Friday, June 4, 2010

Dinner Menu: Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak and More!

I've plugged that pecan-crusted skirt steak so much that I think it's time to go ahead and blog it, for heaven's sake. Here's a nice dinner menu for a summer evening. Paul with Port City Foodies and the lovely Melisa were the recipients of this meal a few nights ago.

This menu serves four. Well, the flatbreads and the pineapple upside-down cake serve more than four, unless you're being kind of piggy.


Salad with Strawberries, Toasted Pecans, Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette


Grilled Flatbreads


Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak


Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Butter


Pineapple Upside-down Cake


I'm almost embarrassed to post this, because it's in one of the weekly menus and I've gone a little nuts serving it here at home to just about everyone we've had over lately. The last time we had it, I promised Pootie I'd retire it for a while. But it's so good and so easy. Here are all the recipes. You can click here for a printable version complete with shopping list.




Salad with Strawberries, Toasted Pecans, Goat Cheese and Orange Vinaigrette


I discovered Blood Orange Vinegar at the Teeter a while back, and I LOVE the stuff. It's my new favorite vinegar. It's Cuisine Perel brand and for some reason, my bottle doesn't look like this:


But it's still delicious, even if it's in a non-fancy bottle. Maybe we don't rate at the Teeter.
Mixed Greens with Strawberries and Pecans and Blood Orange Vinaigrette





3 Tbs. Blood Orange Vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbs honey
5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs shallot, chopped and sauteed
4 cups boston or bibb lettuce
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced

1. Whisk together the blood orange vinegar, salt, honey, shallots and oil.

2. Tear the bib lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Crumble the goat cheese over
the salad and add the pecans and strawberries.

3. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately.

Grilled Flatbreads
Recipe By : Maryellen Driscoll
Recipe Source: Fine Cooking 93, pp. 42 (What? Surely you're not surprised?)
May 7, 2008
Makes about 12 flatbreads

2 1/4 tsp (1/4-oz. packet) active dry yeast
1/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil; more as needed
9 oz (2 cups) bread flour; more as needed
2 1/4 oz (1/2 cup) whole-wheat flour
1 tsp table salt
Kosher salt for sprinkling

Put 3/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°F) in a food processor and sprinkle with the yeast. Let sit for a few minutes so the yeast begins to dissolve. Add the yogurt, sugar, and oil and process for 3 seconds to blend. Add the bread flour, whole-wheat flour, and table salt. Process for about 20 seconds and then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Continue to process for another 30 seconds. The dough should form a mass, pulling away from the bowl's sides. If it's sticking to the sides, add more bread flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, just until the dough forms a cohesive, if slightly sticky, mass. (Try not to process more than 1 minute total.)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand, flouring your hands if the dough is too sticky to handle, until it feels smooth and elastic, about 1 minute. Put the dough in a lightly oiled medium bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. (If you're making the dough ahead, punch it down after it doubles, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)

Prepare a medium-low grill fire; scrub the grill grate clean with a wire brush.
 (Or, be like me and always use a sacrificial baking sheet on it so it doesn't get dirty in the first sheet. Except for burgers. I do grill those on there. I just used a different part of the grill than that little area.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a bench knife or chef's knife, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Let the balls rest, covered with a clean towel, for about 10 minutes.

Using your hands, gently stretch the balls into disks (4 to 5 inches in diameter) and put them on two large lightly oiled rimmed baking sheets. Let the disks rest, covered with a clean towel, for 5 minutes. Brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

Grill, salted side down first, until the bread develops golden-brown grill marks on both sides, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side (depending on the size of your grill, you may need to grill the bread in two batches).

The dough can be made up to two days ahead. Just punch it down after it has risen, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.


Pecan-Crusted Skirt Steak
Recipe By : Liz Pearson
Recipe Source: Fine Cooking 98, pp. 87

1/2 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 lb skirt steak, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup pecan pieces
2 Tbs cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary

1. Position an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Or turn the grill outside on high.

2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and top with parchment paper.If necessary, cut the steak crosswise into pieces 8 to 10 inches long. Arrange the steak on the baking sheet in a single layer and season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Put the pecans, butter, honey, rosemary, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a food processor and pulse until well combined and the pecans are finely chopped.




3. Spread the pecan mixture over the steak, patting the mixture with the back of a spoon to help it adhere. (Heck, I use my hands. Hey. I wash 'em!) Broil the steak for 3 – 4 minutes, or put the tray on the grill and cover for 3 – 4 minutes, until the pecan mixture is toasted and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Set the steak aside to rest for 5 minutes.



4. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and transfer to plates. If the pecan coating falls off the steak as you’re slicing it, spoon it over the top.


Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Butter

Wash the sweet potatoes and prick with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 45 minutes, until they are easily pierced with a fork.

For the Chipotle butter:

1 stick butter, softened
2 chipotle chiles, canned
1 tsp. adobo sauce from the can

Mash the chipotle chiles well. Mix the butter thoroughly with the chiles and the adobo sauce. Wrap in plastic wrap and shape into a log. Refrigerate until firm. Serve with the potatoes.

Pineapple Upside- Down Cake
Recipe By : Rose Levy Beranbaum
Recipe Source: The Cake Bible (I have had this book for years and just love it)
Serves 10
14 each pineapple slices (I like to use fresh for this)
14 each sweet cherries, pitted
4 Tbs butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup pecan halves
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
9 Tbs butter, softened

1. Fruit Topping: Drain pineapple slices and cherries and place on paper towels to absorb excess moisture. In a 10 inch cast-iron skillet, melt 4 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar until moistened and remove from the heat.

2. Place one whole pineapple slice in the center of the pan and 7 whole slices surrounding it. Place the half slices side by side against the sides of the pan, the two cut edges down, touching the brown sugar. Place the whole cherries in the center of the whole pineapple slices; the halved cherries in the center of the half slices. Tuck the pecans into any gaps between the fruit.

3. Cake: In a medium bowl, lightly combine yolks, about 1/4 of the sour cream and the vanilla.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop cake's structure. Scrape down the sides.

5. Gradually add egg mixture to batter in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate ingredients and strengthen structure. Scrape down the sides.

6. Scrape batter into fruit lined skillet, smoothing evenly with a spatula. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until golden brown and a tester comes out clean.

7. Run a small metal spatula around the sides and invert at once onto a serving plate. Leave the skillet in place one or two minutes before lifting it.

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