Friday, February 15, 2013

Late Valentines Day Dinner

Ok, so as mentioned previously, our plans for Valentines day got delayed a bit due to the birth of a co-worker's grand baby, which meant I got called in as a last minute substitute at the library where I'm, as my Hubby calls it, "the super secret Librarian on call." I don't work there often, but, when they need a fill in, sometimes they call me. But, Hubby surprised me by making dinner while I was at work so that he was just getting things on the table when I came home. It was so sweet of him. Nothing fancy, just a ground beef and potato gratin, but it was wonderful.
Anyway, we weren't going to be doing anything big or fancy this year anyway, and what little we might have done (like my annual splurge on chocolate covered strawberries) got the kibosh after Hubby's lay off earlier this week. So it came down to raiding the freezer and pantry and seeing what I could come up with from what is on hand. Let me just say, having a well stocked pantry, some long term food storage, and a well stocked freezer or two comes in very handy when times get tight.
I managed to dig out a large cross cut rib roast that would make wonderful steaks. We're talking just over 8.6 pounds of roast here, so I got 9 good sized steaks and still had a small roast left over, and gobs of trimmed fat and bits for adding to stock and things later. More meat then we need for this little dinner, so some of it went back into the freezer.

From the pantry, we will be adding potatoes au gratin. I would usually go ahead and just make these from scratch, but, we're out of fresh potatoes, so box mix it is! We have a big 4 pack from Inn on the Creek foods. It is gluten free, so yay. We will also be serving with corn, because I let Hubby pick the veggie side. (He is a horribly picky eater when it comes to veggies.. he has a short list of acceptables, everything else gets classified as a "weed." I hide more veggies from him then I do the kids...)

So, after trimming and cutting the roast into our steaks for tonight, I placed 5 of them on a parchment lined cookie sheet so they could be seasoned. I had asked Hubby what "flavor" he wanted and he said "season salt and blackened.. in butter!" And this week, what he wants, he gets. So I gave each steak a good coating of fresh ground sea salt, course ground black pepper, and an organic no-salt seasoning blend. I used Kirkland brand stuff from Costco since that is what I have on hand. You could also use Mrs Dash, or Lowry's.. What ever you have or prefer, feel free to use.  I flipped and seasoned both sides, then wrapped the whole tray in plastic wrap and stuck it back in the fridge to sit until we're ready to cook.

Ok, a few hours and some minor errands later, it's time to get cooking!
I kinda loosely followed the instructions on the package for the au graitn potatoes. I cut the amount of milk it called for, but upped the butter and tossed on some real shredded cheese at the end to fancy things up a bit there. Then after that got popped into the oven, I got started on the steaks. I had pulled them out of the fridge before starting the potatoes so they would have time to get a little closer to room temperature before cooking.

Fry pan, low to medium heat.  Add a good sized dollop of butter and let melt. Once the butter is melted, add your steak. Cover and cook on low for a few minutes, then flip and cook a few more minutes. This allows the steak to cook through before upping the temp to get the good crust.

Once your steak has had time to kinda steam itself, remove the lid and up the temp. Since I was doing multiple largeish steaks, I kind of cheated and did this in two pans. I had a low temp pan and a high temp pan and moved them from the low temp to the high temp so I could then start the next steak in the low temp as I went. Hope that makes sense.
Anyway, in the high temp pan, or after removing lid, cook on medium to medium high heat to create a nice dark "crust" on the meat. Cook until they are as done as you like.

Let set about 5 minutes or so, then serve.

We had the steak, au gratin potatoes, home made pickled beets, and corn/green beans.

We also made home made milk shakes simply by combining vanilla ice cream, milk and chocolate syrup in the blender. Yum!

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