Heavy Metal Date Night

I remember when I first met the Wifey, one of our first date nights was her cooking me Filipino food.  She came to my ghetto-fabulous low-rent home in North Seattle with the uncut grass, couch on the porch, Ikea futon in the living room, and spray-painted TV (my roomie wanted a more modern looking TV so he spray painted it grey) and she made Bisteak.  I’ll never forget that night.  She strolled in with the thin cut beef, lemon juice, onion, and soy sauce, placed it all out on the counter top like “bla-dow”, looked at it like a boss….and then…she immediately called her father and asked him how to make it…we both kind of laughed about that but hey, she took the time to cook for me, which nobody had done before, so I knew it was meant to be. 

Over the years she has become my official taste tester and more often than not, she has jumped in to help me with a catering gig, prep food for a party, or just be there for me….by telling me I move too slow and my knife skills drive her crazy.  She watches me chop onions like the IT guy at work watches you fumble over Excel formulas…just sitting there thinking… “you’re doing it wrong!”  True love is brutally honest like that.  Still, the one thing we both bond with is hosting guests and cooking food.  We both grew up in families where our house was the place to be, so it is an unspoken connection that we have forged over the years of our marriage.  It is little surprise that when we started going on monthly date nights that our thoughts turned to a cooking class since at the end of the day, the two of us have a passion for good food and adventure.  I was happy to find a cooking class at the Issaquah PCC Market that specialized specifically in cast iron cooking since a few years back I received a small collection of cast iron cookware.  Once I found that class it was point, click, register, and boom, date night was official.  Ready for romance, knives, heavy metal and fire?  Me too!

Disclaimer: Since the class was sponsored by PCC Market but hosted by a professional chef with her own recipes, I would feel bad putting her recipes out there without her getting proper payment.  So, I won’t be giving the exact recipe she did, however, I will list a close approximation with the hope that you are enticed enough to look her up online and go to her class. She was awesome and your boy Phat Manny fully recommends you sign up with her next kick ass class.  Go find her online at www.lesacooks.com or on Instagram @lesacooks.

Disclaimer to Disclaimer:  The thing you need to know about cooking with cast iron is that it’s a bit like driving an old muscle car.  It takes a while to get it warmed up but when you do, it revs up fast and goes the distance.  Also, cast iron is super-conductive so it will hold heat for a good long while and get hot fast once it’s warm.  What you need to do is put the heat at medium to medium high (for sauté and frying) and just give it time.  If you put it on super high heat due to your impatience you will f*#@ the s*it out your food at an alarming rate…believe me, that’s coming from someone who learned the hard way.  Chicken wings aren’t meant to be crispy on the outside and raw in the middle…also…and this is pretty important…the handle gets hot like fire so keep a towel or pot holder handy.  You don’t want to end up like dude from Home Alone when he grabbed the doorknob that McCoflin McPoplin got all hot.

Singin’ the Cheesy Blues

  • Blue & Yellow Corn Tortillas
  • Goat cheese
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Thinly sliced zucchini
  • Thinly sliced onion
  • Olive oil

Pour in the olive oil, like maybe a tablespoon, and get the skillet to medium high heat.  Toss in the onion and zucchini and stirring often, sauté until soft, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove the veggies from the heat and place on a paper towel (to soak up any oil, water).  Take a tortilla and place the goat and gruyere cheese on one side, add the veggies and then a bit more cheese, place the other tortilla on top and place in the skillet.  Heat until the cheese is melted on both sides and remove from skillet.

Love is Spelled B-E-E-F

  • Skirt Steak
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Hungarian Smoked Paprika
  • Olive Oil

Place the steak on a cutting board and sprinkle salt, pepper, and fancy pants European Paprika on both sides.  Next, pour in enough Olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of the skillet, about 1.5 tablespoons and get the skillet up to medium high heat.  At this point, just cook the steak how you like it, rare, medium-rare, or any of the variety of baseball glove chewy temps that come after medium-rare (can you tell I don’t like well-done steak).   

Don’t tell anyone, but I made this one up…  

  • Whole gang of cilantro (like ½ of the bunch)
  • 1 jalapeno with the seeds and veins taken out
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 tsp pepper

Just throw all this in a blender, or food processor, hit the high button, let it spin around until all the cilantro is chopped up and it runs fluid like sauce.  If you like creamy sauces, maybe like add a bit of Mexican Crema Fresca, but not too much.  Place in a bowl and set aside.

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me

  • Canned Peaches (enough to fully cover the bottom of the skillet)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ stick melted butter
  • Vanilla cake batter (can just get a box cake for this part)

Melt the butter and throw in the pinch of salt.  Now pour that melted butter in the cast iron skillet and using the back of a spoon, kind of spread it around so it coats the skillet.  If your skillet is bigger, just melt more butter.  Place the peaches in the skillet in like a pinwheely-swirl shape.  If its not perfect, who cares! Just basically get the peaches all along the bottom to cover up all the skillet.  Now, just pour the cake mix over the top and bake according to the instructions on the cake box.

At the end of it all, this was one of those date nights that was really a cool mix of teamwork and social interaction because we got to meet so many cool people and put together a really good meal that we hope to replicate in the near future.  Oh yeah!  When you do these PCC classes, they give you the recipe so if you go like we did, you’ll be able to go home and make it again.  Our kids have taken their children’s cooking classes where they learned how to cook Italian, Thai, and all kinds of other sweet international dishes…but they have yet to make us anything, so I think next time, we’ll make them cook for us.  But they have to use the recipes or else we would be treated to the finest 3-course meal of cereal, popcorn and toaster waffles in town.

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