Phase Two in the "try a recipe from my new cookbooks week" is Steakhouse Steaks from The Barefoot Contessa. Before I delve into this beefy subject, I have two news items.1. Mary and Steve are in Utah, visiting their #3 child (of blind delivery fame) and are touring several fabulous National Parks - Moab, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon - and today (during one of the few moments she actually had cell service) Mary sent me this photo:Apparently there is at least one mensch in Nevada... he visits National Parks in Utah and I'm pretty sure he drives a Volkswagen Mazda. 2. The other news item is that Gwyneth Paltrow - creator of my tested and loved recipe yesterday - will be on the cover of the June 2011 Bon Appetit Magazine! The cover-girl choice is not without controversy in the foodie world, but I'm here to opine the woman wrote a best-selling cookbook and she is gorgeous. We have seen too many great cooking magazines fade away recently. Let's do anything to drive sales. That said, if I see Britney Spears on the cover of Saveur, I am cancelling my subscription.
Let's move on now to tonight's recipe - Steakhouse Steaks from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?: Fabulous Recipes & Easy Tips. Tonight's recipe is a double trial, as I am also testing a new skillet. I am trying to steer away from Teflon pans because of the possible/who knows? toxicity from the chemicals used in the non-stick surface. More controversy, but you have hopefullyprobably read this website long enough to know I am pretty-much into eating real food and if I cook real food on a toxic surface, it probably defeats the purpose of purchasing real food. I do not want to get political. You all know I love my organic stuff and you all know I will also hit an In-N-Out whenever possible. I just want as much control over what I consume as possible. So, I purchased a Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Skillet.It's real purty.
Ms. Garten's recipe calls for beef tenderloin - saturated in fleur de sel and freshly cracked black pepper - seared on all sides, then finished in the oven. It is a simple recipe and a method I use whenever we do not opt for steak on the grill. The Barefoot Contessa calls for a LOT of salt. Seriously, a LOT of salt. I bought two beef tenderloins from our butcher at New Seasons Market. The steaks were Oregon-grown, organic and $20.99 per pound. Luckily, they were each around .25 pound. Small, but plenty. Small around, but nearly two inches thick. I heated my pretty new made-in-France-by-French-People 9-inch skillet. The steaks were seared on all sides, as per the instructions, then the skillet was transferred to a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. I used a meat thermometer and pulled the meat out of the oven at 120°. The steaks were then tented under foil for 5 minutes and served. I did not opt for the Roquefort Chive Sauce suggested in the cookbook, but did crumble a teeny bit of Oregon blue cheese over the steaks. DT chose a lovely Dolcetto from our neighbor - Ponzi Vineyards.. It was pretty-much perfect with the steak/asparagus combo. Delectable. The steak was super tender. I served the steak and steamed asparagus spears with a simple tomato salad.
The only thing I would suggest in this recipe is to REDUCE THE SALT. Dang, The Contessa LOVES HER SALT. I own every single one of her cookbooks and her recipes never fail. I love me some salt, but the woman uses too much salt in nearly every recipe. Seriously, I do not even want to know her blood pressure.
After the skillet cooled a bit, I set it in the sink and gave it a squirt of dishwashing liquid and a splash of hot water. After dinner, it didn't take a minute to wash the pan. The jury is still out on the Le Creuset skillet.
Stay tuned for the omelet test. Oy vey.
I went to the doctor about my chest cold. Seems I am going to live. I even hopped on my beloved treadmill for two slow miles. The weatherman suggests the predicted week of rain is now only a predicted five days of rain and we will see 70° by Friday.
Place your bets!
Tomorrow I am making gnocchi. I haven't made gnocchi in several years. Hope I can still remember how.
Until my next update, I remain, your salty-yet-satisfied correspondent.