Playing With Food: Steak Sambuca I

Steak SambucaWhile Mr. Cheese and I are still on our ‘let’s eat less carby stuff’ kick, I am finding it difficult to come up with dinners that aren’t just the same old hat, like chicken (“we had that 2 days ago!”)  or lean turkey burgers .  Granted, I can cook well and have tapped pretty deeply into the creative chunk of my brain, but you can only come up with so many different ways to make chicken.  Actually, I think there are millions of ways to make the stuff but that doesn’t help my story here, does it?

On Sunday I wrote out the weekly menu as I normally do, although we rarely follow it.  The menu is more like a roadmap in case we come home from a long day of work and are completely unable to form nouns, yet alone figure out what we want to stuff our faces with.  So I wrote on Sunday’s list that we would have steaks one night and at the store that day, we picked up some pretty fat New York strip steaks.  I have read recipes where folks coat steaks in coffee prior to cooking and I immediately thought of Sambuca.  That rich, sweet, anise or licorice flavored liquor from Italy that is probably strong enough fuel to get your car down the road in a pinch.  Yeah, that Sambuca.  


credit WineChateau

Putting a twist on the old Steak Au Poivre, we would cook it almost the same way, but with a different coating and a different flavor.  It worked and was unlike any other flavors I have had together.  Initially, the sauce was very sweet but upon taking the first bite of my steak, it all made sense.  During dinner, Mr. Cheese and I tossed ideas around to cut the sweetness a touch with something hot and spicy, bitter or tangy.  “Chipotle peppers!”  “Onions!”  “Balsamic Vinegar!”  It’s fun to play with food.  TV shows and guidelines will teach you the basic techniques on how to properly cook an item, but the possibilities are endless when you let your imagination run wild and start throwing ingredients together that you think won’t make any sense and then one day, you sit down to feed yourself the best meal you’ve ever made.  Stay tuned for Steak Sambuca II and by all means, if you have any suggestions as to how to spice it up a bit, we’re all ears. 

Steak Sambuca

  • 2 each 10-12 ounce New York strip steaks
  • 1 Tablespoon ground coffee (we used Eight O’Clock original ground)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butterheating up
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 ounce Sambuca liquor
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

How to Make It!

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  While heating, rub the steaks down with butter and sprinkle with salt and coat lightly in coffee grounds.  Once the pan is hot, add the steaks and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until each side is seared.  Turn the heat to medium and finish cooking until almost to preferred doneness.  Remove the steaks and set them aside.  Remove excess grease from the pan, then add the Sambuca.  Stand back and watch the eyebrows and such, while you light the liquor to burn off the alcohol.  The flames went pretty high when we did this, so use caution and do not light it right on the stove if you have an overhead cupboard right above it. 

Once the alcohol burns off, add the heavy cream slowly and stir to combine.  Allow to bubble slowly for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat and return the steaks to the pan.  Cook the steaks for another couple of minutes, until desired doneness is reached.  Yields 2 servings. 


About tossingtheswissaround

I have been obsessed with food since I can remember. I grew up watching the Frugal Gourmet and Julia Childs in black and white repeats on TV. I made an elementary version of veal parmesan when I was all of 8 years old and even concocted a homemade version of vomit to drizzle along the hallway and oh-so-carefully in the bathroom so I could get of school whenever I wanted. Dad never caught on but I eventually came clean about that vomit recipe. About two years ago. My skills have greatly improved and my obsession has only deepened as the years go by. In the mornings, I ask my co-workers what’s for lunch, what they ate last night and what is on the menu tonight. I groan when I eat almost anything I like because I can barely contain my excitement. Because, well, because it’s food! I was technically trained and once worked as a formal chef but physically that takes its toll so I joined the much less strenuous, albeit entertaining, world of HR. Food is still at the forefront of my mind as I continue to cook and love all things food. Enjoy!
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