One thing about constant weekend jaunts to Michigan I've noticed over the course of my year in Cleveland: food goes bad. Perfectly fresh leftover eggplant is tuesday's liquified mess in the trash bin. This past weekend, I took yogurt so as to have breakfast while away, only to have it spoil on the way up, cooler be damned. The end of the week before a weekend Michigan trek has become a testament to our parishibles. We stuff them in our mouths in odd combinations just to get them used up. Naturally, we forgot about the zucchini we just bought and it went bad by Monday.
On the plus side, Kroger had a steak sale in Michigan, so Art bought four big steaks for him and his mother. On Sunday, while Art installed a much-needed ceiling fan replacement in the dining room, Art's mom and I made a big fancy steak dinner. She made the steaks and I made marinated portabello mushroom caps (on sale at Meijer), which is my go-to on-the-grill steak veggie alternative. Truth be told, I enjoy the mushroom caps far more than I ever enjoyed the steak from my meat-eating days. For simplicity's sake, I call them portabello mushroom steaks. And the key, as with a lot of steaks, really is in the seasoning.
I found a recipe for it online years ago that involved a marinade with fruity wine and oil. I replaced the wine with fruit juice and vinegar. But I've long-since lost the recipe. Instead, I vigorously sprinkle the caps with sea salt and pepper, then garlic powder and maybe a pinch of cayenne for a kick. Then I immerse them in strawberry balsamic vinagrette, though any fruit balsamic vinagrette will do. In Michigan, I didn't have my strawberry stuff handy so I bought pomagranette blueberry instead and that too was divine.
Then, after marinating for at least 30 minutes (1-2 hours is preferable), you put the caps on the grill for about 5-10 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. As with steak, the key is to keep a close eye. In the apartment, we don't have a grill so I fry them up in a large skillet and this works too, though lacks that touch of charcoally taste that grilled food (even gas-grilled food) inevitably has.
My favorite way to eat my mushroom steak is with a side of raw kale leaves and tomato. The sweet black "gravy" from the mushroom really complements the bitterness of the kale. This past weekend, we had side salads with ranch instead, as well as a baked sweet potato a la Long Horn (cut in half with a glop of butter and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. Then, an apple crisp for dessert.
It was a cookout fit for the holiday weekend. And luckily, the leftover mushrooms made the journey back to Cleveland untarnished, and I had the fried version of my mushroom steak again tonight.