Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Staples : Mexican Marinated Flank Steak with Candied Jalapeno Chimichurri

Mexican Marinated Flank Steak with Candied Jalapeno Chimichurri 
We love any kind of steak. It has to be cooked perfectly and seasoned perfectly. I love any kinda cut of red meat, but each one needs to be treated accordingly. For flank or skirt steak, it is crucial that they are marinated overnight in either a heavy spice rub or a flavorful wet mixture. My go-to marinade involves soy sauce, lime juice, chipotle pepper in adobo, worcestershire, fresh garlic, and lots of herbs + spices. It's awesome. And something we utilize often, like weekly, in our house. Nothing is better than a perfectly grilled or charred flank steak that is cooked to the perfect temperature. We like it medium rare with the prettiest hot pink center. It's mouth-watering honestly. But, I know how we all work, and we don't just want any 'ole steak (though amazing on its' own), it's gotta go over-the-top. And that's where my Candied Jalapeno Chimichurri comes into play. It's the bomb y'all. It's herby, spicy, sweet, & the perfect compliment to some steak. I love the candied jalapeno component, butofcourse. I adds an unbelievable sweetness, but balances perfectly against the spice + herbs. The chimichurri is a MUST. Don't get it twisted and make this STAT. Enjoy :)
Candied Jalapeno Chimichurri 
For the Mexican Marinated Flank Steak:
1/3C Soy Sauce
½C Olive Oil
1/3C Fresh Lime Juice
2 Limes, Zested
1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo
¼C Worcestershire Sauce
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1T Garlic Powder
3T Dried Oregano
1 ½T Fresh Cilantro, Minced
1t Pepper + Ground Cumin
¼t Red Pepper Flakes
1 Large Flank Steak

For the Chimichurri Sauce:
1C Fresh Parsley, Minced
1C Fresh Cilantro, Minced
1-2T Dried Oregano
½t Red Pepper Flakes
1 Shallot, Minced
¼-½C Candied Jalapenos, Finely Chopped  
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
2T Roasted Red Pepper, Minced
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

1. For the Mexican Marinated Flank Steak: Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, and all of the seasonings in a blender. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until thoroughly mixed. Pour the marinade over the flank steak. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Before cooking, remove the meat from the marinade and let it come to room temperature for an hour. Once it has come to room temperature, dry the marinated meat completely by wiping it with paper towels. Sprinkle the steak with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan or griddle over high heat and grease it with a little oil. Cook the meat for roughly 3 minutes on each side for a medium rare steak. Once it has cooked, remove it to a cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. After resting, slice the meat against the grain into thin slices.
2. For the Chimichurri Sauce: Finely chop the parsley, fresh cilantro, garlic, shallot, and candied jalapenos (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl. Stir in the olive oil, herbs, spices, vinegar, salt, pepper, minced red pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings. Serve immediately drizzled over the marinated steak.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer Staples : Grilled Artichokes with Homemade Roasted Garlic-Lemon Aioli

