Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kitchen Collaboration

Good evening everyone! If you're a regular reader of our blog, then you know that Tuesdays are my scheduled nights to cook. (Alternatively, if you are a new reader of our blog....hi!) Tonight, however, we have something a little different planned. While I'm still cooking up the main course, my wonderful fiance is stepping in to contribute the side dish. That's right, two cooks - one meal. It's a first here at Out Of The Culinary!

My recipe tonight isn't so much a recipe, as an idea. I was craving a good steak sandwich - so that's what I decided to make. Now, it really doesn't take a recipe to make a steak sandwich. All you need is heat, meat and you're ready to eat. (Hey, that rhymed!) However, I did turn to our friends at America's Test Kitchen to help 'boost' my steak sandwich idea. I'm borrowing an idea for an interesting mayonnaise and applying that to my sandwich.

Maggie's portion of the menu tonight is parmesan smashed potatoes. She was originally planning on making these as a side dish to her recipe tomorrow - but we decided that perhaps tonight was the best night to unleash the potatoes on the menu.

Tonight should be fun, as I mentioned, we've yet to tackle a night together in the kitchen (it's a VERY small kitchen after all!) Who knows, if it all works well, we may start doing this regularly. But first, let's get cooking!

The Recipe: Pan Seared Steak Sandwich
Original Recipe From: This one is an 'original' creation

2 Steak Fillets (Top round, flank steak, new york strip - whatever you prefer)
1 Baguette (You want a good, thick bread that can stand up to steak - the rest is just preference)
Garlic Soy Mayonnaise *

* 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon Minced or Freshly Grated Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Honey
1 Small Garlic Clove
1/2 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil

It's easier to make your mayonnaise beforehand and let it rest in the refrigerator. Giving it a good 30 minute head start will allow all of the flavors to combine. To make the mayonnaise, simply pour all of your ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a whisk. Set in the refrigerator while you prepare the steaks.



Begin by patting your steaks dry with paper towels. Depending on the type of steak you chose, you may need to trim the excess fat off the steaks. We chose to use top round, which is typically a leaner cut of meat - so we didn't have to trim any excess fat. Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper.

Bring a 12 inch skillet up to high heat. Once the skillet is good and hot, sprinkle some olive oil in the center of the skillet and swirl the pan around a few times to evenly distribute the oil. Cook the steaks, one at a time, for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. This should result in a medium-rare steak. If you absolutely cannot have any 'pink' in the center of your steak, add another 3 to 5 minutes on to the cook time. Be warned, however, that you are losing a lot of the tenderness and flavor in the steak. The longer you cook it, the closer it turns into tasting like a shoe.

Place the finished steak on a cutting board tented with aluminum foil. Finish cooking all of your steaks and then allow them to rest under the foil for about 5 minutes. You do this to allow the juices to go back into the steak. If you slice up the steak immediately, most of the juices (which are at the surface of the meat due to the intense heat) will be lost on the cutting board. By allowing the steak to cool, you allow the molecules of the meat to reabsorb the juice - meaning less is spilled on the cutting board.

All that's left is to slice the steaks into 1/4 inch strips (against the grain) and serve on your bread of choice. We chose a thick garlic and cheddar asiago bread - which we toasted on our electric skillet to give everything a nice crunch. Spread your mayonnaise onto the bread, top with some slices of the steak and enjoy.

Garlic asiago bread...YUM!

Making it nice and crispy

BUT - that's not all tonight. As I mentioned, Maggie is contributing a side dish. So, I'll turn the keyboard over to Maggie so she can share her contribution to tonight's menu.

The Recipe: Smashed Parmesan Potatoes
Original Recipe Found In: Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes

What You'll Need:

3 Pounds Red-Skinned Potatoes
2/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Good evening everybody...wow, Tuesday night...this is weird - not used to this.  I kid, I kid.  When Tyler mentioned the idea of moving my side dish from Wednesday to today, I was actually quite happy with this.  My recipe for tomorrow and my potato side dish...well, let's just say it's might be too much of a good thing.

I started the recipe by getting all my potatoes (yes, get all three pounds, it may seem a lot, but it will cook up a nice amount of taters,) in a pot covered with water.  Giada says in the recipe "cover the potatoes at least two inches of water."  If you're like us and don't have a huge pot to boil water, just make sure the water covers the potatoes, yet not enough so that when the water does boil, it doesn't boil over.

After you get your potatoes boiling, keep them on that boiling heat and cook for fifteen minutes.  After the cooking process ends, drain the potatoes and keep 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.  Once the potatoes are drained, return them to the pot.  This is where the "smashed" part of the recipe comes into play.  Giada also mentions in the recipe to "mash the potatoes with a fork."  I don't know about you, but potatoes are rarely smashable with a fork, so I chose our potato masher as our smasher.  Use the cooking liquid to moisten the potatoes.


Once the potatoes are nice and moistened, add the parmesan cheese and olive oil and continue to smash away until all the ingredients are combined.  Season every 3 smashes or so with salt and pepper until flavor desired occurs.

Thanks Maggie (by the way, did anyone else get the feeling that Maggie liked saying 'smash' tonight?)

The Results:

Two heads (and in this case recipes) are greater than one. First, the steak sandwich. The steak itself was incredibly juicy and tender. I normally prefer my steak to be a little more done than what we ended up with, but according to the 'experts' out there, a good steak sandwich should be medium rare. The mayonnaise was a good gamble on my part. The mayonnaise ends up having a very 'nutty' flavor with a slight kick from the soy sauce. This blended quite nicely with the natural flavors of the steak. Finally, the overall dish was punctuated with a delicious bite of the garlic asiago bread. The bread was seasoned (fairly heavily) with pepper, which added a nice bite to the overall dish. In the end, my craving for a steak sandwich was satisfied with this tasty treat.

Maggie's smashed potatoes were just as delicious as they sound. A light hint of parmesan cheese added a creamy undertone to the whole recipe, while the natural flavor of the red potatoes was still allowed to shine. These potatoes paired excellently with the steak sandwich.

Tonight's collaboration worked quite well. While the kitchen was admittedly a little too small to have the both of us working on something at the same time, we did make it work. I think we will have to try another night like this in the future.

The best part about tonight's recipes was the quick preparation time. My steak sandwich took 20 minutes, start to finish and Maggie's potatoes took roughly the same time. We like to keep things varied for you, dear reader. While one night we might bust out something complicated like Coq Au Vin or Beef Wellington, we can also serve up some bow tie pasta or a quick steak sandwich. We like to keep you guessing and on your toes!

That's all we have for you tonight. Maggie is back tomorrow night with her unique recipe (I'm very interested to see how this particular dish will turn out). So be sure to stop by around the same time tomorrow night to see what she's got cooking. Until then,


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