Middle east feast

We really are making the most of the Chicago summer.  Yesterday morning I awoke to very sore shoulders after kayaking down the Chicago river Sunday afternoon.  Apart from dodging boats and taking a few waves in the face, it was a great way to spend a summer's Sunday.  

As I'm sure you can imagine, we were starving afterwards and I woke up early to watch the final stage of the Tour de France (oops... the tour de Lance) and prepare a few Middle Eastern dishes for a barbecue.  Lamb is probably my favorite meat, but it seems many Americans don't like the taste of it.  It's extremely popular in the UK and it's so flavorful- I love to slow cook it and buy it ground for burgers, like the ones below.

I like these lamb burgers because they steer away from the typical menu for outdoor eating.  They are also easy to prepare and with a selection of tasty dips and salads, they make a real feast.  I made a platter of fresh heirloom tomatoes seasoned liberally with salt and pepper, drizzled with olive oil and topped with crumbled feta.  I added some store-bought red pepper hummus that I again drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled on some smoked paprika.  

Greek yogurt and lamb are a match made in heaven so I spooned some into a dish so people could help themselves.  This recipe for the burgers suggests they are served with a black olive, parsley, tomato and lemon juice relish- it was a great combination.  

We grilled a pile of whole wheat pitta breads that had been split open so we could slide the burgers in.

Middle Eastern Lamb Burgers with Black Olive Relish
Adapted from Living and Eating by John Pawson and Annie Bell
Serves 4

1 1/3 lb best minced lamb
1 tbsp finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
sea salt and black pepper
4 pitta breads to serve

Put together all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly... using your hands is the best way to get everything combined.  Shape a quarter of the mixture into a ball and then flatten into burgers- tossing them back and forth between your hands will make a nice compact burger.  Do these ahead of time and then cover and chill them in the fridge.

For the Black Olive Relish:

1 tomato, sliced and cut into strips
1 large handful each of parsley and coriander (cilantro) leaves
50 g black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
squeeze of lemon juice

Combine the ingredients... you can give the parsley and cilantro a rough chop if you'd like or leave them whole.

Brush the burgers with a little olive oil then grill them over hot coals for about 4-5 minutes each side.  Grill the pittas for about 30 seconds each side and place a burger in each one with some of the relish to serve.

As a salad, this is to lamb what cheese is to macaroni.  This is another of my beloved Nigella's recipes and she serves it with pink seared lamb loins sliced and draped across it.  Try it-it's amazing.  Bulgar wheat is easy to find (in the UK it's in every super market and I found mine at Whole Foods here in Chicago).  It's apparently a wonderful addition to veggie chili, something I'll have to try in the colder months that I can't bear to think about right now.

So get out there, start chopping a ton of fresh herbs, squeezing limes and attack some courgettes (zucchini) with a vegetable peeler and you won't be sorry.

Bulgar Wheat Salad
Adapted from Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson
Serves 8

250 g bulgar wheat
large bunch of coriander (cilantro)
large bunch of mint leaves 
6-8 spring onions
1 fresh green chilli
2 small or 1 medium courgette (zuchinni)
juice of 4-5 limes
8 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

For the bulgar wheat, follow the packet instructions.  If your bulgar wheat came from a self serve section in Whole Foods, then just put it in a bowl, boil a kettle full of water and pour it over.  Leave for about 5 minutes and check it until it's tender.  Drain it in a sieve and squeeze as  much water out as possible.

Chop the coriander (cilantro) and mint.  Finely slice the spring onions, de-seed the chilli and finely chop that too.  If you're using 2 small courgettes (zucchini) then finely chop one, if you're just using one, reserve some to peel over the top of the salad.

Juice the limes and pour it over the bulgar wheat along with the olive oil.  Add salt and pepper and toss well.  Add the courgette (zucchini), chilli, coriander, mint and spring onions and mix thoroughly.  

Peel the remaining courgette (zucchini) with a vegetable peeler so you get thin slices and arrange over the salad with a few remaining sprinkles of mint and coriander (cilantro).  

