Because of my recent travels and adventures having friends in town (and my general laziness), I’ve been going out to eat a lot lately. Like, way more than I should. Although I love going out to eat (no doing dishes!), I was recently inspired to try some new recipes after perusing the June edition of Southern Living Magazine, which focused on southern food (you should really go pick it up and take a look), so I decided to make a night of it and spoil myself with a southern feast.
I had some brie that was given to me by the folks at Jarlsberg during the Food Film Festival last month, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to make use of it with the “Baked Brie With Jezebel Peaches.”
The recipe called for a 13.2 oz round, and although mine was about half that size, I decided not to halve any of the other ingredients, and I thought it turned out great. I served it with Keeblers Assorted Toasteds crackers, and it was a big hit. I loved the combination of flavors. It was tangy and creamy and crunchy and fruity all at once. I’d definitely make this again; I imagine it would be a great hit at parties!
For the main course, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and try the “Coffee-Rubbed Skirt Steak,” which looked delicious in the magazine. I’ve literally cooked steak one other time in my life, so I thought this would be a good learning experience. The first thing that I learned is that I have no idea how to buy steak at the grocery store (it took me 10 full minutes to realize that skirt steak and flank steak are interchangeable. I’m bad at reading directions). Once I’d gathered all of the ingredients, I trimmed some of the fat off the steak, made the rub and let it sit for the required time while I prepared the side dish.
Since I don’t have a grill at my apartment, I decided I would cook the steaks in my cast iron skillet, like they’d done when I went to that cooking class at Southern Season. The problem is that the cuts of meat I’d chosen were too big to fit in the skillet together, and in retrospect I should’ve cooked them one piece at a time, but I’m stubborn and decided I would make it work cooking them both together.
I somehow managed to both burn and undercook the steaks (kind of impressive, actually), and ended up sticking the whole skillet in the oven to finish cooking them. They came out somewhere around medium-well in color, but well done in texture. When trying the steak, I thought it tasted really flavorful, but was a bit chewy. Lily loved it and ended up eating all of the leftovers, so I guess that’s a good sign! I’d definitely try this recipe again with a grill and someone who actually knew how to cook steak.
The biggest hit of the night, though, was the “Grilled Mexican Corn Salad.” When I was making the corn, I was a little weirded out about rubbing ears of corn with mayonnaise, but it actually turned out really deliciously. Again, since I didn’t have a grill, I put the corn in the oven at 450 and let them bake for about 13 minutes before I took them out to cut the kernels from the cob to make the salad.
The flavor of this dish was so unique, and I loved how light and refreshing it tasted with the fresh herbs, lime juice, and crispness of the corn straight off of the cob (rather than canned or frozen). Plus I’m a huge fan of any dish with feta cheese in it.
The meal was delicious and as fun to eat as it was to make. With the exception of the snafu with the beef–which was really just my own personal shortcoming (what did I even learn in that semester of culinary school, anyway?!–the evening went off without a hitch, and we enjoyed our meal with a nice bottle of malbec out on my porch. Southern living really is the best kind of living.