Sunday, September 30, 2012

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

You could say Mark Bittman and me go way back. How to Cook Everything, perhaps his most popular cookbook, was given to me as a gift in college. It was my first "real" cookbook. The recipes are, for the most part, pretty basic. Since then, I've learned how to do more complicated things in the kitchen. But, even today, I still find myself going back to it pretty often. Why? Because sometimes basic is all you need! 

Take this recipe for grilled marinated flank steak, for instance. Flank steak, if you're not familiar with the cut, is usually fairly lean, with a good bit of chew. The flavor is decidedly beefy, which means strongly flavored marinades play well with the cut. It also lends itself to a very simple preparation, which makes Bittman's marinade recipe one of my go-to flank steak marinades. 

And if nothing else, this marinade is a combination of strong, assertive flavors. You start out of with a couple of healthy squeezes of fresh lime juice. Added to that are a couple swigs of fish sauce, which imparts a pungent but pleasant aroma to the marinade. Finally, some fresh grated ginger and minced garlic is thrown in to round out the marinade. 

Then, a half hour later, you're ready to grill the flank steak. The results are simple, aromatic, and most importantly, tasty!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Banana Bread with Toasted Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

Bananas are undoubtedly one of my favorite types of fruit. And apparently, I'm in good company. A perfectly ripe banana is always a welcome addition to my morning bowl of Cheerios! But, an overripe banana? No thanks. So what do you do when you've got a bunch of overripe bananas? Well, it's time to make some banana bread!

This recipe for banana bread is outstanding. And, more importantly, it's downright simple to make. Bananas take center stage here: you start out with 3-4 overripe bananas. Added to that is some brown sugar - not too much brown sugar. Just enough to heighten the bananas innate sweetness. The batter is finished with a splash of bourbon and vanilla, and then a sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon. Texture is important here too, so I gild the lily a bit and stud the top of the bread with toasted walnuts. Oh, and because chocolate is never a bad thing, some chocolate chips are folded into the bread.

The recipe is versatile too. Don't like walnuts? Fine, leave them out! Don't like chocolate? Well, I won't judge you.

So, treat this banana bread recipe as a canvas of sorts, onto which any number of additions will likely be delicious. In any case, what you'll end up with is some incredibly moist and flavorful banana bread.