Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's Not to Love

As the day breaks, what's not to love about this foggy morning garden? All appears silent and softened, and I reflect upon last nights wonderful evening with friends.

My husband had just opened the '04 Artesa Sauvignon Blanc that would accompany the jalapeno and cheese quesadilla appetizer, along with a homemade guacamole, when our guests arrived. We were excited as always to see them, and they too were joyous, and especially as they were conveying a fresh mixed garden salad, a variety of lettuce leaves they had planted themselves in their first garden! A few fruits and a raspberry vinaigrette made it a perfect accompaniment for dinner.

A new Sauvie Blanc, '06 Two Angels, seemed to be a good choice for our stroll in the garden. Warm and steamy it was as we kibitzed along the paths, stopping to photograph some flowers (a favorite David Austin 'Wenlock'),

gathering a few sweet onions and beets in the vegetable garden for our friends to take home,

and stealthily viewing the nesting bird within the Sambucus nigra 'Pulverulenta'. Likely since we had guests, the little rascal permitted this evening's photograph. I tried most of one morning to do so, but to no avail (look at the eye)

Although the forecast had changed from thunderstorms to just hot and partly cloudy, the air indicated otherwise and the humidity hung on. As we headed in, would we dine in or outside in the gazebo? Remarkably we would eat out, for the temperature began to drop.

My oh my what a fabulous dinner we had! As I think and write about it, the flavor remains vivid, and I believe I can still taste the garlic, fresh parsley and cilantro, olive oil... umm. I mentioned yesterday we would be trying a new recipe: flank steak with Chimichurri sauce recommended by Rick Bakas, and indeed so happy we did.

Accompaniments: quickly baked (at a high temperature), a slightly seasoned combination of cauliflower and a bit of broccoli from the garden; a simple garlic smashed potatoes (Yukon Golds but not ours yet); fresh garden salad, and an Oregon Merlot, '04 Skipping Stone.

We talked and laughed as we always do, and as the evening progressed, the sky darkened in the south and a shift brought a much cooler evening. The rain began, followed by bursts of lightening in several directions, and a beautiful western sunset was the culmination to a fabulous evening.

What's not to love? great food, fine wine, and an evening in the garden shared with wonderful friends.

Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce from Diana's kitchen, courtesy of Rick Bakas

Steak Rub

1 1/2 pounds Flank Steak
Salt, about 1 TBSP
Pepper, about 1 TBSP
Olive Oil, about ½ cup

Chimichurri Sauce

2/3 cup olive oil
¼ cup Spanish vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 cups fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 TSP ground coriander
1 ½ TSP kosher salt
½ TSP pepper
¼ TSP cayenne
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Generously coat the flank steak at least several hours before grilling and allow it to marinate at room temperature.

Put all the sauce ingredients in a blender, blend together and set aside.

Grill steak over medium heat until desired doneness, about 3-5 minutes each side. Be careful not to overcook as meat is at room temperature. Remove steak from grill, cover with foil and allow to rest for several minutes. Thinly slice the steak (slight angle) and fan pieces onto a platter. Drizzle a little sauce over the steak and serve additional sauce at the table.

Rick recommends not serving a big high alcohol red wine like Cabernet, Zinfandel or Shiraz, but rather a Merlot or Meritage blend. Bon Appetit.