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09/27/2016

~ Chef Paul's Blackened Flank Steak Sandwiches ~

IMG_1248Chef Paul Prudhomme is credited for helping to put New Orleans cuisine on the map.  I was lucky enough to be a young adult during what many consider to be his "heyday" -- the 1970's, 80's and 90's.  I ate in K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen in 1981 (a restaurant he opened in 1979), bought Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen cookbook the moment it became available in 1984, and, never missed an episode of his PBS-TV show, Louisiana Kitchen, which aired in 1998.  When he launched his line of Magic Seasoning Blends, I experimented with all seven -- Blackened Steak Magic and Blackened Seafood Magic were, hands-down, my two favorites.

IMG_1244Blackened Steak Magic is literally a bottle of magic.

91ZEChSVYQL._SY550_It became my practice to copiously sprinkle Steak Magic on flank steak, grill the steaks on our Weber, slice 'em up and heap the spicy meat on rolls with bacon and blue cheese.  That sandwich was so popular with our boys that, when it came time for our youngest, Jesse, to graduate from high school, my blackened flank steak sandwiches and blackened bacon-wrapped shrimp were what he asked me to serve at his commencement party -- for 60 people.  It was fun -- we had my mom sprinkling, Joe grilling, me slicing and people eating all afternoon long.  The sandwiches have stood the test of time too.  I now buy Steak Magic in 20-ounce tubs because not a Summer or Fall picnic or tailgate season goes by without a Magic steak sandwich on a menu or two.

Six tasty ingredients = Six Big, Easy-to-Make Steak Sandwiches

IMG_11621  large flank steak, about 2 pounds

4  tablespoons salted butter (1/2 stick), melted

4-6  tablespoons Chef Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Steak Magic 

1  pound thick-sliced bacon, crisply-fried, each slice cut into thirds 

8  ounces Cambozola cheese, a double-cream blue cow's milk cheese

6  large semi-firm Kaisar-type sandwich rolls

IMG_1168 IMG_1201~ Step 1. Fry and drain the bacon, place it on a paper-towel lined plate to drain and set aside.  

~ Step 2.  In a 1-cup measuring container, melt the butter in the microwave.  Place the flank steak in a broiler pan.  Position an oven rack about 8" underneath the heating element and preheat the broiler.  

Note:  I use an 11 3/4" x 8 1/2" disposable aluminum broiler pan -- the kind with the corrugated bottom.  Between the butter and the spices on the steak, when placed under the broiler, things get a bit messy.  Throwing the pan away in the end is worth the $1.00 or so cost of the pan.

IMG_1175 IMG_1182 IMG_1190 IMG_1203 IMG_1205 IMG_1207 IMG_1211~Step 3.  Using a pastry brush, paint the surface of the flank steak with half of the butter.  Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of Blackened Steak Magic evenly over the butter.  Place the flank steak under the broiler and cook for 8-9 minutes, until steak is golden brown and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and flip steak over.

IMG_1216Coat second side of steak with the remaining butter and sprinkle another 2-3 tablespoons of seasoning over the butter.  Return steak to broiler and cook 6-8 minutes, using an instant-read meat thermometer to test for doneness after 6 and/or 7 minutes. Remove steak from oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 130-134° and allow steak to rest 10-15 minutes prior to slicing.

Allow steak to rest 10-15 minutes prior to slicing.

IMG_1217 IMG_1226 IMG_1227~ Step 4.  Slice meat in half lengthwise, then thinly slice each half  across the grain while holding the knife at a 30° angle.

IMG_1231 IMG_1234 IMG_1236~ Step 5.  On each of six rolls, place some Cambozola cheese, 6 small pieces of bacon and a generous heap of meat.

Put a top on it & toothpick in it.  Slice in half & eat!

IMG_1261Chef Paul's Blackened Flank Steak Sandwiches:  Recipe yields 6 large sandwiches.

Special Equipment List:  11 3/4" x 8 1/2" disposable aluminum broiler pan; 1-cup measuring container; pastry brush; instant-read meat thermometer; cutting board; chef's knife

IMG_1155Cook's Note:  For a unique flank steak sandwich experience with an interesting method of cooking the steak, click into Categories 1, 2, 17 or 19 to get my recipe for ~ Asian Hot-Pot-Style Steak Sandwiches w/Broccoli Slaw ~.  Serve 'em up at your next tailgate!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)

09/25/2016

~ Asian Hot-Pot-Style Steak Sliders w/Broccoli Slaw~

IMG_1149There's more than one way to cook a very-thinly-sliced steak to perfection and "a la" ("in the style of") Chinese "hot pot" or Japanese "shabu shabu" ("Asian fondue") is a method that doesn't occur to most American cooks.  It wouldn't have occurred to me either if I hadn't eaten hot pot in China and shabu shabu in Japan.  Joe and I enjoyed both of these encounters so much, he arranged to have a copper hot pot shipped from China to my American Happy Valley kitchen.

IMG_1157Hot pot & shabu shabu inspired my American-Asian beef sliders.

IMG_0972From my American foodie's vantage point, I found hot pot and shabu shabu to be more alike than different.  A hot pot of mild- to spicily-seasoned, simmering, meat- or vegetable-based broth is placed in the center of the communal table. Depending on the country and region of the country, an array of thinly-sliced meats, vegetables, dumplings or noodles and dipping sauces are positioned around the pot.  Via a pair of chop sticks, each person picks up and cooks their food by bathing it in the broth.  The words "shabu shabu"  mean "swish swish", and, double-dipping (using the same pair of chopsticks to cook and eat) is common practice.

What are the differences between the two?  The obvious one is the flavor profile.  Hot pot is full of Chinese flavors and shabu shabu is full of seasonings common to Japan.  That said, I found the actual dining experience to be the biggest difference.  In China, hot pot was a casual, inexpensive, family-style meal.  In Japan, shabu shabu was a dress-up, expensive, special-occasion feast.  While I adored the spicy, slightly-chewy Szechuan beef version in China, the more subtle, melt-in-my-mouth kobe beef version in Japan absolutely blew me away.

IMG_1820Don't have a fancy hot pot?  An electric skillet will do.

While I love my copper hot pot, nowadays, it's mostly a showy conversation piece in my kitchen.

IMG_4000It's a pretty prop to have on-hand to explain the ancient-Asian history behind this modern-day now-retro method of cooking, which is more-often-than-not singularly associated with the famous French and Swiss cheese fondue.  That said, when I'm serving any type of fondue (savory meat, poultry or seafood, creamy cheese or sweet chocolate), 6a0120a8551282970b016300c99344970d-320wior throwing a fondue party, like everyone else in America today, I use my much easier-to-clean sterno-driven pots.  I have a few small electric fondue pots too, which come in handy for all sorts of other culinary purposes (like keeping sauces and gravies at the perfect temperature).

PICT0005In the case of today's recipe, which technically is a type of hot pot, shabu shabu or fondue, I use my electric skillet.  Why?  My family or guests are not cooking and eating their own food.  I'm cooking the steak all at once, for a mere 1-1 1/2 minutes, then heaping it onto some soft, slider-sized dinner rolls.

Part One:  Mixing & Marinating the Broccoli Slaw

IMG_1009No pretense here.  They day I came across store-bought "broccoli cole slaw mix" (cole slaw mix made with crunchy green broccoli stems instead of green cabbage), my mind immediately raced to the flavors of soy sauce and sesame oil.  Why?  Broccoli is classic Asian.  There's more.  I didn't have to experiment with the perfect dressing for it -- I'd already come up with one for my Asian chicken salad recipe.  After a quick mix of the pre-shredded store-bought raw vegetables and my honey-sesame dressing, Asian slaw perfection was revealed.  The brand I use is organic, and, contains just three crunchy ingredients:  broccoli, carrots and red cabbage. It truly is a high-quality time-saving mixture that any busy cook can and should appreciate.

IMG_09781/4  cup each: vegetable oil and white rice vinegar

1  tablespoon each: sesame oil and Thai seasoning soy sauce

2  tablespoons honey

1, 12-ounce bag store-bought broccoli cole slaw

IMG_0977~ Step 1.  In a measuring container w/a tight fitting lid, combine all the liquid ingredients.  Shake vigorously.

IMG_0986 IMG_0982~ Step 2. Place the broccoli cole slaw in a medium bowl and add all of the dressing.  Give it a thorough stir.

Place the slaw in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours (or overnight will work too), stopping to stir it about every 30-45 minutes in the beginning so that all the slaw gets to absorb the dressing equally.  Note:  This recipe yields 3/4 cup of salad dressing and 4 cups of broccoli cole slaw.

Part Two:  Slicing & Cooking the Flank Steak

IMG_1028This recipe is as simple and straightforward as it gets.  Once the flavorful broth mixture is stirred together and the steak and onion are sliced, which takes about 10 total minutes and can be done in advance, the work is done.  The only mistakes you can make are: not slicing the meat thin enough or overcooking it in the simmering broth.  Remember, "swish swish", that's it.  I'm using flank steak today as it is familiar to, available to and affordable for everyone.  That said, I've made these often with filet mignon (beef tenderloin) and rib-eye (Delmonico steak) too.  As long as the meat is very-thinly sliced, between 1/8"-1/4" thick, nothing about the recipe changes.

IMG_1033For the meat, onion and optional heat:

1 3/4-2  pounds flank steak, very-thinly sliced across the grain holding the knife at a 30° angle to a thickness of 1/8"-1/4"

12  ounces halved and very-thinly-sliced into half-moon shapes, yellow or sweet onion

4-6  red, Thai bird chile peppers, split-opon (optional)  (Note:  Don't let their tiny size fool you.  These will add quite a nice "kick of heat" to the finished sandwiches.)

IMG_1013For the broth mixture:

1  cup beef broth

3/4  cup Thai seasoning soy sauce

1/2  cup packed brown sugar

1  teaspoon ground ginger

1  teaspoon garlic powder

1/4  cup Worcestershire sauce

2  tablespoons sesame oil

2  tablespoons vegetable oil

~ Step 1.  In a 1-quart measuring container thoroughly stir all of the broth ingredients together.

