Make this meal

Sorry to get so bossy with the title but sometimes you just have to say what's in your heart. And my heart loves this meal. It's a tried and true one that I've made many times, one that you can easily whip up to please your people. Maybe you have guests coming to stay for Thanksgiving so you have to think of a few more meals besides the big feast. Maybe you're having some people over this weekend but are short on time or ideas. Or maybe you, like me, open the fridge on a daily basis and look blankly at its contents at a loss for what to feed these people in your family that keep showing up around the table and expecting meals.

So here are three of my favorite recipes, each exceedingly delicious and just as easy (or as they say here in Australia "easy as." Or, for example, if someone's smart they say "he's smart as." Smart as what? Easy as what? I want to ask. But then I wouldn't be cool as. Is that a thing in the States, too? I'm losing track.) Anyway, this combo has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. (This is also one of those meals where doubling it really doesn't require much more work than just a single batch so it's great for a crowd.)

- The Best Flank Steak Marinade, Guaranteed (that's its name, I didn't make it up)
- Crash Hot Potatoes
- Lemon Bars From Heaven

photo via Tired & Inspired

photo via Tired & Inspired

The original Flank Steak Marinade recipe, shared by Tired & Inspired, makes a huge batch (5 liters of marinade!) so here's the recipe for 1 liter, which still goes far:

1/2 c. rice vinegar
1/2 c. oyster sauce
1 + 2/3 c. soy sauce
3/4 c. mirin
3 T garlic puree (or very finely chopped)
4 T ginger puree (I also use it from a spice jar if needed but reduce the amount)
2 T honey

Marinate flank steak for (ideally) 24 hours [sometimes we only do 2-4 hours, though the longer the better]. Grill steak 4-5 minutes per side on medium high heat. Remove from heat and let rest about 5 minutes before cutting into thin slices across the grain.

. . .

photo via  PW

photo via PW

Crash hot potatoes, according to our much revered, imaginary BFF The Pioneer Woman, are an Australian recipe so I feel like I bring it full circle, from Australia to Pioneer Woman and back to Australia again in my kitchen. They're really simple to make (you basically boil small red potatoes until soft, put them on a baking sheet, smash them down & drizzle them with goodness and bake them a while. So basically, your job is to pour potatoes in boiling water and then put them in the oven. I can handle that.) I don't change up this recipe at all so I'll just wait while you click on over and visit PW's neighborhood. Tell her I said G'day.

p.s. I lied. There's another item missing from this meal. I usually make a green salad or some other veg but that doesn't mean you have to do more work! Just ask one of your kids to do a salad while you're tending to the other deliciousness.

. . .

Okay, you might think you've had lemon bars before. You may even think you've had some really good ones. But this one? The one I'm about to give you? This is IT. Ellie at Less Cake More Frosting has found the holy grail of lemon bars. These have a lovely, crusty top and a gooey lemony filling. The buttery crust at the bottom is perfect. I was going to her site so often to make them that I finally just printed it out for my cupboard. Go. Make these.

I don't know the specific alchemy that takes such mundane ingredients (lemon, flour, sugar, butter...maybe it's not such a mystery) and produces such perfection, all I know is they complete me. 

Bon appétit! 

. . .
p.s.  Speaking of go-to recipes, for my birthday Sarah sent me the cookbook she raved about here last month, Whitney Ingram's The Family Flavor. I'm in love with it. You should see my copy--it has about 54 neon green post-it notes sticking out from all the marking of recipes I've tried or want to try. Pretty much every single page. If you're looking for more go-to recipes, this one is gold. 

Perfect, thick & chewy chocolate chip cookies

For years I was a bit of a chocolate chip cookie floozy. Indiscriminate and flaky, I would leap from recipe to recipe. There was an oatmeal one I liked. I tried a couple of recipes handed along from friends. I even made the Toll House or Ghirardelli back-of-the-package recipes now and then.  They were all pretty good.

Then these little wonders came into my life in 2008 and I have never wavered from them since. I can't take much credit for it. I've added my own twists and touches but I can hardly claim this recipe without a salute to its geneology: I got it from Annie's Eats, who adapted it from Blonde Ambition, who adapted it from America's Test Kitchen. Since then, every single time I bring them or give them, I'm asked for the recipe. Like clockwork. Even my Sunday School class of cute little 12-year-olds asked for the recipe.

So I feel confident promising you: you will not regret making these. They are thick and chewy (not cakey), with this spectacular little glossy crust on the outside. I think what makes them so good are a few little differences: the melted butter, the extra egg yolk, the specific method of forming the dough balls and pulling them apart with a rough top surface before baking, and the rotating of the pans midway through baking. They're small details but well worth it. You'll see.

Oh (at the risk of over-selling), the deliciousness ahead of you! I'm a little jealous you still have your first taste of these lovelies in your future: 

 

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Perfect, Can-I-Have-the-Recipe, Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups plus 2-3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp unsalted (salted is fine, too, if that's what you have) butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla (sometimes I use just 1, depending how sweet I want them)
1 cup milk chocolate chips (I use Cadbury since I have it here in Australia) 
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (Cadbury or other good chocolate)

. . .

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment (sometimes I skip this). 

Whisk dry ingredients in medium bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars until combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat/stir just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. (The dough will feel a bit more moist than you might be used to. It's going to be okay, though. It's all part of the larger plan.) 

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Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball, then pull the ball apart into two equal halves. See how the edges where they separated are jagged?  Rotate the halved dough 90 degrees and, with the jagged surfaces facing up, place the dough onto the cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. (These are big cookies so I place six per sheet.) Once you've filled both cookie sheets with portions of dough, put them on the upper and lower racks of the oven, trading their positions once halfway through baking (which will be at about 6-7 minutes). Bake until cookies are light golden brown and the edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (about 11-14 minutes total). 

 (Please turn a blind eye to the state of my oven and pans. Thank you.)

 (Please turn a blind eye to the state of my oven and pans. Thank you.)

Cool cookies on cookie sheets for a minute or two, until you can lift them without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. They're divine when they're still a bit warm. I dare you to try not to roll your eyes to heaven when you take a bite. (If you're feeling creative, you can also use coconut or m&ms or nuts or broken pretzel pieces.)