Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Philly Cheesesteak Two Ways

In an attempt to save money without compromising on eating well, I've been cooking a lot in my new tiny galley kitchen. I miss our custom kitchen in Madison for its size and the many beautiful memories we made in our first home. But it's somewhat amusing/frustrating figuring out how to make the most of my now limited work space. At least it's bigger than my Paris kitchenette!

Galley Kitchen in Seattle

Our Kitchen in Madison, WI

My Paris Kitchenette

Some of the challenges I face in the kitchen now are the inability to spread out ingredients as I prep, the lack of dish drying space (and it takes a long time for dishes to air dry because of the humidity), and the inevitable exiling of Mike from the kitchen when he offers to help because he ends up being a literal road block (love you, honey!). I've learned to extend my kitchen space by using our dinner table as an additional counter space. Another cool trick in a small kitchen is to cook dishes that have only a few ingredients, and the leftovers can be converted into another dish with just a few more additional ingredients!

I recently purchased a stack of old Cook's Illustrated magazines from Half Price Books and found a simple Philly Cheese Steak recipe that I knew we would appreciate. Cook's Illustrated and America's Test Kitchen tend to offer extremely efficient recipes with a limited list of ingredients that taste like the best version of whatever you're making. That's perfect for us!

The recipe is so simple that you can easily give it your own spin without compromising the integrity of the dish. Instead of the traditional sub roll, I used a brioche bun and Swiss cheese instead of white American cheese. I made one more addition to the recipe by sautéing some sliced onions and half a bag of Trader Joe's frozen green chiles in a separate pan.

Green Chile Philly Cheesesteak
(adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

Philly Cheesesteak on a Toasted Brioche Bun with Green Chiles and Swiss Cheese

Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 pounds skirt or flank steak, trimmed and sliced with grain into 3-inch wide strips
4 Buns, sliced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/2 bag of Trader Joe's green chiles, defrosted
1/2 white onion, sliced

Place steak pieces on a large plate lined with saran wrap and freeze until firm. Carefully shave the steak pieces against the grain with a sharp knife.

Sauté onions in a lightly greased pan. Once the onions are translucent, add the green chiles and season salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a separate skillet and cook the meat in separate portions to avoid overcrowding the pan. Transfer cooked meat to a colander set in a bowl to remove juices. Repeat until all meat is cooked, then return all the meat into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and add the grated Parmesan cheese.

Toast buns in the oven. For dinner, I put a slice of Swiss cheese on each pair of buns before putting them in the oven so that the cheese would be crusty rather than melty, but for lunch the next day, I added it when assembling the hot sandwich so it would be melty. Either way is delicious!

Seeing how I cooked twice as much flank steak as specified in the recipe, I saved the remainder of the cooked beef strips and sautéed onions and green chiles for our Sunday brunch omelet! Voila! Philly Cheesesteaks two ways with only half the effort!

Philly Cheese Steak Open-faced Omelet

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