June 24, 2015

Italian Salami Flank Steak Pinwheels

Looking for an impressive but relatively quick dinner option, worthy of serving to guests?  Look no further.  Step aside, gents.  Yours truly will woman the grill tonight.

Italian Salami Flank Steak Pinwheels {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

First, a little backstory (feel free to skip ahead if you can’t wait to dive right in to making these – I won’t blame you!).  If you know anyone in the medical field, you may have heard a phrase that goes something along the lines of “the fourth year of medical school is the best year of your life since kindergarten!”  Friends, let me tell you: it’s true.  Many moons ago, my husband was a 4th year medical student and found himself with an absolutely epic amount of free time.  Sure, there were real rotations – acting internships and whatnot – but most of the rotations were nothing short of a joke.  Radiology rotation?  Home by 10am most days (no wonder that’s what he chose for residency…).  Pathology rotation?  He was called in one day out of an entire month for an autopsy.  He did a radiology “research month” which consisted of about 10 hours of work putting some data into a spreadsheet… and then asking me to do all the statistics since he couldn’t remember how to do chi-squared analysis.  I’d come home from long, miserable days in my graduate lab and find him on the floor, eyes glazed over, in the middle of an all-day playstation game with a fellow fourth year med student.  One day, I came home early and found him on the elliptical watching Oprah.  Often, he’d be spread out on the floor watching the Food Network.  My jealously knew no bounds that year.  (Things have a way of evening out, though – it was a tough transition when he had to work 110 hours in the ICU in his first 7 days as an intern.)  One of those days, I came home and he told me all about these steak pinwheel things he saw on Rachael Ray that looked really good, and after a dramatic eye-roll over his daytime Rachael Ray watching, I tucked the idea away for the future.

flank steak pinwheels

Fast forward seven years, and I finally decided to give them a whirl (ha, whirl… pinwheel... I’ll stop now).  Since I’m home on maternity leave, we’ve been having friends over for weeknight dinners, a luxury that will probably stop once I head back to work.  I love to grill, as do the friends we had over this particular evening, so it seemed high time to try out the flank steak pinwheels.  While our mid-week entertaining days will probably end, these definitely will not – despite a worthy-of-company appearance, they’re quick to pull together and grill, so they remain an excellent weeknight choice.  The hardest part is butterflying the steak to allow for maximum stuffing.  You just want to make sure to butterfly with the grain to ensure that the steak is sliced against the grain when it is cut into serving portions.  Unsure how to butterfly a flank steak?  The fine folks at Serious Eats have an excellent visual tutorial  on butterflying, stuffing, and tying the steak for pinwheels. The possibilities for stuffing are endless, but I went with a simple Italian-style filling, with lots of garlic, parsley, salami, and provolone cheese – delizioso!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole flank steak, 2 to 2.5 pounds, trimmed of excess fat
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced salami
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese

Directions:

  1. Lay steak on a cutting board with grain running parallel to the edge of the counter.  Gently pound out thicker regions to form a rectangle.  Butterfly the steak, leaving the back edge attached by about half an inch of meat.  Carefully open the steak and flatten the seam gently to form a large rectangle.
  2. Season open side of meat with salt and pepper.  Spread garlic and parsley all over the steak, leaving a 1-inch border along the top and the bottom.  Layer the salami and provolone over the steak, maintaining the border.
  3. Carefully roll the steak into a long log, tightening as you go until it forms a cylinder.  Let it rest with the seam side down.
  4. Tie the roll tightly with twine, spacing the ties evenly every 1.5 inches apart.  Tie from the outside in – the last piece of twine tied should be at the center of the steak.  Season the outside of the steak with salt and pepper, and cover with vegetable oil to prevent sticking to the grill.
  5. Grill over medium-high heat, rotating 4 times during cooking to evenly brown the outside, until an instant-read thermometer register 140F for medium.  Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice between the pieces of twine and serve.

June 20, 2015

CSA 2015: Week 3

Time for another CSA update!  We received our third box this year, and I love that this CSA includes both fruit, a non-meat protein, and sometimes cheese.  I do miss the additional vegetables that we received in our previous vegetable-only CSA, but the additional variety is great.

