Tag Archives: fallen chocolate cake

Meals with Family and Friends Part 4 – Pan-Seared Rib Eye Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

One of my favorite meals to eat is just a simple steak dinner. Of all the cuts, I have to say that I think my favorite of all is the rib eye. it has a little more fat than some other cuts, but this does help to give it tremendous flavor and when it is cooked just right it melts when you cut it. Serve it with a nice pan sauce and a couple of good sides and you can have an elegant meal any night of the week. I made some steaks last night when we had a friend visiting and chose to make some nice rib eye steaks I had picked up at. I just followed this simple recipe from Cook’s Illustrated and made a nice pan sauce to go on the side.

Simple Pan-Seared Steaks

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 (8 to 10-ounce) boneless strip steaks or rib eye steaks, 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick

Salt and pepper

1 pan sauce recipe (to follow)

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper.

Lay the steaks in the pan, leaving 1/4 inch between them. Cook, without moving the steaks, until they are well browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the steaks and continue to cook until the meat registers 115  to 120 degrees (for rare) or 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare), about 3 to 7 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a serving platter and tent them loosely with aluminum foil to rest while you prepare the pan sauce, if using.

Very, very simple. My preference is always to cook the steaks to about medium so they are still nice and pink inside. Letting them rest while you make the pan sauce will help them come up to just the right temperature and doneness. This particular sauce I made does require a little preparation beforehand, so you can make the wine reduction earlier before you cook the steaks.

Red Wine Pan Sauce

Wine Reduction:

1 small carrot, peeled and chopped fine (about 2 tablespoons)

1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

2 medium white mushrooms, chopped fine (about 3 tablespoons)

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 cup red wine


1 medium shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup beef broth

3 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Ground black pepper


For the red wine reduction, heat the carrot, shallot, mushrooms, bay leaf, parsley and wine in a large nonstick skillet over low heat; cook, without simmering (the liquid should be steaming but not bubbling) until the entire mixture is reduces to 1 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and return the liquid (about 1/2 cup) to a clean skillet. Continue to cook the liquid over low heat, without simmering, until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. Transfer the reduction to a bowl.

For the sauce, follow the recipe for the Pan-Seared Steaks, transferring the plate with the steaks to a 200 degree oven to keep them warm. To the same skillet used to make the steaks (do not clean the skillet or discard any accumulated fat), add the shallot and cook over low heat until softened, about 1 minute. Turn the heat to high; add the chicken and beef broths. Bring the mixture to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the pan bottom with a wooden spoon until the liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 6 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-low, gently whisk in the reserved wine reduction and any accumulated juices from the plate with the steaks. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until it is melted and the sauce is thickened and glossy; add the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve.

The red wine sauce for the steaks turned out very nice and adds some great flavor to the steaks. Of course, you can always skip the sauce completely and just go with the steaks, but I think it added something quite nice to the meal. I served the steaks with the fall vegetable risotto recipe I posted last week and some pan roasted asparagus and sautéed spinach,  a recipe I will post later this week. For dessert that night, we also had the fallen chocolate cake that we have made before to completely round out the meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for some more recipes. I raided the freezer this weekend and took some things out to make this week, so look for recipes using wild salmon, pizza dough, Italian sausages, boneless chicken breasts and some spare ribs, among others. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Sauce


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Irish Onion Soup and a Couple of Desserts

Yesterday we decided to make our St. Patrick’s Day dinner instead of doing it today. With that in mind I have posted recipes before for corned beef, colcannon, Irish coffee, Shamrock shakes and other recipes that I picked up while we were in Dublin last year. I did make corned beef and cabbage and boiled potatoes yesterday for them to dinner but I also added a few other items to the meal. One that stands out the most was an Irish onion soup that we made. It was pretty simple to make, didn’t take much longer than an hour to assemble and cook and it tasted great. The recipe itself is pretty simple and you could really make this any time of year not just for St. Patrick’s Day.

Irish Onion Soup

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium yellow onions, have lengthwise and sliced into pieces
3 tablespoons Irish whiskey
1 tablespoon granulated it sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dark Irish beer, such as Guinness
6 1/2 cups beef stock or broth
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Day-old baguette, sliced into 3/4- inch slices
Irish cheddar cheese, sliced into 1/4- inch thick slices

in a large skillet set over medium heat melt the butter. Once the butter is melted and the white foam subsides add the sliced onions. Cook using a wooden spoon to stir occasionally, until the onions are soft and gold in about 20 minutes. Add the Irish whiskey. If you have a gas burner, carefully till the pan toward the flame to flambé the onion of whiskey mixture. If you have that electric cooktop, use a long match to flambé the whiskey or you can skip the flambé altogether. Stir in the granulated sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onions turn darker shade of brown, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the pinch of kosher salt, the all-purpose flour, and the finely chopped garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about two minutes. While stirring pour in the Irish beer. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the beer is reduced by 1/3, about five minutes. Add the beef stock, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring the soup to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes.

