Preparing dinner can present itself as a challenge with kids bearing opposing tastes, as, you guessed it, what one loves the other tends to hate. Now that the Girl is away at college, (okay, a 45-minute drive from home) her arrival home for the occasional weekend presents itself as a full-blown celebration, which, of course, includes at least one home cooked favorite.
The Boy, cursed with three more years of high school, may curl a lip.
“Steak!” the Girl may inevitably proclaim, when asked what dish she’d like me to pamper her with.
“Steak?” Is the rebuttal coming from the other side of the room. “I don’t like meat,” may come next.
(Please note that “meat” excludes bacon in any format, cheeseburgers, and spaghetti bolognese.)
“With pepper!”, college girl will proceed, now fueled by her little brother’s protest.
“Moooooooom! Too spicy! No mom!” The response immediately bounces back.
I’m the net in the middle of a tennis match between Roger Federer and [insert whomever Roger is beating at the moment.]
“Guys, guys, come on!” I may squeal, though Switzerland is always overheard.
“FISH!” Boy will announce, just to get the mood going. He knows what comes next.
You may not.
So allow me to tell you something:
GIRL HATES FISH.
(Please note that “fish” excludes any type of sushi, especially the super duper expensive sushi rolls with foie gras, black truffles, and Beluga caviar.)
“Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiish?????” she squeals, biting the bait. “I haaaaaate fish! MOOOOM!!!!!”
It always comes down to this: Mom.
Both look at me then and there. It’s match point. Who will win?
Really, boy has a little grin, the kind only moms can see in their children. That little grin speaks volumes. It speaks of a brother just messing with his sister, because perhaps, only perhaps (because I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouths) he missed her a teensy bit. Especially this part. The part where he teases and taunts her and pokes her buttons the way he only knows how.
It’s a quick moment of eye exchanges over at this family Wimbledon match. The girl’s look softens. I watch her and still wonder how this girl, whom I remember walking around with a baguette that was practically her size, is now in college flourishing into a young adult.
“It’s okay, Mom, make something everyone wants,” she manages to say, just barely, but does. Her brother, on cue, joins with “I don’t really care. Steak is just fine.”
I make the steak, because, quite frankly, I am the one in charge. I add the peppercorns, rubbing them well into the meat before searing it in a hot cast iron pan. For good measure I’ll throw in a good old-fashion Cognac cream sauce, because that goes deliriously well with a rare ribeye. Everyone eats it, quietly, which is how you know you’ve won the match.
- 4 ribeye steaks
- coarse sea salt, to taste
- 4 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/4 cup Cognac
- 1/4 cup beef broth
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- Add salt, peppercorns, and garlic salt to ribeye, rubbing in with fingers or a rolling pin.
- In a hot skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium high heat, add oil, making sure the entire pan is coated.
- Add steaks.
- Cook 2 minutes on each side, then 1 to 2 minutes more, depending on how you like your steak. (A one-inch thick steak should not take longer than 5 minutes, if you like it medium-rare.)
- Remove steaks from skillet and allow them to rest.
- Meanwhile, add cognac and stir bits left in the pan. Add broth, stir until reduced by half, approximately 3 minutes.
- Add cream and cook another minute.
- Add juices from the resting meat.
- Cook another minute.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter.
- Add steaks and coat with sauce.
- Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Serves 4.