Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 Before 30: Item 12

You've heard about him quite a bit on this blog so by now you all know know that my husband is quite the cook.

Additionally, you know that I'm working on moving from "culinary-challenged" to "kitchen-literate" and have been sharing my progress with you as Item 23: Learn to Cook 5 Meals. However, in efforts to thank my spouse for all the meals he has prepared for me over the years, I not only wanted to learn to cook a handful of dishes but also added Item 12: Learn to Cook John's Favorite Gourmet Meal to the list.

Key word here: Learn. The spouse helped me every step of the way in this challenge! He was a great teacher; I learned quite a bit and had a blast cooking with my hubby.

The first step in all of this....nailing down John's favorite fodder. Both foodies at heart, neither of us can really claim an absolute to-die-for dish. There are just too many wonderful foods out there! We talked about it quite a bit and came up with the following menu:

Appetizer: Artichoke dipped in Seasoned Butter
Main Entree: Crab Legs & Steak
Side Dish: Asparagus

To the Cooking...er...Learning!

We started by opening a bottle of wine....naturally. We also got right down to business and steamed and seasoned the artichoke. (Recipe)

LOVE Artichokes

What I learned: The most important thing when preparing an artichoke is to really clean out the inside of the 'choke. It has all these spiky thistles on the inside and to really enjoy the heart you must remove all of them prior to steaming.

Next, we marinated the steak (Recipe) and prepped the asparagus (Video Recipe). We also boiled water with lemon and salt in a large pot. We placed a steaming basket in the pot and filled it with frozen crab legs. (Crabby Info)

What I learned: Crab is ready when it turns a brilliant bright red (might already be red if purchased frozen and cooked). The other tell-tale signs are that the joints move easily and the knuckle is warm to the touch.

At around the same time that the crab went into the pot, we put the marinated steak and asparagus on grill. This particular steak is bit strange for a gourmet meal.....it is a flank steak. John had big plans to make carne asada with the leftovers so he specifically requested this piece of meat.

What I learned: Asparagus is awesome with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Also, to tell how "done" a steak is, just push down on it. The more undone, the more squishy the meat. The more done, the more firm the meat. John likes his med-rare (medium-squishy).

While the food was grilling, boiling and steaming away, I set the table.

We then sat down and enjoyed a wonderful meal! By the way, since I don't eat the beast, spouse made a little salmon for me. It was very tasty!

John's Plate :)

Although it'll probably take me few more rounds before I can make the whole meal myself, I feel as though I accomplished the task of Learning to Cook John's Favorite Gourmet Meal and can cross Item 12 off the list!

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