Archive for ◊ June, 2011 ◊

06 Jun 2011 Flank Steak Pinwheels

As I mentioned in my previous note, I’ve had a rough few months, so last Friday I invited my girlfriends over for a BBQ.  This much I know is true: nothing heals and rejuvenates more than a gathering of kind, funny, independent women.  And when you put kind, funny, independent women in a room with good food, some of it experimental, a bottle of wine, and five desserts…WOW!!!  We didn’t get up from the dinner table until 12:12 AM Saturday morning!!! I feel MUCH better!

One of the experimental foods I tried was the Grilled and Stuffed Flank Steak from the Summer 2011 edition of Cook’s Illustrated “Summer Grilling” magazine (page 15).  Truth be told, the recipe was a bit of a hassle.  The flank steak had to be butterflied, then it had to be stuffed, then tied with string, then sliced, then skewered.  But, the recipe worked and it wasn’t hard.  I had fun making this, and the results were very pretty!  Perfect for a girlie BBQ!

I am going to make these again.  I like special, fun, and pretty, and I don’t mind a bit of a hassle to get that.

Flank Steak Pinwheels

You’ll need some metal skewers and some kitchen string to assemble the pinwheels.  The pinwheels are meant to be grilled on either a charcoal BBQ or a gas grill.

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 flank steak, 2 – 2 1/2 lbs.
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced provolone cheese
  1. Freeze the flank steak for 30 minutes (slightly frozen flank steak is easier to butterfly).  Meanwhile, chop ingredients, assemble the stuffing in step 2, unwrap the prosciutto and cheese, and find the skewers, the kitchen string, and a ruler.
  2. Combine the garlic, shallot, parsley, sage and olive oil in a small bowl.
  3. Lay the partially frozen flank steak on a large cutting board, with the grain of the meat running parallel to the counter edge.  With a sharp knife, butterfly the flank steak, leaving 1/2 inch of uncut meat along the top edge of the meat.
  4. Open the meat and lay flat.  It will probably look like a raggy rectangle.  Cover the top of the meat with plastic wrap and then pound the meat with a meat mallet or small pan until the meat is a uniform thickness and the steak is roughly in the shape of a rectangle.
  5. Spread the herb mixture from step 2 over the flank steak.
  6. Lay the prosciutto evenly over the steak, leaving a 2 inch border along the top edge.  Layer the cheese over the prosciutto, again, leaving a 2 inch border along the top edge.
  7. Starting from the bottom edge of the pounded and garnished flank steak, and rolling away from you, roll the flank steak into a tight log and place seam side down on the cutting board.
  8. Now use your kitchen string and tie the rolled flank steak at one inch intervals. (Hint:  Use a ruler to measure the intervals.  You don’t want the string any more or any less than 1 inch apart).
  9. Now skewer the rolled flank steak near each string.  Depending on the size of your flank steak, you should  have about 8 pieces of string, so you will probably need 8 skewers and get 8 pinwheels to grill.
  10. Now slice the rolled and stuffed flank steak at one inch (or slightly smaller) intervals.  Be sure each slice–each pinwheel–is held together with a piece of string and a skewer.
  11. Grill the pinwheels until the center of the pinwheel registers 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  This should take approx 6 minutes of grilling time on the first side, and 5 minutes of grilling time on the second side–but of course this has a lot to do with the heat of your fire.
  12. Remove cooked pinwheels from the grill, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove skewers and string from pinwheels, and serve!

I served the flank steak pinwheels with grilled artichokes, marinated Portobello mushrooms, and baked Hassleback potatoes.  The recipe for Hasselback potatoes is posted on my site, and in the next few days I will post my recipe for grilled artichoke and marinated Portobello mushrooms.  Send out the evite!  Have a BBQ this weekend.  Invite all your special friends and rejuvenate your spirit.

Thanks for stopping by my (outdoor) kitchen today.

P.S. This grilled entree is being added to the summer grilling link party at Family Fresh Cooking! Let’s get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France Cheese, Rösle, Emile Henry, ManPans and Rouxbe!

04 Jun 2011 Frozen Bananas

Such an easy recipe, and one you’ll probably use all summer long, assuming the weather gets better.  June 4th here in San Jose, and it rained all day!  Unbelievable, but we ate frozen bananas for dessert anyway!  They were a hit.  I only wish we had waited 5 minutes for the bananas to soften a bit before we tore into them.  You can see the frost on the bananas in these pictures!  On hot days you won’t have to wait so long…

I’ve been making frozen bananas for a decade or so, and have decided that Hershey’s Special Dark is the best chocolate to compliment the taste of the banana (odd, since I am usually a milk chocolate devotee). There are a variety of toppings the chocolate covered banana can be rolled in.  The most popular, in my experience, are toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, and rainbow jimmies.  Other options include leaving them plain (for the boring people in your crowd!) chopped peanut butter chips, mini M&M’s, cookie crumbs, granola, and any kids cereal.  IMHO, bananas+cereal+bit of chocolate= a special summer breakfast.  I think your kids might nominate you for mom/pop-of-the-year, if you agreed with me!  Just think; frozen bananas as a special treat for a summer birthday (or for a summer half birthday for winter birthday kids–as all my kids were), or for the first day of summer vacation, or to celebrate the summer solstice…

Frozen Bananas

Quantities are approximate, as size of bananas varies widely.  If you end up with extra bananas, and not enough chocolate, just keep the extra bananas in the freezer until you are ready to make smoothies or banana bread.

  • 3-4 perfect bananas (not over-ripe and not green, no bruises or black spots)
  • 6 or 8 Popsicle sticks (if you don’t have Popsicle sticks craft sticks, lollipop sticks, chopsticks, or even the tops of plastic Popsicle molds can be used)
  • 2  4.25 oz. bars Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate (don’t substitute chocolate chips…if you do, you’ll have to add a few tablespoons of Crisco to help them melt…, and I think that’s yucky)
  • assorted toppings (rainbow jimmies, chopped peanuts or other nuts, mini M&M’s, chopped peanut butter chips, toasted coconut, granola, cereal…)
  1. Peel the bananas and remove any banana strings.  Inspect the bananas carefully and cut off any bruises or soft parts.  Cut the good bananas in half, and insert a stick into the flat, cut end, of each banana.  Place skewered bananas on a pan/plate/tray that will fit into your freezer and open freeze for an hour or so (or even overnight).
  2. Set out chosen toppings in shallow bowls or on pieces of wax paper or foil.
  3. Break chocolate into squares, place into good quality microwave safe bowl, and melt chocolate in microwave on 50% power for about 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. While chocolate is melting remove frozen bananas from freezer.
  5. Dip frozen banana into warm melted chocolate and, with a knife,  QUICKLY spread chocolate all over the banana.  Before chocolate hardens–work quickly–dip and roll banana in chosen topping.  Repeat with remaining bananas.
  6. Refreeze chocolate covered bananas for about 30 minutes or so.
  7. Remove bananas from freezer, place in a covered container or Ziploc bag, and return to freezer until ready to eat.  Frozen bananas keep well, or at least for a few weeks (I haven’t had any in the freezer for longer than 2 weeks…)

Thank for stopping by my kitchen today.  See you tomorrow!!