7 best steak sauces to make at home

Basket of SaucesSteak is the gold standard of dinner party fare. Chicken breast is passable, shrimp is nice too, but nothing says, “This is an awesome dinner,” quite like a juicy slab of grilled beef. Everyone has their own secret steps for cooking a great steak, from proper seasoning to knowing that exact moment when glistening cut of meat is ready to be removed from the flame. Equally important, though, is how the steak is served at the table. Side dishes are important, but let’s not lose our focus. Nobody leaves a dinner party and updates their Facebook status to say, “Awesome party! The green beans were rockin’!”

Buying a quality cut of beef is a good start, but flavor has to be considered from start to finish. Nothing ruins a beautiful platter of grilled perfection faster than a cold bottle of ketchup pulled from the refrigerator door and squirted all over the place. Some people consider steak sauce to be a cop out; a lazy person’s attempt to add flavor, and if you are a terrible cook, that’s true. So we searched for the best steak sauces to make at home. A great mixture of fresh, tasty ingredients adds a finishing touch that makes meat truly memorable. If you don’t know how to make steak sauce, you’re in luck. Here’s list of great steak sauce recipes, suitable for all cuts of meat. You’ll probably want to spoon a little onto the green beans, too.

Red Wine Steak Sauce

Sauced ChefRed wine is a classic companion for beef dishes, and steak is no exception. Red wine steak sauce is extremely easy to make, especially if you’re grilling on the stovetop. After you’ve finished cooking your steaks, remove them from your skillet or grill pan, and place them on a platter to rest. Using the drippings that are still in the pan, slowly pour in about half a glass of red wine. If you’ve been using an outdoor grill, simply melt a little butter and olive oil in the pan, since you won’t have any drippings. Stir the mixture frequently over medium heat until it gets just a little thicker, then add half a cup of beef broth. Continue to heat for a few more minutes while the sauce gets slightly thicker. For an added touch, use wine from the bottle you plan to serve with dinner so that the flavors will blend perfectly.

Balsamic Butter Sauce

By Andrea Levers (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsAnother easy steak sauce to make is balsamic butter, and the recipe is almost as simple as the name. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter, along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, over medium high heat. Once the melted butter starts to brown, remove from the heat and add three quarters of a cup of balsamic vinegar. Stir in a few pinches of salt and pepper, and you’re done! If you’ve got minced garlic, or fresh herbs, these can be added for a little extra flavor, but the combination of butter and balsamic vinegar is hard to beat.

Habanero Peanut Sauce

Best steak saucePeanut sauce is a long time favorite in chicken dishes, but spice it up a little and it’s perfect on steak. Start with a cup of all natural peanut butter. Avoid the kind that has lots of added preservatives, because it won’t blend easily. To your peanut butter, add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey, and 5 or 6 dashes of your favorite hot sauce. Habanero hot sauce pairs wonderfully with the peanut butter, but any pepper sauce will work. Keep stirring until all ingredients are well blended. Minced garlic is a nice addition, as well.

Mushroom Bourbon Steak Sauce

Bourbon Sweet, smoky bourbon is great for bringing out the natural flavors in a good steak. For this mushroom steak sauce, start by heating 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan, then add a quarter cup of chopped onions, and one clove of minced garlic. Chop four, medium sized fresh mushrooms as finely as possible, and add to your pan once the onions have started to turn transparent. After cooking for another 5 minutes, remove from the heat, and add half a cup of your favorite bourbon and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Stir the sauce for about 1 minute, then add nutmeg and freshly ground pepper. After another minute of stirring, add one cup of heavy cream to the mixture. Truly one of the best steak sauces to make at home, this creamy delight is awesome with pork chops, too.

