"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Monday, April 2, 2007

Grilled Stuffed Flank Steak, Grilled Asparagus, and Sweet Potato Chips

If I have had one culinary revelation this week, it was the Grilled Stuffed Flank Steak.

I chose it because I wanted to have a pre-theater dinner that could be prepared, and preferably even cooked mostly ahead of our guest's arrival. The recipe felt like a bit of a risk because a) I had never stuffed flank steak and b) I don't particularly care for flank steak. But I am nothing if not willing to try something new.

The short story is that the dish was a complete success, and even my somewhat fastidious son liked it so much that he polished off the leftovers after his play.

Here's why it works: it's pretty, because what you see is green spinach and orange carrot disks in a spiral of meat. It's tender, because you cut those long fibers cross-wise.

Cutting the flank steak so that it opened up like a book was a bit of a challenge; its a very thin cut of meat to begin with and I went through to the bottom more than once. Fortunately the rolling and tying part allows you to cinch those gaps up, and I didn't lose any stuffing to the grill (although I did lose a few asparagus spears).

Yes, there's a recipe for Grilled Asparagus in this book! To me that's about as funny as having a recipe for toast. I paid for my nonchalance though--the recipe asks you to make little asparagus rafts with wooden skewers so as not to lose any to the flames and I couldn't be bothered. If you follow the link to the recipe on Epicurious you'll see a reviewer similarly dismisses raft-making and suggests a grill basket instead. Maybe I'll find one of those sometime.

The Sweet Potato Chips with Lime Salt were fun, and the Lime Salt put them firmly into the I-Can't-Stop-Eating-These category. (an editing note--I see that the Epicurious recipe calls for 4 limes for some reason--you certainly don't need that many to get a half teaspoon of zest. The book doubles the recipe, presumably so you can have some to serve your guests too.) The only problem we had with this recipe was that nobody timed them, we just sort of watched them fry and pulled them out when they looked good. So some were on the brown side, some were a little tiny bit soggy but a very pretty orange--most were just right.

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