Our second box included the following produce, and a rundown of how we used it:

  • 2 bunches of arugula: dressed with a little olive oil and vinegar and paired with some vinegar-glazed chicken and corn
  • 1 bag of baby kale: used for quinoa cakes with poached eggs (sidebar: I LOVE that poached eggs are back on the menu – it was probably my most-missed food of pregnancy)
  • 1 quart sweet charlie strawberries: eaten plain
  • 1 bunch asparagus: grilled and served with grilled polenta and balsamic mushrooms (along with pesto chicken for my husband, using the carrot tops and beet greens)
  • 1 bunch spring onions: used in various dishes throughout the week
  • 1 bunch new carrots: carrot tops were combined with the beet greens and turned into a pesto; carrots were grilled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bunch beets: greens went into aforementioned pesto; beets were roasted and added to my favorite beet salad for a weekend visit with family
  • 1 cup chevre goat cheese: about a third went into the beet salad; the rest has yet to be used
  • 2 Pequea Valley Farms blueberry yogurts: eaten plain (and delicious – I forgot how luxurious full-fat fruit flavored yogurt is!)

Now onto this week’s box:

image(Photo from Greensgrow)

  • 1 bag baby kale
  • 1 bunch mustard greens
  • 1 quart sweet summit cherries
  • 1.5 lbs yellow summer squash
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 2 pounds pickling cucumbers
  • 1 bunch candy onions
  • 2 Pequea Valley Farms chocolate yogurts

June 16, 2015

Chocolate Oreo Peanut Butter Torte

Today is my husband's 33rd birthday. It's hard to believe we're this old - I met him when he was just 19.  We've celebrated quite a lot of birthdays together, and he requests the same thing every year: this dark chocolate cheesecake.  And every year, I question how I could marry someone with such terrible taste in dessert.  His family tradition growing up was an ice cream cake - maybe I need to steer him back in that direction for next year, although he'd probably want chocolate ice cream, so that really doesn't help my quest in a desert for his birthday that I'd want to eat.  Fortunately, my birthday is right around the corner, which means I can make something I like to celebrate.  Hopefully my mint plant will kick it up a notch this week, since mint chocolate chip ice cream is generally my birthday dessert du jour.

Chocolate Oreo Peanut Butter Torte {Bunsen Burner Bakery}

Since I've already shared the recipe for his birthday dessert of choice, I'll share something else right up his alley in honor of his big day: a chocolate oreo peanut butter torte. Oreos! Peanut butter! Cream cheese! Chocolate ganache!  What's not to love?  (Well, for him - nothing. For me, the cream cheese and chocolate ganache.). Despite the multiple steps and layers - oreo crust, peanut butter mousse, chocolate ganache - this practically no-bake treat comes together fairly easily, just leave time for lots of chilling.  Also, while we’re at it, I’ll take this opportunity to share the best springform pan I’ve ever owned: Kaiser Bakeware.  This isn’t sponsored – I bought both the 9-inch round and the 13x9-inch rectangular pans with my own money, but they are basically leak-proof and so much better than the previous brands I have used.

chocolate oreo peanut butter torte

I made this last fall when friends invited us over for dinner and was then stuck with that awkward food blogger dilemma: do I bring this to their house with a piece already cut out so I could photograph it, or do I ask to bring a piece back home instead of leaving all the leftovers with them?  To my husband's delight, I opted for the latter, meaning he had another piece to eat the next evening. But really, I find myself in this same situation all the time and never know what to do.  Food blogging: the struggle is real.

Chocolate Oreo Peanut Butter Torte
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Ingredients:

  • For the crust:
    • 32 oreo cookies, ground into crumbs
    • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • For the crunch:
    • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped
    • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • For the filling:
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
    • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
    • 2 tablespoons milk
    • 1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped
  • For the ganache:
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan.  Combine the oreo crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl and stir to form small clumps.  Press the oreo mixture into a thin layer, covering both the bottom and the sides of the springform pan.  Freeze the crust for 10 minutes and then bake for another 10 minutes.  Transfer the crust to a wire rack and cool completely before filling.
  2. In another small bowl, combine the chopped peanuts, miniature chocolate chips, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Toss with a fork and set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups of the heavy cream until it holds medium peaks.  Whisk in 1/4 cup of the confectioners sugar, beating an additional few minutes until the peaks become firmer.  Scrape the whipped cream into a separate bowl.
  4. Replace the whisk with a paddle attachment and beat the cream cheese with the remaining 1 cup confectioners sugar, mixing on medium speed until the cream cheese is smooth.  Beat in the peanut butter, milk, and 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts until well combined.  Gently fold in 1/4 of the whipped cream using a rubber spatula.  Next, stir in the crunchy peanut mixture, followed by folding in the rest of the whipped cream.
  5. Scrape the peanut butter mousse into the crust, smoothing the top.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight; cover with plastic wrap once the mousse layer firms.
  6. Once fully chilled and firm, start the ganache layer.  Add the chopped chocolate to a heatproof bowl.  Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a full boil in a small saucepan, then pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate.  Let the chocolate and cream sit for 5 minutes; then stir with a rubber spatula until the ganache is completely smooth.
  7. Pour the ganache over the torte, smoothing with a spatula.  Scatter the remaining chopped peanuts over the top and chill the entire torte in the refrigerator until the ganache sets, about 30 minutes.  Once the ganache is firm, remove the sides of the springform pan and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Full disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate.

