Savoury Steak Bites with Sriracha Mayonnaise

Savoury Steak Bites

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 200-250g (7-9oz) beef tenderloin steak, cut into 1-2″ chunks
  • 2 Tbsps chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsps mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha (alternatives: hot sauce, masala chilli, or similar)

Directions

Mix the spices and cornstarch together. Toss the steak pieces in the powder mixture until fully coated. Heat the oil in medium-high heat pan until hot, add the steak bites. Turn regularly until desired level of doneness and outsides are browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Mix together the hot sauce and mayonnaise. Serve the steak bites with the hot mayonnaise.

And now for the details…

I must admit, I do not think I could become a vegetarian. Meat is just too delicious. I joke around that I am a protein-aholic. And yes, I realize I can find protein sources outside of meats and fish, but when really craving a filling, umami-rich, toothy bite, what could provide this better than a bite of savoury steak? The outside crisp, salty and spicy, the inside soft and juicy. I’m salivating just typing about it, and it’s 8am on a Saturday morning…

These steak bites come together quite quickly, and are great for either entertaining, or as a quick meat option for your evening meal. The best part is that because they are already cut down into smaller bites, they seem to go a longer way. With some veggies on the side, one steak was more than enough for both me and the hubby for dinner, which is usually our largest meal of the day.

To get started, let’s cut the steak into bite-sized chunks, about 1 to 2″ big. Mix all the spices and cornstarch together. I do this in a ziplock bag, in preparation of the next step. Next, add your precut steak pieces into the bag, close it up, and shake until all the steak bites are evenly coated with the powder mixture.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Wait until the oil has gotten hot enough. You can test this by adding a couple of drops of water to the pan. When the water pops, the pan is ready for you steak bites. Add them to the pan in one layer, leaving a bit of spacing between the pieces. We are doing this so that we get a nice crispy outside on the bites, otherwise, they may start to steam instead, leaving us with a soggy, moist (yeah, I said it) outside. Turn the pieces regularly, until the insides are to your desired level of doneness (here is a handy guide for the temperatures to aim for), and the outsides are looking crisp and browned.

Remove the bites from the pan and let them sit to the side for a moment or two.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and sriracha (or hot sauce of choice) until fully mixed. Serve the steak bites with the spicy mayonnaise for dipping.

Happy eating.

Chicken Vino Bianco (Olive Garden-ish)

Chicken Vino Bianco

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into medallions
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 cups oyster mushrooms, diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsps olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps + 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 250 g pasta, cooked al dente

Directions

Season the chicken fillets with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with flour. Add 2 Tbsps of the olive oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter to a pan on medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and cook until a golden brown and turn. Add another Tbsp of butter to the pan and cook the medallions until the inside temperature reaches 75ºC (165ºF). Remove from the pan, and set aside. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, add the shallots and sauté, add the mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add the tomatoes, then add the chicken broth and white wine. Cook down until the liquid is reduced significantly. Add 1/4 cup of butter and melt, stirring into the sauce. Add the chicken back into the pan, turning to coat. Place the pasta in a large shallow dish, then top with sauce and chicken. Serve.

And now for the details…

I had a period of time in my early twenties when I was borderline obsessed with the Olive Garden. Raised eyebrows and cringes, I’m sure, from the foodies out there. But I have to admit, I still enjoy visiting, particularly for the lunch of endless soup, salad and breadsticks. Their Zuppa Toscana? Delicious. Yep. I’m losing creditability from the foodie hipsters as I type. I recognize your need to shudder and turn away, but am not changing my mind on this one. Sorry folks, I love food. All food. In my mind, food sources do not need to be subversive, exclusive, or cutting edge to be delicious.

A favourite dish, which unfortunately I have not seen on their menu for well over a decade, was Chicken Vino Bianco. Through some trial and error, I think I have come pretty close to recreating it, and now am sharing with all of you! Pair this with a salad with Olive Garden salad dressing from Costco, and we are bringing the restaurant home!

We start by butterflying the chicken breasts and then cutting them into medallions. This pink cutting board? It is specific for my meat prep! To avoid cross-contamination, I have this separate board that I use strictly for raw meats, fish, and poultry. Safety first people! Now, salt and pepper each side of the medallions, and then dust them with flour. Shake off any excess flour and we are ready to start sautéing!

Heat up some olive oil at medium-high heat and melt the two tablespoons of butter into the oil. Once the butter is completely melted and starts bubbling slightly, add the chicken in a single layer, and cook until browned on both sides and completely cooked through the middle.

Set the chicken aside, but keep the pan hot. Add the shallots and a bit more olive oil if there is little of the oil left in the pan after cooking the chicken. Sauté the shallot until fragrant, then add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have just begun to turn soft. Next, we add the wine and cook down until the wine has almost completed reduced, there should be little liquid left in the pan.

(Now is also a good time to boil your water for your pasta.)

This is just after adding the wine, lots of liquid to lose yet!

We add our tomatoes next, and allow them to cook down for just a short bit of time, releasing some of their liquid, and softening slightly. Cooking for too long will lose our nice bright colour from the tomatoes, and cause them to smoosh in with the other ingredients, getting lost in the mix.

(Have you added pasta to your water yet? Get that going so you have pasta and sauce at the same time!)

Our last step is to melt in the 1/4 cup of butter, which is going to bring the liquid element back in, creating a nice sauce, and then bring the chicken back into the pan. Spoon sauce over the chicken, getting everything nice and saucy. Do a quick taste test here to see if you need any additional salt or fresh ground pepper. Add more S&P to taste.

Place your pasta in a large dish, then top with the chicken and sauce. If you would like, you can garnish with some fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.

Happy eating.

Tacos with Chimichurri Flank Steak and Buttermilk Cole Slaw

Tacos with Chimichurri Flank Steak and Cole Slaw

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Green and Garlicky Chimichurri Sauce
  • 1 recipe Creamy Buttermilk Cole Slaw
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) flank steak
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp chipotle oil, like Huipi Chil Salsa Mango Chipotle
  • 8-12 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup canola (or other vegetable) oil

Directions

Place the flank steak in a ziplock bag with 3/4 of the chimichurri sauce, reserving 1/4 of the sauce, set aside. Ensure the steak is fully covered with the sauce, release any air from the bag, seal, and marinate in a refrigerator overnight. Remove from the bag, and dispose of the bag and any leftover sauce. Barbecue the flank steak at medium-high heat until desired level of doneness. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Mix the crème fraîche with the chipotle oil until evenly mixed, set aside. Heat the canola oil at medium-high heat in a shallow pan until hot. Add the tortillas, one at a time, turning after 10-30 seconds on each side, and place to the side on a towel. Cut the flank steak across the grain into strips. Serve all items, and assemble tacos, with steak, Cole slaw, chimichurri sauce, chipotle sauce, and fresh cilantro.

And now for the details…

Yep, I’m pulling a buttload of previous recipes into this one. The Garlicky Chimichurri sauce and Creamy Buttermilk Cole slaw find new meaning in these delicious tacos that are sure to be a crowd pleaser. And is that the Ratatouille recipe in the background as an optional side to this meal? Oh you bet your sweet ass…ets it is.

I had actually made all these elements separately earlier and realized how complementary they would all be together as one. And so… these tacos were born!

Flank steak, although flavourful and meaty, is a fairly tough cut of meat. Luckily, that also means that it is usually quite affordable, although the trendiness has boosted its market value of late. Flank steak needs the chimichurri marinade to help break it down to provide its juicy, tender grilled perfection for this dish. In addition to marinating, we will be cutting the steak across the grain, which will help give the impression of tenderness.

We will start by marinading our steak in the chimichurri sauce. Add the steak and about 3/4 of the chimichurri sauce into a ziploc bag. Reserve the rest of the chimichurri in the fridge to serve with the tacos. If you are environmentally conscious and do not want to waste a bag, feel free to use a container that you can seal. Just makes sure the steak is evenly coated by the marinade, and try to turn it over partway through its marinading process. Let the steak sit in all that savoury scrumptiousness in the fridge overnight. Think of it as treating you steak to a spa-like body treatment. Everything needs to fully sink in.

You can prepare the cole slaw the night before when you are getting the steak ready for its body wrap, or just before you are ready to serve the rest of your meal. I would recommend the day before, though, since I feel cole slaw tastes better the next day. You won’t need to whole recipe of slaw for the tacos, and since it keeps so well in the fridge, you will be stocked with a side dish for a couple of days afterward!

Remove the flank steak from it marinade, and throw away the leftover marinade. Barbecue the steak on medium-high heat, until your preferred level of doneness. This site has a great chart for the different temperatures to aim for, and estimated cooking times.

Once the steak is done cooking, remove it from the heat and let it rest for at least 10 minutes prior to cutting. When you are ready, cut it against the grain. Cutting it against the grain will make the bite feel less stringy, since you have already cut the muscle fibre short, giving it the feel of tenderness when you are eating.

While you are waiting for the steak to rest, you can prepare your crème fraîche and tortillas. The crème fraîche is the easiest, stirring it together with the oil until they have mixed completely. Once you are done, heat the canola oil to medium-high heat, then place the tortillas in the hot oil, one at a time, flipping after only about 20 seconds. You have to watch this quite closely, cooking too long will result in crunchy edges and the tacos will fall apart when you try to bend them to eat. Transfer them from the heat to a paper towel-lined plate.

When the tacos are ready, serve them with the steak, reserved chimichurri, chipotle crème fraîche, cilantro, and cole slaw. Assemble your tacos at the table, and enjoy!

Happy eating.