Wagyu Flat Iron Steak with Herb Butter

We began a few months ago to host a neighborhood Farm to Table group which means deliveries are made weekly to our front courtyard, then picked up by neighbors who have placed orders. We have a number of local farmers and producers who offer a variety of locally made or raised foods. Our most recent addition to this group of vendors is a family who owns a Wagyu cattle ranch in Jackson County, southwest of our area. This beef is primarily grass fed but finished on hormone-free, non-GMO feed and is known for its marbling and flavor.  We ordered flat iron steak and prepared it in the simplest way – a quick sear in a hot iron skillet, then topped with butter blended with shallots and fresh herbs from our garden, an adaptation of a classic French accompaniment called maitre d’ butter. There is a similar recipe from Saveur online. Results?  My family’s version of a Michelin star!

Wagyu Flat Iron Steak with Herb Butter

Flat Iron Steak – We used 2 1/2 pounds for 6 adults. Tailor the amount to the portions you need – 6 to 8 oz. portions are average.

salt and freshly ground pepper

cooking oil

 

For the Herb Butter –

8 oz. unsalted butter

1 medium shallot, diced

1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves

2 Tablespoons chopped tarragon or Mexican Mint Marigold (tarragon does not grow well in our area, so I always use the latter herb  because we have a lot of it in the garden.)

1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Rub steaks generously with salt and pepper and set aside to let rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
In a low flat bowl, blend butter, shallots, salt, pepper, and herbs with a fork. Set aside until serving time.
Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 steaks and cook, turning once, until seared to your preference for doneness – about 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, 5-6 minutes each side for medium to medium well. I use 2 skillets and repeat for additional steaks adding more oil as necessary. Transfer steaks to serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes. To serve, top each steak with 2 tbsp. of the herb butter. I use a small ice cream scoop to make this quick and simple.

Oatmeal Mango Muffins

As I have mentioned before, I have a favorite breakfast cookbook that features recipes from various Bed and Breakfasts on the West Coast. I have made oatmeal muffins from one of their recipes that we liked which included peaches.I learned in Indonesia that mangos work well when peaches are not available. (We had a mango tree in our back yard there.) So since I had no peaches but several ripe Ataulfo Mangos, I chopped them into the batter for our muffins – a new breakfast favorite!

1 1/4 cups flour

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 Tablespoons molasses

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup peeled, chopped fresh mangos

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients. Mix just until blended. Batter will be lumpy. Stir in mangos. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins are done.

Pappardelle with Peas and Prosciutto

This pasta dish wins on several levels:  it is delicious, simple to prepare, and beautiful on the table! I cooked it in a large copper bottom saute pan and served it in the same pan. Add a loaf of crusty French bread and a simple green salad.

Pappardelle with Peas and Prosciutto

16 ounces Pappardelle

4 ounces chopped prosciutto

2 cups frozen peas

4 Tablespoons butter

1 cup Greek Yogurt (use sour cream if you prefer)

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt

pepper

ground nutmeg

coarsely shredded or flaked Parmesan cheese to pass at serving

Assemble all ingredients. This dish is quickly prepared, so you want to have everything you need ready.

Cook pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, make the sauce.

In a saute pan, combine yogurt, cream, and butter. Heat over medium heat, stirring. As soon as the mixture is hot, turn off heat and season to taste with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Put peas in a colander, set over sink. When pasta is ready to drain, pour the boiling pasta water over the peas, then add peas to cream mixture. Finish draining pasta in the same colander, then add to the pan along with prosciutto. Toss to coat with sauce. Serve from the pan and pass grated Parmesan at the table.

 

 

 

Greek Meat Balls (Keftedes)

Keftedes

Last week’s Greek soup led me to another Greek dish I have wanted to try: Greek Meatballs, or Keftedes.  Since a couple of family members are eating gluten free, I experimented with using Gluten Free bread crumbs and Gluten Free flour for dredging. The flavor was wonderful, but I think the gluten free items made the meat mixture a little looser, and also a bit harder to brown. I hope to try these again and see if my theory is correct. I will also try the optional cooking method, baking the meatballs in a very hot oven.

My favorite ingredients, and the things that added unique flavor to these meatballs were the fresh herbs added to the meat mixture (mint and parsley).  I also made homemade Tzatziki sauce which was a perfect addition to the plate of meatballs and warm flatbread.  Tzatziki recipe coming up next week!

Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

1 cup breadcrumbs

1 egg

2 large onions, finely chopped in food processor

1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced

1/2 cup frresh mint, minced

2 heaping Tablespoons Penzey’s Greek seasoning (optional: 2 Tablespoons dried oregano)

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

 

Oil for frying

flour for dredging

Combine all ingredients except the cooking oil and flour in a very large bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients, folding over from the bottom and kneading for about 5 minutes. The mixture should be smooth and well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 2-3 hours.  Shape meat into ball, dredge in flour and place on a parchment or foil covered baking sheet.  In a heavy skillet (I used 2 iron skillets), heat enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the pan, adding more as needed. Cook the meatballs in batches, uncrowded in the skillet, reducing the heat to medium during cooking. I found that 10-12 meatballs at a time worked best. Brown well on both sides, making sure they are well cooked through. Remove to paper towel covered baking sheet and repeat the process until all meatballs have been cooked. Serve as an appetizer, or on a platter with a stack of flatbread as an entree.  Makes at least 4 dozen meatballs. Optional method of cooking:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees and bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 20 minutes or well browned.

