COOKING ADVENTURE 58: Three-Herb Steak
Here’s my idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day: waking up to a bold, rich cup of coffee and a deliciously sweet breakfast of French Toast, spending the day doing something I love (such as writing), having some time to really rest, listening to some music that gets me in the groove to do whatever it is I need getting done, spending time talking to someone you care about and telling someone (whether it is your mother, father, sibling, close friend, or significant other that you really adore and appreciate them, and hearing them say it back to you), and lastly, polishing off the evening with a scrumptious dinner, sinfully sweet dessert, and a movie that makes you feel all warm and tingly inside. Oh, and sure, a kiss wouldn’t hurt. Alas, a few of these things happened but not all. I had planned to make a three-herb steak recipe that I’d found last week as a way to unwind from my work day. I dressed up in a red dress that I bought a couple years ago that I haven’t found an occasion to wear it for yet, and checked the website to see the ingredients list. I had one herb out of the three that I needed. And I was not going to go back out to the store and get them. In short, I spent the evening cooking a rather boring meal of green beans, peas, and kielbasa, enjoyed a giant mug of hot cocoa for dessert, and after talking with a friend for a while, spent the rest of the evening reading a book in which I criticized every other sentence. Yup. You couldn’t touch the romance of that night with a ten foot pole if you wanted to.
I ended up grocery shopping a few nights later just before yet ANOTHER winter storm was about to hit us. Then, I assembled all of the ingredients and dove into the task at hand, knowing that it would be a late dinner evening. Keeping a bag of trusty Goldfish nearby to sate me, I read off the directions. I found my glass bowl under the counter and set it up on the counter. Into it, I measured and tossed in all of my herbs. The directions say to use fresh herbs but this is how I see it, folks. In order to get “fresh herbs” you have to get a giant bush of them. In this case, I’d have had to get three. A giant bush of parsley, basil, and oregano which I was supposed to use only a little bit of from each and then… get stuck with the remaining garden. Honestly, I knew what would happen. I’d have these things, they’d go bad, and I’d have to chuck them. And I really don’t like wasting herbs. So, I took the rather boring approach; I bought dried. Besides, the store didn’t even HAVE fresh basil or oregano. All it had was parsley… four different kinds of it. To me, parsley is parsley is parsley.
So, I measured my dried herbs out: 1/2 cup parsley, 1/4 cup basil, 1 tbsp oregano, black pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt. The recipe actually calls for 1-2 tsp. of black pepper. I’m sure if I’d done that, my stomach would have died. That’s A LOT of pepper. I know that it’s just for a marinade for the steak but… I wasn’t going to take any chances. I added probably 1/4 tsp. Then, I took my olive oil and splashed in 1/4 cup of it. Then, with a stir stick, I mixed everything together. As to be expected, it was still pretty dry and looked like I’d stolen fresh mulch from someone’s garden.
I pulled my steak out of the refrigerator. The directions tell you to use top loin steaks. I, of course, didn’t because I have a terrible time when it comes to actually paying close attention to my directions. I got a couple of tenderloin steaks from the store instead. I opened them up and flopped them into the Miracle Grow spice mixture. At this point, I realized that the package had leaked nicely all over the counter and had to stop and wash everything. I then made sure to cover both sides of each steak with the herbs and then put the bowl into the refrigerator for an hour to absorb the flavors.
After practically half a bag of Goldfish and a couple videos of my favorite Youtube Let’s Player, HarshlyCritical, I returned to the kitchen and removed the glass bowl from the fridge. I pulled out my Le Creuset blue cast iron grill pan. It’s one of my favorite pans. The only things I don’t necessarily enjoy are cleaning it and trying to lift it. It’s pretty heavy! I dribbled some oil into it and heated it up on the front burner. Once the temperature had settled on medium-low, I took both steaks out of the herbs and dropped them into the frying pan. They instantly sizzled and filled the kitchen with a promise of enjoying this meal very soon.
The other part of this recipe has you taking a couple different sweet peppers, cutting them up, and putting those in the grill pan, too. Folks, I was hungry and wasn’t really in the mood to grill my pepper slices. I’d bought a yellow pepper at the store though so that I’d have something to garnish the steak with. I love eating the sweet peppers raw… I’m not as much of a fan of them cooked unless they’re cut up small. This wouldn’t be the case with these. I took a knife and cut straight through the pepper, dicing it so that each piece was round and so that I could pop the center out.
After about fifteen minutes of flipping the steaks back and forth, I cut into them to make sure they were done. Medium well. I’ve never been that fantastic with cooking steak. I prefer mine medium rare… Oh well. The steaks were supposed to have been thicker, too, so I’m sure that that’s where I made the cooking time mistake by following their directions. I slid each piece out and onto a plate. I layered a few pieces of the orange pepper onto them and voila! Dinner!
The way that the spices were layered actually gave the steak a very nice fresh taste. And though there was enough to make me feel as though I was eating a steak salad, I enjoyed it none the less. The pepper also added a nice crunch to the mix. I would love to try and experiment with this recipe a little more, probably use a couple different kind of steaks and maybe less parsley. Keep this in mind for next year’s Valentine’s Day, whether you are alone or with a special someone, it is a wonderful dinner for the evening.
Next week on Cooking Adventures, I’ll be attempting a recipe that I’ve heard about and desperately have wanted to try for years. A cool treat in the midst of a Maine winter. It’s for those nights where the woodstove is blazing, and you’ve worn one too many layers of clothing. This will have you back to normal in no time. Frozen Hot Chocolate is next. Stay tuned!