For my 200th post I wanted to prepare something special. Special Suppers often center around a juicy steak. I found two strip steaks on sale at the store along with some leeks and nice big russet potatoes. So meat, a green vegetable, and starch…what a perfect combination. In less than thirty minutes we were dining on the most sumptuous meal.
I started by throwing the potatoes in the microwave. I knew that in about twelve minutes they would be done…they were pretty large. With those going I cut one of the leeks in half, washed the grit from between each leaf, and sliced them into quarter inch slices…maybe a little thinner. I put them in a bowl and sprinkled steak seasoning on them, parmesan cheese, about 1/3 cup flour, a heaping tablespoon of corn meal, (masa) and a dash or two of salt . I added a good splash of water and mixed everything up until the leek slices were well separated and coated in a nice batter. I set this aside and attended to the steaks.
All I needed to do with them was to season them with a steak seasoning blend, throw them on a hot grill, and watch them sizzle. After about three minutes I gave them a quarter turn to make those lovely cross-hatched grill marks. I turned them over after a total of about four and a half minutes. The other side got the same exact treatment. When the potatoes were done, the steaks were nearly there as well. I got out the instant read thermometer and checked for a temp of 145°…the steak mid-rare. They needed to rest a while to insure that they would be tender and juicy in the end. I shut off the flame, covered them in foil, and let them rest right on the grill.
While the steaks rested I went back to my bowl of leeks in batter. With the tongs I grabbed a good lump and placed them in a hot skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil. When the edges began to brown, I carefully flipped them over to brown the other side. It worked! They stayed together in one cute little leek patty.
I must give credit to a fellow foodie blogger by the name Frugal Feeding for these leek patties. I’ve enjoyed this gentleman’s clever and very economical recipes for over a year. When I checked to see what he was cooking up today I found a gorgeous Indian inspired onion dish called bhajis. Nick, of Frugal Feeding made these with red and white onions and with a mixture of Indian spices and graham flour. I did experiment with Nick’s recipe for lunch and it was so good! With my bunch, I need to start out mildly before springing such grown up flavors upon them, so I decided to try this less exciting version for our supper…baby steps. They will be trying bhajis before long. This evening, these leek patties were good, and a good start on getting my family to expand their horizons culturally…and believe me, serving leeks is a stretch. The poor girl at the market was struggling with how to charge me because she had never heard of such a vegetable. What a bubble in which we live…I wish to pop it!
I assembled our plates. Julia and I split one steak and one of the big potatoes, and Jeff got a steak all to himself as well as a potato. He’s been working these double shifts lately and needs to fuel up a bit more than we ladies. Julia tried the leek patty but still found it a bit much on the onion, so I helped her finish. Jeff loved them as well as the steak and he showed promise that bhajis might just be on the “I’ll give it a try” list. My big kids would try anything but these two come from different genes…there are limits. I’ve learned after 200 posts that springing new things on them can more easily be done when a special dinner like this is involved.
This was an easy meal full of flavor, aroma, and color. Not vegan, but no meat needed to be present. It was one of those days where creativity was useful because I hadn’t been to the store for quite a while. I had plenty of vegetables in the crisper that needed to be used: I had half a head of cauliflower, a bunch of broccoli, some mushrooms, a container of canned tomatoes half used, and as always an onion. I browsed over my lazy susan spice rack and saw spices like curry powder, ginger, cumin, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dried cilantro, and paprika.
Now, how could this make a dinner for four? I thought of the ingredients in a dish I enjoy often with my friend at an Indian restaurant, down the street from me. I couldn’t replicate this exactly but by assembling these things on a bed of rice, I made a pretty good first attempt considering what I had on hand.
Using a deep skillet I heated two tablespoons olive oil and a teaspoon of sesame oil. I diced all the fresh vegetables except for the cauliflower and began to saute them. Once they became browned around the edges, I added about a teaspoon of curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder, same of garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper, I stirred that all in, lowered the heat, then I added about 1/2 cup flour to the leftover tomatoes and stirred it together until it was completely mixed, then quickly scooped it into the skillet. Right away I added some milk to deglaze the pan and to help blend the tomato/flour mixture into the vegetables. I added more milk (about 3 cups total) and let the sauce thicken at a simmer. The cauliflower was then added as it gets mushy quickly. The steam of the simmering sauce would cook it in a matter of minutes. I had to tweak the spices and added more curry powder, some paprika to give it color and flavor, and some more salt taste in the form of soy sauce…about a tablespoon.
This was starting to look really good and the rice which I started before doing anything, using the Mt. Fuji method, was about ready. There was a container with a tablespoon or so of parmesan cheese in the ‘fridge which I thought would be nice to add, and melting it in did add another dimension of flavor. All that was left was to place rice beds in the dishes and top them with this lovely creamy vegetable korma. A pinch of dried cilantro finished it off and the four of us had more than enough to eat. Just when I thought I was in a rut, everything came out smelling …well, not quite like a rose, but quite heady, aromatic, and was very satisfying and delicious.