Timing is everything, as I get older this proves to be the case, more and more, but in cooking, that is always the case. Really, no matter what you’re cooking, but this was a question I was asked, “How do I make a nice, romantic, “Steak House Style”dinner at home, as the recession has hit hard, and I can’t afford to eat out?” Well I thought, this is right up my alley!
This is more of a cooking lesson, as it is a recipe per say, it’s about mushrooms and how to cook them, to saute them, and well, how not to. It’s also about how to cook a steak, to order, so to speak. I find myself in a position where I can, share some info, that if you haven’t worked in the restaurant biz for 25 years, or been cooking as long as I have, you just wouldn’t be able to know. Now, some of you are awesome cooks, but who doesn’t want to know a tip, or trick, that makes people say, “Damn that was the best meal I’ve ever eaten!”, and not be sitting in a four star restaurant. Right? Right! Some people, just know certain things, but most don’t! And that is what life is about, learning. I’m not going to assume that everybody know’s how to bake a potato, you slather it in olive oil, apply kosher salt, wrap in foil, allowing 1 1/2 hours at  375ºF ,baking time, after that you’re safe, leave them in the hot oven, turning it off, while preparing everything else , there’s nothing worse than a potato, under done, that you can’t simply mash right in front of you, applying lots of butter and sour cream and whatever else it is you like…… Dealer’s Choice!
First things first, get the seasonings on the steak, prior to doing anything, else, except the potato’s. In this case,
To  every 1 1/2 inch thick Sirloin, add
Worstershire Sauce, just to coat, evenly.
Tony Charere’s Cajun Seasoning/ Emerils Essence/ or any Good Cajun Seasoning, (Fresh Garlic burns, and I don’t like that bitter taste it leaves behind.) So unless your cooking something slow, makes no sense. This steak is going to be eaten by you, and whoever you’re cooking for. Remember to always think of that, when cooking anything.
Capiche?
Garlic Powder and LOTS of Fresh Ground Black Pepper! Making sure to press the pepper in with your hand. Set aside, so meat can marinate, do not refrigerate in this case, you want the meat to soak up the flavors!
Now the Restaurant Style Sauteed Garlic Mushrooms,  using a large enough pan is key, you don’t want them all piled up on top of each other, 1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil, for 16-36 oz. of sliced mushrooms, they are going to shrink, the pan must have a nice even coat, and be really hot, almost at the point of smoking hot, but be careful, olive oil heats fasts.
Throw the mushrooms in the pan, give a good stir to coat with oil, and make some pan show, in a few spots, so the steam can escape, you want to put some color on them, and mushrooms are mostly water, so if the water has no where to go, you’re going to end up with soupy, goopy, spongy, shrooms, and there’s nothing worse. Allow them to brown on one side, and repeat this process several times, by turning, until they are browned on all sides, then turn the heat to the lowest setting, pulling pan off the heat if necessary, for a minute to let the bottom of the pan, and the burner, cool slightly. During this time, and NEVER until now, add seasonings, In this case a little Kosher Salt (salt will make them spongey no matter how hard you cook them, if added before they are browned) a few good turns of Black Pepper to taste and the 3 cloves of grated or pressed Fresh Garlic, remember the burn’t garlic taste, we don’t want that here either, put back on the burner at this point and stir to coat, checking back every so often to stir, there done, just staying warm, on the lowest heat possible.
So many people ask me simple questions, and they usually have a simple answer.
Now your potato’s are done, so are your mushrooms.
During this time, whatever source, grilling is the preference, but today is 30 degrees out, I still want the steak, so I use a Lean Mean Fat Grilling Machine, by George Foreman, a broiler will also do, and have it plugged up and ready to go, during the whole mushroom event, I also have slightly under “Pan Steamed”  the asparagus, removed from heat, pan steaming means putting just a few tablespoons of water in the bottom of the pan, covering, for a few minutes of “hard” steaming, letting it evaporate during cooking, turned off,and drizzled it with some EVOO as Racheal Ray would say and given it the same treatment as every thing else, a little Kosher salt and a few turns of Fresh Black Pepper. Cracked the lid, slightly. During which you have put the steak on, for 3 minutes on one side, and 4 on the other, for rare to med rare, 1/1/2 inch thick steak. Remove to a plate to rest, tenting loosely with foil, for 5-10 minutes, as meat keeps cooking, and you don’t want to cut into it, until the juices have redistributed.
In the mean time you are “Plating Up” as they say, everything else. This is about timing, and that is definitely an acquired skill. These are just a few tips for those of you who, don’t do this, everyday, or haven’t done it for a living.  I hope this helps the person it is for, who shall remain, nameless, and faceless, as it was anonymously delivered to me! Good luck! I hope it’s very romantic!

And as always, Enjoy!
LIVE,LOVE,LAUGH,COOK!!!
© Jennifer Green Alger 2009

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