Visit Alexandra's food blog: www.urbanfeast.com
Many people have a dish that reminds them of home. Something warm and comforting that makes them think of being back with their loved ones, something that can rarely be remade by someone else because it’s the memories, the feeling and the atmosphere that really make the dish.
A lot of times it is something like Mom’s Special Casserole Surprise. Or even more stereotypical a hearty stew or spaghetti bolognaise.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a fancy dish.
In fact, it doesn’t matter what it is, the nice thing is that you have something that can immediately transport you back home with the first bite.
Strangely, I think mine is steak. It’s the meal I always request on my first night when I go home. A big juicy steak with sautéed mushrooms and onions, asparagus, mashed potatoes and creamy béarnaise sauce.
It really doesn’t sound like anything special but to me that always reminds me of getting back home after my long 24-hour journey from Sydney to New York. It feels like sitting down in my living room with a bottle of red accompanied by my parents and brothers.
And you would think that when I’m feeling homesick down under, I would just recreate that dish to make me feel a little more at home. But no. That would make too much sense.
Also, I have never cooked a steak by myself.
You want to know why? I’m still not really sure how. I’ve been assured many times it’s not very hard and yet I’ve never gone into the grocery store to buy myself a steak for dinner. In my mind steak is kind of a social food, I can’t really imagine eating one alone. And whenever I have had it at home, there’s been a guy around. Not in a weird way, but there’s always been a man to cook my meat for me. Whether it’s a friend, family member or boyfriend, they have always cooked it and I have watched in amazement.
I’m not sure why men are expected to know how to barbecue but they totally are. Not to add to social stereotypes but in my world it’s true. Then what are women supposed to know how to make? Definitely not pasta because I had to be taught how to boil water. Maybe cakes? But I wasn’t born knowing how to do that either. Maybe I’m just missing those genes.
Either way, I’ve decided this is the year I learn how to cook a steak alone. Even if it means I have a weird little candlelit dinner alone with a giant steak and a bottle of red….actually that doesn’t sound too bad.
I’ll admit that this recipe wasn’t my first flying solo with steak experience. This meal was actually made when a few friends came over and was a perfect summer dish. It gives you an excuse to stand outside with a few drinks while someone (not necessarily a man) tends to the barbecue and someone in the kitchen throws together the salad and pops the tomatoes in the oven so they’re warm and crisp when you’re ready to sit down to eat.
It’s light and easy, perfect for summer and probably also perfect for your first solo steak experience, if you’re willing to have one.
Grilled steak and rocket
Serves 42 (1 inch thick) boneless rib eye steaks
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing the steaks
salt and pepper
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
225 grams baby rocket
1 (115g) piece of good parmesan cheese
Pre-heat the grill.
Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
When the grill is hot, place the steaks on the grill. Cook for 5 minutes on each side and then close the lid, making sure the vents are open slightly. Cook for 5 to 15 minutes more for medium-rare. Remove to a plate, cover tightly with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thickly.
Toss the arugula in a large bowl with enough of the dressing to moisten, divide among 4 plates. Place half a steak on top of each salad. Shave the parmesan onto each steak with a vegetable peeler, sprinkle with salt, and serve hot.
Tomatoes roasted with pestoAbout 1 kilo large red tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pesto (store bought or home made)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
Core the tomatoes and then slice them across (not through the stem) and arrange on a sheet pan. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper.
Bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, spread each slice with the pesto, and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Return the tomatoes to the oven and continue baking for 7 to 10 minutes, until the parmesan cheese is melted and begins to brown. Using a flat metal spatula, put the tomatoes on a serving platter, sprinkle with extra salt, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Last week's post: Mexican chicken salad
Visit Alexandra's food blog: www.urbanfeast.com