09 February 2015

Sunday dinner, and a new car

Yesterday we decided to make Julia Child's version of the old restaurant classic called Steak Diane. I had just happened to buy some thin-sliced steaks (rumsteak in French) at the supermarket the other day and it seemed like a good use for them. In Julia's version, the steak is cut or pounded out to a thickness of just ¼" (6 to 7 mm) and then cooked very quickly in a pan in clarified butter. Then, while the pan-seared steaks rest, you make the Diane sauce in the pan.

First, season the steak by splashing on a few drops of soy sauce and a teaspoonful of olive or other vegetable oil on both sides and rubbing it in with your fingers. A grind of black pepper is a good idea that this point too. Once the steak is lightly cooked on each side, take it out of the pan and keep it warm.

Melt some butter (I didn't bother with clarified butter) in the hot pan and toss in a finely chopped shallot or small onion (or a chopped clove of garlic, why not?). Let it sizzle a little and then add a few ounces of beef broth to the pan and stir in a good spoonful of Dijon mustard. Optionally, enhance the sauce with a couple of tablespoons of whiskey or cognac. Add more broth as you see fit. When the sauce is bubbling away — the mustard will thicken it slightly — slide the steaks into the pan and turn them over in the sauce. They are ready to serve — no need to overcook them.

On the Internet, I found a lot of recipes for Steak Diane, in French as well as in English. Most of them seemed to call for a cream sauce. I think Julia Child's version with a mustard-based sauce is more interesting and probably more flavorful. To make the steaks into a full Sunday dinner, I made a bowl of mashed potatoes (with butter and milk) and a side dish of peas and carrots (fresh carrots but frozen peas) to go with them. If that's not Sunday dinner, I don't know what is.

Today is the day I'm supposed to go over and pick up the "new-to-me" car I bought last week. I had the money wired over from my credit union in the States last week, and I'm ready. Last week, after I gave him a down-payment on Tuesday, the dealer set about prepping the car, including changing the timing belt (a major job) and putting on new tires and wiper blades, as well as detailing (thoroughly cleaning) the vehicle inside and out.

Okay, I've been coy about posting a photo of the Citroën CF in question. There it is. I took the photo early last Tuesday morning. The car was covered in frost. I'm still not sure what the color is going to look like without frost and in bright sunshine. On Friday I went to my insurance agent's office in Saint-Aignan to get coverage, and as I stepped out of the office, what did I see but exactly the same car, the same color, passing slowly by. I thought it looked pretty good.


  1. "If that's not Sunday dinner, I don't know what is".....
    two of these each...
    and a lot more of that creamy looking mash...
    with a bigger well in the middle!!

    That looks droooly scrumptious!

  2. Dinner is great. And what about taking me for a short drive?

  3. Mashed Excellency potatoes made using the moulin à légumes / food mill. No cream this time. Walt and I don't think we've ever made Steak Diane before.

    Oops. I forgot one ingredient in the sauce — about two tablespoons of Kentucky Bourbon! I'll revise the post...

    1. Excellency potatoes are Dutch...
      recommended for Home Fries...
      a second early with high dry matter and quite floury...
      just what is needed for mash, roasties and chips [British]...
      with very shallow eyes and thin skinned...
      so no need to peel for chips.#

      From Pomuni:


      The Excellency potato has a delightful taste.

      Use: For boiling and home-made French Fries
      Cooking Type: Very Crumbly
      Tuber Shape: Round oval
      Colour of the Flesh: Light yellow
      Colour of the Peel: Light yellow
      Maturity: Mid early season

      Sounds a good-un!
      As does the bourbon or cognac!

    2. I've been looking at that Pomuni site too.

  4. Steak Diane used to be an Australian pub meal staple. It may well have lost a little in the translation.

  5. the car and colour looks good, but the most good looking is that steak Diane, I have to say that I have got many good food ideas from you. so thanks for that. your blog has to become the first blog I read every morning and enjoy a lot. so thanks Jaana

  6. Ahhhhh, it's fun watching you be all excited about your new-to-you car :) By now, you must have it!

    1. I do have it, and Walt and I both are favorably disposed to the car, its look, and its color. I've driven it for a total of 10 minutes so far. Tomorrow, I might go for a long drive in the country.

    2. If I were asked, I'd say the color is mauve, frosted or not.

  7. car looks good.....we have 3 old cars (2 really old) so one day we might need a new to us car too.....the color of yours looks good....

  8. Hi, Ken. Nice looking car! I'm sure you will get many years of enjoyment out of it. Did you mention before what year it is and how many kilometers it has on it?

  9. A newish car to those of us who keep our cars a long time, is a real joy. Your readers are sharing your pleasure. Oh, glad it was KENTUCKY bourbon that you added to your steak Diane.

  10. Looks like an old fashioned "blue plate special"!

  11. That is a nice-looking car. Road trip coming up?

  12. Congratulations on the new car. It looks great. Much more space than in the Peugeot. Hope it'll give you many years of trouble-free and happy driving. Martine

  13. I always enjoy your posts about cooking and am very partial to all manner of mustards. I may need to try this...And a nice car! I hope you and Walt make many enjoyable trips in it.


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