 

 

Fasolada

The recent gap in blog posts is due to a serious health issue for my husband meaning necessary time away from my computer. I probably missed the posting more than my readers, but I did get some time in the kitchen. Here is one of the results.

I have never traveled in Greece but I love to cook and eat Greek food. I think one reason is my own feelings are mirrored in the Greek philosophy of hospitality – well said in a recent Costco publication sent to members.

“Greeks are known for their hospitality; they don’t like to let people leave without giving them something to eat or drink. It’s considered an expression of love to cook for friends and family…And eating in Greece is a ritual, never rushed. It comes with the whole package of food, wine, ouzo and conversation. It’s the Greek way.”

This soup will go on our favorites list. It is my version of one I saw in the Costco article which gave credit for the recipe to Laura Langston.  I served it for a Sunday night supper with crusty bread. As with many soups, it tasted even better the next day for lunch.

Fasolada

3 cans Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

5-6 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

28 ounces passata, or tomato puree

6 cups of water (add more if the soup begins to thicken more than you like)

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

freshly ground black pepper to taste

juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 lemons to wedge and offer at serving

1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley served as topping

crumbled feta cheese served as topping

Add 3 Tablespoons olive olive oil to large soup pot and heat over medium heat. Saute onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add beans, tomato puree, water, 1/2 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for an hour. Add juice of 1 lemon. At serving time, top each bowl with chopped parsley and feta cheese. Pass lemon wedges. Makes 8 large servings.

 

 

 

Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

When I want to put a simple but hearty meal on the table for a family gathering, I like to use one pan dishes like this one. Any combination of veggies can work, but an assortment of root vegetables sprinkled with salt and chopped rosemary from the garden is one of my favorites. I you do not have a large baking pan like this one, do the same thing in 2 smaller Pyrex dishes. This recipe serves 10.

Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

10 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

3 -4 cups small red potatoes

2 red onions cut in large pieces

6 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks.

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil (add more if needed to coat all vegetables).

Spray a large (commercial size) baking pan with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towel and line sides of baking pan. Brush with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper

In a large bowl, toss vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour into center of rows of chicken, filling in spaces around the chicken. Sprinkle all with chopped rosemary. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is done and vegetables are fork tender. If you wish, put the pan under the broiler for 2 or 3 minutes to brown the chicken breasts. Serve in pan or remove to large platter with one or two fresh rosemary sprigs as garnish.

 

 

 

Herb and Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

These bites of goodness disappeared so fast I almost did not get a picture!

Herb and Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

8 ounces plain goat cheese

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary (leaves stripped from stalk and finely chopped)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh mint, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or tot taste

1/2 cup crushed corn chips

15-20 Baby Bella mushrooms, stems and gills removed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small mixing bowl, blend goat cheese, herbs, and salt. Mix well to combine
Wash the mushrooms and pat them dry. Remove the stems and the gills. Scoop the  goat cheese mixture into the mushroom caps, sprinkle with crushed corn chips, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown on top. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt before serving.

 

 

Pepperoni and Spinach Eggs

I look for ways to add vegetables, particularly leafy greens, to our meals. We enjoyed this made up on the spot dish for breakfast recently, but it would also be good for a light lunch or late supper.  Add a slice of crusty French bread if you like, but whole grain toast was just right for our early breakfast.

Pepperoni and Spinach Eggs for Two

4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and patted dry

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

2 eggs

8-10 slices pepperoni

Heat olive oil in an iron skillet, add onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add spinach, tossing and cooking until spinach is wilted.  Break eggs into cooking spinach, scatter with pepperoni slices, and cover for 3-4 minutes, or until eggs are as done as you wish. Remove from skillet to serving plates and add slices of crisp whole grain toast.

 

Double Chocolate Muffins

I understand that the main difference in muffins and cupcakes is that muffins have less sugar. Of course, cupcakes usually have frosting!  But Nora does not think either is tasty unless it is chocolate.  She helped me make these muffins starting with picking out a recipe, so she was doubly delighted to hear they were double chocolate!

Double Chocolate Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Line muffin tins with paper liners. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place the remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until combined , batter will be slightly lumpy. Fill muffin cups  2/3 full . Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark and spring back when touched on top.

Bow Tie Pasta Salad

This pasta salad has a twist of flavor provided by contrasting tastes of capers, golden raisins, and red onions. With the addition of yellow peppers, Kalamata olives, and fresh basil, it is also a nutritious and colorful addition to the table. When I make it, I remember a Bow Tie (farfalle) salad I once had at a tea room near Shadows on the Teche  in New Iberia Louisiana. Set among towering live oak trees draped with Spanish moss on the banks of Bayou Teche, The Shadows, built in 1834 for sugar planter David Weeks, paints a vivid picture of life for the four generations that made this property their home,the first National Trust for Historic Preservation site in the Gulf South. I bought a cookbook in their gift shop which has been the source of many other good dishes for our family.

I have experimented with this pasta and remembered ingredients, but have never duplicated the one I ate there.

Serve with grilled chicken or meat of your choice. Top with bacon and feta cheese for a true kitchen keeper! 

Bow Tie Pasta

1 lb. farfalle, or Bow Tie Pasta

1 thin sliced red onion

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup Kalamata olives

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup capers

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or more to taste)

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese

crumbled crisp bacon for topping (optional)

Cook and drain pasta. Place in large bowl and toss with olive oil. Cool and toss again before stirring in all other ingredients. Top with crumbled feta cheese and bacon if desired.