Sorry, Nick.

I think is starting to Nick dread my cooking. Not because I try to sneak bacon or zucchini in wherever I can. Not because he detests clean-up duty and trying to figure out where everything goes. Not even because he harbors resentment towards the space our ever-expanding collection of kitchen equipment takes up. Occasionally, he’ll shake a microplane or a pair of tongs or a dutch oven accusingly at me, demanding to know “is this really necessary?” (it is), but I know deep down he considers himself lucky to be on the receiving end of my hobby.

But the thing that’s going to put him over the top, is the smoke alarm. I can’t seem to embark on any sort of cooking project, small, medium, or large, without setting the stupid thing off. It doesn’t help that we live in a small space and it’s not far from the stove. Even the simplest, non-smoke generating saut├ęs cause the damn thing to start its ear-splitting blare, as a mechanical voice within calmly warns “fire. fire.”
And every time I set it off, the scene is the same: Nick’s cat-like reflexes spring into action, as he whips the ladder out of the closet and springs upward to silence the cacophony. I suppose if I started timing him and telling him it was “fitness”, he’d probably really enjoy prying the smoke alarm from the ceiling, but as it is, he just mutters my name and gives me the exasperated glare. I’ve become very familiar with that glare, and this recipe isn’t helping.

This Balsamic Marinade is one of my favorites, pleasantly simple and surprisingly yummy. I usually use it on flank steak, but asparagus marinated in this one is excellent as well. If you have an outdoor grill or access to one, that’s the way to go. Since we remain grill-less, I usually broil it or use a grill pan, but both set the smoke alarm blaring and Nick clambering for the ceiling within a matter of minutes. I suppose if I were smart, I’d turn the thing off before I get cookin’, but I can never seem to remember. I hope I’m redeemed by the fact that Nick gets a tasty meal for his troubles; he could have married someone who raised ferrets for a hobby. And at least our smoke alarm works.

(It doesn't taste nearly as blurry as it looks in the photo. This is a pre-cooked shot, since by the time the smoke alarm had gone off and Nick had given me the exasperated glare and it came out of the broiler, I had completely forgotten about the camera. And, as I think we’ve previously established, I’m a shit photographer anyway.)

Flank Steak with Balsamic Marinade

serves 4-6

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar (save the aged stuff for your salad; supermarket balsamic will do just fine here)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
2lb flank steak

1. Toss all ingredients together in a large ziploc bag. Let meat marinate for an hour or two in the refrigerator, turning over once or twice.

2. Pull meat out of marinade and discard marinade. Here's where it gets tricky. Cooking times obviously vary, depending on weight and how you prefer your meat cooked. I’ve had success by broiling or grilling 3-4 minutes per side, for medium rare. Let meat rest for 10 minutes before serving, to redistribute juices.


Anonymous said...

Would a balsamic vinagrette salad dressing work just as well for a marinate? I don't want to go around mincing things if I can have Paul Newman mince them for me.

Andrea said...

Absolutely, but you'll probably want to throw in some extra balsamic vinegar. A vinaigrette is usually 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, whereas the marinade is 3 parts vinegar to 1 part oil, so the marinade is much balsamic-ier. If you go with the straight vinaigrette, the balsamic flavor might not pop enough.

Leena! said...

I think if I didn't set off the fire alarm at least 100 times before I moved out of a home, it wouldn't feel right. My husband also has a routine: cracks open the balcony door, grabs a blanket and flaps it in front of the alarm to push the smoke away, and if it's really bad, opens the front door. I don't get "the look" though. That is usually saved for when I set a pan of bacon grease on fire.

Plus, our crazy Australian fire alarm makes it sound like you just broke into Tiffany's. Gives me a heart attack every time!