Thursday, October 18, 2007

Peppercorn-rubbed Bison Steaks

A while back my parents were diagnosed with high blood pressure, like many people, and wanted to change to a healthier diet. When I say a while back, I mean about 15 years ago. There wasn't much variety out there at that time. Mom tried to make tofu -- that didn't go so well. They started eating more vegetarian dishes which is good, but sometimes nothing beats a good steak. 15 years later the culinary world has adopted some wonderful alternatives to beef steak which is high in fat and cholesterol. I introduced them to ostrich, which I will get to at some point, but bison is what I'm talking about today.
Bison is lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than beef, pork, and chicken. Additionally, bison is higher in iron and Vitamin B-12. The best part is it just tastes good. Season and cook it like a steak. I bet your friends wouldn't know the difference if you didn't tell them. Our friends might, but we're always trying out new things on them so they're always on the lookout! Because bison is so low in fat, it's going to cook much more quickly so don't toss it on the grill and forget it unless you need your shoes resoled. It's best served rare or medium rare so don't walk away to get another beer and get caught up in the game.
Flavors magazine gave our dinner service to one of their lucky readers and featured the dinner in their spring issue. Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery provided the wines and we paired them with the menu accordingly. The family wanted a healthful menu that wouldn't land them in the gym from a night of overindulgence, but had the taste of a decadent meal. From my past experience, I decided to go with bison and settled on the following entree:

Peppercorn-rubbed Bison Steaks with Blueberry Vinaigrette, Wilted Greens and Wild Rice Cake

Peppercorn-rubbed Bison Steaks
1/4 cup mixed peppercorns
1 tsp garlic powder
kosher salt, to taste
6ea, 8 oz New York strip bison steaks
2 Tbsp butter, or more as needed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grind peppercorns in food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Mix with garlic powder and salt. Rub the mixture onto both sides of bison and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to come to room temperature. Melt butter in saute pan and sear steaks. Finish cooking in oven to desired doneness.

Blueberry Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp butter
1 pt fresh blueberries
1 tsp garlic
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

After rubbing the steaks with the peppercorn mixture, cook the butter, blueberries, garlic, sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat until thick. Season with salt and white pepper and keep warm.

Wild Rice Cake
4 1/2 cups cooked rice, long grain and wild (not instant)
1/3 cup sliced scallions
1/2 cup biscuit mix
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
olive oil, as needed

Mix rice, scallions, biscuit mix, eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat oil in a saute pan (enough to coat the bottom) and spoon the rice cake mixture into the pan to make six pancakes. Cook on each side until golden brown.

Wilted Greens
1 Tbsp butter (or olive oil)
1 large, fresh bunch of greens (such as kale or chard), rinsed and stemmed
kosher salt and white pepper, as needed
1 Tbsp lemon juice

While the bison rests after coming out of the oven, heat butter or olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the greens; season to taste with salt and pepper. Finish with lemon juice. If the greens are on the bitter side, a pinch of sugar will lighten the flavor.

Let the bison rest for a few minutes after removing from the oven. Place a rice cake on each plate. Slice the steaks into 1/4" slices and fan around the front of the rice cakes. Place some greens on the plates next to the rice cake and finish the steak with a spoonful or two of the blueberry vinaigrette. Garnish with some chopped parsley and lemon zest if you have it.

It was a nice plate with a nice mix of colors, flavors and textures. We paired it with the 2003 Columbia Valley Merlot to accent the pepper on the bison and complement the hints of berry in the wine. The next time you have a dinner party, give this combination a nod. If you take it easy on the wine, you won't get a hangover from the food or the beverage!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Grand Opening!

It's been a long process, but the new facility is now open. ADAiRE Chef Services located in Alpharetta, GA celebrated the Grand Opening October 4th. The Castella Room is available for private dining, cocktail receptions, and cooking classes. With hardwood floors, granite counters, travertine floors, Wolf and Subzero appliances, and fireplace Castella is an inviting destination for private gatherings and even intimate dinners for two.

We still offer all of our previous services -- there's just more of us to love! Come by and pay us a visit. Our home is your home.