valentine’s dinner for two: steak au poivre

DSC05461.jpg

Steak au Poivre (adapted from epicurious.com)

2 one- to two-inch thick rib eye steaks
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brandy
3/4 cup cooking cream

Pat dry the steaks with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt. Press the crushed peppercorns into both sides of each steak. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 200˚F/75˚C.

Heat skillet, about 3 minutes on medium high heat.Then add the oil and swirl it around in the skillet. Sauté the steaks 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Put steaks on a heatproof plate in the oven while you make the sauce. Add shallots and butter to skillet and cook over medium low heat, stirring and scraping up the browned bits, until shallots are browned and wilted, about 3-5 minutes.

Carefully add the brandy (because it might ignite) and bring to a boil, stirring until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and boil the sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3-5 minutes. Serve sauce with steaks. I like the sauce a little browner, so I put some Maggi sauce in it. But you can add Worcestershire sauce for the same effect.

I served the steaks with cauliflower fritters and pumpkin purée.

Cauliflower Fritters
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes

1 head cauliflower
2 large eggs
3/4 cup grated edam cheese (If I had any I’d recommend Peccorino Romano)
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use less if less heat is desired)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
Low fat Greek style yogurt, optional

Separate the florets and boil them in a pot of salted water for about 10 minutes. Drain the florets and put them in a large bowl. Mash the florets.

Add the eggs, cheese, shallot, breadcrumbs and seasonings to taste. Mix well. Form fritters about 3 inches in diameter. You’ll get about 8 fritters. Set aside.

In a 10 inch skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. When a drop of water sizzles in the pan, add four fritters. Fry them 3 minutes per side. Set them to drain on paper towels while you do the second batch. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt, if desired.

pork tenderloin with cherry-thyme pan sauce and cauliflower rice

DSC_0523 (1)

I got this recipe from Epicurious and adapted it here using dried cherries instead of frozen, and seasoning the meat with more than just coriander. I like coriander but the taste can be bland. The only thing I’d change next time is to add a half cup of stock to make more sauce because after the wine was reduced, there was hardly any liquid left. Lest you worry that the meat is undercooked, it continues cooking during the “resting period” and the temperature rises from 145 degrees another 20 degrees when you take the tenderloins off the heat.  You do not want to overcook this. The meat turned out tender and moist (fully cooked) with the sweet taste of cherries and the caress of thyme. I served this with cauliflower rice.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Rest: 10 minutes

2 pork tenderloins (2 lb total)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced into rings
10 sprigs thyme
1 1/4 cups dry red wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cup dried cherries
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

In a small bowl, mix the coriander, onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper. Rub into the pork tenderloins.

Heat oil in a large 12” skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Fry the tenderloins 5 minutes on each side for 20-25 minutes or until each tenderloin registers 145˚F on an instant read thermometer. Using a pair of tongs, transfer pork to a cutting board, and let stand 10 minutes. Do not discard the browned bits in the pan.

To the skillet, add onions and thyme and cook until softened and lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add wine, vinegar, sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up any browned bits and stirring frequently until liquid is reduced, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cherries, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Add the butter and swirl skillet to combine. Pull out thyme sprigs, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice pork into 1/2 inch thick slices and transfer to a large platter. Spoon sauce over the top and serve. Or serve the sauce on the side, if desired.

Cauliflower Rice

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 stalks scallion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Lime wedges, for serving

Pull off the outer leaves and core the cauliflower. Wash and let it drain or pat dry with paper towels. In a food processor, pulse half the cauliflower until it is the size of short grain rice or cous-cous.Remove to a bowl and process the remainder.

Heat the oil in a 12 inch deep skillet or wok. Reduce heat to medium and stir fry the scallion and garlic until it is soft, about 2-4 minutes. Add the cauliflower and cover. Uncover and turn the cauliflower occasionally, browning it.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges.

spicy whole roasted cauliflower

DSC05400

Spicy Whole Roasted Cauliflower (adapted from purewow.com)

Prep time: 10 minutes
Roasting time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon vegetable  oil
1 small head cauliflower
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 small lime zested and juiced
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon ginger powder (can use garlic powder)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Cover a small baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease it with vegetable oil. Set aside.

Cook’s Note: My oven is fast. The original recipe said 400˚F/200˚C

Trim the base of the cauliflower to remove any green leaves and the woody stem.

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, lime zest, juice, chile powder,paprika, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, salt and pepper.

Dunk cauliflower into the bowl and use a brush or your hands to smear the marinade evenly over its surface. Store excess marinade in fridge up to 3 days.

Place cauliflower on prepared baking sheet. Roast until the surface is dry and lightly browned, 30-35 minutes. The marinade will make a crust on the surface of the cauliflower.

Let cauliflower cool 10 minutes before cutting and serving with a green salad.