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Discover Your Inner Chef with these Recipes!

steak sauce

With more time at home, many people are communing with their inner gourmand by preparing delicious, adventurous meals.

Besides being rewarding and budget-friendly, cooking also can turn up the romance. Cooking together can be a lot of fun, offers a nice way to reconnect, and gives you the chance to impress each other with your culinary skills.

Whether you’re cooking for yourself, a spouse or partner, or a family, here are three meals that will showcase your kitchen abilities.

Roasted salmon with Pernod sauce

Ingredients:

• 4 small red-skinned potatoes (about 1/2 pound), scrubbed and quartered
• 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick-size pieces
• 1/3 cup of frozen pearl onions
• 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
• 1 small garlic clove, minced
• 1/4 cup of dry white wine
• 1/4 cup of clam juice or chicken broth
• 2 tablespoons of Pernod Ricard, Pastis 51, Ouzo, or another anise-flavored liqueur
• 2 (6 ounce) salmon fillets, skin removed
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
• 2 teaspoons of snipped fresh parsley and 1 teaspoon of crushed dried tarragon
• 1/4 cup of heavy cream
• Fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:

• Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
• Put the potatoes in a medium-size saucepan with enough lightly salted water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil, and then cook at an active simmer for 10 minutes. Add the carrot and onions and cook until all of the vegetables are just tender, about five minutes more. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
• Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the white wine, clam juice, and two tablespoons of the Pernod. Bring to a boil and boil until the mixture is reduced to about two tablespoons, about seven minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
• While the vegetables are cooking and the sauce is reducing, measure the thickness of the salmon and season with salt and pepper. Combine the olive oil, the remaining one teaspoon Pernod and the parsley-tarragon combo; rub the mixture all over the salmon. Place in a shallow baking dish, tucking under any thin edges, so the fillets are as uniform in thickness as possible. Roast until the fish flakes easily but is still glistening in the center, four to six minutes per half-inch of thickness.
• When the fish is just about done, re-heat the sauce. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables. Cook, gently tossing, until the vegetables are warm.
• Spoon the vegetables and sauce into two warmed shallow bowls, arranging the vegetables toward the rim. Place the salmon in the center of the bowl. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Steak with brandy and mustard sauce

Ingredients:

• 2 (6 ounce) top loin or tenderloin steaks (1-inch thick)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
• 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
• 1/2 cup of low-sodium beef broth
• 1/2 cup of brandy
• 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons of snipped fresh parsley

Directions:

• Season both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook, turning as needed, to the desired doneness (10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare); reduce the heat as necessary if the meat browns too quickly. Transfer the steaks to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
• Add the shallot to the skillet and sauté briefly, until translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and add the broth and the brandy, taking care not to let the liquid spatter. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil until the liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup; this should take two to three minutes, depending on the heat and your pan size. Whisk in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk in the remaining one tablespoon butter. Season the sauce with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
• Arrange the steaks on two dinner plates, spoon the sauce over the steaks, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.

Mustard sea scallops with tarragon

Ingredients:

• 8 large sea scallops (about 1 to 1/2 pounds)
• 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon of sugar
• 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice
• 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup of thinly sliced fennel
• 1 small garlic clove, minced
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 teaspoon of snipped fresh tarragon leaves

Directions:

• Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and set aside. Stir the mustard and sugar into the orange juice and set aside.
• In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the fennel and cook, stirring until slightly softened, about four minutes. Move the fennel to the sides of the skillet.
• Place the scallops in the center of the skillet and cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about three minutes. After turning the scallops, add the garlic to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper.
• Add the orange juice mixture and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the scallops are opaque and the sauce has reduced, about five minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the tarragon, and turn the scallops over in the sauce. Divide the scallops on two dinner plates, spoon on any sauce left in the pan and serve immediately.