The Blizzard of 2015 is over, leaving us under about two feet of fluffy, light snow. A snowstorm is a particularly comforting time to cook; the whole house feels warmer, the weather held at bay by the aura of a lovingly prepared meal or baked sweet treat. So, while it snowed into the night, we ate a steakhouse-inspired dinner.
A generous relative sent us a holiday gift of filet mignon steaks. I broiled them, and topped them with a port wine reduction from America’s Test Kitchen. However, instead of dried cherries, I used frozen wild blueberries, and cut the balsamic vinegar in half. The port reduction filled the kitchen with warm, fruity, syrupy aromas as it reduced, combining with the smell of the broiling steaks to give us an intoxicating preview to our meal. Sadly, I forgot to mount the sauce with the butter at the end; it was still rich with winy, berry flavor, so if you are inclined to leave the butter out, you can. But butter does make everything better, so next time I will have to remember the butter.
Along with our steaks, we enjoyed tangy buttermilk parsley mashed potatoes, and because The Husband does not like bleu cheese, I substituted gorgonzola and made a faux bleu cheese dressing for our crisp, refreshing romaine salad.
Blueberry Port Reduction Sauce (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)
1 1/2 cups port
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries
3 tablespoons minced shallot
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Combine first five ingredients in a medium saucepan; heat over medium-low heat until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Remove from heat; remove thyme sprigs, and swirl in butter until melted and combined. Salt to taste.
In the morning, as promised, after the driveway, stairs, and walkway were cleared, we savored wild blueberry pancakes and bacon, and lots of hot coffee, for our snow-day breakfast. The Husband gallantly does all the snow-clearing, and while he battled the white, fluffy, cold stuff, I once again filled the kitchen, with the singular aromas of a pancake breakfast; sugary, browning cakes and smoky, fatty, frying bacon. It’s said we eat with our eyes first, but if we cook, I think the meal begins with the smell of oil or butter hitting a hot pan, and the addition of aromatic, browning foods, promising deep, satisfying flavors to come.
Turns out, January 28 was National Blueberry Pancake Day, so there’s that. We’re only halfway through winter, according to the calendar, but that’s all right. I have a lot of blueberries left. Let it snow.