This cookbook is no small challenge — it is a collection of over 1,400 of Martha’s recipes from her various publications as of 1995. These recipes were originally featured in culinary manuals such as Entertaining, Weddings, and Hors d’oeuvres, so not exactly focused on quick and easy home cook recipes. Let’s just say that thanks to this cookbook, Gary gets a little nervous (and runs for a vacuüm) every time I break out the flour.
“balsamic marinated skirt steak” by jenn kosar
Enter Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. Launched in 2003 (and sadly, no longer in separate publication), it was mini-magazine focused solely on simple recipes. Most had less than 10 ingredients, and all leveraged beginner techniques. Thankfully none had the I-need-a translator language found throughout Martha’s cookbooks. It was a far more appropriate source for a busy girl learning to get comfortable in the kitchen. I tore out recipe after recipe and made my way through them all, eventually purchasing the first full cookbook, Everyday Food: Great Food Fast for myself and nearly every new mom that crossed my path circa 2007-2010. It’s a workhorse for getting food on the table.
This recipe for Balsamic Marinated Skirt Steak quickly became a favorite, both for simple dining at home as well as entertaining. It’s easy, you can make it ahead, Gary does the hard work on the grill — and it tastes like you slaved over it for hours. I love it with a simple salad of arugula dressed with lemon vinaigrette, or this refreshing avocado and tomato salad.
“purple garlic and rosemary” by jenn kosar
Balsamic marinated skirt steak
total time 50 minutes start to table
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut crosswise into 4 equal pieces
oil, for grill grates
First, decide if you are going to marinate for the minimum 15 minutes or longer, up to a day. In either scenario, a resealable plastic bag works perfectly, and I particularly like the more recent invention of a “stand-up” bag made for adding marinade ingredients as you go. If you are only doing the quick marinade (which works just fine), a shallow glass baking dish works too. As I was marinating for about 3 hours, I did both. I used the bags, but placed them flat in a glass dish to maximize exposure to the good stuff. It did triple duty as the marinade holder, the transporter from fridge to deck, and the serving dish from grill to table.
Second, prep the ingredients. Mince the garlic, either with a fine chop or through a garlic press. Crush the rosemary with a mortar and pestle or just a firm press with any blunt object. Grind the pepper into a small dish if you want a precise measurement.
Third, combine the vinegar, sugar, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in your marinade container of choice. Pierce the meat all over with a fork and add it to the marinade, ensuring it gets fully coated. If you’re doing a short marinade, room temperature is fine; otherwise put it in the fridge.
Next, it’s time to grill. Oil the grates and set the grill to high heat. The recipe calls for 2-4 minutes per side for medium rare; our experience (or maybe it’s our grill) is that this is a touch too long and it’s more like two minutes for true medium rare. Having said that, this meat is so flavorful and juicy that even medium or medium well is tender, moist and delicious.
Don’t think I forgot the arugula with lemon vinaigrette! I make this super easy by barely measuring – and I just toss arugula with a few splashes of olive oil, a squeeze of a half a lemon, and a dash of salt and pepper and mix away – but if you want a proper base to start, here is a good ratio:
1/3 cup good olive oil (I like Lucini)
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 minced garlic clove (completely optional!)
“salt crock” by jenn kosar
What’s your go to easy recipe for family dinner or easy entertaining? Follow my Dining In board on Pinterest for some of my favorites. Excited to make this marinade this weekend? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear about it!