Last night, we got the chance to celebrate a belated Christmas with The Neighbors. Even though the kids still had to exchange their own presents, I think it’s safe to say that they’re over the whole opening presents thing. For now, anyway. I’m sure it will pass.
I wanted to keep the menu simple since I spent most of the day out, tracking down elusive items for Nicholas (a story for tomorrow). I turned to one of the new cookbooks I got for Christmas, Rachael Ray’s 2, 4, 6, 8: Great Meals for Couples or Crowds. Two recipes caught my eye Garlicky, Cheesy Bread Chunks Topped with Steaks and Italian Club Finger Sandwiches, and I ended up making them both.
The bread from the steak sandwiches was simply divine, full of crusty, cheesy, garlicky goodness; the recipe’s name does not lie. Her recipe didn’t suggest slicing the steak before putting it on the bread, but I did, and think it worked better that way. We decided the one thing to put it over the top would be a little light gravy spooned on the top of the finished sandwich, or melted cheese. We’ll definitely be making this one again though, probably using one or both of those additions.
The Neighbor Husband got into the act too, tackling a Rachael Ray recipe of his very own, from her Guy Food Cookbook. It’s a cute little size cookbook that is perfect for popping into your purse or tote while traipsing off to the grocery store. ‘Course now that I’ve called it “cute,” he probably won’t be touching it again any time soon. He’s going to have to chime in here with the exact title of the recipe, but it was delicious steamers with Mexican beer, chopped red onions, garlic, jalapenos and tomatoes. Tasty, with a bit of a kick, and perfect with some warm crusty French bread for mopping up the warm juices with.
A year ago today… the start of ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday, which, incidentally will return next Tuesday, so I hope you’re all gearing up for it.
6 slices thin-cut white bread
1 cup soft, spreadable herb cheese
8 slices Prosciutto di Parma
12 leaves fresh arugula or basil
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 radishes, thinly sliced
Spread 4 slices of bread with soft herb cheese. Top each cheese-covered slice with 2 slices of prosciutto, 3 leaves of arugula or basil, and 4 thinly sliced tomatoes seasoned with a pinch of salt. Place a completed layer atop another, making 2 stacks—each 2 layers high. Set the final bread slices in place, making 2 triple-decker sandwiches.
Thinly slice and salt the radishes. Pierce a couple of thin slices of radish on each toothpick and place 4 toothpicks in each sandwich. Cut each sandwich into 4 equal parts, cutting the sandwich across evenly on each side.
Garlicky, Cheesy Bread Chunks Topped with Steaks
Recipe Courtesy of Rachael Ray
4 beef tenderloin steaks, 1-1/2 inches thick
leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 tablespoons very soft butter
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
generous handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
generous handful of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 2-inch thick slices Italian sesame-semolina bread, cut on an angle
Season the steaks with the thyme, salt and pepper. Place a large skillet over high heat with the EVOO, once around the pan. When the oil is hot, using a pair of tongs and a folded paper towel, spread the oil lightly over the surface of the pan. Place the steaks in the hot pan and sear the meat, cooking it for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the steaks for 3-4 minutes longer on each side. Remove the steaks to a plate, cover them loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for about 5 minutes.
While the steaks cook, combine the soft butter, garlic, parsley, basil, Parmigiano and some pepper in a bowl. Spread the butter mixture evenly on all the cut sides of the bread slices. Once the steaks are out of the skillet and resting, return the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the slices of bread and cook until the first side is golden, 2-3 minutes. Flip and toast the second buttered side. Serve the steaks on top of the cheesy, garlicky bread chunks.
Sweetnicks’ Notes: Slice steaks before topping on bread. Top with melted cheese or gravy next time.