Adjust an oven rack to the upper middle position and heat the broiler to high. Divide the soup among oven-safe bowls and set them on a rimmed baking sheet. To each bowl add two bread slices. Cover each slice of bread with two pieces of the Irish cheddar. Set the rimmed baking sheet on the upper middle oven rack and broil until the cheese is melted, golden and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

You could certainly use a different type of cheese if you prefer not to go with the Irish cheddar. Personally, I didn’t put any cheese on mine and just had the onion soup itself. The recipe itself makes enough for four servings, but I had a little bit more so we can make it for six people. There were no leftovers it off from what I made.

Michelle made two different cakes for dessert. We actually got the recipes from two different sources. We had seen the recipe for the Fallen Chocolate Cake in the recent Bon Appétit magazine. It sounded really good and it’s basically a flourless cake, so we thought we would give it a try.

Fallen Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup (one stick) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more, room temperature, for the pan
3/4 cup +2 tablespoons sugar, divided, plus more for the pan
10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/2 cup marscarpone
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a springform pan and dust with sugar, tapping out any excess. Combine the chocolate, oil, and half cup of butter in a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of slow simmering water and heat, stirring often, until melted. Remove the bowl from the sauce pan.

Separate 4 eggs, placing the whites and the yolks in separate medium bowls. Add the cocoa powder, the vanilla, salt, 1/4 cup of sugar, and the remaining two eggs to the bowl with the yolks and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Gradually whisk the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture, blending well. Using an electric mixer on high-speed, beat the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually beat in 1/2 cup of sugar; beat until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in 2 additions, folding just until they are incorporated between additions. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake until the top is puffed and starting to crack and the cake is pulling away from the edge of the pan, about 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan. The cake will collapse in the center and crack further as it cools.

For the topping, use an electric mixer on medium high-speed to beat the heavy cream, marscarpone, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Remove the sides of the springform pan from the cake and mound the whipped cream mixture into the center of the cake.

We found that the cake itself seems to taste awful lot like a really good, thick brownie. The cream used on the top was really great it combined with the cake itself. We were little worried as to how this one would turn out, which is why we decided to make a second cake along with it. For the second cake, we opted to make a Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting. I saw a bunch of recipes on the Internet, but opted to go with this one that I saw at The Procrastobaker.  This one is a more traditional cake, besides the addition of the alcohol.

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs

3 sticks butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 to 4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur

Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and remove from the heat and whisk in the Guinness, the vanilla and cocoa powder. While the mixture cools slightly, grease and line 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Whisk together the sugar, flour and baking soda in a large bowl. Pour the Guinness mixture into the flour mixture and then whisk in the two eggs. When the batter is completely smooth, divide the batter between the two cake pans. Place the cake pans in the oven and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the pans to cool.

To make the buttercream frosting, whip together the butter and sugar until very pale, adding in enough Bailey’s for it to be loose and fluffy. To assemble the cake, level off the cake layers if needed using a serrated knife. Spread roughly 1/3 of the buttercream frosting on the bottom layer of the cake. Top with the second cake layer and wiggle it until the line up correctly. If you wish, you can do a crumb coat by using another 1/3 of the buttercream and spreading a thin layer all over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate to set the frosting, for a few hours or overnight if you wish. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, spoon the final one 1/3 of  the frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly all over.

Everyone loves the taste of this cake, although we seem split on which cake everyone seemed to enjoy better. For me personally, I preferred the Guinness cake. I like the taste of the buttercream frosting and the cake itself had an awesome flavor to it. Just my personal preference, as I’m not always a big fan of the brownie and the fallen cake seemed to taste more like that to me. However, if you are looking for a gluten-free alternative, the fallen cake is a pretty good choice.

That’s all I have for today. I hope everyone enjoys their St. Patrick’s Day if you are celebrating and have a good time while staying safe. I’ll be posting some of the recipes this week, including one of fish sticks and sweet potato fries that I made. Check back that this week for other recipes. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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