Steak Diane

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“Considered a signature entrée at Manhattan’s beloved Drake Hotel, Steak Diane is widely attributed to Beniamino Schiavon, the Drake’s maître d’hôtel from 1942 to 1967. Though many assume the name references the Roman goddess of the hunt, The New York Times, in its 1968 obituary of Schiavon, described the titular Diane only as a “beauty of the 1920s.”

SAVEUR’s take on the steak upgrades the beef from the Drake’s original sirloin to tender filet mignon. A great idea in my opinion. The recipe list also includes fresh oyster or hen-of-the-wood mushrooms; many steak Diane recipes to not.

I can’t get “exotic” mushrooms at my local grocery store, and while shopping online I noticed that there were canned chanterelles available, so I thought I’d try them out. They’re certainly not like fresh ones, but it turned out that these would work in a pinch. If you ever try canned mushrooms, make sure to dry them well before using.

Notice I halved the recipe. Afterwards I wish I hadn’t!

Steak Diane
printable recipe below

Four 4-oz. filet mignon steaks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 1⁄2 cups beef stock
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 tsp.)
1 medium shallot, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
4 oz. oyster or hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, torn into small pieces (about 2 cups)
1⁄4 cup cognac
1⁄4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley

Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it shimmers, then add the steaks and cook, turning once, until evenly browned, 4–5 minutes for medium rare. Transfer to a plate to rest. (I always use a rack for this purpose.)

Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the stock. Cook, stirring to deglaze, until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds, about 10 minutes. Pour the demi-glace into a heatproof bowl and set aside. Prior to cooking, I reduced the

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted and the foam begins to subside, add the garlic and shallot, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften, release their liquid, and begin to brown, about 2 minutes more. Add the cognac, then carefully light with a long match or lighter to flambé, shaking gently until the flame dies down.

Stir in the reserved demi-glace along with the cream, Dijon, Worcestershire, and Tabasco. Return the reserved steaks to the skillet, lower the heat to simmer, and cook, turning to coat, until the sauce is thickened and the meat is warmed through, about 4 minutes. Because my steaks were so thick (thank you Lobel’s!) I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.

To serve, transfer the steaks to warmed serving plates; stir the chives and parsley into the sauce, and drizzle it over the steaks.

I served the steaks with steamed green beans. Perfection.

If you can’t “feel” the doneness of filet mignons, (I feel using tongs), make sure to use a thermometer to test the temperature internally. Rare is 125 degrees, medium-rare is 135 degrees. Ideally, let them rest on a rack, covered loosely with foil, after cooking.

 

 

Coeur à la Crème

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First of all, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you who celebrate it! May you all be with your loved ones on the 14th and share a special meal and bottle of wine or two!

I’m not one to make everything heart-shaped just because it’s February, but years ago I was gifted a white porcelain ramekin in the shape of a heart, just for making Coeur à la Crème, which roughly translates to heart of cream.

There are many different ways to make this luscious dessert, using marscapone, cream cheese, farmers’ cheese, ricotta, or cottage cheese, and even yogurt. The cheese drains in the ramekin, forming a firm, cheesy dessert, that I will serve with a mixed berry coulis.

I like this recipe because it’s not terribly rich, and not too sweet.

Coeur à la Crème

1 – 17.6 ounce carton Fage 2% Greek yogurt
8 ounces cream cheese
5 tablespoons powdered sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla powder, or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Empty the carton of yogurt into a colander lined with cheesecloth or paper towels. Let it sit for 4 – 6 hours or overnight. You will notice that a significant amount of liquid has strained from the yogurt. That’s why this step is important before you begin with the recipe.

When the yogurt has strained, place it in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients.

Slowly at first, using an electric mixer, mix up the cheese until smooth. Scrape down the bowl once and keep mixing. It should take about 5 minutes. Taste the cheese and make sure you like the flavor. I like it a bit off-sweet. If you prefer it sweeter, add a little more powdered sugar.

Wet about a 20″ square piece of muslin or cheesecloth and wring it out very well. Then lay it over the ramekin and form it into the heart shape, with as few wrinkles as possible. Gently place the cheese into the ramekin.

Smooth it out on top, and tap it a few times to make it settle.

Wrap up the ramekin with the overflowing cheesecloth, then set the ramekin on a plate lined with paper towels. Cover the ramekin with a paper towel, and then put everything in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

When you are close to being ready to serve, unfold the cheesecloth from the ramekin, then turn the Coeur upside down on a serving plate, and finish removing the cheesecloth. If you like, smooth out the cheese with a knife.

Let the coeur warm a little before serving with your sauce of choice, whether it be fruit-based, or chocolate.

If you want an extra decadent coeur, use goat’s milk yogurt or some goat cheese. I served the coeur with a berry sauce, made from frozen mixed berries. Besides vanilla extract, there are many choices for flavoring. Citrus zest can be used, different extracts, as well as liqueurs such as Chambord or Grand Marnier.

It’s all a matter of taste!

