Happy Green Birthday Mom!


My mother has some idiosycncrasies when it comes to food. First, she likes to open bagels, pull out all the dough from the inside and fill up the well with smoked salmon; then she proceeds to drench it in lemon juice and capers. Second, she doesn’t eat dessert and would prefer a cheese platter on her birthday over cake.  There are others but I’ll stop there and focus on the birthday buffet dinner I made for her at my sister-in-law’s house in DUMBO section of Brooklyn.

She has an incredible apartment that looks right over the Brooklyn bridge which makes for a stunning setting for any party. With my sister-in-law graciously doing the shopping, getting this party ready once I landed at LaGuardia was a cinch.

My mother loves steak, anything green and only eats potatoes that are thinly sliced and deep fried to perfect golden crisps. I wasn’t going to attempt to deep fry anything so our starch would be bread. I roasted the asparagus and served it with dry almond salsa, blanched broccoli rabe and then sauteed it with loads of garlic and the homemade harissa from Sahadi’s on Atlantic Ave.  We paired the steak with a wonderful green salsa verde. Mom got her cheese “cake” and we indulged in pastries from the local patisserie.

Steak Marinade & Salsa
Enough for 2 lbs of steak. Skirt steak works well as does flat iron, flank or ribeye.

This recipe is especially good for steak that will be eaten at room temperature, which means it is great for hot summer night!

1 lemon, zest removed and then juiced
8 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 bunch arugula
1 bunch parsley, leaves removed from stems
2 tsp. (or more) prepared horseradish
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Brush the steak with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper, some of the chopped garlic and squeeze half the lemon juice on both sides. Allow to sit at room temperature.  Flavorista FYI – Meat should always be cooked at room temperature, not ice cold, straight from the refrigerator and no you won’t get sick if it sits out for only 25 minutes.  While the meat is marinating make the salsa. This is most easily done with a food processor but it is quite beautiful when hand chopped.

Place all the remaining ingredients- except for the red wine vinegar and the olive oil  in the bowl of the food processor, pulsing ,chop until fine. With the machine running add the oil and the vinegar. Place in a bowl and allow for the flavors to meld. Heat a cast iron skillet to very hot and turn on your broiler. Sear the steaks on each side, about 3 minutes or until they are nicely browned, then pop them under the broiler for another 3 – 5 minutes per side (this will vary depending the thickness of your meat and how you like them done).

Remove steaks from the oven and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. While you are patiently waiting for the meat to rest – which allows for all those yummy juices to collect – season the salsa verde with salt and pepper. Slice the meat and place on a platter Spoon a bit of the salsa on top and then pour the meat juices all over just before serving.

I wasn’t joking about the “cheese” cake!

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