It All Leads to This


August brings exuberant gardens yielding fresh basil, green beans and tomatoes by the basketful, and people firing up the grill in preparation for a balmy evening outdoors enjoyed with family and neighbors.  Plenty of good times and happy memories as we head into one final month of glorious weather.  This is summer’s moment.

Today’s entry celebrates just such an occasion with a pair of recipes, one for Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes and the other for a scintillating accompaniment, Grilled Ginger Marinated Flank Steak.  The two ideas brightened different magazines’ pages, the green beans Allrecipes August/September 2018 issue, and the steak, the May 2014 Saveur.  Despite the varied sources, the dishes are meant for each other, and are united here, possibly for the first time.  How romantic.

The green beans are good, steamed just until crispness gets the idea of giving way to tenderness, and not a moment longer.   However, tomatoes are this preparation’s soul and elevate it to stardom; they take the green beans on the journey with them.  The tomatoes are sautéed in butter and garlic until they’re barely softened, creating a silky tanginess.  Cut the heat and stir in the beans and basil and there you have it – ambrosia.

It would take quite a steak to keep pace with this, and today’s entry obliges.  It’s marinated, overnight in this case, in a sauce including honey, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and ginger.  Lots and lots of ginger.  This tenderizes what can be tough cut, and it soon surrenders juices laden with flavor.  Lime wedges accompany, and add to the thinly-sliced steak a final burst of freshness.

After all, summer needs to have a signature platter, something that makes us nostalgic for the season’s wonders even before it leaves on its annual vacation.  This is it, a celebration of thriving gardens bursting with greenness, of warmth, laughter and happiness.  By October, everyone will ask, “Is it August yet?”

*****

Green Beans with Cherry Tomatoes

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil

Put a steamer basket in a large saucepan and pour in water until it’s just below the basket’s bottom.  Put green beans in the basket and set the saucepan over a medium-high flame.  Steam, covered, for 12 minutes, until the beans are just tender.  Using tongs, carefully remove the basket and set it aside.

Place a skillet over a medium flame and add the butter.  When the butter has melted, add the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes just soften, about three minutes.  Add the green beans and basil, then remove from flame.  Toss gently and serve.

*****

Grilled Ginger Marinated Flank Steak

  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 5-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 and 1/2-pound flank steak (*1)

Place all ingredients but the steak and lime wedges in a blender.  Pulse until smooth, about four or five slightly-sustained “bursts.”  Put the steak in a zip-top bag and pour the sauce over it.  Force out as much air as possible, and seal the bag.  Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes or, ideally, refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill to medium-high.  Place the steak on the grill and cook for eight minutes per side. (*2)  Remove steak to cutting board and let rest for ten minutes.

Slice the steak thinly across the grain and serve with lime wedges.

NOTES:

1 – In some areas, this cut is called a “London Broil.”  If you can’t find one, substitute a skirt steak or a thin hanger steak.

2 – This is sufficient for medium-rare, as pictured above, and as I prefer.  Cook ten minutes per side for medium, and twelve minutes for well-done.  Of course, an unusually thick or thin steak will manipulate these times accordingly,  However, these are good guidelines for a “typical” steak.

 

59 thoughts on “It All Leads to This

  1. These sweetly put-together meals really are romantic, especially as opposed to, let’s say… a bowl of Cheerios. 😊 Fine cuisine is surely part of the romance, as is the ambience. And, the meal not need be expensive to make a lovely impression.

    Your meal, above, looks delightful and utterly scrumptious, yet delicate, especially for a meat entree. The vegetable is a deliciously decorative highlight.

    I do enjoy “romancing the ginger” as it is one of my many favorites of the herbs and spices.

    Another splendid post, made to order!

    Tamara

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow, much appreciated, Tamara!

      The goal (maybe realized from time-to-time) is to stir the imagination, and through it, to inspire anticipations of sight, sound, smell and, naturally, of taste. If you can get that from staring at a computer screen, congratulations on your mental prowess. Package received.

      Isn’t ginger nifty? An obsession with Asian cuisines ensures it appears among these pages quite often, In Moroccan, Persian, Spanish, etc., etc., dishes too. Even in this week’s entry, which is more “nondescript” American. All hail the root!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Keith, you drop by to write comments on every single post of mine. I would love to do the same. But I hardly know anything about food and most certainly, not to your level. I hope I don’t disappoint.
    But pictures I know! And the food looks great!! 😄

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Well thanks, Mia, though you know far more of food than I do of poetry! My ignorance doesn’t prevent me from stumbling about on your site. Your artistry inspires the effort.

      Besides, your kindness is too complimentary of my culinary “skills.” Cooking is merely a relaxation, an attempt to dissipate a week’s office stress. Hence the “Amateur” part of the screen name.

      Conversation delights; it’s why I don’t keep all of this to myself. As you know, WordPress gives us raw numbers, but it doesn’t tell us who, exactly, visits our pages. Your comments give that viewership meaning. In one case, at least, I know you’re not a confused person misdirected here from an errant Google search.

      Please, Mia, never feel that you “need” to say something, but I’m flattered (and intrigued) when you do!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Your continued interest gratifies, Mia!

        Really, this still overwhelms a little (or more). When I first started posting three years ago, everything circulated among friends, relatives and co-workers. Comments, if any, were delivered in person.

        Then along came the first “outsider” a year later, and now look where we are! Much better since then, as I was down to six or seven visits a month, with almost no comments or even “Likes.” No wonder – looking back on the early site, particularly the pictures, is cringeworthy….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We’ll have to see how long we can maintain each other’s interest, Mia.

        So far, you’re all aces, which means I’ll have to stay on my toes. Gulp! So much for those “mediocre” and “sub-par” posts I planned.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Wow, Mia, much appreciated!

        As for the “mediocre” comment, truer words have never been spoken. Or written. Several times now, I’ve worried the ideas are about to desert, and then, suddenly, another inspiration replenishes the supply. How long can this supply miracle continue? A long time, one hopes, as this is becoming too much fun!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They do, don’t they? Why do you think there’s been a run of vegetarian-friendly posts recently (enlightenment, maybe)?

      Peak summer vegetables are similar to many people at age 19 – they can’t help but to look fabulous. Even the most poorly-run groceries have stellar produce departments this time of year. A miracle we won’t see again until next May. Much sooner for you.

      Laugh now, Southern Hemisphere – the Solstice comes for you too eventually!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Anything you anticipate with a special keenness?

        Planting season isn’t quite done for those us in the north, either, as arugula and mustard greens actually enjoy the cooler temperatures and never would survive summer’s swelter.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep, and I haven’t even mentioned rabbits.

        Then, a few years ago, when I planted corn, I watched a crow move down the row, uproot a seedling, snatch the kernel that had sprouted, then move on to the next one. Do you realize, Bird, how much weeding and watering it’s taken just to get the corn to this point?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Appreciate the regard, Eliza, but my agricultural efforts stock only some of the pantry. And usually a pretty small “some” at that.

        There may be a way to save the seeds and young plants from predation, but it eludes me. Actually, the solution has eluded farmers ever since our species started cultivation lo those many millennia ago. For now, I just plant way more than I need, in the hope something will survive rabbits, deer, crows, the weather and, oh yeah, weeds.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Surprisingly, Eliza, yes. Much of that is due to me being in the ‘burbs, where gardens, shrubs and flower beds are everywhere. Plus, roads lace the land, meaning a passing car will scatter those predators lined up six-deep at my salad bar, sending them to find more peaceful eats elsewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The UK. I would love to live on a mile of green one day. Trees and grass and water. It won’t happen but cant harm to dream. I dont need a big house, but enough space. The garden is important

        Liked by 1 person

      6. So, Eliza, what happened to the “green heart of England” that inspired Shakespeare and still held sway when my ancestors crossed the ocean later that century? In dreams, that England always was, and always will be.

        As you know, the US spans a continent, and even here in the densely-peopled Northeast, farms, forests and gardens abound. Maybe not in midtown Manhattan, but elsewhere.

        Anyway, worthy dreams on your part, Eliza, yearning for a garden. Why not start now? A window garden is sure to yield flowers and maybe even produce. It’ll amaze/inspire visitors, and it’ll put your mind in the right place. Just you watch!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I live at home and we have a garden! The back garden used to have loads more trees, but somehow all the trees everywhere are dying, not just in our back and front, also on the road, the pavement (sidewalk) used to have a lot more trees and over the years they’ve been cut down for safety. I love the garden. I love looking out my bedroom window onto green. I love opening my eyes and seeing trees (that’s what I see from my bed). I love it all. I’d love to eventually have a lot more than this. And our garden is a decent size. The front is, hmm, probably 3 cars by 3 cars. I don’t know meters or yards. The back is bigger. I love the stuff but I wouldn’t have patience to actually plant or garden. You’re lucky you plant. I’d love to see pictures of your garden!

        Love, light and glitter

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Definitely lemons, Eliza, but with a window garden you can make lemonade.

        It’ll allow you to bestir yourself every morning to glorious greenery, and not just outside, past the glass, but in your more immediate environment. What do you fancy? Flowers? Cherry tomatoes? Meyer lemons? All of the above. In your head you’re already a gardener. Now transfer that vision to your window!

        Early next spring should bring a maple-based creation (yes, I’ve planned that far ahead!) and the post might just include a picture of a maple tree I started from seed. Gifted it to my parents and now it grows in their yard. “If this schmuck can grow a tree, surely I can grow a window garden!”

        Yes you can, Eliza, and my name’s not Shirley.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I was just reading your posts and saw your reply here. Which, was funny for me as I didn’t get an alert.
        My old blog – first blog – is up and sorta running! I’m not really sure whether to keep it on WP or change it. Will see………..
        How are you doing? How have you been?
        I liked this recipe 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Much, appreciated, Eliza!

        Mentioned elsewhere, but worth repeating, glad you’re still in the neighborhood! If you do relocate, please tell he via this site, OK? My personal email has an awfully funny concept of what “service” involves, and I don’t even want to think about what it’s helped Oblivion claim.

        No doubt, that’s what happened to the 1,768 people who were following the blog. Yeah, that has to be it. Stupid computer!

        Like

      3. Oh golly, that’s a lot of followers to disappear. That’s sad 😦 there are so many people who would love your posts. I know I do and I’m not a foodie. Take all the foodies…Will do. Though I plan on staying around.
        Love, light and glitter

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Why, thank you, Eliza! You’ve hit the sweet spot, discovering the site after it passed through its ungainly infancy, yet remaining a faithful viewer thereafter. Most grateful for that!

        I may imagine myself to be a “foodie,” but really, I posses no more than an outsider’s enthusiasm. Most entries begin when I spy a recipe somewhere, and wonder if I could see it through. Stay tuned for the results.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’m looking forward to it.
        I love your posts as I’ve said, because you have the enthusiasm. If your posts were just recipes I wouldn’t read them because it’s not like I follow recipes ever.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Most grateful for the interest and for your own enthusiasm, Eliza!

        I try to make each entry about more than “just” the recipes because I love the conversations they inspire. My tastes are, at times…odd, and it helps to entertain other threads, like culture, history, etc., in hopes they captivate others, even when the cooking doesn’t.

        Like

      7. You run a blog, Eliza, wherein you provide a home for many others. You enrich so many with your writing and comments.

        “Don’t know much?”

        Objection, Your Honor. Counsel is assuming facts not in evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. this looks so elegant and as you say stardom worthy and all its simplicity! Tomatoes sautéed in butter and garlic… can’t get better than that! Wait! Maybe! If you add crispy green beans and steak marinated garlic, ginger, honey, and lime juice! yup.. ambrosia and happiness!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So pleased that it appeals, Daniela, and grateful for your interest! Can you think of a better way to wish summer well than to serenade it with the best the season produces?

      That’s the thing about gardens – they’re so perfect this time of year, they make it look like we know what we’re doing. Thanks to the miracle of our global economy, ginger and limes are available to cooks even this far north.

      Louis Armstrong said it best – “and I think to myself, ‘What a wonderful world.'”

      Liked by 1 person

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