Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Husband CAN Cook!

Tonight, Paul declared he wanted to make dinner. This announcement astounded me, thrilled me, confused me, and...yes...even frightened me. At first, I had to search through my calendar to see if I had forgotten any major anniversary or other relationship milestone that would spur Paul to selflessly venture away from his computer and into the kitchen. Finding a big blank spot by today's date, I then accusingly, and perhaps with a slight ring of hostility, asked him: "What do you want?!?"

And he told me.


Red meat.

Man Food.

You see, I really do not like red meat. I never have. This naturally means that when I am in control of the cooking, I tend to use recipes that are poultry or seafood based. This does not sit well with my overly-carnivorous husband, who dreams of rare steaks and slabs of bacon sizzling over an open flame. Paul knows that if he really wants a good steak, he just has to cook it himself. In fact, he already had a pound of nicely trimmed 1 1/2 inch strip steak reserved in the freezer for just an occasion.

I was quite flattered that Paul took some of my tastes into consideration when deciding upon how he wanted to prepare and present his prized slice of cow carcass. Knowing my love of vegetables, he decided to compose a salad - a steak panzanella, complete with arugula, capers, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and gorgonzola. He only asked that I make some sort of dressing for the salad - so I composed a basic red wine vinaigrette that I knew paired well with arugula. Of course this one single, request for help turned into "I have to light the grill - - can you chop the cucumber?"...."How do you chop a tomato? Actually...I gotta go check the grill, can you just chop it for me?"...."Shoot, I forgot to make the croutons. And now I gotta put the wood chips on the grill. Can you start that for me?"...."Time to put the steak on the grill! But I forgot to set the table! Honey, do you mind?"

Of course I didn't mind. The end result was a delicious dinner and a thoughtfully composed steak dish that I truly enjoyed!

And I made sure Paul did the dishes.

Steak Panzanella
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Grilling Edition

For Steak:
1 New York strip steak (approximately 1 pound), seasoned with salt and pepper

Preheat grill to medium high heat and grill 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare (internal temperature should hit 130 right after removal from grill). Let rest 5 minutes before slicing into strips.

For Salad:
4 cups arugula
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup cucumber, seeded and sliced into half-moons
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup halved kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers
Crumbled gorgonzola cheese (We like Mezza Luna)
1/2 french baguette, sliced on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces

Toss all salad ingredients together in a bowl. Brush the bread with olive oil and rub with a garlic clove. Broil until dry and toasted on each side. Let cool, then cut into crouton-sized pieces.

For vinaigrette:
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all ingredients together vigorously. Toss the salad ingredients with vinaigrette.

To compose salad: Place desired amount of steak on plate. Top with salad and garnish with croutons and crumbled gorgonzola.


And of course, straight after dinner, Little Man headed for his cabinet to put more of his tiny finger prints all over my appliances. I should probably note that tonight marks the first time Matthew has ever happily eaten red meat. He approved of the steak! Even though now Paul and I are a little worried that maybe we should have fed him well-done steak instead of medium-rare...

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