Steak Au Poivre a la Julia Child

Google’s logo last August 15, 2012 caught my attention while I was browsing through the internet that day. Julia Child would have turned 100 years old last Wednesday! It was very interesting for me because ever since I watched the movie, Julie and Julia, I was more encouraged to pursue cooking and baking. In honor of one of my culinary inspirations, I prepared Steak Au Poivre in the style of Julia Child and served it with homemade, creamy mashed potatoes and buttered asparagus.

I honestly still get intimidated by Julia Child’s recipes. They seem to require a lot of effort and expensive ingredients. Moreover, in her cookbooks and television shows, she even walks us through EVERY SINGLE detail of her recipes. Talk about hard work, determination, and passion for food! However, despite the long procedures involved in her recipes, the dishes continue to fascinate me. :)  Thus, although I’ve never cooked a steak in my life before, I was inspired to make Steak Au Poivre last night.

I was staring at my raw steaks while my pan was heating up when I told God: “Lord, I honestly don’t know how to cook these. I’m not like Julia Child or other well-experienced chefs. Would you please give me wisdom? I know that YOU know HOW to cook steaks. Thank You! :)”

After I prayed, God somehow encouraged me to feel and poke the seasoned, raw meat with my fingers before cooking them. I then carefully placed the meat on the hot pan and let it cook for a few minutes. Later, I flipped the meat and cooked the other side for a few more minutes. And lastly, when both sides were done, I wrapped it in foil and let it rest for a while. (Resting the steak in foil would help keep the juices inside the meat, making it more tender.)

I felt nervous after cooking the steaks because I didn’t have a meat thermometer, and I couldn’t tell if they were medium rare, medium well, or well done. Nonetheless, I opened the wrapped foil and by God’s grace, the steaks looked amazingly juicy, tender, and were wonderfully cooked. I immediately prepared the dish with mashed potatoes, buttered asparagus, and sprinkled bits of basil on top.

 

My very supportive and encouraging family enjoyed the Steak Au Poivre with me. One of my brothers, after tasting the steak, even said: “Wow, Nic. I’m speechless, astonished, and amazed…” Hahaha. I actually laughed at him when he said that because I knew that it was a line from a song (Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman). I continued the lyrics and said to him: “…I am silenced by His wondrous grace.” :) Indeed, it was only by God’s grace that I was able to make Julia Child’s Steak Au Poivre

As I was cleaning some of the equipment I used, I could still remember the delicious combination of the tender steak, creamy mashed potatoes, and the fresh, crisp asparagus. And although I am not an expert, I always enjoy rearranging the food, taking photos of it, and making the dish look more presentable. :)

Before going to bed last night, I read more about Julia Child and got encouraged by what she quoted before:

You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made,’ [Chef Bugnard] said.

‘Even after you eat it, it stays with you – always.”
―Julia Child, My Life in France

After reading that, I learned that Julia Child saw the beauty in the dishes that she made, even if other people didn’t exactly agree or find pleasure with how or what she cooks. I was amazed by her ability to use even the simplest ingredients to make extraordinary French dishes. God then spoke to my heart and I realized how I was even more amazed by Him and the beautiful things He createsIt says in: 

Psalm 139:14

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Isaiah 49:15

“…I will not forget you.”

If Julia Child can excellently make French food and inspire millions of people in the world, how much more can God, the creator of the universe, make beautiful things out of us? It was also such an encouragement to be reminded by God, that in spite of the “ugly” things we may have done in the past, our failures and wrongdoings, He still sees us for who we really are — chosen and unconditionally loved by Him.

Certainly, God does not look at us and think: “Wow, what a disappointment.” But instead, He takes pleasure in what He created and He sees the good and beauty in us; He sees Jesus in us. :)

Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

 

What a treat, indeed! Thank You, Lord, for making beautiful things. :)

So, You’re Insecure?

A few days ago, my mom handed me a bunch of overripe bananas. Instead of throwing them away, she wanted me to do something useful with them. When I saw the bananas, my instant thought was “Eew… Mushy, slimy, almost rotten stuff. -_-” However, as I examined them more, I noticed that they were still edible and slightly firm.  So, I decided to give them a try and make banana muffins.

mashed overripe bananas

As I was searching for a nice recipe online, I saw photos about muffins. And to my surprise, it was the first time that I encountered this statement in my life:

“Muffins are just ugly cupcakes.”

www.fumaga.com

In the photo, we can see how some find cupcakes to be more desirable than muffins, maybe because of the texture or the frosting. But, even in this simple idea, we can see how natural it is for us to compare things, ourselves, or even the people around us.

banana muffin

Even though it seemed like it was more fun to bake cupcakes, I still proceeded to make a batch of muffins that day. While I was making banana muffins, God reminded me of three things:

1. INSECURITIES & LIES

I first removed the banana peels and other dark spots on the bananas before mashing them in a bowl. The bananas did not look appealing, but, they were the PERFECT ones to use for the recipe because of their natural sweetness and soft texture.

It was so easy for me to look at the appearance of the overripe bananas and show disgust when I first saw them. In the same way, God reminded me of how I’m easily concerned with how I look, what my status/lifestyle is, how much money I have, and other things that last only for a moment. He also reminded me of those times when I’d be insecure. Sadly, I would tend to compare myself to others and choose not to be grateful and satisfied with how He made me and with what He has given me.

www.mademelaugh.com

However, I thank God for His encouragement through His word:

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

-1 Samuel 16:7

“Anytime we look for fulfillment or happiness in anyone or anything other than God, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.” –Nancy deMoss

2. HUMILITY & THE ULTIMATE SECURITY

While I was baking the banana muffin batter, I began to appreciate the overripe bananas even more. The sweet smell of the vanilla extract and bananas filled the air and I found myself enjoying it.  Once the banana muffins were done in the oven, I immediately placed them in a wire rack to cool down.

But then, I remembered a tip that Alton Brown shared in one of his Good Eats episodes. He suggested that the muffins must be cooled upside down on a thin towel for better volume. I tried doing it and was amazed by what I saw. The muffins looked like they were bowing down. They didn’t look “insecure”. They looked humble.

Humble Muffins

God spoke to my heart and reminded me that being insecure and being proud are inseparable.  I’ve had (and still have) my share of insecurities. But, by His grace, He continues to encourage me to see myself and my situations through His eyes. In the process of doing so, I realize that I shouldn’t be insecure because I know that God loves me and He would only want what’s best for me.

Our security is none other than God Himself. –Pastor Peter Tan-Chi

“Rest in what God thinks about you. He loves you. How do you know He loves you? Remember what Christ did for you on the cross.” –Pastor Vince Burke

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

-Romans 8:28

God works for the good. God loves us. God made us the way we are because He loves us. He is our Ultimate Security. :)

 

3. PURPOSE & DESIGN

After cooling the muffins, I decided to put the finishing touches. :) I invited my eldest sister to help out and we started working on one muffin at a time. It was fun! We ended up using different toppings on half of the batch of baked banana muffins.

By God’s grace, they all looked so nice and yummy. And I thought to myself, “These muffins aren’t ugly. Haha.” :)

Some say that the difference between a cupcake and a muffin is the frosting that cupcakes have. But, according to Alton Brown, the difference is in the mixing method. In making cakes, the butter and sugar are creamed first until fluffy; eggs are added; and finally, the dry ingredients are incorporated. On the other hand, in making muffins, the dry ingredients are combined; the wet ingredients are combined; and then both wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.

In the same way, God showed me that He also uses different methods in our lives. He had a purpose in mind when He made each of us and we just have to continue trusting in His goodness and faithfulness in our lives.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

-Jeremiah 29:11

“You Were Meant To Be Touching
The Lives That You Touch
And Meant To Be Here
Making This World So Much More
Than It Would Be Without You In It”

-Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Meant To Be”

The day before I made banana muffins, I was struggling with insecurities again. But, God knows exactly how and when to encourage us. Thank You, Lord!

I pray that we may continue to find our security in Him all the days of our lives. God bless you, guys!

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

 

 

RECIPE: By Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar (I used 3/4 brown and 3/4 white sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
  • 1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
  • 1 cup small-diced almond nuts

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners.

3. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

4. Combine the butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine well, but don’t overmix.

5. Fold the diced bananas and nuts into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

 

*By the way, if you want to read more about cupcakes, you can go to this link: http://encouragingtreats.com/free-cupcakes/ :)