Like many partly determined people in the world using the new year as the motivator for a fresh start, I decided that as soon as I finished gorging over the holidays, the early days of 2012 would be different. I bought myself an Ellie Krieger cookbook and everything! Unfortunately, I’ve had several meals since that have been a giant middle finger to this notion.
I’ve always had a tough time shaking the idea that eating healthfully is super unsexy. Like, it can only consist of leveling measuring cups of Special K, gnawing on snacks of nasty dried fruit, and determining portion units in relation to the size of a deck of cards. But, if I can get away with meat and potatoes and call it “healthy eating”, then…cool. I’m in.
Looking at Ellie’s mashed potatoes, I wondered: “Wait! Where’s the whole milk and sour cream? Can you even mash potatoes withOUT those things?!” But I tried to stay as true to the recipe as possible and limit the riffing.
However, I couldn’t overlook one direction on the page that seemed to pulse with wrongness: steamed garlic for the mashed potatoes. Now, I’ve never had steamed garlic. And it may be fantastic. But I’ll gladly trade those calorie savings for a fat drizzle of olive oil over a head of roasting garlic. Not only is it fun to prepare, and damned photogenic, but it fills the house with olfactory gloriousness.
For the chimichurri:
- 1/3 cup Italian parsley leaves
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic
- pinch of red pepper flakes
For the potatoes:
- 1 1/4 pound of Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock, heated
- 1 medium head of garlic
- olive oil
How It Was Done:
A QUICK NOTE: Timing is everything in preparing a meal. You’ll notice I jump around a bit as I describe the method. This is my attempt to relate how the tasks overlap with a goal of everything being ready to serve at the same time. I swear that it’s not just a monumental lack of focus! Okay, let’s get on with it…
Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Puree the chimichurri ingredients in a small food processor until it’s sauce-like. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Now let’s get the garlic rolling: remove the outermost layers of garlic paper and cut about 1/2-inch off the top (non-root) of the bulbs. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic in foil and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. Set aside until show time.
With the garlic in the oven, put the potato chunks in a steamer basket suspended over a large stockpot filled with a few inches of boiling water. Cover and steam for about 15 minutes.
Once you drop the lid on the potatoes, spray a grill pan with Pam and place it over high heat. Give it a few minutes and then place your hand a couple of inches above the pan: if you can only keep it there for a few seconds, it’s ready for meat.
Season a 1-pound rib steak with salt and pepper and cook for about 3 or four minutes per side for medium done-ness. If you wanna look like a pro, rotate the steak 45-degrees after a couple of minutes for diamond-patterned grill marks. It’s a crowd pleaser.
Flip and do the same. And please, use tongs when dealing with meat on a grill. You know all that juice that runs out if you pierce it with a fork? Yeah, that’s flavor that could have been on your tongue.
Move the steak to a plate and cover it loosely with foil to let the juices settle before slicing.
At this point, your potatoes should be done. Discard the water, dump the potatoes into the stockpot, add the chicken broth and smash. Squeeze the cloves from the roasted garlic bulb into the potatoes, add some salt and pepper, and finish mashing.
Slice the steak in thin strips, across the grain, and serve with the chimichurri sauce and potatoes.
Simple. Delicious. Healthy. I feel so good about myself! Though as I type this, I’m washing down a chocolate chip cookie with a Sam Adams…so, I guess it all evens out.