Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cherry-Balsamic Rib Eyes With Gorgonzola Sauce

Over the weekend, I made these steaks which just happen to be my recipe entry into the Beringer's Great Steak Challenge this past summer.  (The final cook-off will air soon on the Cooking Channel.)  I wound up winning second place in my region, but more importantly, I created a recipe that my family has asked for again and again. 

In fact, I got a "This is SO much better than steaks marinated in Dale's Seasoning, Mom!"  (The ultimate compliment.)

I have created many recipes over the years, but very few of them please everyone in my family.  This one does, much to my surprise.

This recipe transforms regular steaks into something really special.  I love the sweetness of the cherry glaze with the tanginess of the gorgonzola sauce.  Here's some things to remember:

-I grow my own chives, but you could substitute finely chopped green onion.

-Rib eyes are hands down my favorite cut of steak, but you use your favorite cut.  I want you to be you.  Don't compromise yourself.

-If you have leftover cheese sauce, cook up some pasta and stir it in.  It's yummy.

-I haven't tried it yet, but I bet the cherry balsamic glaze would be equally delicious on a pork chop or pork loin.

-You can be liberal with the sea salt.  I think it's a bit milder than regular salt. 

-I've been getting my rib eyes at Sam's Club.  They come in packs of four and they're cut thick.  Since we don't eat steak very often, I like to make sure and get it right, and by right I mean a nice thick-cut steak at least 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.  It's much easier to achieve a nice medium rare when they're thick. 

-You know to let your steaks rest before you cut into them, right?  I knew I didn't need to tell you that. 

-My recipe is written to cook everything on the grill, but you could cook the sauces on the stove.  

Sea Salted Rib Eyes with Cherry Balsamic Barbecue Balm and Gorgonzola Grill Sauce

(Cherry-Balsamic Rib Eyes with Gorgonzola Sauce)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped

1 (15-ounce) can dark sweet pitted cherries in heavy syrup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

6 boneless rib eye steaks, 8-10 ounces each, cut 1 inch thick

Coarse sea salt, for seasoning

Coarse black pepper, for seasoning

Olive or vegetable oil to grease grill rack

Fresh chives for garnish, if desired

Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.  Place the heavy cream in a fireproof medium heavy bottomed saucepan with a lid and place on grill, closing grill lid.  Bring to a boil, then let cook for about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in the gorgonzola and parmesan cheese until melted and smooth.  Stir in the chives.  Cover and set aside.

Meanwhile, process the cherries and syrup, balsamic vinegar, light brown sugar, and chopped garlic cloves in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Baste both sides of all the steaks with the cherry balm.  Pour the remaining balm in another medium heavy saucepan with a lid and place on the grill over medium-high heat.  Close grill lid and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5-10 minutes or until sugar dissolves and mixture reduces and thickens slightly, whisking occasionally.  Remove balm from grill and let cool until steaks are done cooking.

While the sauces are cooking, season steaks very generously on both sides with sea salt and black pepper, pressing into the steaks.  Coat grill with oil.  Place steaks on grill over medium heat and cover with grill lid.  Cook for 6-8 minutes on each side for medium rare (145 degrees) or until desired doneness is reached, turning once.

To serve, spoon a pool of gorgonzola sauce onto each plate and top with a steak.  Drizzle the tops of each steak with the reduced cherry balm.  Serve any remaining sauce or balm withsteaks.  Garnish with fresh chives, if desired.  Six servings.

Pin It!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mission Menus Challenge In Hollywood

So by now, if you watched the video, you know that I didn't win.  But, and I know I always say this, I really did have a great time.

Hollywood is not the first place I'd visit on my dime, but since Mission Tortillas sponsored the contest, I enjoyed every minute of it at their expense.  Thank you, Mission!

We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in the middle of Hollywood.

Isn't this ceiling gorgeous?

It was really, really dark in the hotel, though.  Very difficult to take pictures.

The rooms looked like they were from a black and white movie.

I'm not gonna lie.  The room was very cold and modern.  I'm not sure we ever felt comfy and cozy until we turned on the TV and watched an Alabama game, followed by several episodes of Reba.

That's what we did in the heart of Hollywood.  I am so not kidding.

And this picture of Mick made me a tad not want to undress in the room.  I felt like they were snickering at me.

This was our view from our hotel window.  We could look right down on Grausman's Chinese Theater.

And if we didn't want to walk the three steps to the window, there was a live feed from the street below coming to our television.

We stepped out of our hotel door and right onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Right next to El Capitan, there was an ice cream and soda shop and they had yummy marshmallow topping.  I love marshmallow topping, but it's unfortunate for me because a lot of ice cream shops don't carry it. 

The night we arrived, we all met up at the Hard Rock Cafe for a group dinner.

We got to meet the other finalists as well as the producers and several other people from Mission Tortillas.

Friday morning, around 4 :30 AM, we made our way to the Hard Rock Cafe again.  All these trucks were for our shoot.

They had cleared out the bottom floor of the restaurant.  There were people working everywhere.

I have a new respect for people who work in the television and film industry.  They work extremely hard and keep very early and late hours.

I'd never make it.  I'm pretty lazy.

There were lots of  people buzzing all around me.  Sound people, prop people, food stylists, camera people, producers, assistants, assistants to the assistants...the list goes on and on.

It's a little unnerving to have Sara Moulton stand behind you when you cook.  I tried to act like I knew what I was doing.

his is my taco salad.  It turned out really pretty although you can't see it well in the picture.

The judges deliberate.  They said no.  :o(

Curse my bangs. 

Here we are in the final shot right before the announcement of the winner.

Jasmin Baron won with her Vietnamese Skirt Steak Wraps.  Very well deserved.

Sara Moulton is one of the nicest celebrities I've met.  Can you tell how petite she is?  I felt like the Jolly Green Giant next to her.

And check out her new cookbook.  It's full of delicious, easy recipes.

Pin It!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crumb Topped Cranberry Cake

Now that fall is finally here, I don't ever want to be without it again.  The summer was hard on me--really hard.  I seriously would not care if summer ended on July 5 every year.  Autumn took it's sweet time getting here, but now that it has arrived, I'm starting to cheer up.  I'm even baking a little.

I saw this cake in a Taste of Home cookbook the other day, and thought it looked perfect to celebrate the arrival of cooler weather.  It's definitely not a very sweet cake.  I think it would be more appropriate to call it coffee cake.  I can totally see this being eaten on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning with a cup of coffee.

I have slightly adapted the recipe by using a whole can of cranberry sauce (the original recipe called for just 1 cup and what am I going to do with the 2 tablespoons or so left in the can?) and adding a lemon glaze. I used bottled lemon juice, but next time I would add fresh lemon juice and lemon zest in the glaze to make it really pop.  Or...orange juice and zest.  That would be delicious also.  Maybe even better.

One more thing...I've got a blog post syndicated at BlogHer.  Check out their website.  I have my eye on this.  And this really motivated me to start saving money.

Crumb Topped Cranberry Cake

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, divided

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1 (14-ounce can) whole-berry cranberry sauce


6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cold butter

Lemon Glaze:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and soda; cut in 3 ounces cream cheese until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  In another bowl, whisk 1 egg, the milk and oil; stir into the crumb mixture just until moistened.  Spread batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

In a small bowl, beat the remaining cream cheese with the vanilla and remaining egg.  Carefully spread over batter.  Sprinkle with coconut and dollop with the cranberry sauce.

In another small bowl, combine the flour and sugar for the topping, then cut in the cold butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge to loosen from sides and remove the metal rim.  Whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze until smooth, using as much lemon juice as needed for a drizzling consistency.  Drizzle across the top and the sides of the cake.  Cool completely before cutting.

Pin It!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fresh Mozzarella Picnic Sandwiches with Artichokes, Prosciutto, and Balsamic Vinegar

This is my new favorite sandwich and I adore it.  I think it would be perfect for a picnic although I haven't been on a picnic so far this fall because my life will not slow down long enough to fit one in. 

Go on a picnic, okay?

You could certainly substitute regular balsamic vinegar if you can't find aged (I got mine at Publix).  Don't leave it off, though, because it gives this sandwich a wonderful, tangy flavor.

I used an herbed foccacia bread for the sandwich pictured above, but I've also used ciabatta rolls.  To me, the prosciutto is just an accent.  Just one little slice is all you'll need for each sandwich.  (Hello, Wayne County.  Wal-mart has prosciutto now!)

Fresh Mozzarella Picnic Sandwiches with Artichokes, Prosciutto, and Balsamic Vinegar

Herbed Foccacia or ciabatta bread, split and cut into sandwich size slices

Aged balsamic vinegar

Fresh mozzarella slices

Thinly sliced prosciutto

Marinated artichokes, drained

Spring blend lettuce mix or arugula

Extra Virgin Olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

Toast the bread underneath broiler until golden brown.  Drizzle the cut sides of the bread with the balsamic vinegar.  Layer the mozzarella, prosciutto, artichokes, and greens on the bottom half of the sandwich.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Top with remaining bread slice and wrap with deli paper or parchment paper.

Pin It!