I'm a working woman now (at least for the next few months), and, like many working women, I don't really want to be in a hot kitchen for any amount of time when I get home in the evening. What this means is that I have, for the most part, been eating some low key, no fuss dinners lately--some bread, good cheese, a handful of olives and some sliced tomatoes--and maybe a glass of wine--is just about all I need these days. But there have been a few rare occasions when I've actually cooked, so I thought I'd show them to you.
First up we have a salad of mixed greens, shredded duck meat, sliced green apples, dried currants and toasted pecans, with a homemade honey-mustard dressing with fresh thyme. OK, so I didn't really cook this (my parents get the pre-cooked duck--which is tender and delicious--at Costco), but I did compose it carefully:
Here's something I actually did cook: marinated flap meat with a side of roasted bell pepper salad with olives, capers and fresh herbs, and some (purchased) spinach-feta pies:
OK, I know what you're thinking: flap meat?! What the hell is that? And you'd be right to ask that question. I don't know what flap meat is either (apparently the San Francisco Chronicle does, though: click). My parents have been buying it at Costco (I guess they get a lot of stuff there) for the past few years, but I've never seen it in any supermarket, or, god forbid, on any menu. The name is highly unappealing, but the meat is great: similar to hangar or skirt steak, it's marbled with plenty of fat and cooks up nice and juicy, with great texture. I marinated the meat in olive oil, soy sauce, and Montreal steak seasoning, which you buy at the store: it's a mixture of dried garlic and coarsely ground black pepper. Then I grilled the meat on a cast-iron pan until medium rare, about 4 minutes a side. I let it rest under tin foil for about 5 minutes (please rest your meat, people! It makes all the difference) and then sliced it up.
I roasted those peppers myself, by the way (also on a cast iron pan, for about 15 minutes or until they're wilted and the skin is thoroughly charred), then put them in a bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap to cool. At that point the skin will slip right off. After I cleaned and sliced the peppers, I tossed them with olive oil, red wine vinegar, chopped black olives, capers, salt, pepper, and minced basil, parsley and chives.
And, finally, a chicken dinner. I marinated the drumsticks in a mixture of soy sauce, whole grain mustard, honey and minced garlic, then grilled them (for about 8 minutes a side) along with some pineapple. If you've never grilled pineapple, you should--it's sweet, smoky and addictive. You don't need to grease it or season it or anything--just lay it on the grill for about 3 minutes a side (it's just as good on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream as it is with dinner). A simple avocado and tomato salad rounded out the meal:
And that's how you do weeknight dinners.