Today we’re celebrating a big birthday in our house. Let’s call it 29. We traditionally have dinner at home, and given the 5-12 inches of snow that’s forecast for Denver, tonight we’re definitely staying in.
On the menu: strip steak; buttermilk chive mashed potatoes; organic herb salad; beets with goat cheese and oranges; and chocolate buttermilk cake with fluffy white frosting. This is a “greatest hits” menu, a compilation of the birthday boy’s favorite dishes (other than the beets — those are for me). The only surprise is the chimichurri, a classic Argentinean steak sauce made with parsley, garlic, salt, oil, red pepper flakes, and vinegar. I saw it at a restaurant this week and didn’t order it; since then, I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.
With one hour to go before dinner, the oranges are sectioned, the potatoes and beets are roasting, the cake is made, and soon the steak will be taken out of the refrigerator and seasoned with a healthy sprinkle of kosher salt and cracked pepper. Now all that’s left is to wash the greens, mash the potatoes, and decide how to fit the — ahem — 29 candles on his cake.
Large bunch of parsley
2-4 garlic cloves
2 or more tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, if desired
Cut the thick stems off a large bunch of organic parsley and discard. Wash thin stems and leaves and dry well. Add parsley to a food processor along with two cloves of garlic (more if they’re small), a sprinkle of kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil. Puree, then taste. Add more salt, vinegar, and oil as necessary, then process again. If you like, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.