Last week was a week of small miracles in many ways. A couple of weeks ago, my mother lost the diamond out of her engagement ring. She and my dad searched their house inside and out. She revisited the stores she had run errands in that morning. She searched between the seats of her car.
We were all feeling a little distraught that it had been lost, not just because of its value being a diamond, but because it had been a diamond that my great-grandfather had brought back from Jerusalem, full of sentimentality because of its history and because of its significance in being worn in my mom’s engagement ring for over 25 years. It had been lost for three weeks, and my mom had given up hope.
Then, on Wednesday before the Fourth of July, as my mom was vacuuming their front porch, cleaning up their sawdust mess from a recent home improvement project (another miracle–they finished laying floors and painting rooms before guests came over on the Fourth), there was her diamond, lying on the front doormat, waiting to be found.
More miracles–a family member received much prayed for good health news. It rained, which, while a little excessive in amount, cooled our days and was surely good for the grass we are growing in the backyard. Gerrit’s parents gave us a gift just because, and its timing was perfect in so many ways. A car crashed through a neighbors yard at the end of the street, and while it did damage to their fence and property, it missed their house and everyone was okay.
And this meal, and beautiful evening we enjoyed it in while sitting on the back porch and letting conversation linger, seemed like a miracle in and of itself. This is a meal that takes a few more pots and pans than usual and a bit of time, and I wasn’t sure how all of the elements would come together (another miracle–I only ruined two crepes before finally getting them all right). But once we had it together, steak and sauteed mushrooms and a swiss cheese sauce piled on crepes, the taste of it was nothing short of miraculous. We both ate in mostly stunned silence, filling our stomachs more than necessary because it tasted so good, and finally Gerrit said repeatedly that this was hands down his favorite thing I have ever ever made. It is rich, oh so rich in goodness, which makes it a perfect candidate for special occasion meals. And when your week seems to be lacking in small miracles, make this and know that you can have one on your table at night.
And look around, because the small miracles, they are everywhere.
Swiss Mushroom Steak Crepes
This is a conglomeration of so many things I love, and it comes together with a rich and deep flavor. I used a New York strip steak, but I also think this would be a perfect way to use leftover flank steak. The ingredient list looks long, but note that butter and oil and salt and pepper are listed many many times. I realize that this recipe takes a bit of time and is a bit labor intensive, but this is a certain instance where the time is more than worth it.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
For the cheese sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
For the steak:
1 (8-10 oz.) New York strip steak
For the mushrooms:
8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons dry white wine
For the crepes:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1. Begin by making the cheese sauce. In a medium-sized sauce pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Then stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Raise the heat to medium and slowly begin adding the milk, a couple of tablespoons at a time, stirring constantly. Continue adding the milk until it is all added, and continue to stir and cook until the sauce has thickened. Add the grated cheese, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and stir until the cheese is melted. Lower the heat to low and let the sauce sit while you make everything else, coming back to stir it occasionally.
2. Cook the steak next. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, along with a tablespoon or two of butter. Season your steak well with salt and pepper on both sides. When the butter is melted and sizzling, add your steak. Cook (only turning once!) 3-4 minutes on each side (for a nice medium-rare). Remove the steak from the skillet, set on a plate, cover with foil, and set aside.
3. Wipe the excess oil out of the skillet and add about 2 tablespoons of fresh olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of butter back to the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, 5-7 minutes. When the mushroom are just starting to get tender (after a few minutes), add the garlic, and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Then add the white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes. Lower the heat to low to keep the mushrooms warm while you move on to the crepes.
4. To make the crepe batter, combine the butter, milk, and egg in a small bowl. Whisk together. Then add the flour, sugar, and salt, and stir to combine.
5. To make the crepes, heat a 8 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Use a paper towel to swab the bottom of the pan with a bit of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add a little less than 1/4 cup batter to the middle of the pan. Immediately pick the pan up and begin swirling it around, so that the batter moves around in a circle out towards the edges of the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, and then using a spatula or two, gently flip the crepe over to cook for 1 minute on the other side. (You will probably have a ruined couple of crepes before you get the technique right). Stack the crepes (the batter makes 4-5) on a plate, layering them between paper towels to keep them from sticking to each other.
6. To assemble: (!!) Slice the steak first, in slices thick or thin, however you like it. Lay a crepe flat on a plate. Down the center of the crepe, pile steak and mushrooms and then drizzle it all with a few spoonfuls of the cheese sauce. Fold the sides of the crepes over the center and eat immediately. (Theoretically you can pick this up, but it tends to be messy enough to necessitate a fork and knife.)