Wishing for a Weekend Do-over

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June 24, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

I’m in a mood. I won’t bore you with the details but let’s just say that the weekend I thought was going to be glorious and relaxing turned out to be nothing of the sort. I envisioned a Saturday starting out with fresh biscuits accompanied by clotted cream and Huckleberry jam (brought to us as part of an amazing Southern goodies housewarming gift from my cousin and his girlfriend), followed by a glamorous afternoon at the Taste of London Food Festival, finished up with a Sunday Funday of catching up on heaps of reading and writing, with a side of wine. Instead, Chris had to work all weekend, the weather was hideous, and we are having some major issues with our flat that have pretty much uprooted our lives. We are living in a war zone right now.

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At least my biscuits turned out tasty! I mean I’ve got to keep my Southern cooking skills sharp. I hear the Food Network may have an opening…

I realize that even if my life is a mess right now, I still owe you the rest of my dinner party menu. So without further ado, I’m finally ready to give you a delicious, impressive, but between you and me hard to screw up, dinner party main course. Sure wish I could have another weekend like this one rather than the hot-mess we have been living through.

Start by making a grilled asparagus salad that is excellent at room temperature (aka done well in advance). Grill the asparagus in a bit of olive oil, slice some shallots, shave some parmesan, drizzle with white balsamic, and you are good to go. 15 minutes and job done.

Grilled Asparagus Salad: A Broad Cooking

Then prep two baking sheets, one for simply roasted potatoes, the other balsamic mushrooms. For both trays of veg, make sure that everything is relatively uniform in size. Toss the potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs. Toss the mushrooms with olive oil and pepper, nothing else. The mushrooms will take a bit less time than the potatoes so stagger your cooking time.

Balsamic Roast Mushrooms: A Broad Cooking

Once the mushrooms are done roasting, about 20 minutes in a hot oven, sprinkle a little flake salt and drizzle with a balsamic reduction that can be made by simmering balsamic vinegar over a very low heat for 15 minutes, stirring every few until the consistency of syrup.

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A good cut of steak doesn’t need much more than some love on the grill. But I love to finish a simply grilled steak with a flavored butter for extra richness. To pair with the balsamic mushrooms, I thought a blue cheese butter would be perfect. Just mash together equal parts room temperature butter and blue cheese, season with white pepper, then re-roll and slice just before serving.

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I used 1-inch thick sirloin and grilled them for about 3 minutes on each side. Then let them rest!!!

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I sliced the butter and served the steaks with blue cheese butter. I plate the steaks individually then dish up platters for family style asparagus, potatoes, and balsamic mushrooms.

Roasted Potatoes and Balsamic Mushrooms: A Broad Cooking

Grilled Dinner Party Menu: A Broad Cooking

Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Butter and Roasted Balsamic Mushrooms

Serves 4

1 oz. butter, room temperature

1 oz. blue cheese

1/2 tsp. white pepper

4 (1-inch thick) sirloin steaks

12 oz. cremini mushrooms

2 Tbs. olive oil

Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over very low heat. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the vinegar becomes the consistency of syrup. Set aside.

Mash together the butter, blue cheese, and white pepper. Roll into a log and wrap with wax paper. Refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 400˚F. Slice mushrooms in half, toss with olive oil, and spread evenly onto a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with flake salt and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over high heat. Season the steaks with salt and pepper. Grill to desired temperature, about 2 1/2 minutes per side for medium. Let rest for five minutes, then serve topped with a slice of the blue cheese butter and the mushrooms.

Grilled Asparagus Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Shallots

Serves 4

1 lb. fresh asparagus

3 Tbs. olive oil, divided

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 oz. Parmesan cheese, shaved

2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Trim the ends off the asparagus and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Grill until just tender, about 5 minutes, tossing frequently.

Arrange asparagus on a platter and top with the shallots. Shave 1 ounce of Parmesan cheese onto the salad. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and the white balsamic vinegar.

Can be served warm or at room temperature.

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