Triple C Sauce – Creamy Chipotle Cilantro

Dial a SteakIt took me a long time to perfect the Triple C Sauce, but it’s one of my favorites. This creamy sauce has a smoky flavor that makes even hamburger steak taste like a blue ribbon dish. In a mixing bowl, blend a small can of chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, with one cup of plain greek yogurt. If your local market has fresh chipotle peppers, even better, but don’t forget to clean out all of the seeds. After stirring for a couple of minutes, add 2 cloves of minced garlic and just a pinch of dried cumin. Squeeze in the juice of one fresh lime, and stir until completely mixed. Sometimes, I add 2 or 3 dashes of Cholula chipotle lime hot sauce as well. Fold in one quarter cup of fresh chopped cilantro, and chill for about 30 minutes before serving. A little goes a long way with this homemade steak sauce.

Brandy, Tomato & Peppercorn Steak Sauce

Turkey with sauceA great twist on commercially available products, this brandy peppercorn steak sauce is perfect to make in advance and bring along for camping and tailgating. Mix together one quarter cup of each of the following: raspberry jam, brandy, tomato sauce, and white wine vinegar. Add 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce, and 5 drops of sriracha. Finally, stir in one and a half teaspoons of freshly ground black or green peppercorns, and a pinch of salt. This sauce will last for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator, but we recommend serving it at room temperature.

 

Juniper Gin Sauce

SteakThis is the most unusual steak sauce on our list, but it’s absolutely worth a try. Start by heating 1 cup of chicken broth over medium heat. If you’ve cooked your steaks in a skillet, add the drippings to the broth or use the same pan. Add one teaspoon of ground allspice, and one teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Once you’re starting to see a few bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pan, add a quarter cup of gin. If you can find dried juniper berries, grind a few in a spice mill and add them to the mixture, up to 4 teaspoons worth. After simmering for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool for another 5 minutes. Carefully mix in three quarters of a cup of heavy whipping cream, and stir until completely blended. This creamy steak sauce has a surprising flavor that varies greatly, depending on the gin you use. It makes a better story, though, when you tell your guests you used Beefeater.

 

Manly Cupcakes: Bacon, maple and whiskey

Manly CupcakesEveryone likes a little something sweet. Chocolate chip cookies are a perennial favorite.You can’t have a birthday without cake. The best part of holiday meals is going overboard with pie. Cupcakes, however, present a conundrum. These tiny treats are tasty, of course, but their small size and whipped peaks of frosting don’t always fit with a masculine sensibility. However, their portable nature and individually wrapped convenience are perfect for guys at work or play. So we scoured the internet, our kitchens, and the entire globe for ideas to make manly cupcakes more suited to the males of our species. We have the key to manly cupcakes: bacon, maple syrup and whiskey cupcakes.

Hamburger CupcakesWe found lots of desserts for men that looked really tasty, but we wanted to find out, once and for all, how to turn a soft, dainty cupcake into a super-masculine treat. Part of the problem is the way they look. Pink icing, white cake, and pastel sprinkles don’t exactly scream “testosterone.” These hamburger inspired cupcakes, however, certainly up the manliness factor with their tribute to this American classic. The only thing that would make these manly cupcakes better would be a side of peanut butter cookie fries, am I right?

We wanted to look further, though, to find easy desserts to make. Something that guys who usually avoid ovens and stand mixers could handle. We reviewed many great cupcake recipes, and if you follow this set of guidelines, you’ll be on your way to creating the manliest cupcake in the West.

1. Use maple syrup.

By Dvortygirl (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Maple syrup is the manliest sweetener around. First of all, it’s brown, the color of leather and cooked meat. It’s also rich in flavor and adds a natural, woodsy flavor that you can’t get from regular old sugar. Go for quality on this ingredient, and you’ll be off to an impressive start.

2. Use bacon.

Bacon
Obviously. Bacon makes everything better, and manly cupcakes are no exception. You’ve got to cook the bacon before adding it to your batter or frosting, but cooking bacon is a virile activity in itself. When the grease gets hot and you hear that sizzle, you’ll feel very manly about using a bacon cupcake recipe.

3. Whiskey + Cupcakes = Awesome

Whiskey Decanter
Whiskey seals the deal. It’s the perfect way to tie up the flavors of the maple and bacon into a hand-sized pocket of deliciousness. We prefer the sweet, oaky flavor of bourbon, but use your own favorite to give your whiskey cupcakes a personal twist, or use Canadian whiskey in a classic pairing with the maple syrup. Don’t forget to leave a little in the bottle, though. Bacon, maple, and whiskey cupcakes are best enjoyed with a little straight whiskey on the side.

