Carrabba's is a great place to go eat with an even greater price tag ($$$$). One thing that I do normally tend to always order from Carrabba's is The Johnny. The Johnny comes with a steak, chicken breast, and your choice of side. With the chicken there is a dollop of goat cheese on top, which makes the food that was already mouthwatering even more mouthwatering. Goat cheese is a sweet and pasty cheese that has a really smooth texture and is a great balance to the meaty flavor of steak or grilled chicken. Simmering some tomatoes on a small burner with a tiny bit of bacon fat and/or olive oil really made them juicy to add some more flavor.
For starters I began the dish with a spinach salad with a bacon vinaigrette. Following the appetizer I presented a NY strip with green beans almondine. To finish up the course I made some banana pudding.
Spinach Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette.
What you need:
A bag of baby spinach (Maybe use a half bag if you want your dressing to cover everything)
2-3 mushrooms very thinly sliced
1/4-1/2 red onion julienne sliced
1 hard-boiled egg chilled, peeled, and diced into coins
4 pieces thick-sliced bacon (about 4 ounces), finely diced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey or sugar
1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Dishes you may need for this salad:
Wide serving dish
Small saucepan for making dressing
Put spinach in serving dish (after rinsing your spinach you nasty salad chef).
Spread out your onions and mushroom and boiled egg on the salad.
Fry your cut up bacon in a sauce pan. Remove bacon with a slotted spatula and put bacon on a paper towel. Save your bacon fat about 3 table spoons and add your Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and sugar. This is going to happen pretty fast, which is why I didn't take many photos of this process. It's a salad, it's pretty easy, sue me. It's going to make a really good smell, but while the vinaigrette you made is still cooking, take it off the heat and add to salad. When you add it to salad give it a light toss to get that bacon fat dressing everywhere. This dressing is very good. Add the bacon that you earlier had set aside, on top of your salad.
My mistake was to use the whole bag of spinach, so the dressing didn't get everywhere like I envisioned. In all though, once you pick the good pieces out for your salad you will taste the dressing and it is sooo good.
Grilled Rare Steak with Green Beans Almondine
The process of making your steak and green beans should start with the green beans because they require more time and attention.
Green Beans Almondine
What you'll need:
1 lb. snap green beans, rinsed, and snapped ends (from the produce section)
Little 2.5 oz package of slivered almonds
1 tbsp of bacon fat
A pot to boil your green beans in
A dish with ice and water
A pan or wok to sautee your green beans
Heat your bacon fat in a little sauce pan. Once the bacon fat is completely melted, turn your heater down to a low medium and add the almond slivers.
Let the almond slivers cook for about 5 minutes, stirring your almonds as to not burn them. When your almonds are nicely toasted (golden brown color) set them aside for later use.
Put your green beans in a very shiny pot that reflects your skull and cross bone pajama pants that feel like HEAVEN. If cooking in your pajamas is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Any-who, add water to your pot of green beans. Fill it up pretty good to where the green beans are swimming in the water. Add some salt to your water, it's okay, go ahead don't' be afraid.
Boil those beans.
Now the trick to getting your green beans to that vibrant green color, only boil your green beans for about 3-5 minutes until they get that green color then stop the presses. Remember that dish of ice and water that is listed? Better get that ready because....
Use your tongs and get those green beans out of the boiling water into your ice water! This process is called blanching. Blanching is the process of cooking your food to where it retains the flavor and the vibrant color that your food will produce once cooked to a certain specification, then adding it to ice water immediately stops them from cooking so the color and flavor can be locked in. Let those beans blanch and cool of for a sec, and get your big wok or pan ready to a medium-high heat with some left over bacon fat.
When your beans have cooled off a bit, and your pan has had the bacon fat melted, use your tongs again and grab your beans. When you remove the beans from blanching, use your tongs and shake your beans a little bit to remove excess water. Add your beans to the pan and listen to the sizzle sizzle! Stir them around a bit while they cook, pushing them around with your tongs. If you like them a little al dente, remove them and place on a serving dish when they are still kind of hard, if you like them kind of flimsy, add some more bacon fat and let them cook a little longer.
When your green beans are too your liking, them remove from the pan and place on serving dish. Spread your almonds from earlier over the beans and you have a beautifully presented side dish of green beans.
OMG New York Strip (My first time operating a grill by myself :))
What you need:
Just some NY strip steaks from the grocery store. Little did I know that the seafood market at the grocery store would have given me better steak, but I thought they were only seafood people until my mom told me they are butchers too. D'oh!
Liquid Smoke (or Worcestershire sauce)
Maybe some garlic salt or season salt
Minced Garlic clove
Foil cut in squares big enough to fold and completely cover steak
A large mixing bowl
Now previous to making this dinner, I first made the banana pudding (sugar soup, more on that later) and let the steaks marinade in their seasoning in the fridge. Please note that all ingredients needed for the steak are optional...other than the steak of course, unless you like eating air.
Put some liquid smoke, and minced garlic in your metal bowl.
Mix it around
Now place your steak on the foil, brush your steak with liquid mixture from bowl, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and other seasonings.
Repeat on other side.
Fold up the foil around the steak.
Repeat on the next few steaks.
Put your marinading steaks in the fridge and leave for a few hours to just chill in those juices.
Clean your area.
Turn that grill on!
Turn you grill on its highest heat and leave alone for a bit so that the heat can cook off past grilling endeavors.
Let the meat cook for 3-4 minutes for medium-rare on each side. In my world rare or medium-rare is the only type of steak that exists. So if you like yours cook-cooked, then look up the times your damn self. I have a blog to write!
After your 3-4 minutes on each side, flip the steaks, and repeat for the same time.
Once steaks are cooked, remove from grill and place on a large serving plate. Cut the first steak in the fattest part of the steak to see if the steak is cooked to its desired doneness. If not, throw that baby back on, if so, keep it.
In your green bean wok or pan, keep it dirty with that bacon fat and throw on some cherry tomatoes until they are squishy and soft.
Open your package of goat cheese and slice into dollops to be put on top of the steak.
This completes the meal! Now kiss my feet and worship the ground I walk on! Heh...not really. So this is my amazing steak dinner:
NY Strip, Green Beans Almondine, Spinach Salad!
Now if this too green for you, please feel free to make some mashed taters or baked po-tay-tuh.
Tonight I will post how to NOT make banana pudding. Later this week, I will include a homemade pasta tutorial. You only need eggs, flour, a large surface, and a rolling pin! I think that most people have those items at home (although you may need to sweep the cobwebs away from the lack of use).
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Sarah in her kitchen.