Restaurant Steak

Hello, beauties! πŸ™‚ I have spent my day redoing so many things on my computer because I had to format on a whim the other night. Thank you, pop up ads! But everything is fine and I didn’t lose anything (that I know of…)

So after the chocolate pants cake fiasco the other day, I haven’t tried baking anything. I have been cooking delicious meats! Since my Mama is out of town I’m in charge of feeding the Papa bear so I’ve had a bit of leeway with cooking this week. I don’t mind cooking for myΒ Mom at all, but it is easier to cook for 2 thanΒ 3. You don’t have to double recipes and other things.

Β I have a brine for porkchops that is seriously to die for, I’ll make a post on that soon. This post is about steak πŸ™‚

Last year, Adam of The Amateur Gourmet posted a link about making the perfect steak. I’ve been dying to try it and finally gave it a whirl tonight.

Two things to start off with:

  • I did not use a New York strip steak, those are astronomically priced so I just cut up a sirloin we were going to use.
  • I would probably triple the amount of seasoning I put on as I didn’t get a “crust” on my steak like I was supposed to.

Get your steaks out, your seasonings ready (salt and pepper), a cast iron pan (or any pan but get it very very hot, but preferably cast iron or stainless steel), and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Also take out 2-3 tablespoons of butter per steak and 2-3 cloves of garlic per steak. You will also want a few sprigs of fresh thyme, however, I had none!

Once your steak is cut up (or if you bought it pre-cut), time to season!

According to the video, you’re supposed to use pepper that is not finely ground and then top it with salt. This keeps the pepper from burning.

As you can see, I went really light on the spices. Should have been a bit heavier. Primarily cover the large sides and any that has spilled around the steak, roll the sides of the steak in.

Now here is one of my biggest tips I have learned so far in my short jaunt into cooking: cast iron rules. So get yourself one ASAP! I use my pan for so many things, it works so well. Lodge is my favorite since it’s made in good ol’ Tennessee and has been for over 100 years.

Now, Make sure your pan is scorching hot*. You want the crust to happen so everything needs to carmelize and create that very quickly.

*A friend of mine just tried this and says I advise it should not be scorching hot. So make it very hot! I don’t want you burning your house down. πŸ™‚

After your pan is hot enough, add some oil (I used olive and I think I put a bit too much.)

Once your steak has sizzled for a few minutes, check it to make sure the crust is forming. Since mine didn’t really form one because of not enough seasoning + too much oil, I jus waited til my fat started to turn golden brown, then flipped.

This looks more like pork than steak! Woops πŸ˜‰

Β 

While the other side is sizzlin’ make sure you tip your pan and use a spoon to ladle and baste some oil to the top of your steak since it’s about to go into the oven.

Remove from the heat and place your butter, garlic, and thyme into the pan. I felt like there was too much oil so I drained some of it before I put the pan into the oven.

Β 

Also, I love butter. So…I used 3 T for each steak πŸ˜‰ mmmm. Cholestorol!

Check until the meat feels a little firm if you want a medium rare steak. It took me 6-8 minutes to get mine perfect.

Shiny steak is delicious steak πŸ™‚

Not usually. I have never thought that before but hey…I’m sellin ya on this!

Β 

The steak, despite my failure at making a crust, tasted freaking awesome. If I had made a crust and had the thyme in there, it would have been freaking fabulous. I really cannot wait to try it again now that I know what I did wrong.

One of my main problems is that I’m really worried I’m going to over season something. It gets scary sometimes! I don’t want to add too much salt! But on the other hand…I could care less about adding too much butter πŸ˜‰

I really wanted to have time to make another recipe post, Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run just posted a cookie recipe that has 14 tablespoons of butter in it and I swear to God I swooned when I read it. I’m also remaking her chicken and biscuits recipe soon for my Mama once she is back in town. So there’s two things to look forward to! πŸ™‚

As for this weekend, I have 2 VIP Lady Gaga tickets to use! One of my best friends surprised me with them and I had to throw together an impromptu trip to Las Vegas at the end of last week. Two of my best friends here were able to make it work to come with, and it works out because Alex is the biggest Lady Gaga fan I know! πŸ™‚ Huge post on that when I get back (or possibly while I’m there?), and a huge post on the buffets πŸ˜‰

Chocolate Pants Cake

Intrigued by the title? I sure hope so!

