Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentines Day Dinner

This year we opted to stay in for dinner. DaNece requested steak and potatoes, and I lovingly agreed to accomodate her request. I will admit that I got a little fancy, but nothing too crazy. And yes, I burned the bread, but it was still really tasty.


The Menu included:

- Filet Steak, with a fresh black pepper and rosemary rub, topped with roasted garlic butter. (Technically only one of the steaks was a filet, the other was a top sirloin)

- Rosemary and Roasted Garlic mashed potatoes

- Mushrooms and Shallots cooked in white wine

- Fresh Asparagus

- Cheddar loaf of bread with garlic butter


Of note: Asparagus must be in season now, because it is cheap, and it tastes great!

- the cheddar loaf was purchased from Pangeaea Bakery in town, which rocks


As far as prep is concerned the only thing items worth bringing up are:

- Slice your shallots and mushrooms as thin as you possibly can. This allows them to soak up more wine and butter, which makes them taste super decadent.

- Since one of the prevailing flavors of the meal is rosemary, make sure to use FRESH rosemary. It does make a difference, and it does taste better!

- The roasted garlic needs to be made ahead of time.

- Something simple that lots of people overlook - allow your meat to come to room temperature before cooking it. This makes the finished product more tender, since you aren't shocking the hell out of the meat. (FYI: this does not apply to any ground meats that you are cooking)

The only other tricky thing is timing everything to come together at the same time. I don't really have any system to get this done, I just adjust heat as I go to keep things from getting over or under cooked.


So, rinse all the veggies, cut them up. Throw your potatoes in a bot and cover with water, throw in a good amount of fresh minced garlic, and put a lid on it on high heat.


Get another pot of water boiling, but don't add salt. This is for the asparagus. Also start pre-heating a pan for the steaks.


Also - fill a decently large bowl with cold water, throw some ice-cubes in it, and put it in the freezer. This is to shock the asparagus with.



In a small pan, put some oil and your shallots. Cook over medium heat until they are getting clear. Add some garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms start giving off their moisture. Then add a few tablespoons of wine, and about 1 tablespoon of butter. Set to low and stir every now and then.


Apply a small amount of salt, and pinch of fresh black pepper, and a pretty good amount of rosemary to each side of the steaks and work in with a fork. (You know you love my measurements right?)


Put a spot of oil in your pre-heated steak pan (to help prevent sticking) and throw the meat on there on medium or medium-high heat (depends on the thickness of the steak). Cook each side for about 5-10 minutes for medium-rare. The key here is to make sure that you get a good sear on each side to prevent all the yummy juices from flowing out.


Have your wife take the now-cooked potatoes, throw in some salt, butter, milk, 4 or 5 cloves of roasted garlic, and a solid pinch of rosemary and mix the hell out of it. Throw more wine and butter into the mushroomy goodness as it is absorbed.


While the steaks are going, throw the asparagus in the now-boiling water. When it turns BRIGHT green give it a taste test and see if it is done. At this point we want it to be a little crisper than you would want it on your plate. When it is done, drain it, and throw it in the bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking and prevents it from over-cooking. Now get another pan pre-heating with a  some olive oil for the asparagus. Why?


Well, when you throw the asparagus in the ice water it has a habit of getting a little soggy, so we are going to sear it in a pan to firm it back up. Nothing more than 30 seconds in a hot pan should accomplish this without over cooking the veggie.



Now check your steaks by whichever method you choose (touch test, thermometer, or cutting it open) to check for doneness. Don't forget to account for 5-10 minutes for the meat to rest (which is also a great time to throw some garlic butter on top to get it melting).


Butter the bread, and throw it under the broiler for a few minutes (don't forget about it like I did).

Plat it all up, and enjoy the heck out of it. :)


Chickenbells said...

Daaaaang! I absolutely LOVE mashed potatoes (or anything's the Irish in me, I know) and mushrooms, AND shallots...and asparagus...and actually, a good steak isn't that offensive either...I'm sure the meal was lovely even if the bread was a bit well done! (sheesh, all we had is a soy cheese pizza. again.)

I hope you guys had a lovely Valentine's Day!!

Catalyst said...

Next time you do steaks, try this: sear them for about 3 minutes per side in a very hot pan, then put them in a very hot oven (550 is good) to finish. That's the way most restaurants do them and they come out very tender. May take several tries to achieve the best time in the oven for your taste in doneness.

Also, if you ever do Steak Au Poivre (Pepper Steak) as I frequently do, make sure you use brandy and cream. Last time I made them, I grabbed the wrong bottle and mixed B&B with the cream. The sauce came out sweet, which is NOT what you want.

TomboCheck said...

ChickenBells - What's wrong with soy cheese pizza? I hear it is awesome!

Catalyst - Sounds good!

Am I to assume that you deglaze the pan with the brandy, then throw in the cream and allow to reduce a bit? Dang, that sounds really good! Now I just need to get some strip steaks!

I am sad to say that my repertoire of sauces is dreadfully lacking. I need to buy one of those sauce cookbooks and broaden my horizons. :)

Catalyst said...

You can do that or just mix the brandy and cream (about 2 parts to 3) and deglaze with the combined sauce. Boil it down until a bit thick and pour over your steaks.