pan-seared steak with red wine-cherry sauce

I’m a huge fan of the sweet cherry – being a native Michigander, and all.  My husband, a native Ohioan, believes Michiganders are willing to put cherries in anything; pies, bread, wine, soda, sausage, you name it.  And, on that count, he’s right.  Frankly, I think it’s just a jealousy thing.  He’s from Ohio who managed to marry a girl from Michigan.  Ohio has….um, well, no cherries.  Their state tree breeds a poisonous nut, for Pete’s sake.  Yeah, it’s totally jealousy.  Not to mention, Michigan is full of peninsulas and Ohio is pretty square.  Not a peninsula to be found.  Hence, I dubbed this syndrome “Peninsula Envy.”  He thinks I’m being funny.  Denial is the first sign.

If you’re married to a Michigan girl who grew up spitting cherry pits into the sand on the front porch of the family cottage, and cherries start to show themselves in grocery stores (sadly, not Michigan cherries) round about Father’s Day, it’s a good bet you’re getting something for dinner with cherries in it.  Fortuitously, the July issue of Cooking Light arrived at the house late last week.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Cooking Light is one of my all-time favorite cooking magazines.  Everything I’ve cooked from the magazine has been consistently good.  This issue certainly doesn’t disappoint – it’s full of amazing looking dishes, and even gave a shout out to Traverse City, Michigan, home to the Cherry Festival, on The Hungry Traveler 2013 top 10 list of delicious food excursions across America.

The red wine cherry sauce was quite good, especially infused with the star anise.  I had to make two alterations; one discussed below and the other being obvious from the photo.  The recipe called for beef tenderloin steaks, but I sent the man to the store and he came home with filets.  Cooking time quickly adjusted and they came out pink and perfect!  I served the steaks with garlicky almond green beans (poo poo’ed by the kiddo…too much garlic, apparently), which were delicious, and the man of the day gave the meal two thumbs up.  A perfect manly meal for a perfectly wonderful dad.  Enjoy!!

Seared Steaks with Red Wine-Cherry Sauce (recipe courtesy Cooking Light, July 2013)

Ingredients:

  • 4 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup sweet cherries (such as Bing), pitted and halved
  • 1 star anise
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine (Merlot or Pinot noir)
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425°.

2.   Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sprinkle steaks evenly with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add steaks; cook 4 minutes. Turn steaks over; bake at 425° for 5 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks from pan.

3. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots; sauté 2 minutes or until just tender, stirring frequently. Add cherries and star anise; cook 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Discard star anise. Stir in butter. Spoon sauce over steaks.

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Cook’s Notes:  I couldn’t get whole star anise in the bulk spice section at my local organic grocer, so I ended up with anise seed, instead.  Very fragrant, but supposedly not as flavorful.  Because it was anise seed, I didn’t add it with the cherries.  Instead, I bound the anise seed in cheese cloth and let it steep in the wine for about 30 minutes ahead of cooking.  The wine really picked up the anise flavor and it definitely flavored the sauce.

chopped steak salad

It’s rare I would actually grill a steak for the sake of making a salad.  But, one of my favorite things to do with leftover grilled steak (or any meat, for that matter) is toss it in a salad the next night for a change of pace.  I’d eat salad every night of the week if I could get away with it, and this is a nice way to incorporate a protein with your veggies.  Age-old, time-tested, tried-and-true way to use up leftovers.  And it probably reassures my husband he’s still eating something manly.

This recipe adds cannelloni beans, which bumps up the protein significantly.  They also add great texture.  Honestly, who really needs a recipe for salad, right?  It’s truly one of those meals open to limitless creative inspiration.  I like the sweet, mellow flavor of the roasted red peppers, but for a little heat maybe add some chopped peperoncini.  Just a thought!  Follow the recipe or throw in some of your own unique preferences.  Enjoy!

Chopped Steak Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3/4  pound flank steak, freshly grilled or leftover from previous meal
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 head romaine, chopped
  • 1/4 small head red cabbage, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1  15.5-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/2  cup  chopped roasted peppers
  • 1/4  cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup dressing of your choice  (I’m a big fan of Annie’s Naturals and used their Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette)

Directions

  1. Heat broiler. Season steak with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and place on a broilerproof rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Broil the steak, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into ½-inch pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the romaine, cabbage, beans, peppers, and parsley. Add the steak and dressing and toss to combine.

Cook’s Tip: The salad can be prepped (without the dressing) and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Toss with the dressing just before serving.