To top off the weekend's birthday celebrations, Alethea and Philippe made this gorgeously zingy lemon/lime Love Cake which I promise to get the recipe for and share with you.  

You guessed it, we loved it.


It's my party

It's my birthday and it's gorgeous outside (which is quite a surprise since I almost jinxed myself), so I won't spend a lot of time waxing lyrical about these lovely little lettuce cups.  They are quite appropriate because I am heading to one of my favorite sushi places in Chicago tonight and they do amazing lettuce cups.  I've been going to Rise with my sister since they first opened and I was still living in London.  Any time I would fly in, I'd request that we went there for dinner the night I arrived.  There was something about the mix of a devilish martini and a few glasses of crisp white wine paired with sushi and jet lag that I couldn't get enough of.  

There are plenty of great sushi places in London, Zuma being my favorite, but you tend to have to pay a lot to get good quality.   I took my parents there, which was part of the "take parents to expensive restaurant that we cannot afford on our own plan" that we implemented on their many visits.  My Mom, who did not eat sushi, ordered lobster tempura with a kick-ass wasabi sauce for more money than should be allowed.  Over several glasses of saki, Martin, who was suffering from a very painful back, was still having a little trouble loosening up.  My Mom, "the pill pusher", as we liked to call her, fished out one of her prescription Vicodin and promptly persuaded Martin to take it.  There's something to be said about my Mom and Martin together- I think they both thought the other was rather hilarious.  Ten minutes later, Martin was feeling great, thanking my Mom, Pam, profusely and announcing that he felt "loosey goosey"-one of my all time favorite Pam and Marty memories.

So I'm not going to show you how to make sushi- I've taken a class, but I can't seem to get it right at home.  I think I'll leave it the chefs who train for years.  Back to these lettuce cups.  Rise's version is with chicken, and mine use beef- you could easily try both.  I swear these are easy, delicious delightful on a hot summers evening with a very cold glass of beer.

Thai Crumbled Beef in Lettuce Cups
Adapted from Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1/2 lb ground beef
few drops of fish sauce
4 green onions, finely chopped
zest and juice of 1 lime
handful of chopped coriander (cilantro)
1 tsp sea salt
1-2 iceberg lettuces

Head oil in the frying pan on medium heat and when warm, add the cumin, chopped chillies and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally- don't let them burn.  Add the beef and turn up the heat.  Break up the meat as you go with a wooden spoon or fork and cook thoroughly until no signs of pink remains- should take about 4 minutes.  Add the fish sauce (which does have a salty flavor).  Cook until the liquid has evaporated.  Off the heat, season with a little salt, stir in the green onions, zest and juice of the lime and most of the coriander.  

Turn into a bowl and sprinkle over the remaining coriander (cilantro).

Pull the leaves off the iceberg lettuce so they are small cups just waiting for the deliciously hot beef.  People can do these themselves while you crack open some beers.


Sunday morning coming down

This recipe came stamped on the bottom of a lovely hand made loaf pan that I picked up at Sturgeon River Pottery in Michigan. It is beautifully glazed earthy browns and greens, and as soon as I turned it over and saw this recipe on the bottom, I was sold.

This morning I awoke in somewhat of a fog, just like my favorite Kris Kristofferson song. It took me a while to get going, but the thought of making this recipe got me moving. I only ever make something this sweet on a Sunday morning, and preferably after I've done some form of exercise. So this morning we ran to the dog beach while this was baking in the oven. We've taken our dog, Indy, to a lot of beaches, but Montrose Dog Beach is probably his favorite. He literally goes crazy there, running around, barking at everyone and nearly drowning himself. Martin and I have had to save him on several occasions when he can't find his toy floating out where the big dogs swim.

This picture pretty much sums him up. Needless to say, he's usually curled up on the sofa for the rest of the day.

