Today I am celebrating the second anniversary of The Heritage Cook! What an amazing journey this has been. From a career in high tech to writing articles five days a week, what an incredible transition. I went from selling things we use every day but also curse regularly, to writing about my passion for food, wine and cooking. And I have all of you to thank for this.
Many years ago, when I was just starting out in high tech, one of my friends asked me a seemingly simple question. She said, “Which magazines do you buy and read cover to cover?” I chuckled and told her of course it was anything to do with food. She told me that I needed to work in the food industry. I laughed at the time, but the thought lingered in my mind.
I worked for many years in Corporate America, climbing the proverbial ladder. I had successes along the way but was never really satisfied and certainly not passionate about what I was doing. I longed for something that would give back, to help the world become a better place – even if only to help change one person’s life a little for the better. When I lost my mother it put my own life into perspective and I knew it was time to finally make the change.
I worked for a cooking school, assisted many visiting chefs, reorganized the station books for a major chef, helped manage a corporate food service team, cooked on the line, and served customers in an executive center. I learned how a restaurant works, what it takes to keep it running smoothly, and how hard people work for next to nothing because of their passion.
I met some incredibly gifted people who loved sharing their skills and recipes. I quickly learned that I didn’t have the physical strength to work in a restaurant every day but knew I wanted to be involved in food somehow. I continued to work in my kitchen, honing my skills, entering my baked goods in local and state competitions, teaching myself how to write down my spontaneous creations and turn them into bona fide recipes. I catered events for friends and taught some people how to bake. And then The Heritage Cook was born.
I have loved sharing the lessons I learned from my grandmother and mother. I was lucky to have the opportunity to stand next to them at the stove, watching every move, absorbing the details of how a dish was constructed. I hope that my passion, memories, and years of experience in the kitchen translate to the written page and help others become as ardent about cooking and baking as I am.
The beauty of blogging is that you can write anything you want and spend as much time as you need honing each article. I work very hard on my posts and really appreciate your feedback. It fills my heart with joy when I hear that you like one of my recipes or stories. I appreciate your patience as I dealt with technical issues, rediscovered my love of photography, and became more comfortable with writing for an audience.
Thank you to my family, friends, fans, and all the members of The Heritage Cook Family. Your support means the world to me and I am grateful every time you stop by the blog, leave a comment, hit a “Like” on Facebook, RT, or share my site with your friends. I would be nowhere without each of you.
I am sharing one of my favorite meals with you today, grilled steaks and onions with an Asian-style sauce. I love the flavor a charcoal fire adds to steaks and vegetables, reminding me of many happy childhood summer evenings. You can also serve these with your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce if you prefer.
So as I sit back and enjoy my dinner, please pop a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider and have a glass with me. Thank you everyone for another amazing year!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
The easiest way to de-stem feathery herbs like cilantro and Italian parsley is to rinse them well and pat dry with paper towels. Holding the herbs by the stems, use a very sharp knife to shave off the leaves, turning the bundle as needed. You can then easily remove any larger stems from the pile on the cutting board.
Kitchen Skill: How to Safely Slice Corn off the Cob
Clean the corn and snap each in half. Cook as desired. When cool enough to handle, set each piece flat-side down on a cutting board. Using a small sharp knife carefully slice off kernels.
Grilled Steaks with Spicy Hoisin Steak Sauce
Adapted from a Food and Wine recipe
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1/4 cup organic olive oil, plus more for grill and steaks
5 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/2 bunch cilantro or Italian parsley, leaves minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
4 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp butter
Steaks and Onions
6 New York Strip or Rib-Eye steaks
2 large onions, sliced horizontally into 1/2-inch slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Additional vegetables, optional, such as corn-on-the-cob, eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, poblano peppers, etc.
Preheat an electric or gas grill, or build a medium-sized charcoal fire in your barbecue. Do not start cooking until the grill is fully heated and charcoal has ash on it. If cooking over charcoal, heat grill and scrub clean. Lightly oil.
To Make Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil. Add the shallots, ginger, pepper flakes, and cilantro. Cook over medium heat about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
Stir in the hoisin, soy, and chicken stock. Raise the heat to medium-high and boil until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the honey and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Whisk until incorporated. Keep warm over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
Prepare Steaks and Onions: Rub the steaks with some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Skewer the onion slices, brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you are cooking additional vegetables, slice thickly, oil and season to taste.
Place the steaks on the hottest part of the grill and the onions around the outside. Add additional vegetables if using. Cook steaks about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from grill and let rest on a cutting board, tented loosely with foil, for at least 5 minutes. This gives the juices a chance to be reabsorbed and the steaks to finish cooking perfectly.
While the steaks are resting, move the onions (and other vegetables) to the hot part of the grill and cook until they are marked and are slightly softened, about 1 to 2 minutes per side.
Serve the steaks with grilled onions and steak sauce.
I would love to hear your thoughts … please leave a comment below and don’t forget to do your math before hitting Enter!
Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material without prior approval is prohibited. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email: theheritagecook (at) comcast (dot) net. Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, www.theheritagecook.com.