Thursday, November 20, 2008

Weeknight cuisine in a flash - Part 1

Anatomy of a weeknight meal. Two steaks picked up at McKinnon's over the weekend, needing to be eaten or frozen. Checking the blogs and assorted online food resources at lunchtime at work for Steak au Poivre....representing one of the best meals I ever had when in Paris. Susan coming after some drinks with a friend. Getting the basic gist of it. Not hard, and I didn't expect it to be. But I did pick up a good hint about how to crack those peppercorns....back end of a cast iron skillet. And some thoughts about the sauce. Unbeknownst to me, the sauce is usually made with Cognac...which I just happened to have picked up a bottle of the other day....but the directions said that it would probably flame up, and I wasn't in the mood for dealing with that (I hadn't ever done flaming food). Other sites suggested red wine as a good substitute, which was great, because I had an open bottle under vacuum seal waiting to be used.

Susan and I were both starving, so we munched down some caponata from Trader Joes with a few crackers....instant satisfaction, and gave me a little time to play. Get some TJ's Israeli couscous mix in the rice cooker (cool stuff...10 minutes, and it's got nice colorful addins). Chopped some onions and red cabbage for a simple saute, and got to cracking those peppercorns...which took a little longer than I thought it would, but was effective. Salt and press the peppercorns into the meat (rump steaks), and I'm ready to hit the heat. Cast iron skillet...a little cooking spray, make it hot, and 3 minutes per side. Wave kitchen towels under the smoke detectors (the fan over my stove vents into the kitchen....not helpful). When cooked, remove to a plate, and add some wine and butter to the skillet and reduce to a sauce. (I was supposed to use shallots, but I didn't have any). Serve. Done.

Next time I'll cook the steaks a tad longer...but the flavor was great. The shallots will make a nice addition, but really, the were very tasty....with one leftover for the next day.

With the kitchen smoky and us starving, I didn't stop to take a picture. Sorry!

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