Sunday, the 10th of July 2016

The beginnings of Broiled Tomatoes w/Feta Salad

Yesterday there were eight folks gathered 'round our dinner table*. And did we have a feast! Our menus generally are based on what any one of us in the family is hungry for (that usually means me, if I'm the one doing most of the cooking that night). Tonight son Bly, who lives in the city and was out for a visit, requested steak as he hasn't yet found a butcher shop close to him and his wife that has anything but meh-tasting beef. He also asked his sis to make pork belly - something Brynnly's becoming semi-famous for; it's that good. The rest that followed was, yup, what I was hungry for! 

 1 - char-grilled marinated London broil
2 - steak au poivre mushroom sauce
4 - seared pork belly
 5 - tomatoes w/feta salad
7 - no dessert - ran out of time

1 - Beef has gotten so expensive! This time, tho, I was in luck because Stew Leonard's had their London broil steaks on sale for only $2.99/lb.! London broil is a flavorful, but somewhat tough meat that just needs a tenderizing marinade and to be cut on an angle in thin slices. It's just as good as any sirloin when treated correctly. 
For the marinade: In a blender combine olive oil, worchestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, curry powder, Mister Mustard, well, mustard (Shop Rite carries it). Amounts are up to your tastes. We were grilling two 3 lb. steaks so used (but didn't measure anything) about 1/3 C. olive oil, 1/4 C. worchestershire and red wine vinegar, 4 T. curry, 1 T. mustard. Marinate for at least 1 hour before grilling. I put the steaks in an over-sized zip-lic, poured the marinade in and left the steaks on the counter so they would come to room temp.  

2 - I know, I know...steak au poivre doesn't have mushrooms in it and uses brandy and whole peppercorns. Ours didn't follow the rules! 
For our sauce: In at least 1/2+ stick of butter, we sautéed two 10 oz. packages of pre-sliced white mushrooms with half of a diced onion. As that began cooking down, 1/2 C. bourbon was added, along with 3 T. coarse-ground Tellicherry black pepper. Just before serving a 3/4 C. half & half was added and all was heated through. 

3 - Follow the link for the skillet corn recipe. This time we used frozen corn. In my humble opinion, the very best frozen corn I've ever eaten comes from The Fresh Market grocery store. It's their own store brand and comes in 2 lb. bags. We used a bag of the yellow corn and a bag of the white corn.

4 - Daughter Brynnly made the pork belly (when you purchase it, be sure to get a slab of pork belly (see photo here) and not thin cuts that won't stand on their fatty side. Our slab was about 8" x 4". Preheat the oven to 425º F. In a large iron skillet, sear the pork belly on both sides so it's nicely browned, turning frequently, about 5 minutes per side. While that's searing, make your marinade. There isn't any set marinade for pork belly, and the 3 times Brynnly has made it, she's used a different marinade each time. This time it was: soy sauce, fresh grated ginger, a touch of grapefruit zest, a dash of Mr. Mustard and grape seed oil - mix all together with a stick blender or stand blender. When the pork belly is well seared, remove it from the skillet and drain the fat from the skillet. Let the skillet cool down a bit (so the marinade won't burn), place the pork belly back in it, fat side up, and pour the marinade over it, being sure all sides get covered with it. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. When done, remove it from the skillet and cut it into bite or two bite-size pieces. Place in a bowl or small platter and serve. 

5 - This recipe came out of the cookbook ~Culinary Masterpieces~, a wonderful cookbook published  in 1993 by The Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City to celebrate the museum's 60th birthday. The whole darn book is good, but I think their tomatoes with feta recipe is my very favorite. 
Gather together fresh basil leaves that are washed and dried, fresh tomatoes, feta cheese and a balsamic dressing. Cover the bottom of your baking dish with basil leaves - be sure to cover the entire bottom. Place thickly sliced tomato slices on top of the leaves to entirely cover as well. Drizzle balsamic dressing over all, as you would a salad - not too much, not too little. Cover the tomatoes entirely with feta cheese: 
All covered with feta and ready for the broiler!
 Broil about 5" from the heat source until the feta is nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let come to room temperature to serve. You can make your balsamic from scratch, but I usually just use the Good Seasons Zesty Italian packet and carafe. Use a spatula to serve this. 

6 - One of our very favorite salads! And there's just no way to mess up the recipe, because it really isn't a recipe! Follow the link here or above for the recipe. It's nothing more than slicing cucumbers, putting them in a bowl, covering them with vinegar and adding fresh-ground pepper and fresh dill (dry is fine too) - and it's just as good without dill. You add ice cubes to cover and then sprinkle salt on the ice cubes. Just make it about an hour before dinner and that way the ice has time to almost melt, making it easier to get to the cucumbers. Don't make this too far ahead as the cucumbers will be limp (not good) instead of crisp. Mikey Mig's girlfriend Christina adored these and at the end of our meal, pulled the bowl over and ate every last one left!

7 - No dessert this time. 

See you on Sunday!

*Gathered 'round: GB & I, daughter Brynnly, son Bly, Bly & Brynn's buddies Gilby & Mirabel, Bly's buddies Mikey Migs & his girlfriend, Christina

No comments: