The Emmys. The beginning of the award season. A time to sit around with friends and try and judge the unjudgeable. Typically E! Live at the Red Carpet seems to be even more exciting then the actual show, deciding the best and worst dressed of the night as if writing for People magazine.
On this particular Emmy Sunday, I ventured to the other end of the island, Financial District to my friend Amber’s to cook dinner and watch the Emmys. We decided to try and cook simple dishes that required little prep work and could be created during commercial breaks. I picked up some cheeses from Fairway, humbolt fog and Prince de claverolle (my two favorites) and a baguette to start off the meal right.
We decided to cook gorgonzola crusted steak, green beans with a light basil vinaigrette, and a simple caprese salad with a balsamic glaze. We had planned on making chocolate mousse, but the lack of a double boiler caused us to bail on the dish in exchange for some chocolate covered raisins.
When making a simple dish, like a caprese salad, it’s essential to have great ingredients. The fresh, lightly salted mozzarella cheese from Fairway is a personal favorite of mine. It reminds me of the mozzarella you would find in a small Italian grocery store. In addition, beautiful beefsteak tomatoes are bright in color, giving a juicy, sweetness to the dish. And of course, the dish must be topped off with fresh basil. When home, I love to pick the leaves from my Mom’s garden, but in Manhattan, fresh basil from a grocery store does the trick.
Balsamic Glaze came onto my radar while visiting friends in Barcelona in 2010. I was instantly hooked at the creamy version of my favorite vinegar. Over the past year, I have seen balsamic glaze makes its way onto the shelves of my favorite grocery stores with different flavors slightly elevating the flavor of the vinegar (I have truffle balsamic glaze at my apt). When my friend suggested we add hers to our caprese salad, I was of course sold. We decided to wait until the end to add the delicious bite of acidity to our beautiful salad.
Next, we began to cook the steaks. Amber picked up beautiful pieces of beef tenderloin, cut by the butcher at Whole Foods. Amber seasoned the meat simply with salt and pepper, allowing for the flavors of the meat to shine through. We added olive oil to a skillet and waited for it to heat to medium-high temperature. According to Barefoot Contessa, you want it to sizzle the second the it hits the pan.
The steaks sizzled away on one side for about 5 minutes until there was a nice golden crust. When the other side began to cook a little bit more, about 3 minutes, we added the crumbled gorgonzola cheese on top of the steak. When the other side seemed to cook to a golden brown, the steaks were placed into a preheated oven to allow for the cheese to melt into the steaks a bit more. Then voila. Delicious homemade, steakhouse style blue cheese steak.
Amber then suggested we make the most amazing green beans. They are served with a light, basil vinaigrette which I could eat on its own. The recipe called for a puree of simple ingredients, shallots, garlic, red wine vinegar, mustard, and lots of fresh basil. I quickly blanched the green beans in boiling water and quickly put them in a ice water bath to shock them, retaining the color and flavor. We tossed them in the dressing and created the most wonderful, light green bean dish. I found myself devouring this dish.
We toasted over a glass of red wine and enjoyed our lovely home cooked Emmy meal. The entire prep and cooking time was extremely simple, yet absolutely delicious. It looks like a very fancy meal and could impress anyone. I highly recommend trying this for yourself. Happy award season!
Amber’s Apartment – Financial District – New York, NY
Green Beans with Dressing
• 1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 shallot
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 2 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. pepper
• 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp. sugar
• 1 cup canola oil
• 25 fresh basil leaves, plus a few extra for garnish
1. Add green beans to a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes
2. Remove green beans and add into a ice water bath for 5 minutes
3. As beans are cooling, mince garlic and shallot in a food processor.
4. Add remaining ingredients into food processor and pulse until basil leaves are coarsely chopped.
5. Toss dressing with strained green beans, and enjoy!