So remember a few posts ago (I tried to find it to link it but alas…I cannot! I type too many words per entry.) I told y’all I would be documenting my cooking triumphs and failures?

Well, I have another failure for you! πŸ˜‰ It seems like I post those more than I post triumphs! However, I think it’s more fun this way. I’m still learning! I know a lot of others out there in blogger/internet world are, too. I also know that I get frustrated and scream to the heavens (in my head) that these people who wrote the recipes never had to deal with these failures!!! Why me!?!?

Which of course we all know is false. Still. I wonder it.

Onward we shall go with my tale of chocolate pants cake.

The other night I was in my amazing google reader and I saw that Smitten Kitchen had updated. Now, I love that blog. It drives me to go bake things all of the time because her pictures are beyond amazing and she is so fun. So, she posted a wonderful chocolate cake recipe and I was amazed that I had the book she had gotten the recipe from! Hooray, so exciting!! So I vowed to make it the next day.

Her directions are very simple and require a very small amount of dishes so I was even more pumped up. That’s my least favorite thing about baking.

So here I am, mixing my ingredients, looking smug about how great the batter tastes and how it’ll be done before it’s too late in the evening.

Also smug about the batter I got on my counter.

I popped it into the oven and was ready to kick back for an hour when I realized….I forgot to add baking soda.

Well, poop.

Quickly, I whined to my Papa who told me to toss it and start over otherwise I’d just be more upset.

Onto cake numero 2!

Added everything!

Kicked back.

Chilled.

Wondered to myself “I wonder why the middle isn’t rising? Oh well. It will, it’s only been in for 30 minutes.”

Wondered again “There’s only 15 minutes left and it’s still not rising.”

Papa says “Your cake fell.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I cried. (In my head)

And this was the result.

😦

Sinkhole Cake

How upsetting!

I thought maybe I could get away with frosting it and covering the hole.

My cat judged me.

To the icing!!

See?! You can’t even tell. Kind of. Just that it bends a bit with the plate. Hrrm.

The foundation is crumbling!

Now, just because a cake doesn’t rise doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good! This cake honestly tastes like rich brownies and I’d recommend baking it. However, mine cooked a little too long because my oven runs very hot. So keep a check on it after about 40 minutes.

And if your cake falls and you cover it in icing then eat a piece? Be prepared for a plateful of chocolate cake pants. πŸ˜‰

Chicken Pot Pie (Attempt #1)

A few entries ago I was gushing about my love for Nigella Lawson and how I wanted to make her chocolate cake. I spent way too much time hopping through youtube watching her make things until I came across a video of her making a chicken pot pie. She made it in about 15 minutes! Oh, this solved my problem. I have been dying for a simple pot pie recipe because, friends, pot pie and I….we have a love. A love that is thick like gravy.

Needless to say I was thrilled! I immediately started making sure we had everything I would need to prepare this masterpiece.

Above is the video I watched of Nigella, the recipe on the food network site is a little different but essentially the same.

I altered the recipe a bit with what I put in (mushrooms are gross!) and because I had to triple it to make enough for my parents and I. My alterations are in bold!

  • 3 rashers streaky bacon, cut or scissored into 1-inch strips (5 strips)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic infused oil (I just used olive oil and later added garlic powder)
  • 2 cups chestnut mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces (I used carrots and broccoli)
  • 8 ounces chicken thigh fillets cut into 1-inch pieces (3 chicken breasts)

From here I just tripled the ingredients.