4. Keep it simple.

Maple Bacon Bourbon Cupcakes

from tablespoon.com

Cooking is always manly. Food is survival. Guys tend to avoid baking, though. Too many instructions to follow, and let’s face it – guys are impulsive; baking uses exact measurements, so there is no room for improvisation. So keep it simple. In a lineup of easy desserts to make, it’s easy to point out cupcakes. So even if you’ve never pre-heated an oven, you’ve got this one in the bag. Start with a yellow cake mix. Use the cupcake directions on the back of the box. While you are mixing your batter, add two tablespoons of maple syrup, one tablespoon of whiskey, and one cup of cooked, crumbled bacon pieces. Fill your cupcake pan, then bake as directed on the box. When the whiskey cupcakes come out of the oven, make sure to wait until they are completely cool before icing them. For the icing, start with one container of cake icing in any flavor, and add one tablespoon of maple syrup and a splash of whiskey. Spread the icing over the cool cupcakes, and sprinkle some extra bacon crumbles on the top for some manly cupcakes that mean business!

5. Eat them with your hands.

Messy Cupcake Hand
Okay, we know most people eat cupcakes with their hands, but we need to be cover all the bases. No matter how great it is, whiskey cupcakes are just not as manly when eaten with a plate and a fork. Enjoy your manly cupcakes with as much mess as possible. Eat them outside, next to a fire pit, and a smoldering cigar. No napkins, either.

After you’ve mastered the art of manly cupcakes, you can move on to other challenges. We found this awesome recipe for Chocolate Stout and Bacon Skillet Brownies. Definitely the manliest brownies you’ll ever try.

Chocolate Stout and Bacon Skillet Brownie

from thebeeroness.com

Top 10 Frighteningly Easy Halloween Cocktails

witches brew

Did you miss the excitement at your Halloween party last year? If you were stuck behind the bar while all the trick or treating was happening, you know that Halloween cocktails can be a ghastly time commitment. From unusual ingredients that have you going door to door all over town to tricky presentation, Halloween cocktails should be fun, but still allow you to have fun too. We’ve scoured the bar to find the answers. To save you time, here are the top ten most frighteningly easy Halloween cocktails.

10. The Black Cat

Everyone knows that it’s bad luck for a black cat to cross your path at this time of year–unless it’s this easy-to-mix vodka cocktail.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao*
  • 3 oz Sprite
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 wedge of lime

In a cocktail shaker with ice, add Curacao and vodka. Stir well. Pour mixture into a tall glass with ice and Sprite. Add lime wedge and you’re ready to go. Looking to make the drink for several people at once? Try our giant extremely large shaker! With this large shaker, make drinks by the dozen!

*Blue Curacao not in your bar? Try triple sec. Your guests will be meowing their approval all night. This is one Halloween cocktail that is anything but bad luck! (We still don’t recommend breaking any mirrors.)

9. Pirate’s Gold

Your Halloween guests will be asking “Where’s the booty?” when they try this pirate themed cocktail. But they won’t have to travel the seven seas—and you won’t have to go to Davy Jones’s locker to get this tasty treat.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz rum
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort*
  • Orange Juice top off

Fill a twelve ounce glass half full with ice. Add ingredients all together. Stir and serve.

*Struggling to find Southern Comfort? Try half an ounce of peach schnapps and bourbon.

8. Bloody Mary

As Queen of England, Bloody Mary was famous for brutal beheadings and burning her opponents at the stake. These easy to serve Halloween cocktails will have your guests’ throats burning in the best way possible. Make three pitchers of this recipe for twelve and don’t go back to the bar all night!

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 46 oz bottle of tomato juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of celery salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of hot pepper.
  • 1.75 L of vodka

Put all ingredients except the vodka into blender. Mix and pour in a large drink dispenser. Put into refrigerator and keep cold until serving time. Put the vodka bottle right next to the dispenser and don’t think a thing about it!