Grilled Artichokes with Homemade Roasted Garlic-Lemon Aioli
I had never had grilled artichokes until I up & decided to make these for dinner one night. I don't know what inspired me to do this, but I just found myself drawn to them while at Whole Foods. Why hadn't I made these before? Crazy talk. I should whip these up every weekend. I feel that if you are going to hassle yourself to heat up the grill (and submit your body to the hot, humid heat of the South), then you might as well get a full meal outta it... appetizer included. The most complicated part of the recipe is cleaning + prepping the artichokes. But let's be honest, I'll take preparing the artichokes in a cold kitchen, instead of running an oven for an hour. You've got to think of these kinds of things when you live down south like we do. For instance, how do I get from Point A (prepping) to Point B (dinner) without having to take a cold shower or having to put my shirt over the standing fan, which practically turns myself into that scary, huge marshmallow man/thing/godzilla from Ghostbusters. Please tell me someone else does this because if not, I should probably claim truth by omission. Also, am I the only one who firmly believes on turning other rooms of the house into a secondary kitchen? My Mountain Man always finds this so odd, but I think it's essential to summer staple cooking. You can find me on any given night, prepping dinner in the living room. Weird, I know, but I set up about 3 cutting boards, with multiple bowls, cooking utensils, and a trash can, just so that I can watch T.V. while getting dinner ready at the same time, in front of the coldest fan we got. Don't judge me, I am only human. After the artichokes are all ready, plop them in a a pot of boiling water, just to get them started. Once the pre-cooking is done, I covered them in olive oil, lemon juice, and a bunch of chopped herbs and tossed them onto the grill for a good char. I absolutely love the smokey taste that the artichokes pick up, and then when it's paired with a trio of homemade aioli's... you're in southern summer heaven. There is something so relaxing about picking apart the artichokes and peeling off the flesh with the back of your teeth. Homemade aioli takes it over the top by providing a wonderfully, creamy element. I was partial to my Roasted Garlic-Lemon Aioli for dipping, but also served some truffle aioli and sriracha aioli as well. But it's all up to you, any creamy sauce would be great with these grilled artichokes, trust me!! Enjoy :)
prepping the artichokes (in the living room, yep).
toss 'em the grill
that's a good char right there.
perfectly smokey 
drizzle with a little more olive oil + lemon juice and finish some more fresh herbs
Whip up the Homemade Roasted Garlic-Lemon Aioli.
And if you wanna feel fancy like us, serve a trio of homemade aioli's.
oh yeah, this shit is gonna be good.
REAL good.
For the Homemade Roasted Garlic-Lemon Aioli:
1 Egg Yolk
1t White Vinegar
1 ½t Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
¼t Dijon Mustard & Sugar
1 Garlic Clove, Minced into a Paste (with a little bit of sea salt)
1 Head of Roasted Garlic, Cooled & Garlic Pulp Only
½t Salt
¾C Canola Oil
Freshly Grated Lemon Zest (to taste, we used a lot for a strong lemon flavor)

For the Grilled Artichokes:
2 Large Globe Artichokes
1 Lemon, Cut into Wedges
¼C Olive Oil
1T Fresh Herbs, Chopped (we used a mixture of rosemary, thyme, oregano, & dried basil)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

1. For the Homemade Roasted Garlic-Lemon Aioli: Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, minced garlic, roasted garlic pulp, and ½t salt in medium bowl. Whisk until blended and bright yellow, about 30 seconds. Using ¼t measuring spoon and whisking constantly, add ¼C of the oil to yolk mixture, a few drops at a time, about 4-5 minutes. Gradually add remaining ½C canola oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick, about 8-10 minutes (mayonnaise will be lighter in color). Season the mayo with freshly grated lemon zest, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
2. Prepping the Artichokes: Place chopped herbs in a small bowl, cover with olive oil. Microwave on high heat for 30 seconds (or heat oil and herbs on the stove top until warm). Let the herbs seep in the warm olive oil while you prepare the artichokes. Prepare a large pot with an inch of water at the bottom and a steamer rack. Prepare the artichokes. Have lemon wedges ready. If you want a nice presentation, use scissors to snip away the pointy tips of the artichoke leaves. As you trim the artichokes, rub the cut areas with juice from the lemon wedges to prevent the artichokes from turning brown from oxidation. Use a vegetable peeler to cut away the thick outer layer of the artichoke stems. Trim the stems to 2 inches from the base of the artichoke. Cut off and discard the top ½inch of the artichokes. Cut the artichokes in half. Use a strong metal spoon to scoop out the fuzzy chokes and the small inner artichoke leaves. Rub lemon juice all over the inside and exposed cut areas of the artichokes. Heat the water in the large pot with a steamer rack on high. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium high and place the artichoke halves, cut side down on the steam rack. Cover. Steam for 20 minutes (less of more, depending on the size of the artichokes), until you can easily pull off the outer leaves, and you can pierce the heart easily with a knife.
3. Grilling the Artichokes: Prepare your grill for direct, high heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the artichoke all over with the herb infused oil. Sprinkle all over with salt. Place the artichoke halves cut-side-down on the grill grates. Cover, and grill for 5 to 10 minutes, until you have nice grill mark on the cut sides of the artichokes.
4. Serving the Grilled Artichokes: Remove the artichokes from the grill once they have achieved a good char. Finish by drizzling a little more olive oil and lemon juice over them. Fresh herbs are also a nice touch right before serving. Accompany the dish with your homemade Roasted Garlic-Lemon Aioli, as well as any other dipping sauce. We had a trio of aioli’s… roasted garlic-lemon, Sriracha, and truffle.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Life As Of Lately...

