It’s been warm lately. Unseasonably so. From Christmas Eve to now, it’s been pretty much low-80s in the day (mid-to-high 20s C). That’ll end tonight when it’ll dip near freezing, and tomorrow night when there’s a hard freeze warning for Central Florida. Since we’re right next to the ocean, I doubt we’ll see freezing, probably a couple degrees above (a couple degrees above in C).
But, for now, it’s warm, and yesterday evening was pretty balmy. So, for New Years Eve dinner, I cooked Christey and myself some NY strip steaks on the grill.
New York strip steak over mustard cream sauce, garnished with feta and caramelized shallot, with a sauteed mushroom side.
Since Christey is doing South Beach, by default, I am too for dinners (lunches, I gorge on bread). No problem for me, I’ve cooked kosher, vegetarian, non-seafood, no red meat, etc. It’s a fun challenge to cook something good within a certain range of parameters. For instance, I like a good roux sauce/gravy with steak sometimes, but no flour in South Beach, and butter is limited. No problem with olive oil and, oddly, a bit of heavy cream, though. I’m still learning South Beach because I keep accidentally wanting to use ingredients that turn out to be verboten.
I like how this turned out so much, that I made Christey blow it up and it’s now my desktop background. I like a light spice blend on steak before grilling. If it’s a fillet, I’ll crust the whole steak, but with NY strip, I just dust lightly to enhance and amplify the beefy taste. Clockwise from top left, it’s black pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, kosher salt, and cayenne in the middle. I originally had these in their own little piles, then as I picked up the plate to shake them together, they flattened out and touched just like a sand painting. Anyway, aesthetics aside, I dusted the steaks with the spice and reserved some spice mix for the sauce, to tie them together a bit:
I rough-chopped some mushrooms:
Sliced some shallots:
Then caramelized the shallots in olive oil and a touch of butter. After they were golden, I cooked them for just a bit more to get them a bit crunchy as they were really a garnish:
I threw the mushrooms in the same pan and heated them up until doing nicely, then tossed in a half-shot of Jack Daniels, flambeed, then squeezed in a half-lemon for some acid:
I took some lamb stock I had sitting in the freezer, and reduced it down a bit, but stock is still a little more liquid than I wanted. Thickening sauces on a low-carb diet is rough. No corn starch, no arrowroot, no roux. So, I took a multi-prong approach and first roasted a head of garlic:
I plucked out the garlic, mashed it into a paste, and added it to the stock. Then, I added some whole-grain mustard, which usually helps along emulsions like aioli or mayo. I threw in some more of the spice from the steak:
I tossed in the mushrooms to soak up some sauce, then threw in my last thickening attempt — a few tablespoons of heavy cream, reduced by half:
It got a little thicker than the French back-of-the-spoon standard, but still wasn’t as thick as a gravy. The taste was pretty much there, though
So, steaks grilled:
Then tomato-basil feta crumbled over the top, another spoonful of sauce, then mushrooms placed in back: