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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

lemon ricotta pasta with pine nuts and roast chicken

lemon ricotta pasta

This recipe meets several requirements for the "weekday rotation" in my house: fast (literally 30 minutes start to finish, less if you buy a rotisserie chicken), and lots of protein. If I'm making pasta, I've got to sneak in as much as possible -- did you know part-skim ricotta is a very lean form of protein? Combined with the chicken, this dish has at least 30 grams of protein per serving, meaning it passes my meat-head boyfriend's standards. This is much tastier than a chalky protein powder drink too.

Grocery list: chicken (either 1 pound of boneless skin-on chicken breast, or 1 rotisserie chicken), 1 pound of farfalle (bowtie) pasta, lemons, basil, pine nuts, 1 15-oz container of ricotta, plus garlic & thyme if you're roasting your own chicken.

I've covered roast chicken breast before (here's the full post), but to show how to prep all of this together in 30 minutes, I'll touch on a few points. While you preheat the oven to 400 degrees, mince a few garlic cloves and thyme leaves, pour some salt and a tsp of olive oil on it, and mash together with the flat side of your knife or with tines of a fork. Spread the paste under the skin of the chicken breast, slip a couple of thin slices of lemon under there too, and drizzle olive oil all over the chicken. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes.

toasting pine nuts

While the chicken roasts, bring your pasta water to boil and prep the other ingredients. Zest a couple of lemons, and chop 1-2 handfuls of basil leaves. Toast a handful of pine nuts in a small fry pan. Cook the pasta (usually 12 minutes for farfalle), drain quickly and return to the pot. When the chicken is done roasting, turn the oven off and let the chicken rest in the oven for another 5 minutes.

basil chicken lemon zest

Stir in enough olive oil to coat the pasta -- 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Drop the ricotta in spoonfuls, and stir in the lemon zest and pine nuts. Shred the chicken (discard the skin and lemon slices, but keep all the good bits of garlic and thyme) and stir into the pasta. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

shrimp capellini with tomato cream sauce

shrimp capellini with tomato cream sauce

Most food magazines have a monthly feature that includes "quick" recipes. As a general rule, whatever number of minutes is listed there, I always double it (Rachael Ray has never been impressive to me, because I can do just about anything in 1 hour anyway). So I was pleasantly surprised to find that this quick recipe from Gourmet magazine was actually ready in the 15 minutes it estimated it would take -- it was so fast, I hadn't even set the table or opened the wine by the time it was ready. I have to quote the recipe notes because I agree with this as well: "the addition of the sweet vermouth... [makes] this quick sauce taste as if it's been simmered for hours."

Grocery list: 1 pound peeled large shrimp, 3-4 garlic cloves, ried oregano, sweet (red) vermouth, 1 can diced tomatoes (recipe called for 14.5 oz can but I went with the larger 28 oz can -- I like tomatoes in pasta), heavy cream, 1 lemon, 1/2 pound capellini (angel hair) pasta.

sauteed shrimp and garlic

Heat a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat, and saute the slivered garlic cloves and the shrimp, along with a dash of dried oregano, salt and pepper, for about 2-3 minutes, until the shrimp are golden.

adding tomotoes to shrimp

Stir in 1/2 cup vermouth and the tomatoes (drain them first!), craping up any browned bits of garlic from the bottom. Then add 3/4 cup heavy cream and bring to a simmer; allow to thicken for another 1-2 minutes. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon, remove from heat.

shrimp capellini close-up

Cook capellini in boiling salted water for 4 minutes, until al dente (follow package direction). Drain, reserving a cup of the cooking liquid, and add the pasta to the sauce. Mix well, and pour in a little of the cooking liquid if necessary.

Friday, April 25, 2008

mushrooms and leeks with pecorino fonduta

mushrooms and leeks

It should be fairly obvious by now that I have an obsession with Food & Wine magazine, and especially any of their Italian recipes, so this recipe from their April 2008 issue is right up my alley. According to the article, fonduta is basically Italian fondue. You serve this easy-as-possible cheese sauce over sauteed leeks and mushrooms, which rest on top of crusted slices of baguette. So simple and unique.

