photo by Thoth, God of Knowledge
You can’t be good in every room.
Isn’t that a great saying? I wish I could say that I made it up but I didn’t.
Where did I here it from?
Mae West? No. Madonna? No.
Mildred Phyllis Krakauer? Yes.
No one was better in the kitchen, thank you very much.
“And don’t forget about the room upstairs, darling.” Irvin would add with a wink.
“Irvin!” Mildred’s cheeks would go pink but her eyes would light up.
I am telling you this for a reason. Tomorrow I am going down to Washington, D.C. for a day of meetings and what I am most concerned about is what Seth and Sky are going to have for dinner. Concerned, but not worried. Why? Because I, too, thanks to my Jewish mother in law, am good in the kitchen.
How to Be Good in the Kitchen
In a word, marinades.
In Mildred’s kitchen, where there was a Ziploc bag, there was a marinade. One of the secrets of being good in the kitchen is always having the right ingredients around to marinate the cuts of meat you bring home. I have inherited Mildred’s kitchen and her must-have list of items which I keep in stock faithfully. And it is amazing how something as simple as a Mildred marinade can transform a steak dinner from why bother to wow!
For economy and taste, I prefer flank or hanger steak. When I first became Mrs. Krakauer, Mildred – THE Mrs. Krakauer – and I went to Curran’s on Beach 129th Street where she introduced me to the other man in her life, Bernie, the butcher.
“This is my daughter-in-law and she needs to know from steak. Give her a nice piece, enough for four. Nice and lean.” When I came back later to pick up the meat, he handed it to me wrapped neatly in butcher paper with cooking directions written on it.
“When you are ready to make a brisket, you come back to me the day after you cook it and I’ll slice it for you nice, Mrs. Krakauer.” Bernie boomed politely. The line of customers looked at me suspiciously. You’re no Mrs. Krakauer! You’re just trying to cut in the line.
By the time I got home, Mildred was crushing garlic. She never put away a cut of meat without marinating it. Like chicken soup and brisket, this marinade was a prized secret. I may never make chicken soup or brisket as wonderfully as she did, but I can follow the recipe for her marinade. Here it is:
Smoosh 4 – 6 cloves of garlic with 4 sprigs of rosemary that you pick from Andrea’s garden, 1 heaping teaspoon of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add 6 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1 teaspoon brown sugar.
Pour into a large Ziploc bag and marinate steak in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat broiler or grill. Cook steak, turn over, until done. Total cooking time ranges from 6 – 12 minutes. Let the meat rest about 5 minutes before slicing. Cut across the grain into thin slices.
There is a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator with marinated steaks. Seth can grill and serve the steak with some salad greens and a fresh crusty baguette. Simply delicious!
It’s true you can’t be good in every room. But you can marinate your way into being marvelous in the kitchen.
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