Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Impressing My Girlfriend's Friends

I heard from my girlfriend that one of her co-workers was a fan of the blog and wanted to get a meal cooked by Tyler. One of my goals is to create an in-home cooking class company, so I figured this would be a great way to showcase my talent to people who have been impressed by my food. Unfortunately, the meal was taking place in the dead of summer when my kitchen is about 100 degrees, so I wanted to start with a simple, cold cucumber soup. I pureed seedless cucumbers (though could have used normal cukes and just removed the seeds) with water and mint leaves. I then added salt, pepper, honey, and cayenne pepper and let it cool in the fridge. When it came time to serve, I topped it with a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed with honey, some chopped mint, and a cucumber that I cut into a ribbon. The soup was light, crisp, and refreshing in the sweltering kitchen.

For the rest of the meal, I wanted to make something summery and delicious. I decided on hangar steak with a peach relish, Mexican corn, and an arugula salad. I marinated the steak in garlic, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. For the relish, I peeled and finely diced 3 peaches, chopped up some scallion and jalapeno (seeds removed), and chopped some basil. I mixed this all together with salt, pepper, and honey, and let it sit in the fridge to let the flavors expand.

As much of this meal would ideally be grilled, I was a bit stuck not having a grill in my apt. As a reliable alternative, I turned to the broiler (the often ignored drawer at the bottom of your oven.) The broiler cooks with direct, high heat and is usually a good alternative to the direct heat of a gas or charcoal grill. For the corn, I rubbed them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and broiled them until the kernels began to caramelize and brown. I coated them with mayonnaise (it's amazingly good on corn, believe me), finely grated parmesan, and paprika. The result was a delicious corn that didn't need a grill.

For the salad, I mixed arugula, raspberries, and finely sliced fennel and parmesan, and made a simple dressing of balsamic, lemon juice, and olive oil. The salad was simple, but had an explosion of flavor from the berries and parm. The balsamic worked really well with the sweet, tangy berries, and the nutty parmesan, and the fennel gave it a nice bright crispness as well.

For the steak, I took it out of the marinade, and broiled it for about 5 minutes on the first side and 2 on the other. Hangar steak is a little tough to cook because the thickness of the cut is not even throughout. The result is that some of the steak is a little more on the well-done side, but because it's such a tender and flavorful cut of beef, it doesn't dry out. Once the steak was out of the broiler, I let it rest for a few minutes to finish cooking and let the juices settle, and then I sliced it against the grain (on an angle) to get attractive, uniform pieces. I served the relish on top of the steak slices, and the corn and salad alongside.

The meal was truly delicious. My girlfriend's friends were indeed impressed, and we all had a great time laughing, eating, and enjoying the kitchen experience.


DCL913 said...

This meal was DELICIOUS!! I've had many a Tyler Meals and this was one of the best. The steak was perfectly done and had so much flavor and then the peaches just made it over the top. Also, I LOVE Mexican Corn, so I am a picky customer, but the corn was amazing. It was all amazing!!

Over all, well done Tyler!! My taste buds were more than pleased.

p. cook said...

The whole course is of course fabulous but that cucumber soup is the real killer for me. Outstanding.