Steakhouse Sirloin Tips

1/3 cup soy sauce (I used reduced-sodium)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika (I reduced to about 2/3)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I reduced to 1/8)
1 (2 1/2-pound) beef flap meat*

*Flap meat is sold as whole steaks, strips, and pieces. For even pieces, buy a whole steak of uniform size and cut it up yourself.

Whisk soy sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, pepper, and cayenne together in bowl until sugar dissolves; transfer to zipper-lock bag. Pat beef dry with paper towels. Prick beef all over with fork and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces. Add meat to bag with soy mixture and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

For a charcoal grill: Open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vents completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Cook beef (covered if using gas) until charred and registers 130 to 135°F (for medium), 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer meat to platter, tent loosely with foil, and rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.

Note: Author flipped the steaks at 4 minutes, and they were temperature ready at 8 minutes.

Sirloin Tips with Caramelized Onions

For the Marinade

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Coca-Cola or water (see note)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup A-1 Sauce
1 1/3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds sirloin or rib eye trimmed and cut into large cuts as big as 2 to 3 inches square
1 large onion, cut into thick strips vertically
1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar

In a medium sauce pan, place all marinade ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Trim any gristle or large pieces of fat from beef. Cut into large pieces; about 2-3 inches square. Place cut beef in a zip lock bag. Pour cooled marinade over beef, seal and marinate 8-24 hours.

In a medium sauté pan over low heat melt butter in olive oil and place onions, salt, pepper and sugar and cook stirring occasionally for 30-40 minutes until onions are caramelized but not cooked down too much. Start cooking tips as the onions get close to finishing.

When you are ready to grill, drain all marinade and heat a ribbed grill pan over extremely high heat or heat your outdoor BBQ grill to the highest setting.

Lightly oil or spray pan or grill and place beef onto grill or pan not touching each other and cook untouched for 2-3 minutes (Depending on how thick they are and how hot your grill or stove gets, the timing will need to be monitored). If you are not certain, cut into one and check for doneness. Turn once and cook for another 1-2 minutes for medium rare.

Remove to a platter and serve with the caramelized onions.

Sirloin Tips

2 pounds sirloin steak tips
1 tablespoon Teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice from half a lemon
3 tablespoons Catalina dressing
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder

Cut the beef into large pieces if they are not already cut into tips.

Mix all other ingredients in a bowl but only use half the oil, salt and pepper. Reserve the remainder for just before grilling.
In a zip lock bag, place tips and marinade and marinate overnight or at least six hours.

Prior to grilling, drain well and discard marinade. Dry the tips with paper towels.

Pre-heat grill to medium high.

Coat tips in remaining oil (2 tablespoons), salt (1/2 teaspoon) and pepper (1/4 teaspoon) and grill about two minutes on each side for medium rare. (Note: Cooking time may vary depending on the heat output of your grill and/or if you cook these in a grillpan on the stove.)

Garlic Butter Sirloin Tips

4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 pounds thick-cut New York strip steaks
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

Mince 4 garlic cloves. Transfer to a bowl and add 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Chop until you have 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, then transfer to a small bowl.

Cut 2 pounds New York strip steak into 1-inch cubes, then season them with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium high-heat.

Add the steak cubes and sear until browned, flipping them halfway through, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Add the garlic and pepper and cook for 1 minute more.

Remove from the heat and garnish with the parsley.

Balsamic Glazed Sirloin Tips and Mushrooms

For the steak:

1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak tips, flap meat, or flank steak, cut into 3-inch pieces
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the mushrooms:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Marinate the steak: Place the steak in a single layer in a 9×13-inch baking dish or in a resealable gallon plastic bag; set aside. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the steak and turn the steak to coat. Cover the baking dish or seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

Cook the steak and mushrooms: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. While the oil is heating, remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Add the steak pieces to the pan (it’s okay to crowd the pan as long as they’re in a single layer) and sear until browned and the thickest piece registers 120°F to 125°F for medium-rare steak, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. (Or cook to 130°F to 135°F for medium steak, and 140°F to 145°F for medium-well steak — add a minute or two for every 10 degrees needed.) Transfer to a serving platter and set aside in a warm place or cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat if needed, until tender, about 5 minutes — they will release a lot of liquid. Add the vinegar and simmer 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the butter, and stir until melted and the sauce in the pan is glossy. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Pour over the steak, top with the parsley if desired, and serve.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Marinade: The marinade can be made and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Rewhisk before using.

Cheesy Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

3/4 cup crumbled firm tofu (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup ricotta (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium red bell peppers, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/2-inch-thick
3 cups marinara sauce (about 24 ounces)
6 ounces sliced provolone cheese,
Cooked egg noodles or other pasta, for serving
Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine tofu, ricotta, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, and mix until well combined. Add chicken and gently mix to incorporate. Lightly wet hands to prevent meatball mixture from sticking, then roll into 24 (1 1/2-inch) golf ball-size rounds.

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium. Add bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add marinara sauce and meatballs, and stir gently to coat the meatballs in the sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven to bake until meatballs are cooked through, 20 minutes.

Top with provolone slices, slightly overlapping, and bake until cheese melts, about 3 minutes longer.

Serve meatballs, peppers and sauce over egg noodles. Garnish with parsley, if using.

Note: The unexpected secret to these tender meatballs is tofu, which keeps them juicy. Simply press pieces of tofu between your fingertips to create small crumbles that resemble ground meat. The addition of ricotta creates a creamy texture, as well as great flavor. The meatballs are simmered in marinara sauce with red bell peppers, which infuse the sauce with fresh flavor and natural sweetness. Sharp and tangy provolone completes the dish, although mozzarella could be used for milder flavor. Enjoy over buttered egg noodles, or with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

Pork Meatballs With Ginger

2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from about 3 large cloves)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup finely crushed Ritz crackers (12 crackers)
1 pound ground pork

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and use your hands to gently mix.

Shape the meat into 12 golf-ball-size rounds (about 2 inches in diameter) and arrange on a greased rimmed baking sheet.

Bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Tip:
Leftover meatballs freeze well and can be reheated in the oven at 375 degrees until warmed through (about 20 minutes).

Korean Meatballs and Noodles

1 pound ground beef, preferably short rib and chuck
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/3 cup chopped peeled Bosc or Asian pear
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat
6 ounces udon noodles or linguine
2 tablespoons gochujang, or ketchup seasoned with 1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 scallions, trimmed and slant-cut

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place beef in a bowl.

Combine honey, black pepper, sesame oil, vinegar, pear, onion, ginger, soy sauce and half the garlic in a food processor or blender and whirl until well blended. Mix with beef. Add egg and bread crumbs and mix again. Form into 1 1/2-inch balls and arrange on the baking sheet with a bit of space between them. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes.

While meatballs bake, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and boil 5 minutes for udon, about 8 minutes for linguine. Reserve 2/3 cup of the pasta water, then drain pasta.
When meatballs are done, transfer them to a bowl and scrape pan juices into a sauté pan. Heat on medium, add remaining garlic and cook briefly until it starts to color. Whisk in gochujang, then pasta water. Simmer about 3 minutes, until sauce reduces and starts to thicken. Reduce heat to low, add noodles and toss in sauce. Add meatballs and mix gently. Transfer to a warm serving dish or individual bowls, scatter with scallions and serve.

Goulash

2 teaspoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 pound beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the paprika and caraway seeds and cook 1 minute more. In a bowl, toss the beef with the flour to coat well. Add the beef to the onion mixture. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of the broth, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot. Gradually stir in the remaining broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve over wide egg noodles.

Pork and Ricotta Meatballs (and a Meatball Ratio)

INGREDIENTS
½ cup/4 ounces whole-milk ricotta
½ cup/2 ounces grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
½ cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 pound ground pork

PREPARATION
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and use your hands to gently mix.
Shape the meat into 12 equally sized balls (about 2 1/4 inches in diameter). Arrange on a greased rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Tip
Leftover meatballs freeze well; simply reheat in the oven at 375 degrees until warmed through (about 20 minutes).

