French Bistro Classic Pepper Steak


2 tbsp black peppercorns
2 fillet or sirloin steaks, about 8 oz each
l tbsp butter
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp brandy
2/3 cup whipping cream
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
salt to taste


  1. Place the peppercorns in a sturdy polythene bag. Crush with a rolling pin until medium-coarse or, using the flat base of a small heavy saucepan, press down on the peppercorns, rocking the pan to crush them.
  2. Put the steaks on a board and trim away any extra fat. Press the pepper on to both sides of the meat, coating it completely.
  3. Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook for 6-7 minutes, turning once, until done as preferred (medium-rare meat will still be slightly soft when pressed, medium will be springy and well-done firm). Transfer the steaks to a warmed platter or plates and cover to keep warm.
  4. Pour in the brandy to deglaze the pan. Allow to boil until reduced by half, scraping the base of the pan, then add the cream and garlic. Boil gently over a medium heat for about 4 minutes until the cream has reduced by one-third.
  5. Stir any accumulated juices from the meat into the sauce, taste and add salt, if necessary, then serve the steaks with the sauce.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Taste of France


Shrimp with Garlic Butter


2 tbsp olive oil
20 raw jumbo shrimp
sea salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
juice of 1/2 lemon
5 tbsp dry white wine 2 tbsp butter, diced


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottom skillet, Add the shrimp, season to taste with sea salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over, add the garlic and parsley, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the shrimp have changed color.
  2. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring constantly, until it has almost evaporated.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a serving dish and keep warm.
  4. Pour the wine into the pan, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by about half.
  5. Whisk in the butter, a piece at a time until the sauce has thickened. Pour some of the sauce over the shrimp and set aside the rest for dipping. Serve at once with the extra sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Garlic

Chinese-style Lemon Chicken of Chef Lee Lum


4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
3 egg whites, beaten until frothy
1 cup water-chestnut flour or powder (available at Chinese grocery stores)
peanut or vegetable oil for frying
3 small carrots, cut in julienne strips
1/2 large green bell pepper, cut in julienne strips
3 scallions, trimmed, cut in julienne strips
3 rings canned pineapple, drained and shredded
1 oz lemon extract
rice or head iceberg lettuce, finely shredded to serve


2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon gin or vodka


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
grated zest and juice from 1 large lemon


  1. Place chicken in a shallow dish. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over chicken. Toss to coat, and let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain chicken and discard marinade. Add chicken pieces to beaten egg whites, and toss to coat. Pour water-chestnut flour on a plate and dredge chicken in flour.
  3. Preheat oven to 200ºF.
  4. Pour peanut oil in skillet one-half inch in depth, and heat to 350ºF. Add chicken in batches. Brown one side, turn and brown other. Drain.
  5. To make the sauce, combine sauce ingredients in pan. Bring to a boil. Stir until thickened.
  6. Cut chicken into one-inch crosswise slices, and place on top of rice or lettuce on a serving platter. If necessary, keep it warm in oven.
  7. Add vegetables and fruit to sauce. Remove from heat and stir in lemon extract. Pour over chicken and serve.

Source: The New York Times

Layer Dessert with Mango and Two Sauces


13 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1-2/3 cups whipping cream
9 Tbsp Kahlua chocolate liqueur
4 mangos, peeled and cut from seed
juice of 2 oranges
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash ground cloves
cocoa powder


  1. Melt 8 oz chocolate. Beat until shiny. Spread 1/8-inch thick on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Chill 2 hours.
  2. Combine 2-1/2 oz chocolate and 2/3 cup cream, heat to boil.
  3. Add 4 Tbsp Kahlua, chill 1 hour.
  4. In blender, puree flesh from 2 mangos with orange juice, sugar and 1 Tbsp Kahlua. Strain and chill.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup cream, 2-1/2 oz chocolate, cinnamon and cloves. Heat to boiling. Chill 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in 1/2 cup cream and 4 Tbsp Kahlua.
  7. Thinly slice remaining mangos.
  8. Cut 8 3-inch rounds from chilled chocolate.
  9. Whip first cream mixture until thick. Pipe through pastry bag equally onto 4 chocolate rounds.
  10. Arrange mango slices on top. Top with remaining rounds. Pour mango and chocolate sauces onto 4 plates. Set desserts over sauces. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Chef Patricia Quintana

Braised Lamb Shanks of Chef Tom Valenti


6 lamb foreshanks (foreshanks are meatier than hindshanks)
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil
2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 large Spanish onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup tomato paste
5 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
3 anchovy fillets
1 whole head garlic, cut in half
2 cups red wine
1 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups veal broth or 1 cup demi-glace (see Note)
2 cups chicken broth


  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºC.
  2. Season the lamb shanks liberally with salt and pepper. With a sharp knife, cut about 1 inch from the bottom (narrow end) of the shank bones and all the way around; this will help expose the bone while cooking. Set aside.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a 2- to 3- quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the pot, and cook until very soft, 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, anchovies, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook another minute or so, being careful not to burn the tomato paste.
  5. Add the red and white wine, vinegar, and sugar. Stir well. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Add the veal and chicken broths (or demiglace). Adjust heat so the sauce simmers gently while you brown the shanks.
  7. In a saute pan, over medium heat, heat just enough of the remaining 1/2 cup of oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Brown the shanks well on all sides, about 1 minute for each of the three sides. Use tongs to handle them.
  8. Transfer the shanks to a roasting pan and pour the stock mixture on top. Cover with aluminum foil and cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
  9. Remove the foil and cook for another 3 hours, turning the shanks over every half hour until the meat is very soft.
  10. Remove the shanks from the braising liquid and strain the liquid. Skim any fat that rises to the surface and use the liquid as a sauce.

Note: Demi-glace is veal stock that has been reduced by half. High-quality prepared version, often frozen, are available at specialty food stores.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: New York City Food