In This Menu:
- Warm Spinach Salad
- T-Bone Steaks with Chimichurri
- Blueberry Crumble
To continue our culinary journey this week, I thought we would visit the Pampas of Argentina. Argentina is a place that produces some of the best beef cattle in the world and is renowned for their steaks. The Chimichurri sauce for the steaks is a very common and popular condiment for meat. The sauce really gets its flavor from the parsley. To that end, it is important to use the flat leaf or Italian parsley as it has a much better and more pronounced flavor than the curly parsley. Since I have personally been trying to eat healthier and avoid processed foods, I will try to give those of you also trying to eat better some healthful hints within these blog posts. Fortunately, we have just hired a registered nutritionist to be part of our team and she is assisting me in my effort to eat better as well as passing along good information to you, our customers.
In looking at this menu I realized that the salad, corn, and steak go right along with my plan. No changes. Instead of frying the fries, you could bake them, remove the skin, and mash them with some salt, pepper, and creamy goat cheese; these are wonderful and the goat cheese is very good for you as are the potatoes. As far as the dessert goes, try using unbleached flour instead of all purpose and substituting Stevia (a natural sweetener) and/or honey for the white sugar since fat is not the enemy, processed foods are (at least in my program). Use regular sour cream, not the “light brand”.
Warm Spinach Salad
- 1 lb. baby spinach
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1 small red onion
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Cut Romas in half vertically and run your paring knife round the seeds inside the tomato. Now remove the seeds and run under cold water to remove any seeds that remain. Peel the onion, cut in quarters, then into thin slices. Cut mozzarella into ¼” cubes.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and spinach. Stir spinach constantly until it just begins to wilt. Remove spinach from pan, season with salt and pepper, and place in a large salad bowl. Put pan back on stove, turn heat to high and add other tablespoon of oil. When pan is hot, add the tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms to the pan along with a light dusting of salt and pepper. Sauté quickly, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. You don’t want the vegetables to overcook. Pour vegetables over spinach and top with mozzarella. Drizzle vinegar over salad and toss to combine.
T-Bone Steaks with Chimichurri
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 6 garlic cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1½ tablespoons of salt
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian (sometimes called flat leaf) parsley
- ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
For Sweet Potato Fries and Steaks:
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- 2 to 3 cups canola oil
- 3 T-bone steaks, 1 inch thick or as desired
Place the vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, jalapeños, and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the parsley and oregano, and pulse until well blended. Keep machine running and slowly drizzle in oil. Remove from food processor, cover tightly and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400° F and prepare the grill (or, alternatively, the steaks can be broiled).
Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, bake in the oven for 20 minutes, and let cool. Neatly cut the potatoes, still with their skins on, into thin sticks. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 350° F and fry the potatoes for about 4 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and keep warm. This is the traditional Argentina way of cooking these fries, but I prefer the French two step method that we have discussed before.
Lay steaks out on baking sheet and rub each side with a generous amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper and place on the hot grill. Grill the steaks for about 5 minutes per side for medium or to the desired doneness. Top with a liberal dose of the Chimichurri sauce and put some sauce in a bowl for dipping.
Remove husks from corn and rinse in cold water to remove any stringy material left on cob. Take out a one foot length of foil and lay cob on top of it. Brush all sides of corn cob with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll in foil and seal the ends. Place corn on grill or in oven about 5 minutes before steaks go on. Turn corn frequently to avoid burning any side. Corn takes about 15 minutes to completely cook.
For the Streusel:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
For the Cake:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (¾ stick)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
For the Streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.
For the Cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.