Here's what's happenin' 'round this joint, as of lately...
Lots of wedding stuff + grillin' out, that's for sure.

jack 'n coke slushies in mason jars.
homemade bridesmaids details.
ke$ha is around here somewhere.
a letter to all my girls.
cupcakes from camicake's.
best hummus ever with marinated ground lamb.
best shrimp po'boy + my favorite, sparkling rose lemonade.
the "cronut" or "doissant" has hit atlanta, y'all.
late night drunk food.
caramel macchiato ice cream with bourbon caramel sauce.
homemade bridesmaids boxes.
cotton candy sky
homemade paper doll chain bridesmaids.
color palette schemes.
me + one of my bridesmaids with pink champagne jello shots.
more color palettes
making the paper chain dolls
pink champs can with vintage floral straw
chicks + dicks party invites (our version of joint bachelor-bachelorette party)
she was so hot after our walk, she laid on an ice pack.
gold nail polish for each bridesmaids.
glitter nail polish to match my ring
glitter, glitter everywhere 
black + gold chevron
makin' the bridesmaids hair for the dolls
making the yummy bellini's
invite + t-shirt design
bridesmaids inspired invite for the chicks + dicks party
southern potato salad
best. drink. ever.
just got the party t-shirts in!!
the boxes are coming together nicely :)
homemade rosemary-shallot focaccia 

XOXO, Juliana

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vanilla Bean-Roasted Peach Bellini’s with Strawberry Puree Ice Cubes

Vanilla Bean-Roasted Peach Bellini's with Strawberry Puree Ice Cubes
What's more fitting than a Bellini or Mimosa on a Sunday-Brunch-kinda-morning? I'm a sucker for any champagne cocktail, so when we recently got engaged, I knew I had to make a specialty drink for our little pre-engagement party. These were perfect, absolutely perfect. We used fresh + ripe Georgia peaches and roasted them in the oven for an even more concentrated peachy flavor, and then boosted them with some vanilla bean for sweetness. The glasses are topped off with champagne and frozen strawberry puree ice cubes. I happened to see some heart shaped ice cube trays at Target the day of our party and just somehow had to incorporate them that night, and this was the perfect way! The hearts were so adorable, and added a lovely sweetness + just the slightest pink tint at the top! We had to put some cute, vintage paper straws because it is an obvious addition. Feel free to do as you please :)

the heart shapes are so cute.
For the Vanilla Bean-Roasted Peach Puree:
4-5 Large Peaches, Seed Removed & Split in Half
Honey, For drizzling
Sugar, For Sprinkling
1 Vanilla Bean, Split & Scraped for Seeds

For the Strawberry Puree Ice Cubes:
20oz Fresh Strawberries, Cut into Pieces
½C Sugar
Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, To Taste (optional)

For the Vanilla Bean-Roasted Peach Bellini’s:
Prepared Roasted Peach Puree, Chilled
Champagne, For Filling
Prepared Strawberry Puree Ice Cubes

1. For the Roasted Peach Puree: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare the peaches by cutting them in half and removing their center seed. Toss the peaches with the honey and place them cut-side down in a roasting pan. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, and then flip them over, sprinkle heavily with sugar, and continue roasting them for another 15-20 minutes. For the last 5 minutes of roasting, turn the oven up to broil and let the fruit flesh caramelize and brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely. After cooling, remove the peach peels and puree them in a food processor until smooth. Add in the vanilla bean seeds and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a jar and cool completely.
2. For the Strawberry Puree Ice Cubes: Put the strawberries and their juice in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process the berries until they are pureed.  Add ¼C of the sugar to start and stir until the sugar dissolves. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Also add a little lemon juice to taste. Pulse until smooth and pour into a measuring cup. Using the measuring cup, gently pour the puree into the heart shaped ice cube containers. Freeze until hard.
3. For the Vanilla Bean-Roasted Peach Bellini’s: Pour some of the vanilla bean peach puree into a flute or glass, and fill the rest of it with champagne to the rim. Add in a few strawberry puree ice cubes and serve with a pretty vintage straw.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer Staples : Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad with Homemade Creamy Caesar Dressing, Bacon Lardons, Grilled Croutons, Shaved Shallots, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, & Fresh Parmesan

Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad with Homemade Creamy Caesar Dressing, Bacon Lardons,
Grilled Croutons, Shaved Shallots, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, & Fresh Parmesan
A salad is the perfect compliment to any summer meal. Especially when it's grilled. Trust me, I was skeptical too when I heard about grilled romaine lettuce. Would it become extremely soggy? Would it just burst into flames? Would I hate it? Well, none of those things happened, especially now that we consider ourselves grill masters. The grilled caesar salad was awesome and will be a go-to for any cookout meal! The romaine, if cooked right, becomes charred around the edges, but still crisp + fresh on the inside. To really take your Caesar salad over the top, you gotta make your own. Our version is top notch and packs a big punch. But it's creaminess really takes over and pairs perfectly with smoky bacon, sweet tomatoes, shaved shallots, and grilled croutons. I pretty much live by the motto of grill everything + anything now. We absolutely loved the crouton shards... just get some slices of good, crusty bread, brush them with some olive oil, and charr them on the grill until really toasted. All you have to go is cut them into cubes of long strips. We preferred the strips because you can dip them into the dressing and top them with all the goodies and almost make a caesar salad bruschetta. Best. Idea. Ever. I lurve all the flavors and how perfectly they compliment each other. So go on y'all... grill everything that you can get your hands on!! Enjoy :)

Grilled bread about to be turned into Grilled Croutons... 
Romaine Lettuce, Hot Off the Grill
For the Creamy Caesar Dressing:
3 Large Cloves of Garlic, Finely Minced
1T Anchovy Paste
2T Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice + 1t Lemon Zest
2t Dijon Mustard
1t Worcestershire Sauce
1C Homemade Aioli or Mayo
2/3C Freshly Grated Parmesan
Salt & Pepper, To Taste (as well as some sugar for balance)

For the Grilled Romaine:
3-4 Romaine Hearts, Split Lengthwise
3T Olive Oil
1T Red Wine Vinegar
1T Fresh Chopped Herbs (I used basil, parsley, thyme, & rosemary)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Grilled Caesar Salad:
Prepared Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing, Refrigerated
Grilled Romaine Heart Halves
Crispy Bacon Lardons
Slow Roasted Tomatoes or Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roughly Chopped
1 Large Shallot, Thinly Shaved
Slices of Thick Country Bread, Drizzled with Oil & Grilled until Crispy
Shaved Parmesan Cheese

1. For the Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the first five ingredients. Next, add in the mayo and grated Parmesan. Season the dressing with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. For the Grilled Romaine: Prep the romaine hearts—pull off any old leaves. Chop off the top 1 or 2 inches of the lettuce head, and shave off the browned part of the root end, leaving the root end intact so that the lettuce head stays together. Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. Paint the lettuce hearts all over with the vinaigrette. Prepare the vinaigrette. Put the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk with a fork to combine. Grill the romaine hearts until lightly browned on all sides, turning every minute or two until done.
3. For the Grilled Caesar Salad: Place the hearts onto a serving platter. Drizzle the top of the romaine with some of the chilled Caesar dressing. Scatter across the crispy bacon lardons, tomatoes of your choice, shaved shallots, Parmesan cheese, & cubes of grilled country bread. Season with a little salt and pepper.
4. Serve immediately!