22 August 2016

Steak in the Oven, OMG

It's been waylongtime since I made my mom's "Oven-Fried Paprika Potatoes" but I'd picked some nice potatoes up at the farm stand and already had two really lovely strip steaks on hand, so ... it was Time To Revisit The Potatoes.

According to my blog post, the last time I made steak and oven fries, I cooked the steak at 400°F and the potatoes at 450°F. This confuses me, because the potatoes would have gone in first at 450°F and then ... what? When they were done, I let the oven cool down to 400°F and cooked the steak?

Way too much effort.

This time, everything cooked at 450°F. Obviously, the potatoes need 50 minutes so they still went in first. About 20 minutes before the potatoes were due out of the oven, I took the steaks out of the fridge rub, patted them dry with a paper towel and then rubbed them with Just Cook Foods' Ancho Chicken rub (despite its name, this rub works very well with beef and pork). Then I just left them alone.

As the potatoes finished, I seared the steak in a cast iron skillet and then popped the skillet into the oven. Cooked the steaks for 2 minutes on each side, let them rest for 5, and ended up with two beautiful, perfectly cooked steaks with minimal fuss or bother. This is definitely a method I need to use more often!

(We also had mushrooms with the steaks, of course. Just a foil pack of sliced mushrooms, red onion, a little butter, salt, pepper, and herbs, tossed in the oven just as the potatoes came out).

18 August 2016

Improv Challenge: Garlic & Rosemary

Wow, the summer has flown by! I can't believe it's time for the August Improv Challenge already! While I went sweet in July with peaches and cream, August is all about savory garlic and rosemary.

I thought about baking a red onion, garlic, and rosemary focaccia -- like this -- because I'd like to ease back in to bread baking. And King Arthur Flour's "Garlic-Herb Mac & Cheese sounded pretty delish, too. But, in the end, I decided to take the easy road and roast some chicken breasts.

My first thought was to use split chicken breasts and slip a mixture of garlic, rosemary, and lemon under the skin before roasting, but then I forgot what I was doing at the grocery store and came home with a package of boneless skinless breasts. Whoops!

Since I find boneless skinless breasts need a lot of help, flavor-wise, I scored them each with a crisscross pattern, increasing the surface area available to marinade and more surface area means more flavor. (Also, I think they look prettier/more interesting that way).

So ... how did it taste? Tasty. Succulent. Richly aromatic. A definite repeater.

Garlic & Rosemary Roasted Chicken Breasts

Yield: 3


  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1½ Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • Sea salt & freshly cracked pepper, as desired


  1. Pat the chicken breasts dry and score in a crisscross pattern with a sharp knife. Place in a food-safe storage container.
  2. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Use a spatula or spoon to really work it into the crisscross cuts. Cover container and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove container from fridge and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  5. Pour chicken out into a baking dish and roast, uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until chicken reaches 165°F.
  6. Remove chicken from oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

For anyone new to my blog, Improv Challenge is a monthly blog hop where two ingredients are assigned, participants must make a new-to-their-blog recipe using both ingredients, and publish a blog post about it on the third Thursday of the month. If you think that sounds like fun, click on the Improv Challenge logo below.

improv cooking challenge logo (aqua rolling pin, spatula, fork, whisk suspended from rack)

17 August 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Emancipation

"Emancipation" by Preston Jackson, 2006. Part of the Lincoln Financial Sculpture Walk installation on the Founders' Bridge, it celebrates President Lincoln's issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, declaring enslaved African Americans as free citizens.