Fall is in the air, or so I’ve been told. In the Northeast, fall makes a spectacular entrance. The days grow short, the nights are crisp, and the maple trees put on a show of color that rivals a Fourth of July fireworks display. Kansas has more cottonwoods than maples, and I’ve missed the loud display of color that always signaled the start of sweater, fuzzy blanket and hot cocoa season. But life has a way of reminding us that there are two sides to every coin.
On the spur of the moment, we went for a random, meandering drive this past weekend, which we do quite often. Some of the best times we have had as a family have been on these spontaneous little day trips to nowhere in particular.
We found ourselves at El Dorado Lake and State Park, about half an hour from Wichita. It was sunny and the perfect kind of warm; not too cold and not too hot.
There was a gentle breeze that smelled fresh and green, and everywhere we looked, Kansas was in bloom. Wild sunflowers of a half dozen varieties covered the landscape with pools of vibrant yellow that stood out against the bright blue sky.
Butterflies were dancing above the flowers, adding sprinkles of orange to the canvas. Grasshoppers were singing, and bees were buzzing all around us, and little living ‘somethings’ hopped out of our way with every step we took. We spent the whole day taking pictures and exploring, soaking in the life that was all around us.
And I found myself on the receiving end one of those unexpected little life lessons; even though I still miss the fall maple forest of Canada, I have my sunflowers and butterflies to remind me that there is color and beauty to be found in all places and in every season.
So while my friends up north are winterizing their cars, raking up leaves and trying to remember where they put the hats and mittens last spring, I’ll be out in my backyard, grilling up steaks and burgers until sometime in November.
Maybe I melt in the triple digit summers, and maybe I don’t see a maple tree in every yard, but two full months of fall weather every year is not too shabby as far as compensation goes. I’d stick out my tongue right now, but I’m waaaaaay to mature for that kind of behavior. Yes indeedy.
The first time I made this, I blended everything in the blender and drizzled in the oil. Tastes great, not very attractive. It’s best to just stir in the oil at the end to keep the gorgeous, vibrant green color of the herbs.
KC strip steaks don’t need any help from a marinade to come out tender and juicy when cooked to a perfect medium rare on the grill. But a little drizzle of Argentinean chimichurri sauce adds a tangy zip that enhances the flavor without drowning out the meaty goodness.
Strip Steak and Chimichurri Sauce
2 lbs KC strip steaks (about 4)
Chimichurri Sauce (recipe follows)
Allow steaks to come to room temperature before grilling. Preheat grill to high. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat for 10-12 minutes, turning once, for medium rare. Internal temperature will be 130°F to 135°F. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle with chimichurri sauce and serve with additional sauce on the side.
1 1/2 cups fresh, flat-leafed parsley
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp pepper
Combine all ingredients except the oil in a small food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and mix well with a spoon. Can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for 1 week.