defining your wheelhouse

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential

Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on February 1, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten

Entertaining is a lot like baseball. To maximize success, you need to figure out how to consistently hit the ball out of the park. That means knowing exactly where in the strike zone you should position yourself.

The takeaway here is to realize that your personal sweet spot might not be the same as someone else’s. It’s important to figure out what works best for you. A batter needs a strategy for a fastball, slider and curveball. You, as a host, need to figure out two to three ways to entertain in a way that is easy for you and lets you enjoy yourself as much as your guests. Once you’ve figured that out, just keep hitting repeat.

Here’s a fete fact- in entertaining the thing that always changes is the guest list. That means you can serve the same menu over and over again, because the same people won’t be eating it.

In my repertoire of go-to menus are my tried and true recipes that can be prepped and prepared well in advance. I have served them up countless times, for they keep me out of the kitchen and allow me to spend as much time as possible at my dining room table. My last post featured grilled salmon with parsnip puree and asparagus confetti. On deck is one for the carnivores.  

Over the long MLK weekend my daughter invited two of her former college mates to come to our house in the desert. How awesome that I just happened to be there too. Needless to say, I was thrilled to load the bases.

Saturday night I served up an all-time favorite- grilled flank steak with roasted broccoli and sweet potato fries with siracha crème fraiche. I love that this entire meal is prepped hours before the guests arrive. Virtually all I have to do is light the grill and pop things in the oven.

Here’s the flank steak recipe:

Place the flank steak in a large Ziploc bag.

Combine the dressing, soy sauce, honey and vinegar.

Whisk together.

Add the marinade to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Turn bag every hour if possible.

Preheat the grill to high. Grill the steak for approximately 4 minutes per side until medium rare. Let the steak sit for 10-15 minutes. Slice on the bias.

For the roasted broccoli cut a head of broccoli into uniform florets.

Place the broccoli florets in an even layer in a microwave-safe dish. You might need to do this in two separate batches so they blanche evenly. Fill the dish with one inch of water. Cover and microwave on high for two minutes. You don’t want to cook the broccoli, you simply want to take the raw crunch off the outer layer so it roasts evenly. 

Drain and place the florets in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain well. Place on a paper towel to dry. The broccoli can be prepared to this point several hours in advance. Wrap in paper towel, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until ready to roast.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover a rimmed heavy cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Toss the broccoli with enough olive oil to just coat. Sprinkle the florets with a pinch of kosher salt and several grinds of pepper, toss again. Evenly distribute the broccoli onto the prepared pan. Take care not to crowd the florets, otherwise they will steam and not roast.

Roast the broccoli for approximately 12-18 minutes, until the edges begin to char. The broccoli can be roasted an hour ahead of time. Remove from the oven just before done and leave uncovered on top of the stove. Right before serving place back in a 400-degree oven until heated through about 5 minutes.

For the roasted sweet potatoes with sriracha crème fraîche, peel three medium sweet potatoes.

And cut into wedges.

Preheat oven to 400°. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the sweet potato wedges with the olive oil and a big pinch of salt and few grinds of black pepper. The sweet potatoes can be peeled and tossed an hour ahead of time, just keep wrapped  in the plastic bag at room temperature. I always reuse those plastic produce bags from the grocery store to toss and store my vegetables.

Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.

Roast until golden brown and slightly crispy, about 25–35 minutes. Serve immediately with the sriracha crème fraîche

Earlier in the day combine one half cup crème fraîche and one to two teaspoons sriracha in a small bowl. 

Whisk together with a pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper.

The sauce can be made a day in advance, cover and refrigerate.

This meal…

Like this trio… is a guaranteed grand slam!

post a comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.