Monday, January 12, 2015

Marinated "Flat-Iron" Steak, or This Meat Is Freaking Me Out, January 8, 2015

Thursday night, I'd planned to do egg salad sandwiches, forgetting that every single time I plan to do egg salad sandwiches, my wife is horrified. When she heard that was what was upcoming for dinner, she said she was not eating them. Foot firmly planted, she agreed to be responsible for the main course. Well, usually her cooking is a great success, so I backed down from the egg salad and agreed to let her handle it. I would make the sides I'd planned, a green salad, a hot fruit casserole, and a honeyed sweet potato salad. The sweet potato salad turned out to be pretty tasty, something I'd make again. The hot fruit casserole was fine, if not terribly inspiring. What can you expect from canned fruit, though, really? It was pretty retro and kind of fun to make. The pre-marinated steaks she picked up at the grocery, advertising themselves as "flat-iron steak," were not very good at all. When we have one bad dinner, it seems to turn into a string of at least 3 nights. The texture of the steak was odd, nothing at all like any flat-iron steak I've ever had, and the marinade was terribly sweet and not pleasant. After two bites and a moment of wondering if I was eating organ meat, I simply gave up on the meat. My wife ate more than I did, but not by much. The good news is that we have young adult kids who have neither a lot of grocery money nor terribly discerning palates (they like Vienna sausages, for example, and delight in Hot Pockets) to whom we can pass on weirdo meat, as well as unwanted leftover sides.

Hot Fruit Casserole
1 can peach slices (I used 100% juice for all of these, but if you like the heavy syrup, use it)
1 can pear halves
1 can apricot halves
1 can pineapple chunks
10 oz. jar maraschino cherries
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
14 gingersnaps (or other small cookies, such as amaretti or macaroons), crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drain fruit, reserving 1/4-1/2 c. of each juice. Mix the fruit and place in a baking dish. Bring the juices to a boil with butter and brown sugar. Pour over fruit. Top with crushed cookies. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes. Serves 10-15. 

Honeyed Sweet Potato Salad
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 c. mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo; use whatever sort you prefer)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. applesauce
1 tbsp. cinnamon
A grating of nutmeg
4 oz. pecans, very roughly chopped

Cook the sweet potatoes until tender in water to cover. Mix everything else but the pecans together. Gently fold in sweet potatoes & pecans. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 4-6. 

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