Sunday, April 01, 2007

Birthday Dinner, Part I

I realized that I had recently mentioned to a few friends how seldom it is that we eat meat. Honestly, we usually only have meat once a week. Additionally, we sometimes have one meal with fish as the main course. I use a combination of dairy, nuts, legumes, soy, and whole grains for protein. Of course immediately after I say how seldom we eat meat, I am posting and posting meat-centric meals.

In any event, my physical therapist is really trying to build muscle around my injury, so the animal-protein-heavy diet (though mostly low-fat, organic meat) of the past week has probably done my body “good.” Our Hero’s birthday is April 2nd, which fell on a Monday this year (thanks to friends and family for the birthday wishes and great gifts!), so I took Sunday night as an opportunity for the proper homemade birthday dinner by request. For Birthday Dinner, Part I (Part II would follow on the actual day-of), Our Hero requested steak with my own interpretation of chimichurri, an Argentinian sauce for roasted meat. It’s wonderful on all sorts of grilled meats and fish, vegetables, and stirred into yogurt or sour cream as a veggie dip.

The amounts aren’t exact; I taste as I go along to make sure things are as they should be. This time, I used my Cuisinart to combine all the ingredients, but in the past I’ve chopped the herbs very finely and used a microplane for the garlic and lemon zest.

Chimichurri Sauce
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest from 1 lemon (if using a food processor, zest can be removed in long strips, if combining by hand, use a microplane)
2-3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup cilantro
Salt and black pepper to taste

Combine all in a food processor until well-blended. Ta-da!

I let the sauce sit on the steak for about 30 minutes before broiling. I served it with steamed asparagus and cauliflower puree, which is also very simple. I scattered some fresh chimichurri around the plate before serving.

Cauliflower Puree
1 head cauliflower
1/2 cup milk (I used skim, but anything would work)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/3 cup parmigiano

Cut the cauliflower into chunky florets. Place in a medium saucepan with water just to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until cauliflower is very tender. Remove cauliflower from water and let cool. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or by hand (this will be more difficult) puree or mash until desired texture is reached.

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