I’ve been so busy with life that I haven’t been able to finish a blog entry in over three weeks. So in honor of all of our hectic, over-scheduled lives, this entry is about yummy meals that are quick and easy — OMG! Yummy Express. I’ll start with my family’s favorite main course – flank steak. These ideas are fast enough for a harried weeknight and can be used for two additional different meals!
Flank steak is a medium-priced flavorful cut of meat. Augmented with a good marinade, the flavor intensifies and the meat becomes tender.
Here are three marinades that I love to use. Two are store-bought Asian-influenced marinades but the ingredients are authentic and unprocessed.
1. Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki — can be found in most grocery stores or Trader Joe’s.
2. Korean-style barbecue marinade that you will find in almost any Asian grocery. ￼
3. The third marinade is from a recipe called Lemony Flank Steak that I found in the Mercury News food section 10 years ago. It originates from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook called “5 O’Clock Grill” Here is a link:
http://www.bhg.com/recipe/beef/lemony-flank-steak/. The recipe is low on fat and calories but big on flavor. The marinade’s great taste comes from fresh lemon juice, soy sauce and some oregano. No oil used at all.
I don’t measure when I use the first two marinades. I just use enough to coat the meat plus a little extra. If you have a bottle of Japanese rice wine called sake that you keep around for cooking, you can add a couple of pours of that to either the Soy Vay or the Korean marinade but no need to if you don’t have it around.
Extra Express Tip: I usually buy my flank steaks at Costco – they come two to a package. If you have time when you get home, you can marinate them in a tupperware or ziploc bag and freeze them pre-marinated. It’s a great trick to make a super simple meal on a busy night. On some rushed evening, I suddenly remember I’ve got the main course ready to go. Just defrost.
To cook the steaks, use a bbq grill – gas or charcoal. But if the person with the bbq gene is not home – just throwing them under the broiler will yield a great result. 5-7 minutes per side should do it if you like medium rare meat. Time will vary based on how hot your grill or broiler is and how thick your meat is. Remember to let the steaks rest under a tent of foil for a few minutes before slicing them to preserve the yummy juices you’ve created in the meat.
So here’s the game plan for 3 meals:
Start with two steaks totaling about 4lbs. For us, that lasted for 3 meals for 2 teenagers and 2 adults.
Meal 1: The first night we just had the grilled steak with rice and a fresh vegetable. I boil the extra marinade and use it as sauce.
Meal 2: The second night I made a rice bowl based on a recipe I found in the April issue of Bon Appetit. http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/04/korean_rice_bowl_with_steak_asparagus_and_fried_egg
I did prepare the sesame salt called out in the recipe — it was easy and tasty — but you could make this dish without it and just use Japanese togorashi (spicy blend you can find in a Japanese store or the Japanese section of your regular grocery store) or just red chili peppers or just salt and pepper. If you don’t like asparagus, use steamed or sauteed broccoli. My family loved this dish, especially the fried egg on top.
Meal 3: The third night I used the meat in a sandwich with onions and melted cheese. I had a jar of balsamic onion marmalade that I splurged on at Williams and Sonoma. But you can easily make the onions yourself by slowing sauteing onions in olive oil and butter and adding a little sugar and balsamic while they are cooking. Roasted red pepper would be good with it too. Gruyere cheese (slightly stronger tasting version of swiss) would also taste delicious heated on the bread but any cheese that you enjoy would be ok or no cheese at all. What kind of bread? I think a crusty ciabatta roll would be ideal but almost any kind of roll or crusty bread would work. That night I heated up some frozen sweet potato fries to serve with the sandwiches and made a green salad. But you could skip the fries and serve chips or just salad and fresh fruit.
Three different marinades, three different meals, all yummy. And I bet you can come up with some more variations using your own family’s unique tastes and your personal cooking style to create your own version of OMG! Yummy Express meals. Have fun!