This was supposed to be my first official post blogging the CSA, its food, and how we cooked it. Instead you get treated to a story actually living up to the name of my blog.
NOTE: While reading this story keep in mind that we had company in the house witnessing the horror unfold.
I don’t just cook dinner, I entertain. And I’m fairly good at it. So it was Mother’s Day weekend and Karen suggested going out to eat. I’ve waited tables on Mother’s Day and I didn’t relish the idea of waiting two hours for a table with a screaming one year old. That’s a celebration of motherhood, isn’t it? So I decided to cook up some gourmet food for my foodie wife instead. That way she can enjoy a fine meal and appreciate my awesomeness at the same time. My menu included Steak au Poivre, potatoes, CSA veggies, baguettes, and some creme brulee for dessert. So the day before I made the desserts (they have to set in the fridge you know) and started the poolish for the baguettes.
What follows is proof that a little knowledge can be dangerous, and ignoring other knowledge can be very dangerous. I’ve made Steak au Poivre before with success, so I figured that this was in the bag. The steaks used before were filet mignon, about an inch and a half thick. This time flatiron steaks were on sale, and these are very thin. So I decided to increase the temperature in the skillet so that I can achieve a good sear on the outside before overcooking on the inside. What I forgot is that I was still cooking with butter and olive oil in the pan and we don’t have a hood over our range to suck the smoke outside.
See it coming already, don’t you? Yes, what you’re thinking is exactly what happened. The skillet was, in fact, too hot, burning the outside without cooking the inside. The fat in the pan burned completely off quickly, all the while filling the house with black-pepper-filled smoke that choked the lungs and stung the eyes. So there I was, opening every door and window in the house to vent the smoke, and it was cold outside that day.
The vegetables used from the CSA on Mother’s Day included chives for the potatoes and broccoli raab cooked via a Mario Batali recipe. In it you poach it over medium heat for 20 minutes in a little water, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and finish it off with sliced olives. We didn’t have olives so we used capers. It looked good, but we only had one third as much green as the recipe called for but I sill used the same amount of pepper. What resulted was so spicy I couldn’t eat it.
Once the smoke had cleared we sat down in our now 55 degree dining room and I then realized that I hadn’t made anything that the kids would eat. Jonathan doesn’t like potatoes, the broccoli raab was too spicy and the steaks were too raw rare. I sliced up some pieces of steak, washed the peppercorns off, and cooked them through in a skillet for the boys. Jonny had some grapes and they each had a few pieces of the baguettes that turned out well (even though they looked like femurs).
The only thing I hadn’t done is set the house on fire. So, for an encore I got out the blowtorch and set to work on the creme brulee.
Sorry I didn’t have time to take pictures of the carnage as it was being ruined. I was trying to keep my house from burning down at the time.