Archive for the 'Steak' Category

Steak and potatoes, upgrade


I’ve never really been one to sit down and watch the Oscars. Yeah I love criticizing everyone’s outfits, jewelry, and hair, but sometimes the whole show is just a bit much. On that particular Sunday, however, I felt like cooking a good meal, so instead of bothering with the gym or anything else pressing, I decided to take a night off and spend it watching the Oscars with my husband.

We bought the flank steak early in the day and marinated it in some also recently-bought marinade sauce. We cooked it by starting it off on a really hot grill pan, then finished it off in the oven. (We’ve used this technique before and it always works well.) Recently we’ve been strapped for cash, which is why we bought flank steak rather than, say, filets or prime rib, but the marinade was really, really good, even if the meat wasn’t the most tender thing ever.


The gnocchi were very fun to make, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a very long time. I didn’t have a gnocchi board, so I had to attempt to shape them on the back of a fork. It didn’t work as well as I would have like–partially I think the potatoes were a little too chunky because I also did not have a potato ricer and had to just mash them–but in the end the shape wasn’t that important. The lemon in the gnocchi was delicate yet noticeable and was a fun difference.

Personally, I really liked the eggplant, but I think we timed the cooking wrong, so the eggplant sat around for a little too long and wasn’t really hot enough by the time we sat down to eat. Nevertheless, they were flavored with a good combination of spices and I would be willing to make the recipe again.


Meyer Lemon Gnocchi
(original recipe March 2008 Food & Wine)
Note: I only used regular lemons and the gnocchi still tasted great. I also did not have a ricer, nor a gnocchi board, so the texture in mine might have been a little off, but again, the taste was great.

1 pound baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
3 large egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, preferably Meyer lemons
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Snipped chives, for garnish

1. In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until the potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan; shake over moderately high heat until dry.

2. Working over a large rimmed baking sheet, rice the hot potatoes in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and the salt and pour over the potatoes. Sprinkle the flour over the potatoes and stir gently just until a dough forms.

3. Gently roll the dough into four 1/2-inch-thick ropes. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make ridges. Transfer the gnocchi to the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

4. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Remove from the heat and whisk in the 1 stick of butter, a few pieces at a time, until the sauce is creamy. Warm the sauce on low heat if necessary. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt.

5. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then cook them for 1 minute longer. Gently drain the gnocchi, toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and transfer to a baking sheet until cool.

6. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add half of the gnocchi and cook in a single layer over high heat until browned on the bottom, 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and gnocchi.

7. Reheat the sauce; pour it over the gnocchi and fold gently with a rubber spatula until they are evenly coated. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the chives. Serve.


Sauteed Eggplant with Cumin and Garlic
(original recipe The New Best Recipe)

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), ends trimmed, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Place the eggplant cubes on a paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle the cubes with the salt, tossing to coat them evenly. Let the eggplant stand for at least 30 minutes. Using additional paper towels, gently press any excess moisture from the eggplant. [Note: we didn’t have time for this step so we skipped it. I think the eggplant might have been less watery if we did this step.]

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium high-heat until shimmering. Add the cumin and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the eggplant cubes and cook until they begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is fully tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sugar. Cook to blend the flavors, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the parsely. Serve immediately. [Note: it’s important to serve this hot, or else the texture gets a little off]


Cast Iron Steak


I think I’ve discovered the perfect way to cook a filet.

When mom was still in the early stages of recovery and dad was sick of take-out food, I offered to come over and cook them dinner. On the menu: ancho-chili filet minons, caramelized brocoli, and wild mushroom en papillote (baked in parchment paper-bundles). Overall, the rub and sauce for the steaks was much too spicy (I have reproduced all recipes below, fyi), but the method for cooking the steaks was downright perfection. The filets were wonderfully seared on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth buttery on the inside. This was the kind of meal that made me close my eyes and relish in the steak flavors after every bite, even though I was staving off tears from the heat at the same time.

In order to get this steaky goodness, you MUST use a cast iron pan. I think the recipe says “preferably cast iron,” but there just is no substitute if you want the same flavor.

As for the rest of the meal: I liked the mushrooms, but then I am a huge mushroom fan. I think the pouches sat out a little too long before serving and weren’t warm enough. The flavor just wasn’t there either. The brocoli, on the other hand, was wonderful, and I use the same method to cook brussel sprouts and round potato slices as well. In my method I have cut out the last step (adding oil after removing the lid) and instead add garlic and/or shallots (sometimes prosciuto, yum!) when I add the water.


Ancho-Rubbed Filets Mignons with Cuban Espresso Sauce
(original printed in October 2007 Gourmet)
Note: the spice rub and sauce were way too spicy for me, but this method of cooking the filets is no-fail. I also only used 4 steaks.

For Filets:
6 (1 1/2 inch thick) center-cut beef tenderloin steaks (filets mingons; 8 to 10 oz each)
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil

For sauce:
10 whole cloves
2 cups veal stock (NOTE: I just used beef stock here)
1/2 cup water
1/2 onion, sliced
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoon instant-coffee granules
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 tablespoons

Equipment: an electric coffee/spice grinder; a large two-burner ridged grill pan, preferably cast iron (NOTE: because I only used 4 filets, a single burner cast iron pan was fine)

Garnish: lime wedges

MARINATE STEAKS: Pat steaks dry. Stir together spices, sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and rub on top and bottom of steaks, then rub oil over spices. Cover with plastic wrap and chill, 3 hours.

MAKE SAUCE: Finely grind cloves in a spice grinder until finely ground. Combine with remaining ingredients except butter in a heavy medium saucepan and simmer briskly, stirring occassionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 30 minutes. Straigh through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and discarding solids, then return to cleaned saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in butter until incorporated, then season with salt and keep warm, covered, off heat.

COOK STEAKS: Preheat oven to 400 F with rack in middle.

Heat grill pan over medium heat until hot, then lightly oil. Grill steaks, turning once, 10 minutes or until grill marks form (NOTE: 5 minutes per side), then transfer to a shallow baking pan and roast in over 10 minutes for medium-rare (NOTE: I roasted mine for 8 because I like a rarer steak). Remove steaks from overn and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 5 minutes.

Transfer steaks to plates. Top with some sauce and serve remaincing sauce on the side.


Wild Mushrooms En Papillote
(original recipe in October 2007 Gourmet)

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 lb miced fresh wild mushrooms, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic

ACCOMPANIMENTS: flaky seat salt; lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 450 F with rack in middle.

Lightly brush 4 (12-inch) squares of parchment paper with some of butter.

Toss mushrooms with herbs, shallots, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, then toss with remaining butter and divide among parchment squares.

Fold parchment to enclose mushrooms.

Bake packets in shallow baking pan 20 minutes. Serve packets on plates.

Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic
(original recipe in October 2007 Food and Wine)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads of broccoli (1 1/4 pounds total), stems peeled and heads halved lengthwise
1/2 cup water
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the broccoli, cut side down, cover and cook over moderate heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook until the broccoli is just tender and the water has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the garlic and the crushed red pepper and cook uncovered until the garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season the broccoli with salt and black pepper, drizzle with the lemon juice and serve.



March 2019
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