[Ed.–And here’s part 2 of our epic steakhouse dinner and a movie anniversary dinner. Michael elaborates on how things got…interesting.]
I love my wife. I know I do because I put up with this ass-ache of a meal to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. We began planning the feast with the noblest of intentions, and honestly, by the time the movie started everything was again right with the world. In the interim, things were tense at times, annoying at others. The fault, dear reader was not in our stars, but in our selves; the meal we selected was… ambitious to say the least, taking a snarky page- actually several snarky pages from Tony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook.
As was pointed out in E’s previous post, she was busy the entire evening with her admittedly delicious onion soup. This left me without an assistant to chirp orders at to aid in cooking the steaks, their sauce and the pictured frites. Honestly, the steak recipe wasn’t impossible, but with the hassle of having to make the frites on top of it was a real jumble. I don’t know if you’ve read our other post of pommes fritery, but you have to fry the taters twice, once at 280 F to blanche and then again at 350 F to make it happen for reals. This time was first int the new NYC pad and between my crippling fear of being yelled at by the FDNY and my relative lack of experience frying over a gas range, the temperature in the oil got waaaaaay too low when I added the fries for the second half of their trip to deliciousville. This… irritated me though I’m adult enough to admit it was the fault of my own timid inexperience.
I don’t know if you noticed in the photo, but the sauce is also not quite right, you can see the little flecks of brown in the sauce, somehow everything didn’t homogenize. I made my own demi-glace while the frites were going and I think I did it right (I didn’t let it boil, Tony!), but that could have been the culprit. It may also have been a reluctance in my part to utilize enough butter to smooth it all out.
Finally, the meat. I’d say this was the most straightforward part, and it was, mostly. The hangar steak is something I know and can do well enough. The problem was the marrow on top. We asked the butcher (a real, awesome New York butcher who we will gush about in another post) for beef bones, but since I had not read the recipe carefully enough nor had the experience with cattle orthopedics, I didn’t know ask for the ends sawed off so I could pop the entire Tootsie Roll of marrow out of the center after a bit of soaking in water. This made my life quite nasty as most of the marrows didn’t make it out in one piece and I broke more than one kitchen implement inside one of the bones.
The final verdict? The meal was delicious and rich as all get-out (I’d have written that in French but I know not even a single word of it). My favorite part was the onion soup, but you never have to twist my arm to make me eat a steak. Am I sorry we aimed so high to celebrate the cotton anniversary? Not at all. I learned much from my bistro-style trials and tribulations and I didn’t set anything on fire. So, be bold and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, friends, even on special nights. Just remember to keep a fire extinguisher hand and a decent flick in the DVD player to rinse all that adversity off your hands when you’re done. Until next time, cook on!