Friday, May 20, 2016

Steak Pauline (The Steak Formerly Known as Diane)

As you may know, I haven’t posted for a while due to the sudden passing of my mother, Pauline. It’d been a tough few weeks, but she was the ultimate, “the show must go on” kind of lady, and so that’s what we’ll do. She had multiple surgeries in recent years that made it difficult, and often painful, to move around her kitchen. Despite this, she’d still somehow manage to bake a cake (or two), or make a big batch of cookies to bring to whatever family event she was attending.

While cooking and eating with family was her greatest joy, she also loved going to restaurants. Going out for dinner on Friday night was one of our great family traditions, and while I don’t remember having Steak Diane cooked table-side, this dish represents that bygone era for me. Looking back, I realize this weekly respite meant much more to her than just a short break from cooking and dishes.

Before I get into the recipe, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for all the amazing thoughts and prayers I received during the last couple weeks. I’ve never met the vast majority of you, but nevertheless, it felt like I was hearing from hundreds of old friends, who somehow knew exactly what to say. There’s no easy way to lose someone you love, but your kind, comforting words, gave me strength.

With that in mind, I present this incredibly delicious, Steak Diane, which I’m hereby renaming Steak Pauline, in my mother’s honor. Of course, there’s no official way to do this, except to simply do it, and hope it catches on. Even if it doesn’t, at the very least, many years from now, while surfing the web, I’ll stumble across a recipe for it, and I’ll smile, thinking of her.

The procedure here is very straightforward, and relatively safe, except maybe for the exploding fireball step. As long as you turn off the flame, and keep your eyebrows at a safe distance while igniting the liquor, there shouldn’t be any real danger, and all those Oo’s and Ah’s are well worth the risk. Hey, that’s what insurance is for.

However, the pyrotechnics are very much for show, and if you’re concerned, you don't have to ignite the cognac. The alcohol will still evaporate as the sauce boils, and the end result will taste the same. By the way, even if you don’t ignite the pan with a lighter, it can still flame up when you turn up the heat to reduce, so you still need to be a little careful.

If you do decide to make this, I hope that above and beyond calling it “Steak Pauline,” you will also enjoy it surrounded by the people you love. While the flames in the pan eventually die out, the smiles they ignite, and the memories they produce, will be with you forever. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions:

For the sauce mixture:
1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup demi-glace (Or substitute 2 cups rich, low-sodium or salt-free chicken broth. It will take longer to reduce, but will still produce a great sauce. Just be careful with the salt.)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
two (8-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, fully trimmed, pounded to 1/2-inch thick (top sirloin will also work nicely here)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely minced shallots
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoon sliced fresh chives

Monday, May 9, 2016

Goodbye Mom

My mother, Pauline, passed away on Mothers Day. It was peaceful, and she was surrounded by family. She was the youngest 83 year-old you’d ever want to meet. I don’t have the time or energy to write a long, thoughtful post, but I did want to let you know what was going on, and how much I appreciate all the kind words, and expressions of support. It means more than you’ll ever know. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. She was a great woman, and we all loved her very much. She will be missed.

. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Heading Home

Due to a personal family matter, I'll be taking a little break from the blog to travel back home. I'll post an update as soon as I can. Thank you.

.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Easy One-Bowl, One-Step Hollandaise - A Miracle of Modern Science

I'm not sure what specifically that would be, but I assume there’s some kind of science behind this amazing, and possibly modern method I happened to stumble upon. I once saw a chef make hollandaise buy adding chucks of cold butter instead of whisking in hot melted butter, and it intrigued me.

Not enough to actually try it, but enough to make me wonder what would happen if we dumped everything in the bowl at once, and just cooked it all together. No one was more shocked than I was when it worked. And worked beautifully. By the way, I’m guessing I’m not the only person to have thought of this, but until I see proof, I will claim to be it’s inventor.

The only way this doesn’t work is if your heat is too high. I don’t have to tell you what will happen if it is. However, over a low flame (or double-boiler if you’re scared) this will come together very gradually, right before your eyes, and you’ll be able to stop anytime you see fit.  

Eggs are cheap, so give it a try, and see what happens. Being able to just dump everything into the bowl, and make hollandaise in one step is well worth the investment, especially with Mother’s Day coming up. Hint, hint. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions (this can be scaled-up to how ever much you need):
1 large egg yolk
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (you can always add more to taste)
salt and cayenne or hot sauce to taste
NOTE: If sauce gets too thick, just thin with a little hot water.