June 21, 2006 in Food

Books for Cooks: You don’t have to camp to enjoy flank steak

By The Spokesman-Review

As a child, I always looked forward to the Banana Boats at summer camp.

The coal-roasted bananas stuffed with marshmallow and chocolates are still my favorite campout treat, but Robin Donovan’s “Campfire Cuisine” can help elevate outdoor meals from hobo dinners and s’mores.

You don’t have to be roughing it to try the book. Donovan includes tips for making each dish at home.

Her Baked Chocolate Bananas are the adult version of my beloved Banana Boats. (They include shredded coconut instead of the sticky, sweet marshmallows). I’ll give them a try next time we’re camping.

Here’s another recipe from the book:

Grilled Flank Steak with Yogurt Mint Sauce

Though this sauce is simple to make at camp, it can be made at home to bring along, as it will keep for several days. For a complete meal serve this dish with a lettuce and tomato salad topped with crumbed feta cheese and a honey-lemon vinaigrette along with pita rounds warmed on the grill for scooping up the extra sauce.

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 pounds flank steak

Yogurt Mint Sauce (recipe follows)

Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large zip-top bag until well combined. Add the steak to the bag, seal and shake to make sure the steak is fully coated with marinade. Place in a cooler and marinate at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Grill the steak over medium-high heat, 6 to 8 minutes per side, until cooked to the desired doneness. Remove the steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Cut the steak into thin slices diagonally across the grain. Serve the sliced steak with a dollop of Yogurt Mint Sauce.

Make it at home: Prepare as directed. Cook the steak over medium heat in a ridged grill pan or heavy skillet on the stove top or broil 6 to 8 minutes per side, until cooked to the desired doneness.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 335 calories, 19 grams fat (6.8 grams saturated, 55 percent fat calories) 35 grams protein, 1.5 grams carbohydrate, 87 milligrams cholesterol, less than 1 gram dietary fiber, 400 milligrams sodium.

Yogurt Mint Sauce

This flavorful sauce can be used to top grilled steak, lamb, chicken or fish. Serve with toasted pita triangles, it makes a nice appetizer.

1 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

1 large clove garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

Mix the yogurt, mint, garlic, olive oil and salt in a medium bowl or saucepan. Stir in the diced cucumber into the yogurt mixture.

Serve immediately.

Make it at home: Instead of slicing the peel and seeding the cucumber, shred it in a food processor. Place the shredded cucumber in a colander and toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes to draw out excess water. Turn the shredded cucumber out onto a dish towel or several layers of paper towels. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Proceed with preparation as above. You can make this sauce up to 2 days ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Approximate nutrition per serving, based on 6, using lowfat yogurt: 55 calories, 3 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 48 percent fat calories), 3 grams protein, 4.6 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams cholesterol, less than 1 gram dietary fiber, 417 milligrams sodium.

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