Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Perfect Summer Steak Sandwich

A lot has happened these last few months - my husband and I began a house hunt, and, through some miracle, found one we liked!

Fortunately, this house does not have any of the following attributes, all of which were highlights at other houses we toured:

  • Floors so slanted that the dog's tennis balls would be constantly in a corner.
  • A massive, several hundred-deep Barbie collection in the unpermitted family room.
  • A neighbor wandering out to vaguely threaten you, with this sign in his window: 

  • Huge One Direction decals in every hallway (free of charge!)
  • A bedroom, entrance to which is only through another bedroom.
  • Sketchy boarding-house style locks on every door and makeshift entrances.
  • An old spa tub our realtor nicknamed "the embalming bathtub."
  • WINNER: a femur bone in the backyard. For reals.

Also, the last three were all the same house. On our first day of house hunting. It didn't inspire much confidence.

So, while we did see some gems, I will admit that we very lucky in finding the new home, and are absolutely in love with it!

Our realtor was fantastic (if anyone is in the market, let me know - Ray's the best), and the only real stress we had of closing was self-inflicted. Crazy, month-long, "how is this going to fall through????," try-not-to-jinx-it, self-inflicted stress...

But Eureka! It has been a month and we are actually starting to get settled.

In our new kitchen, we now have room to cook meals AT. THE. SAME. TIME.

Having lived in 1920's apartments for the bulk of my adult life, I don't know that I have ever had enough room in my kitchen to put two mixing bowls on a counter next to each other. It is heaven. I squealed with delight throughout an entire cookie baking bender that yielded far more cookies than anyone should have in their house at any one time.

I am also very grateful that this timing worked out so that we have the whole of Summer ahead of us - there are so many things I want to try! I recently discovered that I love watermelon... we are getting a grill (which I hope to dominate)... I have a Rick Bayless cookbook I haven't touched... hell, I may even make crepes again!

I also may do that little thing I loved as a hobby some months back, which is taking photos of food and entertaining. I remember that... vaguely...

So, in honor of the beginning of Summer, I am sharing a post I wrote at the very tail end of Summer and never got around to publishing. 

This sandwich is everything good in this world. Enormous. Not skimpy with the bread. Filling. Satisfying. Summer-y in every sense.

Serve it on a cheeseboard or cutting board whole, then allow guests to cut off as much as they want. It is perfect for a weeknight meal, and leftovers are even better.

Here's to Summer!

Grilled Steak Sandwich

Pre-marinated steak or roasts are a great quick-fix for impromptu parties. We got our skirt steak from Costco, which does an amazing job with meat. If your store does not carry this, you can also marinate your meat in the juice of several limes, olive oil, salt and pepper and whatever other spices you like (cumin, oregano, etc.) for 30 minutes for a quick fix. This sandwich is extremely satisfying, and the pickled red onions add a tart, vinegar accent that freshens up an otherwise potentially heavy dish.

1 flank steak or tri-tip, pre-marinated from grocery store
1 ciabatta loaf
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 small can roasted chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 cup arugula
1/2 cup pickled red onions (recipe)

If not toasting bread on the grill, pre-heat your oven to 350*.

In advance of cooking the meat, pickle the red onions and prep mayonnaise, as both taste better the longer they sit.

To make the mayonnaise: in a food processor, pulse together a half cup of mayonnaise, the chipotle peppers and a drizzle of adobo sauce to taste. This gets spicy fast, so be sure to taste as you go and add one pepper and a 1/2 tsp sauce at a time. You may have a fair amount of peppers and sauce left over if you like it on the low end of spicy.

To prep the sandwich, cook the beef to desired doneness on an outdoor grill, or on your stove in a grill pan or cast-iron skillet. Cooking time will vary greatly depending on the thickness of meat, but The Kitchn has a good guide to tell when to pull it off the heat. Once cooked to desired doneness, cover with foil and set aside to rest for a few minutes while you toast the bread. 

Cut a ciabatta loaf in half, length-wise, and toast either on the grill (after cleaning), or for 4-6 minutes in a 350* oven. Put halves on a platter.

Slice the meat to medium thickness (hearty, but still chewable). Spread the mayo on the toasted bread, then add slices of the steak. Top with arugula and quick pickled red onions

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