Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Easy Being Green

Creamy Lemony Pistachio Pesto and Spinach Fettuccine

As per usual, my Lenten abstinence from meat leads me to develop quick and satisfying vegetarian dinners. I love a good pesto, who doesn't? It's super fast to whip up in the food processor and offers the possibility of nearly endless variations of nuts, hard cheeses, leafy herbs, and olive oil. I threw this together in about ten minutes start to finish.


- 1 lb. fresh spinach fettuccine noodles
- 1 c. heavy cream
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 large bunch of Italian parsley leaves
- 1 c. dry roasted pistachio nuts
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/4 c. olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, put cream and lemon zest in a small pot over low heat. Stir and heat cream until warmed, but not boiling. Mince garlic cloves in food processor. Add nuts, parsley, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese to food processor and pulse until ground into a thick paste. With machine running, add olive oil and blend until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

When water has come to a boil, add noodles and cook according to package directions. Fresh noodles boil very quickly- usually 1-2 minutes. Drain noodles and place in a large boil. Toss with pesto and warmed cream until noodles are evenly covered. Divide among plates and sprinkle with additional grated Parmesan. Quick and easy vegetarian goodness. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Steak Out!

Blood Orange Marinated Hanger Steak with Greekish Salad and Garlic Mashers

A few years ago on a trip with my parents in New York City I was fortunate enough to have dinner at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain, where I was also fortunate enough to eat the best steak ever to pass my lips. When I was about to order my favorite steak stand-by (fillet mignon, bloody rare) the knowledgeable waiter remarked, "Now what do you like about the fillet mignon?" I told him because it was always to tender. He then suggested something I had never heard of . . . THE HANGER STEAK. As tender as a fillet mignon but so much more flavorful, this under-the-radar cut was absolutely amazing. The question then became . . . where do I find it? It's not exactly something I can pick up at the local Albertson's. As luck had it, however, as I strolled passed the butcher counter at the Whole Foods about a year ago- there it was! Tender, juicy, flavorful, and incredibly inexpensive! Knowing that tonight is Fat Tuesday, my last day to enjoy meat before my typical 40 days of Lenten self-denial, I decided to treat myself. I rounded off the meal with a nice salad and mashed potatoes. Seriously, if you ever see this meat cut at your butcher's counter . . . pick it up! This marinade would also work well with flank steak. Yummy food in your face!


- 1 lb. Hanger Cut Steak
- 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- juice of 1 blood orange
- 2 shallots, peeled and minced
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. hot sauce
- 2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
- 1 head garlic
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 5 oz. mixed baby greens
- 1 c. seedless red grapes, sliced in half
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- 4 oz. crumbled Feta cheese
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 3 Tbsp. grape seed oil

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cut top of head of garlic head off. Place garlic on a small sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and wrap in foil. Roast in oven for about 30 minutes until garlic is softened. Remove from oven and cool.

Meanwhile, combine 3 Tbsp. olive oil, rice wine vinegar, blood orange juice, hot sauce Worcestershire sauce, and 1 minced shallot in a small bowl. Whisk together with fork. Place steaks in a shallow baking dish, season both sides with salt and pepper and then pour marinade all over steaks. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).

While steak marinates, prepare salad dressing by whisking together red wine vinegar, grape seed oil, honey, oregano, and remaining shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes and boil 10-12 minutes until potatoes are easily pierced by the tip of a knife. Drain, cover, and keep warm.

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil on high heat. Add marinated hanger steaks to hot pan. Cook 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from heat and tent with foil.

While steaks are resting, combine mixed greens, avocado, grapes, and crumbled Feta. Dress salad with prepared dressing. Then mash cooked potatoes. Squeeze roasted garlic into potatoes, add butter and cream, and mash together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve steaks with salad and potatoes. Eat. Enjoy. It's good stuff.