Friday, January 28, 2011

Need a smile today?

This post has nothing to do with food, but I wanted to share my new favorite thing. Perhaps if you have children you already know that The Barenaked Ladies have a children's album, "Snack Time!". I discovered it yesterday, and I am listening to it right now while Parker is napping. That's how good it is. I am a huge lover of all music*, so to find a children's album to be good listening is a feat to be sure. It covers all genres of music, from a country-inspired song 7 8 9, to the reggae Pollywog in a Bog. True to BNL style, the lyrics are clever and funny both for kids and adults. Even if you don't have kiddlins, please head over to iTunes or Amazon and listen to the samples of at least the first three songs. It'll make your day.

*except techno music- I think you're demented if you listen to this somewhere other than a dance club, and even then it's questionable

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Open Faced Steak Sandwiches

Hello good lookin'. That's what I said when I made these sandwiches. What, you don't talk to your food? Weirdo.

I won't go into much detail on how to cook steak- I'm sure if you Google "how to cook a steak" you'll get a million links (I just tried it: there are over 8 million hits). Here's how I cook steak: Heat a cast iron skillet over med-high heat. Dry meat with a paper towel. Just before cooking, add a pat of butter to the pan and season steaks really well with salt and pepper. Cook to medium rare; I used 1/2-inch thick beef tenderloin steaks so they took only about 3 minutes per side. Let rest on a plate covered with foil for 10 minutes before slicing. I think it is a travesty to not make a sauce when you have beautiful beefy browned bits stuck to the pan, hence the pan sauce pored over the sandwiches.

 I baked an amazing loaf of bread for this sandwich the day before. I'm glad I decided not to half the recipe because now I have a second loaf in the freezer. If you don't have a delicious homemade Rosemary and Garlic Loaf, be sure to use a good hearty bread. This is not the time, nor the place, for Wonder Bread folks.


  • steak, cooked to your liking and sliced thinly
  • two slices of bread per person
  • shredded cheese (I used this kind)
  • baby spinach or arugula
  • caramelized onions (see below)
  • balsamic pan sauce (see below)

Preheat broiler and move oven rack to top position. Place bread on a baking sheet. Top with steak, then onions, spinach, cheese. Broil until cheese is melted. Top with balsamic sauce. Eat with a knife and fork.


Slice onions into thin half moons (I use a mandoline). Saute over medium-low to medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper until onions are very soft and golden (you don't want them to brown at any point though). Extra caramelized onions can be kept in the fridge- I always make lots so that I have left overs.


While steaks are resting, turn pan down to medium heat. Add a small pat of butter, a big splash of balsamic vinegar, a dollop of Dijon mustard, and pepper. Whisk to combine and get all the nice bits off the bottom of the pan. Simmer until slightly thickened and keep warm over medium heat until ready to use. Add in any juices accumulated from the steaks resting or when you cut the meat as well.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goat's Milk Mozzarella

Just a quick share today. I discovered this cheese a few weeks ago and have bought it every week since. Put it on pizza and you'll have the best pizza ever. I've also used it in lasagna in place of half the regular mozzarella cheese and that was delicious too.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Tale of Two Banana Breads

I'm sure every blogger is starting their first posts of the new year with apologies for not posting for a couple of weeks. I'm not. We're all busy over the holidays. It is what it is.

This post could also have been titled "Pre and Post New Years Banana Bread" or "Angel and Devil Banana Bread". Do you see where I'm going with this? One is healthy and one is less healthy... but both are delicious. The "bad" banana bread is the banana bread of your dreams- tender, moist (I really just can't avoid that word), and banana-ey. This recipe has been my go-to for a few years. You can make the batter in the time that the oven heats up.

The "good" banana bread is a recipe I discovered yesterday. I wanted to make a lower-fat (read: less butter) banana bread with whole wheat flour. I have learned my lesson with playing fast and loose with baking, so being wary of free-handing a healthier loaf I looked to Cooking Light. Excellent choice. This may be the new standard in our house even though I prefer the "bad" banana bread. When faced with both options that are almost equally as good, why wouldn't you choose the one that's better for you? Next time I will add another banana to see if that will make it moister (ugh) and more banana-ey. Now that I've tried the recipe I feel confident that an addition won't be it's undoing. I'll report back with the results.

Bad but Oh So Good Banana Bread via Simply Recipes

Hearty, Healthy Banana Bread via Cooking Light
*Update Jan 20, 2010: Add one more banana than called for in the recipe. I find 2 medium bananas equals the cup called for in the recipe- add one more medium banana and the bread will be even better.

One Year Ago: Tex-Mex Lasagna, Egg Nog Panna Cotta, Homemade Gifts, The Big Salad