Often I find myself day dreaming while sitting in front of this computer. Many people talk about how they could not live without their cellphone, but for me it is this laptop. When I am not cooking at work, I am on here doing paperwork. If I am not spending time with friends or family when I am off, I am looking things up on here. I am probably on my computer more than anyone else in my field. The only problem with the computer is it has become an inspiration superhighway for me. I would like to say my inspiration comes from beautiful colors I see in a garden during a long walk or the laughter of a child while they eat their favorite food with their family. Sad enough to say these things do not inspire my best recipes. This week I was browsing my favorite celebrity Chef’s website just seeing what he has new in his online repertoire. Luckily enough I was not super hungry so not everything looked delectable. I saw he had a strip steak with a cilantro marinade and it made me want to make steak, which I never do at home. The only problem with his recipe is that it called for a good $30 worth of fresh herbs and specialty oils that I do not have. So I took this inspiration for a marinade, and went to my little leather bound book I store in a secret place and found a Thai Marinade I came up with a few years back when making grilled steak skewers. The marinade is much simpler, less expensive and still delicious.
Ingredients, serves 2
4 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
6 Tbsp Soy Sauce
4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
2 tsp Dried Parsley Flakes
2 tsp Dried Oregano Flakes
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
2 6-8oz Strip Steak, fat trimmed. Choose a high quality cut between 1 ½ to 2 inches thick
1 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Tbsp Balsamic Glaze(Either get store bought or you can boil 1 Cup balsamic vinegar and 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar)
This is a quick and simple dish. The only time requirement is the marinating, but if you do not have time you can just glaze the steak with the marinade. It will not be as tender or flavorful, but it will work. First mix all of your dry ingredients for the marinade then slowly add the toasted sesame oil then the soy sauce. If you cannot find sesame oil labeled “toasted” do not worry. Almost every sesame oil that is out in the market is toasted whether marked or not.
Once your marinade is thoroughly mixed empty into a 9x9 baking dish, or any small sized deep dish. Place your steak in the marinade and turn thoroughly to coat. If you have time to wait, cover the dish with saran wrap and leave in the refrigerator for 2 hours to all day. If you are as hungry as I was by this point, just leave it sit out for about 45 minutes. Now if you purchased a high quality steak, there is no need to tenderize it. If you could only find a cheap steak then tenderize away! There are many techniques out there for tenderizing, so pick one whether it is pounding with a meat hammer, scoring, or stabbing with a tenderizer. While your steak is on its last 15 minutes of marinating you can cut your zucchini. In the picture below I have 2 different styles of cuts. Each cut changes the flavor of the finished product. I did the matchstick cuts because the bitterness of the zucchini is retained after cooking which my girlfriend loves, and I cut the other half of zucchini into 45 degree slices which cooks the bitterness out for me. Toss these in a bowl with the canola oil and balsamic glaze. Heat up either two nonstick pans or one large like pictured below, to medium heat.
Once your pans are hot, place the zucchini on one end for about 5 minutes before adding your steak. Everyone prefers their steak differently, and I like mine medium rare. A good steak on medium heat takes about 4 minutes on each side depending on the temperature you want yours at. When in doubt open it up and check. Place your steak on the other end for the time you have chosen.
Once your steak is to temperature and your zucchini is tender, plate your zucchini and slice your steak in thin strips. In the picture I spiced up the dish by adding a half an ear of corn, mainly because I love corn on the cob. All I did was rub the ear with the balsamic glaze and place in the oven set at 350 for 20 minutes uncovered. The entire prep time is about 10 minutes with 20 minutes of cooking aside from the marinade time. It is a quick meal that is sure to impress that special someone sharing with you. Just like any excerpt from my leather bound book, I encourage you to experiment and find the flavors that please you. After all, we are meant to enjoy every bite of our meals. To quote Anton Ego from Ratatouille, “I don't LIKE food. I LOVE it. If I don't love it, I don't SWALLOW.”