Feast of Two Saints

Welcome to the 29th day of June. The year is nearly half over. If you are going to be exact, the half-way point would be at noon on July 2. Aren’t you glad I took the time to calculate that? Of course, that doesn’t take into consideration leap years. But that’s neither here nor there.

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Celebrate Texas with a Five Star Supper

Have you ever noticed that you can take the Texan out of Texas, but it’s impossible to take Texas out of a Texan? Every Texan I’ve ever had the pleasure to know has something somewhere in their home that displays their Texas pride.

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Steak Maître D’hôtel

What is Steak Maître D’hôtel? Simply put it is a steak, either grilled or pan-seared, that is served topped with Beurre Maître d’hôtel. So what is  Beurre Maître d’hôtel? It is a type of Beurre Composé, French for Compound Butter.

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Grilled New York Steak with Tomato Bourbon Peppercorn Sauce

Wow, it’s hard to believe that we are nearly at the end of July! Where did the summer go? Our summer road trip is behind us. It’s time to settle back into the routine of delicious grilled steaks and other summer favorites served up in our backyard.

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Filipino Beef Steak

Coming up with something blog worth every day isn’t exactly easy. There’s the recipe, the sampling, the back story to write. I strive for two new postings every day. Last year, I managed a whopping 690 posts. Wow, that’s a lot of words!

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Pan Seared New York Strips with Garlic Butter and Grilled Potatoes

It’s hard to have a nice steak dinner out when you can cook up some awesome steak-house suppers at home. The only advantage I see for dining out is that someone else cleans the mess. When you have help in the kitchen, part of the joy of dinner is the time spent together in the kitchen.  Not only do you have the wonderful time creating together, but you save a pretty penny, too.

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Steak au Poivre with Cognac

A while back Hubby and I made a trip to World Market. Love that place. I especially enjoy the spice aisle, with all sorts of wonderful seasonings. It was there, alongside the big “blocks” of salt and various grinders that I saw a simple little container of Hickory Smoked Salt. Hum, that was different. Fine Sea Salt from New Zealand  with a mild, hickory smoke. You can bet your bottom dollar, that went into my shopping basket. I knew exactly what to do with smoky salt.

Steak au Poivre is traditionally a peppered Filet Mignon. While I do adore a well-prepared Filet, this dish is equally delicious utilizing a slightly less expense cut of meat – the New York Strip. The true beauty of Steak au Poivre is that the steaks are seared in a very hot skillet, creating a beautiful crust that rivals a grill-seared steak in smoky flavor. (And no skillet sears better than a cast iron skillet). Pan-searing your steaks also means you can enjoy all the beauty of a grilled steak even in the heart of winter.

For my Peppered Steak, I made my own blend of red and black peppercorns rather than to use only one type. The easiest way to crush peppercorns is to place them in a zip-lock freezer bag (these are a little thicker ply than a sandwich bag) and lay it flat on the counter. Close the bag, pressing out the air as you zip it shut. Then have some fun. One of my kitchen gadgets isn’t really a kitchen gadget at all – it’s a small craft hammer. Perfect for whacking peppercorns.

I know there are cooks out there that say you don’t need to salt your meat and let it sit out while the salt does it’s thing. That’s fine. I’m of the school that allowing the salt to seep into the meat, will also draw the bits of pepper deep into the meat while breaking down the proteins, thus insuring a more tender “fried” steak.

The results were awesome! The steaks were tender and flavorful. The pepper, although noticeable, wasn’t over powering. And the sauce – oh my goodness! When the butter is added to the cast iron skillet, it melts and “browns” immediately. You will need to work quickly, moving on and off the heat to prevent the butter from actually burning. And make sure to have your exhaust fan going – the house will get smoky.

Steak au Poivre with Cognac
4 boneless New York Strip Steaks
New Zealand Hickory Smoked Fine Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper Corns, crushed
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Corns, crushed
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoons Butter
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup Cognac
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped

Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and season both sides lightly with salt. Coat both sides with the peppercorns, pressing so they adhere. Let steaks rest on counter 1 hour to allow salt to tenderize the meat.

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Heat the oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the steaks and cook to your desired doneness (2 to 3 minutes per side for medium rare). Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and tent them with foil. Pour off and discard any fat left in the pan, but not the brown bits.

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Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the skillet. Give it a quick swirl, and remove from heat. When the butter has melted, return to heat, add the shallot and cook until softened, about 1 minute.

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Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully add the Cognac. Return the skillet to heat and cook, whisking, until the Cognac reduces to a glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the cream and simmer on low until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the parsley.

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Transfer the steaks to dinner plates and spoon the sauce over the steaks.

Garlic-Rubbed New York Steaks with Savory Tarragon Butter

Okay, so the unofficial official start to the summer grilling season is Memorial Day, who says we can’t start grilling sooner? After all, Memorial Day is the unofficial start. Anytime the weather is right, it’s grilling season!

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