An introduction to The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, including Jaden’s unforgettable steak recipe (and OH, the tomatoes, people, the tomatoes, all sweet and saucy in a sweet 'n' sour sauce). The steaks are easy enough for a weeknight but special enough for a weekend celebration, perfect for late-summer meals.
"... the family went wild - I think they want it every night now!!!!" ~ Kathleen
First look last fall, I was instantly charmed by the intimacy of The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair, the force-of-nature known online for Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are peppered with family pictures and personal anecdotes. In person (yes, we’ve met!) and in book, Jaden exudes irrepressible energy and sheer fun.
At first, however, the recipes themselves didn’t call to me and the cookbook dropped to the bottom of the stack.
Fast forward to early summer when I found myself tagging one recipe after another. Could I cook the entire book? I sure wanted to!
Why the change? I wondered. Then it hit me. The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook has a summery slant and for good reason. Jaden lives in Florida where good tomatoes, say, can be found more months than not; where ‘winter’ is a few weeks of coolish weather; where good seafood comes straight from the Gulf and the Atlantic. When a cookbook author lives in a place with nine months of summer, naturally her recipes reflect the tastes of summer.
The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook has an Asian slant too, the official title is The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Recipes Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner, good for nudging my recipe repertoire in a new direction.
The ingredients are ‘real food’ and accessible – most will be familiar to regular Kitchen Parade readers. The techniques are easy to follow – ‘simple enough for tonight’s dinner’ is no stretch. The recipes are healthy – nearly all are low-fat and high-flavor and call for lots of vegetables.
So add it up: accessible Asian, fresh, easy and healthy. That’s lots to love about The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. I like that! You just might too!
Others who like recipes from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook:
Pho Ga from Andrea's Recipes
Garlic Butter Noodles from White on Rice Couple
Coconut Shrimp from Wasabimon
Pad Thai from Rasa Malaysia
Korean BBQ Burgers from Use Real Butter
Salmon Kabayaki (Pan-Fried Salmon) from Elena's Pantry
STEAK and TOMATOES
Time to table: 60 minutes
- Ribeye steaks for 4 (see Alanna’s TIPS), warmed to room temperature for 30 minutes
- Olive oil
- Spice rub for meat (see TIPS)
- Red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease or olive oil
SWEET & SOUR SAUCE
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar or another mild vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
(double if adding okra or other optional vegetables)
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, slivered
- 4 small onions, peeled and sliced vertically into wedges
- 4 small ripe but firm tomatoes, sliced vertically into wedges
- 1/2 pound okra or other vegetables, optional (see TIPS)
STEAKS Place an oven-safe skillet (for simplicity, let’s call it Skillet One) in the oven and preheat oven to 300F. Rub the steaks with oil, a little spice rub, then wet the tops with a splash of red wine vinegar.
Heat the bacon grease in a second skillet (that would be Skillet Two) on medium high, drop in the steaks to sear without moving for 2-3 minutes, putting a little burn (see TIPS) on the outside. Turn over and sear the other side.
Transfer the meat to Skillet One and finish cooking in the oven, until the internal temperature reaches 120F. (How long will that take? "Awhile" says my Culinary Co-Conspirator who's usually in charge of the meat. Me, I use an electronic thermometer to avoid undercooking or overcooking.) When it does, turn off the oven and let the meat rest while continuing.
SWEET & SOUR SAUCE While the steaks cook, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl.
TOMATOES While the steaks finish in the oven, add the garlic and onion to Skillet Two (it should still be hot and have a good shimmer of fat left, if not reheat and add a little oil), cook for 1-2 minutes until golden, then push to the side. Add the tomatoes in a single layer, stirring only very occasionally to permit a slight ‘burn’ to develop. Add the okra or other vegetables.
Stir in the Sweet & Sour Sauce and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes and onions and other vegetables are gently cooked and well-coated with the sauce. Taste and adjust as needed (see Jaden’s TIPS).
SERVE Fill plates with the tomato mixture, top with the steaks, drizzle a little sauce over the steaks. Consider having a loaf of crusty bread nearby to sop up the juices. Savor every bite!
Question of the Week:
Online Recipes vs Cookbook Recipes vs Magazine Recipes
These days, do find yourself more inspired to cook by online sources (you know, websites such as Kitchen Parade and Steamy Kitchen) or by cookbooks and magazines that you can hold and browse in your hands? Let me know in the comments!
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