Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I love you Juila Child.

A couple nights ago, I was watching the movie 'Julie and Julia' for the umpteenth time. It is such a good movie! If you haven't already seen it, and you are a food lover like myself, I highly recommend it. I love Meryl Streep, Julia Child, Paris, and food- which is basically the entire movie in a nutshell- so I mean, how can a girl go wrong?

Anyway. The movie got me thinking about my trip to Europe (Paris included) that I will be making next month. Which I am really, really excited about. I plan to eat lots of food, cook lots of food, and walk. A lot. Besides dreaming of Paris, I also started to crave steak and bruschetta, a meal that was cooked and eaten by one of the characters in the movie....and that is exactly what I did last night. And it was heaven. Pure heaven.

I am ordinarily not the biggest fan of pan-fried steak, which I usually grill instead. But while reading a recent recipe in Bon Appetit magazine for just that, I began to second-guess myself, and thought, why not? So that is precisely what I did, and let me tell you folks, I feel like I've been missing out on something. If you are a griller of steak, not a pan-fryer of steak, I beg you to change it up sometime. You will not regret it. So thanks, Bon Appetit magazine- you made me a believer!

Harissa-Marinated Sirloin Steak
(Adapted from a recipe in the June 2010 issue of Bon Appetit)

Harissa is a spicy chile sauce from North Africa. Although it is delicious, I had a really hard time trying to find it in my local grocery store. Apparently you can find it at "most specialty food stores or Middle Eastern markets", so maybe you'll have better luck than I had. Anyway, I ended up making my own blend of spices to mimic the taste of Harissa in the recipe, and the steak turned out equally flavorful and scrumptious. When in doubt, wing it in the kitchen! The only thing that could go wrong is it won't taste good, and you can always do it over again another time.
On another note, if you can, set aside time so that the meat can marinate for at least 2 hours; it really makes a difference in the overall flavor.


  • 1 two-pound sirloin steak (about 1 & 1/2 inches thick), fat trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced very finely
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon harissa sauce OR as a substitute: ground paprika, cumin and cayenne, to taste
  • salt to taste
  1. Cut steak length-wise in half, forming two 2- to 3-inch-wide strips.
  2. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, thyme, and 2 teaspoons harissa (or ground paprika, cumin and cayenne, to taste) in a large, shallow dish.
  3. Add beef; toss to coat each strip evenly. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to one day, tossing occasionally. If you really don't have this kind of time, than marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Drain beef. Heat heavy large skillet over high heat. Brush skillet generously with olive oil. Place beef strips into skillet and cook until well browned on all sides, turning with tongs, 6-8 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer strips to platter.
  5. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 tablespoon harissa (or more ground spices to taste) in small bowl and blend well. Season sauce with salt. Drizzle sauce over beef strips and serve.
Spicy Cherry Tomato Bruschetta
(Adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe)

Bruschetta is one of my absolute favorite things to eat (and prepare). It's mindless, great for entertaining, and great for just eating by yourself at home, which is what John and I did last night. I could keep eating it and never get tired of it, so usually I finish when there literally isn't anymore on the plate. This recipe is for a spicier version, which makes me love it even more because I am a fanatic for spicy foods. If you happen to not be that crazy for spicy, then by all means, put as little of the crushed red pepper flakes as you please in the recipe.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • a handful of basil leaves, cut into slithers
  • 1 Italian long baguette (or something similar), sliced

  1. Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic, saute for 2 minutes, then add tomatoes and hot pepper flakes. Season with salt, to taste, and toss to coat in oil. Cover the pan, raise heat a bit and cook until the tomatoes burst, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Remove the lid, squish any whole tomatoes with a wooden spoon and let the tomatoes thicken, about 1 minute. Stir in parsley, adjust the seasoning, if needed, and then remove from heat.
  3. Heat the broiler and char the bread on both sides. Arrange bread on platter and top with hot tomatoes. Garnish basil leaves and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oilve oil before serving.


  1. Wow what a bad idea to read this while hungry! I'm not exactly a steak person at all but that explanation+photo had me drooling! My best friend and I watch Julie and Julia a lot when we get that feeling that our lives aren't going anywhere and it always makes us feel better. On the movie she makes a chocolate cream pie and she is just stirring it cold in a bowl and it intrigues me what recipe that could be because I always cook my filling. Here's to channeling ladies who do it right! Now I really want some bruschetta!

  2. Hey brittney...thanks for reading my blog, so I dont feel like I'm writing out at nothing. Ha. On another note, I know what you mean about watching the movie and it making you feel better....and I have thought about that chocolate cream pie she makes and wondered the same thing. I think what it is, is that you precook the pie crust, and then make a chocolate custard that can go right into the pie crust with no further cooking. You should try it and let me know how it turns out. Bon appetit!

  3. these are great dishes im going to use the harrissa sauce on chicken or even tofu. ive been looking for a good marinade thanks. its so good to have a receipe in front of you, just like when one is drawing or painting its good to be looking at a subject