Steak and…

Graul’s has NY strip steaks on sale.  I find that shopping their circular for our protein helps us to eat well without breaking the bank.  I have some of that rub I made a few weeks ago and we’ll use that on the steak.  I haven’t made brussels sprouts in a while so decided to go with one of our favorite recipes for those.  It’s been a busy weekend and I want to make the chicken chili for tomorrow this afternoon so it’s good to keep it simple tonight!

Rub

  • 2 TB whole allspice
  • 2 TB black peppercorns
  • 1 TB cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 2 TB sweet paprika
  • 1 TB chipotle powder
  • 1 TB ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Toast allspice, peppercorns, cumin, cinnamon and cloves in a nonstick pan over medium heat, tossing frequently.  When fragrant, remove from heat and let cool.  Grind in a spice grinder and place in a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk together.

Roasted brussels sprouts

  • 3/4 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss sprouts with pancetta, olive oil and pepper in a ceramic baking dish.  Roast for 30 minutes, tossing once.  Remove from oven and toss with balsamic vinegar.  Serve.

Something old and something new

I am a big believer in eating what is seasonally appropriate.  In winter the crabmeat that is available comes from Venezuala and it is not the same as Maryland crabmeat.  It has a blueish tint and I don’t feel like it is the same thing.  This week Maryland crabmeat returned to our grocery store so I decided to celebrate with my tried and true crabcakes.  For something different, I combined them with my new brussels sprout recipe.

Maryland Crabcakes

  • 1 lb crabmeat, lump or jumbo lump
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Paprika
  • 1 TB Dijon mustard
  • 4 TB Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup Panko
  • Wondra Flour
  • Olive oil
  • Butter

In a bowl whisk together egg, Worcestershire, spices, mustard and mayo.  Stir in Panko.  Gently fold in crabmeat.  Sprinkle flour on a plate.  Form crab mixture into cakes and put on top of flour.  Sprinkle with more flour and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat.  Combine 1 TB Olive oil and 1 tsp butter.  Cook crabcakes 4 – 5 minutes per side until browned.  Serve.  (A leftover crabcake makes an awesome sandwich on toast the next day.)

Sauteed brussels sprouts

So now that I’ve been converted on brussels sprouts, I tried a different variation.  We are torn on which one is better.

  • 3/4 lb brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and halved
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 oz pancetta, diced
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 TB white wine

In a heavy pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute pancetta until crisp and remove to a paper towel.  Add brussels sprouts to pan and saute about 5 minutes until browned.  Add chicken stock and simmer about 15 minutes until tender.  Put pancetta back in pan, pour in white wine to deglaze pan and cook over high heat for another 2 minutes and serve.

Something old and something new

Something old and something new

Steak and salad (and more brussels sprouts)

Our dinner tonight was a wonderful combination of flavors based on different motivations.  The brussels sprouts were such a hit that I wanted to try another variation so that got them on the menu and I had homemade mayonnaise leftover from our artichokes on Saturday.  That got me thinking about the amazing Italian chopped salad they had at Marconi’s.  Marconi’s was my favorite restaurant for years.  It was never trendy but the food was consistently wonderful.  For many years they didn’t take reservations or credit cards and when you went you might sit on the narrow staircase for what seemed like an eternity waiting for a table.

When you got the table, the wait was worth it.  The tables were small but covered with perfect white tablecloths.  The waiters were in tuxedos and they recognized regulars and would get you your cocktail order without having to ask.  The bread and butter were hard to resist but you knew what was coming so you tried not to fill up.  For our family, dinner always started with the chopped Italian salad.  The waiter brought a wooden salad bowl to the room.  It had all of the ingredients and a dollop of a mayonnaise dressing on top.  The waiter would take two sharp knives and chop the salad back and forth until it was in little pieces and every bite contained a combination of all of the flavors.  The salad was a constant but the entrees varied – Lobster Cardinale, Sole Veronique, the best soft crabs with a tartar sauce that was out of this world, shad roe – all were wonderful and if you ordered an entree that came with the french fried matchstick potatoes that was even better.  Regardless we had to get the fried eggplant which was crispy and perfect.  And you had to finish the evening with the hot fudge sundae – the waiter would bring the bowls of ice cream to the table along with a bowl of perfect hot fudge sauce and cover your ice cream with the sauce and leave the bowl on the table for a topper.  I can’t recreate all of it but I think I did a pretty good job on the salad.  Here is what I did – you can substitute good quality mayonnaise like Hellman’s or Duke’s for the homemade.  The key is in the chopping.

Chopped Italian salad

  • lettuce (I used a mix of green leaf and mache), washed and dried
  • 3 tomatoes, washed and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, sliced
  • 4 anchovies
  • dollop of good mayonnaise

Place greens in a salad bowl.  Top with chopped tomatoes, celery, eggs and anchovies.  Top all with mayonnaise and chop finely using two sharp knives.   Here it is before and after:

Salad ready for chopping

Salad ready for chopping

Salad after chopping

Salad after chopping

Sauteed brussels sprouts

So now that I’ve been converted on brussels sprouts, I tried a different variation.  We are torn on which one is better.

  • 3/4 lb brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and halved
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 oz pancetta, diced
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock

In a heavy pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Saute pancetta until crisp and remove to a paper towel.  Add brussels sprouts to pan and saute about 5 minutes until browned.  Add chicken stock and simmer about 15 minutes until tender.  Put pancetta back in pan and serve.  Out of this world!

We had the salad and brussels sprouts with a grilled steak.  The steak was cooked perfectly (we split a Porterhouse and Keith grilled it about 3 minutes a side) but the veggies stole the show!

Steak and sprouts!

Steak and sprouts!

Brussels sprouts – my discovery!

When people ask me what I like to eat, I usually respond that I like almost everything.  Then I qualify with I don’t like peas, lima beans or brussels sprouts.  On Sunday I decided to try brussels sprouts and discovered that they are excellent!  We had grilled lamb chops (marinated in Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper) and I made the brussels sprouts as a side.  This is a definite do-over (my husband loved them too) and inspires additional ideas about how to fix them.  (We had a friend over for dinner who cooks hers with bacon and pecans!)  I might even have to try lima beans next.

Here is what I did:

Roasted brussels sprouts

  • 3/4 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 oz pancetta, chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss sprouts with pancetta, olive oil and pepper in a ceramic baking dish.  Roast for 30 minutes, tossing once.  Remove from oven and toss with balsamic vinegar.  Serve.

Delicious!