Monday, May 16, 2011


What a busy weekend!  This past weekend, my dance troupe performed and taught at Tribal Renaissance in Eau Claire, WI.  With workshops, performances, and vending (not to mention staying in a hotel!) there was little time for eating much less cooking!  I was very fortunate Friday night, and we stumbled across Hooligans Steak and Seafood Pub.  Their "Just Local Combo Plate" was exactly what I needed after a long day of driving and being stuck in completely insane traffic.  Smoked trout, deviled eggs, cheese, and summer sausage, all sourced locally.  Got it to go, and went home and ate in the hotel room!

Our tour guide, Wilson
The rest of the weekend I was happy to have leftovers in the hotel fridge from the amazing date I went on with my husband on Thursday.  The weather in Milwaukee has been terrible so far this spring, but Thursday it was finally nice for us and we went on a horse drawn carriage ride through downtown, which was absolutely beautiful.  We packed a picnic dinner and a bottle of wine (not sure that's legal... but oh well, and got a tour of our own town. 

This is a date I would highly recommend, and most larger cities have carriage rides, I think.  Yes.  The ride itself is a little pricey, but if you pack your own dinner and wine it's going to be a lot less than dinner out at a fancy restaurant.  And, in my opinion, picnics can feel incredibly fancy if done correctly.  I went with the traditional sandwiches and potato salad, but by using some less traditional ingredients I got spectacular results:

Steak Sandwiches:
  • Tomato Chutney:
    • 3 vine ripened tomatoes (L)
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup honey (L)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 thin, boneless steak.  I used a flat iron, but you could use flank or anything along those lines (L)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic (L)
  • 1 tbsp minced chives (L*)
  • 1 tbsp minced oregano
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (L)
  • 1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese (L)
  • Spinach (L)
  • 2 long, crusty rolls
Chop tomatoes.

Bring vinegars, sugar, salt mustard seed, and black pepper to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in tomatoes and chives, and simmer for about an hour and a half until thickened and reduced to approximately 1 1/2 cups.
    Season steak with salt and pepper.

    In a glass baking dish, combine garlic, chives, oregano and olive oil.  Add the steak and turn to coat.  Allow to marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature, turning occasionally.  Grill over medium high heat until medium rare - only a few minutes on each side.  Steaks like this tend to be very tough if overcooked, so please don't.  If you don't like beef that's still pink, then replace the steak with roast beef from your local deli.  If you overcook the meat, you will not like this recipe!  Allow the meat to rest before slicing!

    Slice the rolls and spread mayo on both sides.  Slice the steak on an angle, against the grain, into about 1/4 inch thick slices and layer on bottom of sandwich.  Sprinkle with cheese and lay spinach on top.  Add tomato chutney.

    Cut in half and wrap in aluminum foil if you are picnicking!

    Fancy Potato Salad
    • 1 lb fingerling potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices (L)
    • 1 cooked chicken breast, torn into bit sized pieces (L)
    • 1 smoked trout fillet, chopped into bite sized pieces (L)
    • 2 tbsp chopped chives (*L)
    • 1 large handful sorrel leaves, torn into bite sized pieces (*L)
    • 1/2 cup radish greens and young roots (*L) (I was thinning my radishes.  This seemed like a good use for what I pulled!)
    • 1/4 cup mayo
    • 1/4 cup sour cream

    Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are soft.  Drain, and refrigerate the potatoes until they are cool.

    In a large bowl, combine cooked potatoes with remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

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