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The meal itself with fennel/onion fava beans, mustardy potatoes, and Akaushi flatiron steak

Sometimes I feel like a fake because cooking seems so easy, and for this evening, pretty quickly done such that I simply had our guests (who love to assist) help out by doing the final ‘add this and mix’ steps.

Though please note my appreciation to Astrid Barros for her fine photographs!

You’ve read elsewhere (hopefully) about my newfound appreciation for the Akaushi brand of beef, and I decided to keep it simple on this hot, sunny everyone-should-be-paid-not-to-work Labor Day. A&B came over…again (you’d think we like them or something) to enjoy a simply prepared piece of their flatiron cut. Very tender, beautifully marbled, and fork tender when seared nicely to medium rare.

I brought these two cuts (about 1 1/2 lbs) to room temperature, seasoned with salt and pepper, and went to work on the skillet. Each cut was of a slightly different thickness so one piece required a bit more time on the heat and was well worth it.

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While that process was going on, someone (I don’t recall who) was preparing the mustardy mash potatoes with pickled shallots. You simply can’t go wrong when you have a quarter pound of butter, some mayonnaise, and mustard seed (and Dijon mustard for good measure) tossed with cooked potatoes. Healthy? No, but every once in a while…why not?

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Manila-Acapulco Grog, varied appetizers

So…other than boiling some potatoes, searing a couple of steaks, there wasn’t much to do except prepare the cocktails, in this case the Manila-Acapulco Grog out of Marvin Gapultos’ Adobo Road Cookbook. A delicious mix of dark rum, coconut juice, a bit of kahlua, lime juice, and simple syrup (though if you left out the simple syrup you would be fine) poured over the rocks with a twist of lime garnish. Pressed for time and as we hadn’t really eaten lunch, I bought some pulutan items at the Spanish Table like Portugeuse sardines, Spanish regana crackers, and lemon-stuffed olives.

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Popping pods, skinning skins…a whole helluva lotta work. Was it really worth it?

The previous night I had prepared the fava beans, a more laborious task I cannot think of immediately and…nice as the results were, I can’t say that the result was worth that 45 minutes or more of shelling and skinning fresh fava bean pods. I rather enjoyed the beans, but given the amount of fennel included in the recipe, it wasn’t a hit with my wife. For that matter, when scarfing on the mustardy potatoes and the fantastic beef, it was decidedly put into third place.image

The mustardy potato mash, despite a seeming preponderance of mustard, is actually just remarkably flavorful, but the pickled shallots garnishing the serving really puts things into another dimension. Currently my wife’s favorite version of any mashed potatoes ever made.

Dinner was rather successful. My wife continued to gently kibbitz over the ‘doneness’ of the steaks, watching from the sides, questioning this and that, though admittedly with more charm than Gordon Ramsay might bring in a similar situation. No, she hadn’t learned yet from her mild faux pas with regards to the doneness of the tart crust from only two days earlier, but then, that is my wife the perfectionist.

Dessert also proved successful, thankfully, a French Lemon Yogurt Cake with an Apricot/Cherry Compote on the side.image image image

 

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