Monday, May 18, 2015

Slow-Baked Steak

Red meat is a welcomed treat here at Chez Gourmess.

We've been trying to eat less meat and more of the healthy stuff, but sometimes all I want is a glass of wine and a medium-rare steak.

Chris and I visited our local farmers market in our new neighborhood and brought home a lovely bunch of asparagus, some dandelion greens, and a 16 oz. strip steak -- all from a local farm. The steak was frozen solid, so I was a little bummed that we probably couldn't eat it for dinner without a bunch of defrosting and waiting -- until Chris reminded me that the new best way to cook a steak is by starting with a FROZEN one. We did a bit of online research, until we found this video from The New York Times, and decided to try it out. We didn't follow it exactly, but the result was a delightfully tender steak with minimal fuss. (Which means more time to drink that wine.)

Chris helped with dinner -- I was a bit nervous about splashing oil and meat juices near our lovely sparkling white marble countertops, so I wanted a partner in crime. But, I got over my fears and promised myself I would clean up the mess as soon as we were done. Which I did, and with no problems. (Gotta love 409 Natural Stone Cleaner!) I carefully seared the steak in oil --make sure it is smoking hot-- in a cast iron pan until the bottom and sides were nicely browned. Then, I flipped the steak so the browned side was facing up and turned off the heat. Once the oil had stopped sputtering and splashing, I sprinkled on a bit of salt/pepper and then Chris moved the cast iron pan into the oven which had been preheated to 200 degrees. The steak was about 1.5 inches thick and frozen solid, so we let it bake, undisturbed for about an hour, then checked the meat's temperature. When it registered 130 in the thickest part, we took it out -- the total time in the oven was about an hour and 10 minutes.

While the steak was cooking, Chris poured some wine and I wilted the dandelion greens in a pan with a wee bit of chicken broth, then tossed them in a sweet/sour/spicy dressing of apple cider vinegar, almond oil, sugar, mustard, herbs, and chili flakes. I also softened up some salted butter and mixed in some horseradish mustard until I had a lovely mustard butter -- a tasty steak and steamed asparagus topper. We didn't need a starch, but you'd have plenty of time to make more sides for your dinner while the steak cooks. Which makes me think this could be a great way to serve steak for a dinner party without having to slave over a stove or grill.

When it was done, we let the meat rest for a few minutes after we took it out of the oven, then sliced it up. It was perfectly cooked. Crispy outside but juicy and tender enough on the inside to cut with a butter knife. Yum!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fancy Tomato Pie

Tomato pie is back by popular demand.

This time, I went a little fancy and used a fluted French tart pan.  And I mixed in some ricotta with the mayo. So I guess you can call it Fancy Tomato Pie, or a Tomato Pie Tart. It's up to you. Either way, this pie is delicious and delightfully simple to make. (I'm definitely going to be adding it to my "perfect to serve to company" files.)

Fancy Tomato Pie
1 batch biscuit dough
8 oz. ricotta cheese
2 TBS half and half
2 TBS mayonnaise
Heaping 1/2 cup aged cheddar, grated
Smoked sea salt (or regular Kosher salt is fine)
Ground black pepper
Italian herbs (fresh or dried)
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
Garlic powder (optional)

Minimal MESS/ingredients/clean-up: Category 1

To Do: 
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Prepare the biscuit mix according to your recipe or the package directions.
  • Butter a fluted tart pan (or pie pan) and press the biscuit dough into it.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the ricotta, half and half, mayo, cheddar, salt/pepper and herbs. Spread evenly over the dough.
  • Top with tomato slices (seed side up) in a circular pattern, then sprinkle with a bit more salt/pepper, herbs, and a pinch of garlic powder if you want. Note: I was a bit messy with the tomatoes at the end (I have no patience for fanciness), but if you take your time, you'll have a beautiful looking dish.
  • Bake until browned and bubbly.
  • Let cool, carefully remove from tart pan, then cut into wedges.
  • Serve pie warm with a green salad and glass of wine. (It's also fabulous eaten cold, for breakfast or a late-night snack.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Words of Wisdom from Julia

Julia had it right:

Big hugs to all of my wonderful, fabulous, remarkable friends. Love you much.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Smoked Pork Chops w/Apple-Bacon-Mustard Sauce

Pork chops are so booooooring, right? Wrong. SMOKED pork chops are amazing. They taste a little like ham and cook up beautifully on the stove.  Juicy and smoky!
I seasoned mine with salt and pepper, then browned them in a couple TBS of butter. In the meantime, I grabbed a bowl and mixed together some diced apples, chopped bacon, and herbs (rosemary and sage) with some Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, chicken broth, maple syrup, garlic powder -- and my favorite ingredient of late: smoked sea salt.
I poured the apple mixture over the chops and simmered on low until the apples were soft and the pork tender, maybe 10-15 mins, max. Served with couscous and a green salad, I'd say it was a very not boring, delicious dinner.


Sunday, April 26, 2015


Chris found this cutting board for me during one of our recent getaways -- I think it goes perfectly in our new place, don't you?