Recipe: grilled steak and cheese sandwich
Congratulations to Laura of Laura’s Best Recipes for winning the Quaker Oats challenge! My sincerest thanks to all of you who took me and Farm to School to the finals! You all are wonderful. While I’m disappointed that we didn’t win $10,000 for Farm to School, I think we raised awareness of the awesome work they are doing. You can always contribute independently – it is a great organization that gets at the root of helping farmers and helping our school children both immediately and for the long haul.
I can’t tell you how many times I have driven between 1 to 6 hours in order to get to a dark sky site and wait all night for meteor showers back in the day. I’ve gone with friends, but mostly I’ve gone with Jeremy. Jeremy and I would drive 4-6 hours out of Los Angeles to escape the light pollution and it was always on a weeknight so that we’d leave home sometime after dinner, arrive at the dark sky site by midnight, then watch for four hours and drive back bleary-eyed at 4 am only to hit the CRAZY 6 am traffic from Lancaster into the LA basin and then drag our carcasses into work. That made for some big headaches, let me tell you. These days, I just step out onto my deck and see if the weather is cooperating. When the skies are clear here, we can see the Milky Way as plain as if someone smacked you in the face with it. It is stunning to behold, every time. Some might think it would grow old seeing this on a daily basis, but like the beautiful mountains I live in – I never tire of seeing the Milky Way. I never tire of seeing the Pleiades overhead or Orion rising in the winter to chase them across the sky or Venus setting in the west. Ever since I was a little girl I would gaze up at the moon, the stars, the night sky. I still do. It takes my breath away.
All that to say, I did see Leonids last night. I find shooting stars to be mesmerizing. I didn’t capture any to share, because even though I had enough foresight to call my neighbor to ask that they turn off any lights overnight, I didn’t call the OTHER neighbor who leaves this crazy giant floodlight on – which reflects remarkably well off all of the snow on the ground. *squinty eyes* Guess I’ll have two phone calls to make next time.
Right. There is snow on the ground, but it’s fast melting away because we here in Colorado get a lot of snow and a lot of sun. It’s a perfect combination especially on a blue bird morning.
beautiful and familiar view from my deck
I’m still sorting my brain, my photos, my schtuff from last week and will be sharing that fantastic trip with you soon enough (when brain is in order). I landed in Denver on Friday and raced the snow storm home (it beat me), fed the dog, downloaded photos, wiped a CF card clean, and headed back to Boulder just in time to pick up Jeremy and arrive at the Culinary School of the Rockies (CSR) Harvest Dinner. We had been invited by Sarah Blecher, the lovely woman I met at the Savory Spice Shop shoot. I have a special place in my heart for CSR because that’s where I learned how to make pastries and how to adjust for high altitude (it’s still an ongoing learning process, but at least I’m no longer floundering about like a turtle on its back thanks to CSR). When I walk into the professional kitchen, I almost feel like I’m coming home – it is that familiar for me. The people who work there are wonderful, happy, and enthusiastic. They teach, they learn, they have fun.
The Harvest Dinner is a meal planned, prepared, and served by the Culinary Arts Farm to Table Program students to a dining room of about 60 guests. I was so excited to go back into the kitchen and watch the students in action! You’d think after a week of fine food and fine wine that I’d be sick of it. To that I say: ELASTIC WAISTBANDS are your friends.
best plate of the night: ale-brined pork belly with polenta and apple cider reduction
a student preps the pappardelle
We sat with several members of the CSR staff and friends talking about the local restaurant and food scene, CSR classes and programs, food, wine, and more food. I feel fortunate that a town the size of Boulder can boast its own Culinary School and still offer fun home classes for cooking enthusiasts. CSR has a strong involvement with the local community as well – and that’s a great thing for all of us.
another winner: sherry-braised chick peas
students quickly gather to serve apple brioche bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce
Overall, the meal was superbly executed. I kept thinking to myself, “I must get these recipes!” followed by “I need to not eat for the next month.” You can see more photos from the evening on my photo blog. But now, it’s time for a recipe so simple that the only reason I don’t make it more often is because you’d have to plunger me through the door.
hello pretty ribeye steak, i think i love you
make that, i *definitely* love you
When we grill steaks, we will occasionally have enough for leftovers which I quite love turning into sandwiches. Remember my ongoing love affair with sandwiches? Okay, maybe you haven’t been reading long enough, but sandwiches are a most beloved form of delivering awesomeness to my belly. I like to slice up the leftover steak when it’s cold (easier to slice thin), and slice up some onion…
thin slices of cold steak
Swiss is my cheese of choice because it’s terrific when melted between two slices of grilled bread. Layer the cheese on the bread first, then some steak. While the bread, cheese, and steak get to know each other, I sauté the onions in a little oil until they are soft… really soft. You can caramelize them if you like, but mine didn’t make it before my impatience won out (it always does).
two… three… four…
i know, they’re a little burnt – whatevs
I don’t know when or where I first learned to grill a sandwich, but my life is so much better for it! It’s nothing fancy – a flat-bottomed pan on medium to medium-high heat and you’re good to go. The cheese side should always go down first to achieve a state of meltiness. That is a technical term, so don’t argue with me. When the bread (which I like to spread with a little butter) is golden, carefully flip the sandwich over and brown the other side. I know there are a million ways to grill a sandwich, so do whatever floats your boat. The ultimate goal is to eat a delicious sandwich. [Yeah, I used the word delicious. People who don't like it can go stuff it and you know damn well who you are.]
ready to sizzle
for the love of all that is good and beautiful in this world, don’t forget the cornichons!
My favorite accompaniment to the grilled steak sandwich (or any grilled cheese sandwich) would have to be a piping hot bowl of tomato soup because they were meant to be. Even Jeremy, the man who used to fear tomatoes, concedes this fact and enjoys his sandwich with tomato soup. I’m curious to hear what your favorite soup and sandwich combinations are. I know I can’t be the only sandwich lover out there.
dear sandwich, how i love thee
Grilled Steak Sandwich
2 tsps vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
salt to taste (optional)
2 slices bread, buttered on one side (I like the sourdough)
1-2 slices cheese (I like the Swiss)
leftover steak, sliced thin
In a medium sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent and golden (about 5-10 minutes depending on the heat and how impatient you are). Add a little salt if desired. Remove from heat and set aside. You can either use the same pan (cleared of onions) or another flat-bottomed pan and place a slice of bread, buttered-side down on medium heat. Layer the cheese evenly on the non-buttered side of the bread. Then layer the steak over the cheese. Top with onions and set the second slice of bread non-buttered side down on the sandwich. The cheese will begin to melt in a few minutes. Watch that the base bread doesn’t burn during the cheese-melting phase. When the bread is crisp and golden, flip the sandwich to brown the other side and then serve. Makes one kickass sandwich.