Last weekend we donated some things to the Salvation Army and we went into the Salvation Army store to check it out. Tony found a grilling book that he has been wanting to buy and he found me a Julia Child cookbook, it's her "Menu Cookbook". They were $4.00 each, not bad. So I came across this Steak Diane in my new Julia book. I didn't know exactly what that was so I figured that is what I will make for Friday Night. I think it was a popular dish at one time, I had heard of it before. I also saw the appetizer idea in this same book so I figured..."why not"...
Asparagus Tips in Puff Pastry with Lemon Butter Sauce
I thought it and Tony said it..."It tastes like something you would eat at a fancy French restaurant". Ahead of time I steamed asparagus until it was perfectly cooked and put them in the refrigerator until I was ready to serve. Defrost puff pastry that you buy in the freezer section of the supermarket overnight so it's completely thawed. Unfold the dough and cut rectangle shapes, about 2.5 X3.5 inch pieces (give or take). Place the puff pastry on a sheet pan and brush the tops only with egg wash (being careful not to egg wash the sides), then using a sharp knife make little crosshatches in the surface. Immediately bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Towards the last couple minutes of baking, make the lemon butter sauce. She said one way to do it and then an alliterative that she learned from Jacques Pepin. You bring 2 Tbsp lemon juice and 2 Tbsp water to a rolling boil then whisk in 1 stick of room temperature butter cut into small pieces a couple pieces at a time. Return this mixture to a rolling boil again for a few seconds. To plate you place one of the puff pastry rectangles on a plate and open like a book. Place asparagus tips (the size of the pastry with a little extra so they show their faces) inside the pastry and spoon the sauce over the tips then place the top pastry on the tips. Very nice.
I found this video of Julia making her Steak Diane but she didn't make it exactly like it says in her book. I used a rib eye steak, you need 2 steaks cut to about 1/2 inch thickness so I got a one inch steak and froze it for an hour to make it easier to cut. After an hour in the freezer I cut the steak in half, remove all the fat then she says to pound each steak to a 1/4 inch thickness. Olive oil, soy sauce and black pepper rubbed on each side of the steaks and roll up like a rug (she says) until you are ready to serve. When ready heat a pan and add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp butter, once the foam subsides unroll and add the steaks to the pan. Cook over med-high heat for about 1-2 minutes on each side then remove to a plate in order to make the pan sauce. To the pan add a bit more butter and a minced shallot and minced parsley, stir for a moment then add (I added veal stock that I had, she did a slurry with a bouillon and cornstarch). Then to the pan you add a few droplets of Worcestershire and the juice of a half a lemon. Then a few droplets of Cognac and Madeira wine. Add the steaks back into the sauce to warm through. Plate and pour the sauce over, garnish with more parsley. The sauce comes together very quickly, I didn't really measure because she didn't really say how much of anything, it was very delicious.
Braised and Buttered Kohlrabi
I had planned to do a potato thing, but I came across this kohlrabi in the produce department at Whole Foods. They don't usually have it, if they did I would have made it by now. It's in the turnip family and it's very mild and tastes like a cross between the stem of broccoli and celery root. I read about it and it's usually eaten raw in salads, added to soups and stews and used in stir fries. Leave it to me to go against the norm, but I thought with the Steak Diane, a side dish should be similar to a potato dish (like mashed or at least braised). I just cooked it by peeling it, slicing pieces about 1/2 inch thick and placing them into a shallow pan with a couple Tbsp of butter and a splash of water. Cook, covered over medium-low heat until tender, adding water as necessary.
3-Pea Warm Salad
I combined regular peas, snap peas and pea tendrils to make this side dish. Ahead of time I blanched the regular frozen peas in salted water, drained them and placed in the frig. I blanched the snap peas the same way and chilled them. When I was ready to serve dinner I warmed them in a pan with a Tbsp of butter then at the end tossed in some pea tendrils, salt and pepper.
Shaker Lemon Pie
I was half watching Unique Sweets on the food channel and caught someone talking about how they make a Shaker Lemon Pie and it's unique because they use the whole lemon (rind and all) to make this dessert. I have made lemon pie, lemon tart, lemon meringue pie... but it's just a lemon curd. This is thinly sliced lemons that you let sit in sugar and salt overnight. The next day you finish it with eggs and flour and bake it. What a fantastic thing this is, just try to find thin skinned lemons (they will have more give when you squeeze them). The lemons I used had a very thick rind (that's all that was available) and I came across a couple rinds while I was eating the pie that were just too much. But overall it was fantastic, I am going to try to make it with limes and maybe oranges?? Oh by the way... I made the crust with another hint I heard on Unique Sweets (on another day). I used cold vodka in place of the cold water in the crust. They said you get a super flaky crust because the vodka evaporates more than the water will and you are left with a super light and flaky crust. I would say that it worked pretty well but I will probably go back to ice water, it seems like a waste of good vodka (water is free).