June 11, 2015

Extra-Crunchy Broccoli Salad

My husband and I have been married for 7 years, together for 12.5 years, and known each other for 14 years (we met my first week of college – I strongly disliked him that first year before we started dating!).  You’d think after all this time, I’d know most of his food preferences, but even now, sometimes he still surprises me.  We had our family over for some Memorial Day grilling, but I wasn’t sure what to make for sides.  When I asked him if he had any preferences, I was expecting him to say something like pasta salad or potato salad, but instead he requested broccoli salad – okay then! 

extra crunchy broccoli salad

I never made broccoli salad before because, while I love the idea of crunchy broccoli paired with sweet grapes, I’ve always found it to be a little too dressing-heavy, making it slightly soggy.  Most of the recipes I found online were VERY heavy on the mayonnaise, and while I like mayo more than a northern gal probably should, I prefer to save my calories and saturated fats for something better than a salad!  Enter everyone’s favorite mayo swap – greek yogurt.  (Sidebar: is it just me, or is full-fat, plan yogurt REALLY hard to find these days?  For something like this, nonfat or low fat yogurt works just fine, but I often want to use full-fat yogurt for baking and it’s nowhere to be found.  There are dozens of low-fat, low-calorie, artificial sweetener-filled varieties, but none of the real, authentic stuff!).  Add in a little bacon for that smokey flavor, some onion for a little bite, slivered almonds for additional crunch, and a squirt of lemon juice and you’re done – a delicious broccoli salad that focuses on the flavor of broccoli instead of trying to mask it with copious amounts of dressing.  We (sadly) didn’t have much in terms of leftovers, but the small amount that was left was still crunchy three days later – perfect!

extra cruchy broccoli salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium to large heads of broccoli
  • 1 1/2 cup red grapes, halved
  • 5 slices of bacon
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or mayo)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Place the bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium heat until crispy.  Cool and crumble or chop into small pieces
  2. Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces.  Combine with the grapes, onion, almonds, and crumbled bacon.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar.
  4. Stir the dressing into the broccoli salad and enjoy!  Leftovers will last several days, refrigerated in an air-tight container.

June 6, 2015

CSA 2015: Week 2

Two weeks ago, I shared that my CSA (Greensgrow) officially started, and that we were doing a half share, receiving a full-sized share box every other week.  I thought I’d update on here with what we’re receiving, and what I’m doing with our share contents – much of what I do with CSA produce isn’t really a recipe, so much as throwing something together, and I know it’s the same for many others.  I like posts like this because it often gives me a good idea of something to do with all the kale and tomatoes, so perhaps you’ll get inspired as well!

This is what we received in our first box, and how I used it:

  • a bag of tokyo bekana, which went into salads
  • a head of romaine lettuce, which was used in salads and on top of mushroom gouda burgers (recipe forthcoming)
  • asparagus, which I chopped and sauteed and used in savory crepes for breakfast when a friend stayed over; I didn’t use all the asparagus in the crepes so I ate the leftovers the next morning with a fried egg
  • easter egg radishes, which went into a batch of my favorite horseradish dill coleslaw, served with the mushroom gouda burgers
  • rhubarb and strawberries, which were baked into the strawberry rhubarb oatmeal bars and a plain rhubarb pie (recipe forthcoming)
  • eggs, which haven’t been used yet

Now onto this week’s box:

image(Photo from Greensgrow)

This week, we received arugula, baby kale, sweet Charlie strawberries, asparagus, spring onions, new carrots, beets, chevre goat cheese, and two Pequea Valley blueberry yogurts.  I love that in addition to all the fresh produce, this CSA includes cheese and yogurts!  Stay tuned to find out how I wind up using this…

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