Saturday, October 18, 2008

Got the Blues? Try Steak with Blue Cheese!!!

Sometimes it’s just the little things that make a difference. Things like the laughter of a child or the smell of blossoming flowers. You know what I mean right? When your day is just crappy for no particular reason? Like hitting the 300 red lights in rush hour or getting a nasty email at the end of the business day. Well, I’ve had a few of those kind of days lately. But if you are a devoted reader here you know I’m a pretty upbeat guy. Glass half full and all. So as I was getting a bit down, several things happened to wake me back up. I’d like to share them if I can.

You may have noticed I had a short Hiatus recently. Historically I post every 5-6 days. Well I was simply busy. So busy in fact that I was getting a touch melancholy. Then in my email I got this:

This was a co-worker’s dinner in Belgium. Jason has been to a couple of our dinner get togethers in Rhode Island. Since I take pictures of most of the food I present or get in restaurants, Jason took the time to snap the above photo and send it to me. OK that was cool. I felt like I had inspired someone to do something. I think he’s in Italy at the moment and I’m hoping for more photos.

That made me notice that my friends tend to be excited to talk to me about foods. I was walking through the hall at the office and one gal asked me to identify some vegetables she had been given. In the box were dozens of lovely tomatillos. I told her a bit about them and shared I had a recipe on the blog with tomatillos. So she promptly printed in and put it next to the box of tomatillos in the break room for anyone to take. Again, more coolness.

The next little spirit lifter were the emails I received. A couple of folks took the time to shoot me a note that asked if all was OK since I hadn’t written anything in almost 2 weeks. People were checking up on me. OK that’s cool too.

Lastly, I met my mom in Baltimore last weekend and we boarded a plane for Tampa together. We did a touch of Karaoke pubbing on the way home and didn’t get in until about 2 AM. Too fun. The next night there was the Rays vs Red Sox in the hunt for a World Series trip. We went to game 2 which didn’t end until 1:30 AM. For a second night we staggered in after 2 AM (I am way too old for this). I didn’t even throw in that we did the aquarium and the beach too. What a Saturday.

At the game

Great seats

Since Sunday was my birthday, I had 2 goals for the day. Watch football and have some kitchen fun. No good blog post goes without a recipe or restaurant recommendation and this is no different. We grilled. And man did we grill. We were on such a roll for a terrific weekend, this meal was inevitable. OK I’ll share. Take a look.

I mean c’mon. Is your mouth watering just looking at this surf ‘n turf? Mine is. I need a napkin just describing it. Here you see Grilled Rib-eye topped with butter poached lobster and a blue cheese mushroom sauce. While grilling, I used the leftover butter from the lobster to brush the steaks and the scallops. The scallops were simply seasoned and grilled then served over some braised leeks. Lastly were the pan roasted rosemary potatoes. This meal was decadent. But hey, birthdays and holidays are off limits for the richness police so back off.

OMG, was this unbelievable. Melty, buttery, rich!! Earthy meat and mushrooms paired with hearty scallops. The ribbons of leek were sweet and oniony and the potatoes had a perfect crisp skin. The rosemary perfumed the pallet and everything came together just beyond imagination.

After dinner, there was cake and plenty of good spirits. You can see my dad having a great time too.

Oh boy. OK very quick explanation about the age difference between mom and dad that you can notice in the pics. Let’s see how few words I can squeeze this into. I was adopted. Dad in photos raised me with mom who passed away the month after Olivia was born (4 years ago). I met mom in photos here when I was 30 and we are fast friends. She has never once told me to clean my room. The story is long, grand and in the style of an Oprah show. Perhaps I’ll pen it one day because it is neat. But not now.

Recipe time. We sorta went cowboy style with this and served each person their own steak. While it looked great on the plate, I would be less dramatic next time, debone and slice the meat for presentation. In that case, 2 people per steak would be sufficient. I don’t think any of us finished the whole plate. I will describe the quantities to 2 large Rib-eye steaks and you can decide how many folks they will feed. I have to give a disclaimer too. I don’t really measure so the below quantities are estimates. But they will be very darned close.

