Monday, August 11, 2008

Steak Sandwiches with Corn on the Cob

As food prices rise and paychecks do not, I find grocery shopping more and more challenging--in a good way. Necessity is the mother of invention--and I'm becoming the queen of inventiveness, and finding really good sales. I also discovered that I can go to my farmer's market and ask for $1 worth of basil and get a good handful--how great is that?

This week I was able to get my hands on those yummy frozen sandwich steaks, two packages for $5. I know they're of questionable nutritional value, but it's one of those guilty pleasures that we have every once in a while--and Mr.W loves them so. One 12-ounce package feeds us both very generously (actually that size could feed a family of four--yes, we are gluttons); we enjoyed them Friday with some fresh corn on the cob while watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Sorry for the day-glow corn--we are having unseasonably cold & rainy weather lately and my photos are suffering for it!

Steak Sandwiches
serves 2-4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 12-ounce package frozen sandwich steaks
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
sliced cheese (we used pepper jack)
bread (I toasted ours in the oven)
toppings as desired (we used mayonnaise and mustard)

Heat a large saucepan over a medium flame and add olive oil. Break all the steaks into the saucepan and cook until no longer pink. Normally I like steak done to medium-plus or medium-well, but for these sandwiches--and especially when feeding Mr.W--I like it well-cooked. Remove meat from saucepan; set aside and keep warm.

In the same pan, saute onions and bell peppers until desired tenderness is reached. I detest raw onion, and any onion with remaining crunch that still retains it's oniony flavor, so I always cook my onion until soft.

Assemble sandwich on bread or toast that has been spread with desired toppings: meat, onions and peppers, then cheese. Yum!

Variation idea: How about a steak pannini? Steak, onions & peppers and cheese grilled--sounds good to me!

I also must admit that I didn't really know how to make fresh corn on the cob. How long do you boil it? Does it go in with the water and then you bring it to a boil? Or does it get thrown into already boiling water?

In my research I learned that some people add sugar to their boiling water just before adding the corn. Why? Why would you do that? Why must we add sugar to everything? I find corn quite sweet enough. I'm fundamentally against adding sugar to things willy-nilly. Like when caramelizing onions--most recipes will tell you to add sugar or brown sugar, but this is not necessary. They will caramelize beautifully if you just (a) select strong yellow or brown onions (rather than sweet onions such as purple or vidalia) and (b) cook them slowly.

But I digress. Back to the corn.

How to Boil Fresh Corn on the Cob

1. Boil water.

2. Add about 1/2 teaspoon SALT and the whole or halved ears of corn.

3. When water returns to a boil, cook for 15 minutes. Test cob for doneness by running it under cold water and checking corn tenderness (go ahead--take a bite). If done, remove remaining cobs; if still too firm, boil for another 3-5 minutes.

Mine only went for 15 minutes. Perfection.

You might notice in the photo that one half-ear is yellow corn and the other is bi-color. My farmer's market had all ears of corn for $.50 each, so I thought I'd get one of each and try both. The verdict: the solid yellow corn is delicious--but the bi-color is MUCH sweeter.


katiez said...

If it's really fresh corn, I bring water to a boil in a steamer, add the corn and steam for about 7 minutes, or just until all the kernals change color. If it's older corn or with bigger kernels I steam for 15 minute. You can test for doneness (is that a word) by trying to pierce a kernel with a fingernail - if it pops easily it's done. Saves having to cool it!

Amanda said...

Great advice, Katiez, thank you! Corn is a rare treat for us, since I prefer to eat only the locally-grown stuff in season (plus corn is naturally pretty high is sugar), so I suspect a shorter cooking time would be fine for the fresh local corn that I buy. I'll try your steaming method next time.

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