September 13, 2012

My birthday dinner

So yesterday I turned 34. Yep, another year wiser!! My husband asked me what I wanted for dinner, and I said steak and potatoes au gratin. So he did some research and decided to make me Steak au Poivre, Potatoes au Gratin and a nice big salad. I am the cook in our house- albeit I have had my share of lazy days, but nonetheless I'm the cook. He wanted to make me a special birthday dinner, and I can honestly say it was just as good, if not better than we could have gotten at a nice steak restaurant! Mad props to the hubby there.

It was so delicious, I thought I would share the recipes he used :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Steak au Poivre- courtesy of Alton Brown

  • 4 tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and no more than 1 1/2 inches thick.
  • Kosher Salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Cognac, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
     Remove the steaks from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour prior to cooking. Sprinkle all sides with salt.

     Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle or using a mallet and pie pan (we have an automatic grinder he used). Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the fillets on both sides into the pepper until it coats the surface (he just ground it directly onto the steak and firmly pressed them into the meat). Set aside.

     In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golder and smoke, gently place the steaks in the pan. For medium-rate, cook for 4 minutes on each side (if you like them more well-done, cook them for 1-2 minutes longer on each side, careful not to burn the steaks).Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat, but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean!

     Off the heat, add 1/3 cup of Cognac to the pan, and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or fire stick. Gently shake the pan until the flames die. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon (approx. 5 to 6 minutes). Add the teaspoon of Cognac and season to taste with salt. Add the steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over and serve!

Potatoes au Gratin- courtesy of

  • 4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 onion slided into rings
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
     Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), butter a quart casserole dish.

     Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

     In a medium size saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, stirring constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened, then stir in cheese all at once. Continuously stir until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes and cover the dish with foil.

     Bake for 1 1/2 hours and serve.

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