Grilled Rib-eye with Butter Poached Lobster and Mushroom Blue Cheese Sauce

For the poached lobster

1 stick butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Meat from 2 medium sized lobster tails, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Melt the butter gently over medium low heat so as not to brown. Add the garlic and lobster meat and cook until lobster is white throughout, about 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove the lobster from the butter and toss in the fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper and reserve the butter for brushing on the steaks as they grill.

For the mushroom and blue cheese sauce

1 tbsp butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup white wine
½ cup crumbled blue cheese

In a small sauté pan melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are soft stirring frequently. Add the wine and continue cooking until liquid is reduced by half. Add the blue cheese and reduce heat to medium. Once cheese is melted and bubbly, it is done. Turn heat to warm.

For the steaks

2 large (approx 16 oz) bone in rib-eye steaks (sometimes called Delmonico)
Lobster butter for brushing

Prepare your grill in whatever fashion you prepare your grill. For me, I add the charcoal and light about 30 minutes before I put the meat on. I also like my steaks to rest at room temperature for at least an hour before going on the grill. Salt and pepper the steaks and place steaks on hot grill. Cook about 4 minutes per side for medium rare.
Brush butter on steaks during the last minute. Be careful because the butter will cause some flame up.
When done allow the steaks to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

To put this dish together, serve a few tablespoons of the lobster and a few tablespoons of the mushroom blue cheese sauce atop each steak.

Grilled Scallops over Braised Leeks

8 large Sea Scallops
4 tablespoons butter divided
¼ cup white wine
1 clove garlic
2 Leeks chopped coarsely (I discard the darkest inch or two)

This is so simple and takes just a short bit of prep. Make sure the leeks are well cleaned. Dirt can fill the crevasses of leeks as they grow. I slice them then soak in cold water for a bit stirring a few times at the beginning. This allows any dirt to settle to the bottom. Scoop out the leeks out of the water, pat dry and they are ready.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Once the leeks have “sweated” a bit and are soft, add the wine and reduce till the liquid is just about gone. Maybe 20 minutes. When finished the leeks will be almost spreadable in consistency.

For the scallops, skewer and place on a preheated grill over the hottest part. I placed 2 scallops per skewer. Make sure to oil that spot first because the scallops can tend to stick. You could use a little oil on the scallops if you choose but VERY lightly because dripping oil can flame up the grill. If you are using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes to an hour before grilling.

Grill the scallops for 2 minutes per side (depending on the size of the scallop). To serve, Place a small scoop of the braised leeks on the plate and then 2 scallops atop that.

Crispy Red Potatoes with Rosemary

I confess that my mom did the potatoes but I watched and I can tell you how I would do them. So I’m making some of these directions up. Honesty is important.

1 lb small red potatoes (or new potatoes) size = 3-4 bites per potato
2 tbsp butter
3 teaspoons chopped rosemary

Bring a stockpot ½ full of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil until almost fork tender throughout but we want them a bit underdone. Drain and let cool for about 15 minutes. Then with a vegetable peeler or paring knife, cut a strip of skin off each potato around the center. So at either pole of the spud you have skin and in the center you have flesh. Think of a striped pool table ball.

Now melt the butter over medium heat and pan roast the potatoes gently. The skin will crisp. I would probably baste the potatoes with the butter along the way. Season with salt and pepper. After about 10-15 minutes add the rosemary and continue to cook another 5 minutes.

Place along side the steak and scallops and enjoy.

I am now in a far better mood!!!!!


Lou'sMom said...

You're the best! I must tell everyone the the food tasted even better than it looks. But my low-cholesterol diet went right out the window! One of the many things I admire about you is your ability to take an inspired idea and create something delicious, so quickly.

And thanks for the's way fun being your friend!


Jason said...

I always get hungry when I read your blog! I sent you some pics from Italy, I would call them food-art, but not in the sense of the last pic that I sent.