I was totally convinced I wanted nothing more for my birthday than a few of my favorite products from Kiehl’s, and for Alex and I to go out to eat somewhere nice. There’s this fancy greek seafood restaurant near Alex’s house that I’ve been dying to go to, but Friday turned out to be all kinds of busy – Alex had two exams in the morning, we both had to go to work, and we had a whole bunch of shopping and other stuff to do for the party on Saturday – and so fancy dinner got pushed back. (We are notorious for things like this, I might add. We have made and broken plans to go to this restaurant about six times. Maybe seven will be the one.)
Since we decided to eat in, I wanted to make sure we had a cooler-than-normal dinner so that it would still feel special. I built dinner around a flank steak recipe I had seen on food network with a garlic & lime marinade that looked delicious and seemed easy…exactly what I was looking for! As a slight departure, I used the marinade on skirt steaks, considering I only had a few hours and didn’t think I could get the tenderness I wanted if I had used the tougher flank steak. I also made a chimichurri sauce to put over the meat, and served roasted sweet potatoes and a salad on the side. It came together fast and Alex and I both loved it! So much so that I used the marinade again, this time on salmon for dinner tonight. Results were less stunning (mostly because the greenish brown coriander, which had been camouflaged against the steak, looked off against the pink salmon) but still tasty!
Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
(adapted from foodnetwork.com)
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- Pinch sea salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- skirt steak (for two people, I used ~1/2 lb)
Combine the garlic, coriander, cayenne, lime and pinch of salt with enough olive oil to make a loose paste. Coat the skirt steak, cover & let marinate in the refrigerator at least two hours. Do not remove from refrigerator until ready to grill. Cook about 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Let meat rest for 10 minutes, slice & drizzle with chimichurri sauce (below).
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 cup parsley leaves (recipe called for flat leaf, I used curly with great results)
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pulse the herbs and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add 3/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup vinegar and salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse to make a soupy vinaigrette — it will look a bit creamy until it settles. If big pieces of herbs are still visible, continue pulsing – the flavors meld best if the herbs are in small, uniform pieces. Add more oil and/or vinegar if too thick.
Since I vetoed dinner plans, and we had already planned to get my Kiehl’s stuff later in the week, I guess Alex was feeling pretty bad that he didn’t have anything for me on my actual birthday, despite me assuring him that it was no problem at all. So while I was at the grocery store, and he was SUPPOSED to be cleaning the basement, he jetted to Louie’s to get me a piece of my FAVORITE chocolate cake (it’s originally from Junior’s in Brooklyn and one piece could probably serve a family of six) and greeted me with it as I pulled into the driveway, birthday candle flickering and illuminating his face in the dark. This cake is heaven on a plate, the type of thing you’d only want on a special day, because you just couldn’t (or could, but SHOULDN’T) eat it more than once or twice a year. Alex totally nailed it – the cake, the moment, the thoughtful surprise – it was exactly what I wanted.
(…But hopefully we’re still going for our fancy dinner!)