fat free opinions on a food centric life

Flamin’ Steak & Potatoes

How has another year passed?  It seems the more there are, the faster they come.  Funny how that happens.  Without getting all gooey and sentimental about it, I can say that it all passes more heartily with food.  Am I addicted?  Probably not, but life would be so much more boring with out it.  Don’t you think?

I’ve not been around much lately, as I began a part-time J.O.B. about a month ago after having a lovely year off to collect myself.  Although the job isn’t taxing, it’s been enough to cause quite the rucus in my little slice of the Bloggosphere, and that is making me less than happy.  So if you tried to twist my arm behind my back, about a New Year’s Resolution, I’d say that I have to blow the dust off my old organizer so that I can plan my culinary adventures more than I’ve had to, and get my posts done.  I know so many bloggers who work unbelievable hours and still get their posts done in a timely fashion.  I don’t know HOW they do it, but I’ve taken notes, and not being one to be bested, I’m going to try and figure it all out.  If that’s not a resolution, I don’t know what is.

So where have I been?  Just in case that excuse isn’t enough to explain my absence, since I’ve not been blogging a year yet, I’ve just experienced what the Holidays can do to one’s blogging schedule.  Does obliterate give you the idea?  I seriously need to do some planning next year.  Jeez.  Plus, our family spent a week in Virginia, and that really messed things up, too.  Nothing like having my world revolve around my blogs, right?  Shameful.  And to make things even worse…I am now just sort of getting over quite the ugly something or other my son and I caught on the flight to Virginia.  Not pleasant.  I’ll spare you the gory details of it all.

Are you convinced I’m sorry yet?  That I’ll be more punctual?  That I’ll not neglect you ever again?  Okay, so on with the food.

It’s New Year’s Eve, isn’t it?  And since we aren’t much the Party Animals around here, a better idea is to celebrate with a great dinner — one that will put on a show and stick to your ribs at the same time.  So how did I come up with this particular recipe?  I’ve been experimenting with recipes that can be made with ingredients that I have on hand.  Not quite the novel concept for others, but huge for me.  I used to think nothing of jumping in the car to get exactly what I needed to cook something in a particular way.  But I’m working on it, okay?  I just happened to have some very nice steaks in the freezer and some small red potatoes along with two men in the house who love a good steak.  It was too dark to barbeque, a bit chilly, and I thought something with a great sauce would be just the ticket.  Something with…

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…mustard.  I love mustard — especially with beef.

So I ended up at Group Recipes which I’d never heard of, and thought, well, sure.  I’ve got more time to spend getting to know another group of foodies.  Uh…nope.  Regardless, I did find the recipe for Steak Moutarde Flambe or Flamed Mustard Steak there and it was the base for the recipe I ended up creating, so credit where credit is due.

As for the potatoes?  I know most people try very hard not to put the same ingredient into an accompanying dish when it’s a strong tasting one, but I just had to try the Mustard Roasted Potatoes that were in the December issue of Bon Appetite.  They seemed perfect for the steak.  And guess what?  They were.  See what you think.

But don’t call the fire department, because everything was under control.  Of course my son had a few years scared off his life in the process, but that’s beside the point.  Call me a bad mother for not warning him about the show.  He loved the steak, though.

Chipotle Mustard Steak Flambe

Ingredients

1 T olive oil
3 New York Strips (thick)
salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
1/2 c. sage (fresh & home dried) crumbled
1/4 c. Korbel brandy
4 tsp. chipotle mustard
1/4 tsp. paprika (sweet Hungarian)
2 T. goat’s cheese
1/2 c. heavy cream

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Directions 

Measure all ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before starting. Read the safety information on "How to Flambe" before you begin.

  1. Season each side of the steaks with the rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper.  In a large, heavy skillet (cast iron if possible) on high, heat the olive oil.  Sear the steaks, cooking completely on one side before turning to the other.  Do not pierce the meat when turning.  For rare, this should be about four minutes on each side.  Or you can use the "fist" method to test doneness. See the notes section for this.
  2. Remove as much excess fat from the pan as possible.  If your steaks are lean, there won’t be very much.
  3. Turn OFF the burner.  Pour the brandy over the steak and ignite the fumes (not the liquid) using a long match.  When the flame dies out (10 seconds) transfer the steak to a warm plate and cover with foil.
  4. Add the chipotle mustard and paprika to the skillet, stirring to combine with pan juices.  Add the goat’s cheese and cream, stirring to combine well.  Cook only until warm, around two minutes.
  5. Spoon a small quantity of sauce over each steak to serve, and pass the rest as needed.

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Notes

Why chipotle mustard?  Any kind of mustard could be used for this recipe.  We enjoy the taste of chipotle, and so I gave it a try.  The result was extremely good, and not at all spicy if that is what concerns you.  This would be a great recipe to try different combinations of herbs and mustards.  It’s very quick and easy.

There is quite a bit of information about flambed food on the Internet, and most likely cookbooks that you currently own.  Make sure you read them ahead of time if you’ve not tried the technique before.  Although the fire produced is one of low heat and goes out quickly, it is fire, and fire is always something to be taken seriously.  Common sense things such as not leaning near the pan, not having flammable things near the pan, and making sure to have a large lid in hand to extinguish the flame if necessary are important.   Chowhound has a good thread on the topic of flambe here.

Is my steak done?  The Fist Method — Make a fist and press the portion of your hand between your upper thumb knuckle and your first finger knuckle.  A tight fist makes a firm press which is what "well done" meat feels like when pressed in the same manner.  A barely clasped fist simulates what "rare" meat feels like when pressed.  A fist clutched in between the two extremes simulates a "medium" or "medium rare" feel when pressed. There are other variations out there, like this one, but the best thing to do is to find the one that works for you if you don’t like an expensive, delicious steak cooked until there isn’t one ounce of moisture left in it!

To make the Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, I followed the recipe at Epicurious exactly.  It’s a shocker, isn’t it?  The potatoes are completely delicious.  To prepare them so that they’re ready to plate when the sauce is done for the steaks, have them ready to come out of the oven right as you begin to sear the steaks.  Once the sauce is done, you’re ready to serve and eat.
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Totally for the Steak & Potatoes type of guy.  Or female, of course.  Enjoy!

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