Friday, January 3, 2014




New Year's 2014

Flank Steak Bruschetta and Sausage, Cheesy Herb Popovers

Sampler plate of the popovers and bruschetta.

In my previous post I mentioned that I stayed home on New Year's Eve, no place to go.....but not to feel sorry for me! I actually stayed home to perfect the next two dishes for the New Year's Day party I'd been invited to by my long-time, oldest friend, Priscilla.  Not that we are old, but I have known her for at least 35+ years and we have remained "besties" for what seems like forever. I have been invited to the HUGE New Year's party she and her husband put on for friends and family and always have a great time.  I missed last year, so refused to miss this year. They provide the beautiful house and tons of amazing food (such as turducken, although that did not arrive this year, sadly), and all of the family and friends bring foods: delicious  salads, vino, chips and dips, tons of amazing hot and cold snacks, decadent desserts and much, much more!  I want to share with you the two dishes I brought.  Let's start with the flank steak bruschetta. 

I marinate flank steak from one hour to twenty-four hours before cooking.  The longer it marinates, the better.  The acids break down some of the connective tissues and cause the meat to be juicy and very tender.  That is your science lesson for the day!  Here are my marinade ingredients:

Juice and zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha
2 tablespoons Ponzu (citrus soy sauce)
3 tablespoons Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar (or your favorite balsamic)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons smoked pasilla powder
1 half onion, grated
4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 Fresno chili and one Serrano chili, ribbed and seeded, finely chopped
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, crushed or powder
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

You will also need a baguette, or your favorite bruschetta sized bread.

Bring the flank steak to room temperature.  Season the steak with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl, place one large gallon-sized zip-lock bag into another and fold back the zippers.  Place the seasoned steak into the bag. In another large bowl, add and thoroughly incorporate all of the above ingredients and pour the marinade into the bag with the steak.  Allow the steak to marinate as long as possible in the refrigerator.  I marinated my steak for sixteen hours.  When you are ready to cook the meat, whether you grill it or sear it on a griddle or skillet, bring it to room temperature again.  Add a little evoo to your grill or skillet over medium-high or high heat.  Remove the flank steak and allow the marinade to drip off of it before you place it on the hot grill or skillet.  When you do place it on the skillet, it will sizzle loudly.  That is perfect, just what you want to hear!  After about six minutes, check to see if the steak will release (perhaps after four minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak;  mine was very thick at one end), and turn it.  If it does not readily release, give it another minute or two, then flip it.  Look out for splatter!  You may be intoxicated by the amazing aroma, so be alert!  After another four to six minutes, your steak should be done.  If you want your steak more than medium-rare, then cook it longer, as you wish.  Up to you, but I like mine rare to medium-rare.  Remove the steak and allow it to rest for about ten to fifteen minutes.  Then, begin slicing with a sharp knife, against the grain.  


Beware!  You will be tempted to pick at the slices!  Try not to.  Much.  

If your baguette is small, like the small sourdough baguette bread I had selected, you will want to think about slicing each slice of flank steak into two parts, and each bruschetta bread slice will receive two small slices of steak.  But, we are not done with the bread yet!  I still have cheesy tricks up my sleeve!  I sliced my baguette at gentle angles, drizzled evoo over each slice over a baking sheet with a rack on it, sprinkled garlic powder over each one lightly, then toasted the bread at 400 degrees for about ten minutes.  Afterwards, I turned off the oven, but also put a teaspoon or good pinch of finely grated parmigiano cheese onto each slice and allowed the cheese to melt in the oven again for a few minutes. DeLish!
I like to set up an assembly line situation.  I placed the bread slices on a large platter, placed two steak slices atop each slice of bread, and when done, I garnished with sliced fresh scallion, shaved parmesan and basil. Beautiful!

Look out!  You will want to pick at this before you serve!  Be calm and leave the steak bruschetta alone!!!

Easy, right?  This is a crowd pleaser!

Next, I made a savory, cheesy popover.  The recipe is by Giada DeLaurentiis, and it is simple, fast and delicious.  Anyone with a blender can make this.  These popovers, especially when fresh from the oven, are also a true crowd pleaser.  Let's get to it.  
Sausage Cheesy Herb Popovers Ingredients:
2 links or one package of spicy Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-2 cups smoked mozzarella cheese, grated
4 room temperature eggs
2 cups room temperature whole milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 scallions, including greens, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper



Note:  Please make sure the whole milk and eggs are at room temperature.  This allows the ingredients that go into the blender to incorporate thoroughly and not clump

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

In a medium sized skillet, add a little extra virgin olive oil and thoroughly brown the sausage.  If the sausage is not spicy, perhaps you could only find mild Italian sausage, add a small pinch of red pepper flakes to spice it up.  Drain and set aside in a bowl for handy use soon. 

Grate the cheese. Now, i could not find smoked mozzarella at my local grocery store, which is unusual, so I used some grated mozzarella and grated a cup of smoked Gouda.  Flexibility is important when you cannot find exact ingredients. Place in a handy bowl and also set aside for now.

Next, in the blender, add the four room temp eggs, the two cups of room temp whole milk, the pinch of salt and pepper, the flour and the scallions and basil. Cover and blend or liquefy.  Remove the cover and set the mixture aside for a moment.  Now, don't freak out, but the batter is going to look pretty green.  Do not fear, it comes out golden brown from the oven.  It is green inside, but it is savory and delicious.  Of course, the basil and scallions cause the green color.  You have done nothing wrong.

Create another assembly line (like I mentioned for the bruschetta, above) with a regular sized (not mini!) muffin tin sprayed with cooking spray as the center.  You will want to do the following and repeat:

Take a little sausage and place it on the bottom of the muffin tin cup

Add a good pinch of the cheese over the sausage

Pour some of the batter into the muffin tin cup just before it reaches the rim

Repeat until all of the muffin tin cups have been filled.  

Place the muffin tin into the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes. 

 
 If you look closely, you can see the batter is a little green.  Never fear, you have done nothing wrong. It is going to be amazing!


Beautifully golden brown, as promised. Yes, you can see a little green on the top, but it is quite flavorful and the cheese?  Wait until you get there....simply delicious!!!

Once again, both of these recipes are savory and very easy to put together.  Your guests will LOVE your dishes!  Enjoy and don't wait until New Year's to make these.  In fact, I have been planning on making the popovers for St. Patrick's Day due to the green interior of the popovers.  Perfect for that day! 

Thank You so much for your time and viewership, gentle readers!