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Spring Has Sprung...

....As a matter of fact I think it sprang right on over to summer here in southern Kentucky.  It has been in the mid to upper 80's all week long and doesn't even get that cool at night.  I am not in any way complaining though.  This is my time of year...allergies and all.  This weather makes me want to do two things...get something cookin' on the grill and dig in the dirt.   So, I cleaned out my flower pots and planted some pansies.   It seems way too early to plant much else, but people are out buying plants and seeds and really getting things going.   I am going to start some seeds in some cups for some flowers and herbs so that I can transplant them once they come up.  It's so much cheaper than buying the bedding plants.  I am also thinking about a raised garden spot.  I just have to convince my husband to build it for me. That idea is still in the formative process...so many of my ideas never get past that...lol.  Actually, my father has the green thumb in the family and he grows a nice garden each year so we all have plenty of homegrown produce.  I did plant a couple of tomato plants  last year that did quite well and I always grow my own herbs.  There is just something to be said for being able to walk out the back door and grab a tomato or cut fresh herbs at the last minute.

Every year around this time, I think about all of the various winters we still have to go through.  If you don't have any idea what I am talking about, it's something my mother always says and I think it might be a Kentucky thing.  It would be warm and beautiful like now and then it would turn so cold and nasty overnight, and my mother would say "it's dogwood winter" or it's "linen britches winter" or it's "blackberry winter".   The problem is, I never know which winter it is.  I know what it means, I just don't get when they all occur.  I think dogwood winter is around the time the dogwoods bloom...around Easter.  Blackberry winter is when the blackberries bloom. Linen Britches winter is the last cold spell right before it really turns hot at the end of May or that is what wiki says.  Oh, I forgot one, "red bud winter"  which I would assume is when the red buds are blooming.   All older people raised in Kentucky seem to know these winters.  I worked in a long term care facility for a few years and the residents added to my education on Kentucky folklore and such.  It was fascinating for me to hear their stories and experiences of how they grew up.  We miss so much by not taking time to really hear what our older friends and family have to say.   Take time to visit your older family members and ask them questions about their lives.  It will make their day and it will make yours much richer also.

Now, to my grilling.  I like to grill as much of a meal on the grill as I can when I cook out.  In the summer, when the heat is so unbearable in the house, it keeps from heating up the oven.  Also, the cleanup is so simple.   This week they had flat iron steaks on sale at Kroger.  Beef has gotten so expensive, it has to be on sale or I don't buy it.  The key to flat iron steak is the marinade and cutting it thin across the grain.  We have a Japanese  restaurant in our city that has the best steaks, so I use most of the ingredients they use in this recipe for the marinade.  I call it Japanese Flat Iron Steak...I know, creative right?    I also made my grilled potatoes to go with it. 


Japanese Flat Iron Steak



Here is what you will need:

Flat Iron Steak about 2 lbs., 1/4 stick butter, 1 lemon, Nature's Seasonings, honey, chopped garlic, garlic salt, soy sauce, Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce.




Mix all of the marinade ingredients except the butter, pour over the steak in a zip lock bag, add the lemon halves, reserving 1/4 of the marinade.  Place it in a dish and marinade in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.  The longer you marinade the more tender the meat.  When you are ready to grill remove from marinade and pour the remaining over the meat.  Grill over a medium heat to your degree of doneness.  When you remove from the grill, cover with foil for at least 10 minutes, then slice across the grain in thin slices.  If you slice this right off the grill, you will lose all of your juices. It has to sit.
Add the 1/4 stick of butter to the remaining marinade and heat for 1 minute in the microwave.  Cover with plastic wrap as this will pop and splatter.  Stir it up and pour it over the sliced meat.  This really adds flavor and makes the meat so juicy.


Japanese Flat Iron Steak!

Ingredients:

2lb. Flat Iron Steak
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground ginger or 1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbs. garlic
1/2 tsp Season All Seasoning
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
dash of Tabasco Sauce
1/4 stick butter
1 lemon juiced





Grilled Ranch Potatoes

While your steak is in the final marinading stages, you can prepare your potatoes for grilling. I like to use the foil pans for grilling on the grill so I can throw them away.  I use a round cake pan for these potatoes.  You can get these at the Dollar Tree 3 for a $1.00.



Peel and dice about 4-5 potatoes (more if your family is larger).  Place in foil pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Stir together 1/2 pkg ranch dressing mix with 1/2 cup vegetable oil and pour over potatoes, toss. Sprinkle with Nature's Seasoning and Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and place on grill with steak over a very low burner.  Cook while your steak cooks.  These only take about 20 minutes.   Cook 3- 4 strips of bacon until crisp.  When potatoes are off of the grill, uncover carefully and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped bacon. 


Ta-Dah!  And I only messed up one pot and a cookie sheet!


Ingredients:

4-5 potatoes
1/2 pkg. ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3-4 slices of bacon
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese
Nature's Seasoning to taste or salt and pepper




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