Monday, October 19, 2009

*single serving.

I've been spending a lot more time alone on the Woodside lately, motivated by empty pockets and a desire to catch the tiny woodland creatures who invade my homestead and cover everything in a thin layer of dust and dinginess.

It's like backwards Cinderella—all of the sweeping of cinders and singing whilst admiring oneself in massive soap bubbles, none of the helpful vermin and dull-as-dirt prince.

Friday night I was nursing a headache, a bone-aching exhaustion, and a profound and starving sense of sorry-for-myself. You know what they say: Starve a cold, feed a pout. With the whole crazy evening ahead of me, I decided to do what any wacky single gal with debilitating sarcasm would do—make a steakhouse dinner for one.

That's right, I'M A CATCH.

I dropped by the Western after work and picked up a head of iceberg lettuce and the ingredients for Ina's Steakhouse Steaks with Roquefort Chive Sauce and Sea Salt With Food's Hasselback Potatoes.

I raced home to try to beat the setting sun, and prepped the potatoes. First, I sliced a garlic clove into the thinnest possible slices. Carefully. I am the girl who once managed to accidentally stab herself with a kitchen knife. Deeply. In the leg.

Never mind.


Then it was time to attempt same with the potato, which was somewhat less successful.


I got nice, thin, even slices, but I also miscalculated on the ends and lopped them off entirely.

A slice of garlic nestles between each potato cranny, then the whole thing gets drizzled with olive oil, dotted with butter, and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

butter dot.

Then into a 425 oven for 40 minutes. Or, you know, an hour and 40 minutes. Sea Salt is a Canuck, and The Frozen North must have either much hotter ovens or much smaller potatoes, because mine had to cook for AGES.

Not that it was worth it. Who wants a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside spud infused with garlic and butter in an elegant fan with unctuous layers you can peel off and savor one at a time?


Not I.

Meanwhile, I prepared the pretty pretty filets.


A brush of olive oil (the entire bottle of vegetable oil, which Ina calls for, in the Woodside galley had gone rancid. Trust me; I smelled it) and a smattering of salt and pepper, and into a HOT grill pan.

I have a loudmouthed red grill pan that weighs 614 pounds and has been begging for use since TFin and JBSH gifted it to me last Christmas. See there, guys? Just under 10 months! After it heats on the stovetop on high for 7 minutes, the steaks hit the pan and get seared on all sides.

When both steaks had a crisp brown crust, I topped each with a pat of butter ("if using," Ina? Please) and put the pan into a 400 oven.

While the steaks cooked, I poured some heavy cream

measure for measure.

into a pan over medium-high to reduce, then took the thickened cream off the heat and stirred in

blue cheese (the Western had no Roquefort),


chopped scallions (the Western had no chives),

chop chop.

and salt and pepper to make a creamy, pungent sauce.

I'd already hacked a wedge out of a head of iceberg and topped it with chopped tomatoes, a drizzle of ranch dressing, and a slice of bacon I pulled from the freezer and crisped.


Or, you know, burned beyond recognition. The best thing about this salad is that you can whip it up and then throw it in the refrigerator to chill while you prep the rest of your meal.

Ina's recipe directs you to use a meat thermometer to test the steaks, but because there is no such tool on the Woodside, I had to use my best judgment and/or a combination of frantic Googling, loss of patience, and congenital arbitrariness. I pulled them out after about 10 minutes, glistening and juicy.

stripe steak.

They go under aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes. I was aiming for medium rare, but ended up with one more like medium and the other closer to medium-well.

Not that I was complaining, mind you. This was a hearty, decadent, frivolously pricey meal, and there was not a single crumb left behind.

steak dinner

Then I flitted about in a heady euphoria, slathering blue cheese sauce on anything that sat still long enough. J was not amused.

So there you have it—backwards Cinderella's Friday night on the Woodside. A nice, oaky bottle of Fresca, holey pajama bottoms, a late-night-boredom stab at some Ben and Jerry's, and a waddle to bed before the clock struck midnight.

Next step: CATS!




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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.