Notes:

Serve these plain, with a marinara sauce for dipping, or simmer the meatballs in tomato sauce for serving over spaghetti.

Ground chicken or turkey is a great alternative and will yield cheesier tasting meatballs.

Reader comments:

The ratio here is 10 parts mince to 2 parts ricotta and 1 part parmesan, plus one egg and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (fresh) per 500g (about one pound) of mixture.

Some people found these a little salty and cut the salt in half.

Added garlic, basil, oregano, majorum to give a bit more flavor.

Added grated garlic and grated onion. After forming into balls, I refrigerated for 45 minutes, baked 20 minutes at 400 degrees then simmered gently in sauce 10 minutes. Served over faro, great tender and light meatballs,

Cook meatballs on a rack over foil.

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into inch cubes
5 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
3 1/2 cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt

Combine the flour and pepper in a bowl, add the beef and toss to coat well. Heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in a large pot. Add the beef a few pieces at a time; do not overcrowd. Cook, turning the pieces until beef is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch; add more oil as needed between batches.

Remove the beef from the pot and add the vinegar and wine. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the beef, beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer.

Cover and cook, skimming broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the onions and carrots and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more. Add broth or water if the stew is dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle among 4 bowls and serve.

Braised Fresh Black-Eyed Peas With Baby Turnips

1 bunch baby white turnips with greens, such as Hokkaido (8 ounces)
4 tablespoons French-style unsalted butter
2 small red onions, diced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh black-eyed peas in pods, shelled
Fresh mint leaves

Remove the green tops from the turnips, and cut the turnips into quarters or sixths depending on size. Separate leaves from stems and discard stems; wash leaves.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3- to 4-quart shallow stovetop braiser over medium heat. Sweat onion in butter for 1 minute, until translucent. Add turnips and sweat 2 minutes, until glossy and starting to “shine.”

Run a knife through the leaves once, maybe twice, and add to the pot. Season with a healthy pinch of salt and stir until leaves are also starting to sweat and wilt.

Add peas and 1 cup of water. Season with two large pinches of salt (restaurant-chef pinches, not home-cook pinches). Cover. Reduce heat. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Stir. Add 1 cup water. Add pinch salt. Re-cover. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Stir. Simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until beans are cooked and soft and starchy inside, turnips are cooked and water has turned grayish purple. Taste for salt and season. Let cool completely on stovetop with heat off.

Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow everything to meld and settle. Serve the next day, reheated over low until tepid, stirring in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to melt gently into the broth. Finish with a shower of fresh mint and ground black pepper.

Firehouse Chili Gumbo

FOR THE CHILI:
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
3 pounds ground beef, ideally coarse-ground
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons chile powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons steak sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes

FOR THE GUMBO:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 medium shallots, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 to 2 cups tomato juice
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar, or to taste
2 tablespoons hot sauce, or to taste

Make the chili. Heat the oil in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the beef, stirring often, until it has begun to brown at the edges. Using a slotted spoon, transfer browned meat to a bowl.

Pour off excess fat, turn heat down to medium and return the browned beef to the skillet or pot. Add salt, peppers, chile powder, turmeric, oregano and cumin, and stir to combine. Add steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce and diced tomatoes, and stir again. Cover the skillet or pot, and cook, stirring a few times, for 15 minutes or so.

Make the gumbo. Place a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium heat, and put the butter and oil into it. When the butter is melted and foaming, sprinkle the flour into the pan, and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture is golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Add the onion, shallots, bell peppers, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have started to soften, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the chili gumbo. Add the beef mixture to the pot with the vegetables along with the tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato juice and ketchup, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, then add apple-cider vinegar and hot sauce to taste. Take the pot off the heat, and serve, or allow to cool and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to cure. Heat before serving.

