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Grilled sirloin, drizzled with a sumptuous balsamic/pure maple syrup reduction.....a taste of summer

Two weeks ago, most of our snow was gone....crocuses poke out of the soil under our living room window. The heavy winter coat could be changed for the lightweight spring/fall jacket. Shoes replaced boots. Spring was springing! All was right with the world! My faith was restored!

And then....WOMP! 50 cm of that horrid white stuff began to fall. Seriously Mother Nature? Is this some cruel joke? Is it not bad enough that a warm weather worshipper like myself was now intimately familiar with the term 'Artic Vortex'? I want summer and I want it now!!

It was with that frame of mind that I decided I needed an injection of summertime fare and what says summer more than grilled meat? Unfortunately, my trusty propane bbq with its beautiful ceramic grill, was tucked safely away in our shed....and I would have to dig a 15 foot path through 4 foot deep snow to get it out and to my deck. Next best thing? Non stick grill pan!

Step one: haul out the store flyers and see what's on special where. Sirloin steak at my local grocery - perfect! Step two: scan the fridge and cupboards. Vidalia onions, creminis, balsamic vinegar, pure maple syrup from Vermont...I could build on problem.

Off I went, inspiration in my soul, to the grocery store. What resulted was medium rare grilled sirlon, drizzled with a sumptuous balsamic/pure maple syrup reduction, carmelized vidalia onions and cremini mushrooms, grilled zucchni, roasted tomatoes topped with basil and parmesan cheese, and garlic butter and parmesan crostini. From prep to table? 40 minutes, with the carmelizing of the onions and mushrooms being most time consuming. Cost? Excluding what I had on hand, I paid $19.68 for my ingredients. Not bad considering that two weeks ago, we went out with a group of people to a national mid to upper scale chain steak house and it cost us $162 for the three of us. Mind you, part of that bill was for a bottle of house pinot noir, not great, and certainlly not as lovely as the Mark West Pinot Noir that I had on hand and that only cost $20 at the local liquor store.

Whether you want to charm your honey into taking you on a much needed southern sojourn, or impressing your mother in law, or simply having a casual evening at home with some friends or family, this meal is the ticket. Its restaurant worthy, easy, inexpensive, nutritious and delicious - what more could you ask for? (For recipe and suggestions on accompaniements and wine pairing, click on 'Beef' in the recipe section of the navigation bar above).


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