My goal over the weekend was to find the dining room. And the boxes of herbs and spices. Sounds simple, right? Well, I wish I had taken a before picture of the dining room, because you seriously could not set foot in it. Everything was dumped in there when we moved, so it was the worst room in the house. It was going to be quite the undertaking, but the kids were away for the weekend, so it was the perfect time to be uber-productive. When they came back, I wanted to have our first official dinner at the dining room table.
It started perfectly on Friday when my Mom, thank goodness, unearthed the box that had all the spices and herbs. I swear, it was like finding a long lost friend. Once I got them all unpacked and in the drawer, all the sudden, cooking, really cooking, in the kitchen didn’t seem like such an impossible feat after all. There was just that little matter of finding the dining room. I worked on it all Friday night and most of Saturday. Although I have a small bank of boxes left to unpack along the back wall, I was really proud with how much I got done. When Nick walked in last night and saw it for the first time, I was expecting some big reaction, but, well, he’s a seven-year-old boy, so he barely gave it a second glance. Or so I thought. Earlier today I overheard him telling the babysitter, “We had our first dinner in the dining room last night!” rather excitedly. Hearing him share that was all I needed.
But what to make for our first dinner? I asked Nick what he wanted and he came back with “rice and beans.” Wonderful. So not what I had planned.
“Oh, okay,” I said.
“What?” he asked.
“Nothing. I was thinking more of something like steak or Penne with Vodka Sauce.”
“That’s fine. That’s good,” he said.
“No, it’s ok. If you want rice and beans, I’ll make it.”
“No, what you said is fine.”
We ended up agreeing that we would have rice and beans one night this week instead.
Steak is definitely a crowd pleaser here with the kids, and last night was no exception. I grabbed Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats cookbook and flipped through the steak selections, waiting for one to pop out at me, and then I saw it. London Broil with Buttery Potatoes, Caramelized Mushrooms and Zucchini. Dinner. I know Nick wouldn’t like any of the three vegetables the recipe had, but we negotiated and he ended up making it through a few pieces of potato.
The steak, however? You would have thought it was a Delmonico Double Cut No Bone, my favorite steak, the way the kids inhaled it. Nick went back for seconds, and then thirds, and Madeline, seconds, along with mushrooms. That’s my girl. I think the steak could have used more marinating, perhaps a few hours, but it was good and relatively tender. The mushrooms and zucchini? Loved them.
One of the things that I like most about this cookbook is when she has a recipe that has more than one component, she breaks it all down to help you with timing. For example, this recipe includes your main course and your vegetables, but the directions are step-by-step, so by the time you’re done with your 30 minutes, both the vegetables and the protein are done, instead of you trying to figure out how to time everything to come out just right … at the same time, you know?
Was it a wow? No. But it’s a good serviceable recipe that made a nice first meal for us. Just about making it around the 30-minute mark makes it a good candidate for a weeknight meal too. And with three different vegetables, you can’t help but please the pickest of eaters. And honestly? Caramelized vegetables are my favorite kind, right up there with roasted. You just can’t go wrong. I told Nick I didn’t care which one of the three vegetables he ate, but he had to choose one. Although he’s not a big fan of potatoes outside of french fry form, he sucked it up, in between the three helpings of steak. I’ll take it.
London Broil with Buttered Potatoes and Caramelized Zucchini and Mushrooms
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray’s 365: No Repeats
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1-1/2 pounds 1-1/2 inch thick shoulder steak (London Broil)
coarse black pepper
2 pounds very small red or white bliss potatoes (I used Yukon Gold and quartered them)
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 cremini (baby portobello) mushrooms, brushed, cleaned and cut in half (I used white button)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise, then cut into chunks about the same size as the mushrooms
Preheat the broiler.
In a small bowl, combine the Worcestershire, red wine vinegar, and hot sauce. Brush the steak with the mixture and sprinkle liberally with coarse black pepper. Let the steak marinate for 5-10 minutes.
Place the potatoes in a sauce pot and cover with cold water. Place the pot over high heat and bring up to a boil, add some salt, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the potatoes, return to the ot pan, and let it sit for 1-2 minutes to dry. Add half of the parsley, the dill, butter, salt and pepper.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the EVOO. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring every now and then, for 4-5 minutes, or until nice and brown. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic and zucchini, and season with a little salt; continue to cook until the zucchini are tender and starting to get a little brown.
While the zucchini are browning up with the mushrooms, broil the steak on the top rack for 6 minutes on each side, for medium rare to medium doneness.
Remove the meat from the broiler and let it rest for a few minutes.
Very thinly slice the meat on an angle against the grain. The degree to which you can thinly slice will determine how tender the meat is to cut and chew, so make sure the carving knife is sharp: the thinner the better!
Add the remaining parsley to the mushrooms and zucchini, stir to combine, and transfer to a serving platter. Serve the sliced London broil alongside the buttered potatoes and the caramelized zucchini and mushrooms.