Café Crème Quebec

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When my sister sees this post, she is going to laugh out loud. This is a recipe from our past that my mother made occasionally that we absolutely loved. The requirements for loving this dessert:  1. You must love desserts,  2. You must love coffee, and 3. You must be okay with eating marshmallows.

I’ve photographed the recipe for you below. I’m the one who used a typewriter to type the recipe onto this card ages ago, which wasn’t easy. Does anyone else remember typing!!! Especially on card stock!

Anyway, here it is. If you’ll try it, you’ll see why I had to put the recipe on my blog. It’s like a light fluffy coffee mousse.

Café Crème Quebec
printable recipe below

1 cup strong coffee
26 large marshmallows, quartered
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder

In a medium pot, heat the coffee to just boiling. It can be decaffeinated if you prefer, but make sure it’s strong and unsweetened. Remove the pot from the heat and add the marshmallows. Stir until they dissolve.

Place the pot in the refrigerator until the mixtures gels, at least 4 hours. Cover if preparing this part the day before finishing and serving.

Whip the cream with the vanilla.

Gradually whip the cream into the gel until smooth. I’ve always whipped the gel first to soften a bit. In fact, it helps to have the gel at room temperature for at least an hour before this step, otherwise the blending process is challenging.

Serve in a pretty bowl, or use individual dishes.

I always like to serve a cookie with this dessert. But I didn’t have any, so chocolate-covered espresso beans it is!

You can top the Café Crème Quebec with whipped cream and chocolate curls if you wish.

Or, some crème fraiche.

 

Pink Prosecco Margarita

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My friend Dan loves a good cocktail. So when he made a point to text me this recipe, I knew it would be good. He found it online, and made a few adaptations, but because I don’t know the origin, I’ll just call it Dan’s recipe.

It’s basically the ingredients for a real margarita, plus pink lemonade and Prosecco.

However, I couldn’t find pink lemonade where I live. Maybe it was sold out? But I did find strawberry lemonade, which I never knew existed, so I thought I’d try that, mostly because I’m impulsive. Same cocktail, but subtly strawberry flavored. Still pink, in fact hot pink!

I imagine if you’re not having a girls’ party like a bridal shower or somesuch, you can use regular lemonade for this cocktail, but the thought of making and serving a pink drink was so compelling to me!

My girlfriend helped out with a perfect happy hour setting at her house to test out the cocktail. I mean, to help with the photography.

Dan’s Pink Prosecco Margarita

1 cup pink lemonade*
3/4 cup Patron tequila
½ cup Patron orange liqueur
2 ounces lime juice, about 3 small limes
1/2 – 1 cup Prosecco, well chilled
Lime and salt for rimming

Pour the lemonade in a serving pitcher, and add the tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Chill in the refrigerator.

Right before serving, add the Prosecco.

Rim the glasses with lime juice and dip the rim with salt.

I also tried the margarita over ice, mostly because it was hot out and my girlfriend and I had been working so hard on this photo shoot (thanks Jil!) and that was also good. (not pictured.)

Overall, this is a lovely summer cocktail, but in fact, could be served at parties at various times of the year. I can see cranberries thrown in at a holiday party for example!

* Use one 12 ounce can thawed, frozen pink lemonade concentrate, or strawberry lemonade concentrate, and mix with two containers (24 ounces total) of water.

Roasted Goat Cheese with Lavender Honey

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For Christmas of 2017, a dear friend who lives in Texas sent me a fabulous gift pack. In it was a jar of lavender honey.

The gifts came from Los Poblanos Farm Foods in New Mexico. The honey is “derived from bees that pollinate a unique blend of regional plants, including our very own Grosso variety of lavender.”

As soon as you open the honey jar, you smell lavender. It is utterly fragrant and delightful.

So how better to showcase this floral honey than to top it on a roasted log of goat cheese?!!

Which is what I did to start off a special meal for my one and only.

Roasted Goat Cheese with Lavender Honey
Slightly adapted NYT Cooking recipe by Sara Dickerman

1 – 8-12 ounce log or slab of a firm goat cheese, chilled
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons lavender honey, or honey of choice
Bread, toasts, crackers

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Select a small oven-to-table earthenware dish or a small ovenproof sauté pan lined with aluminum foil to help transfer the cheese to a plate after roasting.

Place the log in the dish and cover with the olive oil.

Bake until the cheese is soft and springy to the touch but not melted, about 8 minutes.


Preheat the broiler.

Heat the honey in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water until it is fluid enough to be spread with a pastry brush.

Paint the surface of the feta with it. Broil until the top of the cheese browns and just starts to bubble. (As you can tell I opted to dropper the warm honey onto the soft cheese.)

Serve immediately with breads, toasts, or crackers.

You can also include pickled or roasted vegetables, according to the recipe author.

Alternately, add fresh fruits like strawberries and peaches, or dried fruits like dates and figs.

I might do this in the future, but this time, just the crackers with the roasted goat cheese, and the sweetness of the floral honey were just a perfect combination, topped with edible flowers for some prettiness!

note: A pretty oven-to-table gratin dish would have been a better choice than messing with a piece of foil, which did not help with sliding/moving the molten log of goat cheese to the serving platter!