Now that the weather is getting nice we’ve been eating on the patio. I absolutely love eating outside with the fountain on and the great view that we have, it’s restorative.
We found a place nearby (shout out to https://naturesfoodpatch.com/) where they make their own sausages filled with unusual and tasty fillings (i.e. a chicken sausage with broccoli rabe and cheese and and pork sausage with bacon). We tossed some shrimp, asparagus, little neck clams and a filet mignon that we butterflied right onto a hot grill. We also had a side of our homemade pickles (see my pickle recipe: here )
Pro-tip: For the little neck clams, soak them in fresh water with a tablespoon of flour (this makes them release any sand they may be holding onto). Then put on hot grill until they pop open. Serve with melted butter mixed with garlic, a splash of fresh squeezed lemon and a little cilantro or parsley.
I have been jonesing for a BBQ. I don’t ever BBQ for myself because I never seem to figure out temperatures, so I leave that to my hubby. I’ll throw anything on the grill and just know it will taste better. So for this BBQ, we started with some fresh clams with butter. Literally just soak the clams for 30 minutes before cooking to get them to release any sand and toss them on the BBQ until they open. A little melted butter for dunking just makes it even better. And of course we had to throw some shrimp on the barbie too…
After that yummy appetizer, we prepared some steaks (don’t forget to leave them out before cooking – never cook a steak straight from the fridge). Simply salt & pepper and ready to grill. I love a ribeye and hubby goes for a filet mignon so we need to adjust our cooking times. We also wrapped up some potatoes in aluminum foil – get these on the grill way before the steaks as they’ll need more time to cook.
As a side dish, I made an old school recipe that I haven’t made in million years – escarole with white beans. I actually had to call a friend to remind me how to make this. You really have to clean the escarole well as it tends to be sandy. After that, roughly chop and blanch for 7 minutes (I add a bullion cube to the boiling water, which takes some of the bitterness out of the escarole), strain the cooked escarole and immediately rinse with cold water to bring back that pretty green color. Sauté minced garlic in a little EVOO, add escarole, warm through, add a can of rinsed white beans, warm through, season with salt & pepper and serve. I could have this as a main dish, it was really flavorful and filling.
I love me a good, marbled, thick, rare steak. No steak sauce, just some salt & pepper (and if I’m going to be fancy, maybe a little bearnaise on the side). I’m not a great BBQ cooker (I leave that to my hubby) so I employed my old fashioned, well-loved and seasoned cast iron skillet to do the magic. I get why folks are scared to get a cast iron skillet I was too. I thought I’d end up with a rust filled pan that would surely kill me. After watching many YouTube videos on how to care for this now kitchen essential, I have to say I love it. The more you take care of it when you first get it, the easier it becomes. It cleans easily, cooks evenly and is really an asset to the kitchen, sort of like a pizza stone. If you need some advice on how to take care of your cast iron skillet, inbox me and I’ll send you some suggestions.
It’s super important to take your steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you cook it (helps the steak cook more evenly). You don’t want to cook a cold, straight from the fridge piece of meat. For this solo meal I sauteed some mushrooms in a little EVOO and butter (salt, pepper, garlic, and some red pepper flakes). I also made my almost nightly broccoli rabe and a baked potato, a treat for me. Then I just sauteed the steak in my skillet (prepared rare and with a little fight left in it). I put a drop of EVOO in the pan before settling in the steak. After flipping the steak, I put a pat of butter on the cooked side. Let the steak rest for a few minutes on a cutting board before cutting into it, this will preserve the juices. This steak was entirely too big to finish for dinner, but the steak and eggs the next morning was epic.
Sometimes you just need a steak. Simply grilled, with a rich porcini sauce on the side – to make it just a little fancy. My hubby won the on going battle of filet mignon vs. ribeye tonight, so this tender little beauty was prepared by him with the porcini recipe from a great chef we know. Pro-tip – bring steak (and any other meat you’re preparing) to room temperature before cooking. This will result in more even cooking and a juicier end product, I promise!
Ingredients for Porcini Sauce: 1/2 tablespoon of rehydrated porcini mushrooms 1 teaspoon of truffle oil (liquid gold!) 1/2 cup heavy cream Sale & pepe!
In food processor pulse rehydrated mushrooms (dried porcini soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes then removed from water) until you have a mushy consistency. Add porcini and other ingredients to saucepan and heat through on low flame, careful to not burn. You can add/subtract ingredients to your liking (I love to “tweak” a recipe!)