Thursday, February 19, 2009

Friday Nights IN: Steak House at Your House

Friday Nights IN is a regular feature at GWU$20 that's intended to trim a few dollars from your entertaining budget by replacing a meal out with a meal in. Some suggestions are dinners for four, six, eight, or even ten. Some are for romantic dinners for two. And some suggestions are perfect for when you need time to yourself!

There is no meal idea greeted more warmly in my house than "Steak House at Our House." For a fraction of the cost involved in going out to a nice steakhouse, you can have a splendid feast at home. And of course nothing goes as well with steak as a juicy, red wine.

The Recipe: this is less a recipe than a list of shopping suggestions, which you should scale according to how many people will be joining you for dinner.

Steak--about 6 oz per person. We prefer New York cuts or rib eyes, but whatever you like to eat is of course fine. Grilled, broiled, or pan-fried, the steak will make the most carnivorous guests happy.

Potatoes--we either eat a baked potato, done properly, in the oven with sour cream and chives, or I heat up some frozen Alexia Sweet Potato Fries. It is a draw in our house which is better, although at the moment the verdict is tipping towards the fries.

Sides--this is really up to you but some of the sides we enjoy are sliced tomatoes and red onions sprinkled with some balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper; grilled asparagus; sauteed mushrooms; and green beans. Plan on at least one side, but two side dishes never seems to cause complaint.

Salad--if ever there was a moment for iceberg lettuce, this is it. Serve wedges of iceberg lettuce and an appropriately 1970s salad dressing like Thousand Island, Blue Cheese, or Green Goddess. If you must be trendy, go with a simple toss of baby arugula with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. And if you really have to do it, Caesar Salad will also work but I think it's a bit much with everything else in this dinner.

The Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic choice here, but it can be difficult to find a truly affordable Cabernet that is drinkable straight out of the bottle without any aging or fooling around with decanters. Instead, try a Cabernet Sauvignon blend like the 2006 Wolf Blass Shiraz-Cabernet (sample; available for $8-$14). When you blend some Syrah (43%) into the Cabernet (57%), you get a very good QPR wine that is lush and bright straight out of the bottle. This blend is distinctive for its pronounced aromas of eucalyptus, mint, and red fruits. The flavors are in the bright, red category (pomegranate and cranberry), accompanied by some chalky mineral notes. There is a freshly mint and herbal aftertaste.

The wine will be perfect with the rich, full-bodied meat and the variety of side dishes that you prepare to go with it. Enjoy!


Jill said...

We are doing steak house at my house tonight!

dirty said...

This is one of the restaurant meals that always confuses me. It is so easily duplicated (and enjoyed) at home.

Now I need to pick up some steaks!!!

Benito said...

Great menu--the wedge salad in particular doesn't get enough respect, and executed properly it's a great cross between comfort food and sophisticated dining.

Jeff said...

The Wolf Blass blend is one of my favorite Shiraz blends.I love the spicy taste.. Recently had it at a party..Should enter a tasting note on Bottlenotes..

Kerry a.k.a- Money Saving Mama said...

Have to agree...the Wolf Blass Red Label (Shiraz Cab)or Yellow Label (Cab Sauv) are my two personal favorites... great with some nice filet mignon and montreal streak spice! ;)