bettunya at the stoveTonight on the menu (Edith Piaf is on the iPod) is steak with béarnaise sauce (one of my favorite sauces — sort of like hollandaise but with bite) and potatoes sauteed in butter. I’m using Julia Child’s “master recipe” for the taters and her recipe for the steak, too. Both from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” I’m sort of scared. I bought nice steaks and don’t want to ruin them!

This is exciting. I’ve hit a stopping point. The potatoes smell wonderful, though I didn’t use fingerlings as Julia requests. I just cut Yukon Golds into thick slices and they seem ok so far, but I can tell you I am annoyed with myself as this whole project is to be as close to the original as possible. I am just letting it go. Right. Letting it go.

But my bearnaise reduction is simmering away — sherry vinegar, white wine, salt, pepper, minced shallot and tarragon. And the pommes de terres await a final hard sautée before serving. Oh no, ok. My reduction just tipped over but nothing spilled. The pan has a jacked bottom.

bearnaise disasterDisaster has struck. I thought I was following the recipe for my sauce to the letter, but no, unfortunately, didn’t thoroughly read the recipe referred by Julia to the hollandaise sauce which says to cook the combined reduction and beaten egg yolks “over hot water.” my sauce looked like scrambled eggs before I could yell “Secours!”

Mark pitched them after tasting and said it was the “most delicious thing he’d ever thrown in the trash.” Delicious, yes, but NOT béarnaise sauce.

So, I persevered and achieved victoire! Luckily, I had enough butter, taragon, shallots, vinegar and wine to re-do. But the magic of the double boiler created the perfect milieu for heating the ingredients slowly enough. Mon Dieu, the sauce tasted amazing. Julia was a genius.

nice bearnaiseMark took care of the steaks, carefully following Julia’s master recipe. I was involved in my second round of sauce. And Wolfie got crazy because of the meat scented air.

The potatoes tasted incredible. Especially doused in bearnaise. It’s the tarragon, I think. There is this bite to it, but it’s softened by the butter. It’s like a drug.

I’ll see you all in a few days. I’m going to New York to visit Jess and Janet. They’ve promised to take me to a French restaurant and if it isn’t too embarrassing, I’ll snap a few pictures. And I’ll add the pix I couldn’t get to tonight later…I’ve got a 6:30am flight tomorrow. A bientôt!

beautiful steak

Photo of Bettunya by Mark Palmer. All others by Bettunya