost to the bottom of the squash but not all the way through. I use a round handle of a wooden spoon to help me get the same size cuts. Gently fan the squash to make them a little wider.
Place a shaved piece of Parmesan in each of the cuts and then brush the oil mixture over the top.
Place the squash on a double layer of foil and grill (without turning) until browned and tender about 15 minutes.

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Adapted from Eating Well Magazine

Sirloin Tip Steak, Asparagus & Bearnaise Butter

I can only assume everyone’s summer has been super busy and flying by as well. We have had something going on 9 out of the last 10 weekends. Between showers, weddings and golfing we managed to also be lucky enough to spend 2 weekends in Montreal and a also a couple of weekends up North. Last weekend was to be spent boating on Winnipesaukee but the weather didn’t cooperate so we will try again sometime later in the summer.

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With all this time being away I really haven’t been cooking like I usually do; and to my surprise I have totally missed it. I mean I love cooking and baking but sometimes I have no ambition to try something new or anything too taxing.

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This weekend our plans fell through last minute so Friday night I started looking through my catalogs and magazines and started making a grocery shopping list so I could make some of the things I came across. Saturday morning I kept looking and writing till my list was now two sided UGH! I haven’t done a true grocery shopping in a long time just picking up stuff for lunches and light dinners during the week.

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So far since last night around 6PM I have made 2 new recipes and I currently have some cookies in the oven and am also getting ready to make some basil pesto. Guess I am making up for lost time in my kitchen.

2 large sprigs fresh tarragon
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbs minced shallot
1 Tbs dry white wine
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs water
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ lb. beef flap meat – aka sirloin tip – cut so they are uniform sized pieces
1 bunch of asparagus – trimmed
T Tbs olive oil

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Bearnaise Butter

Strip the tarragon leaves from the stems, finely chop the leaves; about 2 tsp. And set aside.

In a skillet over medium-low heat melt 1 Tbs butter along with the shallots and the tarragon stems. Cook for a couple of minutes till the shallots are translucent. Add the wine, vinegar and 1 Tbs of water. Increase the heat to medium, and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, remove and discard the stems and let cool complete.

Once cooled add the last 3 Tbs butter, the chopped tarragon, ¼ tsp kosher salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.

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Steak and Asparagus

Heat your grill to high about 400’F – 475’F

Using a sheet pan place some plastic wrap down; use one end for the beef and the other for the asparagus. Coat both with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

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Grill the meat turning every 2 minutes. Around 6-8 minutes, you are looking for medium rare 140’F for best flavors.

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Remove plastic wrap place beef on sheet pan cover loosely with foil, while it is resting, cook asparagus turning once till slightly charred 2-3 minutes.

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Thinly slice the meat against the grain, arrange on plates or a platter with the asparagus, top both with dollops of the butter.

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Weeknight Eggplant Parm

Happy Father’s day!!!

This week I started with great intentions; which I like to think we all do; then by Tuesday everything went out the window. As you know by now; well that is if you have read a few of these weekly blogs; I love to cook and bake and I do so very often (except this week) It has been a really nice week here; weather wise so when I got home Tuesday after work I grabbed a glass of sangria went out on the back deck with a magazine and read it cover to cover. That is something pretty rare around here. We usually have so many things going on and things to do; but hey everyone deserves to relax once in awhile right?

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My daughter works a few nights a week, my son is either hanging out with his girlfriend or one of his buddies after work so a lot of nights it is just me and my husband for dinner. When we are all going to be home I really like it when we all sit down for dinner together; just like old times. Never knowing which night it could be I try to have some things in my back pocket that I could throw together for all of us. That is if I am not sitting out on the back deck with a magazine and a glass of sangria. So I finish my glass and magazine and start thinking cool we are all home what can I make. Open the fridge and there are a couple of eggplants I should get to, Oh and there is some leftover risotto that I want to turn into Arancini. OK we’ll have one or the other but I will make both. Can you see where this is heading? So I take everything I need out and get started. It’s already 6:30 OK closer to 7 by now and I think; by the time I get dinner on the table it would be 8:00 or later. Not one of my best ideas; maybe it was the sangria talking?

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The island was covered with my ingredients the clock is ticking and I finally come to my senses and pronounce let’s just have hot dogs and beans. The simple or rather known in my house the no-brainer dinner was enjoyed by all!  I spent the rest of the night in the kitchen making the Arancini and frying up the eggplant which I was finally able to assemble and enjoy the eggplant Parmesan on Friday night; the Arancini are now in the freezer to enjoy other day.

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Here is what I should have made with the eggplant being I had such a late start!

Weeknight Eggplant Parmesan

1 or 2 Medium or whatever you have on hand
1 jar of your favorite jar sauce
Half a package of mozzarella chopped
a sprinkle or two of red pepper flakes adds a little love
serve with fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese sprinkled on top

Cut up the eggplant into medium to small size chunks and place in your cooking vessel, I use my cast iron for the grill it works out great

Cover with sauce and mozzarella and then loosely with tinfoil and cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.

I love serving it along side some sweet Italian sausage links grilled and sliced up

 

Steak and Arugula Salad

Another typical weekend here in New England – yesterday was sunny gorgeous and 80ish today it is rainy, dreary and 63 degrees. I definitely think; well actually I know that the weather inspires what I feel like making and eating. Last night light and simple, today I am thinking of making soup; crazy right?

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We planted our gardens last weekend, I cannot wait for things to start growing and producing, I am dying for some fresh from the garden tomatoes. The last few years we have planted sunburst and cherry tomatoes; they are super sweet and so flavorful they will continue to be on my growing list. They barely make it into the house before you have to pop a handful in your mouth; my mouth is watering as I write.

The last few years I kept a journal of what worked in the garden and what didn’t. I got a chuckle out of one of my notes “no zucchini – unacceptable” I have had terrible trouble with squash bugs. I still haven’t solved it but I am determined to win the war.

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Last night I wanted something quick, light but filling for dinner last night. One of my husband’s clients gave him a bag full of arugula & mixed greens from her garden; guess she planted a lot earlier than we did. I had a flank steak on hand; BTW it is a great thing to have a skirt or flank steak in the fridge or freezer. They cook up fast, take marinade well or keep it simple with salt and pepper plus they are always tasty a very versatile. The cryovac ones will last longer in the fridge so you cook it when you want it, not when it has to be cooked.

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I made a simple dressing for the greens grilled up the steak and voila instant dinner; light and delicious.

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Flank Steak seasoned on both sides with olive oil, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Start the grill; while it is heating up make the dressing

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Simple dressing

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed is best
½ tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper

Fresh parmigiano reggiano for shaving

Grill the steak for about 3-4 minutes on each side

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While steak is resting for 5 minutes; dress the arugula and pour yourself a glass of wine of your choice.

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Slice the steak very thin against the grain and lay slices on top of the salad shave a few pieces of good quality parmigiano reggiano cheese and If possible serve alfresco