Ok, so I do a lot of thinking about food. I sometimes wish we could just pick up and leave–with the kids in tow–and drive down to this little local bistro that has one heck of a happy hour menu at a great price! But it’s too nice of a menu and place to rush the trip. My son, now almost five, could probably sit and draw while my husband and I noshed on the chilled gazpacho soup garnished with scallop ceviche, avocado and cucumber ($4.50 a bowl) and followed it up with the beef bourguignon ($9) and the Australian lamb chops with port wine sauce ($12!). But we wouldn’t be able to savor the affordable gourmet happy-hour meal with the must-have glass of syrah or cab that the food deserves–unless we downed everything with extreme urgency before the “heeby jeebies” set in.
“I want down, mom. Can we go now? What’s that red stuff on the plate? Can I use my napkin as a karate bandana?”
And I won’t even go there–thinking about our little almost-two-year old little girl. She is so sweet. And then she realizes she is strapped in. Yikes! Does anyone have ear plugs. You can’t blame her. She just discovered she is her own little individual person.
“Mommy. ‘Et me dowwwwwwn!”
Ok, I know. One word. Babysitter. The thing is, money is so tight right now that the happy hour prices would just go out the window if we hired a babysitter for this venture. So I sit and stare at the happy hour menu and scheme to figure out how I am going to have some of those dishes. Soon.
And finally, this weekend, I got an idea. Why not make a dish from their menu at home and see how it turns out? Yes! So I decide on a traditional steak-house dish
: Filet Mignon Wedge Salad. It’s simple. Char-grilled fillet mignon, sliced, and draped over a wedge of iceberg lettuce with yummy, rich bleu cheese dressing drizzled on top! Double Yes!
So I check out the filets at my local grocery store and sure enough, with it being the fourth of July weekend, they’re on sale. Two nice-sized filets for six bucks. Throw in iceberg lettuce and good bleu cheese dressing and the whole thing is $10. Well, I spied some fresh jumbo, raw shrimp so I threw 12 of those in the basket too! And of course, a nice bottle of cab.
Ok. Here’s what I did on Friday night:
1. Feed the kids, bathe the kids and put them to bed.
2. Have my husband light the coals (he refuses to get a gas grill and that’s ok!)
3. Salt and pepper the filets and skewer the shrimp through tail and head lengthwise and brush with oil that has been seasoned with “seasoned salt” and lemon and have my husband grill the steaks until medium rare (should still be tender to the touch when you push on the center with you’re finger but not too tender) and until the shrimp curl up slightly
4. While steak is resting and shrimp cooling a bit, quarter the lettuce and place one quarter on each dish
5. Slice steak and drape over the lettuce and drizzle bleu cheese dressing over all
6. Serve shrimp next to steak and lettuce combo
7. Open bottle of red wine and enjoy the food and several hours of good conversation, music and laughs! Now that’s a restaurant-quality endeavor.