Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Delicious Than Food

Someone once told me that Dim Sum was served in such small portions because the food was made to compliment the tea and the conversation. You are suppose to sit, talk, sip tea, nibble on food, and enjoy the company of your family or friends. Recently, I had dinner with my uncle and aunt who I feel have perfected cooking for conversation. The meal started with lemongrass pork ribs, boiled meaty pork bones with a dipping sauce, and roasted squab. It peaked with shrimp wonton noodle soup. It ended with key lime pie and fresh, ripe cherries. We sat, sipped wine, and gnawed on some bones, bit into some cherries, and talked. The food was delicious but the company and conversation was just that much more delicious. Looking back at the most memorable meals I have had in my life, it had a lot to do with the company that I enjoyed it with. I hope that I will learn to be technically good at cooking but I also hope that I one day learn to create a meal that people will sit and enjoy for hours.

A good steak dinner was a long time coming for this blog. I've posted more steak sales than any other cut of meat or vegetable. So when my friend Olivia and I confirmed a night when we were both available for dinner, I knew it was my chance to fry up a good steak. While I was picking up the steaks, I saw that Vidalia onions were on sale. Caramelized onions instantly came to mind. I had picked up some artichokes over the weekend in hopes to make stuffed artichokes but instead decided to steam them. Turns out that Olivia "loves" steamed artichokes. We dipped the steamed leaves in an olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper mixture. The meat of the artichoke was so rich. I used the fresh garlic from the farmers market which is considerably sweeter tasting than any other garlic I have purchased at a store. We sat, we ate, we sipped wine, we gossiped about boys, and we enjoyed each others company. Good food. Good people. Good life.

Items purchased at Safeway and Trader Joes

Porterhouse steak - $4.79 per lb ($6.04 for one which Olivia and I split)
2 Sweet White Corn - six for $1
2 lbs of Vadalia Onions - $1.29 per lb (I caramelized two onions and we ate all of it)
4 artichokes - $2.49 for a pack of four
5 cloves of fresh garlic - Free - Gift from Ragini
1/2 a lemon - $0.69 each
Maggi Seasoning - Free from previous purchase
2 Tablespoons of Rice Vinegar - Free from previous purchase
4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil - Free from previous purchase

Artichokes were steamed in a pot of water with half a lemon. They steamed for 45 minutes until the leaves could easily be pulled off. The dipping sauce was just some olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

The best thing out of this entire meal were the caramelized onions. Two onions were sliced up and vinegar was poured on top of the onions. Heat up a pan to med-high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and then add the onions. Salt the onions and add a tablespoon of Maggi. Cook until onions are a golden brown and a few pieces are a little burnt. Olivia and I could have eaten an entire bowl of this alone.

The secret to a good steak is Maggi. It is like a soy sauce but is not soy sauce. This steak was salt, peppered, and marinated in some minced garlic and two tablespoons of Maggi. Then it was pan seared until it was about medium done.

The sweet corn was rinsed, wrapped in foil, and roasted in oven at 400 for 45 minutes. I could have eaten this corn for dessert. It was so sweet.

You see that little smudge of red on the upper right hand side of my plate? That is Sriracha chili sauce. I love dipping my steak in this sauce. Our meal was enjoyed with a bottle of this:

The entire meal cost about $12.20 (this does not include the cost of the wine.) I couldn't even finish my portion of the steak. I'll have it sliced up and on top of a salad tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you about good conversation and good company complementing a meal. One of the reasons I moved was to have more space to finally have dinner parties! I'm going to have to try steaming artichokes...I only seem to use the hearts. Great tip!