Birthdays in my family always mean three things: steak, potatoes, and monkey bread. We probably have salad, too, but who cares about that when we have those three most delicious foods. So, on the Saturday before Labor day when my sisters and Matt’s sister were here and I prepared all day for a celebration of Nancy’s 25th last month and Laura’s 27th on the seventh. I got up really early and bought donuts, went on a walk, marinated steak, started Monkey Bread, made birthday cupcakes, and washed the potatoes to be boiled and whipped into a garlic-y delight when Matt was to get off. Unfortunately due to a little scheduling faux pas at work, Matt did not get off as planned and at 9:00pm we opted for the Chick fil A drive through instead of grilling (a decision Toby also benefited from when he sneakily ate the last of my sandwich from a top the table-beagles!). Ah well, steak is better the longer it’s marinated-right? And garlic whipped potatoes always taste better the next day…I think…
So, on Sunday we tried again, and birthday was enjoyed by most (sister #1 had to go back to work in Fort Worth).
Course one. Monkey Bread
1. Dissolve 1 packet of yeast into 1/4 Cup of warm water
2. Stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar
( I do steps 3-8 in my KitchenAid with my bread hook. Though you can use a hand mixer,too)
3. In a bowl beat an egg and 1/2 Cup of sugar
4. Add 1/4 Cup vegetable oil & 1 teaspoon of salt.
6. Add 1 Cup of water
7. Add yeast mixture (make sure it’s frothy on top, if not wait until it is)
8. Measure 4 1/2 cups of flour and add this into your mixture a little at a time.
9. When it is all mixed up turn it onto a floured counter and knead until stiff (I like doing this because it’s a good workout for the arms and it also reminds me of what women did everyday to feed their families only 3 generations ago-though you can also let the magical KithchenAid to it for you).
10. Put this all in a bowl in a warm sunny place and cover it with a damp towel. Note where it is in the bowl so you’ll know when it’s doubled.
11. When it is doubled take out some aggression by punching it all down one time (so make it count).
12. Flour your counter again and roll it out so it’s about 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick.
13. Bust out your pizza cutter and cut into strips.
14. Melt one stick of butter and douse each piece in butter. *****
15. Criss cross the dough in a bread or bundt pan and drizzle leftover butter on top.
16. Let rise for another hour or so.
17. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The exterior should be a little crispy and a dark gold. Yummy.
Course Two. Steak.
1. Sprinkle raw steak with a generous amount of lemon juice which serves as a natural tenderizer and allow to sit for a couple of hours.
2. Smear each steak with yellow mustard.
3. Sprinkle generously with garlic and Montreal steak seasoning.
4. Douse in Red wine, soy sauce, and Worcestershire.
5. Grill (or have your husband grill) to your liking.
Course Three. Garlic Whipped Potatoes.
1. Wash and peel (or not, I like the skins so I don’t) 5-7 little red potatoes.
2. Dice them, in inch sized pieces.
4. With a hand mixer, whip your potatoes using your desired amount of sour cream, butter, and garlic powder to taste.
Bon Appetit and Enjoy!
A word on the steak.
I got a thin top sirloin cut from the store-because it was cheap. It marinated for two days and it was only moderately tender. For the last few years, we’ve been pretty cheapy and the best cheap-o steak I’ve found is those little filet mignons you can get that are pre-packaged and wrapped in bacon. I cringe as I write this because I know that they are probably injected with crazy stuff (insert shiver) but they are tasty and tender. SO….until the money (if ever???haha) comes pouring in, I’ll probably stick with these or with whatever’s on sale at Kroger. However-if you want it GRRRREEEAAATT-go for a T-bone (Matt’s favorite) or a thick cut good sirloin (my favorite).
A word on the bread.
First of all, once I tried to go the healthier route and skimped on the butter. And the fact is folks, you gotta use a whole stick-maybe two. And who cares about health when you’re only making this bread for special occasions? Second of all, beware of burning the yeast. I’ve only done this once and unfortunately it was for friends who I was really trying to impress (what’s it that they always say about pride again??). Yes, just use really warm tap water-never nuke the water. 😦