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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Sunday suppers: Veal meatballs with artichokes & carrots

April 13, 2014

Veal Meatballs with Artichoke and Carrot

When I saw this recipe, it just screamed “Spring!!!” at me. Fresh artichokes, veal, carrots, citrus, and a bit of cream. Just heavy enough to break the chill of a spring evening, but light enough to not weigh you down as you’re moving into the warmer months. With Easter just around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect time to post this special meal that takes a little bit of time, but shines so beautifully on the dinner table and is the perfect meal to serve family style that it is worth it! (more…)

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Perfect pumpkin: Pumpkin and green lentil tagine

November 6, 2013

Pumpkin Tagine

A couple of weeks ago when I walked by a huge pile of sugar pumpkins at the grocery, I couldn’t help myself. I picked one up. In the back of my mind I had this tagine on my mind – green lentils, chunks of pumpkin, spicy harissa paste. Luckily these little pumpkins keep for a while, so it was my sole Halloween decoration for a week or so, before I gutted it and made it dinner.

Sugar pumpkins have a similar texture to butternut squash, which would work just as well for this recipe. I expected the recipe to turn out super spicy due to the harissa, but when I started cooking I realized only a minuscule amount was called for. Of course, I fixed that! (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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Refreshing and crisp: Thai beef salad with VML’s Sauvignon Blanc

June 22, 2013

Thai Beef Salad

Last year my husband and I stopped into the tasting room for VML wines in Russian River Valley, and I discovered what has become my go to wine to pair with foods that have Thai, Malaysian, or Vietnamese flavors. As soon as I tasted the 2011 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc, hints of lemongrass and lime hit my palate. I picked up a single bottle at the tasting room, but after enjoying it at home with this Thai beef salad, I quickly placed an order for a case of the wine. It didn’t just pair well with the tangy fish sauce and lime juice dressing that goes on this salad, the combination really elevated the flavors into something new for me. One might think I’m a little off for pairing a white wine with beef, but this salad comes off with such a light flavor thanks to the citrus, mint, and cilantro, and the chili and fish sauce beg for something that doesn’t compete with their strong, unique flavors.

The best part about this meal is it comes together in the time it takes to cook and rest the beef. There’s minimal chopping, and if you fire up the grill, you not only don’t heat up the house, but you get to enjoy the outdoors before what I think is the perfect al fresco meal! (more…)

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