Sunday, January 4, 2009

Merry new year!

I read the BBQ Forum when I can. I've said before, it's because of that forum that I am in this deep in barbeque. Lately, folks have been posting pics of their meals. So, I thought I'd post a picture of my dinner. Problem is, and as usual, I never remember to have my camera at the ready to capture that perfect shot. This was the best I could do. So instead, let me tell you about it.

We planned to stay in for New Year's Eve. For several reasons really, but mostly because we're just old. We decided we'd cook a nice meal and watch a movie. One quick call to John Scavuzzo at Scavuzzo's and I had two prime Kansas City strip steaks and two Certified Angus Beef filets waiting for me, all wet aged fifty days. We fired up the grill for the strips on New Years Eve. So, tonight we had the filets.

For whatever reason, pepper has become one of our favorite spices. So, this was the perfect opportunity for Steak Au Poivre, something Sheri had never tried. We patted the filets dry and added a pinch of good salt and an abundance of fresh cracked Tellicherry peppercorns, pressing it into the steaks. They were cooked in a saute pan over medium high heat with a little good EVOO and butter until they had a nice crust. Then they were transferred to a sheet pan in a hot oven to finish. Mean while, we made a pan sauce using the fat and brown bits from the steaks, a couple chopped shallots, some beef broth and some good brandy. The balance of the menu included a salad of winter greens dressed with a warm balsamic vinegar dressing that included honey, grainy mustard and olive oil and garnished with chopped shallot, toasted walnuts, parmigiana reggiano shavings and pomegranate seeds, and on the remaining space of that sheet pan new potatoes roasted in that hot oven with whole garlic cloves and fresh rosemary and sage. The smell from the potatoes filled the kitchen. I am so totally against cooking great steaks indoors, but man this turn out to be a great meal. Fabulous flavor, wonderfully tender, perfectly medium rare, and we didn't miss the grill one bit.

With the holidays and cold weather, we've cooked at home more than any time this past year. Honestly, it's kind of fun. In this internet age, we're all into instant gratification in everything we do. I'm no different and that desire had crept into my cooking. Good food is still important, but I'm no longer willing to pay the price of cooking for hours on end. This meal took us less than an hour to prepare and about half that time to clean-up. That's perfect for me. The coming month will be full of planning and details without any travel and it's going to give me time to do more of this style of cooking. The latest issue of Savuer arrived the other day. In it were recipes to make your own stout whole grain mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Never before had I even thought of making up a batch of either one of these, but I think I'll give it a go. After all, January will be the last slow month until December and both will come in handy if we're going to cook more.

Speaking of slow times. Sheri's had the past two weeks off. What did she do? She'd probably tell you "not much," but it wouldn't be true. We celebrated Christmas four times in six days. I can tell you that was at least two too many. We also hit the movie theater a bunch, taking advantage of their cheap early times and seeing five movies including Slumdog Millionaire, Marley and Me, Valkyrie, Seven Pounds, and Doubt. While four of them were decent, I can only recommend Slumdog Millionaire. Oh, and I want my money back for Marley and Me, even if it was only $5. With the ending to that movie, that just isn't entertainment to me. We also went out of our way to eat at new places in Kansas City. We made it to Mama's 39th Street Diner, Blue Grotto (a first for Sheri), Pizza Bella and Christopher Elbow Chocolates (although we didn't' actually eat there, again it was first for Sheri, even though this is the source of her absolute favorite chocolates. They are very amazing and completely unique). We had lunch with some good friends we hadn't seen in quite awhile, too long really. We also watched a few movies at home, including, Traitor, Eagle Eye and The Hulk. Skip two of them and only see Eagle Eye if you like implausible action flicks. But enough with "my holiday vacation."

It's 2009. It's also the off season. The forum is alive with talk about the KCBS election and Team of the Year. Everybody has an opinion this time of year, everybody. Fortunately, enough years have passed that I know this year is really no different than any other year, it's just the off season. I haven't seen many posts about New Year's resolutions. I have one though. Can you guess what it is? No, it's not weight loss, but we all know it should be. I'm making a resolution to take more and better pictures. I left my old camera in the truck last summer and the heat fried it. The cost to repair it far exceeded it's value. Since them Sheri and I have shared a camera, making it easy for me not to have one handy. So much so, that I've really gotten out of the habit of taking pictures at all. Through a series of fortunate events, I have in my possession a Canon G10. It's a point and shoot on steroids. The knobs and buttons on the thing hurt my head, even though I learned on an old SLR. For now it's set on auto everything. I'm also planning to get a few lessons on digital photography. Ultimately, my goal is to take better pictures to remember our travels and events and rotating them on the website. That's my New Year's resolution.

Happy New Year to everyone. Here's wishing you your best year ever. This blog started about one year ago. It's not a resolution, but I hope to become a better blogger and even broaden the scope of these ramblings. After all, if you're going to read this drivel, it might as well be entertaining. I might even mix in a restaurant review or recipe here or there.