|Elementary schools teach children reading, writing and 'rithmetic. Judging by Bowling Green, though, they could easily add culinary arts to the list of subjects if the talents of the district's employees are any indication.
David and Jeanine Alberti with their teriyaki flank steak. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribun
Regular Cook's Corner readers have tried and loved the bagel chip salad from Bert Fintel, secretary at Kenwood, and the crockpot turkey breast with cranberries and oranges offered by Pam Eyer, secretary at Ridge Elementary. Now meet another great cook at Ridge: Jeanine Alberti.
Most cooks are known for one or two specialties, but the fifth grade teacher has so many it's hard to choose just one.
"I have my own spaghetti sauce," suggested Alberti. "I make a filet mignon with goat cheese that is really wonderful."
"She's very gourmet," Eyer said of Alberti. "She makes a good fish chowder."
Alberti thought for a second and smiled. What about her teriyaki swank steak?
It's prepared on the grill.
Memorial weekend is upon us and grilling is the "must" activity for this first summer holiday.
"I gotta attribute it to my sister, Margee Murphy, who lives in Cleveland," Alberti said of the teriyaki swank steak recipe. "She's the oldest of eight of us - seven girls and the last a boy."
Alberti acquired the recipe several years ago "and it's been a hit ever since," with frequent introductions.
"My husband, David, and I like to cook for friends and family; teacher buddies. It's one of Kip's favorites and Brenna too," she said, referring to her now-grown children, Kip Sullivan and Brenna Sullivan Harris.
Alberti says there are several reasons why the teriyaki flank steak is such a great choice for casual entertaining.
"It feeds a lot of people and it's lean meat. Uusually, the ends are a little more well done and the middle is rare, so it pleases the crowd."
Wednesday night the Alberti's assembled a dinner party of eight to consume the tangy, tender, pink steak she marinated and he grilled for the Cook's Corner photographer.
"I got the meat from Belleville. I like to shop in town and they always do such a wonderful job."
She made a couple of modifications to the original version of the recipe from sister Margee. "I use extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil, and generally I use the dry ginger. It works great."
She chose her side dishes carefully, planning for the vegetable a combination of light and dark green beans "with craisins, little (pearl) onions and snow peas in it."
"I served it with lemon-basil potatoes," a recipe acquired from her current favorite television chef, Giada de Laurentis, daughter of the famous director Dino de Laurentis. "It's cooked in chicken broth instead of water. I've never made it before."
The basil for the potatoes and the parsley for the teriyaki steak marinade were her own.
"I like to garden and I've got my fresh herbs right outside the door" of the couple's Buttonwood Avenue home.
Alberti says her interest in cooking developed as she reached adulthood and "before I was a mom. I did my 'Mama Ferreri' spaghetti in college" while rooming with three other girls in a house near the Bowling Green State University campus. She came to the university as a freshman art education major in 1970.
After graduation "I wanted to stay in the area and there weren't any art teaching jobs, so I got myself another degree in elementary education."
She now has 25 years of teaching under her belt, starting with a year at North Baltimore, stints at Custar St. Louis and Maumee Valley Country Day School, and now 20 years at Ridge.
Memorial Day, with its emphasis on honoring our military, will have special significance in the Alberti household this year as Kip, who serves in the Army, "is back in Iraq for his second tour," a tough 15-month stint this time.
A bright spot for Alberti is the news that she'll soon become grandmother for the first time. Kip's sister Brenna and her husband are expecting a child in December and Kip has already announced his intention to be nanny to the baby when he returns stateside.
Teriaki Flank Steak recipe
1 1/2 - 2 lbs. flank steak
6 T. of teriyaki sauce
1/4 c dry sherry
1/4 c olive oil
2 T. of chopped green onion (or dried minced onion)
1 tsp. finely grated ginger root (or 1/2 tsp. dried ginger)
2 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley (or 1 tsp. dried parsley)
1/4 tsp. of cracked pepper
Mix all ingredients and marinate steak in a ziplock bag overnight in refrigerator. Remove meat from refrigerator 1/2 hour before grilling. Pat excess moisture and grill 5 minutes per side on high (depending on temperature of your grill...) for rare for 3/4-1 inch thick steak. You can brush some of marinade on meat while grilling. Let steak rest at least 5 -10 minutes and then cut thin slices diagonally across grain.
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