Steak Night. It’s a tradition that myself and two friends just recently spawned. Each week, one of us gets to set the theme. Last week’s challenge was to incorporate Sour Cream and Onion potato chips into everything. The week prior, a prime cut of New York Strip was slathered in a mixture of ground chili pepper, garlic, hoisin, and Lagavulin. By nature, it’s a privileged evening of gluttony – but this night I wanted to kick things up. I wanted to make it dirty. The theme: Rosie O’Donnel Meets Julia Childs. Everything must have port or wine in it.
We never quite know what we are going to end up making until we walk out of the grocery store. This time we left with the following:
2 bottles of red wine: A Merlot and a Cab Sav, 1 bottle 10 year tawny port
3 Prime New York strips
Twinkies, Hohos, cheese curds, butter, onion, raspberries, oil, fries, brown gravy, potatoes, heavy cream, and milk.
If you are actually trying to re-create these dishes, you will also need the kitchen basics (salt, pepper, flour, etc).
First things first, get your ingredients set out and uncork your wine. If you are like us, you once again have lost your corkscrew, and have to resort to feats of strength.
Once you have your wine uncorked, it’s important to sample as much as you can. This is imperative to the theme. You should probably also disregard the antiquated rule of desert last and pop open the port. Selection of glassware is imperative – we recommend the vintage McDonald’s Grimace series of stemware.
Swiss Cake Roll garnished with Lazy Raspberry Compote and Fresh Cream
Wash and then mash one package of raspberries, preferably a bit ripe but not completely spoiled. Cook briefly over medium heat in a saucepan, then add the port to it. Stir continuously, bumping the heat up to reduce down the liquid content.
Whisk the hell out of the heavy cream in a small mixing bowl. The goal here is to get it to fluff up and peak. If you have tartar, add a pinch.Slice the HoHo into quarter-inch rounds and arrange in a flower pattern, stacking the odd pieces as a tower in the middle. Our knives were garbage so the chocolate peeled off immediately. Pretend like you planned to do this and sprinkle it around the plate. Spoon over the compote and cream. I recommend the Jackson Pollock approach, wildly flinging it around, but you could also use straight lines to look a bit more put together.
Butter-Seared New York Strip Covered in Garlic
Fill pan with butter and get that going, but not browning. Season the steaks with herbs and salt – use your nose to guide you. Roll around the steaks in minced garlic, and run a skewer through the top. You’ll be using this skewer to hold them all together as you fry the fat-back of the steaks off into the butter. Sear the steaks afterwords, and place in the over on a low setting to cook the middle a bit more and keep them warm as the rest of the meal comes together.
Keep the fats going on low – you’re going to need them for the ‘gravy’ next.
So, when we walked out of the grocery store we thought that we had a working deep fryer back in our kitchen. We did not. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you can make a MacGyver fryer with a metal mesh strainer and a large wok.
Get your oil going in the wok and set the strainer down in it. If you have a oil thermometer, use that to determine the right temperature. If you are a merry band of idiots like us, use your nose and renter’s insurance fire coverage to determine when the oil is too hot. Hint: Smoking oil = looming insurance payout.
You can make fries from scratch, but let’s be honest: You’re throwing this into a deep fryer. You don’t need to be captain healthy on this front. We went with a bag of Ore-Ida fries.
The gravy for this dish was nothing short of a miracle.
We seared the steaks in butter to provide enough fats to make a gravy. We made a couple accidents that lead to an amazing roux/reduction/gravy. We let the fats burn, and used bread flour. With the fats boiling, flour was added by the soux chef while the head chef went to town whisking like crazy, making flailing motions with the pan. I believe this is critical to the process. Once near stable, you need to add an obscene amount of port, put on high heat, and reduce as much wine and port as you can into the sauce – putting it just at the brink of breaking.
Yukon Gold Garlic Mashed Potatoes
You’re probably also wondering why our sides are all potatoes. It’s due to spite. Last week Owen explicitly barred Potatoes from the menu. My week, my rules. All potatoes.
Fill a pot halfway with water and put that on a back-burner on high heat to boil. Take your potatoes and scrub them together under cold water to clean them. Do not peel them. Then use a paring knife to quarter them and toss them into the water. Once you are able to pierce the potatoes with a fork easily, remove them from heat and strain. Using a masher (or in our case a plastic slotted spoon) make once pass over the potatoes to mash them down. Then add a bit of milk and make another pass. Then add some shredded cheese, garlic, more milk, and salt. Fold and mash the potatoes until they are an even, but still lumpy consistency. Err on the side of adding less milk at first. Splash in some port to play along with the rules of steak night.
At this stage I was far too hungry to dance around with a camera for long, so I gave up taking a good picture of this amazing desert.
Combine flour and port wine until it has a consistency of wet mud. Roll the Twinkie in this batter and immediately place in the fryer. Turn it over after 1 – 2 minutes, and remove from the fryer as soon as the batter is golden and no longer wet.
Cover the top of the Twinkie in a layer of compote and a line of whipped cream. Run a line of compote and cream down the plate next to the Twinkie.
This was actually amazing, and something I would make again.
Pile the poutine and mash onto two-thirds of the plate and add the steak. Serve the elegant desert separate. That was easy.
I give this meal: A ten-adda-ten.