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/4 cups hot chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon MarsalaΒ (didn’t use)
  • 1 (13-ounce) 9 by 16-inch sheet all-butter ready-rolled puff pastry (I used regular since, then added butter)

Now, I’m not going to lie. My attempt was only okay, but my goal is to take y’all through with me on my good and bad ventures of cooking here. I know how frustrating it can be when you follow directions to a T and you end up with a result that is not what you thought it would be.

Time to begin!

Preheat the oven to 425, put your pot (or pan, I used a pot given the size of mine) on the heat, add your oil. Once your oil is heated add in your bacon.


Take your chicken and add it into a ziploc bag. Add your seasonings along with all of your flour and shake shake shake it up! I added some pepper and onion powder at this point, along with thyme.

Since I’m new…bear with me! I forgot to take pictures of a few steps πŸ˜‰

Add your butter into the pan and make sure it melts completely.

Then dump the contents of your chicken/flour bag into the pot, including all the flour left in there! That is helping to make the “gravy” part of the pot pie thicker. (Also called a roux)

Add in your vegetables! Β I had a rude awakening at this point. I was going to add a bag of frozen peas and carrots but my Papa had neglected to buy them! So I had to scramble and find some veggies. Carrots and broccoli were there to save the day!

While your chicken is starting to cook and get some color put your chicken stock into a pot and get it hot. Once your chicken has some color add in your stock. Stir!

At this point, because of the roux you have going you should have a creamy thing going on in your pot.

I added some more flour to get it a little creamier (although it ended up still needing more thickening.) I also added some more spices. Onion powder, garlic powder, some herbs. Except…I accidentally took the whole cap off of the onion powder and dumped about half the bottle in, HAH!! Lucky for me I had a ladle on hand and it didn’t get absorbed super fast.

Continue… πŸ˜‰ Let this simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Remove it from the heat then ladle it into your dish of choice.

Now, take your pastry dough and unroll it. Cut strips that are thin to cover the outside of your bowls or dish. Dip your finger in some water and slide it along the areas where you are going to put your dough. This helps it to stick.

After you’ve done this, take the remaining sheet you have and lay it over the top, pinching the edges to make sure it stays in place. I had to use 2 different sheets for mine, to make sure it was covered. You’ll see the line on my pie πŸ˜‰

Into ze oven!

Now, it was at this point that I forgot I was going to add butter to the top of it to make it all deliciously golden and to add some flavor. Standard puff pastry dough is rather boring. So I scrambled and slathered it with some butter after it had been in the oven for 10 minutes :X

Cook for about 20 minutes, or until your pastry looks full and risen. It burns easily so watch out πŸ™‚

Voila! Pot Pie!

Scoop out large delicious portions and proceed to gobble up.

Now. For my feeback. I’ll do this in a list.

  1. Puff pastry is a pain in the ass to cut through so I recommend individual portions/bowls. Then you are able to just mush it into your own bowl. πŸ˜‰
  2. Make sure your bacon is crispy before continuing with the steps. It seems like common sense but I assumed it would cook more as it was on the heat. It stayed pretty pink and never got crispy so I ended up with these bacon chunks I was too scared to eat.
  3. Add some friggin onion. That would have made this dish so so so much better. In every other recipe I see there is onion added and this one did not have it.
  4. Next time I would consider cooking the chicken in a separate pan and then adding it into my pot. It absorbed almost all the seasonings that I put into it and therefore my pie came out so bland. Adding salt when it was plated fixed it pretty well but still. I sucks to have to see people add seasonings to your food!
  5. It should have been creamier. Goopy, even! This was still pretty soupy. It wasn’t oozing around on my plate like I would have liked it to, so I probably would have added a bit more flour or even some corn starch. Xanthan gum is supposed to work as well but I’ve never attempted it.

Overall it wasn’t a bad experience as it was my first one ever making a pot pie. I can’t hit every nail on the head when I make something for the first time unless it’s cornbread or pulled pork. πŸ˜‰

I’d give it 2.5/5 stars. I’m halfway there! I just don’t expect to get all the way there til it’s a wee bit colder and a pot pie is a welcome thing to eat πŸ™‚