Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spice up your Steak

Normally I'm a purist when it comes to steak. All I want is a nice meaty cut cooked to a perfect medium rare. But alas, beef just doesn't taste like much these days. Could it be the massive amounts of corn, hormones, and who knows what else that gets pumped into our cows? I even find that the organic or free range stuff is pretty bland at best. Where is the beefy tasting beef?

Actually, I'm probably not even old enough to remember a time when beef was flavorful. Until the day comes when cows start to taste like cows (wishful thinking!), I'll just have to come up with creative ways to serve steaks. I came across this recipe in an effort to spice up some filet mignon. This sauce is rich and creamy with a nice spicy kick from the chipotle chiles. I must admit I read this and thought it sounded weird, but after one bite I was in love with the flavors. Try it on any cut of beef or even chicken.

Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Sauce
adpated from Bon App├ętit 2007

2, 1/2 lb filet mignon
8 oz shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile, finely chopped + 1 tsp of adobo sauce or to taste
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream

In a small saucepan, saute mushrooms until slightly soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Pour in the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and stir in the Gorgonzola and chile. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more adobo sauce if needed. Set aside. In a larger oven safe skillet, sear one side of seasoned steaks, turn and finish in a hot oven. Cooking time will depend on thickness and desired doneness. You could do these on the grill for more smokey flavor. Pour the sauce over the steaks and serve immediately.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Cake

You probably don't own a springform pan. After you read this you will want to go buy one. This is my new go-to cake. It can be whipped up in less than 10 minutes and will emerge as a really impressive dessert in less than an hour. Look how dense and decadent!

The best thing about this recipe is its flexibility. You can spice it up with ground nuts, a shot of liqueur or espresso, baked in cherries, or various cocoa content chocolate. Did I mention that this dessert is good for you? Loaded with antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, you will feel less guilty about this 'death by chocolate.' I take it one step further by using omega-3 eggs and raw cane sugar. This is almost health food!

Flourless Chocolate Cake
seen on TAG and the Gourmet Cookbook

2 sticks butter
2 bars of 60% cocoa baking chocolate (8 oz)
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder (or 1/2 cup reg cocoa powder + 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder)

Prepare a 9" or 10" springform pan by cutting a round of parchment to the size of the pan. Use some butter or nonstick spray to place the round in the pan. Preheat the oven to 350. In a makeshift double boiler (i.e. heat-safe bowl over a small saucepan of water), melt butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally. This can probably be done in the microwave as well -- nuking in intervals so as not to seize the chocolate. Take the bowl off the boiler and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Finally, stir in the cocoa powder and any additional ingredients here. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool completely before serving. Goes great with vanilla bean ice cream and a sweet dessert wine.