Reminiscing and a Memorial Day Steak

For years, I wrote a cooking column for the Press/Recorder newspapers here in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. At one time, there were almost 2 dozen papers under the corporate umbrella. I got word a couple weeks ago that the paper will cease publication. So sad. Another iconic community newspaper gone. And certainly a sense of community gone, too. Originally, the papers were tossed onto porches and driveways by young kids riding bikes. A good way to earn a living and to get to know your neighbors, as well. Anyway, my last column was today. I thought you might like to read it here.

Last Press/Recorder column submitted May 16, 2022:

Goodbyes are never easy. That’s why I have mixed feelings today saying “goodbye” to each of you. The Press/Recorder paper’s last print date is next week, so this will be my last column. 

But, there’s a silver lining . Call it a bittersweet moment. My column will start publishing in the CIncinnati Enquirer’s Weekend section the first week of June.

So before I share one more recipe, grant me a bit of reminiscing. Some of you have been with me since the mid-nineties when I began writing weekly.
I’ve gotten to know you as readers and extended family.  We’ve raised kids together, taken care of family and friends together, and laughed together over both culinary disasters and triumphs. 

You’ve allowed me to come into your kitchens and walk through your gardens. I smile when I think of our times in my herb garden, sniffing and tasting herbs as we went along.
The comaraderie and wisdom that comes from cooking and sharing gives sustenance and joy.

Heirloom recipes have their genesis in someone’s kitchen. Some of my treasured ones come from yours. 

My hope is that you’ll continue along with me through my Enquirer columns. There’s still lots of cooking to do!

OK now to the recipe. Memorial Day is the kick-off for picnic season. 

I have fond childhood memories of family trips to Dayton to remember loved ones with flowers at the cemetery. Mom would fill the trunk of our Chevrolet with an iron kettle of stuffed cabbage, a cooler of fried kibbi, tobouleh, fresh fruit and store bought bread. We’d stop to eat lunch at a park halfway.

Today we celebrate Memorial Day by outdoor mass with a short walk to the adjacent cemetery, to put mint and flowers on our loved ones’ graves.
Later we celebrate the freedom of this blessed country with a casual grilled meal. How does skirt steak sound to you?

Dry herb rubbed skirt steak

Skirt steak comes from the diaphragm muscle of the cow, not too far from flank steak. Like flank, it’s a lean cut. Skirt looks sort of like a ruffle. It’s about 4” wide and 1/2” thick. 

There are 2 types of skirt steak, the outside and inside. The outside is more tender. Both have great beefy flavor. But beware, don’t overcook skirt steak or it will be very tough. 

Like flank, cut it AGAINST/ACROSS, not with, the grain. You’ll see the grain running through the width of the meat, sort of like an accordion. Cutting it properly breaks up the long muscle fibers. The thinner you cut the meat, the more tender the bite. 

Ingredients

1-1/4 pounds or so skirt steak, patted dry 

1-1/2 teaspoons each: garlic powder, dried oregano, paprika and salt

3/4 teaspoon each: cumin and black pepper

Olive oil

Instructions

Stir together dry rub ingredients.

Pat on both sides of meat.
Let sit few minutes or up to an hour. If longer, refrigerate.

Brush oil on grill or grill pan. Heat over high heat.

Add steak and cook 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook a couple minutes more, don’t overcook.

Remove, let rest, then place steak horizontally on cutting board. 

Thinly slice across the grain at about a 90 degree angle. Enjo

Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Serves 8-12

This was shared by a member of our recipe group. When I chatted with Matt Swaim of the Sonrise Morning Show/Sacred Heart radio this morning, this is the recipe he chose from both. No surprise here – Matt is an adventurous cook and loves to experiment!

One skirt steak (about 3 pounds)

Marinade:

1 C fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

½ yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks

3 whole garlic cloves

½ C white wine vinegar

1 bay leaf, crumbled

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground oregano

1 tsp ground thyme

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

¼ C olive oil

Chimichurri:

2 whole garlic cloves

2 jalapenos, stems cut off and cut crosswise into a couple of chunks

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ C red wine vinegar

½ C minced fresh flat parsley

¼ C minced fresh oregano

½ C olive oil

Combine all of the marinade ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour the marinade into a large plastic zip-lock bag. Add the olive oil to the bag and shake to incorporate. (you could also use a large glass baking dish and whisk in the oil) Put the meat in the bag, close, and shake around to coat the meat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours. 
Grill the meat over high direct heat for 3-5 minutes per side. (the grill must be very hot or the meat will be tough and chewy!) Rest the meat for 10 minutes then slice it thinly (1/4 “ thick) against the grain.

To make the chimichurri sauce place the garlic, jalapenos, salt and vinegar into a blender and process until finely chopped. (not into a paste) Put the mixture into a medium bowl and add the fresh herbs and olive oil. Mix well. Drizzle over the sliced meat or serve on the side.

2 thoughts on “Reminiscing and a Memorial Day Steak

    1. Oh gosh, Cindy, if I haven’t responded, I apologize. I am so darn low tech….thank you for your nice comment. I will miss writing for the newspapers, as well. Community newspapers are getting to be a thing of the past. Too bad. But I am now in the Enquirer so hopefully you can get the column there.
      Blessings,
      Rita

      Like

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