"Food is essential to Life; therefore make it good."- S Truett Cathy

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cube steaks can make a good burger!

I picked up some cube steaks at the market last week as my hubby likes them as an alternative to a standard burger. I've never been fond as they always seemed too tough. I finally got smart and looked up a few recipes online and thought about the process a bit. All the recipes I found stated they needed to be poached to keep them tender. So I thought hmmm, I bet they'd be great poached in Beer! Beer is tenderizing right? And I had a bottle of Rio Blanco Pale Ale on hand to do the job and a few red onions lingering from the CSA. Red onions make most things better.

Here's my take on it. They turned out excellent!

Cube Steak Burgers poached in onions & beer

4 cube steaks
1 large or two small red onions
1 bottle beer
4 slices provolone cheese
salt and pepper
Worcestershire sauce

Add a little olive oil to a large skillet and get it heated on med-high.
Season the cube steaks with salt and pepper, add to the pan and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate for a bit.
Use 1/2 the beer to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the good little brown bits
Add the onions, thinly sliced to the pan and saute a few minutes until they start to soften.
Add some more beer so that the pan has a good 1/2 inch or so in it. If you have some left, drink it!
Add a few shakes of Worcestershire and put the cube steaks back in the pan, covering them with onions.
Cover and lower heat to med-low and allow to poach/steam for 12-15 minutes.
Uncover and add a slice of provolone to each steak so that there are some onions smothered under the cheese. Recover and allow to cook a few more minutes until the cheese is nice and melty.

Serve on buns with your favorite fixings. I used mayo and dijon and some extra onions from the pan. Add beans and chips and you've got an easy meal.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Creative Curry

 This week I had one of those throw it together and hope it works nights. I had some butternut squash to use up from my csa and was looking for a way to make it a main dish. The freezer was low on meat and the bank account low on funds to replenish. I went to my trusty Mark Bittman and found a recipe for Winter Squash Curry. This is based on his but with some extras thrown in to a. use them up and b. make it a full meal without everyone missing the meat.

Squash curry with okra and paneer

2 butternut squash, peeled seeded and cut into bite size chunks
4-5 ounces paneer (indian cheese) cubed
2 red onions sliced
1-2 cups okra tops removed and quartered lengthwise
1 recipe make your own coconut milk (from Mark Bittman) or a can if thats what you have
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp fresh ginger grated

In a large skillet melt a tablespoon of butter along with a few glugs of olive oil. Fry the okra in this mixture until crispy on the edges and well cooked, about 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from pan and keep aside for later.

Wipe out the pan, removing all the excess okra seeds. Add more oil and another tablespoon of butter and allow it to melt again. Add the onions and watch the heat, you want the onions to soften but not to get too brown.

While the onions are cooking, melt another tablespoon or two in a separate skillet and pan fry the paneer cubes until toasty on all sides. Set aside.

Once the onions are nice and soft add the curry, ginger and garam masala and stir, cooking a few more minutes. Add the squash and coconut milk. Cover and simmer 20 minutes or so until the squash is almost done. You want it soft but not falling apart. Add the paneer and okra. Cook a few more minutes to get everything coated in sauce and then serve over rice. I kept the hot out for the kids sake but served some hot mango chutney on the side for the adults.

If you don't have okra, leave it out- you won't miss it. Add something else green, green beans perhaps?

Yellow jasmine rice

To make some leftover rice better I sauteed a finely minced onion in some butter, added turmeric and fresh ginger and a little chicken broth. Added some cold leftover jasmine rice and stirred well until all was evenly colored and heated through.