mojito flank steak Nothing completes a beautiful summer day like a great steak. And when it comes to satisfying my taste buds and my wallet, flank steak can’t be beat. Wow, that was so incredibly corny…

Anyway, there are 2 secrets (not anymore) to flank steak: 1) Don’t cook it past medium rare, and 2) let it rest at least 10 minutes before slicing. Naturally, flank steak is a very tough, fibrous cut of meat. If you overcook it, it will toughen up and lose its character. Also, if you slice it (remember, with a sharp knife on a steep bias) before the juices have had time to redistribute, it will quickly dry out.

Makes: Enough for 2 frugal gourmets (college students, I’m looking at you)
Total kitchen time: 30 mins (plus marinating time)

Shopping list:

  • 1 lb flank steak (just multiply out this recipe if you’ve got a larger crowd)
  • 1 cup prepared mojito marinade
  1. Place the flank steak in a large shallow dish and cover with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate 30 mins 4 hours. Remove from the fridge at least 40 minutes before cooking to let it come to room temperature.
  2. Heat your grill (or grill pan) over very high heat. You want to get a nice char on the outside of the meat before the heat has time to permeate to the center.
  3. Grill the steak, about 3 minutes per side, depending on your grill. Use your favorite doneness-testing method (the thumb crevice; cut and peek; tarot card), but don’t let the meat cook past medium rare. Remember, also, that the meat will carryover when it rests.
  4. Remove your steak from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes on a carving board. Slice into thin strips across the grain of the meat, holding your knife at a steep angle.

Serve with whatever makes you happiest. Corn on the cob with jerk butter is a family favorite. Or, add your favorite tuber for some “meat and potatoes” action.

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salmon pizzaI went out on a limb with this recipe. Salmon and hash browns on a pizza sounded really good. Somewhere between the planning and execution, this dish failed to achieve its potential. So, I humbly ask of you (the blogosphere): try this recipe, add your own variations, and reply back in the comments. I’m certain there is really good food in here – we just have to find it.

Makes: one, uh, unique pizza
Total kitchen time: 40 mins

Shopping list:

  • 1 lb salmon fillet portions (skin removed)
  • 1 large russet potato, julienned into match-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto (your favorite recipe, or out of a jar. I won’t tell)
  • 1 14″ pizza dough (I made a whole wheat and cornmeal dough. Make or use what sounds best to you)
  • 2 tbsp oil (a high smoke point oil such as Enova or even sesame oil works very well here)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4-5 basil leaves, finely chopped (garnish)
  1. Preheat your oven to 420 F. Salt and pepper the salmon and hash browns.
  2. Heat 1 tsp of cooking oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the pan is good ‘n hot, add the salmon fillet. Only let it cook for about 1 min per side, or until a nice crust has developed on the outside. It should still be very raw in the middle. Remove the salmon from the pan, scraping up all the bits that are stuck, and let rest on a plate.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the hash browns until crispy. Alternately, you can toss with oil and broil the potatoes until golden. The idea here is to introduce crunch.
  4. Spread an even layer of pesto across the pizza dough. Add the hash browns. Flake apart the salmon fillet with a fork and sprinkle over the pizza.
  5. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, making sure that the salmon is cooked (it should lose most of its transparency. However, if the “white gunk” starts seeping out, you’re overcooking it. Stop, get in your time machine, go back 2 minutes, remove then.)

Suggestions for brave souls: The pesto flavor wasn’t strong enough to stand up to the salmon. I might recommend a strong honey mustard or a honey-balsamic glaze instead. Also, the hash browns didn’t end up bringing much crunch to the party when I made mine. I might substitute shredded cabbage, added after the pizza has come out of the oven. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!

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