Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Nice Ego Boost

As mentioned previously, it was Garrick's and my turn to host Thursday night dinner with Megan and Caleb, and I planned on making a chilled cucumber watermelon soup, pan-broiled steak with bearnaise sauce, potato balls sauteed in butter, and green beans. And that's what I did. It was SO GOOD. They particularly enjoyed the potatoes and steak. I think I remember hearing something like "This is the best steak I've ever had." You know, something like that. I get such a good ego boost when I cook for them.

By the way, this is Megan and Caleb:
Aren't they the cutest newlyweds ever? And they're the nicest people I know. And that's not an exaggeration. I love being around them.

Okay, back to the food.

Cucumber Watermelon Soup
1 cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and chopped
5 cups seedless watermelon, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
pinch of salt

1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Correct seasoning. Optional: strain soup through a fine sieve. I did this because I wanted to make sure there weren't any seeds. Chill for several hours.

Now on to the main course!


For the steak, I created my own marinade with oil, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, dry white wine, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, Mrs. Dash, minced garlic, minced dried onion, and seasoned pepper. Then I marinated the steak (I used sirloin) for about 4 hours.

To cook the steak, put 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet, and cook the steaks for 4-5 minutes per side.

Bearnaise Sauce
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1/2 Tbsp dried tarragon (I used thyme)
pinch of salt and pepper
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp cold butter
1/2 to 2/3 cup melted butter

1. Boil the vinegar, wine, shallots, herbs, and seasonings over moderate heat until the liquid has reduced to 2 tablespoons. Let it cool.
2. Beat the egg yolks until thick. Strain in the vinegar mixture and beat. Add 1 tablespoon of cold butter and thicken the egg yolks in a double boiler (a heat-proof boil set over a pan of 1/2 inch of barely simmering water). Beat in the other tablespoon of cold butter, then the melted butter by droplets. Correct seasoning. Serve in a warmed gravy boat.

For the potatoes:
Peel 2 russet potatoes per person, and use a melon baller to cut balls out from it. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Put potatoes in skillet, and leave them for 2 minutes. Shake the pan to turn the potatoes, and leave another 2 minutes. Continue doing this for the next 4-5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, and shake the pan to cover the potatoes. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For the green beans, I just steamed them, shocked them in cold water to stop the cooking, then threw some butter in the still warm pan, and sauteed 1 tablespoon of shallots until opaque, then threw the beans back in and stir to coat in butter and shallots.

Dinner was delicious, if I do say so myself. And so was dessert!

Megan and Caleb brought a delicious peach and strawberry crisp.

Which was a lot more tasty than the picture shows. Garrick also put his new toy, his espresso machine, to good use making all of us personalized drinks.

While we ate dessert, we watched Cinderella Man. It was a great night. We have to skip next Thursday because Megan and Caleb will be at a family reunion, but I'm looking forward to the next one, when we will be bringing dessert.

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