IMG_1047For the slider-sandwich assembly:

1  dozen small, 2 1/2"-3"-round, very soft, slider-sized rolls (Note: If you want full-sized sandwiches, substitute 6-8 standard-sized hamburger-sized rolls.)

freshly-simmered, hot-out-of-the-broth steak and onions, drained of all excess broth

chilled Asian broccoli slaw (from above recipe)

IMG_1018 IMG_1024~ Step 2.  To slice the flank steak, holding a large chef's knife at a 30° angle, slice the meat, across the grain, as thin as you can, into 1/8"-1/4" thick pieces.  This is not hard to do so don't over-think it.

~ Step 3.  Slice the onion in half, and slice each half into very thin half-moon shapes.

IMG_1048 IMG_1052 IMG_1063 IMG_1065 IMG_1070 IMG_1081~Step 4.  Pour broth mixture in the bottom of 16" electric skillet.  Add optional Thai chile peppers and adjust heat to simmer (about 250°).  Add sliced onion and simmer until onions have softened, about 1 minute.  Add meat, and, when broth returns to a simmer, using a large spoon, stir (keep the meat swimming around) until it has just lost its red color, 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Using an Asian spider or large slotted spoon, remove meat and onions to a paper-towel-lined platter to drain excess liquid, about 15-20 seconds.

IMG_1089Heap meat onto rolls, top w/broccoli slaw & eat ASAP.   

IMG_1133Asian Hot-Pot-Style Steak Sliders w/Broccoli Slaw:  Recipe yields 3/4 cup honey-sesame salad dressing, 4 cups broccoli slaw and 12 steak slider sandwiches.

Special Equipment List:  1-2-cup measuring container w/tight-fitting lid & pourer top; 4-cup food-storage container w/lid; cutting board; chef's knife; 1-quart measuring container; spoon; electric skillet; Asian spider or large slotted spoon; paper towels

IMG_0967Cook's Note:  For another out-of-the-ordinary, over-the-top delicious steak sandwich experience, allow me to recommend ~ Joe's Steak Joseph: Filet of Beef-Steak Sandwich ~ which can be found in Categories, 2, 3, 21, 26.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)

09/22/2016

~ Asian Broccoli Slaw w/Honey-Sesame Dressing ~

IMG_0991My love affair with all types of Asian food is no secret.  Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. You name it, I adore it.  Give me a recommendation for an Asian restaurant in your locale, when I'm in your town, you can be sure I'm going there to eat.  I dabble in cooking a great deal of it too. I crave Asian and rarely does a week go by without my needing it.  Some of my recipes have been classically learned, while others are a product of my own creative cravings for Asian fare.

Indulge me in this delish 5-minutes-to-fix Asian slaw recipe.

No pretense here.  They day I came across store-bought "broccoli cole slaw mix" (cole slaw mix made with crunchy green broccoli stems instead of green cabbage), my mind immediately raced to the flavors of soy sauce and sesame oil.  Why?  Broccoli is classic Asian.  There's more.  I didn't have to experiment with the perfect dressing for it -- I'd already come up with one for my Asian chicken salad recipe.  After a quick mix of the pre-shredded store-bought raw vegetables and my honey-sesame dressing, Asian slaw perfection was revealed.  The brand I use is organic, and, contains just three crunchy ingredients:  broccoli, carrots and red cabbage. It truly is a high-quality time-saving mixture that any busy cook can and should appreciate.

IMG_09781/4  cup each: vegetable oil and white rice vinegar

1  tablespoon each: sesame oil and Thai seasoning soy sauce

2  tablespoons honey

1, 12-ounce bag store-bought broccoli cole slaw

IMG_0977Step 1.  In a measuring container w/a tight fitting lid, combine all the liquid ingredients.  Shake vigorously.

IMG_0986IMG_0982Step 2. Place the broccoli cole slaw in a medium bowl and add all of the dressing.  Give it a thorough stir.

Place the slaw in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours (or overnight will work too), stopping to stir it about every 30-45 minutes in the beginning so that all the slaw gets to absorb the dressing equally.  Note:  This recipe yields 3/4 cups of salad dressing and 4 cups of broccoli cole slaw.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or overnight is AOK too).

IMG_0990Enjoy as a side-dish or atop Asian 'burgers or sandwiches:

IMG_1009Asian Broccoli Slaw w/Honey-Sesame Dressing:  Recipe yields 3/4 cup dressing and 4 cups broccoli slaw.

Special Equipment List:  1-2-cup-sized measuring container w/tight-fitting lid & pourer top; 4-cup food storage container w/lid

IMG_7925Cook's Note:  For another product of my creative cravings for Asian fare, ~ Avocado Cups Filled w/Asian-Twisted Tuna Salad ~ is one of my favorite go-to recipes. Happily, Avocados are available all year round nowadays, so, it's a year-round favorite.  Find the recipe by Clicking into Categories 2, 14 or 20.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)