Tonight's steak dinner was prepared by Lauren Epstein, deputy photo editor for Real Simple. Lauren helps plan the photos and photo shoots for the magazine.
I’m having a tough time negotiating the weeknight meal lately. Since the birth of my daughter Lucy two and a half years ago, a typical dinner has taken on the form of a cooking marathon. It begins around 5:30 with me racing down the subway stairs, narrowly missing the train, followed by a jog through the aisles of Whole Foods, and then a fast-paced 10 minute walk home to relieve my babysitter at 6:30pm. I have this reoccurring speech/pep talk in my head; “Ok, I have one and a half hours to unpack the groceries, slice and dice, play with Lucy, assemble dinner, read some children’s books, put dinner in the oven, set the table, put my daughter to bed….ready, set, go!” Just writing this exhausts me.
So one of the many things I loved about the Seared Steak with Cauliflower Puree is the ingredient list—only 6 items (not including salt, pepper, and olive oil.) I don’t always follow recipes in their order; instead I religiously prepare the mise en place ahead of time, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. When you have time constraints like I do, and a daughter who is pulling on your sweater to be picked up, I like everything prepped and organized. A list of six ingredients is a very manageable amount to assemble on a busy night.
I steamed the cauliflower, assembled the olive relish (I added about ¼ cup more olives), bathed my steak with salt and pepper, and then it all went downhill in a New York minute. We were hit around 8:15pm with a major lightening, thunder, and hail (yes, hail) storm.
Mother nature acting up means a crying toddler who won’t go back to bed until 9:45pm, and two very hungry parents salivating over a beautiful piece of red meat. Luckily, the steak only takes 8-12 minutes; the relish was finished, and because it had been marinating in its juices for over an hour made for even better accompaniment. The cauliflower was tasty even at room temperature, although be mindful not to fill the cauliflower to the brim of the food processor—do it in batches to create a smoother puree. I also added some extra parsley from the relish to give it a little color.
The combination of salty and sweet, earthy and fresh was so satisfying and delicious for an autumn weeknight meal. For the finale, I pared this photo worthy dish with an easy spinach salad, a light red wine, and voila a gourmet dinner for two at 10 pm at night. It was worth the wait. But then it was time for bed. My husband was on dishes duty for the night.