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Posts tagged as steak

Madeira

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 16, 2009 at 6:30pm

Yesterday I caught an early version of Eric Asimov’s The Pour column on the New York Times Dining & Wine page.  The headline – A New Course for Dessert Wine – jumped right out at me.  I prefer dessert-style wines paired with savory foods (foie gras, blue cheese), so I clicked through and was delighted to read about Madeira wines in particular.  Asimov acknowledges that “…serving a sweet wine with a savory dish may strike many people as odd – unless they live in one of the great sweet-wine centers of the world.”  But he goes on to give several enticing examples of sweet wine/savory food pairings, all of which sounded delicious: Sauternes with lobster, auslese reisling with lamb vindaloo, and his own personal experiment, Madeira with skirt steak and pickled Vidalia onions.  He tasted the steak with two Madeiras, both from the Rare Wine Company’s Historic Series.

I quickly sent the link to both Stu The Wine Genius Williams, and my husband John, who happen to work together.  A few minutes later my phone rang – Stu had read my email, and the article, and was just about to run an errand, so offered to pick up the Madeira mentioned in the article for us to try.  Yes!  (The Rare Wine Company’s Historic Series Madeiras are distributed in Minnesota by the New France Wine Company, info@newfrancewine.net, 651-698-2533.)

Stu picked up and John brought home four Madeiras from the series, each named for a U.S. city where Madeira was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries: Boston Bual Special Reserve, New York Malmsey Special Reserve, Charleston Sercial Special Reserve, and a limited release New Orleans Special Reserve.  Since Asimov particularly loved the Charleston Sercial Special Reserve with the steak and onions he’d prepared, that’s what we opened first, since I just happened to have…steak and onions already in the fridge, ready to go for dinner.

I decided to caramelize the onions to bring out their sweetness, adding sauteed mushrooms and a splash of the Sercial to finish.  Since our grill and deck are covered in snow, I just pan-seared the steaks on one side and finished them in a hot (500 degree) oven.  I prepared the onions first, set them aside, then prepped the steaks.  When the steaks were done, I transferred them to a cutting board to set up, then sauteed the mushrooms in the (fabulously crusty) steak pan.  After adding the splash of Madeira, I stirred the caramelized onions into the pan, sliced the steaks, and served the steak with the onions and mushrooms alongside.  The Sercial was as delicious with the crusty, salty beef and sweet onions as promised.  The mushrooms added an extra earthy note that complimented the sweetness nicely.  All good.

My next try is likely to be an Indian-style curry, with the Boston Bual (sweeter than the Sercial, which is the dryest of the group), which would be a stunning combination, I think.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I plan to finish off the Sercial with some sort of fabulously toasted ham and cheese sandwich.  Or with another mushroom saute – I’m telling you, the splash of Madeira to finish the mushrooms was so delicious, I could have had just that for dinner.

Big thanks to Stu and New France Wine Company for all the fun!

The Spice of Life

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Feb 11, 2009 at 5:13pm

I hit a monster pothole at high speed this morning and after I gratefully realized that I had escaped a flat, I started chuckling.  I’m now figuratively and (almost) literally stuck in a February rut – how perfect.  Man, it is time to switch things up a bit, bust out of the house, this cozy winter hibernating routine is starting to suck. It doesn’t help that I’ve been nursing a knee injury for the last several weeks.  Or that our slightly warmer weather is accompanied by the darkest, grayest sky we’ve seen since November.  Or that I’m sick to death of everything I’ve been cooking.  Since I can’t make my knee heal faster, or change the weather (although Lord knows I’ve tried with my complaining – sorry), I can dig around for some new twists on old favorites.  So I did.

I often make steak on Wednesday nights, with a side of broccoli and rice, blah, blah, blah.  Tonight I decided to stir-fry it, inspired by Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s recipe for Stir-Fry of Hoisin Lamb with Cashews and Snow Peas (from her new cookbook, The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper).  I used beef instead of lamb, and peanuts instead of cashews, and added some broccoli along with the snow peas…LOVED the dish.  It’s packed with flavor from Chinese five-spice powder and garlicky hoisin sauce and once you’re done with some simple chopping, comes together in a flash.  I actually seasoned the beef, chopped the vegetables, and whisked together the sauce this afternoon.  Then while I cooked rice, I stir-fried the beef, followed by the veggies, and had it all ready to go in 20 minutes.

It wasn’t as signficant as pain relief or sunshine, but the fragrance lifted all our spirits and mixing flavors up a bit was most definitely a day brightener.  That “variety is the spice of life” saying?  Along with Chinese five spice powder, totally true.

Recipe here.