If you have found yourself wondering what cliff the Cynical Chef drop off of in the past month and a half I apologize. I promise the void that has been my blog has been for a good reason. The time that I had previously been spending cooking, delicious cream filled, cheese laden, cinnamon and sugar dusted recipes is now being spent sweating profusely, begging for mercy, and realizing that no matter how long you walk on the treadmill you are still moving in one place.

That is right; the Cynical Chef has taken her lethargic butt to the gym, complete with a sadistic trainer, this is going to be a long journey but a fulfilling one. What does this matter to you? Well hopefully, you care about my well being and incase, I am being too assuming of your fondness for me, the recipes I will be posting in the future will have a healthy foundation. There will still be treats and cheater meals mixed in, which is why my trainer doesn’t have the web address, but my focus with primarily be on healthy cooking and living.

One thing you can still expect are the trials and tribulations of my kitchen and more importantly, the place I affectionately call Hell but most people call the gym. For example, the recent decision I made to attend a Step Class. Now, I am not sure what circuit shorted in my brain that made me think my clumsy, ungraceful, 6’3″ body could manage this class with ease, but nevertheless I stood in front of my plastic alter praying for mercy. I did not find it.

Twenty minutes into the class, the instructor spoke of a move called “Around the World”; I am not going to bother explaining how to perform this maneuver because no one ever should attempt it. I followed her instructs to the tee, stepped up on my step and somewhere around China, I completely lost my footing. I fell off my step backwards praying that I would be the only causality and fell into the very fit and very tiny woman next to me. She fell and took out the girl behind her and then a couple more fell. What did I do? I promptly removed myself from the carnage, realized that my ankle was bruised and had to wait for my trainer to carry me from the room.

What did I learn from this you ask? That group exercise is not something I should be participating in (the trainer actually suggested this lesson) and skinny ladies go down easier than a string of dominos.

Flank Steak Sandwichesflank-steak-sandwichs-032a1

This came from mine and Alex’s head. You can also serve this on a multi-grain roll but today was our cheat meal and a French baguette is what we wanted.

Grilled Flank Steak Ingredients

1 Pound Flank Steak

Salt

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Paprika

Cumin

Sandwich Ingredients

Lettuce

Tomato

Baguette

Garlic Aioli

Grilled Red Onions

Grilled Red Onion

1. Cut the ends from the onion and peel the outer layer from the onion.

2. Cut the onion into ¼ inch slices.

3. Brush the onions with olive oil. Use less than one teaspoon of olive oil for the whole onion.

4. Place the onion on the grill over medium heat. We use a vegetable metal tray for the grill but you can place directly on the grill or on tinfoil directly on the grill.

5. Cook about 6-8 minutes on each side until caramelized and delicious.

Garlic Aioli

1. Combine tablespoons of low fat mayo, a pressed clove of garlic, a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper into a bowl. Spread the aioli on the baguette. You can also use as a dipping sauce for the Onion Rings.

Flank Steak

1. Trim the excessive fat from the flank steak.

2. Pound the flank steak with a meat tenderizer for 15 seconds on each side. Remember to pound the meat evenly. You are doing this since we are not marinating the meat to ensure tenderness.

3. Season the meat with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cumin. This is really to taste. If you like more of one spice than the other; feel free to use more.

4. Place the meat on the grill over Medium/High heat. Cook 7-10 minutes on each side or until you reach your desired level of doneness.

5. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes,

6. Cut the meat on a bias in thin slices.

Assemble the sandwich with the grilled red onions, 4 to 5oz of flank steak, garlic aioli, lettuce, and tomato. Enjoy!!!

Alex and I rate these sandwiches a 10. They satisfied our desire for an unhealthy meal in a healthy way and the Oven Baked Onion Rings are a great compliment to the sandwich.

Oven Baked Onion Rings From Life’s Ambrosia

Serves: 4flank-steak-sandwichs-017a

You will need:

  • 2 large onions, peeled,  sliced into 1/4 inch slices, separated into rings
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, granulated garlic, pepper and kosher salt. In bowl beat together eggs and milk. In another bowl, combine panko bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan cheese.
  2. Place the onion rings into the plastic bag and shake to lightly coat. Dip into egg wash, drain off excess. Dredge in panko and Parmesan cheese mixture to lightly coat. (Note: The onion rings may not be completely coated, that is okay.)  Repeat process until all onion rings are coated.

To fry:

  1. Heat 1/2 inch canola oil in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, (Note: if you have a thermometer it should be 365 degrees, if you don’t have one, sprinkle a few pieces of the panko and if they sizzle its hot enough), fry the onion rings in batches, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, or they will get soggy.  Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle a little more Parmesan over the top if desired. Serve.

To bake:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Lay the onion rings in a single layer not touching each other. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake 10 minutes. Turn and bake 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with a little more Parmesan, if desired. Serve.

We oven baked these rings and found that additional time was needed. Even after 20 minutes on one side, they were still not golden enough to flip. After a few minutes under the broiler on each side, we were good to go. I rate these onion rings a 7; they were good but not great but it did help satisfy that craving.

My FluffNutter “Victory”

November 13, 2008

One of Alex’s greatest loves is peanut butter. He could eat it for almost every meal and in almost everything. In complete opposites attract fashion; I really can’t stand the stuff. It is like green eggs and ham.

I do not like it on bread

I do not like it spoon fed.

I do not like it in dessert.

I do not like it there either pervert.

No matter how hard I tried, I could not bring myself to put it in a dish. This inability always made me very sad for my husband (then fiancé) and this sadness played out at last year’s Christmas party. The house was filled with friends for our 3rd annual Christmas Family Dinner. Food was plentiful, Pit (a fantastic card game) was in full swing and the drinks they were a flowing. After a few too many Blueberry beers, my rosy cheeked self decided it was time to run to the grocery store. Enlisting the help of my evil twin, we set out.

I knew exactly what I wanted. I found the bread aisle and went to town. A loaf of the best white bread the store had to offer, the biggest jar of peanut butter I could find, and a vat of Marshmallow fluff. My husband deserved the greatest peanut butter sandwich and he was going to get it. When I got home, I proclaimed my victory and got to work. I thought I had created the best Fluffnutter sandwich in the entire world. I found out later I missed the bread with the marshmallow fluff and peanut buttered all sides of the bread. But, Alex ate that sandwich like it was the greatest peanut butter delicacy he has ever had. And that is why I broke down and today, peanut butter makes it into the menu. Because I really love that man and that man really loves peanut butter.

This is the best recipe I have found dinnerwise when incorporating peanut butter and it is a cooking light recipe. That is what we call a win-win situation.

peanut-flank-steak-019Flank Steak with Hot Peanut Sauce

By keeping the meat serving to a sensible three-ounce cooked portion and using the low-fat but flavorful flank cut, this entrée limits saturated fat while offering plenty of iron and protein. Prepare steamed rice and sautéed baby bok choy while the meat marinates.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces steak and about 1/4 cup sauce)

Ingredients

  • 1/3  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1/3  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1  tablespoon  brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice
  • 2  teaspoons  sesame oil
  • 1  teaspoon  crushed red pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed and cut diagonally into thin slices
  • 1/2  cup  water
  • 1  tablespoon  crunchy peanut butter
  • 1  teaspoon  cornstarch

Preparationpeanut-flank-steak-010

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place steak and 1/4 cup onion mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally.

2. Combine remaining 1/4 cup marinade, 1/2 cup water, peanut butter, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; keep warm.

3. Remove steak from bag, discarding marinade. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce.