Due to the veg deprivation, I was drawn to the recipe for Minted Zucchini Tagliatelle with Cucumbers and Lemon (pg 124) in Around My French Table. I already planned to make this before Dorie posted on her facebook fan page that Rick Bayless (is that how you spell his name??) out in Chicago had tweeted that he made this as part of an all-Dorie meal. That's right, I'm blogging that Dorie facebooked that Rick tweeted. We live in a strange time.
You use a peeler to slice zucchini into long, fat "noodles", stopping when you hit the seeds. With thin little bits of cucumber and sweet onion, lemon zest and mint, and tossed with a lemon vinaigrette, this seemed like a healthy, refreshing side salad to complement some burgers.
I had a hard time picking a dish from the France chapter of The Best International Recipe, because Dorie covers most of it, and I'm 95% sure her recipes have more pizzazz. No offense, TBIR. I decided to go with Pan-Seared Steak (pg 197) with Red Wine Sauce (pg 198).
The preparation of the steak (strip or rib-eye) is pretty standard. Salt, pepper, a bit of oil, and into the hot pan. I cooked them for less time than called for, and they were still more well done than I would like. I realize now, looking at the recipe again, that the steaks I bought were thinner than what's called for, so I won't lay that on the book. They were still good. The thing that we loved best about this steak was the herb butter that went on top. It had shallots, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper mixed in, and it was delicious.
Conclusion: Liked it. Strip isn't my favorite cut of meat, but it was good.
The red wine sauce was similar to things I've done in the past--cook a shallot in oil, add red wine, and stir in some butter at the end. One interesting twist was to add brown sugar and chicken stock with the wine, and then allow it to reduce. Off the heat, add some thyme.
Conclusion: Liked it. This was a very flavorful sauce, though on anything but the meat, it was a bit aggressive. I think the sugar amplified the wine, somehow. It was good on the steak, but when I mopped some up with bread, it was a bit unpleasant.