This is another one of those uh-oh-we-need-dinner-what-to-do kinds of things. I generally have a hanger steak or two around, in the freezer if not in the fridge, so in the Tuesday night scramble of the workweek, we often end up with that. And after eighty kazillion of them coated with a Southwest-ish dry rub, you can bet I was looking for something different.
And sometimes, something different is something simply classic. Like steak au poivre. Which just means "with pepper." And so: you need some pepper.
And you need some steak.
And if it's a Tuesday-night-style dinner your choices for vegetables are probably zucchini or a bag of frozen peas, so let's go with the zucchini.
Sear, saute, boom.
Yes, hurrying dinner doesn't always allow for precision lighting and photo evidence. But I assure you, it tasted pretty great.
If you're in Northern New Jersey, you can come see me this Friday (September 23) at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair -- I'll be on a panel with three other writers talking about the solitary writer's life, and how we find ways to connect and get beyond our isolation. We'll chat, discuss, sign books, the works.
It's no secret that I just adore Smitten Kitchen, so when I was hunting down a dish to make for friends with a new baby recently, I went directly to her site. I wanted something that was neither bland nor too spicy, substantial enough to be a meal on its own, nutritious, OK either to eat right away or later on, and easy to eat on the run.
And I almost found it.
Deb raves about this mushroom lasagna, slightly adapted from Ina Garten, and it did indeed sound delicious. But as wonderful as lasagna is and as fabulously as it freezes for later use, I worried about the large-block-like nature of it. Too hard to eat with one hand while holding a brand-new baby in the other? A pasta swap was clearly the answer.
So I made the recipe as written with the single adjustment of cooking up some al dente rigatoni instead of the lasagna noodles, and playing a little fast and loose with that whole "layers" concept. Worked like a charm.
And proof that cooking for others doesn't have to be without a reward for the cook:
I had to bake a separate serving for myself. There was too much to fit in the disposable foil pan... couldn't be helped. Also, it was DELICIOUS. Not quite as pretty without the extra broiled cheese on top, but believe you me, it did the job.
Even if you read everything I put on the internet -- this blog, my Facebook and Twitter accounts, my writing at Writer Unboxed and Intrepid Media, and guest columns all over the place -- there are three little words you will never read from me: "buy my book." I don't like it from other people so I won't do it myself. And I make that advice explicit to other writers in my latest post at Writer Unboxed.
The only thing better than a long holiday weekend is a long holiday weekend that starts a little early -- and that's what I'm doing for Labor Day! May your next few days be delicious, whether you're headed out to picnic with family, gathering for a meal at home, or focusing on other fun things to do with your weekend!
And may your holiday be as lovely and perfect and sweet as these apricots: