Thursday, February 4, 2010

Time Travel

Ok, first of all… I’m in some serious need of new photography supplies. I’m sorry about the weird yellowish-orange 1970s quality of my photos… it seems that my super professional photo studio (i.e., my bedside lamp and my point and shoot camera) can’t keep up with the lack of natural sunlight in these here parts. I’ll try to fix that...the equipment part, not the sunlight part. Although I would fix the sunlight part if I could…but for now, I guess its all “groovy” and “far-out.” That’s ‘70s lingo…right?

I’m not sure if it’s the lack of sunlight or what, but I just don’t have that much to tell you about right now. I mean, I’m clearly not starving or anything, but I’ve been a little unmotivated in the kitchen, and I haven’t gone anywhere particularly exciting. Not to say that I haven’t had some delish dinners, because I have, just nothing super special or eventful to share with you. I think Evan put it best: “we suck at eating lately.” Definitely not the stuff that good food-blog posts are made of.

But, the good news is…even though I’ve had nothing exciting going on lately…I just remembered that I totally forgot to tell you about this:

I think I teased you with a photo of it awhile back, but never got around to actually giving it the attention it deserved. And trust me; it deserves attention… a lot of it! So, in the spirit of time travel (1974 with my photos, 2009 with my recipes)'s an oldie but a goodie!

I haven’t even told you about the amazing foraging we did over Thanksgiving. Sometimes I don’t even realize how awesome it was to grow up eating seasonally, locally, and naturally organic. During fishing season, we ate fresh salmon that Mel and John caught, and the rest of the year we ate smoked salmon that they caught, smoked, and canned. In the summers we had an over abundance of vegetables from the garden: tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, peppers, peas, green beans, and squash. We also never ran out of home canned jam and pickles (if you haven’t tried Mel’s habanera dills, you haven’t lived). All of our eggs came fresh from our own chickens, and we even picked our own chamomile to make tea. As a picky child, I turned my nose up at a lot of this…never knowing how good I had it! Especially when it came to mushrooms. With a forest for a backyard, Mel and John have always been big on foraging for morels and chanterelles…which, as a child, I thought were hideous, disgusting things.

I’ve since changed my mind about wild mushrooms, especially chanterelles. And, why pay $13 a pound for measly little chanterelles when you can forage your own for free!? And that, my friends, is exactly what we did when Amanda and I were home for Thanksgiving. Mel, John, Amanda and I hiked up into the woods, past bear tracks, past snow, well past civilization…until we stumbled on a gold mine of fresh, golden chanterelles. On our hike out of the woods, Amanda and I dreamed up recipes we would make with our bounty. A teriyaki marinated flank steak with wild mushroom teriyaki sauce just so happened to be the first one I delved into.

This recipe creation for sweet, tender steak with earthy mushrooms is definitely a keeper...even if you hold on to it for a few months before sharing it. I recommend using chanterelles you foraged yourself, but any wild mushrooms will do! There are a few steps to this: marinade overnight, sauté mushrooms, make sauce, and broil steak... so be sure to read ahead before you get started!

Wild Mushroom Teriyaki Flank Steak
Serves 4

1 cup soy sauce
3 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar (cider or red wine)
Fresh ground black pepper
1.5-2 pounds flank steak
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup fresh wild mushrooms- cut in bite size chunks
Splash red wine
Salt and pepper
Optional- fresh thyme

For Marinade: Combine first 4 ingredients (soy through pepper) in a bowl, stir to mix well. Pour in a large resealable plastic bag (zip lock freezer bag), and add the steak- seal bag. Make sure that the steak is well covered, and lay in a flat a dish that’s larger than the steak (I use a baking dish). Marinate overnight in the refrigerator, turn the bag once or twice.

For Mushrooms: Heat butter over medium heat in sauté pan. Add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Add wine, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until wine evaporates.

For Sauce: Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil, and remove the steak from the marinade, placing on broiler pan rack. Pour the marinade into a saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat for several minutes, reduce heat to low. Whisk together beef broth and cornstarch until starch dissolves. Add to the warm marinade mixture, and whisk. Add mushrooms. Simmer (stirring) until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency.

For Steak: Place broiler pan 2 to 3 inches from heat. Leave the oven door open, and broil 5-7 minutes on each side (for medium rare) up to 10 minutes on each side for medium well. Thinly slice steak across the grain, and serve with mushroom sauce. Sprinkle with fresh thyme.
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