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Monday, February 21, 2011

Steak Lovers

So....Valentine’s Day is mostly retarded, right?
I’m always amused to go shopping on Valentine’s so I can watch men feverishly trying to pick out the right piece of jewelry, the cutest stuffed animal, or the cheapest Valentine’s gift bag that Walgreen’s has to offer. While I think the logic and obligation that goes into Valentine’s is totally moronic, I have to appreciate that Ryan makes for a good Valentine...something I never thought I’d value.

This year, I was in charge of Valentine’s and because Ryan worked, I couldn’t make reservations so I cooked.
The menu was a 7oz. filet mignon (smothered in sautéed sliced mushrooms & sauce), grilled asparagus, roasted brussel sprouts, served a red blend wine.

Having never cooked filet mignon, I learned a few things that I figured I’d share.
Pull your steak out of the fridge about an hour before you intend to cook it. Cold steak on a hot pan will cause you to essentially steam your steak.
I’ve cooked steak on the grill and decided to try cooking it in the oven. Make sure you sear your steak on both sides before putting it in the oven.
Once a pan has been the oven, it’s easy to forget that the handle will be hot. Trust me, the handle will be very hot and your hand will have blistered the next day if you pick it up...it’s pretty much the worst.
Because filet mignons are so thick, they cook more than most steaks do after they are taken off the grill. Mine ended up a little more done than I would have liked for this reason.
It’s worth the cost to get good steak from a proper butcher shop! Plus, you can feel good because you’re supporting the local economy...or whatever all the hippies are saying these days.
Don’t over-season your meat. A filet cooked properly should taste pretty amazing with nothing more than salt & pepper.

The last thing I learned is that the right garnish can make or break a steak. I debated between a couple different ideas for how to do the mushrooms but in the long run was glad I made the choice I did.

I started with 2 tablespoons of butter that I melted in a skillet. Then I added just a splash of red wine, salt, pepper, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and a bay leaf before throwing in all my sliced mushrooms (I think I did about 8 caps). Keep the heat pretty low and stir occasionally. The mushrooms will absorb a lot of the liquid, which is fine. If you need to add more butter and/or wine, go for it. Just make sure to remove the sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf before plating.

The steak was okay but I’ll definitely make it better next time, especially now that I found a great butcher.
The mushrooms were phenomenal.
The asparagus didn’t get done.
The brussel sprouts were made from the easiest recipe ever.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts:
Cut bottoms of brussel sprouts off and cut sprouts in half.
Spread brussel sprouts out on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Toss and put pan back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Some of the outer leaves fall off when you’re initially cutting them and that’s fine. The outsides of brussel sprouts will turn black while cooking, don’t worry, they’re still delicious!

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