Monday, September 30, 2013

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce for Your Steaks

I happen to LOVE blue cheese on my steak.  This creamy Gorgonzola sauce gives me just the right amount of "bite" from the blue cheese, yet is toned down with the creamy goodness and fresh herbs.  It's an easy sauce to make, and dresses up your steak into something special!  I used it on a beef filet, but you can use this on your favorite cut of steak.

Click for Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano
  • 2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley + extra for plating
  • 1/3 cup crumbly Gorgonzola + extra for plating
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt (not table salt)








Step-by-Step: 
Carefully bring the cream to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.   Do not take your eyes off of this cream as you are bringing it to a boil.  It will boil over the instant you do!  LOL
2 cups heavy cream

Add the other ingredients and cook until thickened and reduced. That's it!
3/4 tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano

2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsle

1/3 cup crumbly Gorgonzola + extra for plating

I waited to add the salt until last, because some blue cheese's can be very salty.
1/4 tsp kosher salt (not table salt)


For the beef filet - 

Allow filets to come to room temperature.  Season steaks well with seasoning blend of your choice.  I used Montreal Steak Seasoning.  
Steaks of your choice.  These are filets.
I added a couple of Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to my grill pan.

On a very hot grill pan, sear 1 minute, turn 90 degrees and sear an additional 2 minutes. 
Flip and sear side two for 2 minutes, turn 90 degrees and sear an additional 2 minutes.  This gave me the medium I was looking for.  Adjust times according to your preference of doneness.  I recommend a digital, instant read thermometer to take the guesswork out of it, but there are some little tricks some people use to test for doneness. *Read about the "face test" at the bottom of the post.  I did not make this up.  I read it somewhere.  It seems sorta cool, so I'm passing it along in case this method appeals to any of you.
I cooked to medium (160 degrees F *according to the USDA guidelines) before resting 5 minutes.  This was about 7 minutes for my steaks, but this will depend on the thickness of your filets.  (These were about 1 1/4" thick each.)   If you like them more well done, just cook them longer.  Just know that the meat will not be as tender.  This post is really about the sauce.
 

Did you enjoy this recipe?  I hope so!
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As always, here are some "bonus" recipes for you:
Grilled Zucchini Rolls 
 
Stuffed Peppers

Vietnamese-Style Lettuce Cups

Black Pepper and Gruyere Popovers

Andouille Breakfast Potatoes

Spinach Artichoke Dip-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Written Method: 
Carefully bring the cream to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.  Add the other ingredients and cook until thickened and reduced. That's it!

For the beef filet - 
I cooked to medium (160 degrees F *according to the USDA guidelines) before resting 5 minutes.  This was about 7 minutes for my steaks, but this will depend on the thickness of your filets.  (These were about 1 1/4" thick each.)  Allow filets to come to room temperature.  Season steaks well with seasoning blend of your choice.  I used Montreal Steak Seasoning.  On a very hot grill pan, sear 1 minute, turn 90 degrees and sear an additional 2 minutes.  Flip and sear side two for 2 minutes, turn 90 degrees and sear an additional 2 minutes.  This gave me the medium I was looking for.  Adjust times according to your preference of doneness.  I recommend a digital, instant read thermometer to take the guesswork out of it, but there are some little tricks some people use to test for doneness. *Read about the "face test" at the bottom of the post.  I did not make this up.  I read it somewhere.  It seems sorta cool, so I'm passing it along in case this method appeals to any of you.

Steak Doneness:  (This is from the Steak Enthusiast.) 
Here’s how you learn the various levels of doneness:

With a poker face — no smiling or you’ll be eating beef jerky — touch your cheek. That’s how rare meat feels. Offering no resistance when pressed, it has a red center but should be warm all the way through. Touch your chin. This is the feel of medium rare. The color should be bright pink to red when cut.  Now, touch the end of your nose. This will coincide with the texture of medium doneness. It has a pink center. The area just above the bridge of your nose on your forehead is the tactile equivalent of medium-well. It has a thin line of pink remaining in the center. The bottom of your shoe is well done.

Winn-Dixie Executive Chef Robert Tulko prefers gauging doneness using touch also, but with his fist:

First, make a relaxed fist, he said. The web of your hand between the thumb and forefinger on top feels like rare meat. If you slightly clench your fist, that same v-section of your hand is now medium. Clench your fist tightly, and the area will now feel like well done — hard, and in my opinion, inedible.
Tulko explained that as meats cook, the juices are drawn to the upper surface. That’s why when you cut into a steak, the juices rush out.  He said you should let the steak rest for five to 10 minutes before serving and cutting. The juices will have time to settle back to the center.