We came back and made some fresh coffee with frothy milk - our favorite homemade cappuccinos. The cinnamon sugar reminded me of what my Mom used to put on my white toast as a kid. Toast a piece of bread and butter liberally. Combine 1/3 cup of sugar with a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle a tiny amount over the buttered toast. Keep the rest for other mornings. My Mom used to keep this in an old fashioned metal salt shaker in the cupboard so cinnamon toast was only a shake away.

This is so easy to make, especially because it uses refrigerator biscuits. It would be great served with a fruit salad as part of a brunch for friends or family.

Cinnamon Pull Aparts
Adapted from Sturgeon River Pottery

Two 7.5 oz cans refrigerator biscuits
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the topping:
1/3 cup of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 loaf pan, greased with unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350F. Open the refrigerator biscuits and divide each can into two sections. Combine the sugar and cinnamon on a plate and roll all four sections liberally in the sugar to coat all edges. Place them into the greased loaf pan.

Melt the 1/3 cup of unsalted butter with the light brown sugar and remaining cinnamon in a small pan over medium heat. Pour on top of the biscuits and bake for 35-40 minutes until the biscuits rise and the topping is bubbly and golden brown.

Serve with coffee and fruit salad.


Quatorze juillet

It just so happens that July is my favorite month of the year. There are many reasons behind this, but it is mainly because my birthday is in July. I have always been secretly smug that I don't have one of those birthdays that is celebrated in the freezing cold. Now that this secret is out, it will probably rain on my special day, but there it is, I've said it. I remember a fantastic pool party my Mom threw for my 16th and every picture I have of childhood parties include me blowing out my candles in a cute little sun dress.

Well, my birthday isn't until later this month, and I'll be turning a not very exciting, over 30 number, so I don't think the party dress and hat will be donned this year. Having said that, I've just found one more reason to love July- Bastille Day.

Okay, I'm not French and my husband is English, but we just so happened to be invited by Philippe (a Frenchman) to his Bastille Day celebration party. I knew this called for some homemade pate.

The party was complete with Merguez sausages, from Algeria, that were grilled and stuffed into baguettes with spicy harissa sauce, and of course, plenty of cheeses and croissants. For dessert, one of the guests brought lovely little homemade chocolate macaroons with a homemade nutella flavored filling. I must get that recipe from her.

The piece de resistance was Philippe and Alethea's Omelette a la Norvegienne that had homemade ice cream perfectly frozen in the middle. It arrived from the kitchen with sparklers, much to the delight of the children looking on.

This is a tale of two pates because I could not decide upon which one to make. I opted for a smooth parfait rather than a country, course version. If you're going to make pate and you don't have a ton of time to spare in the kitchen, both of these are easy to make. They make a special treat to start any party.

I wasn't overly excited about handling chicken livers, but I am never squeamish and I found their slipperiness to be quite exhilarating.

I have been waiting to try this first pate ever since my sister-in-law, Helen, took me to a wine tasting in London several years ago. I remember it was paired with a gorgeous sparkling Shiraz from Australia. I wish I could find that again. I also recall drinking all of my samples at the tasting too quickly and having to sip on Helen's glasses to do the real swirling and savoring.

You can see that I overfilled the jar, hence the ring around the top. Second time round was the charm.

Chicken Liver Pate with Chilli and Lemongrass
Adapted from a recipe at Vinopolis
Serves 4

225 g chicken livers, trimmed of fatty membranes
200 g unsalted butter
3 slices of smoked bacon, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 tsp finely chopped lemongrass
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
dash of brandy
sea salt and ground black pepper for seasoning

Fry onions and garlic in 100 gms butter with bay leaf and thyme until soft and golden. Add diced bacon, add chopped chilli, add lemongrass. Fry gently. Add the chicken livers and cook for about 5 minutes until golden on the outside and just cooked through in center, still a little pink. About half way through add a dash of brandy and let it cook off and remove the good stuff from the bottom of the pan. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Remove the bay leaf and let it cool slightly. Blitz in a food processor until smooth. Place in a bowl or le parfait jar (pictured) and smooth the top. Melt the remaining butter and pour over pate to seal. You can tell with this one, I filled the jar too far and it made a ring around the edge. Pop the jar in the fridge and let the butter start to set. Once it's almost set, finely chop another chilli and sprinkle them on top for decoration. I like to scoop the chillies into the first few bites.....mmmm!

