Carnivorous Happy Ending

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Ever have one of those days?

Not necessary a �bad� day but just one where everything you plan doesn't seem to go the way you expect?

Yesterday was one of those days where it seemed like someone was playing a practical joke on me. Nothing seemed to go the way I planned. I woke up craving Petite Sirah and Ahi Tuna. I trolled all day long looking for the right recipe and I couldn�t wait to go to the supermarket and stock up for the meal. What I didn�t realize was that the divine force of Publix had bigger plans for me. By divine plans, I mean that they were all out of Ahi Tuna. Insistent on leaving the store empty handed, I ended up coming home with some solid slabs of Tenderloin instead.

This changed everything.

Not only did I have to shelve the bottle of Petite Sirah that I had been salivating over for days, but now I had to dig up a replacement affair with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. This last minute wine booty call left me scrambling.

On par with my luck yesterday, I had to make TWO Cabernet booty calls since the first one went horribly wrong...

The first one was a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that arrived just the other day from Steven Kent Winery. I opened it and was immediately concerned. Although I was attracted at first to the soft yet somehow overpowering fragrance, when I took it from the nose to the tongue, something seemed foul. Since my tastes are accustomed to full bodied, overblown Cabs, this bottle seemed different. After a few minutes, an overtone of vinegar seemed to take over and I realized that shipping must have destroyed what should have otherwise been a delicious bottle of Cab. It became apparent rather quickly that I would have to end this affair early without even a kiss goodnight. There was no way I was going to bed with this wine tonight.

Too early to call it a night, I decided to call up another wine to accompany my evening of Filet foolery. After a brief search, I found a suitable suitor: a bottle of Optima Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. This bottle was a bit harsh and unfriendly at first, but warmed up after some vigorous decanting. This Cab was earthy and not overly fruity but firm, strong, and charismatic. By the time the meal was prepared, this bottle was sitting up and begging like a well behaved dog... and by the end of the night I have to admit that this wine was giving my palate a bone!

Let me start off by saying that when it comes to food, I am somewhat of a culinary retard. Despite my passion for the grape, my food pairings are quite mundane. There is one exception. When it comes to Cabernet, I am as big of a carnivore as I am a wine whore.

I used to cook my steaks all wrong. The important thing about cooking steak is that you want to get a well done coating surrounding as large of a radiating pink center as possible. I used to just throw the steaks on an extremely hot grill thinking this would do the trick. This procedure created steaks overdone on the outside without a large enough pink center... hardly what I would consider ideal.

Despite the fact that I am nowhere near and probably never will become a chef, I still enjoy watching the Food Network. I blame my wife for this one. She enjoys watching these shows and after a bit of resistance on my part, I am now hooked. Now there are many different cooking shows, and believe me, I feel like I have seen them all, but there is one in particular that annoys me the most. Ironically enough, this is the show that provided me the guidance for my carnivorous cooking creations.

I can't help but say "Jeffrey" over and over again when I think of this show. If you have ever watched one the Barefoot Contessa's shows, you know exactly what I am talking about. Ina pretentiously mentions her husband Jeffrey at least a million times every show. As a side note, let me just say that in my opinion, this show should not be called "Back to Basics." When she begins to feature hot dogs and mac n cheese, then it deserves this title. Until then, there is nothing "basic" about the posh culinary creations coming from this kitchen in the Hamptons.

Aside from an aversion for culinary yuppies, I learned from Ina how to properly sear a steak. My recipe includes a bit of Wine Whore flair and a few tricks I am trying to perfect:

I start by patting the steaks dry with a paper towel, applying olive oil to the edges, and rubbing in a combination of freshly cracked black pepper, chili pepper, and garlic salt.

I like a healthy layer of pepper crusting on the edges. I still haven't found the perfect mixture of spices for my rub. This particular combination came out a bit too spicy. What do you use for your steak rub? This cornerstone to the perfection of a seared steak is yet to be discovered in my kitchen.

Once the steaks are nicely rubbed, I heat up a large frying pan with my secret recipe. If you are a fan of Paula Deen, this ingredient is NO secret. I don't use oil to sear my steaks. Instead, I use a whole melted stick of butter to sweetly sear these fabulously fat Filets.

Once the melted butter is nice and hot, I carefully add the steaks to the pan.

Let the filets lock in a crispy coating on each side for about 1 minute before turning over. Make sure to get all four edges as well as the top and bottom. This helps to get a nice tasty coating while not overcooking the middle.

At this point, I started boiling some big ass florets of broccoli. I absolutely love broccoli that is well cooked or even borderline falling off of the stalk. I know this isn�t the best way to enjoy these green goodies, but it's the way I used to eat it when I was a kid. Like Michael Jackson, this part of my palate never grew up.

After the steaks are done searing in the frying pan and all sides are beautifully crusted, I move them to the grill outside. Low heat for about 4-5 minutes per side help to cook the middle a bit while also not destroying the flavor and tenderness of the steaks. When they are ready to come back inside, I let them rest on a plate covered by foil until the side items are ready. Combine the steak with the fixin�s and voila!

Doesn't it look amazing?

After a long frustrating day, this was the perfect compliment to the Optima Cabernet and a great way to end an otherwise turbulent Tuesday. This is one wine whore that loves happy endings!

(This message brought to you by The Wine Whore)

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Joeshico said...

Happens all the time here. I crave something all day, especially when Shirley insist that is what is on the evening's menu. When it comes time to have her permission to enter her kitchen, I find her preparing something totally different. Usually occurs right after I open the wine.
Most times it works out well, though.

OneGreatSmile said...

Those filets don't look like a culinary retard cooked them. The evening could have been a lot worse~I didn't hear any screaming cows, so I think you're good. Shame about the vinegar, though.

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Joe,

The funny thing is that almost happened to me... wife wanted to cook something else and I insisted on making the Ahi Tuna. Boy did I dig myself into a hole!


The Wine Whore said...


They ended up coming out pretty tasty except the rub was too spicy. Anyone have a good mixture for a rub that isn't too salty or spicy?


tampawinewoman said...

I love to hear (and see) that someone had great steaks for dinner. Its like watching a good friend win the meat lottery.

Regarding steaks and wine: this is currently my favorite wine friendly preparation http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grass-Fed-Steaks-with-Kalamata-Olive-em-Chimichurri-em-351270

Not only is the kalamata olive chimichurri delicious - the simple preparation of the steaks is delicious on its own.

Jodi a/k/a tampawinewoman

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Jodi!

When I lived in Miami, we would go to the Argentinian butcher and get some killer cuts of cow. Chimichurri always made an excellent compliment to these meals.

Great recipe! :)


Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

I am a carnivore to the core!! I have had a few bottles shipped that tasted horrible - I am not a fan of summer shipping either... When I have a bottle that has turned I use it to make drunken baby backs and they are amazing - That way all is not a total loss!

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Cathy!

Drunken baby backs? That sounds awesome... what's the recipe?


Shelly said...

They look great, but minus the broccoli. I like broccoli alright but would prefer a crisp salad or loaded baked potato with my steak. My dad has a good rub...I'll have to get the ingredients for you. He also puts them on the grill first and then into the oven. It's a newer procedure (for him) but seems to work out famously.

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Shelly!

I am trying to cut carbs (minus the wine of course) so the broccoli works well for me!

I'd love to hear what your dad uses for his rub... you also peaked my interest with the whole grill first then oven thing.

Tell me more...


Frank said...

The filets looked great... but was that entire stick of butter?
When time permits... http://www.cdc.gov/HeartDisease/prevention.htm

The Wine Whore said...

LOL! Frank, I think you make a great point but in my defense, it wasn't the ENTIRE stick of butter... there was almost one pat missing. :)


Matt said...

and now I want a steak ... man I need to unpack my grill still from my move. Glad to see though the night wasn't a total bust, in the end you had good food and good wine so all is well with the world.

And on another note, theres nothing wrong with watching the food channel. I'm hooked on that damn station, especially Paula Deen ... here food is just sooo good.

The Wine Whore said...

Hello Matt!

It was definitely a strange night... come to think of it, this whole week has been kinda strange. Nothing bad, but things just don't seem to go as planned. I guess that just makes life exciting!

I also like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives... I can just sit there and watch those shows for hours!


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