Classy-Classic Summer Meal

Were you thinking grilled burgers, hot dogs and potato salad? There’s nothing like a juicy, homemade burger or a nicely charred, all beef dog. But, if you want to make your summer meal classy you need to bump it up to a grilled steak with some sassy side dishes.

Usually, I am a Rib-eye girl (I figure that if I’m going to have red meat, I want the fat-marbled, flavorful kind), but my grocer had Porterhouse steaks on sale (Filet on one side of the bone; New York on the other), so I said, “Why not?”

Oh, such a good decision on my part. A delicious decision!

This is my Classy-Classic Summer Meal menu:
Grilled Porterhouse
Grilled corn
Sautéed mushrooms
Cherry tomato vinaigrette

I rubbed the steaks with a little olive oil and dusted them on both sides with garlic powder, onion powder and steak seasoning (my favorite is Hy’s, which my sister Sylvia brings me when she comes to visit from Canada); then sealed them in a Ziploc bag to marinate in the fridge for an hour or so. A half hour before grill time, I put the bag on the counter to bring the steaks to room temperature.

Now, I know one does not need to marinate prime cut steaks like the Porterhouse but for a home cook, doing so elevates the flavor and tenderness of the meat to a new level. It reminds me of an article I recently read about wine. The sommelier said that all wines – red and white, new and old vintages – benefit from aeration. In my opinion, all meats can benefit from a little “marination.”

Back to the steaks: use a nice hot, hot grill, cooking 4-5 minutes on each side. When Michael (my grill-partner-husband) turned the steaks, he put the already-boiled corn, brushed with butter, on, too, turning the cobs to slightly char all around.

Back in the kitchen, I sautéed the mushrooms. I put a round of olive oil and a teaspoon of butter in a pan heated to medium, added one minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of finely chopped onion, and cooked for about 3 minutes before adding the mushrooms and a dash of white wine.

I had prepared the tomato vinaigrette earlier in the afternoon and left it at room temperature to let the flavors meld. This is a new recipe I discovered in the June issue of Bonappetit, and I really like the way its tartness works with the richness of the steak. As a side-by-side dish with sautéed mushrooms, you have a terrific taste combination and they look great together on the plate!

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 T olive oil, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 T (or more) red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 T chopped fresh chives

Cut half of cherry tomatoes in half. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often until softened (about 4 minutes)

Add halved and whole tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to release juices (4 -6 minutes). Mash some of the tomatoes with a spoon.

Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil; season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. Add chives just before serving.

Here’s what I love about this menu. I had everything done ahead of time, except the mushrooms. The steaks were marinated, the corn already boiled, the vinaigrette prepared.

So, think about this: if you have guests over to share this Classy-Classic meal, the actual cooking time is only about 10 – 15 minutes. The rest of your time can be spent relaxing with your friends on the patio, a cold drink in hand, face to the sun …

… Of course, not in Arizona in the summer. You have to be part Gila monster or gecko or rattlesnake to sit outside in the afternoon … or you have to play hippopotamus in a pool and stay completely submerged … but we won’t go there because I might get heat-grumpy again talking about it, and I am having too much fun sharing this with you right now.

Try this Classy-Classic meal and enjoy – wherever you are.

Eat well. Be happy.

Author: Plynn Gutman

Plynn Gutman is a certified coach with a refreshing and holistic approach to achieving an Integrated Life. Specialized retreats, workshops and classes are all a part of Plynn’s wide array of resources that she offers along with useful life lessons, tips and advice through her blog. A writer at heart, with several titles available, Plynn's variety of work appeals to everyone.

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