Pepperoni Pasta With Lemon and Garlic

Salt
1 pound medium pasta shells or orecchiette
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
6 ounces pepperoni, thinly sliced, then coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, cracked with a mortar and pestle or the side of a chef’s knife
Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 small lemon, zested (if your lemon is very large, just zest half of it)
3/4 cup torn fresh basil or parsley leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, according to package directions, until about 2 minutes shy of al dente so that the pasta can finish cooking in the sauce. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium. Add pepperoni and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisped and brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

If the pan looks dry, drizzle in a little more oil. Add garlic, fennel seeds, red-pepper flakes (if using) and a large pinch of salt, and cook until garlic is lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook until it darkens, about 1 minute.

Add the drained pasta, lemon zest and 3/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Stir until the pasta is al dente and well coated with the sauce. Add more pasta water, if needed, until the sauce is glossy and the pasta is cooked to taste.

Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze some juice into the pasta. Stir in herbs and taste, adding more lemon juice and salt, if needed. Cut the remaining half lemon into wedges and serve it alongside the pasta, which should be garnished with more herbs and a drizzle of oil, and sprinkled with Parmesan, if you like.

Matt’s Grilled Salmon

Salmon
Salt
Cedar plank
Lemon slices
Dill

Salt salmon liberally and place in a ziploc bag. Brine for one hour in the refrigerator.

Rinse salmon thoroughly, dry it, then return it to the bag. Sous vide salmon for one hour at 120. While salmon is sous viding, soak the cedar plank in lukewarm water and heat a two-zone grill to 300-350.

Dijon and Cognac Stew

1/4 pound salt pork, diced
1 large onion, finely diced
3 shallots, chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds beef chuck, in 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup Cognac
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons Pommery mustard or other whole-grain Dijon mustard
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into half-moon slices
1/2 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned and quartered
1/4 cup red wine

Place salt pork in a Dutch oven over low heat, and cook until fat is rendered. Remove solid pieces with a slotted spoon, and discard. Raise heat, and add onion and shallots. Cook until softened but not browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large bowl.

If necessary, add 2 tablespoons butter to the pot to augment fat. Dust beef cubes with flour, and season with salt and pepper. Shake off excess flour, and place half the cubes in the pot. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, almost crusty, on all sides, then transfer to a bowl with onions. Repeat with remaining beef.

Add Cognac to the empty pot, and cook, stirring, until the bottom is deglazed and the crust comes loose. Add stock, Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon Pommery mustard. Whisk to blend, then return meat and onion mixture to pot. Lower heat, partly cover, and simmer gently until meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.
Add carrots, and continue simmering for 30 minutes, or until slices are tender. As they cook, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high, and sauté mushrooms until browned.

Stir mushrooms into stew along with remaining mustard and red wine. Simmer 5 minutes, then taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.

Tip:
For a slow-cooker version, render the salt pork in a large sauté pan, then sear the flour-dusted beef cubes in the fat. While the beef is browning, add onions, shallots, carrots, mushrooms and red wine to the slow cooker, along with the browned beef. Add Cognac to the empty pan, and deglaze. Add 1 cup stock (instead of 2), Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon Pommery mustard. Transfer to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons Pommery mustard and warm through before serving.

Sweet and Salty Grilled Steak With Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon packed lime zest
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 large jalapeño, seeds and veins removed if desired, minced
1 flank steak, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 small seedless English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon vegetable, peanut or olive oil (optional)
Cooked rice noodles or rice, for serving (optional)
Sesame seeds or crushed roasted peanuts, for serving (optional)
Fresh mint leaves or cilantro, for serving (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, garlic and jalapeño. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the flank steak and let marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate for up to 24 hours). Let meat come to room temperature before cooking if necessary.

Combine the cucumber, radishes and scallions. Pour in just enough of the marinade sauce to coat.

Light the grill or heat the broiler to high. Pat steak dry with paper towels.

If grilling, cook until done to taste, about 3 minutes per side for rare. If broiling, heat a 10-inch skillet over high heat for 5 minutes. Add oil to pan and sear the meat for 2 minutes. Flip meat and immediately transfer pan directly to top shelf of oven and broil for 2 to 3 minutes for rare, or longer for more well-done meat. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes covered in foil.

