Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Dinner

In light of the expected chaos of Christmas morning, Justin and I decided that we were going to save some leftovers for to have for that night's dinner. We thought it would be nice to relax and keep it simple... that is until we received what must be one of the best Christmas gifts ever!

What was it?

Two wonderful dry aged strip steaks and a bottle of very nice wine! Apparently, my mom thought we'd enjoy this more than a gift card to some restaurant. Well... she was right... So instead of leftovers, we had a great meal!

Christmas Steak and Wine

(Look at the beautiful crust on that baby!)

  • 2 steaks (~8 oz in weight and ~1 1/2" thick)
  • salt/pepper
  • lard (or butter)
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • a splash of whole milk
  • 1/3-1/2 cup beef stock
  • salad greens
  • desired toppings for salad (I used shredded carrots and a few olives)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil 

  • About an hour before you start cooking, take the steaks out and let them come to room temperature. (This makes for an even cooking time)
  • Heat a 12" cast iron skillet over medium high heat, until it starts to smoke. Add a small amount of lard and let it melt. (You want enough lard to coat the bottom of the skillet.)
  •  While the pan is heating, salt and pepper both sides of the steaks.
  • Add the steaks to the skillet and let them cook for 5 minutes on the first side. You should have a nice crust on the outside...
  • Flip the steaks over and cook for ~3-4 minutes, until they reach your desired doneness. (I cooked mine for 3 minutes, as Justin and I prefer ours medium rare, if not a bit more on the rare side...)
  • Take the steaks off and place them on a plate. Cover loosely with a piece of tinfoil and let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes. Enjoy!
  • Heat a pot over medium high heat. Add the cauliflower, stock and garlic. Bring the stock to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Remove the pot from heat and use an immersion blender to puree the cauliflower. (Alternately, you can use a food processor.)
  • Add the butter, splash of whole milk and salt/pepper to taste. Serve along side the steak.
Salad + Vinaigrette:
  • Place salad and fixins in small bowls.
  • I find the best way to make the salad dressing is to use a clear plastic squeeze bottle, like the ones you use for ketchup and mustard. Pour a small amount of extra virgin olive oil into the bottle. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour in enough balsamic vinegar to make a 2:1 ratio with the oil (aka, twice the amount of EVOO used). Put the cap on the squeeze bottle and cover the tip with your finger. Shake the bottle vigorously (Remember folks, this is to make an emulsion! Oil doesn't mix well unless it's with a little coercion...) Ultimately, you want the vinaigrette to taste a little bit too tart and too salty. It'll taste perfect when you put it on the salad.
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the salad just before serving.
This was honestly a FANTASTIC Christmas dinner! It allowed me to use my newly perfected steak cooking skills and let me imbibe in some wonderful wine. (I'll admit that I think this is the best way to eat a steak: simple salt/pepper and a good sear in a pan. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!) Plus, pairing these with some cauliflower mashies and salad makes for a really nice combo.

Thank you Mom for the wonderful (and tasty) gift!

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