My husband was kind enough to plan and prepare dinner last night. We wanted a dish that would enhance our beef from local Sulzer Farm without covering up its taste. I supplied dessert, a simple yet satisfying oatmeal cake with broiled coconut topping taken from the amusing The Flavor of Wisconsin cookbook I have been perusing lately. The cookbook is filled with 19th- and 20th-century recipes from Wisconsin home cooks. The cake is quick to make and keeps moist covered at room temperature for several days.
Sliced Steak with Hot and Sour Sauce
adapted from The Food of Thailand: A Journey for Food Lovers by Kay Halsey and Lulu Grimes
2 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon roasted chili powder
3–4 shallots, finely sliced
1/3 cup (1 oz) chopped cilantro
12 oz (340 g) porterhouse or other steak
red or green leaf lettuce leaves, to serve
Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and chili powder in a bowl. Add the shallots and cilantro.
Grill the steak until medium or medium rare. Using a sharp knife, slice the cooked beef crossways into strips.
To serve, line a plate with lettuce leaves and top with the steak, then spoon the chilli mixture over the steak to taste. Jasmine rice is a delicious complement to the meat, though white rice could be used if jasmine rice isn’t available.
1/4 cup (60 ml) rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/4 cup (1/2 oz) chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 jalapeno (or other chil), thinly sliced or minced
1–2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, sliced into thin half-moons
In a mason jar or other quart-size container, mix together the vinegars, cilantro, salt, sugar, jalapeno and shallots. Add the cucumber and enough water to cover the cucumbers (about 1/2 cup/120 ml). Stir. Cover and chill.
adapted from The Flavor of Wisconsin by Harva Hachten and Terese Allen
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) boiling water
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup (110 g) butter
1 cup (200 g) packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (170 g) sugar
1 1/2 cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
for the topping:
1/4 cup (50 g) packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) half and half
1 cup flaked coconut
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped roasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan.
In a small bowl, pour boiling water over the oats. Mix well and set aside to cool.
Cream together the butter and sugars, then beat in the eggs. Stir in the cooled oatmeal. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, then stir in slowly to the oatmeal mixture. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and frost with the topping.
To make the topping, combine the sugar and half and half and bring just to the boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Spread onto the cooled cake, then place under the broiler until browned.