Marinated Flank Steak with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

marinated flank steak with feta // sweetsonian

marinated flank steak with feta // sweetsonian

I’ve been struggling, lately.

With everything. It’s not that I’m emotional, or sad, or upset in anyway. I think I’ve just been exhausted, and lazy… if the two go together in any way.

I’ve been avoiding posting something on here. I’m not exactly sure why, but I guess I go through phases — extended periods of time without any creativity at all. And being a creative by trade, all day, err’day, I’ve had difficulty recovering from the weeks that burn me out. These slumps aren’t easy. I, for one, have always hated being lazy or having nothing to do. But I find myself craving it. Scratching fingernails on imaginary chalkboards in the air, itching for a vacation from the daily grind. A few days that involve nothing but sitting on a beach with a nerd read, or curled up on my couch with a never-ending list of critically-acclaimed movies to watch on Netflix.

A cup of tea or a glass of wine. There’s nothing else I need.

Except, every now and then, a damn good steak. I take pride in my abilities to transform a good slab of meat into a meal that will change your life. There are many things that make me a laid back, lighthearted individual. Steak is not one of them. I take my steak seriously.

marinated flank steak with feta // sweetsonian

marinated flank steak with feta // sweetsonian

An old love interest, years removed, whom I hadn’t heard from in months, got back in touch the night I made these steaks. I had just wrapped up a pretty stressful series of projects at the day job. I had been biking to work all week, and the weather was just below bone-chilling that week. Yet, as frigid as it was outside, this little designer was one-hundred percent burnt out. So naturally, I did what Shaeda would do in that situation — I stopped by Whole Foods on my way home to pick up more than a pound of a beautiful, oh-so-gorgeous slab of steak.

By the time I got home, I had a series of texts from you-know-who. In typical fashion, we caught up a little, reminisced a little, and being thousands of miles apart and sans commitment, really opened up about our lives. You see, this summer, we reconnected, but just like 90 percent of our conversations since the beginning of time, we didn’t actually communicate much. Except this summer, I didn’t have the patience to put up with it. I was happy without that mess (and any other hot mess, to be honest). Looking back on that was the farthest thing from my mind… and that simple fact was one of the most empowering feelings I’ve had all year.

Needless to say, we chatted about all of this for an hour or so… while I was prepping a pound and a half of steak. It was the version of me that until recent years, was in complete control of the situation. Between the steak and taking charge of what I considered just a year ago to be a miserable, failed romance — I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so sexy and in charge.

marinated flank steak with feta // sweetsonian

marinated flank steak with feta // sweetsonian

This post is actually a procrastination post. I have two projects due before I leave for California next Friday. And I’ve been planning a Twelve Pubs of Christmas pub crawl for months… that’s happening on Saturday. Needless to say, I probably shouldn’t have spent this much time writing this post.

I probably should just go make myself another steak.

marinated flank steak with feta // sweetsonian

marinated flank steak with feta // sweetsonian

Marinated Flank Steak with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomato, derived from Dukan It Out

Ingredients

  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 oz. feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t red pepper flakes

Instructions

  1. In a ziploc bag, combine your steak, balsamic, parsley, cilantro, paprika, cayenne and red pepper flakes. Squish the marinade around so that the entire steak is covered — and let it sit for a while. I left mine on the counter for 30 minutes or so, which also lets the steak come to room temperature. If you’re marinating for longer, do so in the refrigerator, and then let it sit out for 30 minutes to an hour prior to cooking.
  2. Heat a good cast iron pan over the stove on high, getting the surface so hot that you can only hold your hand above it for a second before pulling away.
  3. Slice your steak according to individual servings. Place the steak on the pan, and let it sear and sizzle for 3 to 4 minutes. Then, turn over and repeat on the other side. Slice it open to check how cooked it is — and continue cooking to the temperature you prefer. I take it off when it’s a little more rare than I like, and then set it on a cutting board to rest for about 10 minutes, letting the juices distribute.
  4. While your steak is resting, combine the feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and chili flakes. Sprinkle generously over your steak, and serve hot.

 

Lazy Meatball Shakshuka

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

It feels like shakshuka is just all over the blogosphere these days.

Luckily for me, shakshuka is something that actually fits into my diet. Yes, I’m a food blogger on a diet. How about that?

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

I guess I should tell you about this diet. It’s called the Dukan Diet — well, my own rendition of it, anyway. The main idea is that you stick to a high-protein diet interspersed with vegetables. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t crave sweets very much anymore, and carbs, well, they will be missed, but I do love protein and veggies.

I say the diet is my own “rendition” because there are two food groups that I simply cannot give up: cheese and cocktails. Yes, they are food groups. I’m just gonna keep it real with you.

This diet started last winter, when I was really amping up the freelance work. So basically, when my social/fitness activities were replaced with sleepless nights and caffeine binges, I realized I needed to change something. Either give up freelance and get back into my running obsession, or change my eating habits. Obviously, I chose freelance and the diet.

