Steak and Tomatoes

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.

Steak and Tomatoes, ribeyes pan-seared and finished in oven on a delicious bed of tomatoes, onions, late-summer vegetables.

"... 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!

ALANNA’s TIPS If good ribeyes aren’t in the budget or the freezer, substitute strip steaks, top sirloin or thick-cut pork chops or lamb chops. Thick-cut steaks are so large, one easily feeds three or four so if need be, cut the meat into pieces before prepping. If you like, grill the steaks or cook them in your favorite way. But since the meat juice is so important to the flavor of the cooked tomatoes, cut off a small piece of meat and cook it in Skillet Two before making the sauce. Use your favorite spice rub. Here we are partial to the Galena Street Rub from Penzeys. A little ‘burn’ is good, it adds flavor and texture. Try it, you won’t go back! If you’re adding optional vegetables, think about how long they’ll take to cook compared to the tomatoes, they might need to be added before the tomatoes.

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

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Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Serves 4
  • 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
    for TOMATOES
    (double if adding okra or other optional vegetables)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar or another mild vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 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!

JADEN’s TIPS We found the Sweet & Sour Sauce to be “spot on” perfect for the tomatoes. But in her cookbook, Jaden says to taste the sauce and a bite of tomato before serving. If it’s too puckery, she advises, add 1/2 teaspoon sugar. If it’s not sour enough? Add 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar. If it needs salt? Add 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce. If the sweet and sour is too strong? Add a tablespoon of water. The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook is filled with little tips like this, ones that build confidence in new and experienced cooks both.
NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving, Whole Meal, assumes 4 ounces raw steak per serving without/with optional vegetables plus extra sauce: 354/402 Calories; 19g Tot Fat; g Sat Fat; 54mg Cholesterol; 185/307mg Sodium; 18/29g Carb; 2/4g Fiber; 13/20g Sugar; 22/24g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 8/9 & WW PointsPlus 9/10
Adapted from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook, a complimentary copy from Jaden and the publisher Tuttle Publishing My Disclosure Promise

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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Chicken Recipes from Around the World

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Quick Supper: Kung Pao Chicken Italian Lemon Chicken Moroccan Chicken

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© Copyright 2010, 2014 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I absolutely LOVE Jaden's cookbook! Like you, I wasn't sure how much I would cook out of it, but I have made multiple dishes and they have all been very delicious. It is one of my go-to cookbooks now!

  2. Thank you so much, my friend!! Big hugs and kisses to you!! xoxo

  3. I find myself reading blogs and such for ideas but rarely follow a recipe from an online source--except when I look up one of mine to remember how I did something! I love cookbooks, especially ones that have some story to them. I don't need pictures, although they're a nice extra. I think the most disappointing books have been the ones with gorgeous pictures where the recipe just didn't taste good. I'd rather the effort go into the recipes!

  4. Kathleen9/09/2010

    Well - you have done it this time!! I made this tonight and the family went wild - I think they want it every night now!!!! My changes were - using London Broil, Splenda, zucchini and fresh mushrooms. This was so good!

  5. I find online the best. It's easy to pull up several similar recipes and compare. Much easier to search for recipes to suit what's available when using the computer.

    I'm a regular reader of several food blogs and have come to appreciate how much I learn and am encouraged to try new ideas.

    It takes time, but I find the reader comments invaluable. People volunteer fabulous suggestions, warnings and honest reviews.

    I'm still using cookbooks, but often checking them against what's online. Sometimes there's such an enthusiastic response to a cookbook that I will add it to my wishlist for later purchase.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna