It takes so little for me to get excited about Autumn. The slightest change in weather stirs that expectant waiting of warming comfort foods, colorful leaves, football, fall picnics, red wine. To celebrate the harbingers of Fall, Jo Ann, Caryl, Molly, and I went to the Red Caboose Winery in Meridian, TX. Whether or not you are a wine drinker, this is a beautiful place to visit. The facility is GREEN; the people are warm and inviting; the wines are enticing and delicious.
We tasted a few wines, but my favorite, especially for Fall, was a Syrah-Malbec that will knock your socks off, or, as winemaker Evan McKibben phrased it, “It really hits you in the face.” He meant it in a good way, and he’s right. It’s a hearty, earthy wine that is rich enough to stand up to any steak or Texas bar-b-que yet mellow enough to complement a piece of dark chocolate. My family and I shared two bottles of it on Labor Day with a medium-rare flat iron steak. (Recipe to follow.) The steak was fantastic, but the wine really set it off.
Red Caboose winery has a Cork and Fork the last Friday of the month. They sell wine by the glass and by the bottle. You can take your own picnic and enjoy the lovely scenery. The folks at the winery suggested we bring our own lawn chairs to ensure a seat. You can find out more at www.redcaboosewinery.com. If you go, please tell them you found out about us from the girls at Gourmet Gallery. Maybe they will come to Waco to do a tasting for us! In the meantime, pack up a picnic and get ready for a beautiful Autumn. To me, it’s the best time of the year to experience the feelings, tastes, and smells of the outdoors.
Grilled Flat Iron Steak*
This recipe is modified from one my mom found on Allrecipes.com. Theirs was cooked in a nonstick skillet. Truth be known, I simply didn’t want to spend the money to feed my whole family. When Mom said she had some of these “new, trendy”steaks in her freezer, it was a lucky day. The steaks were fantastic thanks to a good recipe and Caryl’s grilling expertise. The few remaining leftovers made a wonderful steak salad.
2 lbs flat iron steak*
2 ½ T unfiltered olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T shallot, minced
¼ cup hearty red wine (don’t waste your Red Caboose on this, though! Any nice red will do.)
½ t salt
¾ t fresh-ground black pepper
1 t dry mustard powder
1 T meat tenderizer, such as Adolph’s
Sprinkle tenderizer on both sides of steaks. In a small bowl mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, shallots, salt, pepper, wine, and mustard powder. Pour over steaks. Cover tightly and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Grill over medium-hot coals for about 3-4 minutes per side. Let rest for five minutes, then slice across the grain into thin slices.
Serve with jasmine rice and a colorful green salad, or use on rolls for a delicious sandwich to take to
Red Caboose Winery. Don’t forget the deviled eggs and a hunk of dark chocolate to go with the Syrah-Malbec.
*Flat iron steaks are a fairly-recently “discovered” a thin cut that is surprisingly lean and tender. Scientists were trying to find a way to minimize the wasted cut from the shoulder of the cow. According to About.com, these “friendly scientists” found a way to take out the thick connective tissue that made the cut undesirable. Like other thin cuts, flat iron steaks, also known as “top blade steaks,” benefit from marinating and from cooking no more than medium-rare. This cut also makes a wonderful chili or beef stew.
Happing cooking and eating!