Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Recipe: Pepper Garlic Sauce for Steak

No one is indifferent to garlic. People either love it or hate it, and most good cooks seem to belong in the first group. –  Faye Levy

Steak and portobello with the most amazing sauce. before this I thought my
favourite steak sauce was Béarnaise. It now has competition.

As I am writing this the winds are quite high outside the house because of Hurricane Sandy, even though the storm is hundreds and hundreds of miles away.

We’re in Halifax and the storm is making landfall on the New Jersey Shore in New York State. My thoughts are with all those people. In September 2003 Halifax was given a direct hit by Juan, a Category 2. It was the worst storm to hit Halifax since 1893. The city was essentially shut down for nearly a week.

This is hard neck garlic. It's larger and more expensive than the
3-packs for 99¢ from China. But it is so worth the extra money.
They’re in for a few rough days, to say the least. And because of the size of Sandy, Halifax will have strong winds for the next three days.

But it’s just the beginning. Fall is absolutely here, and with it the inevitable downturn in temperature and the threat of storms coming up the East Coast. There is nothing we can do about it but hold on.

But there is something we can do about the inevitable colds and flu that accompany the change in season. By taking care of what we eat we can shorten, or even avoid, the ills that others around us fall prey to.

One of the most powerful foods in our arsenal to keep our immune system strong is garlic. It has been used for millennia for its health-protecting properties. This sauce has garlic in it – plenty of garlic.

Are you willing to smell a little worse to feel a little better?

Health properties of garlic

Historically, garlic (Allium sativa) was used by many Mediterranean, Asian and African cultures. The Egyptians were using it when the Giza pyramids were being built, about 5000 years ago.

The benefits of garlic may not have always been know, but must have been suspected. Garlic has been used to treat ailments as diverse as sore throat and to dress wounds. Garlic not only has strong antioxidant properties but is also antibacterial.

Garlic promotes heart health, boosts the immune system and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. But one of garlic's most potent benefits is the ability to support the body's immune cell activity.

I used the full 3 tablespoons called for in the recipe.
For quite some time researchers believed it was the chemical compound allicin acting as a very efficient antioxidant. Allicin is also an antibacterial compound, so it suppresses the ability of germs to grow. Allicin is the compound that gives garlic both its taste and smell.

In studies conducted at Queens University here in Canada, researchers found that when allicin decomposes it reacts instantly with free radicals. Radicals are believed to cause damage to the body, allowing all manner of diseases to take hold.

Their findings are published in the January 2009 issue of the international chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

Garlic has other health benefits as well. It helps regulate cholesterol, helps strengthen the body agains allergies and reduces plaque from artery walls. There are currently 12 published studies supporting garlic's actions on cholesterol.

Besides its wide health benefits, and more to the point of my topic, in a 12-week double-blind study garlic was found to reduce the incidence of the common cold by 50%.

One word of warning. Garlic, and its family member onions, are both toxic to dogs. So resist the urge to feed your furry loved ones scraps of food that have been prepared with either ingredient.

By the way, if you just can’t stand the smell of garlic breath, drink a little lemon juice or suck on a slice. It will help take the odour away.

Oh, and before I forget – this is one heck of a sauce!

Wow. Wait until you make this sauce. It was great on the
mashed potatoes too.
Pepper Garlic Sauce for Steak
Prep: 5 min  |  Cook: 15 min  |  Serves 4
4 servings grilling steak
4 portobello mushroom caps
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp cracked black pepper
2-3 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 beef boullion cube
1 cup whipping cream

Grill or broil the steaks and mushrooms while the sauce is being made. 

Drizzle the gill side of the mushroom caps with 2 tsp of olive oil each. Salt and pepper the steaks. Cook as you normally would either under the broiler or on a BBQ.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a sauté or small frying pan. Add the pepper and chopped garlic and sauté on medium until the garlic is very fragrant.

Add the cream and bouillon cube. Stir and let simmer until reduced to a sauce, about 4 minutes, or until it reaches your desired consistency. Keep warm until the steak and mushrooms are ready.

Do not add salt because there is probably a great deal in the bouillon.

Slice the mushrooms in wide sections and place on the steaks. Drizzle the steaks with the garlic sauce. 

Serve any remaining sauce at the table – or risk being asked if there’s more by your hungry family.


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