08 September 2012

Mom's birthday dinner

It's hard to believe it's been a month since I posted. The month of August brought many fun events, like my in-laws visiting, camping at Olallie Lake, and a week-long vacation to Priest Lake, Idaho, where my uncle has a cabin. I did a ton of cooking while we were there, but managed to be very lazy when it came to writing about any of it. So, here we are a month later and I'm finally getting around to this whole blogging thing again.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. For those of you who don't know her--I'm sorry. She's pretty amazing. Since her birthday is on a Friday and I actually have to work (boo), I wanted to do something simple, but still special. It also hit 95 degrees here, so we also had to keep things cool.

I overheard mom say she enjoyed a tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and basil sometime over our vacation, and found this delightful looking dish on Epicurious. After our birthday drink at Meriwether's, I was really happy I chose something so easy to prepare. I bought a London Broil because it's an economical cut and with the right prep can be made very tender and delicious on the grill. We paired the steak with an Argentinian chimichurri sauce, rounded out the meal with a baguette from Little T, and bam, great birthday dinner. Oh, the champagne didn't hurt either...

After dinner, we sat around listening to records, drinking more champagne, and talking. Not a bad way to celebrate 66...er, I mean 26. Right, mom?

London Broil for Charcoal Grill
Cook's Illustrated

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bottom round steak, 2 to 2 1/2 pounds and 1 1/2 inches thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Sprinkle both sides of steak evenly with salt; wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (steak can be salted and refrigerated for up to 24 hours).

2. Fill large pot or bucket with 1 gallon warm water (about 100 degrees). Place wrapped steak into zipper-lock plastic bag, squeeze out excess air, and seal bag tightly. Place steak in water, covering with plate or bowl to keep bag submerged. Set aside for 1 hour.

3. About 20 minutes before grilling, light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, or about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are covered in thin, gray ash, about 20 minutes. Empty coals into grill and build modified two-level fire by arranging coals to cover one-half of grill with other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat until hot, about 5 minutes; scrape grate clean with grill brush.

4. Remove steak from water and unwrap; brush both sides with oil (salt will have dissolved) and sprinkle evenly with pepper. Grill steak directly over coals, flipping steak with tongs once every minute, until dark brown crust forms on both sides, about 8 minutes. Move steak to cooler side of grill; cover grill and continue cooking until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of steak registers 120 degrees for rare to medium-rare, about 5 minutes, flipping steak halfway through cooking time.

5. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest, tented with foil, about 10 minutes. Holding thin slicing knife at 45-degree angle to meat (see photo below), slice very thinly and serve.


  1. I think it's all well and good to head out to fancy restaurants for birthday dinners, but home-cooked meals will always be the most special to me, I think! And it looks fabulous! Your mom is one lucky lady!

    1. Lately, I've been doing more birthday dinners at home. I am starting to feel the same way. I reserve restaurant meals more for when I'm tired and don't want to cook, we have a gift card, or I just want to try somewhere new....although that last reason is becoming more and more rare....

  2. I don't eat meat, but I have to say that does look good! I know how easy it is to slip away from blogging - life gets in the way sometimes. Happy to have you back, making me hungry as usual :)