Sunday, March 14, 2010

Top of the Pops

Since moving back to this quaint little water town I've headed up to Pop's house most Sundays for a family supper. You know me and family, so you're not surprised that I look forward to Sundays more than almost anything else.

And the chef Dad was lucky enough to get himself hitched to is literally a French pastry chef (3 months at the Escoffier at the Ritz in Paris will get that for you) and gourmet of long standing; someone who can have a conversation about Prime meat and marbling and not bat an eye. Pops meanders his way through the news or some random bit on the internet or aimlessly reorganizes his collection of 456,217 math and astronomy books while Mrs. BKT and I talk about food as she finishes up the meal. I have to admit a little secret...I sometimes get there early so I can talk about the food since we have to include Dad in the conversations at the table.

Well this weekend the chef was out of town and returning late in the afternoon on Sunday. So Dad cooked up the good idea of me coming up to his place and grilling steaks. Unfortunately, as shown here, Momma Nature was not down. Unless of course you mean down with rain and flooding...and then she was most definitely down.

So pops and I chatted at lunch on Thursday and decided that I'd cook at my place if the rain was too much since neither of us are technically proficient enough to use the space-age magneto-uber stove at his house...and because that way Mrs.'s kitchen would remain in the pristine state in which she left I cook a mean steak on a painful electric stove anyway!

Off I go to the store with no list, just ‘steak’ and ‘salad’ as my guides. Oh, and Pop’s not so subtle hint that mushrooms in a red wine sauce went well with steak.

So they do, pops. So they do.

Since it was a first, pops and kid doing the solo “Man Meal” at the new place, I decided to splurge (I know, you’re not really surprised. If I’d said “since it was a Wednesday with an odd numbered digit on the car’s license plate in front of me in my parking spot I decided to splurge” you wouldn’t have been surprised).

I started with the ubiquitous ‘how to make this salad good’ question and at first I thought spinach and red onion with a warm bacon vinaigrette. And no one would have blamed me. But then I saw the arugula; and I had passed by the red onions but went back to get one; and those yellow organic tomatoes on the vine would be a great color combo; and I can add some fresh-torn basil to the mix; and what about blueberries, yeah he can eat those on his diet; and ooooh he like cashews and that would add great crunch; and then I can get some balsamic and do a reduction; and head back to the cheese section for some goat cheese, no, that feta looks better, I’ll use that for a salty addition to the mix.

Whew! I’m getting tired just REMEMBERING the salad shopping creation process!

But I got it done. And I found some nice loose creminis, and I relieved them of their heavy stems before I paid for them by weight (and I didn’t apologize). I knew I had the wine I wanted at home (pinot noir for this one, a nice rich, velvety sauce out of that).

Local Maryland, grass-fed strips looked pretty good, too.

And I’ll skip ahead a bit now and tell you that it all turned out. Almost perfectly. My own harshest critic, of course; I left the steak in literally 1 minute too long in the oven. Great crust, simple salt and pepper, and deliciously juicy when I sliced it after a five minute rest. But it was medium not medium rare. Next time…perfection.

We sat at my still-new mango-wood table with a comfy light and an hour of conversation about my life before I remember it and my parents getting started in their careers. Looking back at what they were going through at the point in their lives that I now find myself.

Bites of steak and tender creminis. A sweet/tart forkful of yellow tomato with feta and the crunch of a cashew with a burst of mellow-sweet blueberry and peppery arugula.

Sweet and mellow, yeah, that was the ticket.

I even got to redux my old habit of feeding the bar because Dad and I stopped at one plate and splitting a 14oz. steak.

Losing Tupperware to the bar and having good friends tell me dinner was awesome is still one of my favorite activities in life.

1 comment:

One Single Cook said...

Kaarmin and I went to Louisville this past weekend, and I had an AMAZING arugula salad with house made onion rings and spicy citris vinagrette yours looks amazing! going to have to try the blueberry and feta combo!