Thursday, February 4, 2010

Steak, Potatoes, Sauce, Soup and Orange Curd

This blog is actually encompassing two meals I prepared last week.  I love Martha Stewart and she did a show about blogs last month that led me to both this blog, Jeff and Martha, and Martha's book, Martha Stewart's Cooking School.  Everyone knows I need a cooking school, so I figured I'd check it out.  What I really love about the book is the detailed instructions about preparing meat.  I'm a one-pot-dinner kind of gal and my husband has often complained, "When are we going to eat anything besides stews?!"  And we do (on the nights he cooks!).  So I picked out two recipes, checked out what Jeff had to say about them and got to work.

The first: Pan-Seared Strip Steak with Mustard Cream Sauce.  This consisted of two steaks basically pan-fried in a bit of butter and then a mustard sauce with vermouth and cream.

I'm definitely a beginner saucier and don't even have a good sauce pan (all my pans are nonstick aka NO METAL!), so I was doomed from the beginning.  The instructions to wait to flip the steak until it pulls easily from the pan were vague and I ended up flipping too early.  I got a good temperature but it was definitely unevenly cooked.  But thankfully, still nice and pink in the center.  I took the pan off the heat, added the vermouth, heated and stirred.

The book says to "cook until liquid is almost completely reduced, about 45 seconds."  I waited, while stirring, probably about two minutes but there was still plenty of liquid and then....POP!  The sauce exploded all over the kitchen AND ME!

I got a nice burn on my face and right hand.  So this definitely reduced my enjoyment of the finished product!  I quickly added the mustard, cream and steak juices and served the very runny sauce with the steak.  I think if it would have reduced properly it would have been very tasty.  As it was, it was good with the mashed potatoes, but too weak to taste with the yummy steak (a treat for the two of us, for sure!).  I made a quick salad and some mashed potatoes with rosemary cream (from the book) and butter and this was a rich, fatty, delicious meal!  Too bad I had to eat it with a washcloth compressed to my lip. :-(

The second: "Indian-Spiced Split Pea Soup" was an interesting choice. Jeff from the blog gave it rave reviews, so I figured I'd try it out, especially since we needed a healthy dish after the previous steak and cream fiasco.  This was a sort of compromise since my husband loves Indian food and hates split pea soup and I hate Indian food and love split pea soup.  I figured we both might love or hate it.  It was a simple recipe, no real surprises.  The book says in several places to "salt to taste" and as a beginner cook, this is very hard for me.  I have realized how important salt is along the way, but I still tend to under salt,  a definite problem with this dish.  I also did not have any dried chilies as called for in the recipe, so I threw in some crushed red pepper flakes.  I have a tendency to over spice with hot spices, so I was conservative.  SO this lack of salt and spice made the soup very...boring.  I added some salt and more pepper flakes to my bowl and it was definitely improved, but still it was only just okay.  There are still leftovers in the fridge, so that is a real tell.

I have started on the Orange Genois that is part of the bake-along tonight.  I made the orange curd that is going to be the filling between the layers.  I think everything went okay.  This is another sauce-type recipe, so I was really worried.  And I conclude that there are no Seville oranges in Columbia, SC.  So I reduced regular orange juice, actually I used "Simple Orange" juice since I had it and I didn't have enough oranges to make fresh.  It tasted good, then I added the zest and now it tastes way too orange-y.  I'm hoping this will work out when it is layered between cake and ganache.  OH and I bought some coveted Scharffen berger chocolate because it was on sale at the fancy supermarket.  I'm very curious to see if there is going to be a noticeable difference compared to my regular Ghirardelli.   I also have a call out to all the local people I know with liquor cabinets for some triple sec for the recipe.  So far, no luck.  I hope I have time to make the cake Saturday afternoon (after work, before dinner) so I can put it together Sunday morning for our mini Super Bowl party.  Only time will tell!


  1. Oh I am soooo jealous. I have wanted to try Scharffen Berger Chocolate but in Southwestern Virginia- well you know. I did find some godiva that I am going to try to compare to Ghirardelli. Good luck with the Genoise.

  2. I almost wish I couldn't find it, then it wouldn't tempt me with its outrageous price tag every time at the store!

  3. Ohh Scharffen Berger... fancy! Can't figure out the sauce exploding on you... what is up with that?

  4. Cointreau or grand marnier can also be used in place of the triple sec.

    Good luck.