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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Creating a steakhouse meal at home

It’s been an interesting summer at the library, to say the least.  We currently are without a full-time children’s librarian so everyone is having to pitch in on a job the requires an expert not a generalist, the local students are coming in for their summer reading materials, and of course I work about 20 minutes from the beach so we have additional customers – it’s hot, busy and just a bit stressful for everyone.  So between the heat waves the East coast has been experiences, several days of torrential downpours and the general hectic schedule that I’ve been keeping this summer I’ve not been able to post anything let alone cook.  Considering that I’ve been under much more stress than usual, I’ve been holding it together fairly well.  I’ve been trying to keep it all in perspective; the following has become my prayer for summer:

 All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
Dame Julian of Norwich

A steady supply of Peanut M &M’s and iced coffee has also helped keep me focused and from freaking out.  This past Wednesday, though I had a mini-meltdown and introduced into the world the evil giggle, something that sounds like a cross between the Wicked Witch of the West and Betty Rubble.  When I got home that night I texted 2 of my oldest and best friends that I would probably need a martini by Friday.  By Thursday morning I was craving a steak to go with that martini. Unfortunately I was not able to get the martini, but I was able to make myself a pretty good steak dinner.
Whether you’re cooking on an outdoor grill or grilling in your kitchen you want to rinse off your steak and pat it dry.  I try to keep the seasoning to a minimum just kosher salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil so it won’t stick to the grill, that’s it.  You want to make sure that your grill is good and hot when you place your steak on.  Also don’t fuss with it, let the steak cook until it reaches your desired doneness.  I like medium-well, cooked about 10 to 15 minutes on each side, but that’s a real guess – I’m a poke/juice color tester, meaning I poke the steak to see how firm it is and check to see how much blood is still coming out of the steak.







The other really important thing, in my opinion, to a steak dinner is the side or sides.  I made a lemony risotto with Swiss chard.  Here’s how to make it

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup Arborio rice
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ c white wine vinegar
2 to 2 ½ cup Swiss chard, chopped
Salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Heat stock until warmed.

In large pot, over medium heat, add oil and warm, add rice and mix well. 
Stir in lemon juice and vinegar, cook until they are absorbed in the rice.  Add 1 cup of the broth to the rice.  Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring often.  Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time until rice is mostly tender, but not cooked through.




Stir in the Swiss chard and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Continue cooking until chard is wilted and cooked and rice is tender, yet firm. 
Stir in the cheese and dig in.
(Adapted from Risotto with Swiss Chard from the New York Times)



This actually makes a lovely dinner for two and the risotto alone is a lovely bowl of comfort food anytime, including summer.



Enjoy!

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