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topaz: (strawberry)

Steak au Poivre, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

Ellen brought home steaks last night, so we made steak au poivre. It was my first ever attempt at a flambé, and boy do I wish I had a picture of that.

Crush a big handful of peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Roll the steaks in them so they're thoroughly coated. Melt a big hunk of butter in a saucepan on medium-high heat and sauté the steaks on both sides until nicely browned.

Pour in a few tablespoons of brandy or cognac, take the pan off the flame and light (preferably with a long-handled match, because we like you to stay out of the emergency room). Call the children in to the kitchen to admire and envy that Daddy gets to play with fire. Once the flames die down, remove the steaks to a plate, return the pan to the heat, add some cream and stock and cook down until it's nice and thick. Pour the sauce over the steaks and try not to swallow whole.

We served them with oven-roasted potatoes and holy smokes, they were good. Ellen ate them even though they were still pinkish-red inside, which is saying a lot.

topaz: (strawberry)
This turned out well enough that [livejournal.com profile] keyne practically insisted that I write it up.  I think that's a first.

Most measurements are approximate, since I was kinda just throwing things together.  There are almost certainly ways to improve on it and I welcome suggestions. :-)  I really wanted to use chipotles but poblanos were all I had on hand and they served admirably.

olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 lb. pork medallions (I used thin cut boneless chops, cut into largish pieces)
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 medium poblano chiles, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat oil in skillet on medium-high heat.

Apply salt and pepper generously and thoughtfully  to medallions.  Sear medallions in skillet until lightly browned and thoroughly repentant, 1-2 minutes on each side.  Remove medallions from skillet temporarily.

Dump garlic and onion unceremoniously into hot skillet, and saute with bits of pork fat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Pour in pomegranate juice, syrup and chicken stock.  Add chiles as an afterthought.  Let simmer 5-10 minutes, whatever.  Return medallions to skillet and braise until sauce is reduced to begging for spare change.

Goes well with horseradish mashed potatoes, a spinach salad.  Made cosmopolitans too and we all were happy.

pork medallions in pomegranate maple poblano sauce

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] keyne wishes me to point out that my version of the recipe also included about 1/2 lb of mushrooms, added when the pork was returned to the sauce. Personally, I thought the sauce overwhelmed the mushrooms and would leave them out the next time, but she liked 'em.
topaz: (strawberry)
Summary: I want to learn to make a better bread.  My mother, like her father before her, is fantastic at bread.  I don't seem to have inherited the knack.  My boys have grown up believing that bread is something you buy in a store, and it's depressing and discouraging.

So I am attempting to teach myself to bake an irresistable loaf of bread.  The kind of chewy, crusty bread that takes you by the throat and begs to be eaten.  The kind that must be baked in at least two loaves at a time because the first one disappears within minutes of coming out of the oven.

I tried several iterations of an oatmeal molasses bread I found in one of our old Sunset cookbooks, figuring that if I want a chewy, sweet loaf, oatmeal bread is the way to go, but it kept coming out dry and crumbly.  (See what I mean?  I must be cursed if I have figured out how to make oatmeal bread dry and coarse.)

Tonight I decided to go back to first principles and made the white sandwich loaf in The New Best Recipe.  The comments in the book were very interesting -- that most of the loaves they tried need very little kneading after all, and they found that they generally came out better when kneaded by machine than by hand.  My first effort is currently cooling on the rack, and while I fear that I overbaked it again, it seems to have come out a perfect size and shape.  Here's hoping.
topaz: (bad wolf)
Today's baking experiment: pumpkin oat streusel muffins.  I used white whole wheat flour, substituted butter for margarine and left out the nuts.

Not very pumpkiny.  Kind of boring, in fact, and the streusel is just weird.  The butter in it burned a little, which makes it bitter.  (Does streusel usually have butter or margarine in it?  The streusel recipes I've used have never included it.)
topaz: (strawberry)
Oatmeal bread with cooked oatmeal

Both boys asked for oatmeal this morning and neither of them ate it.  Before I threw it out it occurred to me that it must be possible to turn this wreck into oatmeal bread.  This turns out to be a recipe adapted from Beard on Bread, a book which I, unaccountably, do not own.  It's very easy and turns out to make two very nice loaves of bread, even using instant oatmeal and whole wheat flour (despite the poster's insistence on regular oats and bread flour).

Peanut butter dog biscuits

These are still in the oven so my chief taster has not had a chance to try them yet (despite her deep soulful eyes looking up at me as I mix), but they smelled so good while I was rolling them out that I was tempted to eat some of the dough myself, chicken broth and all.

April 2012


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