Diets get such a bad rep these days. Of course, there are so many negative connotations that do go with them. But to be honest, I like having goals in mind, and guidelines on what’s good and what’s bad and what’s too much and what’s not enough. I weigh myself every day. I’m guilty when I don’t work out, or when I cheat. I cheat more often than I should, and I don’t work out as much as I should. But you know what? The guidelines work for me. I like them.

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

 

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

I’ve been making meatballs from a great recipe blog that archives Dukan Diet recipes — and this recipe actually reminds me a lot of the Norwegian meatballs my friend Åse (pronounced oh-sah) made for us one rainy night in Bergen.

So I made a huge batch in the oven, and used a portion of the meatballs for this shakshuka. The original intent was to use the shakshuka for lunch (it packs really well and is a perfect work lunch), but I’ve made it for a couple of dinners and it’s always been a huge hit.

The meatballs are pretty neutral, so they’d go really well in this banh mi recipe, too.

Anyway, enjoy this recipe (especially if you’re on the Sarah Gerrity Dukan protein cheese and cocktail diet). If you have favorite meatball recipes, I’d love to hear some ideas — because I tend to make these ones in double batches for the entire week (or two or three).

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

lazy meatball shakshuka // sweetsonian

 

Onion Meatballs, from Dukan it Out

1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground turkey
3 green onions,
1 small sweet onion
1 egg
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the green and sweet onions in a food processor, and pulse chop until finely diced. Then, in a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients, mixing with your hands to fully incorporate into a mixture.

Line a baking sheet with foil, spray with nonstick baking spray, and begin rolling the meat mixture into 1.5-inch balls. Space them about 1 inch apart, and then bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Lazy Meatball Shakshuka

10-15 onion meatballs
1 jar tomato sauce of choice
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
4-6 eggs (use your judgement)
Olive oil, just a drizzle
Fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

First, heat a cast iron skillet with a drizzle of olive oil. Saute your meatballs until the surfaces are a deep golden brown. Then, carefully pour your tomato sauce into the skillet, turning the stove heat to medium-low. If it’s too chunky, add water in 1/4-cup increments until you have a stew-like consistency.

Once the tomato sauce comes to a simmer, use a wooden spoon to create some pockets between the meatballs for your eggs. Crack the eggs one by one into the sauce, and baste the whites with the spoon. Once the whites begin to cook through, sprinkle the skillet with feta and parmesan cheese. Simmer until the eggs are cooke through to the consistency you prefer — I like the yolks runny, but you might want them stiff.

Sprinkle with fresh basil, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy.

Simply Breakfast: Steak and Eggs

Ever since I started Sweetsonian, I’ve been a weekend blogger.

Years ago, when I had my handy Panasonic point-and-shoot, I knew the photos would be mediocre anyway, so I’d make attempts to cook at night and wake up early to take photographs on the balcony, but I’ve never been a morning person, and I’m now very comfortable with the fact that mornings just don’t agree with my schedule.

6:45, 7:00, 7:30, 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, 8:30, and 8:45. Throw in 9:00, 9:05, and 9:15, just in case.

Those are the alarms I set on my iPhone every single night. And what time do I usually roll out of bed? 8:45 AM. To get to the office at 10 o’clock.

I know. It’s pathetic. But a girl just needs her sleep.

It doesn’t help that I’m usually up late cramming in freelance work, but I’ve found a method that just works for me.

Chances are, I won’t spend my weekend days working on infographics, but I do get to take advantage of the good natural light in my living room. So generally, I’ll wake up early on a Saturday, scroll through the Google Doc of recipe ideas I have, and then hit the grocery store. After that, I just go to town in the kitchen — and my roommates can vouch for that. I push food on them like it’s crack.

One morning, Katie hosted a brunch for a bunch of her friends. I had planted the seed of steak and eggs the day before, when I tragically left my steaks on the stove to thaw with the warmers on. Needless to say, I’ll never do that again.

Anyway, Katie came back from the grocery store as I was pouring my Sunday morning coffee. Sugar and cream in hand, I sat down at the beer pong table that once served as our interim dining space, ready to dive into the latest issue of Bon Appetit. And then, I heard the clicking of our stove going on, a clamor of frying pans, and the rip of Katie’s fingernails to the shrinkwrap that housed two precious steaks, fresh from the refrigerator.

I think my immediate reaction was “NOOOOO!”

steak3

The first time I had ever really learned anything about cooking steak was this past October, when Angela (this girl) made me dinner. One of the first things she mentioned was letting the steak come to room temperature.

Naturally curious, since that evening, I have probably read at least ten articles on how to cook the perfect steak.

I may have leapt from my seat, and taken over brunch. For my first foray into a steak and eggs brunch en masse, I think it went pretty well. And honestly, the simplest meals are often the most satisfying.

And if I’m not delegating tasks anywhere else, I might as well be teaching friends of friends how to properly slice and caramelize onions in my own kitchen.

It’s win-win, really.

steak4

Recipe after the jump. Continue reading “Simply Breakfast: Steak and Eggs”