Thursday, December 30, 2010

Back Home In My Kitchen

James has a knack for getting me just the right kitchen gifts. Things that are fun, have endless uses (the kind of things I wonder how I lived without), and look great besides. Under the Christmas tree this year was a super heavy Le Creuset square grill pan. In my favorite color (and Julia Child's) -- flame. It's just the thing for toasting grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis, "grilled" chicken, and for nights like tonight when steak is on the menu but the weather outside is far from summer BBQ ready.
I stayed inside and, following a recipe from meat guru Bruce Aidells. I patted a mixture of brown sugar (1 tsp), Spanish paprika (2 tsp), kosher salt (1 tsp) and black pepper (1 tsp) on the outside of my already super delicious Hearst Ranch grass fed sirloin steaks and laid the steaks in my new -- preheated -- grill pan for nearly 7 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile I heated 1/4 cup of olive oil in a pan and added in 2 sliced shallots, 3 minced cloves of garlic, 1 TB of capers, and a heavy pinch of rubbed sage. The vegetables cooked around for a bit (about 3 minutes) -- just until soft -- and I added in 8 chopped piquillo peppers (Spanish roasted peppers with a distinctive fruity taste), a tsp of Dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. The "sauce" simmered for about 12 minutes while the steaks were cooking.
The potatoes, for whatever reason I really can't say, I decided to oven braise in olive oil. I've never done it before. I sliced the fingerlings in half and put them in a small oven proof dish along with 2 peeled cloves of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, a sprig or fresh oregano and a couple peppercorns. I poured olive oil over the mixture until the potatoes were just about submerged, covered the dish with foil and popped it in a 450ยบ over for about 35 minutes. The potatoes came out super tender and lightly perfumed with the herbs. They just needed a sprinkling of salt and pepper to come to the table.
An easy dinner made even better with a bright orange Christmas gift. Thank you, honey.

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