I’ve always been a seize-the-day kind of gal. I don’t let grass grow under my feet, don’t put off until tomorrow what I can do today, leave no stones unturned, travel like I’ll never be back to that spot, taking advantage of every experience I see possible. Therefore it may seem surprising that I have had, out of necessity, the need to create a personal bucket list. It’s not for all the places I want to see in my life because that list is endless. It’s really more for doing things, learning things and experiencing things I cannot cram into a given day.
Time is a funny thing. It seems endless when you are younger. We all can recall lazy summer days as a child we thought would never end. That changes however as you age, and time seems to speed up. Right now it is far outpacing my ability to keep up! I was just cleaning out a cabinet underneath our laundry room sink where we’ve kept art projects and painting supplies. In a box I found several craft kits and books I distinctly recall buying when my kids were too young to do them. I came upon a copy of ‘The Muppets Big Book of Crafts’, a thick book chock full of 100 fantastic crafts to do with kids. I remember distinctly when I bought it, sure we’d spend hours creating fantastic mosaics, faux stained glass windows, holiday ornaments and more. We actually had not ever quite made the time to get there. I somberly put the book in a large box of donations ready for another family to enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong, our lives have been full of plenty of other outings and projects, but somehow there was something sobering about this particular book for me. My children are now 12 and 16. My 16 year old daughter is finishing up her sophomore year in high school, meaning two more years at home before college. There really isn’t a day that passes that I do not overtly appreciate the time with my husband and children. I soak them in and know things will not always be like they are now. And while I’ve been focused on my kids’ needs and watched them age, I often forget I too am aging and time is escaping me.
For me, finding that Muppets craft book and what it represents has served to stoke the fire of my Carpe Diem spirit to get on with that Bucket List! I never want to regret time passing without having milked it for all things possible. I feel very fortunate that a long time Boulder Locavore partner, Silk, maker of delicious plant-based milks, has challenged me to pick a project and share updates on that for the rest of this year. It felt like a confluence of elements all encouraging attacking the list. Why wait?!
My first post may seem underwhelming however it has been a goal since I was living on my own as an adult: How to Grill a Perfect Steak. When I was first married I had told my husband I really wanted to master grilling. It had always felt like a man’s world and not that I begrudged that but I didn’t like feeling I didn’t understand it and couldn’t ever host a barbeque. He sweetly bought me a number of BBQ accoutrement for my birthday that year (which I did not appreciate at the time feeling it wasn’t very personal; little did I realize there is nothing MORE personal than someone really listening to your dreams and supporting them, even if they involve charcoal briquettes) but it didn’t go farther.
I’ve taken the time to really study and master a good burger. Kabobs, I think I get a good passing grade. Vegetables, I’m good. But steak…it’s expensive, can get ruined easily and I don’t like the feeling I’m guessing and crossing my fingers for a great end result.
So today my friends is the day! I have two fantastic grilling recipes to share for carnivores and vegetarians: How to Grill the Perfect New York Strip and Portobello Mushroom Steaks. I have always loved a well-grilled New York Strip steak. It’s thick, boneless, not too fatty and has perfect texture and flavor when cooked properly. Portobello mushrooms actually have the consistency of steak and a robust meaty, non-mushroomy flavor. They are a great grill option not just for vegetarians. The marinade I’ve used produces an irresistible end result all ages will love.
Key Tips for Grilling All Steaks:
- Always preheat, clean and oil the grill before beginning. There are special wire brushes available for easy grill cleaning and a simple quarter-fold paper towel moistened with cooking oil (rubbed on the grill using a grill tool) work great. I just read a tip on Pinterest that halving and onion and rubbing the cut side on the grill makes it non-stick. I have not tried that but it sounds interesting!
- Always start with room temperature steaks. This allows the steak to cook evenly and more quickly.
- Never puncture the steak when turning it or to check for doneness. This allows the moisture to be retained in the steak, especially those which are seared at high heat. The best test for doneness is a feel test. Open one hand and with the index finger of the opposite hand, press on the muscular area at the base of the thumb before the palm of the hand. This is how raw steak feels when you touch it. For determining doneness of steak, form a circle with the thumb and index finger; the feel of the same area at the base of that thumb area when doing this is a rare steak. The thumb second finger is medium rare. Thumb and ring finger is medium done. Thumb and pinky finger is how a well done steak feels to the touch.
- Allow the steaks to rest a 3-5 minutes before serving. This results in less juices lost and a more flavorful, moister steak!
Grilling perfect steaks can be tricky. Getting them just right without guess-work or cutting into them losing some of the desired juiciness is disappointing. Following these tips and instructions ends up with a New York Strip steak done to your liking every time. This recipes is based on a 1-inch thick steak with a Medium-Rare doneness. If you prefer a medium steak, increase the cooking time to 3 minutes for each segment. I don't suggest bothering with a well done steak. As I saw recently on a restaurant menu, 'if you want a well-done steak, please order chicken'.
Portabella Mushrooms grilled are a treat for all whether vegetarian or not. They are a great grilling option to be served as a burger on a bun or main dish. The balsamic marinade really bumps up the flavor and makes them a substantial contender at the grill. This is a type of mushroom even those you don't love mushrooms will love!
- 1-inch thick New York Strip Steak(s), bring them to room temperature before grilling
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper
- Butter (approximately a tablespoon per steak)
- 5 large Portobello Mushrooms (all similar size), destemmed and cleaned
- 1/3 cup Canola Oil
- 1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 4 large Garlic Cloves, rough chopped
- 2 large Shallots, rough chopped
- 1 sprig fresh Rosemary, leaves removed and diced
- 2 sprigs of fresh Thyme, leaves removed
- Place all the ingredients, except the mushrooms, in a large sealable container of a gallon plastic bag. Shake to mix thoroughly.
- Gently place mushrooms in the container or bag (they can break easily if handled too roughly). Spoon the marinade over the mushrooms to coat each of them. Seal and allow to marinade at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Heat the grill to Medium-High (350 degrees). Clean and oil the grill (see the steak Grilling instructions for my method). Remove the mushrooms from the marinade allowing any excess oil to drain and remove any of the chopped ingredients from the mushrooms.
- Place the mushrooms bottom down on the grill for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, using tongs gently turn over.
- Cook 2 minutes and rotate the mushrooms 45 degrees to get nice grill marks on the top. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 2 minutes.
- Preheat a gas grill to high (450 degrees). Clean the grill and oil it with a quartered paper towel moistened with Olive oil; with grill tongs wipe the paper towel over the grill.
- Place the steaks on the grill (lid can be open or closed to avoid flare ups) for two minutes. After two minutes, use tongs to rotate the steaks 45 degrees. This creates those mouthwatering grill marks! Cook two more minutes and turn over.
- After the steaks have been flipped over, cook for 2 minutes. After two minutes, again rotate the steaks 45 degrees and cook a final 2 minutes.
- Remove the steaks from the grill. Lightly cover with freshly ground pepper and a pat (about 2-3 teaspoons) of butter. The butter soaks in and really adds the finishing touch to this steak. Allow to rest 3-5 minutes before serving.
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This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.