What to do with steaks that were packed at the last possible selling date, then brought home and not used for a few days?
Well, that is precisely the situation in which we found ourselves as we made plans for dinner with a couple friends who were joining us.
My preference with steaks is to keep them quite plain when cooking them. I really do like the flavour of a good steak on its own without much other than salt and pepper to set it off. Still, this seemed the perfect setting for a good marinade.
And so it was.
When my brother-in-law moved to Florida (many years ago), we received a couple nice Tupperware marinating units (I have no idea what they're really called). They've been quite handy many times over the years, and the one that remains was pressed into service once again.
Opening a bottle of wine (Barefoot Merlot, I believe), I poured some for the steaks, and some for the cook. Into the steaks' wine went about half as much Zesty Italian dressing and a bit of my (formerly) secret ingredient: vanilla extract.
Vanilla has a wonderful affinity for beef - I've used it in coffee for a pot roast as well - and you get that great "what's that other flavour in there?" reaction from discerning tasters.
Be sure, though, to use good vanilla extract - never imitation - as it really does make a huge difference in the final product.
And by the way, the meat was quite delicious.