Sarasota Magazine contributing food writer Chef Judi Gallagher has released a new cookbook.
Reflections and Recipes of Chef Judi tells the story of Gallagher's love affair with food, and how it guided her through life's struggles and shaped the person—and chef—she is today.
"The book is about how to get through life, one recipe at a time," Gallagher says.
Prior to relocating to Sarasota and opening Judi Gallagher & Associates, her hospitality consulting firm, Gallagher owned two restaurants and a dessert company in New England. The book is full of her best recipes from those restaurants, as well as those from her personal collection—the ones she cooked with her mother and grandmother as a child (think cinnamon-banana streusel muffins and grilled steak flatbread—recipe follows). And she hopes the stories she tells will help others feel brave in the kitchen—and in life.
"I wrote it as a guide on how to get through life during the tough times, with brown sugar and butter," Gallagher says.
Grilled Steak and Herbed Cream Cheese Flatbread with Arugula Salad and Blistered Tomatoes
Recipe courtesy Judi Gallagher
For the flatbreads
2 flatbreads (Gallagher recommends Stonewall brand)
4 cups herb cream cheese
2 cups organic yellow and red grape tomatoes, cut lengthwise
Zest of 2 lemons
4 cups baby arugula
2-3 lbs. sirloin steak or leftover steak
2 fennel bulbs, sliced very thin
For the lemon vinaigrette (may be made ahead of time; refrigerate and shake well before using)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, plus zest for garnish
For best results, let steak rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grill steak to rare or medium rare. Let sit for 20 minutes before slicing.
Whisk the ingredients for the lemon vinaigrette together to combine (you can also use an immersion blender). Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spread sliced tomatoes on a sheet pan and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast for about 8 minutes, until they "blister."
Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat flatbreads in oven until slightly crusty, but do not overbake. Cool slightly.
Spread garlic cream cheese over bread.
Slice steak and put over herb cream cheese mix.
Scatter blistered tomatoes over bread, steak and cream cheese.
In a separate bowl, toss the fennel with arugula and lemon dressing. Scatter over flatbread and sprinkle with lemon zest.
Cut into wedges and serve.
Variations: Use blue cheese instead of herb cream cheese. Use chicken and artichoke hearts, grilled shrimp or smoked salmon instead of steak.