Spaghetti Squash and easy pan sauteed steak

Flatiron steaks, from the external top blade area of the chuck, are economical, and when I saw some with the infamous “Manager Special” sticker at Shaws, they were an even better deal. While not the most tender cut, they are better than the “braise only” sort of cuts, and have great flavor. Marinading is also recommending to increase tenderness.

Their downfall is the line of gristle down the middle, and often also wandering off a bit throughout the cut. Previously, I’ve just sauteed them as is and dealt with cutting around the gristle while eating. Tonight, I cut out the gristle before cooking, effectively cutting the small steaks in half. I’ll have to watch them carefully because I bet they will take less than the usual time to saute a steak.

I put them in a very basic marinade for 4-5 hours: a little under a cup of olive oil and a little under 3/4 cup of vinegar, a tablespoon or so each tamari (soy sauce) and Worcestershire sauce, and minced garlic (one good-sized clove) and double the amount of minced onion. And some crumbled dried rosemary. Before cutting out the gristle, I patted them dry. They will brown better when seared if dry. [Note: While the steak was VERY tender, the taste of vinegar was a bit overpowering. I’ll use less vinegar next time. Also, instead of white vinegar, I’ll use a nice red wine or balsamic type.]

Hmm, might as well change the rest of this to past tense, now that I am editing post-meal!

I seared each side for about a minute, then turned frequently until they were medium rare (well-done will be too tough.) I’m still somewhat new to cooking meat, but found a great tip for knowing when a cut is medium rare:
“The steak is done to a medium rare the moment you observe a little pearling of red juice beginning to ooze at the surface of the steak. Another test is to press the steak with your finger; it is medium rare when it just begins to take on a suggestion of resistance and spring in contrast to its soft raw state. ” [Source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck © 1961, 1983, 2001 Alfred A. Knopf]

This tip works!!!!! FINALLY, I am gaining confidence as to when a steak is done to my liking.

And, what to serve with steak? Something to, perhaps offset the fat and cholesterol for the husband? Never mind that I bought a bunch of arugula and needed to use it up!

Enter spaghetti squash. This is such a cool vegetable. When cooked and cooled, just cut in half, pick out the seeds, and then scrape the pulp off with a fork and it comes out in strings. Actually, if you bake it, you need to cut it in half before baking, but you can also boil it whole earlier in the day, let it cool, and then prepare it.

I ended up experimenting just a little with a recipe I found online. The ingredients are almost the same as the original recipe, but I am am going to serve it hot.

Here is a link to the original recipe:
Spaghetti Squash and Arugula recipe

I created a stir fry or “pasta” dish of sorts with pre-cooked spaghetti squash ( boiled it whole, earlier in the day – could be done the night before, too) as the base and cherry tomatoes (slice in half) and a bunch of arugula as the other veggie ingredients.

First, I trimed the arugula and sauteed it in a little olive oil until wilted. Then, I removed the arugula, heated up the spaghetti squash, and then added the arugula back. Then I added the tomatoes, pine nuts, fresh basil, and sliced black olives. I don’t think I used the onion and garlic called for in the original recipe….[note to self – try recapping recipes less than a day or two later!]

Right before serving, and after turning off the heat, I added crumbled feta cheese. It was REALLY good!

Oh, I also had a bunch of tiny yukon gold potatoes that I cut into quarters, joined by a few smallish onions that I also cut into chunks, that I coated lightly in olive oil, seasoned with salt and fresh ground pepper, and roasted in the oven for…maybe 35 minutes at 425? Dang, I have to write things down! But, they were good, too. 🙂

Anyway – everything was great, except for too much vinegar flavor in the meat from the marinade.