As you might imagine, I cook a lot. Like, a lot. Some weekends, I spend 4 or 5 hours each day in the kitchen, mixing batters, chopping veggies, frosting cupcakes, and styling photos. The output of my weekend cooking sprees becomes a hodgepodge of things – meals for the week, posts for the blog, and leftovers destined for the freezer. But this means that dinner is usually just that – a hodgepodge. I’ll defrost a container of soup and slice up some bread, or throw pasta on to boil to use up a batch of ratatouille, or I toss all the leftover cooked veggies and grains into a bowl, drizzle it with whatever sauce is currently in the fridge, and call it a night. And for the purpose of full disclosure, I have to admit that at least once a week, to the horror of my nurse roommate, dinner is a glass of red wine in front of the TV because even defrosting something seems like too much effort. It’s pretty rare that I actually sit down to a composed meal of the kind that I ate growing up – one with 3 or 4 different parts, a salad, a protein, a few sides, and dessert. On the one hand, I don’t really need to eat that way – I’m not trying to feed a family, and it’s usually just me eating, or Trevor will join me and we’ll cobble together our leftovers. On the other hand, it’s kind of nice to sit down to a real meal, one with parts that go together and that feels like dinner, not just eating. So I’m going to give Sunday dinners a try. Not every week. But once in a while.
Last Sunday, we broke out the grill. Grilling is one of those things that I really want to learn how to do, but I’m kind of afraid of doing it wrong and burning myself or ruining a pair of $20 steaks or, worst-case-scenario, exploding the grill by doing the gas wrong. I put learning how to grill on my summer bucket list last year, but definitely failed at achieving it. Last week, I made a little progress – I cleaned out the ashes and lit the coals, all under Trevor’s careful supervision. Then he took over. But I’m committed to it this year – I even have two grilling books sitting on my window bench, waiting to be reviewed.
What we put on the grill last week was a little bit indulgent for us – two beautiful grass-fed strip steaks, rubbed with a coffee-chile-brown sugar mixture and Belgian endives, dressed simply with olive oil and salt and grilled until charred and smoky. To go with it we had chimichurri sauce, crispy oven-roasted potatoes, and the most delicious, decadent ice cream I’ve ever had – sour cream ice cream with a strawberry-brown sugar swirl. It tastes like cheesecake with strawberry sauce but even smoother and creamier. It’s insane. And over-the-top rich, but I’ll absolutely be making it over and over again. We threw in a few beers and a cranberry margarita and it definitely felt like a real meal – a really nice start to the week. Given that we had several different dishes on our plate, it was surprisingly easy to put it all together. The steak, potatoes, and endives were all very simple and quick, the chimichurri only took a bit of chopping and stirring, and the ice cream was already made. Plus, everything was good. Really good. Sometimes simple is the best! Most of you probably already have plans for grilling tomorrow, but if you don’t, I definitely recommend all of these recipes.
Coffee-and-Chile-Rubbed Strip Steaks – see below (from Food and Wine)
Chimichurri Sauce – see below (adapted from Food and Wine)
Charred and Smoky Belgian Endives – see below (adapted from Food and Wine)
Oven-Roasted Potatoes – see below
Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream – see below (adapted from The NY Times)
Coffee-and-Chile-Rubbed Strip Steaks
Recipe from Food and Wine. Serves 4.
- 2 TBS finely ground dark roast coffee
- 2 TBS chile powder
- 2 TBS dark brown sugar
- 1 TBS smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 TBS kosher salt
- Four 10-oz strip steaks
- In a small bowl, stir together the coffee, chile powder, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, and salt until evenly mixed. Rub the mixture on all sides of the steaks. Let steaks sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Grill the steaks over moderate heat, turning once, until they are charred outside and medium-rare within, about 11-13 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with chimichurri sauce.
Adapted from Food and Wine. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
- 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
- 1/4 c. white balsamic vinegar
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 small shallot, peeled and finely minced
- 1/2 c. finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk the vinegars, olive oil, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Stir in the shallot, parsley, cilantro, scallions, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let chimichurri rest at least 20 minutes before serving. Keep chilled.
Charred and Smoky Belgian Endives
Recipe from Food and Wine. Serves 4.
- 4 Belgian endives, sliced in half lengthwise
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Brush the endive halves with olive oil on both sides, then season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat on a charcoal fire, turning occasionally, until charred and tender, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer endives to a platter and tent with foil. Let steam for 5 minutes, serve warm.
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. small red new potatoes
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- olive oil
- sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Wash potatoes and cut into quarters, or halves if they are very small. Toss potatoes and garlic with olive oil and salt in a large roasting pan. Spread potatoes on the bottom of the pan – they should have enough room so that they are not touching one another. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown with crunchy edges, flipping with a spatula halfway through.
Strawberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream
Adapted from The NY Times. Makes about 5 cups.
- 1 c. sugar
- 9 egg yolks
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 1/2 c. sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 3 TBS brown sugar
- 1 TBS brandy
- In a large heat-proof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and 1/2 c. of sugar until smooth. Set aside.
