It ain't pretty, but... (Cook the Book Fridays: Steak with Mustard Butter and Fries)

Sometimes, appearances don't matter.

However, when you are in the 8th grade and sporting very bad 80's style tinted glasses, braces and a bastardized version of a Mary Lou Retton haircut, it totally matters.

8th graders are not kind.

I was fortunate enough that my teens were well-before the digital age - making it easier to control the photographic evidence. Unfortunately, I don't have enough control to make it all disappear.

People always wonder why I don't like having my picture taken - one glimpse of those pubescent pics and I am pretty sure the Universe would stop challenging me.

Fortunately, steaks are not subjected to the horror of 8th grade and pass off their less than aesthetic appeal as part of their charm. Even in today's Instagram-able world, steak gets a bye...

David's Steak with Mustard Butter and French Fry recipe begins with rubbing down a couple of rib-eyes with salt and chipotle powder. Eight ounce steaks were suggested - the smallest available were 16 ounces. No one was complaining.

While the steaks rested, thinly cut potatoes soaked in cold salted water to remove some of the starch and a compound butter (with mustard and mustard powder) was mixed and left to chill in the fridge. Since all the prep work was done ahead of time, I had ample time to clean up my mess before it was time to start cooking the meal.

The potatoes were dried, drizzled with oil, scattered with salt and herbs and placed in a hot oven to "fry" up. The steak received a short cook in a very hot cast iron skillet and was finished off with the mustard butter.

Since we had spent the day moving Culinary Kid into her new apartment, the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a restaurant for an hour. I was relieved at how easily this meal came together and appreciated having a restaurant quality meal without having to wait for service. There is something to be said for splitting a great meal for two and a bottle of wine in the comfort of your own home.

It may not have been the prettiest meal that I have ever made, but it certainly ranked up there as one of the most satisfying.

Suggested wine pairing: The Chook's 2013 Shiraz Viognier.

This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays - an online cooking group that is currently making its way through David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen. We are in the first month of cooking our way through this book, so there is plenty of time to pick up a copy and start cooking along...


  1. Its' definitely hard to make steak look good but when it tastes like this, who cares? Happy Friday!

  2. I agree that the meal (mine include) did not look exquisite but tlike you say..the flavour was incredible and this has become a favourite! And yes, a meal for two in your home is just lovely xxxxx

  3. I'm with ya, steak rarely looks photogenic. But it was easy and tasty, so it's forgiven.

  4. I'm with ya, steak is rarely photogenic. But it sure was tasty, so it's forgiven:-)

  5. I love when I can enjoy a restaurant quality meal in the comfort of my own home (and take credit for the cooking!) hope you are feeling better. Happy Friday, ma amie!

  6. I agree that this was a restaurant quality meal - and I often would rather be at home (with that nice bottle of wine - maybe nicer than what I'd be willing to pay restaurant-prices for too!). It really was a super easy meal - though I made Dorie's Cauliflower-Bacon gratin to go with it. So happy to be back cooking together, Cher!

  7. Haha, Cher, that's so true about steak being kind of ugly. Sometimes, with any food, I shake my head at the whole take-a-pic-of-your-food thing as being kind of weird and gross (even as I do that exact thing). Ah, well, with this I can imagine yours tasted great, especially since that mustard butter is so awesome. Cher, to your photo thing, someone recently posted on Facebook some photos of my friends in 7th grade with the stacked, hairsprayed bangs. It was hilarious (since I wasn't in the photo) and yet another reason for you to stay off the thing. :)

  8. It looks pretty good to me Cher. Wow, Culinary Kid in her own apartment - time flies!

  9. There is so much good (and, new) information in the Post, Cher. First, a 16 oz. rib-eye. You Go, Girl. I also thought this all was amazingly easy for such a great result. I think we may find the same in many of David's recipe. (BTW, he and I are not on a first-name basis.) When I sat down to dinner, my kitchen was also neat and tidy. It's the hour with the potatoes. Glad Culinary Kid has her own digs. How many more moves will you and Joe have to make in a Lifetime. 20, so far, forme, not counting winter rentals. Melissa obviously feels the same way about sitting for an hour in a restaurant, waiting for a meal. IMO, a home-cooked meal (especially with your Honey) beats restaurants any day. Never heard of Chook's.

  10. Cher, Just blame it on the lighting when picture taking! BTW the nearly all white raw salad of David's is a pain to photograph too, at night. And have any of the FFwD gang seen a picture of moi? Nope, I do not think so! Your CK settled into her own digs, a great milestone! I have one too, became grandma for the third time, my first grandson on 2nd of Feb! My hubby enjoys my home cooking too, anything I put in front of him beats eating out.

  11. Damn, I forget the wine. Jim and I split a smaller steak since we are not big steak eaters, but with the fries it was more than enough. Yours
    looks scrumptious. I see you two are empty nesters again, hope
    you are both enjoying it.

  12. Now this would have been a Bill approved meal! I need to dust off my cookbook and give this a try. Gosh, I'm with you on those horrible middle school photos! Blech.

  13. I think a 16 oz steak sounds perfect - 4 oz was a huge error in judgement on my part! The fries were fantastic, too, and I could share them with Kevin, so I made a whole half batch.

    (I have a Dorothy Hamill haircut photo from elementary school - I still don't know how my mother managed to get my wavy hair to co-operate. Pre-digital school days were a blessing!)

  14. I agree that this has all the value and taste of a high end restaurant with little of the wait! We had this with a Sonoma cab. So delish!

  15. I haven't seen the photo you're describing but I'm laughing at the vivid description I now have in my head! I have the same photo I'm sure!
    This dish was so satisfying and I think your photo does it justice, looks great!

  16. Cher,I loved your comment about having time to clean up before cooking- I am always doing that and delaying dinner!! I think your presentation is nice- but it was very flavorful- wasn't it!

  17. How wonderful for Culinary kid! One of those milestone moments that you will always remember!
    I truly appreciated the easy prep and cleanup of this recipe. We also felt like we were eating a restaurant worthy meal in the comfort of our own home! We were minus the bottle of wine too, time!
    And I think your steak looks perfect!
    Thanks for all you support, Cher! It has touched me, more than you know!

  18. I also appreciated the ease of making this. Delicious and quick-and-easy is always a great combination! I couldn't find 8 oz steaks either. We also didn't complain.


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