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Posts Tagged ‘millenium park’

Last night Yuki and I went to Millenium Park for another one of their Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz shows. Besides listening to some killer guitar by Alfonso Ponticelli we ate some killer skirt steak sandwiches that I made earlier in the day, along with some potato salad.

For the steak I took a big handful of cilantro, 1/4 cup of sesame oil, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of ginger, and two cloves of garlic. I processed it all into a nice marinade along with some black pepper. I picked up a 1.5 pound skirt steak and cut it into 4 equal pieces. I laid the steak in a glass baking dish and covered it in the marinade. I wrapped it in plastic and put it in the fridge for about 3 hours. I took it out and let it come to room temperature for about a half hour before grilling it.

I brought my grill up to high heat and grilled the steak for about 7 minutes on each side. That made it somewhere between medium-rare and medium. I let it sit for a few hours to cool down in its own juices while I went back to my computer to do some work.

For the potato salad I defrosted about 1/3 cup of frozen organic peas and chopped up a bunch of green onions, a carrot, 4 radishes, and 7 yukon gold potatoes that were skinned before getting chopped up. For the dressing I mixed together a branch of rosemary from my back porch that I gave the once over with my knife, 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons of mustard (my favorite brand of Boetje’s of course), and a pinch of salt and pepper.

In a pot of boiling water I dumped the skinned diced potatoes and let them cook for about 10 minutes until they were soft but held their shape (may take a little longer depending upon how big the chunks are). After 10 minutes I added the green onions, radishes, and carrot for about 2 minutes. I didn’t want to cook the vegetables, I just wanted to take away the sharpness and rawness of them while keeping the texture. Then I strained everything into a colander.

In a large glass bowl I put the peas and then strained vegetables and potatoes. While still warm I poured the dressing on top and stirred it all around. I like dressing it while still warm so that the potatoes absorb some of the dressing.

To put together the sandwiches I toasted some ciabatta rolls. On the bottom I laid some baby spinach and tomato slices. I sliced up two of the steak portions and laid them on top. I covered the steak with cilantro. On the top bun I spread some mustard and mayonnaise. It was outstanding!

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Last night was the final performance of Millenium Park’s world music series. They had two different accordion players, and I have to say, that is one bad ass instrument! Now I need to work on my air accordion skills. It’s a lot of fun packing a picnic and hanging out at the park for free music (I say free, but let’s be honest, we already paid for it with our tax dollars). At any rate, I had to make a dinner that would taste good cold. I thought that poached salmon on corn salad would do the trick. As usual, I was right.

The first thing I did was roast some cherry tomatoes. I simply drizzled them with olive oil and then put them in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes. I set them aside to cool down before packing it all up.

For the corn salad I used two medium-sized zucchini, one red bell pepper, and three ears of corn. I grated the zucchini into a mesh sieve, sprinkled a little salt on it, and let the juices drain for about 20 minutes. Then I squeezed it as dry as I could and set it aside for cooking. For the bell pepper, I just diced it up.

After cleaning all of the silk off the corn I separated the kernels from the ears. This can be a little messy as kernels have been known to fly around the kitchen as you slice them off, in my kitchen at least. I find the easiest way to do this is to cut the ears in half first. Then, I take my cutting board and lay it over a large baking dish. This way, when I slice the kernels off they fall right into the baking dish instead of all over my counter and floor.

Save the cleaned ears, they have tons of flavorful juice in them. I used these to help flavor the poaching liquid for the salmon.

To make the salad I first sautéed about three tablespoons of diced shallots in some olive oil for about 5 minutes. Then I poured in 1/4 cup of white wine (I used the same White Burgundy that I planned on drinking with dinner) and let that boil away for about 3 minutes. Once the wine was boiled off I dumped in the corn, bell pepper, and 1/2 cup of water. I covered the skillet and let it go until the corn was softened a little, about 5 more minutes. After that I seasoned with salt and pepper and then threw in the zucchini. I stirred it all around to separate the zucchini (it will become a zucchini ball when squeezing out the liquid), let it cook for another 5 minutes, then turned off the heat and moved on to the salmon while it cooled down.

I picked up about 24 oz’s of really nice wild caught salmon, center cut so that it was uniform in thickness. I had the fishmonger skin it for me. Fishmongers have better knives for that job than I do, plus I didn’t want my garbage can to stink like rotting fish. It’s always a good idea to let the fishmonger skin and gut for you. I cut the salmon into 4 equal filets. Before putting the salmon in the poaching liquid I lightly seasoned it with salt.

For the poaching liquid I used 1 cup of the white wine, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 3 cups of water, 1 bay leaf, about 2 tablespoons of diced shallot, and the naked corn cobs. I brought that all up to a boil and let it go for about 5 minutes or so to let all of the corn juice mix into the liquid.

Once the corn juice was incorporated I took the cobs out, gently laid the salmon in, and turned the heat down so that the liquid was at a simmer instead of a vigorous boil. It should only take about 6 or 7 minutes for the salmon to cook all the way through.

After I took the salmon out I seasoned it lightly with salt again, and a little pepper. Then I drizzled just a little olive oil on top.

I got out my little Rubbermaid TakeAlongs and scooped a bunch of the corn salad in, topped it with a piece of salmon, laid in a few of the tomatoes, and garnished with some cilantro. I also brought some dinner rolls along. It was absolutely delicious! It also would have been tasty if I served it hot right off the stove top.

The only thing I did wrong was a miscalculation on the amount of corn salad. When I cook dinner during the week I try to make 4 portions so that Yuki and I have lunch for the next day as well. I came up one portion short on the corn. So, if you try this recipe and want 4 portions use 3 zucchini and 4 ears of corn. That should do the trick.

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Last night we went to Millennium Park to see Tony Allen play for free. Beautiful night and fantastic music! However, because of this, I didn’t do much for Meatless Monday. Nothing worth blogging about anyway. Instead, here’s a dish that Yuki made the other night. Thinly sliced strip steak in Korean chili sauce.

She thinly sliced a strip steak that weighed about 3/4’s of a pound. Then she marinated it in a mix of soy sauce, mirin, sake, sesame oil, a touch of salt, black pepper, and toban djan. Toban djan is a wonderful Korean chili paste that most grocers have in their Asian section. I have no idea what measurements she used since I was busy prepping vegetables, but I would imagine about a tablespoon or so of each liquid is pretty close. That marinated for about a half hour or so while we got everything else ready.

For vegetables we used some green beans, green onions, shiitake, alfalfa sprouts (Stanley’s didn’t have any bean sprouts), napa cabbage, and some fresh corn. The corn was simply boiled while the rest of the veggies were sautéed with the beef.

She sautéed the beef first with some diced garlic in sesame oil in small batches until they were partially cooked. Then she set the beef aside and threw the veggies in.

First was the green onions for a few minutes, followed by the green beans, then the shiitake, and finally the cabbage. She let them cook together for about 5 minutes or so with about a quarter cup of sake added.

Then she put the beef back in and added the sprouts. That went for another 5-7 minutes before it was ready (had to let the sake reduce) to be mauled by my molars.

While all of that was going on the corn was boiling in some salt water. When it was done all I did was melt a little butter on it and sprinkle it with some salt. I was surprised at how good the corn was. I know it’s not our good Midwestern corn yet, that won’t be ready for a couple of months yet. This probably came from Georgia, but it was quite tasty.

Also, true to a dish by Yuki, there was white rice on the side.

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