Sunday Supper: Palomilla Steak with Black Beans and Plantains

June 8, 2014

Cuban Palomilla Steak

Many moons ago, I attempted to make this steak for my now-husband (back then new-ish boyfriend). I was just out of college, in my first “real job”, and while I had cooked quite a bit in my days, I hadn’t made up recipes on the fly much. Maybe I should back peddle a bit and explain why I was attempting to cook a palomilla steak…

Cuban food was not something that was easy to come by growing up in northeast Tennessee. Black beans and plantains weren’t in the grocery. I had never even heard of a Cuban sandwich. This all changed on a trip to Tampa. My mom and I ate at Columbia restaurant. I had my first taste of black beans and rice and plantains, served on the side of this magical, flavorful thin steak which I’ve for years referred to as Cuban steak, but I’ve learned after many Google searches is actually called a palomilla steak. Initially I always slid the onions to the side, preferring the light flavoring left behind. But as I grew up, I learned to love onions, and the green stuff they mixed in with them, and this became my go-to dish at any Cuban restaurant.

Back to the attempt to recreate this dish in the early 2000s. (more…)

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Sufferin’ succotash!

October 4, 2013

Roasted chicken with succotash

A few month’s ago, while in Carmel, I had what might be the best roasted chicken I had ever had out on the town at Hog’s Breath Pub. Maybe it was just because my husband and I were enjoying a weekend away together, maybe it was the wine, but either way, I couldn’t get the perfectly crisp skin, flakes of salt, and fresh vegetable succotash out of my head. So of course, I decided to recreate the meal at home.

Of course, I didn’t actually know what constituted a succotash. I assumed corn, because every succotash I had ever seen had corn. Making this meal was a little on the fly, as I noticed the grocery store had a large bunch of fresh corn in. So I wandered through the produce section, picking up some okra and zucchini, because it looked good. Only later did I learn that succotash also includes lima beans, by definition. So we’ll call this Courtney’s sort-of-succotash, sans beans, but you won’t miss them.

For the chicken recipe, I decided to try Thomas Keller’s simple roast chicken. (more…)

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Fall is in the air!

September 30, 2013

Pork Loin with Apples and Onions

On September 22, the first day of fall, that autumn feeling was in the air, and I completely switched into fall food mode. Even though here in the Bay area we keep swinging between crisper, breezier days and sunny, summer days, when my husband suggested we have something with pork for dinner, I jumped at the chance to make this whole pork loin atop apples. It is so simple I’m not sure why I haven’t made it in a few years, but I’m so happy I made a quick stop by the store for the ingredients this weekend. Pork + apples, it’s been too long! (more…)

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Elk Steaks with Chipotle Potato Puree

June 17, 2013

Elk steak with okra and chipotle potatoes

A few weeks ago I found a surprise on my doorstep – a cooler full of elk! A friend who has enjoyed more than a couple of dinners from the Madd Hatter’s kitchen thought I would enjoy this bounty from the Rocky Mountain states, and he was right. Surprisingly, it’s not a meat I’ve had the privilege to try before, so a little research was needed before I decided to embark upon my elk feast.

Elk is a very lean, red meat. At first glance when I opened the cooler, the coloring of the meat reminded me of bison or venison, both of which have little fat to add flavor to the meat, and the latter having a much more gamey taste. After a little reading through the information Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Company sent with the elk, I decided it must be more similar to bison meat. Thus I developed a flavorful marinade that would bring in some extra flavor where the fat was missing, but wouldn’t mask the mild, sweet flavor of the meat, which might have been needed if it were more gamey.

I recently added a new flavor to my lineup of olive oils from the Olive Bar – a chipotle olive oil that has a definite kick to it! With this as my base, I began to build on the flavors that I thought would pair nicely with a syrah, as I had decided this is what I would serve with the elk. What I ended up with was one part Southwest, one part Southern, with a sprinkling of Asian spice thrown in for good measure. And might I say, I wouldn’t change a thing about this marinade. (more…)

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Sunday Suppers: London style

January 28, 2013

Sunday Beef Roast

This edition of Sunday Suppers comes a bit late, and it’s a bit different from the previous wine & amazzzzing food pairings I usually do. There’s still amazing food, but it’s more about the different lifestyle I’m experiencing here in London.

The grocery shopping scene has been more of a shock than I thought it would be. Gone are my behemoth grocery stores that I take the car to, pushing the cart back out and filling up the trunk with whatever my heart desired. In its place are small groceries, for the most part stocked with the bare bones basics, and I get to lug the groceries back to my flat, walking or catching the train if I’ve gone very far. I’m slowly understanding why the concept of online ordering and grocery delivery exists, but I haven’t quite given in and tried it yet. You see, grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities. Wandering about, figuring out what looks good, what’s freshest, what new products are in store – that’s my happy time.

However, grocery shopping woes aside, one of the bright sides of this city living is having a plethora of restaurants at my doorstep, including the public houses. And one thing these public houses have in common? The concept of a Sunday roast. (more…)

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