Tonight’s menu: marinated flank steak and sweet potato fries rather than traditional steak frites – but still yummy. It’s COLD here, so the flank steak was broiled, rather than grilled – but the marinade had a nice, summery flavor so we could pretend! I got the following recipe from Our Best Bites: Sweet and Savory Flank Steak. The sweet potato fry recipe came from here: Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries.
First, the fries. I’m always trying to find a good sweet potato fry recipe. They just never get crispy enough before the ends turn too black. I saw one tonight on My New Roots that I really want to try – it calls for tossing the sweet potatoes in cornmeal – but I didn’t have any handy and couldn’t find any at the closest grocery store, so those will have to wait for another time. Tonight’s turned out pretty well – still a little black in parts and soggy in other parts, but some turned out golden and crisp, just the way I hoped. Charlie ate every one one his plate, which is a HUGE victory at our house where my kid regularly skips entire meals.
The steak was good too – but a bit too sweet for my taste. My mom made a chuck roast when we were growing up that had similar ingredients, but I don’t recall whether it had any brown sugar – and I don’t remember it being overly sweet. I liked the way the sugar bubbled under the broiler and added some crispness to the steak, but it was just too much. I think I’d cut the sugar a lot if I were to make this recipe again. But again, Charlie ate every little bite of the steak I cut him. The only thing on his plate he didn’t eat was the jasmine rice, which is fine with me, since that has the least nutritional value of anything I served.
Conclusion: I think we’re going to be eating a lot of baked sweet potato fries around here. I love that something as full of vitamin goodness as the yam is also something my son eats without the least complaint. Not to mention that they’re baked, rather than fried, and that there are lots of spices I can add to vary them a bit.
As for the flank steak, well, I’m going to eat the leftovers for sure, but I think I’ll try a slightly more savory recipe next time.
My cousin Elizabeth was absolutely right – chocolate is chocolate, and those brownies were DELICIOUS. Rich and dense in flavor, not overly sweet like so many brownies out of the box – I will definitely make them again!
Tonight’s new adventure is wheat bread. My mom gave me a stand mixer for my birthday back in August, and we haven’t bought a loaf of sandwich bread since, other than 1 loaf of rye since I haven’t learned to make that yet. We’ve been loving having home baked bread all the time – it really puts the grocery store stuff to shame. But I’ve just been making the easy white bread recipe that came with my mixer – and in the interest of mixing things up and, more importantly, getting a little healthier, tonight I tried my hand at whole wheat bread. My white-bread-loving husband wasn’t thrilled with this idea, but the house smelled SO good while these loaves were cooking. I can’t imagine they won’t be delicious.
I used the recipe that came with the mixer, which I also found online: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1086517
I ended up pulling them out of the oven about 5 minutes before I was supposed to because they were just smelling, well, in a word – done. We haven’t tried them yet since they need to cool, but they look great!
So I am the worst at reading recipes. For someone who likes to read as much as I like to read, you’d think I could handle recipe reading. But the thing is, I’m too eager to get started to set out all the ingredients first, and then I’m busy running and grabbing stuff as I go – and it often leads to me completely mis-reading something.
Like tonight. I saw a review of Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Chip Brownies on another blog, and thought they would make the perfect gift for the NICU. Tomorrow, we’re hoping to go for a quick visit, to drop off some Valentines treats and some paperwork about the DC March for Babies. We haven’t been back to the NICU in a couple of years, and I’ve been meaning to take Charlie for a visit. I know as soon as we set foot in that place, the smell will transport me back to that scary time – and be a welcome reminder of how far Charlie’s come! But I digress…
This recipe calls for 8 oz of semi or bittersweet chocolate, as well as a cup of chocolate chips. Yum! You are supposed to melt the 8 oz of chocolate with the butter, stir in the sugar, add the eggs, stir in the flour mixture, and THEN stir in the chocolate chips. But like a dummy, I read the step to place the butter and chocolate in heat-proof bowl over simmering water to mean that I should put ALL the chocolate (including the chips) in there. As soon as I did it, I thought to myself, “Well, that’s weird – why would you melt the chocolate chips if these are supposed to be chocolate chip brownies?” I even glanced back over the recipe again. But since mixing in the chocolate chips was basically the last step before putting the batter in the pan, I missed it. Until I actually got to that step, of course, and no longer had any chocolate chips to mix in… Duh. So my chocolate chip brownies will instead be SUPER EXTRA chocolate brownies. Hopefully they’ll still turn out, and nobody will complain! One of these days, I’ll learn to read more carefully. In the meantime, mistakes are how people have recipe epiphanies, right? Where the finished product turns out even better than the recipe would have? Humor me here.
George and I are both fans of indian food, but we don’t get to enjoy it very often. So I was in the mood to try something along those lines, and found a recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala on the Tasty Kitchen website. Something I love about the Tasty Kitchen site – you can change the number of servings and it adjusts the recipe ingredients for you! This recipe made 6 servings – and with our family and the fact that we aren’t always very good about eating our leftovers, I decided to just make 2 servings. Some of the ingredients didn’t split into thirds very well, but the nice thing about this recipe is that it didn’t seem to matter. For instance, it called for a third of a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. I had a 14.5 oz can, though, so I just used the whole can and the sauce was great. I think it might have been too thick or there might not have been enough had I not used the whole can.
I made some basmati rice to serve this on top of, and bought/heated some garlic naan for the side. The only thing missing (according to my #1 critic) was raita, which I would have made had I remembered to buy enough plain yogurt.
Pros: George liked it a lot! I liked it a lot! Charlie didn’t try it due to the late hour it was finished, but I think he might even eat it!
Cons: I didn’t check the recipe before we ran out to do a few errands. Had I checked it and prepped the chicken to marinate while Charlie and I were out buying valentine stuff for school, we might have had dinner at our normal time (8) instead of when we did (9). It’s a bit heavy on the prep for a weeknight meal.
Make again? For sure. Maybe just on a Sat or Sun next time.
Tonight I made spring rolls, filled with sushi rice, mint, cilantro, cucumber spears, broccoli slaw (my shortcut for crunchy, fresh carrots, cabbage, and broccoli – love the stuff), chicken sauteed in a little sesame and garlic oil, and crushed peanuts, complete with two dipping sauces, one a peanut sauce and one a sweet soy.
Imagine my disappointment when I was the only one who enjoyed them.
Apparently when I said I was making spring rolls, my husband envisioned the crunchy fried ones… and was sorely disappointed when this was what came out:
And Charlie took one look at “the green” and turned away. I told him it was just garnish (his had more rice and less mint and cilantro) and he said “I don’t want to eat garnish!” We did talk him into one bite, but that was it.
I’ll admit, they’re not the most symmetrical spring rolls, but they’re stuffed with healthy and delicious stuff. After making two sauces, steaming rice, sauteing chicken, chopping peanuts (which tend to jump when approached with a knife), and wrestling with rice paper (not easy), it was not very pleasing to have both of the other members of my family reject these. George at least stripped his of the paper and ate the filling of one, but Charlie wouldn’t even take a second bite. So while I actually did enjoy them, I will not be making them again. The rice papers are too finicky to warrant feeding just one person. Oh well, at least the sauces were good – I’m keeping those recipes handy!