Just throw some shit together

Yesterday, bone-in ribeye was on sale, so I had asked Creg to bring some home. He also had some fresh ricotta that he was going to bring, so I had planned to make some ricotta quenelles to go with the ribeye. The meat made it home. The ricotta did not. So, the challenge was to just throw some shit together and make a meal with what we had on hand.

My plan earlier in the week, when I did my big shop, was to make veal involtini with mashed potatoes, but Whole Foods was out of veal scaloppini. I bought the potatoes anyway, so I had those to go with the steak. I started the potatoes first, as that would take the longest. I had some sour cream left in the fridge from last week’s fish tacos so I threw that in, because potatoes love sour cream! Sprinkle some chives on top and side dish one was complete. During the last 10 minutes of potato cooking, Creg started the steaks and I made the peas.

For the steaks, we decided to cook them in a cast iron skillet. Great sear, and allowed for a pan sauce while the steaks rested. Creg is our resident red meat expert, so he took care of cooking the steaks. Medium rare for us, and more on the well done side for the rents. Two giant ribeyes gave us almost 6 servings. Bonus meat for sandwiches for the next day! Looking in the fridge, I found 4 lonely cremini mushrooms that must have been left over from when Creg cooked one night when I was out because I didn’t remember them at all…. They still looked fine, so I thought why not throw those in with the pan sauce? So after the meat was cooked, I added some butter to the pan, quickly sautéed the mushrooms, then added some red wine and let that all cook down for a minute. Finished with some cold butter, and that was that.

Lastly, in my quest for a balanced dinner with something green that everyone would eat, I turned to my old standby, frozen peas. Jacques Pepin and Julia Child often discussed the virtue of frozen veggies. I’m on Jacques’ side with this one. Frozen peas are great when fresh ones aren’t available, and there are always some in my freezer. I love to add them to anything from risotto to pasta to whatever needs a little green. I also always have parsley and lemons around, and with the addition of the last little bit of shallot that I found at the bottom of the onion bin, side dish number two was born.

Here are my rough recipes, but really, just raid your fridge and use whatever shit you have on hand!

Cast Iron Ribeye Steaks with Mushroom and Red Wine Reduction

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bone-in ribeye steaks
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine (I used a Kermit Lynch Cote du Rhone, since that’s what was open)

Directions:
Turn on broiler in oven, with the rack placed about 10″ from broiler – not too close. Heat a cast iron pan over hight heat. Sprinkle steaks generously with salt and pepper and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side to get a nice sear. Place pan in oven for a few minutes to cook through the center of the steaks. (all this happened while I was cooking the sides, so the time to get to medium rare is my best estimate.) Test for doneness by poking steaks with your finger. Super squishy is still rare, if they have a little bounce then they are medium, no spring at all and they are well done. That’s how Creg does it. You can also use a thermometer and go to 130-135 for medium-rare, which is really the perfect doneness for a delicious steak.

Remove the steaks to a warm plate to rest. Place pan back on stovetop over medium high heat, and don’t forget to put a kitchen towel over the hot handle so nobody gets burned! Add 1 tbsp of the butter to the pan, then add the sliced mushrooms. Cook for about two minutes till nicely browned. Then add the wine, turn the heat up, and reduce for a couple more minutes. Lastly, turn off the heat and swirl in the remaining tbsp of butter. Pour sauce over steaks.

Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • milk
  • chives

Directions:
Peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Place in a pot with cold, well salted water – enough to cover potatoes by about 2 inches. Put lid on pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for about 10-15 minutes, till you can easily poke a fork into a potato. Drain into a food mill, then pass potatoes through the food mill back into the pot. If you don’t have a food mill, use a potato ricer. If you don’t have either, go buy a food mill! This will give you the fluffiest, most uniform mashies, and can be used for so many other things too! I don’t know what I would do without mine. But seriously, if you want, you can always mash the potatoes with a standard masher – they will just not be as smooth.

Add butter and sour cream and stir to combine. If the potatoes seem a little stiff, add some milk a little at a time till you get the consistency that you like. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve topped with snipped chives.

Peas with Lemon Zest and Parsley

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • salt to taste
  • zest from one lemon
  • small hand full of parsley, chopped

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook till soft, 1-2 minutes. Add peas, salt, and a little water and cook for about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and parsley, and toss to combine. Cook for another few minutes, then serve.

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