Sunday, February 27, 2011

Have it Your Way

Lately it has been all about me in Thathouse. And I'm telling you, a girl could get used to this. You see, last weekend Thatboy headed out to the store to pick up a movie, and came back with "How to Train Your Dragon." This is a big deal, because normally when Thatboy goes to pick up a movie, it's usually a movie you've never heard of, and 9 times out of 10, it's in another language. Yep, foreign Indie films are his favorite.

I felt pretty lucky to be able to see a movie I wanted to see without having to threaten dismemberment or refusal to cook another meal. I figured it was a one time deal.

Then this morning as we were lazily lying in bed trying to figure out what to do (can you remember the last time you had no plans whatsoever?) when I suggested going to a movie. Usually that would involve Thatboy popping open his computer and checking to see what's playing - naming only movies I've never heard anything about. Which of course, prompts the question: "What's that about?" and the inevitable answer: "I don't know, let me check." He pretty much assumes if he hasn't heard of it, it must be a fantastic movie. So you can imagine my surprise when he told me to check and see what was playing. Which means I got to screen the movie choices before and purposely not tell him the movies who had names I couldn't pronounce. I gave him a list of several options, and he told me to go ahead and pick whatever I wanted to see. I stared at him in disbelief. "You don't even want to rule one or two of them out?" He didn't. And that, my friends, is how we got to see "Cedar Rapids" today. And we spent the entire time bent over in laughter. We both find John C. Reilly hilarious, especially when he's Dr. Steve Brule. And how can you not find a place in your heart for doofy, affable, Ed Helms. He's just got such an "aw shucks" quality about him.

On the way home, we stopped to return "How to Train Your Dragon" and pick up a new movie. And this is where things got suspicious, because Thatboy let me get "Toy Story 3." (Can you tell my taste in movies is a bit different than him?) I cornered him in the car, asking what gives. I thought maybe he had heard I only had a couple days to live, or something similar. Nope. Turns out, he's been feeling bad that it's been all about him with movies for almost the entire last year, and this was my turn to cash in. (I knew going to all those Twilight movies with him would eventually pay off for me.)

Dinner was one of my favorite "company meals" - Steak au poivre. Just say it, it even sounds fancy, which is why it's such a great company meal. But like any great company meal, it is much easier to make than it sounds. Because when you have company over, the last thing you want to do is spend forever in the kitchen worrying about dinner.

There are various recipes for steak au poivre, but they all bear one thing in common - coating the steak with crushed peppercorn. (That's the au poivre part) A lot of recipes use a cream sauce, but I don't think you need it. A simple gravy made with just enough bourbon to deglaze the pan has always been my go-to.

Now to add the finishing touch and really impress your guests, dress up your rice dish. Thatboy grew up with his "fancy rice" as Uncle Ben's wild rice mix. You don't need a mix though to make easy, delicious rice. And in Thathouse, unless it's Thatboy's birthday, we usually stay away from rice mixes. Instead, stir in your own spices. Add some rice and toasted almond, and you'll be amazed at the silence that fills your room as your guests fill their mouths.

Steak au Poivre
4 steaks (filets are the typical cut of choice, but I also like thin guys because they cook so quickly)
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp peppercorns, coarsely crushed (I give 'em a good whack with the meat tenderizer)
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp bourbon

1. Rub the steaks with salt. Sprinkle them with half the peppercorns. Now, remember that meat tenderizer you used to crush the peppercorn? Use it again to pound the pepper into the steak. Flip the steak over and do the same thing on the other side.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet and saute the steaks, 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan.
3. Add the bourbon and 2 Tbsp water to the still hot pan. Cook, scraping the browned bits off the the bottom of the pan. Boil for one minute, and pour over the steaks.

Turkish Pilaf (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup rice
1 1/2 cups onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups chicken broth

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the butter in a skillet and stir in the rice. Cook over low heat a couple minutes till the rice is shiny.
2. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they are soft.
3. Pour the skillet contents into casserole. Add the salt, bay leaf, cinnamon, raisins, and almonds.
4. Heat the chicken broth until it's boiling and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Cover and bake 45 minutes.


  1. Glad that ThatBoy has come over to the dark side with Toy Story:D Steak au Pouvre is a classic that cannot be ignored.

  2. The Turkish pilaf sounds delightful. I will definitely try this recipe! Thanks for sharing :)!

  3. This sounds almost as good as the time you spent together. I really like your recipe. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  4. I wish I had time to see movies. basically, whenever anyone asks me what movies are out, they all sound like Greek to me. But I'm so glad you got to see a few that you wanted. I actually think I did see Toy Story 3. It was pretty cute stuff.