Friday, September 27, 2013

German Chocolate Brownies

Alright, so after making these, I promptly brought them to the office.  WAY too dangerous to keep around the house.  I like the topping on a German chocolate cake, but not usually the cake itself.  It just seems too light for my tastes.  So for these, I purposely sought out the darkest fudgy'est brownie mix I could find.  So if you are into dark, rich chocolate brownies and coconut, these may be just the thing for you, too!  

We're going to file this under the semi-homemade category.  I made them after work, so I shaved some time and effort off of them by using a brownie mix.  I made them my own, however with this to-die-for creamy, coconut pecan topping.  If you have a favorite made-from-scratch brownie recipe you want to use, knock yourself out.  But for an easy, but decadent dessert that people will rave over without a lot of stress, follow my step-by-step photos.


Ingredients:
Brownies - 
  • 1 pkg "dark" chocolate brownie mix
  • 2 large eggs (bring to room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Coconut Pecan Frosting - 
  • 1/2 cup half and half (or evaporated milk)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted 

Step-by-Step:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Rather than spray my stone baker, I lined it with parchment paper so that I could just lift the brownies out of the dish. 
My daughter is just starting to learn to read, so she "read" the instructions off of the box before we began.  It was priceless... and included putting the "mixed up ingredients" into a "short bowl" to bake them in.  Well this is our short bowl.  (casserole dish) 

Mix brownie batter according to package directions.  Pour batter into a prepared casserole dish. 
 1 pkg "dark" chocolate brownie mix + 1/4 cup water

 
 1/2 cup canola oil + 2 large eggs (brought to room temperature)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
 Pour into the prepared pan.
 

Bake according to directions.  I used a 9"x9" stone "baker," and cooked for 34 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the batter should come out clean, but don't over bake or they will dry out.
To prepare for the frosting, toast the pecans and the coconut.  I dry toasted the nuts about 7 minutes in the 350 degree F oven, shaking them around a couple of times.  I just used a lower rack while the brownies were cooking.  Same thing for the coconut - dry toast them in a pan in the oven, mixing them around every couple of minutes or so until pretty and brown.  Watch coconut carefully so that it doesn't burn.
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
While brownies are baking,  let's prepare the coconut pecan frosting.  Combine the first five ingredients.
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk, beaten
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Carefully bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 5 - 7 minutes so that it will thicken.  Remove from heat, then stir in toasted pecans and coconut.  


1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

Spread the frosting over the warm brownies.  Let the brownies and frosting cool a while before lifting out, then cutting the brownies.

Carefully just lift out the parchment paper from the dish.  TaDAH!!!  Yay!! No more "digging out" the brownies!

There IS no other word to describe these than decadent!  The darkest, fudgiest brownies I could find, and a coconut pecan praline'esque topping over that?  Yes!

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe!   Be sure to Click over to my Recipe Index for tons more ideas of things you can cook with/for your family.  If you are new to MenuMusings, Click here to subscribe so you can become part of the MenuMusings community!  You can also interact with me on the MenuMusings Facebook Page

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Now here are some "bonus" recipes for you.  Click the links to go there!
High Class Shepherd's Pie

Rosemary Black Pepper No-Knead Artisan Bread

Quick Chicken Parmigiana Panini

Creamy Chicken Piccata

Homemade Snickers Bars


Individual White Chocolate and Raspberry Bread Puddings


Written Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Rather than spray my stone baker, I lined it with parchment paper so that I could just lift the brownies out of the dish.  Mix brownie batter according to package directions.  Pour batter into a prepared casserole dish.  Bake according to directions.  I used a 9"x9" stone "baker," and cooked for 34 minutes.  A toothpick inserted into the batter should come out clean, but don't over bake or they will dry out. 

To prepare for the frosting, toast the pecans and the coconut.  I dry toasted the nuts about 7 minutes in the 350 degree F oven, shaking them around a couple of times.  I just used a lower rack while the brownies were cooking.  Same thing for the coconut - dry toast them in a pan in the oven, mixing them around every couple of minutes or so until pretty and brown.  Watch coconut carefully so that it doesn't burn.

While brownies are baking,  let's prepare the coconut pecan frosting.  Combine the first five ingredients.  Carefully bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 5 - 7 minutes so that it will thicken.  Remove from heat, then stir in toasted pecans and coconut.  Spread the frosting over the warm brownies.  Let the brownies and frosting cool a while before cutting.
Cook brownies according to package directions. 

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