Food and Garden Dailies started as a way to record my family's favorite recipes. It has come in handy many times when I'm asked for a recipe. I simply email a link to the blog! But I couldn't just stick to recipes. The kitchen is tied to the garden in so many ways...and so I let you into my ever changing garden as well.

If you're interested in my all-time favorite recipes, check out this post first: My Favorite Recipes

Monday, January 21, 2008

Flank Steak Roulade

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This is another dish inspired by a visit to Entree Vous, one of the many meal preparation kitchens. These flank steak roulades, or pinwheels, not only taste great, but they have such a nice presentation on a platter.

One of the most challenging parts is getting the flank steak thin enough to roll. I pound and I pound and I pound. I simply do not make any progress. If the steak is too thick, it won't roll easily. So, taking tips from my chicken habits, I simply slice them in half horizontally. Not only does this make them thinner, it gives me another working surface!

Rolling and tying can be frustrating unless you go into this project knowing you will lose some of your filling. No need to fret. Just stuff it back in there the best you can. It's also a given that no matter how long you cut your cotton string, it won't be long enough. Don't bother starting over. Just tie it off and start again. It may not look as pretty as a professional chef's, but in the end a knot is a knot is a knot.

Flank Steak Roulade

Pound (or slice) a flank steak so it's about 3/8" thick.*

Spread on top**
1/2 C- 1 C Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 C fresh spinach
1/4-1/2 C chopped green onions
1/8-1/4 cup roasted red peppers

Roll up into a long, skinny log, and tie closed with cotton twine.

How to tie it all up? I've found it easiest to cut off a really long piece of common household cotton string. How long? 4-5 feet or so. Seriously. Place one end of your steak roll under the mid-point of the string. Tightly make your first tie. Then let one piece rest on the meat, and wrap the other around. When the two ties meet on top, twist around, and bring the other string around the roll. Each time you come up, pull tightly, twist the strings and continue. (If that confuses the heck out of you, here are some great directions on tying food logs together with pictures!)

Pour Worcestershire sauce over the roll, and sprinke cajun seasoning over the meat.

Place in a baking pan. Preheat oven to 425 degrees cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Bring the temperature down to 350 degrees, cooking for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the beef is 165 degrees. (Grilling instructions below)

To freeze ahead: Place in a simple (non-zip) bag. Flash Freeze. Then place in a zip-loc bag, removing as much air as possible (or vacuum pack). Place back in the freezer. Thaw (about 24 hours) before cooking.

*Flank steaks are usually thickest in the middle. To cut thin, angle your chef's knife so you are skimming off the thickest part of the steak. Cut with the grain.

**The amounts can vary depending on your taste. I find I don't really measure...I simply spread out the ingredients on the steak.

Sadly, all of these flank steak rolls were part of my freezer disaster last night. So, I cooked them up today, and am hoping that they taste decent once they're re-frozen, thawed, and heated.

I will say that straight out of the oven they were pretty tasty! (After taking the steak rolls out of the pan, there was plenty of tasty drippings. I mixed this with some plain, cooked steak slices -another freezer victim- and served them up for dinner as well.)

Added the evening of 7/21/08: Yesterday I cooked up all but on of the rolls. Tonight, since I was grilling for our "Eat the Meat" gathering, I thought I'd try grilling these to see how that would work. To grill them, I cooked each side (4) on high for a couple minutes each to sear them, retaining the flavor. Then I turned the heat down to medium and just cooked them until they were done to my likeness. I lost track of how long they were on the grill, but it had to be at least a half hour or so.

Flavorwise: I preferred the grilled version to the baked. The ends weren't as dried out, and the cajun flavoring was more subtle. My neighbor, Stacy, who was over, preferred the oven version. She liked the stronger, saltier flavor that the meat absorbed as it was cooked in the drippings.

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