Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grilled balsamic flank steak with grilled artichokes

I'm obsessed. I literally make flank steak once per week now.  Since I've been trying to stick to the "no carbs after 5 pm" thing, it seems that red meat is the most fulfilling main dish, and doesn't leave me wanting a pile of taters or pasta afterwards (I don't think Olive Garden should be able to advertise with photos after 5 pm...same with Pizza Hut).  Flank steak has many health benefits, but it does take up 20% of our daily fat intake, so it's not something we eat every day....but every week is fine :) It's a great source of protein so it's perfect for nights we've done weights in Kosama (rebuilds the muscle I tore up), and it's low in carbs so my body won't turn it to sugar in the evening and just sit on it. It's literally perfect and tastes soooooo naughty without actually being a diet buster!

I made the cuban flank steak salad a couple weeks ago, and Justin and I were both in heaven! I immediately went to the store and bought a few more to keep in the freezer and try some other concoctions I've found online, like this balsamic flank steak I did last week.  I was not disappointed.  The only thing you want to be careful of with flank steak is not to overdo it.  It gets very tough if overcooked, so if you like your meat done over medium-rare, flank steak may not be the cut for you. Lucky for me, I love my meat pretty rare!

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb flank steak

Combine first four ingredients in a large ziplock bag or container. Add steak, turn to coat. Marinate overnight before grilling to desired doneness (flank steak is best served medium rare as it gets tough if you go over medium). Let the meat rest for 6 minutes before cutting so you don't lose the juice!

Does anyone know how to really carve a fresh artichoke? I've never bought real ones before, but my Aunt Chris works at HyVee so she gets me some freebies of the giveaways they have at work sometimes....yeah, that's right, I know people. Anyway, she gave me two containers of fresh artichokes and I had no clue what to do with them. Got a recipe for grilled artichokes to go with my steak and thought I would give it a go....

Grilled artichokes:
6 fresh arthichokes
2 lemons, halved, plus 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T parsley
1 t minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Trim the stem from each artichoke to 1 inch long, then bend back and snap off dark outer leaves. cut top inch of artichokes with a serratd knife. Using a vegetable peeler, peel dark green areas from stem and base of artichoke. Quarter each artichoke an cut out the choke  and remove the purple, prickly tipped leaves from the center of each wedge.

Place finished artichokes in a large bowl of cold water and squeeze 2 lemons into the water and stir. Continue with remaining artichokes.

Once finished, drain the artichokes and place into boiling wter and cook until crisp-tender, about 12 minutes. Drain the cooked artichokes and place onto preheated grill. Cook until tender and lightly charred in spots, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, add remaining lemon juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste.  Gradually ddrizzle the mixture onto the artichokes after taking them off the grill.

This is how the recipe I got online directed me to clean a fresh artichoke, but I think I was a little off on the whole process as I wasn't a fan of these artichokes at all (which sucks because I love me some artichoke dip or artichokes on my pizza so I was pumped to grill them). Some of my artichokes were done perfectly and were very tender, but most of them were very hard and chewy, like I didn't cut off enough of the outer layers when I was cleaning them. The food hoarder in me didn't want to throw that much of the veggie out...so, I ask you, how would you explain to me how to clean an artichoke? If you don't know how, I wouldn't recommend trying this recipe....the artichoke part, I mean...you HAVE TO try the flank steak part. Did you see 'have to' in in all caps? That means do as I say :)

Look at the crust on that steak, but the middle is still juicy...mmmmm, I might have to move this week's flank steak meal up in the rotation!

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