The countdown is on! It’s December and we are moving into the full swing of holiday fun and fare. As promised, I am offering ideas and recipes to help ease the stress of the celebrating in this, the most festive of seasons. Amid all the joy and cheer, I find it is a great time to appreciate the many decorative displays that are around town.
The art of browsing is cheap; an inexpensive way to brainstorm decorating and gift ideas. One of my favourite places to browse during the holidays is Lady of the Lake. Bursting with expressions of yuletide design, it is a great place to bask in the glow of lights and scents of the season. Also a great place to grab lunch because Lady of the Lake has a spectacular restaurant.
No deep fryers and only the freshest ingredients, I love sitting in the eclectic space and appreciating the scents of only freshly-baked wholesome goodness. I have a few menu favourites, but lately I find myself enjoying the Veggie Sandwich every time. It’s the only restaurant in town I know of that uses beets in their menu, an underused ingredient in my opinion. I also love their hummus… full of garlic and, for me, that is a love affair no other restaurant can rival.
A spectacular crew of servers and cooks, I always love watching them work in their open-concept kitchen. Consider it the best peace of mind when you can see into the dish pit of a restaurant and only the reflection of pristine stainless sinks meets your eye and calms my heart. Many restaurants hide their skeletons in the dish pit, as customers rarely have the opportunity to view the kitchen in general and it can easily become an area of neglect. The crew at Lady of the Lake carefully tend to the dish pit and even during the busiest of lunches I have never seen that kitchen in complete chaos.
Sharing my commitment to local ingredients and flavour, the restaurant has developed, and is now marketing, my most favourite Saskatoon salad dressing. What I love about this product, besides its deliciousness, is its versatility in the kitchen. Like any vinaigrette, it is a powerful flavouring agent that is so much more than a dressing for greens.
Besides using it to flavour your salads, I suggest using it to pump up your cream cheese and sour cream-based dips. Add some to quick pan sauces or use as a cooking liquid, the acidity will offer a balance to most rich meats. Use it as a glaze or marinade — the light fruitiness is a spectacular compliment to any game, and the acidity will help tenderize.
This recipe is a perfect example of taking honest ingredients and making a simple, no-fuss dish, fit for the party crowd. The heartiness of the beef balances the acidity of the dressing and the finish of kosher salt brightens the Saskatoon flavour. The freshly-ground pepper adds depth and savouriness to the finish. While I kept the recipe simple, remember that there is always room for interpretation. Adding veggies to the marinade would make a simple an easy addition to bulk up the skewers and stretch the meat a little further.
Whether your stockings are filled with chocolates or garlic, there is always room to support local businesses and their amazing products. A bottle of Saskatoon dressing would be a great gift and helps to add character and flavour to your holiday menu.
Lady of the Lake Saskatoon Beef
1 lb of rib-eye or sirloin steak, cut into even pieces
1/ 3 cup of Lady of the Lake Saskatoon Dressing
1/ 4 tsp of kosher salt
1/ 2 tsp of freshly cracked pepper
1 clove of garlic minced very fine
Kosher salt for finishing
Freshly cracked pepper for finishing
Cut beef into even sized pieces. Trim and remove any silver skin or excess fat. Place beef into a marinating container with a tight sealing lid. Top with the dressing salt, pepper, and garlic. Seal container and shake vigorously to coat evenly. Place in fridge for up to 2 days. Any longer and the acidity of the dressing will break down the meat too much. Shake the contents of the container a few times to redistribute the marinade.
Pre-heat oven to Broil and raise rack to the top. Prepare a broil pan or wrap a cookie sheet with tin foil for easy clean up.
Remove beef from marinade. Place on baking tray, lightly pat with paper towel to remove some of the excess moisture. When oven is hot, place the tray on the upper-most rack and watch it very closely. Broil for about 3-5 minutes depending on oven. Pull the meat out while it is just rare. It will continue to cook as it sits.
Let meat rest for 5 minutes then pierce with skewer, place on a plate and sprinkle with freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt. Serve immediately with a side dish of extra dressing as dipping sauce.
NOTE: BBQing the meat is also a delicious option; grill on high. Place meat on a pre-heated grill for about 3 minutes. Turn once if needed, but do not overcook. A juicy end product cooked to about a medium doneness.