I have been quite busy lately! The first summer session ended yesterday, grades were due today, and the second summer session begins tomorrow! However, this has not stopped me from having a little kitchen (and writing, and outlet-shopping with the husband) time! I’ve been keeping track of new recipes I’ve tried, and here are my picks for this week’s review: Rosemary Pork Chops from Gourmet (found on Epicurious), Pan-grilled Steak with Béarnaise Sauce from the lovely blog, Dinner du Jour, and my favorite, Summer Berry Cobbler with Cinnamon Biscuit Topping from the book Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Holidays. Overall, I enjoyed all of these recipes, but some were more stellar and guest-worthy than others.
Rosemary Pork Chops
3 garlic cloves
2 tsp coarsely chopped rosemary
4 ½ inch thick bone-in pork chop (I used boneless)
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then stir together with rosemary, oil, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Rub mixture all over chops.
Broil chops on a broiler pan about 4 inches from heat, turning once, until just cooked through, about 8 minutes total. Rest for 5 minutes.
Outcome: While I love rosemary anything and felt the flavor accompanied the chops nicely, I felt that the final taste was a bit too bland for my palate. I would make this again, but would experiment with additional spices to kick the flavor in this dish up a notch. *It is important to note that cook times greatly vary with this recipe. I found that at the 8 minute mark, my chops were still far too bloody (as in tartare bloody) and ended up cooking the chops for a total of around 18 minutes.
Pan-grilled Steak with Béarnaise Sauce
4 x 6 oz (175 g) sirloin or fillet steaks
1 garlic clove
salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 1 hour before you want to cook your steaks, remove them from the fridge. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub it on both sides of each steak. Grind over some black pepper and sprinkle with a few drops of olive oil (don’t put salt on the steaks at this point, since it will leach out moisture and make the steaks dry and tough). Turn the steaks in the oil and set aside to allow them to come to room temperature. If using sirloin steaks, score the fat at 1-inch intervals.
Heat the grill pan (I used a cast iron skillet in lieu of a grill pan), season the steaks with a little salt and put them into the hot pan. *I always cook my steak (when not grilling them) in about 1-2 Tbsp of butter. This gives the steaks an incredibly moist, tender texture.* Cook to your liking (if using sirloin steak, cook the fatty side as well for 3 or 4 minutes until it’s nice and crispy). For rare, cook a sirloin for 2 minutes and a fillet for 5 minutes; for medium-rare, cook a sirloin for 3 minutes and a fillet for 6 minutes; for medium, cook a sirloin for 4 minutes and a fillet for 7 minutes; and for well done (but please don’t ruin a good steak by cooking it well done!), cook a sirloin for 5 minutes and a fillet for 8 or 9 minutes. Make sure you allow the steaks to rest before you serve them. Serve with Béarnaise sauce, oven-roast wedges and a green salad or vegetable of your choice.
For the Béarnaise Sauce
This was my first time making a béarnaise sauce. My cousin Jennifer made one for a dinner party she held a while back and raved and raved. The béarnaise is a kissing cousin to the hollandaise sauce and really the way to go if you want to serve your steak in the method of the French. That being said, your first step will shockingly look something like this:
Note: If the sauce is slow to thicken, it might be because the heat is too low. When making the sauce, you should be able to put your hand on the side of the saucepan at any stage — if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for the sauce! Keep a bowl of cold water close by that you can plunge the bottom of the saucepan into if it becomes too hot.
4 tablespoons tarragon vinegar (or white wine vinegar plus extra fresh chopped tarragon)
4 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cold water
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup (110 g) butter, cubed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
Boil the vinegar, wine, shallots and a pinch of pepper in a heavy-bottomed stainless steel saucepan until completely reduced and the pan is almost dry but not browned. Immediately add the 1 tablespoon of cold water. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 1 or 2 minutes.
Whisk in the egg yolks and add the butter bit by bit over a very low heat, whisking all the time. As soon as one piece of butter melts, add the next piece and the sauce will gradually thicken. If it looks like it’s getting too thick or might scramble, remove the pan from the heat immediately and add a little cold water. Don’t leave the pan or stop whisking until the sauce is made and has reached a thick coating consistency — this isn’t the time to see what’s happening on Facebook. Finally, add the chopped fresh tarragon and taste for seasoning.
You can keep the sauce warm in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot (but not simmering!) water until you’re ready to serve it.
Outcome: This was one of the best meals (and steaks!) I’ve had in a long time and I don’t typically like red meat. The steak was absolutely perfect — smoky, tender, juicy, with a twinge of pink inside. A note on the Béarnaise sauce: This is definitely a rich sauce and not for the faint-stomached. When I first sampled it after it was finished cooking, it literally tasted like I was drinking butter. It’s not something I would make on a regular basis and certainly would not slather it on this and that, but it does make a nice accompaniment to the steak (a drizzle is all you need).
And for dessert:
Lilly Pulitzer’s Summer Berry Cobbler with Cinnamon Biscuit Topping
2 pints fresh strawberries
1 ½ pints fresh blueberries
1 ½ pints fresh raspberries
1 ½ pints fresh blackberries
¾ packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, thinly sliced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 granulated sugar (I used organic)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), chilled, thinly sliced (I used organic)
½ cup half-and-half
1 large egg (I used free-range)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (I prefer Vanilla Bean)
Position rack in center of oven and preheat over to 450F. Lightly batter a deep, round 3-quart glass or ceramic baking dish.
Mix strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, brown sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Spread in a baking dish. Top with butter.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter and use a pastry blender (I used a pastry cutter) to cut butter into the flour mixture until mixture resembles course meal with a few pea-sized pieces of butter. Mix half-and-half, egg and vanilla in a measuring cup. Stir liquid into flour mixture and mix until just combined. Using a tablespoon, drop 8 (really just eyeball this) mounds of dough over fruit.
Bake for 20 minutes. Tent dish loosely with foil and continue baking until berry juices are bubbling throughout and biscuits are golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes more. Serve hot or warm with ice cream.
Outcome: Oh. My. God. This was the best cobbler I’ve ever had! I’ve owned this book for about a year now and as I was digging my spoon into the perfect cinnamon-y, buttery crust and tender, warm berries, I was wondering what in the world has taken me this long to make this! This is definitely a jackpot recipe that will impress both summer guest and your stomach. It’s very easy to make, takes little time, and your kitchen will smell like heaven. If you love cobbler and want to use up your summer berries, I highly recommend this recipe!
While we’re speaking of Lilly, I found and purchased the most gorgeous vintage (1960s) Lilly dress the other day. I found it here on etsy and fell in love. I cannot wait to wear it! I love how bright the print is, but also that it’s not too overpowering. I also love that it has a slight suggestion of 60s mod without being over-the-top: