Friday, February 24, 2017

Chilling with Steak Tips, Cauliflower, and Chocolate Cake

My beautiful wife Colette is so remarkable in so many ways. I am a blessed and infinitely thankful man! Colette invests so much of her time and herself every day into taking care of our large, busy family and keeping everything organized and running efficiently. She amazes me with the truly remarkable job she does, and how she does all she does with such excellence! But last night it was it was time for the tables to turn as I cooked dinner for Colette while she spent the evening relaxing and enjoying a very well deserved break!

When I venture too far outside my culinary comfort zone of pizza and grilling, things can get a bit risky. But to accompany the main course of steak tips, I took on the extreme challenge of making a side dish of cauliflower gratin with goat cheese topping and a flourless chocolate cake for dessert. If I'm being honest, I would have preferred just grilling the cauliflower and cake, but all in all I think everything turned out OK, so I thought I'd share here for anyone else who may want to take a similar stab!

First, I baked the cake. Thankfully I got some expert help from my extremely capable sugar-toothed assistant, Miss Chloƫ! We worked together and made the following cake.

Basically just followed this recipe as written. It's pretty straightforward. The only notes I'd add is that we didn't bother with the parchment paper, and also the cake took 5-10 minutes longer than listed to cook for some reason. Otherwise, things went pretty smoothly.

We made the cake, let it cool a bit in the pans then let it cool some more out of the pans on a wire rack. Then we made the whipped topping frosting with this recipe. We let the frosting chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes, and then I let Chloƫ work her magic frosting the cake!

Next, I tackled the cauliflower dish, using this recipe. Once again, pretty much just followed the recipe, although I'll admit it took me a while to figure out exactly what the heck "florets" and "steaming baskets" are...

A warning note about cauliflower in general. It's like scallops--tastes great, but smells absolutely horrible while cooking. So don't be alarmed. Couple other notes on this recipe. I used fresh thyme and just chopped it on a cutting board. Also, I used a blender instead of a "food processor." Once again, I found that this dish took a little longer than listed to cook (i.e., to get lightly browned on top). And finally, we skipped the bread crumbs.

After the cake was made and frosted, I put it in the fridge until we ate it. I prepared the cauliflower dish so it was just ready to stick in the oven, then turned my attention to the steak tips. As far as how I prepared the steak tips, I used the following homemade rub I came up with a while back for smoking meats. (Amounts are not measured, just throw it all together.)

       1-2 cups of stevia
       Hefty amount of chili powder
       Hefty amount of onion powder
       Garlic powder (little bit less)
       Ground cinnamon (little bit less)
       Paprika (think I put small amount in)
       Pink Himalayan salt (smaller amount but generous)

Mix in bowl and then rub steak with lemon juice and rub dry rub on both sides and let it marinate for at least 5 hours.

I applied the rub to both sides of the steak tips and left in a pan to marinate overnight (about 24 hours total).

I put the steak tips on the grill and then after about 5 minutes or so I put the cauliflower into the oven.

In hindsight, I could have started the steak tips and caulifower at the same time and the timing would have been perfect. But the timing still worked out pretty good and I think all in all things turned out pretty good.

I had a really fun time making dinner for you, Colette! :D

Until next time,


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Cherry Chocolate Kisses & Dishpan Cookies

We had fun baking up 2 Valentine's cookies the other day. Both were delicious!
Cherry Chocolate Kisses are from a recipe in the book, The Ultimate Cookie Book.
They are a bit like a shortbread, soft & buttery with great almond flavor. Dishpan Cookies, (recipe on my moms card below) remind me of a chewy oatmeal cookie & they are so, so good! I left out the nuts & raisins & put a thing of Wilson's Valentines sprinkles & a cup of chocolate chips in.  It was was hard to eat just one of both of these... the struggle is real, right?