An amazing thing has happened: I have begun to cook without recipes and with an amazing amount of confidence. So here, I bring to you my market fresh meal, inspired by the collected knowledge of judy murphy.
Steak with caramelized shallots and garlic
for two light eaters
This is a recipe I learned from the butcher I went to in Brussels, Belgium. He intensely told me how to cook a steak while handing me my brown paper wrapped package, emphasizing the importance of butter and shallots, they had to be shallots, and to cook them until they were soft. I went home and gave it my best shot. It wasn't great, but still pretty good. But tonight, I remembered, yes I did, and oooh boy! it was scrumptious.
1-2 TBS butter
1-2 shallots, chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
Choose a delicious little morsel of beef at the market, grocer or butcher, and let it sit out until it reaches room temperature.
Heat your favourite pan up on medium so you don't burn the shallots. [They'll burn anyways and the garlic too, but delaying this process is a good idea.] Add the nugget of butter to the pan, when it's melted, add the shallots and fry them until they start to look soft and juicy. Then add the garlic. Then nestle the steak among the frying shallots and garlic.
Here's the million dollar question, how long should you cook this baby for? It's up to you. And I learned how to cook steak to the right temperature by feel. It might take a few tries, but I encourage you to poke it and cut it open throughout the cooking process to see how it's doing. A very rare steak will have a springy plump feel; a very done steak will be hard and the flesh will have very little give. I like mine just above rare and the best way I found to achieve this doneness is by cutting it open after 2 minutes on each side. If it's not done enough, throw 'er back on and wait one or two more minutes. I would say that I cooked it, roughly, about 3-4 minutes on each side, but I have to admit that I wasn't keeping track of the time cause I was so excited.
Once you've turned the steak a couple times so that it's browned on both sides, spoon the shallots and garlic on top so that they stops cooking. I assume they'll be quite done by now, and you don't want it to be all charred, only just a little.
Warm potato salad with spinach, asparagus, creme fraîche and cilantro
The main point here is that you don't really need a recipe, just ideas. If you want a creamy potato salad, use cream fraîche like I did, but it's possible you won't have that just kicking around, so use yogurt or feta cheese (on that note nuts would be a good addition!) You could have a cold salad by running cold water over the potatoes until they were cool (but when they're warm they wilt the spinach which results in over-the-top deliciousness). You could use another herb than cilantro, or another vegetable than asparagus. You could add chopped shallots and or chives. You could use oil and vinegar. The possibilities are endless. So here's what I created; play with it, alter it, change it.
For two medium eaters
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into cubes and steamed
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1/2 lemon squeezed
two handfuls of spinach
2 TBS creme fraîche
chopped up roasted asparagus
salt and pepper
Steam the potatoes (takes around 15 minutes)
In a bowl mix, cilantro, lemon juice, spinach, creme fraiche, and asparagus.
Add potatoes and mix around.