Rewind five months. I was living alone in Paris; the Boy was still in the States. And I wasn't living in a chic one-bedroom near Place du Chatelet; I was in a chambre de bonne in the 15th, at the far corner of the city. My cooking equipment consisted of a hot plate and a microwave. I hadn't found a butcher or fishmonger and, frankly, felt silly making elaborate meals just for me. Instead, I made a lot of frittatas, simple pastas and lentils cooked with everything but the kitchen sink. I also bought a fair amount of already-prepared food.
But I dearly missed good food, even more so because I was living in Paris, where I was constantly surrounded by some of the most delectable foods I'd ever witnessed. One lonely evening, I stumbled upon my first food blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, and was instantly addicted. Every night after that, as I sat eating my lonely dinner, I stared at my computer screen, devouring whatever delicacy Clotilde had whipped up that night. And little by little, my own meals started becoming more enlightened. They were still simple, but now there were herbs and I began experimenting with vegetables and other products I'd never encountered before.
Fast-forward back to March, 2005: the Boy had joined me in Paris and we had an adorable une piece on Rue St-Denis, just off Place du Chatelet. There was an oven and a stove and, for the first time, I was responsible not just for my meals but for the Boy's as well. This new responsibility made me ever-more creative and, as I started created new recipes and more-or-less reteaching myself how to cook as I faced new ingredients and measuring systems, I began wondering how to record all this wonderful creations. So, late on the night of March 29, when the Boy was in China with his family, I created this food blog.
I know there have been lapses, and a lot has changed since that night, and, really, I never dreamed I would have kept this fascination with cooking and creating so long after leaving Paris. But, apparently, I have and I am sure that this has a lot to do with you, my readers. So open up a bottle of wine (we enjoyed a Cabernet Sauvignon) and enjoy this recreation of the first dish I ever shared with you, adapted, as it must be, for my New York circumstances. Enjoy and A votre sante. Here's to many more!
Aloyau de boeuf au reblochon
- 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 top sirloin steaks
- 3 cloves garlic + 3 cloves, chopped finely
- 1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon + 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon + 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup apple cider
- 3/4 cup low-fat milk
- 1/4 wheel reblochon cheese, cut in chunks
- 2 teaspoons piment d'espelette
- 3 stalks italian parsley, chopped finely
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pan over medium heat. Mash three cloves garlic with 1/2 teaspoon each: salt, pepper and five-spice. Rub mixture all over both sides of steaks. Raise flame under pan to high and sear steaks 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan, place steaks on a plate and place plate in a turned-off oven to rest.
Turn the heat down to low and add the onion and the chopped garlic to the pan. Cook gently about 6 minutes, stirring every so often. Turn heat back up to high and deglaze with water and apple cider, then cook another 3 minutes, until reduced by half. Turn heat back down to low and add milk, remaining tablespoon butter and cheese. Move everything around pan, ensuring the chunks of cheese are well-distributed and just beginning to melt. Also take this time to scrape up any bits of garlic and meat that may be stuck to the pan and will add another delicious dimension to the sauce. Add piment d'espelette and remaining salt, pepper and five-spice, as needed.
To serve: spoon sauce over steaks and top with parsley. The sauce also went wonderfully with some mustard greens I served alongside. Enjoy!
Links to other delicious-sounding steak recipes:
- Grilled Tri-Tip Steak with Bell Pepper Salsa from Simply Recipes