Let's face it: You're busy — too busy to mess around with complicated cooking at the end of the day. Still, dinner should be more than just a cup full of cereal and the dream of a brighter tomorrow. Enter: Jenny Rosenstrach, a busy mom who makes dinner happen with style, simplicity, and just the right amount of sizzle. Whether or not you're cooking for kids, we love her easy, delicious approach. In fact, we love it so much, we'll be sharing one of her recipes every week, so you can have a life — and a REALLY good meal, too.
This is how a conversation went with my new friend Sarah, the first time I met her a few months ago.
Sarah: "I really love your blog, it gives me hope." Me: "Hey, thanks. I’m so glad." Sarah: "But I don’t cook from it." Me: "Oh…you don’t?" Sarah: "No, I don’t cook. I can’t do anything in the kitchen." Me: "Yes you can." Sarah: "No I can’t. I. Really. Can’t."
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That week, I had just read a profile of Stacy London and it crossed my mind that Sarah felt the way about cooking the way I felt reading that story — the way I felt trying to figure out what I was going to wear to a fancy holiday party later that month: Intimidated. A little lost.
Me: "It’s not hard. You just need a little confidence and one or two solid recipes in your rotation." Sarah: "Well, what are those recipes? I have no idea where to start." Me: "I have almost 500 recipes on my blog, start there!" Sarah: "That doesn’t help."
She was totally right! Someone might as well have told me “How do you not have something to wear to that party? There are 500 stores in New York City that sell perfect party dresses.”
On this blog, sometimes we get so bogged down in the (admittedly plentiful) minutiae of family dinner — from the benefits of cooking for your kids to how to stay on top of Meatless Mondays to what freaking books to discuss at the dinner table — that we can forget to dial back and address the most elemental of issues: Where do I begin? It’s why Andy and I wrote a feature for Bon Appetit called "A Family Dinner Primer." Besides telling you what to make for family dinner (including this rockin’ steakhouse steak salad pictured above), we hope it goes back to the basics and tells you how to make family dinner.
As for what to wear to family dinner? I’m open to suggestions.
Steak Salad With Creamy Horseradish Dressing
If you want to do this on a weeknight, I highly recommend making the dressing and the pickled onions ahead of time. They are minor tasks, but just the kind of thing you’ll be glad you don’t have to do after a day wearing heels that were supposed to be more comfortable.
For the dressing
In a small bowl, whisk the following, which can be made in advance and stored for up to a week.
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Freshly ground pepper
For the salad
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1-pound rib-eye, flank, or skirt steak
Freshly ground pepper
12 ounces fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
6 radishes, cut into thin wedges
2 cups greens (such as arugula or torn Bibb lettuce leaves)
Pickled red onions
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Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked to desired doneness, five to eight minutes per side for medium-rare rib eye, about four minutes per side for flank steak, or three minutes per side for skirt steak. Transfer meat to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.
While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, season with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, eight to 10 minutes.
Slice steak and serve with horseradish dressing, potatoes, cucumber, radishes, greens, and pickled onions.
Jenny Rosenstrach is the author of Dinner: A Love Story and the blog of the same name. She and her husband write The Providers column for Bon Appetit.