Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Dinner Party

My first! This weekend I had my brother and his wife and her family over for dinner. It's been so nice to be close to family this summer, and what better way to show my appreciation than to cook for them!
Joanna and Courtney...ready for dessert!

I've read before that you're supposed to try no new recipes for a dinner party. That advice is probably wise. I'd still recommend that for any new dinner party you use only recipes you're already comfortable with.

But I've cooked meat, what...3 times? (not really, but very few times overall). So I chose a new recipe for steak, cobbled together from various websites and inspired by the haul of mushrooms I bought from the farmers market.

I chose this recipe also because it includes a marinade. I've had much better success with the flavor and cooking of marinaded and/or brined food (see: pork chops!), but it's especially good when you happen to be planning a dinner party. It requires some foresight (easy to do when you're already in planning mode) and gives some extra insurance against dry/bland meat.

The mushrooms though. There's no reason every meal shouldn't include sauteed mushrooms. With their deep, buttery, salty flavor, they're the bacon of the vegetarian world. Thank you fungus! You rock. These are extra special because they're thrown back in a red wine pan sauce at the end, to make a gloriously glossy coating that drips off onto the tender steak.

Another thing I learned about dinner parties (and this one, I think I did right): It's easiest if only one dish is being made at a time. This means cold things are particularly awesome!
In other news, only two burners of our stove work...

I paired the steak with pre-made polenta, green salad (thanks to Joanna for helping out with that--you make a nice salad!), and green bean salad with pickled shallots. All were delicious. I just microwaved the polenta with some chicken broth to make it loose again, and it made a great base for the meat and saucy mushrooms.


If you're wondering about the cookies...they're just as chocolaty as they look! Sort of a soft sable or shortbread but intensely and unabashedly filled with chocolate flavor. Crumbled over vanilla ice cream, it's practially perfect.

Here's the steak recipe, and links to the other dishes!

Grean Bean Salad with Pickled Shallots
World Peace Cookies

Marinated Flank Steak with Red Wine Sauteed Mushrooms
Yield: enough for 4 people


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon/grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pounds flank steak (I threw in a strip steak as well since I was worried there wouldn't be enough, but there was plenty)
  • 12 ounces assorted mushrooms, torn or cut into large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 1 6" sprig rosemary
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup low-salt chicken stock
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a dish large enough to hold the steak, and whisk together. Place steak in marinade, poke all over with a fork, and flip to coat. Marinate in fridge for 1-3 hours, slightly longer if needed.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with a bit of salt. Stir to coat with the butter and continue to cooking, stirring so mushrooms cook evenly, for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown and smelling heavenly. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon of oil in the same skillet. Add the garlic and rosemary to skillet and move to the edges, then remove the steak from the marinade and place in skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes per side. Depending on the thickness of your meat and how you like it done, you can then put it in a 350 degree oven for an additional 5-10 minutes to finish cooking to your liking. Just check the inside with a small knife, but be aware that the meat will continue to cook a bit as it rests. Once done, remove and tent with foil. 
  4. Pour off all but a tablespoon of the oil, then deglaze with the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all of the delicious browned bits up and in the sauce. Reduce to 3/4 cup, then strain out any burned solid bits and return the liquid to the pan. Add the stock and reduce to 1/2 cup. Whisk in a knob of butter, then add the mushrooms back into the sauce and stir to reheat and coat. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Slice the steak thinly against the grain and serve with mushroom sauce on top.
Recipe frankensteined from: epicurious and Emeril Lagasse

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