- In a medium sized saucepan, whisk together remaining 1/2 c. sugar, the heavy cream, and the milk. Heat over medium low heat, whisking all the while, until the mixture just reaches a simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Slowly pour about 1 cup of the hot cream into the eggs in a thin stream, whisking the eggs vigorously as you do so to keep them from scrambling. Pour yolk mixture back into saucepan with rest of cream, still whisking. Heat the custard over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. This will take 7-10 minutes. After it begins to thicken, it will continue to thicken fairly quickly, so remove from heat about 30 seconds to 1 minute after it starts to thicken.
- Strain custard through a sieve into a large, clean bowl, pushing through sieve with a spatula. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then whisk in sour cream, vanilla extract, and salt, whisking until smooth. Cover custard tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
- About 1 hour prior to churning the ice cream, prepare the strawberries: Place the chopped strawberries and the brown sugar in a large frying pan and stir. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the strawberry juices to release. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until berries are soft, and juices have evaporated enough to become syrupy. Remove from heat and stir in brandy. Transfer berries and syrup to a bowl and freeze for 20-30 minutes, until chilled but not frozen.
- Churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker according to directions. When the ice cream has reached a soft serve consistency, turn off the machine and fold in the chilled strawberry mixture so that there are streaks of berries. Freeze to further solidify.
Wow. This meal looks incredible Katie!!! Such a delicious Sunday dinner… love your photographs. That ice-cream looks absolutely divine. I know what you mean about the ‘hodgepodge’ thing. I definitely make sure that I plan at least two full meals (with complimentary dishes) per week, but then we usually just eat leftovers with some grilled protein or defrosted prior cook-ups from the freezer for the remaining days. I usually spend one afternoon per weekend cooking, but I wish I had both days to cook like you do. Life’s just too crazy busy at the moment. It frustrates me, as I’d very happily be a cook-from-scratch prairie housewife with a vegie garden if I was given the opportunity! Thanks for sharing these beautiful recipes. You are super-talented… a visit to your blog is always inspiring xx
Aw, thank you Laura! I hear you on the prairie housewife thing, that’s basically what I pretend I am most weekends. In reality, I wonder if I would get bored with it in real life, but right now it’s my favorite day dream!
Haha, quite possibly! I’m sure if we were born as prairie housewives we’d be dreaming about being independent women with careers! :) Oh well. We can keep daydreaming. It’s my favourite escape too :)
Sounds great! I’m a big fan of Sunday dinners. I look forward to having a family and doing them regularly. Right now, I’m a chef and cooking everyday – so Sunday has become “Pizza Sunday! And now, gluten-free Pizza Sunday!” So, I’m still cooking, but not all day. I’ve been trying to find and concoct the best GF pizza dough. :) Anyway, beautiful post. I’m intrigued by the endives, I have not experience an endive I’ve liked, but grilling it sounds interesting!
Wow, experimenting with gluten free pizza dough sounds like a project! Speaking of pizza Sunday… last Sunday I made this big meal, but tonight – barbecue chicken pizza and blue moon. Plus instant chocolate pudding. We can’t always be gourmet! On the endives – I like endives served any way, but the grilling takes out almost all the bitterness and they get quite sweet and juicy.
Lady – that ice cream! It looks freaking amazing! I want to eat that. I totally miss eating proper meals. It seemed so humdrum when i lived at home, but since I’ve been on my own the idea of pulling together a proper dinner like that 5 or 6 times a week makes me think my Mum was a wizard.
Ha! Ditto on the Mom thing. Add in to the fact that besides getting dinner on the table, I was a super picky eater, and I’m amazed I ever got fed anything at all – I can only imagine how terrible it would be to cook a full meal and then have your kids turn up their noses! Moms are indeed wizards.
Fantastic post! Love everything on your menu! Nice photos too!
Thanks so much, Sheila!!
angelica | table twenty eight says
Oh my god Katie, that looks amazing! LOVE the ice cream & the way you’ve photographed it – so want to taste that!!
Looking FANCY says
Hi there! Your dinner looks amazing!
Interesting. I’ve never seen sour cream ice cream before! I love strip steaks and chimichurri sauce, though. Yum! Great photos!
I also have a summer bucket list. Mainly because of my kids. Buying slushies (they don’t get to eat a lot of junk food), making ice cream with one of those balls that you kick around, and riding a roller coaster that goes upside-down are 1, 2, and 3. My wishes are a bit more elaborate and involve a lot of canning and pickling. My husband and I always set a number for days of grilling for the season. We are setting our goals high at 90 days this year because we’ve just moved from New England to Asheville, NC, and figure there will be more opportunities. I love reading your blog.
I’ve also been doing Sunday dinners once in a while – it gives me an excuse to make dessert and serve dinner on our wedding china (which we never use otherwise). Your meal looks wonderful and you’ve inspired me to break out the ice cream maker again!
Those steaks looks to die for!!