Or, my Mother's Day lunch, cooked and served by my husband.
He'd asked what I wanted for dinner on Mother's Day, and I said I'd rather have "The Meal" at lunch time, so the rest of Sunday could be just relaxing and we could putter around doing whatever we wanted (like laundry and dishes and getting ready for Monday).
I asked for steamers (steamed clams) and something done on the grill. I'm not picky, and he's a good cook.
So we went grocery shopping that morning and in addition to 4 pounds of steamers, Bill picked out some Dungeness Crab legs and some flat iron steaks. Flat irons are a wonderful inexpensive cut that's very tender – you grill it quickly and you want it rare to medium rare and, as they say, it's like BUTTAH.
Bill seasoned the flank steaks with one of Emeril's Essences…I think it was something kind of Cajuny. Cooked them JUST SO and pulled them off the grill to rest. He also grilled up some asparagus from the garden – I wish we could eat that all summer, but you have to stop picking it so it can grow tall and go to seed and get stronger and produce EVEN MORE asparagus the next year.
Earlier, while the coals were getting hot, he'd cracked the crab legs and pulled the meat out – got about a cup of crab meat, I believe. And while the steamers were cooking, he made a simple Hollandaise sauce.
So. The stage is set. When the steamers were done, they went into a bowl and onto the table. The kids each got a little bit of steak cut small, some crab meat, and some asparagus drizzled with Hollandaise.
For me – some thick slices of steak, topped with a few stalks of asparagus and drizzled with Hollandaise. On top of that a little of the crab meat. It was loverly.
Alex mainly consumed steak. He's on a "Madagascar" kick, and while at the table, he became Alex the Lion…"I dream of STEAK!" He didn't like the sauce or the asparagus IN the sauce. He liked the crabmeat and the steamers, but mostly he wanted STEAK.
Julia didn't like the fact that Bill had cut her asparagus into small pieces. She wanted the WHOLE stalk, so I gave her one of mine. She swirled the end of it around in the hollandaise and ate it that way, bite by bite. She ate a few steamers and most of her crab meat and a bit of steak.
The meal was delicious. The flat iron steak was cooked perfectly and the whole blending of flavors – yum. And I ate more than my share of steamers. (No hard task for me – years ago, when we had a boat, Bill went out and dug thirteen pounds of steamers. We ate them ALL that night, with some Rolling Rocks to wash them down. One of the best meals ever.)
We had a whole steak left over. As we were clearing the table after the meal, Alex announced that he was still hungry, and he wanted more STEAK! Bill went into the kitchen and came back a moment later and handed something to Alex.
Julia had a bite or two, too. But it was mostly about Alex.
Alex the Lion.
What self-respecting carnivore could resist?
But wait! There's more!
The next night I used up the rest of the steak to make quesadillas.
Here's what I did:
First I started sauteeing an onion and a couple packages of sliced mushrooms in some butter and a slug of sherry, and some salt and pepper.
While they were cooking down, I sliced the steak across the grain as thinly as possible.
I also made some quick guacamole – couple of avocados, a little lime and salt and pepper, a spoonful of plain yogurt, and a slosh of this delicious smokey tomatillo salsa that we like. If the kids are going to be eating it, I don't put anything too spicy in it. There'd be problems.
Anyway, once the mushrooms/onions were done, I got my reversable griddle/grill out (flat on one side, ridges on the other) and started heating that over two burners. I brushed some vegetable oil on and placed two flour tortillas on the surface. Sprinlked some shredded monterey jack cheese on each one, then placed strips of steak on that, a bit more cheese, and then another tortilla on each. I brushed the top tortilla with a bit more oil and let them cook a bit. When the bottom was starting to brown, I flipped them over (you have to do it quickly – one swift motion – and it helps if you tell yourself "no guts, no glory" right before you do it. Really. It helps.) and let them cook some more on that side. I made two like that.
I made one the same way but with mushrooms and onions instead of steak.
Alex likes steak but doesn't like mushrooms or onions. Julia likes mushrooms. Everyone is happy.
And with the others – I spread garlic-herb goat cheese on the tortillas and put both steak AND mushrooms on those. Those were for Bill and me.
Once all of them were cooked, I pulled them all from the warming drawer of my oven and cut them all into eighths, arranged them on a couple of platters and brought them to my waiting family, along with the guacamole and some salsa.
I tell you – the goat cheese ones made my husband's eyes roll back in his head. In a good way. He just (once his eyes rolled back into place) looked at me with a mouthful of quesadilla, guacamole and salsa, and nodded his approval.
Alex was VERY pleased with his steak and cheese quesadilla…"Good dinner, Mommy!"
It's true – the way to a man's heart is through the stomach.
Julia pulled the mushrooms out of her quesadilla, and ate the guacamole with her fingers.
And then she wanted more.
So I'd say the meal went over pretty well.