Thinly slice steak and serve over cooked rice noodles or rice if desired, and top with the cucumber salad. Garnish with sesame seeds and plenty of herbs if using and serve with remaining marinade as a sauce.

Roasted Tomato and White Bean Stew

1/2 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves and tender stems
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
2 (10-ounce) containers cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons and more for drizzling (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (such as butter or cannellini), rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, or water
Flaky salt, for serving (optional)
Toasted bread, for serving

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, gently toss together the parsley and lemon zest with your hands until well combined; set aside.

In a large baking dish or on a sheet pan, toss the tomatoes with 1/4 cup oil and thyme; season well with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes until they have collapsed and begin to turn golden around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.

When the tomatoes are almost done roasting, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large (12-inch), deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium. Add the onion, garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook until the onion is softened and the garlic is fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the rinsed beans and broth and bring to a simmer. With the back of a spoon or spatula, gently smash about 1/2 cup of the beans so they slightly thicken the broth. If you want a thicker stew, crush some more of the beans. Season with salt and pepper.
When the tomatoes are finished roasting, add them directly to the stew along with any juices that have been released. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more so the flavors become friendly; season to taste with salt.

Ladle into shallow bowls. Top each serving with some of the lemon-parsley mixture and drizzle with some more olive oil, and season with flaky salt, if you like. Serve with toasted bread.

Reader ideas:

Add sage and swiss chard.

Add tomato paste for a richer flavor and red color (as was shown in tbe picture).

Add sausage.

Creamy Braised White Beans

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 cup whole milk
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, with their liquid
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
1 thyme sprig, 2 sage leaves or 1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, allspice or garam masala
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 slices crusty bread or thick toast
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Aleppo pepper or red-pepper flakes, for serving

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cut side down, and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the milk, chickpeas and their liquid, white beans, thyme and nutmeg and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. When the mixture begins to bubble around the edges of the pan (you don’t want it to come to a full boil), reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened and tastes great to you, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Use a fork to remove the garlic halves from the beans. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then use the fork to remove the cloves from the skins. Spread the cloves on bread or toast.
If you would like the beans to be more stew-like, mash some of the beans using a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Serve beans and milk in bowls. Garnish as you wish, with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and a pinch of Aleppo pepper and black pepper. Serve with the bread alongside for dipping.

Tip
You can reheat leftovers the next day over low heat; the sauce will have thickened, but the beans will still be delicious.

Reader ideas:

Add bacon, pancetta, or sausage.

Add basil pesto and sundried tomato pesto before serving.

Add kale, rainbow chard, or arugula.

Add some lemon.

BLT Pasta

1 pound paccheri pasta or other tubelike shape, such as penne or rigatoni
8 ounces bacon, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and black pepper
5 ounces baby arugula
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
Flaky salt, for serving (optional)

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (2 heaping tablespoons kosher salt to about 7 quarts water) to a boil. Add pasta and cook until it is just under al dente, 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, and drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Place the bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-low heat until crisp, stirring occasionally to make sure it does not burn, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.

Turn heat to medium and add the tomatoes to the skillet, tossing them to coat in the bacon fat. Season with salt and pepper. As the moisture from the tomatoes releases, scrape any browned bits that have accumulated at the bottom of the pan (add a few tablespoons of the pasta water if you need to) and continue to cook until the tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 5 to 7 minutes more. Add half the cooked bacon back to the skillet and toss to combine.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the pasta directly to the skillet tossing to coat with the sauce. Add the arugula and 1/4 cup of the pasta water and carefully toss (you’ll have a very full pan) until the arugula wilts. Add the cheese and an additional 1/4 cup pasta water and toss together until the cheese emulsifies and the pasta is glossy with sauce. If needed, add another 1/4 cup pasta water to loosen the sauce.

Serve in bowls and top with remaining bacon. Pass the grated Pecorino Romano at the table and season with flaky salt, if desired.