Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Filipino-Style Steak Marinade from Marty E.

Filipino-Style Steak Marinade

Note from B:  With Memorial Day and summer coming, I thought I'd re-post Marty's popular grilling recipe.  It's great if you haven't tried it yet.  

Hi Barb,
As grilling season approaches you might want to post this one. It was my favorite recipe of the 2011 grilling season - SUPER YUMMY!
  ---Marty E.

Filipino-Style Steak Marinade
(from Steven Raichlen via

Prepare 6 hours in advance or overnight

2 medium lemons, juiced and the rind diced
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 gloves garlic, finely chopped
3 bay leaves, crumbled
1 T. coriander seeds
1 t. black pepper
1 flank steak or piece of sirloin or top or bottom round steak ( 1.5 to 1 3/4 pounds)
Combine the juice of the 1 of the lemons and its diced lemon rind, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, onion, garlic and bay leaves, coriander seed, and pepper in a non-reactive bowl.  Save the other lemon and its diced rind for the sauce.

If using flank steak, score the meat on both sides in a cross-hatch pattern, making shallow cuts on the diagonal no deeper than 1/8 inch and about 1/4 inch apart.  Skip this step if you are using sirloin or top or bottom round.
Spread half of the marinade mixture on the bottom of a non-reactive baking dish just large enough to hold the meat.  Place the meat on top and spread the other half of the mixture over it.  You can also do this in a plastic bag instead of a baking dish.

Let the steak marinade 6 hours, ideally overnight.

When ready to cook, drain the meat.  Cook as you normally would cook a steak -- on the grill, etc.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes.  Cut the meat into broad thin slices, holding a sharp knife blade at a 45 degree angle to top the top of the meat.  Spoon the reserved sauce over the slices and serve at once.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Lemon Madeleines

Lemon Madeleines

Madeleines are small shell-shape cakes, usually sponge cakes, originating in Commercy, France.

They are made in a tin.  I bought mine a long, long time ago, from Williams-Sonoma.  They can also be made in a muffin tin.
I made a batch of Dutch chocolate ones, but they were too dry and the recipe was too complicated, so I switched to making lemons ones using the recipe William-Sonoma is featuring in their current catalogue.

Lemon Madeleines
(a Williams-Sonoma  recipe)

Makes 12 - 24

2 whole eggs, plus one egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
pinch salt
1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 T. finely grated lemon zest
1 T. fresh lemon juice
4 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and coat the molds heavily with either butter and flour, or baking PAM, which worked really well for me.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt, and then beat on high speed until pale, thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  On a lower speed, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla, and combine well, about 30 seconds.
Sift the cake flour and baking powder (they suggest twice), then sprinkle it over the egg mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold until just incorporated.
Pour in the cooled melted butter along the side of the bowl and gently fold in until incorporated.

Fill the tins with 1 1/2 T. of batter.
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let them cool for 2 minutes, then turn over the tin, and mine popped right out. Alternatively, you can use an offset spatula to release them.  Dust with confectioner's sugar.

Next time I am going to make the more authentic version of them, from Julia Child's, The Way to Cook.  

Mine should have been puffier and browner.  If I hadn't accidentally used twice the amount of butter called for then they might have looked better.  But they taste great!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Croxetti or Corzetti

Croxetti vs Corzetti

Croxetti, or Coins, are a wafer-thin, hand-stamped pasta which is a specialty of the Ligurian region of Italy. Coat of arms, family crests, and other motifs, like sailboats, are stamped on both sides.  And they are  used on special occasions such as weddings.

We found a dried version of them at the Rosario Pino's Artisan Foods shop and thought they would be fun to try.

However, I thought we bought Corzetti, or Little Crosses, which are its sister pasta from Genoa. The recipe I found for them was for Corzetti, not Croxetti.

I wouldn't make either of them again --- at least the way I did --- but I am sure that the freshly made version are fantastic.  If I ever get to Genoa, I will try the real deal.

They are served in a browned butter sauce with pine nuts and marjoram.
Pine nuts and marjoram are ground together.  You are supposed to use fresh marjoram, but I only had dried.  So, that was one reason why mine wasn't so good.    2 T. fresh marjoram and 1/3 cup of pine nuts is what the recipe called for.
The recipe also called for 2 sticks of butter but I only used one.  Seemed like too much butter, but maybe that is another reason why it wasn't very good.
I do know how to brown butter until it turns nutty.  You cook the butter and nuts and marjoram, just until they turn golden brown---it will foam ---  then turn it down to very, very low while you cook the pasta.
Cook the pasta per the directions --- ours took 9 minutes -- then add it directly to the pan, including about 1/4 cup of the pasta liquid.
Saute them in the sauce until each wafer is covered well in the butter and nut mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Then spoon them out in bowls. 
And add lots of grated Parmesan cheese.

It was a fun experiment but not one I would repeat.

Corzetti vs. Croxetti.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Make a Dreamy Cheese Omelette

Cheese Omelette

This past week's healthy lunch alternative was an omelette --- and once again I really enjoyed having a prepared meal for lunch instead of snacking.

I learned how to make a good omelette from my friend, Lynn, when I was in college.  It really does make a difference if you add the splash of water and use her technique.

The result will be a light, dreamy omelette.

Cheese Omelette

2 eggs
a splash of cold water (1 t.)
salt and pepper
2 ounces good melting cheese, like Gouda, sliced thin
butter for the pan
a good non-stick omelette pan
a bendable heat resistant spatula

Add a splash of cold water to your eggs.  Just a splash. About a teaspoon.
Whisk the eggs and water together well and add salt and pepper.
As the pan heats up, rub butter all around the bottom of the pan and up the sides a little.
Pour the eggs in the greased pan in a thin stream---
take your time
Until the bottom of the pan is completely, evenly covered.  The pan should be turned down to Medium High, not High.
Lift up the edges after they start to cook, and let uncooked eggs run back under to come in contact with the hot pan.
Lift the pan off the heat and use gravity if necessary to get the eggs to run under.  (I couldn't figure out how to show you this and take a photo at the same time.)
Just keep cooking and lifting it until all of the eggs no longer run, and appear to be set.
Here's how mine looked. It is okay if you have folds.
Now it is time to add your thinly sliced cheese.  Place it on one side.
When the cheese starts to melt, it is usually time to fold over the omelette.  You can check to make sure that your omelette is browned by carefully lifting an edge to check.
Fold it over and continue to let it cook until the cheese is well melted.  The underside will become browner than the top.
I flip my omelette over to the browner side when I slide it on to a plate.  But it isn't necessary.
Once I heard Julia Child say that she didn't understand why people ate fast food when you could whip up an omelette in minutes.

I think Julia would approve of this omelette.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Caesar Salad (with Shrimp)

Caesar Salad (with Shrimp)

I have been working on a Caesar salad dressing to add to my repertoire. I thought it would be great to have Caesar salad this summer with grilled chicken or shrimp.

But I wanted to avoid the raw egg part or coddling the egg so I decided to try using lite mayo instead -- because mayonnaise is mostly eggs and oil.

The first time I made it, I over-salted it, not remembering how salty the anchovies would be.
The second time, I used WAY too much garlic, and paid for it the rest of the night.
The third time, I got it right.

Here's my twist on the classic Caesar salad.  It's lemony and creamy.

Caesar Salad (Shortcut)

Serves 2-4

2-3 heads of Romaine lettuce, pre-washed and spun very dry
1 lemon
1 clove garlic, grated or very finely minced
2 -3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 T. anchovy paste (or 2 anchovy fillets)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
ground pepper
2 T. of Hellman's lite mayo (or a raw or coddled egg)
Toasted extra dry croutons or crudites toast points
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Make the dressing in the bottom of your large salad bowl, by squeezing in the juice of the lemon (remove pits), add the grated garlic, the 2 T. of olive oil, the dash of Worcestershire sauce, the big squiggle of anchovy paste, the ground pepper, and use a small whisk to bring it all together.
Then add 2T. of light mayo and make a creamy dressing.  Add the mayo after emulsifying the oil and lemon juice or the lemon juice will react with the mayo and make it harder to create a creamy dressing.  It should be thick, but still thin enough to coast the lettuces once you add them.  If too thick, add a little more olive oil.

Cut off the bottom inch or more.  Slice the Romaine lettuce across the grain, and fill up the bowl.  The more traditional way would be to leave the leaves whole, but use only the inner leaves of 5 inches or less.
Toast the "croutons", then let them cool a little.  More traditional croutons would be cubed bread, with butter and garlic, toasted on a tray in the oven.  But they are too greasy and garlicky for me.  I prefer the crunch of the dried toast by itself.
Break the toast into bite-size bits. Scatter the Parmesan across the top.  Be generous with the Parmesan.

Chicken or shrimp can be added.

Toss at the table and serve immediately.

Sauteed Shrimp for Caesar Salad
6 large shrimp per person
old bay seasoning
olive oil for sauteing

To make the shrimp:

Buy the best shrimp you can afford --- I prefer wild caught gulf shrimp if you can find them --- ours come frozen.
Place them on a paper towel and sprinkle heavily with old bay seasoning, and cayenne pepper --- do both sides --- and place them in the fridge to defrost.  You will lose lots of the seasoning when you peel them, but it does help to coat them while they defrost.
Peel (takes longer than you think) and then lightly salt them.  Add more cayenne if you wish, as I do.

Heat up your pan, add olive oil, then place each shrimp in the pan carefully.  Let them cook until the edges start to turn pink -- about a minute or two. Don't be tempted to move them around or they will stick, as mine did.

Turn them over and finish cooking --- another minute or two. I deglazed my pan and save the drippings for future use because my shrimp stuck.

Or use can use a non-stick pan!