Christmas dinner, two days late

I know I haven’t posted in over 3 weeks. I won’t make excuses other than getting caught up in the holiday season (we have a 14′ tree still up in our great room!) and being busy getting a new job that I start next month! Woohoo!!! 2010 is looking good to me so far! I also finished my photo project I call Lensbeer, which I’ll post about soon; I basically took a photo or 20 of every different type of ale or beer I had in my house for one year, starting on December 29, 2008, and ending yesterday.

Old Curmudgeon Ale

I was even delayed in Christmas dinner! My family came over for Christmas brunch or quiche and cinnamon rolls (which I undercooked.. ugh), and they were gone by 3 pm. I was planning on fixing dinner later for my wife and me, but, as we were watching a movie, we realized we didn’t really want any more food, so we did it on Sunday instead. It’s great to have a wife that’s flexible about stuff like that. She’s a great wife in lots of other ways, too.

So Sunday rolled around, and I had a couple Holstein/Friesian New York strip steaks from Oliver Ranch ready, along with the following:

  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 1 cup cream
  • chopped Italian parsley
  • Fire extinguisher on hand

Can you guess what I was making?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Correctamundo!  Steak Diane!

My wife was inspired by Gordon Ramsay’s Cookalong Live show, where Steak Diane was the main course of a meal cooked live with several cooks in studio and across the country.

I have to say that Steak Diane may seem intimidating to try, but it’s really easy.  My one regret was that I pan seared the steaks instead of grilling them, but it was snowing at the time.  I would have liked the fire taste to the steaks, though.

To start, I cut the stringy, tough green part and the roots off a couple of leeks, then halfed the leeks lengthwise and rinsed them well.  The leeks went into a covered pan with olive oil, salt and pepper, and some balsamic vinegar, then into a 350F oven for about 20 minutes.

I also cut up a rutabaga and put it into some salted, boiling water, adding baby carrots after a few minutes.  This took care of the sides.

For the entrée, I put some olive oil in a hot skillet and seared the steaks on both sides, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.  Once they were mostly cooked, I set them aside.

I drained the skillet and added more olive oil and a touch (maybe 1 tbsp) butter, then added the chopped shallots and let them cook down a bit.

Once the shallots were sweated, I added the dijon mustard and worcestershire sauce, along with another tablespoon of butter and heated that, adding the sliced mushrooms after the butter melted, and stirring the mushrooms to sauté them.  Once I felt the mushrooms were done, I added the cognac, tilted the pan, and lit the fire!  The flames go up pretty high, but aren’t too dangerous as long as nothing combustible is above it.  This is the step that required an on-hand fire extinguisher, though, for safety.  Don’t move the pan around too much, as the alcohol will burn out anyway, and moving it too much means you’re waving around a big flame.

good flame

Once the fire is out, add the cream into the sauce, along with a small handful of Italian parsley that’s chopped.

Put the steaks into the sauce, and, if needed, let the steaks cook a bit more, otherwise just keep warm in the sauce.

After the root vegetables are mashable, but not too mushy, drain them and put them back in the pot, adding a couple tbsp of butter and/or cream, and mash them with a hand masher.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and that’s it for the veg mash.

For plating, put some mash on a plate, then lay the steak across the mash a bit, spooning the sauce and mushrooms on top of the steak.  Add a couple leek halves to the side, and pour a glass of a nice Bordeaux, then sit down with your dinner date and enjoy!

This whole thing is really so easy to do… Guys that are reading this, try making this for Valentine’s Day, coming up in just a month and a half or so; your wife/girlfriend will be impressed!

About Curt McAdams

I guess I'm a bit of a foodie, learning to cook from my mom, then getting obsessed with outdoor cooking, competition barbecue, bread baking and just about all things food. Lately, I've been trying to upgrade my photography skills a bit, though I still have a long way to go.


  1. Those steaks look delicious. We’ll have to try them. Not too worried about snow here in south Texas

  2. “Guys that are reading this, try making this for Valentine’s Day, coming up in just a month and a half or so; your wife/girlfriend will be impressed!”

    so true… My wife goes nuts when i flambe!

  3. Great shots, Curt. I have some strip steaks and might make this again this weekend.

    One advantage of buying whole strip loins and ribeyes is that I keep some pieces of the trimmings to create the base for a sauce in a pan while I grill the steaks. Problem is when you don’t remember what scraps you have because SOMEONE forgot to write what they were on the vac seal bag :)

    Question, did you use a two light set up (main to the left and a secondary way above and to the right) or just one light (and maybe a reflector) for the plated shot?

  4. Anne, my uncle is in Dallas, and hey had their first white Christmas since the 1920s! So you never know. :)

    MYOTG, just make sure you flambe the sauce, not yourself!

    Chris, My light setup was that I had the kitchen light on somewhere behind me, and the dining room light kind of somewhere overhead, and I moved around so the shadows weren’t too awful. Really technical, huh? :)

  5. it looks delicious!!especially the sauce…
    Wishing u a very happy new year :)

  6. I tried it today.. it was very yummy. I found that by adding Patan ghee it becomes really testy.

  7. Great looking diane!!! It looks great, can’t wait to snag a couple of steaks and do them up with that lovely sauce!

  8. BNDQ8, Happy New Year to you, too!

    Mike, what did he ghee add that regular butter lacks? I’m curious!

    deana, the recipe really is easy to do; let me know how yours turns out.

  9. That’s heaven on a plate to me!

  10. oneshotbeyond, thanks. And nice looking blog! I like the food entries interspersed.

  11. Steaks look awesome!. Just goes to show you can cook a great steak indoors too

  12. Eric,

    Pan searing is a good way to cook a steak, with all-over charring, but I still prefer the taste on the grill. Next time I do this, I’ll grill the steaks and add the sauce.

  13. Hi Curt,

    These steaks look delicious! It was a shame that it was snowing but summer will be around soon enough with plenty of grilling!

    Happy new year to you and good luck in the new job!

    We look forward to enjoying your posts and photos again this year.

  14. HB,

    The snow doesn’t bother me; I’ll grill, anyway. :) I just tried these more the traditional way, but I don’t mind grilling as long as it’s not raining or the wind isn’t trying to knock me over. For you, though, grilling season is in full swing, isn’t it?

    And thanks, the job is going great!

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