This next version is somewhat smoother and more refined than the first. Most likely, it's because it's from one of my more classy and sophisticated cookbooks, Living and Eating by John Pawson and Annie Bell. My friend Liz gave it to me one year (one of many books she's given me) for my birthday, and I had just bought it a few days before. Great minds think alike.

Chicken Liver Parfait
Adapted from Living and Eating by John Pawson and Annie Bell
Serves 4

225 g chicken livers, trimmed of fatty membranes
200 g unsalted butter
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
2 tbsp Calvados or brandy
1 tbsp creme fraiche
freshly grated nutmeg

Melt 25 g of the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the chicken livers, herbs and seasoning. Saute for about 5 minutes, turning halfway through, until the livers are golden on the outside but still pink in the middle. Discard the herbs and tip the chicken livers with any pan juices into a food processor.

Melt another knob of butter in the pan and add the shallot and garlic. Sweat for a few minutes until glossy and translucent. Add brandy and simmer until it's disappeared. I added a teaspoon of green peppercorns from a jar in brine, but these are completely optional.

Add shallots and garlic to the food processor. Puree with the creme fraiche until smooth. Leave to cool for 20 minutes. Dice the remaining butter and add to the processor. Process until it's completely creamy. Add a grinding of nutmeg at this point and adjust the seasoning. I found it needed quite a lot of seasoning.

Spoon it into a bowl or le parfait jar, smooth the top and melt some butter to pour over the top to seal. Again, you can seal this and put it in the fridge to let the butter set halfway before you lay a fresh bay leaf on the top.

Serve both pates with melba toast, french bread slices, toasted walnut bread and plenty of cornichons.

I think I may have mentioned that pickles, gherkins, cornichons, whatever you want to all them, are one of my favorite foods. I even have a treasured gherkin Christmas ornament. I can't imagine pate without them.


Who ate all the pies

It just wouldn't be a family reunion, or the 4th of July for that matter, without some homemade pies.  Since the rest of the menu was so big, I thought I would leave the pies to speak for themselves.  In Michigan, it is tempting to buy pies from some great local places.  My favorite lunch spot in Petoskey, Jespersons,  has the most delicious coconut cream pie.  Another great place we stop at is Cormacks Deli, but their pies can't compete these little beauties.

My Aunt Patty is the pie Queen.  In a kitchen of chaos, she made a little space and started baking her famous pies for our family reunion.  A woman after my own heart, she doesn't spend time making the pastry.  Frozen pastry is perfect and when you're making 6 pies, this point is critical.

Blueberry is Patty's signature pie, and I really wanted her to make a cherry pie in honor of us being in Michigan, but the sour cherries weren't in season.  Instead, my great Aunt Marilyn requested strawberry rhubarb and it ended up being the family's favorite.  I'll let you make both and decide for yourself.

Patty's Fresh Blueberry Pie

1 cup of sugar
3 tbsp quick cook tapioca
5 cups of blueberries
2 tsp lemon juice 
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Cover the bottom of a pie dish with pastry.  

Combine the blueberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon zest and a dash of salt.  Fill the pastry and sprinkle with lemon juice.  

Dot with butter and lay the second circle of pastry over the pie filling.  Seal the edges by pinching the edges- it will be a lovely homemade looking edge.  

Bake for 20 minutes with edges covered in foil.  Remove foil and bake for a further 25 minutes.

Patty's Fresh Rhubarb & Strawberry Pie

1 cup of sugar
3 tbsp quick cook tapioca
3 cups rhubarb, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups strawberries, husked and cut into halves
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Cover the bottom of a pie dish with pastry.  

Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, nutmeg. and a dash of salt.  Fill the pastry and dot with butter.

Lay the second circle of pastry over the pie filling.  Seal the edges by pinching the edges together.

Bake for 20 minutes with edges covered in foil.  Remove foil and bake for a further 25 minutes.


Fly the flag

Firstly, I must apologize for it being so long since my last post.  I spent last week up in northern Michigan with my family.  My 5 month old niece and nephew, Rose and Davis, made sure that any down time I had was spent kissing, cuddling and changing diapers.  I even got to help feed them their first real food- pureed carrots.  By the looks on their faces, they would prefer to go back to milk.

We spent much of our time wishing the rain would clear, but the weekend brought warmth to all of us looking forward to fireworks.  Any clear sky found us racing outdoors to take advantage of all the activities that Michigan promises.  Bonfires by moonlight kept us up on more than one occasion with my sister and I belting out our favorite Michael Jackson songs over too many glasses of wine.  

My Mom's extended family made it up north for a family reunion and descended upon Walloon Lake at my Uncle Bob and Aunt Michelle's lovely home for the holiday weekend.  It's a picturesque place where Hemingway spent his childhood summers.  Their home is filled with beautiful furniture from their business, Beauchamp Antiques, but my favorite is the big round table with mismatched fabric arm chairs.  It's perfect for late night glasses of whiskey and board games that have often ended with us staying the night.  

It's a perfect place to spend the most American of holidays.  The day was filled with a sunset seen via a hammock, kayaks, canoes, Bob at the wheel of his speed boat, our three dogs endlessly swimming for sticks and sitting on the dock under an American flag waving in the sunshine.

To gear up for the family reunion, I visited Bill's Farm Market outside of Petoskey to pick up some beautiful fresh tomatoes and pickled asparagus spiked with red chilies and garlic.  The day before the festivities, my two Aunts, Patty and Michelle, and I did a quick spin around the local market.  We shucked the corn over a large bin in order to pile the pale yellow ears into our heaving cart.  We had about 25 people to feed and lots of shopping to complete at the last minute.  Any anxiety I had was washed away as I realized I was with two very experienced grocery shoppers.

By the time we got back to the house, our team of helpers were ready and willing with chopping boards and knives at the ready.  We set up multiple cooking stations and while my Aunt Patty started on her pies, I dished out individual recipes to the masses of cousins and second cousins eager to help.  Everyone chipped in.  My pregnant cousin Christine propped herself up on a tall stool and chopped a huge pile of tomatoes, countless spring onions and olives.  Her husband, Aaron, made a fantastic dressing whilst wearing his pajamas, and my Mom's cousins and their little girls made the biggest pile of cauliflower salad anyone has ever seen.  

Michelle pulled out every pot she owned and we got straight to work.  In a few short hours, everything was prepared and ready to go for the next day.  

Patty ended up making three different pies and I think they deserve a post of their own.  Strawberry & rhubarb, blueberry and key lime pies all begged to win the vote of the family's favorite.  I promise I will share over the next few days!

We served everything on these adorable vintage cafeteria trays.

Picture by Christine Davis

Along with my Grandma Dorothy's Potato Salad, here's what we made:

Fresh Mint Tea Juleps
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Makes 8 Drinks

For Tea:
2 qt water
4 qt mint sprigs (6 oz)
1/2 cup sugar

For Cocktails:
8 oz (1 cup) bourbon
mint sprigs for garnish

Bring water, mint and sugar to a boil, stirring sugar until dissolved, then simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Cool completely (about 1 hour).  Strain through a sieve into a large pitcher, pressing on and then discarding mint.  Fill glasses halfway up with ice.  Add 2 tbsp of bourbon to each glass and then top off with mint tea.  Garnish with mint sprigs.

This drink went down a treat as my cousin Lauren (pictured handing out the cocktails) read some of my Grandma's memoirs in the hot afternoon sun.  

Picture by Christine Davis

Corn and Tomato Scramble
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Serves 8 

If I had to vote, I think this was my favorite salad.  I adore corn and it was super sweet, crisp and delicious.  

