The Tastiest Labor Day Weekend

I love how Labor Day just kind of sneaks up on me every year. I try not to think about it too much and then all of a sudden, it’s a welcomed surprise.  I do this kind of mental psych-out with my Netflix queue, too. I’ll put movies I’d like to see in my queue and I do not revisit the synopsis of the movies so that it is almost a complete surprise. Hmm..not sure what that says about me.

Friday and Sunday evening we got together with good friends and really enjoyed the food and company. Friday evening we went to a restaurant with friends that are expecting a baby in about 4 weeks! The husbands took up half our table with their fajitas and giant beers, Lynn had a pasty (the Northern Michigan favorite) and I had grilled buffalo shrimp over rice. Everything was tasty and we were able to enjoy our meals outside because of the beautiful weather. Sunday evening we took a drive to another good friends’ house and had a tasty Labor Day barbecue with a pretty fruit and cheese tray to start. We also enjoyed rum and cokes and white wine on their deck and even got in a couple games of Ladder Ball. The mosquitoes also had quite the feast, compliments of everyone but Marc and we had to take the party inside. Is that weird that Marc never, ever, ever gets bug bites while I’ve had at least 40 bites this summer? At least.

Saturday evening we were on our own and I had a sirloin steak for 2-3 defrosting, 1/2 C. of bleu cheese left over and I had purchased baby portabella mushrooms a few days earlier that needed attention. Ree of the Pioneer Woman made the most delicious looking ribeye steaks with onion-bleu cheese sauce that I knew my husband would love. I thought it would be the perfect way to use the rest of my bleu cheese and if Ree was swooning over it, well then it must be made, right? I just had to pick up some heavy cream and I had the rest of the ingredients. LOVE that. Since my mushrooms were looking at me so sadly from the fridge, I decided to cook those up, too.

So, if you can imagine…Marc grilled a 1 1/2 lb. sirloin to medium rare perfection and then this delicious steak was sliced and  perched on the silky onion-bleu cheese sauce and then I topped it with portabella mushrooms. Oh yeah, that’s right. And I did steam some fresh green beans, too, as some sort of “hey, there are still greens on the plate” moment. I told Marc that this dish is easy and impressive enough that it would be perfect for entertaining a few people. Oh so yummy. I also told Marc that I can’t believe I shut mushrooms out of my life for so long and that this meal made me very sad about that. Until, oh, 6 months ago, I would not let mushrooms near my plate. I’m still not a big fan of the plain white mushroom, but these baby portabellas sauteed up? Whole ‘nother story.

Recipe: Grilled Sirloin with Onion-Bleu Cheese Sauce

Very slightly adapted from the incomparable Pioneer Woman

Serves 2-3

1 1/2 lb. sirloin steak

salt and pepper to taste

4 T. unsalted butter

1 very large sweet onion (or yellow), sliced

3/4 C. heavy cream (I pour it into the measuring cup and let it sit out to take the chill off)

1/2 C.  bleu cheese

1. Grill steaks to medium rare. We used our charcoal grill and it was about 4 minutes per side (depends on the thickness of your meat). You can also do this on the gas grill, in a cast iron skillet or in a grill pan (like Ree). Start making the sauce while the meat is grilling and let it rest for 10 minutes when it is done.

2. Saute onions in 4 T. butter over high heat. Cook for 7-10 minutes until the onion are dark and caramelized.

3. Reduce heat to simmer and pour in the cream. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until reduced by half.

4. Stir in bleu cheese until melted and transfer any accumulated juices from your rested meat to the pan.

5. Slice steak and serve over generous portions of the sauce.

Recipe: Sauteed Baby Portabellas with Thyme

My Recipe

If you want to top your steak and onion-bleu cheese sauce with these, start cooking at the same time as you prepare the onion-bleu sauce.

16 oz. baby portabellas, washed, sliced and stems removed (I know many people say to just wipe with a damp cloth, but Jacques Pepin says that I can wash my mushrooms, so I do)

2 T. butter

1- 1 1/2 t. kosher salt

1/4 t. pepper

1 t. dried thyme

1. Melt 2 T. butter in 12″ cast iron skillet or other large skillet. When butter just melts, add your mushrooms to the pan.

2. When mushrooms just begin to wilt, add salt (start with 1 t. and add more, if desired), pepper and thyme (before you add thyme, rub it between your hands to release extra flavor). Stir. Check for seasoning, make sure it is to your taste.

3. Cook mushrooms until they have become brown and aromatic, about 10 minutes.

Now, you may be wondering what we had on Labor Day, itself. Well, I was in a motivated mood, so while I had Marc organizing his pile of papers in the office, I painted our large front window and a soffet that I’ve been itching to paint for about 2 years. Marc told me he needed to patch around the recessed lighting at least one more time, but I finally asked if  I could just paint it and success! In anticipation of getting some things done around the house, I made most of our feast ahead of time, but sadly, I have no pictures. By the time we got around to dinner it was late, it was raining and we were starving. Not a good situation for photo taking. I will attach links to the recipes I used and when I make these again, I’ll make sure to post the pics!

Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri (via Rox at Tasty Kitchen)

This was very tasty, but I thought that the 2 T. salt in the marinade made the steak a bit too salty and I love salt! I commented on her post to see if there was a misunderstanding, but other than that, it was very good. The steak was so tender and the chimichurri was a fun new experiment. I made a 1 1/2 lb. skirt steak and there was plenty of chimichurri left over. I’m going to try to pour the rest over pasta and see how that goes. The steak was medium rare after grilling it for 4 minutes per side and a 10 minute rest.

Jalapeno Poppers (aka Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies via Pioneer Woman)

Holy good! This was a lovely start to the meal considering we were starving. Well, we felt like we were. These are head and shoulders above any frozen jalapeno popper you’ve ever had and they are so easy. Not much harder than spending way to0 much for one of those party boxes. The jalapenos have a bit of heat, but they are not too spicy with the seeds removed. Instead of following PW’s oven directions, we put these babies on the grill for about 10 minutes and they were perfection!

Grilled Corn Salad (via

Over-the-top yummy and so easy. When Marc grilled our sirloin, I had him throw on 6 ears of corn (I used 6 and not 5 because the cute, older man that sells me his tasty produce sells them in bunches of 6 and I didn’t know what I’d do with the extra). I also subbed in sweet Vidalia onion for the red onion because I had it on hand. When the corn cooled, I assembled the salad and let it sit overnight, as suggested, and my husband was very happy with this dish. Not only do bugs not bite him, he does not like eating corn on the cob. What?!? I know. Since he cuts the corn off the cob every time I make it, I think he loved not having to do any extra work. A beautiful summer dish. Thanks Recipe Girl!

4 Notes Leave a Note

  1. I also once shut mushrooms out of my life and I have no idea why I held out so long. This post makes me wish we had a grill, and maybe more than just a fire escape for a backyard.

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