Men in the Kitchen

Today, Steve and I teamed up for dinner, and the recipe came out of a Men's Health magazine. We actually ate this maybe two years ago, but if you're like me, your recipe file/box/cupboard is a smash-up of different clippings/notes/cards.  While I was cleaning it out last week, I ran across this recipe and it looked pretty good, and pretty healthy too! Plus (and this is no coincidence), the kind of steak I needed was on sale:).

The only beef (haha!) I had with the dish is that in the picture, the onions look quite a bit more red than mine turned out. I wonder if they used red wine vinegar instead of balsamic? Or a mix? The balsamic was nice, though I know the flavor isn't for everyone. Next time, what would I do differently? I would change up the vinegars a bit, and maybe combine some Yukon Gold potatoes with the beans for a little lighter texture! Time will tell.

Grilled Italian Steak with Smashed Beans
From "Men's Health," January/February 2008

12 oz. Skirt, Flank, or Flatiron Steak (we used Flatiron)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-15oz can cannellini beans
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large onion, halved and sliced
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper both sides of the steak(s). Let rest for a few minutes before grilling.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 10 minutes, until it's soft and slightly brown. Add the vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes.

Heat another skillet/pan with the rest of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, beans and about 1/2 of the liquid from the can of beans (discard the rest). Cook for 5 minutes. Use a potato masher, fork or back of a spoon to roughly mash the beans. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a grill/grill pan/cast iron skillet over high heat. Grill steaks for 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare (again, for a flatiron steak; may be longer for a thicker cut).  Slice and serve with beans, top with onions.

Serves 2


Here Fishy, Fishy, Fishy...

"This summer, I will try more recipes for fish and healthy seafood."
So said I a month ago. But, I tried my first recipe today, which is only two days after the official start of summer, so I'm all good, right?

Steve's not a huge fan of seafood and I'm a little skiddish of making it at home, but a soup sounded like an easy way to go. And it was! It made our house smell great too.

Now, sure the recipe calls for bacon, oil, and cream, but don't let that scare you off. They're in reasonable amounts, and if you use healthy oil and fat free half and half, it helps. The bacon... well, its bacon. Not much you can do about that.

Side note on the fish - every chef or cook will tell you fresh seafood is better than frozen, which it is. But I had the tilapia in the freezer and forgot to thaw it. So I just cut it while it was frozen and it worked so well! The pieces were all a uniform size and cut really easily, and since it cooks in the broth, being frozen was not an issue.

The soup was really good! It was fresh-tasting, not too fishy, not too heavy, and with a little bread or salad on the side, makes a nice supper. The only drawback is (and this may not even bother you) that when it cooled, while I was putting the leftovers away, the soup smelled much fishy-er. I think it should re-heat fine, but next time, I'll just make enough for one meal and call it good.

Tilapia Corn Chowder
Not really adapted from Foodnetwork.com
2 ounces bacon (about 2 slices)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 leek, white part only, halved lengthwise, rinsed and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, diced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 4 ears)
1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme (I didn't use this, don't let that stop you though!)
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Chop bacon and cook in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Add oil to the pan. Add celery, leek, salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and corn. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just tender and the corn is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in tilapia and thyme; return to a gentle simmer. Cook until the tilapia is cooked through, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Stir in half-and-half, lemon juice and the reserved bacon. Garnish with chives, if using.



In my humble opinion, I think hamburgers are the best example of an All-American food. They're not some far distant cousin to its original form like pizza, or an Americanized version of the real-deal, like Kung Pao Chicken. Sure, its named after a city in Germany, but from what I've read, that probably has more to do with where the inventor's parents came from, not the food itself.

So... burgers on the grill for supper tonight! We took some advice from Emeril and "kicked it up a notch." When we eat burgers, Steve usually requests this cucumber salad to go along with it. Its a nice contrast with the burger because of all its crunch and tangy-ness. The burgers were really good - I wouldn't go so far as to say fantastic, because they seemed a little dry.  Granted, I did over-cook them slightly, but I wonder about making a goat-cheese spread and mixing it with some sour cream to give it a little more moisture. And some chives too? We'll have to see next time...

I don't have a specific recipe for everything we ate, but I'll walk you through our tasty summer supper!

Cucumber Salad
You could use regular cukes for this recipe, but I found out they're really hard for your body to digest unless you peel and seed them first. They make cool little half-moons if you do that, but I like crunchiness of hothouse cukes too. And they were on sale. :)
1 kirby/hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
1/4 cup vinegar (be creative and use apple cider, rice, white wine, or distilled vinegar, or a combination! I usually use part rice vinegar and part distilled vinegar)
1/4ish white onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

Mix all of the ingredients and let sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

Turkey Burgers with Red Peppers and Goat Cheese
Wash red peppers, remove any stickers, and put them on the grill whole over high heat. Turning occasionally, grill until most of the skin is black and blistered, but not smoking. Remove and immediately put into a lidded bowl (I used my Pampered Chef classic batter bowl). Cover and let sit for 10-15 minutes, and then remove skin by rubbing it off. Slice open, cut out the stem, and scrape out any seeds and remaining core. Rinse under cool water, pat dry, and cut to desired size. 
We roasted two red peppers for ourselves, but one would have been enough for the two of us. However, the leftovers will be great on sandwiches and in omlettes for the next few days!

Mix 1 package of ground turkey with a few cloves of chopped garlic and a handful of shredded white cheese (we used an Italian mix). Form into 4 patties with a slight depression in the middle - this prevents them from taking the shape of a football when grilling. Grill over medium-high heat, turning once, until cooked through (160 degrees inside). 

For goat cheese/chevre, go to the store and buy goat cheese. (I like things that are homemade, but come on, I'm not making my own cheese! Not yet anyway...) Four ounces should do the trick for 4 people, but I bought the bigger one because I'll be using it tomorrow for breakfast!

Place turkey burger on a whole wheat bun and top each with a few slices of goat cheese and roasted red pepper.


Back on the Horse

Its never too late for a fresh start, right? So here's mine... after more than two months, I'm going to use this summer to jump back and continue telling you "What We Are Eating".

A week or so ago, my good friend Angel from college stopped by for a night (and an exciting night it was, one that brought us to the E.R. but not because of this recipe, I assure you). Before the excitement, I suggested we make dinner together, since that is something I love to do with friends, and it makes the eating that much more meaningful.  It is completely sharing a meal.  We ate a simple meal of spaghetti and meatballs, but simple does not mean it wasn't absolutely delicious.

Turkey Meatballs
Liberally adapted from Rachael Ray on the Food Network
1 1/3 pound ground turkey
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
olive oil to drizzle

Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit.

Mix all ingredients except olive oil. Using a small ice cream scoop, form into 18-24 meatballs, place on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake 20 minutes or until cooked through.

If using in a sauce for pasta or as an appetizer, simmer baked meatballs in sauce for about 20 minutes.