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/4 lb tomatoes (you can use vine ripened tomatoes cut into bite sized pieces or cherry tomatoes halved)
1 bunch of scallions (green onions), finely chopped, keeping green and white parts separate
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cups of corn kernels (from about 8 ears)

Whisk together oil, vinegar, /4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper.  Toss with tomatoes and set aside.

Cook white parts of scallions in butter with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in heavy skillet over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes.  Add corn and saute until just tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and cool.  Stir together corn, tomatoes and scallion greens.  

Corn can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Shrimp and Artichoke Pasta Salad
Serves 8-10

Shrimp Mixture:
1 pound large cooked shrimp ( I like to grill these with some lemon zest, olive oil and chili, but you can buy them pre-cooked too)
1 can (15 oz) artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound Roma tomatoes, chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 pound crumbled feta cheese
1/4 pound pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1 pound farfalle (butterfly) pasta cooked to package instructions and then rinsed under cold water to stop cooking.

zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine shrimp mixture- you can chop the shrimp to get allow more people to get a bite if you're serving this for a large group.  Cook the pasta and cool it. 

Make the dressing by combining lemon zest and juice, garlic, fennel seeds, mint leaves, tomatoes, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender.  Pulse on and off until just combined.  Slowly add oil until it's thickened.  Taste for seasoning.  

Chill salad until ready to serve.  If you need to serve this after 24 hours, you might want to combine the pasta and shrimp mixture with a bit of olive oil and then add the tomato dressing at the end to avoid the acid of the tomatoes becoming too much of the taste.  

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Coriander
Adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
Makes about 40 tomato halves

I am seriously addicted to these tomatoes (along with many others from Molly's lovely book.)
I must have made them 6 times over the last few months.  I love them with ricotta and french bread, brie and crackers (or with brie on whole grain toast) and whizzed up into pasta sauces.  

3 1/2 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
1-2 tbsp ground coriander (I prefer to grind whole coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar rather than buy the already ground coriander)
3 balls of buffalo mozzarella
fresh lemon thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 200F.  Wash and dry the tomatoes then halve them lengthwise.  Put them in a large bowl and toss with oil.  Place them on a baking sheet, cut side up and sprinkle with sea salt and coriander...a pinch each for every 4-6 tomato halves.  

Bake for 4-6 hours until the edges crinkle up and they become about half the original size.  Take them out and let them cool until room temperature.  

We served this with torn pieces of buffalo mozzarella and sprinkled with fresh lemon thyme from the farmers market.  

I like to eat them straight away or you can put them in an airtight container in the fridge and they will keep for about a week.

Cauliflower, Green Bean and Blue Cheese Salad
Serves 10

1 head of cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
1 pound of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 bunch radishes, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
1/4 cup of chopped Italian parsley
 juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp fresh tarragon
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 pound crumbled blue cheese

Blanche the cauliflower and green beans in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.  Drain and run under ice cold water to stop cooking.  Place all veggies in a large bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients except for the cheese.

Toss gently and taste for seasoning.  I thought this needed a little extra salt and pepper so taste along the way.  Refrigerate for several hours and toss in blue cheese at the last minute.  It was great with the beef that we served.

Marinated Flank Steak II 
Serves 10

Once again I reverted back to my good friend the flank steak.  I had intentions of serving tri-tip steaks but the butcher didn't have any, so I improvised with something I knew very well.  He was able to cut us enough flank to feed 25 people, but this recipe is paired down for 10.  

4 pounds of flank steak
1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of chopped fresh rosemary
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
plenty of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Mix all marinade ingredients together.  Place steaks in a shallow bowl and score diagonally across the grain.  Pour over the marinade and make sure it covers both sides well.  Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.  

Grill over hot coals for 4-5 minutes per side and let rest under foil for 10 minutes.  Carve diagonally into thin slices and serve with rosemary aioli.

Rosemary Aioli
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2000
Makes 1 cup

3/4 cup of mayonnaise
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard

Whisk all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.  Put into a pretty dish and serve with grilled meat for dipping.