Steak Flambe and Ubuntu Day!

Ubuntu release day went well for us. I didn't hear anyone screaming that their computers took over the world so I decided that I should make something a little fancy for dinner.

Steak and chicken is usually called for on Ubuntu Release Day, grilled to perfection over charcoal. Yesterday we were not so lucky, we had scattered rain showers so the charcoal grill was out. Instead, I took the steak and chicken and marinated them in Worcestershire sauce. I also had a generously large sweet potato and rice to work with. I like to bake my sweet potatoes whole with the skin on. I don't baste it, I just poke some holes in them and put them on the rack in the oven. Now doing this, the sweet potato will drip and create a smokey scent that will fill up the kitchen, but I like this too because halfway through cooking the sweet potato, I'll put in the chicken. The unpleasant side effect of having to clean the oven can be prevented with a pan underneath the sweet potato. Not as much smoke, but not as much effort the next day.  

When the sweet potato and the chicken is done, it's time for the steak. This goes fast.  I get cheap steak. I make no bones about the fact that I don't have any money for good beef. This does not mean I cannot have something interesting and delicious! I choose thick steaks and everyone gets 4 oz each. See me there in the picture? Yeah, I love this picture of me. My husband Che Dean takes great pictures! And I love doing this. Flambe steak with no alcohol. Yep, no alcohol.  It works because I have a gas stove, stainless steel pans, and thick metal that the pan sits on. It doesn't always work, but when it does WOW does it have a fabulous taste. 


1. I Marinate the steak. I use worchestershire, but anything will do, a bit of vinegar, a bit of wine, a bit of barbeque sauce and water. Since I freeze meat, I usually marinate it as long as it takes to thaw.  

2. When it is thawed and ready to cook, I create a thin layer of oil in a stainless steel pan that can take high temps. I like peanut oil. Olive oil is not great for this. Vegetable oil works too. I have a gas oven and I put it on about medium. I wait until the oil is shimmering. Just before the oil starts to smoke, I lay the steak whole in the pan and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Turn it over and another 2 minutes in the very hot pan.   2 minutes is my time based on how thick the steak is. What I really need is a good crust on both sides of the steak. Its important also that I get a good char going on at the bottom of the pan. No scraping the bottom, I just leave it alone. Most of the oil is usually gone by now. 

3. I turn off the gas, whip the steak out of the pan onto the cutting board and I cut it into slices. Then I get the pan back onto the heat and have the bottle of balsamic vinegar sitting nearby. I try to do this process as smoothly and quickly as possible. I don't want the pan to cool off too much. 

4. Individual portions of steak go back into the pan. Just a few seconds to let that steak sizzle and then start moving that pan. Scrape it along the metal to create sparks. Toss a bit of balsamic vinegar into the pan over the serving of steak. This should result in the steak screaming for mercy, but no mercy is shown. Now is the moment I have to "catch" some of those sparks that I create in the pan. This should ignite the char in the pan and cause a momentary flame out, or flambe. The steak slices take on a crispy look and it's done. Slide it onto the plate and do the next portion.  This time I was successful with the first portion, not so much with the next, but a few moments in the pan and the second portion came out great. 

Now, a portion of sweet potato in it's birthday suit on one side, a spoonful of rice with a sprinkle of soy sauce on the other and... BAM. 

You're welcome. The crispy skinned chicken comes later, as a snack!