Grocery list: butter, 2 pounds leeks, 4 garlic cloves, 1 pound wild mushrooms, rosemary, half-and-half, parmesan cheese, pecorino cheese, balsamic vinegar, grilled italian bread slices.
leeks and garlic

Start by melting a stick of butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced, and the leeks. (Side note: to prepare leeks, chop off the tough green leaves and the very end of the white root; slice lengthwise and rinse under cool water, trying to separate the leaves to get the water into all the crevices. Chop the white and tender green parts only, about 1/2 inch slices, then place in a bowl of cold water. Let them soak for a few minutes, then squeeze and shake one handful at a time and remove to the pan you're cooking with.) Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

mushroom and leek prep

Add the wild mushrooms and cook until the excess liquid has evaporated and they are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in 1 tsp minced rosemary, season with salt and pepper, then keep warm.

pecorino fonduta

In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup half-and-half (the original calls for cream, but I don't use cream unless it's absolutely necessary) to a boil and reduce to 2/3 cup, about 7 minutes. Turn off the flame and stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan and 1/4 cup grated pecorino.

mushrooms and leeks with fonduta 2

Drizzle the mushrooms with a few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, then serve over the bread slices. Top with the fonduta.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

chicken saltimbocca

chicken saltimbocca

I can't believe I've been cooking this long and haven't discovered Cook's Illustrated until now. I've seen it in stores, just never realized how amazing the content could be. There are no ads, just informative articles and research about how best to create recipes (my favorite cookbook du jour, "The New Best Recipe", is in the same style, presumably because it's a compilation of all the recipes from their magazine). In the April 2008 issue, they cover chicken saltimbocca, with the intention of making it a viable weeknight option (the original calls for veal -- and isn't much different than this recipe in how you'd prep it). The only change I made was to use less butter in the sauce -- in my mind, weeknight viability is dependent on healthiness not just convenience. The result is delicious, and I'm not sure I miss the veal at all.
Grocery list: 8 thin boneless chicken cutlets, fresh sage, 1 cup white wine, 1 lemon, butter, 8 thin slices of prosciutto, flour.

flouring chicken

Start by flouring the chicken cutlets: combine 1/2 cup AP flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish, and dredge the chicken in the flour. Lay them flat on a piece of waxed paper.

prepping chicken and prosciutto

Mince 1 T of sage leaves, and divide the leaves across the tops of each chicken cutlet. Then lay 1 slice of prosciutto on top of the sage (so all the sage is covered), and firmly press the prosciutto so it will stick to the chicken.
chicken saltimbocca in pan

Heat 2 T of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add 8 whole sage leaves and cook about 20 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel. Add half of the chicken cutlets, prosciutto side down, and cook 3 minutes till golden brown. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes more till golden on both sides. Transfer to a wire rack (which will keep the chicken crispy) over a baking sheet, then place in a warm 200 degree oven. Add 2 more T of oil to the pan, and repeat the process with the remaining chicken.
If there's extra fat in the fry pan, pour out most of it, then pour 1 cup of white wine into the pan. Stir to remove the browned bits and simmer until the sauce is reduced to 1/3 cup (the recipe said 5-7 minutes, but in reality it took me 10-12 minutes). Stir in juice of 1 lemon, turn the heat to low, and whisk in 4 T of butter one at a time (I made a change to the original and only used 2 T), then season with salt and pepper. Place one fried sage leave over each piece of chicken, then pour the sauce over the chicken to serve.

Monday, April 21, 2008

eggs benedict

eggs benedict

While on vacation in Anguilla, I decided to try eggs benedict for the first time. I'm not a big fan of egg yolks, and other than eating around what some people consider the "best part" of a poached egg, I loved them. When I suggested to my boyfriend that I might try them at home, he was skeptical -- why try something so involved, so unhealthy? Ahh, a challenge -- can I make eggs benedict, and at least a little healthier than the original? Of course, and it wasn't nearly as involved as I thought it would be. It'll be part of the weekend brunch rotation from now on...

Grocery list: whole wheat english muffins, canadian bacon or ham slices, eggs, butter, texas pete hot sauce, vinegar.

poaching eggs 2

Start by slicing and toasting all the english muffins, and pan fry the ham slices in a nonstick pan (using no oil) over medium-high heat. Flip after a few minutes, till brown on both sides, and lay 2 slices of ham over each slice of english muffin. To make it easier to poach the eggs, find 4 ramekins and crack an egg into each one (this will allow you to get all the eggs into the water at the same time). It's good to get this prep out of the way -- it will all cool to room temp, but when you add the hot egg and hollandaise later it will all warm back up to perfect.

starting hollandaise sauce

Fill a large saucepan with water 1 1/2 - 2 inches deep, add a splash of white vinegar, and bring the water to a gentle boil. Set up a double boiler for the sauce: using a small saucepan with a shallow layer of water, find a glass or stainless steel bowl that will fit into the top of the saucepan so the bottom doesn't touch the water. Bring the water to a simmer -- it will heat the contents of the bowl and cook it indirectly. To the bowl, add two egg yolks, 1 T of warm water, salt, and a few splashes of texas pete hot sauce. Whisk well to start, and continue to stir every minute or so for about 5 minutes.

poaching eggs

To poach eggs, you want to carefully slip whole eggs into the boiling water all at the same time, which is why you want to crack all the eggs into individual bowls ahead of time. Slip all 4 eggs into the water at the same time. Cook for 3 minutes (longer if you want the yolks cooked a little more), then remove carefully with a slotted spoon. The first one I placed on a paper towel to absorb the water, but it can get stuck easily. After that trial and error, I just removed each egg with the slotted spoon and patted the spoon against the paper towel -- doesn't dry the egg completely, but it also doesn't destroy it in the process.

hollandaise sauce

To finish the hollandaise sauce, melt 4 T of butter, then slowly pour that into the bowl with the sauce, whisking at the same time. Add a poached egg on the top of the ham and english muffin, the pour the hollandaise sauce across the tops. Garnish with a little bit of chopped parsley, if you're feeling overly ambitious.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

butternut squash ravioli with browned butter and sage

browned sage butter with ravioli

Well, it's official. I've decided to make a serious commitment to my love affair with italian cooking, and actually went out and purchased a pasta machine. It's not that hard really, to make fresh pasta. It's definitely very time-consuming, but not complicated. The little machine reminds me of the play-dough sets we had when I was a kid, you just rotate the handle and keep feeding the pasta through until it flattens out into smooth sheets. I tried to keep things simple, with just a basic roasted butternut squash filling and browned butter and sage as the sauce (from a recipe I found in F&W magazine). I can't tell if the pasta was really that good, or if it just tasted great to me since I was so proud of the effort. Now I just can't stop thinking about how *amazing* it is that you can buy fresh ravioli in whole foods for only $6...

Grocery list: all-purpose flour, 3 eggs, 1 pound butternut squash, sage, butter.

roasting butternut squash

Start by roasting the butternut squash. Slice lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and brush the cut side generously with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 45 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove and allow to cool.
pasta dough

To make the pasta dough, pulse 2 cups of flour in a food processor. Pour in the eggs 1 at a time, pulsing between each addition. Process for about 30 seconds until the dough starts to stick together. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time to get the right consistency (the "New Best Recipe" cookbook covers this very well, with illustrations that show you how to tell if the dough is too wet or too dry, depending on how it sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl). Remove the dough to a clean floured surface, and knead it till it's a solid disc. Let it sit out, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 15 minutes, so the dough will relax.

pasta machine

Cut the disc into 4 equal size pieces. Working one piece at a time, and keeping the others covered with plastic wrap, press out into a flat rectangle. Using the widest setting, feed the dough into the pasta machine, rolling it out so it's a longer and thinner rectangle. Exactly like you'd fold a piece of letter-size paper, fold the pasta in thirds. Feed it back into the machine and roll out into a long thin rectangle again, repeating the folding and rolling until you've done it 6 times total. Then, set the pasta machine on the next setting and roll the pasta through, and keep doing this until you've fed it through each setting in succession, until you're on the 2nd or 3rd thinnest setting (you don't want to roll it too thin or it will tear). Lay on a floured surface, and cut into 3 inch squares. Place on parchment or waxed paper. Continue until you've rolled out all the dough, and you have a stack of pasta squares layered between parchment paper.

butternut squash filling

To make the filling, scoop the room temperature squash out of its skin into a bowl. Add 1 T of plain bread crumbs and 3 T of parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Stir until smooth.

assembling ravioli

Place a spoonful of filling onto one side of the square. Fold the dough in half, and using your finger dipped in cold water, run your finger along the edges -- this will make the dough stick together. Press the tines of a fork around the edges to crimp them and further secure the dough together.
draining ravioli

Cook the pasta in gently boiling water for 5-6 minutes, until al dente. While they are cooking, melt 4-5 T of butter in a small saucepan, and keep swirling the butter until it starts to brown. Add 2 T of minced sage to the butter and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in salt and pepper, and toss with the pasta.

Friday, April 18, 2008

berry brioche bread pudding

bread pudding 2

When I suggested bread pudding for dessert, my boyfriend, who has never had it before, screwed up his nose and said "sounds disgusting." I had to explain that it's like having french toast for dessert to get him even slightly interested. This is a great recipe for bread pudding -- easy to make ahead, crunchy on the top and bottom, and the perfect contrast between the sweet brioche bread and the tart fresh berries. Top it off with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, and now I've got one more fan of bread pudding converted.

Grocery list: 1 pound pan of brioche rolls, raw/turbinado sugar, 2 cups whole milk, 2 cups half and half (the original recipe called for heavy cream, but I couldn't do it), 4 eggs, 4 egg yolks, vanilla extract, blueberries, raspberries, sugar, salt, whipping cream + powdered sugar.


Cut the brioche into 1/2 inch dice (I didn't know what brioche was before this recipe -- the picture above is a loaf of brioche rolls, removed from the tin pan they came in). Over medium-high heat, bring 2c half and half, 2c milk, 3/4 c granulated sugar and 1 tsp kosher salt to a simmer, then turn off the heat.

custard mix

In a very large bowl, whisk the eggs and the egg yolks together, then whisk in 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Continue whisking and slowly pour in the warm cream mixture. Fold in the brioche pieces. Let stand while you prep the pan and the berries.

mashed berries

To prep the pan, butter an 8 x 11 pyrex dish, then sprinkle turbinado sugar generously on the bottom. This is what makes the bottom of the pudding crunchy. In a bowl, coarsely mash 1 cup each blueberries and raspberries with 2 T of sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes so the sugar reacts with the berries to release more juices.

folding bread pudding

Fold the berries into the custard. Pour into the baking dish, and sprinkle more sugar across the top. The bread pudding will rise quite a bit while it bakes, so cover only loosely with foil. If the pudding is already near the top of the pan, you may want to put the baking dish over a separate pan in the oven to catch some of the juice if it overflows. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20 minutes more, moving the pudding to the top third of the oven. Then broil the pudding for about 1-2 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let it stand on a rack for 20-30 minutes (or longer) until you're ready to serve it.

whipped cream

To make whipped cream, beat 3/4 cup whipping cream with a hand mixer. Add 4 T of powdered sugar, one at a time, while continuously mixing. After 1-2 minutes, the whipped cream will thicken to the right texture.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

rosemary garlic roast chicken

rosemary garlic roast chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is a satisfying project. It's one of the simplest foods, but it takes a little time (about 2 hours overall, half of which is just waiting while the chicken soaks in brine). It definitely tastes better than any whole roast chicken you can buy, and you can use the leftover chicken on a salad later, which helps justify the time investment. This recipe is from the New Best Recipe cookbook. The addition of potatoes to the roasting pan is optional, but if you're already dirtying up the pan, why not just throw some potatoes in and have a whole meal ready at the same time?

Grocery list: 3-4 pound whole chicken (WF carries the "poulet rouge" brand from Joyce foods, which was just rated as one of the highest quality chickens you can buy -- mail order it's $25, but buying direct from the WF meat counter was only $10!), 20 garlic cloves, 2-3 sprigs rosemary, 1/2 cup kosher salt, 2 pounds baby potatoes.

Start by prepping the chicken: rinse it in cold water, remove the giblets from the inside and rinse in there too. I found a few additional pointers from Cooks Illustrated on little things you can do to help the chicken roast better. With a sharp pointed knife, cut a few holes in the skin down the middle of the chicken's back, as well as a few through the thighs. With your hands, lift up the skin at the breast area and work your way up the front of the chicken, separating the skin from the meat.

prepping brine 2

To prepare the brine, put 10 garlic cloves, 1 sprig of rosemary, and 1/2 cup of salt into a large ziploc bag, and roll with a rolling pin until all the cloves are smashed. Dump the contents of the bag into a stockpot, and add 2 cups of warm tap water.

prepping brine

Wait 10 minutes so the flavors can release, then add 1 1/2 quarts more cool water, submerge the chicken in the brine, and put the pot in the fridge for at least an hour. This helps the meat retain as much as possible of its moisture when it roasts -- it makes a *huge* difference.

chicken in brine

After soaking, remove the chicken from the brine and dry with paper towels. Set the oven rack in the lower third position, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. If you have a v-rack, set it in the roasting pan and spray with nonstick spray. If you don't have the rack, you can use balls of aluminum foil to prop up the chicken so it roasts evenly and isn't touching too much of the bottom of the pan.

garlic rosemary paste

Make the garlic rosemary paste by mincing 2-3 garlic cloves & 2 tsp of rosemary, and mixing this together with salt, pepper, and 2 T of olive oil. Rub 1 tsp of the paste in the cavity of the chicken. The rest of the paste should be evenly distributed under the skin of the breast, in the little pockets you made earlier. Tie the drumsticks together with twine, tuck the wings behind the back. Rub olive oil on all sides of the skin and season with pepper. Set the chicken breast-side down and roast 15 minutes.

prepping chicken

Meanwhile, clean the potatoes. Toss the remaining garlic cloves with the potatoes in a drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and pepper. After the chicken has roasted for 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and decrease the temperature to 375 degrees. Rotate the chicken breast-side up with tongs, and brush with 1 tsp of olive oil. Add the potatoes to the pan, surrounding the chicken. Return to the oven and roast 20-25 minutes more, till the chicken is 160-170 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and thigh.

roasted chicken

Remove the potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate, let the chicken rest a few minutes, then carve to serve.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

roasted pork with leeks

roasted pork with leeks 2

I didn't grow up eating a lot of pork, and on those rare occasions I remember dry bone-in pork chops grilled with barbeque sauce. Only in the last year or so have I realized that I've been missing out. This particular recipe may take 2 hours to cook, but it's very hands-off. The meat is so tender it falls apart under your fork, due to roasting with a simple mix of leeks, a pat of butter, and white wine. This is one of my staple dishes, and it hasn't disappointed me yet.

Grocery list: 2-3 pound center cut pork tenderloin or center cut roast, 2 pounds of leeks (3 or 4 big ones), butter, white wine.

cooking leeks

Start by cleaning the leeks. Chop off the tough green leaves (approximately the top half of the stalk), and the tip of the root end. Slice lengthwise. Run under cool water, separating the leaves gently to rinse out all the dirt in between them -- but don't pull apart the leaves entirely or it will be a lot harder to chop. Next, chop the leeks into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in a big bowl of cold water, and crunch the chopped leeks with your hands to release any little particles of dirt remaining. Rinse one more time to be sure.

searing pork loin

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the leeks and 1/2 cup water and cook for 10 minutes until softened. Season with salt and pepper, and remove the contents of the dutch oven to a separate bowl. Increase the heat to medium-high and add another tablespoon of butter to the pan. Season the pork loin with salt and pepper, then sear for about 1 minute per side.

roasting pork and leeks

Pour 1/2 cup white wine into the pan, and stir around the pork loin to help loosen the brown bits. Dump all the leeks back on the top and sides of the pork, turn the heat down to just-barely-on, cover and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes (or longer, if you use a single center cut roast instead of 2 tenderloins, it may take 2 hours). Slice the pork and serve with the leek sauce on top.

Monday, April 14, 2008

homemade pizzas: pepperoni & margherita

pepperoni pizza

Pizza is one of my favorite comfort foods. I'm not a pizza expert (or pizza snob, depending how you look at it), so I can enjoy mellow mushroom like it was the most authentic thing in the world. I end up craving it almost weekly, so I figure it's a good idea if I learn to make it at home so I won't feel quite as guilty indulging. In the future I'm going to try making my own dough, and seeing how a real pizza stone improves the crust, etc, but this was a start.

Grocery list: pizza dough (in the freezer at whole foods -- thaw in the fridge for a day ahead of time), 2 roma tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, parmesan, slices of pepperoni (buy as much/little as you need from the deli, not the prepackaged over processed stuff), marinara.

Divide the pizza dough into halves (you could actually divide it into fourths and make thinner crust pizza). On a floured surface, pull the dough into a circle. A rolling pin didn't work at all, you have to use your fingers and keep pushing the bulk of the dough from the center out to the edges. I didn't remember from my girl scout trip to domino's when I was 6, but you want it very thin. It will puff up when it bakes.

pepperoni prep 2

Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and carefully lay the pizza dough over it, and brush more olive oil over the top. To start with the pepperoni pizza, bake the crust alone at 425 degrees for 5 minutes.

Spoon marinara over the crust, then lay the pepperoni slices. Bake another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with as much grated mozzarella and parmesan as you like, then continue to bake for another 9 minutes or so until the cheese is bubbly.

tomato basil pizza

For the "margherita" pizza, place the raw dough onto an oiled baking sheet, then lay slices of tomato right on top. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with sea salt, then bake for 7 minutes till the tomatoes start to give off their juices.

tomato pizza prep 2

Lay basil on top, then mozzarella, and continue to bake for another 12 minutes or so.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

steak au poivre with brandied cream sauce

steak and asparagus

I know I'm not the only one who's obsessed with Cook's Illustrated's "The New Best Recipe" cookbook -- 1000 pages of the most helpful cooking guidelines ever published. Just like their magazine, they walk you through *why* certain ingredients or techniques are the best option. It's an educational recipe encyclopedia, if you will. The hardest part is trying to pick just one thing to cook when you start flipping through the pages... Last night I decided to try out their recipe for steak au poivre with brandied cream sauce, and it did not disappoint. It went very well with the prosciutto-wrapped asparagus below. I had to modify this since WF was out of strip steak (they suggested that I try flank steak -- it actually worked well since the sauce and the quick cooking method both contributed to softening up the meat).

Grocery list: 4 8-ounce strip steaks, 1/2 stick butter, 1 shallot, beef stock, chicken stock, brandy, cream, 1 tsp lemon juice, whole black peppercorns.

peppering the steak

Start by crushing 1 T of peppercorns -- use a rolling pin and a large ziploc bag. Don't grind the pepper in a mill, or it will be too fine. Salt both sides of the steak, then coat one side with the peppercorns (rub the pepper into the grain as much as you can). Set aside and work on the sauce.

au poivre sauce

Melt 1 T of butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, and saute the minced shallot for 2 minutes. Add 1 c beef stock and 3/4 c chicken stock; increase the heat to high and boil for 8 minutes until it has reduced to about 1/2 c total. Pour into a bowl, wipe out the pan, and return to medium-high flame.

pressing the steak

Add the steak, peppered side up first, and press the bottom of a cake pan onto the tops of the steaks. Cook for 6 minutes, lift up the cake pan and flip the steaks carefully with tongs so the peppered side is down. Return the cake pan and press against the steak firmly. Cook for another 5-6 minutes for medium. Remove to a plate and tent with foil.

In the same pan, return the shallot-broth sauce, and add 1/4 cup cream or half-and-half, plus 1/4 cup brandy. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits of meat and pepper from the bottom. Simmer for about 5 minutes then remove from heat. Whisk in 3 T of butter, one at a time, to thicken the sauce. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice and another T of brandy. Pour the sauce over the steak to serve.