Last night I was rummaging through the fridge and couldn't think of anything to make for dinner, despite the fact that we'd just been to the store. I hadn't bothered to buy any produce (we were at Fred Meyer shopping mostly for a lamp and various boxed cereals for Valarie), so there weren't any of my usual building blocks like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, carrots, etc.
But then I remembered a recent New York Times article offering 101 recipes that could be carried out in 10 minutes or less. Many of them seemed to rely on just a few simple ingredients. And more importantly, they seemed both doable as well as a chance to break me out of my usual and well-worn cooking tendencies. (I'm not the only one into the 101-recipe article; it's been the #1 most emailed story on the Times website for several days now.)
Although many recipes weren't right, calling for prosciutto I didn't have or fish I didn't want, I finally was intrigued by #52: "Grill or sauté Italian sausage and serve over store-bought hummus, with lemon wedges." I'd never have thought of Italian sausage going with hummus, or serving any cut of meat over hummus in the first place; I like hummus but think almost solely of dipping pita bread in it. A few weeks ago, though, at a Lebanese restaurant downtown with my architect friend Gene Sandoval I'd had the Lamb Shwarma Plate, which was basically just grilled lamb over hummus (scooped up with pita). And it was really yummy.
Luckily I had both an unopened container of hummus and several lemons. Although there was no sausage or lamb in the freezer, I did have a couple of thin steaks from New Seasons that would cook up quickly - perfecto! I basically just seared the steaks in olive oil with lots of garlic and coarse salt.
I tossed the couple tablespoons of garlic into the hot oil first, so it'd temper the pungent flavor and infiltrate all of the oil. After the steaks cooked up, I de-glazed the frying pan with a little lemon juice and poured the oily liquid into a small bowl; from there, I fished out the charred garlicky pieces and a little of the juicy glaze to go on top of the meat (after it rested a couple minutes), which went on top of the hummus. I put a few lemon wedges around the edge of the plate and squeezed them onto the steak and hummus.
The only slight screw-up was that, as you can probably tell, I got about half-way through dinner before deciding to take a picture. The cut of meat you see is intact, but that's my second helping. Before I began scarfing down, the presentation of the steak on the bed of hummus was much prettier. But I guess it's a good sign that I was too hungry and salivating to hold off for a few pictures. Not to sound too Rachel Ray, but Yum City! (Population: me.)