I typically take the easy path on Fridays…

Even with my ultra cool and flexible VocalStandards calendar (and less cool but paying consulting schedule), Fridays are still tough for me to pull off anything exploratory or prep intensive for dinner.

We usually save “the hard stuff” for Saturday … and lean towards comfort food (stews, braises, tagines, paellas…) on Sundays.

This week fell squarely into the crazy bin so we again opted for a “course of least resistance” menu (no pun intended … maybe a little bit intended)  and went with a Friday night meal I’m guessing we’ve turned out 250+ times before — a simple steakhouse troika of prime steak, sautéed mushrooms and my wife’s un-freak’n believable double stuffed feta baked potatoes … man, I just had this stuff last night and typing the words today is still making my mouth water!

Sorry, no recipes this time ’round…

Like I said, this is our “falling off a log” (or “Steve’s had how many single malts?”) menu … sub-concious cooking at it’s finest. Last night being no exception, we poured a couple of scotches, cranked up the American Songbook on the internet radio and let nature take it’s course (so to speak).

Hey, the steak is nothing special … well the steak itself IS pretty special at $26 a pound but the preparation is just the tried and true salt & pepper, sear off and finish in a 375 degree oven (I cheat and use a probe thermometer to get perfect med-rare “plus” doneness.

Sautéed mushrooms are self evident …

OK, I did make a pan sauce but it’s easy peasy … cracked green pepper corns into the steak pan after the steaks come out to rest; deglaze with 1/2 cup of whatever  red wine you’re drinking for dinner… reduce by half over med-high heat; stir in a splash (heavy teaspoon) of sherry vinegar … let it go 10 seconds; add “some” heavy cream (~ scant 1/4 cup) … boil for 30-45 seconds; drop heat to medium and whisk in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and the accumulated juices from the steak resting plate until incorporated… back up to med-high and let it go about another 30 seconds or so; turn off heat and mount with a tablespoon of butter and BAZINGA! … a really nice red wine/green peppercorn pan sauce.

Then there’s the potato…

I’ve chased after my wife for years (get your mind out of the gutter) trying to document her recipe for these awesome double stuffed feta potatoes … all to no great effect.

The ingredients are simple (1/2 an Idaho pot per serving, chopped chives, white cheddar, crumbled feta and cream (and/or half & half)) … the problem is that the amounts of all these ingredients seems to be different each time out — requiring some sort of Zen eyeball algorithm, innate humidity sensitivity, and volumetric potato assessment to dial up the right proportions and ultimate goodness. Want to double the number of servings? Well, the new “right” mixture will NOT be a linear extrapolation.

It’s weird science…

…that — in the hands of my lovely bride — tastes oh, so good. She brought all her Zen potato skills to bear last night and knocked it out of the park!

Just another Friday night with fun standards music, ample boozage and simple but great food… we got dinner on the table right on time — 9:30pm. Hey, you start your oven for a baked potato at 7pm , drink scotch for an hour while the potato cooks off and see where you end up!

 

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