Like most adventures with my foodie friends, it is also all about the food. We were determined to ski well, to eat well, and to drink well.
A curried couscous salad made the night before actually improves with age as its yogurt base mingles with the turmeric, curry powder and currants. A handful of arugula adds color and crunch.
For my yurt-mates and me, sharing good food with good friends in a pristine setting was what mattered. As we let the guys take over our cozy yurt, we constructed one last decadent meal: Leftover hanger steak, caramelized onions, and a dab of saffron garlic aioli on ciabatta bread. We graciously handed over the remains of the Chocolate Amaretti Torte to the guys, who apparently had packed only snacks.
For information about renting a yurt in the Wyoming backcountry, go to http://www.skithetetons.com/index.html
For a printable version of each recipe, print on the file below it.
Hanger Steak with Caramelized Onions
for the steak and marinade:
- 2 1/2 lb. hanger steak (I had to order mine from Jackson Whole Grocer; ask your butcher)
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
for the caramelized onions:
- 3 cups thinly sliced onions
- 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- FIrst, prepare the marinade for the steak. Remove the leaves from the rosemary sprigs, and chop finely.
- Add rosemary to a large plastic bag with the olive oil and the garlic.
- Place the hanger steak in the bag, and mix well, rubbing the marinade into the steak.
- Seal and refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to 12 hours.
- Next, prepare the onions. Slice the onions as thin as you can with a sharp knife or a mandoline.
- Heat a large saute pan over medium heat; add butter, oil and onions. Cook until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper and sherry vinegar.
- To cook the steak, you can use a grill, a cast iron skillet, or a broiler. Wipe the marinade from the steak and season with salt and pepper. Broil, grill, or pan-fry using high heat until just underdone. (I used the broiler, and achieved rare/medium rare results with 5 minutes on one side, 4-5 on the other). Doneness will depend on the thickness of the steak, so use your judgement.
- If serving right away, let the steak rest for 5 minutes, tented with foil, and then slice against the grain into thin slices. Serve atop thick slices of peasant bread with the onions, and drizzle with more olive oil (or garlic aioli) if desired. If packing it up into the backcountry, leave the steak whole. Cool, and wrap in a double layer of foil. Reheat the foil packet on your heat source (we used the wood stove), and slice just before eating.
Saffron Garlic Aioli
- 4 small or 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. saffron threads (optional)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp. sherry vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/4 cup pure olive oil (not extra virgin) or vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Cut the garlic cloves in half, remove and discard the green sprout in the center. Chop the garlic finely, or mince it through a garlic press.
- Combine the chopped garlic and the salt and crush with a mortar and pestle, or if using minced garlic, mash it with the salt using the side of a large knife.
- Place the garlic/salt into a medium bowl. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vinegar or lemon juice. Gradually pour the olive oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified.
- If using saffron, crush the threads between your fingers and cover in small bowl with a few teaspoons of hot water. After 5-10 minutes of steeping, add the saffron to the finished aioli and mix well. If the saffron forms bead of color in the aioli, that's fine, just give it another vigorous stir before serving.
Chocolate Amaretti Torte
You will need a springform pan for this cake, and some of those baby amaretti cookies made by Amaretto di Saronno (Jackson Whole Grocer usually carries these addictive, crunchy cookies).
This recipe comes from Giada de Laurentis' Everyday Italian cookbook.
- 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 cup (about 2 oz.) baby amaretti cookies
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. grated orange zest (from one large orange)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, for sifting on top
- Butter flavored or plain cooking spray, to coat the pan
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick spray and refrigerate.
- In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- In a food processor, combine the almonds and cookies, and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl.
- Without cleaning the food processor bowl, add the butter, sugar, and orange zest and blend until creamy. With the machine running, add the eggs, one at a time.
- Add the nut mixture and the melted chocolate. Pulse until blended.
- Use a rubber spatula to transfer the batter to prepared pan. Bake until the center puffs and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Cool in the pan, and then gently remove the release the sides of the springform pan. Use a fine mesh sieve to sprinkle the top with cocoa powder. Slice and serve on the pan's base.
- If packing the cake into the backcountry, wrap tightly in wax paper, then foil. Freezing the cake will make it less likely to break in transport.