Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pepper Steak

I had a recipe for pepper steak in Gastropub Classics but I basically just used it as a guideline and as a confirmation that I knew what I was doing. The reason I had a pretty good idea what I was doing was that I'd bought some green peppercorns in brine at the Italian deli I'd visited in Ottawa. Who could have passed up such an opportunity?

My memories of pepper steak involve my father's charred pieces of beef doused with a sauce reconstituted from a package. The idea of a cream and peppercorn sauce isn't something that's really difficult. I knew I'd be using cream, the beautiful little green peppercorns and some dijon mustard probably with whatever else I felt like putting in on the spot. The only thing I added due to my inspiration from Gastropub Classics was some vermouth (she recommended white wine and chicken stock but I only had vermouth) and garlic.

We bought the steak at the market so it doesn't cook the same as a supermarket steak. The meat turns out to be more of a pale colour than the brown of other beef. I don't know if that's a good thing but his meat is always tender no matter how long I forget it in the cast iron frying pan. Plus I've got Gordon Ramsay's steak doneness trick down pat: 1) your cheek is rare; 2) pushing up on your chin is medium; and 3) your forehead is well done. Pocking my steak as many times as I can helps me determine what this is supposed to mean. I'm actually getting good at cooking my steaks properly.

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