If you’re looking to spice up these Halloween cocktails, use a jalapeno flavored vodka!

7. Witches’ Brew

Double, double, toil and trouble. Wait! This witches’ brew is anything but difficult. And thankfully for everyone, it includes no eye of newt. Mix it up in one big cauldron to satisfy 12 to 16 sorcerers at a time .

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 package of lime gelatin
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 cups chilled pineapple juice
  • 2 liter bottle of Sprite or ginger ale
  • 2 cups of vodka

Put gelatin into a large bowl. Stir in the water until the gelatin is dissolved. Once the gelatin is completely dissolved, pour in the other ingredients. Let it cool to room temperature and you’re ready to serve.

Lime gelatin isn’t everyone’s favorite. Black cherry jello changes the color from green to dark, but will still cast a flavorful spell on your guests.

6. Skull of Doom Shot

Nothing says Halloween like the Skull of Doom. And if you’re looking for a more monstrous Halloween party, try our Skull of Doom shot. This recipe serves four shots at a time.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 3 oz espresso*
  • 2 oz vanilla liqueur

In a cocktail shaker, add all the ingredients and shake. Pour shots into skull of doom shot glasses for terrifyingly fun Halloween presentation. And if you are looking for all of the skull of doom accessories your party could need, check out this!

*If you don’t have espresso, coffee liqueur, brandy, or coffee syrup are able substitutes.

5. The Devil’s Torch

Is the devil inside us on Halloween night? If you and your guests sell your soul for this tasty Halloween cocktail, the devil will certainly light up your party.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 oz dry white wine
  • 4 dashes of Grenadine

Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and serve into a small cocktail glass.

Make it an El Diablo’s Torch by substituting silver tequila for vodka and extra dry champagne for white wine.

4. The Sour Ghost

A ghost may be the least scary among the creatures of the undead, but they’re still undead! This easy cocktail will certainly haunt your guests taste buds as they think about this great flavor for several dark and stormy nights to come.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 2 oz vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz sour mix
  • Ginger ale top off

In a cocktail shaker, mix vodka and sour mix. Pour into a cocktail glass that is half full of ice. Top off with ginger ale.

If you pull the sheet off the vanilla vodka bottle and realize it’s as gone as the ghost of the Flying Dutchman, just add regular vodka and a dash of vanilla.

3. Frankenstein’s Monster

While Victor Frankenstein may have created a terror that would soon horrify villagers everywhere, this monster is sure to keep the pitchforks safely tucked away. Just like Frankenstein’s monster, this Halloween cocktail recipe has a few more ingredients than some on this list, but it will certainly reanimate your party.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • ½ tsp fine sugar
  • 3 oz Sprite
  • 1 oz sour apple pucker
  • Lime wedge

Combine vodka, lemon juice, sugar, and pucker and shake in a cocktail shaker. Pour mixture into a glass with ice and Sprite. Stir and add to Sprite and ice. Garnish with the lime wedge.

If the trick-or-treaters are at the door, just use vodka, Tom Collins mix, and apple pucker for an easy Frankenstein.

2. The Spicy Vampire

If your guests are out for blood, satisfy their cravings with this vampire themed cocktail. This easy recipe is sure to please four blood thirsty guests at your party.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 6 oz gold rum
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 6 oz light cranberry juice
  • 6 oz orange juice
  • 6 dashes of Grenadine
  • 3 dashes of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and shake in a cocktail shaker. Then serve on ice!

Word of warning: too many Spicy Vampires may lead to an unnatural fear of sunshine.

1. Zombie’s Obsession

Brains…brains…brains! Zombie’s definitely have a mind for one thing. But even if your brains have been devoured by planning the perfect Halloween party, this cocktail is easy and delicious.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 ½ oz light rum
  • 1 ½ oz dark rum
  • 2 oz peach liqueur
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 Lime wedge
  • 2 dashes of Bacardi 151TM

In a cocktail shaker, add all the ingredients and ice. Shake and pour into a hurricane glass. Put the two dashes of the Bacardi 151 on top of the glass. Serve on ice.

This will be the only drink on your guests mind after trying just one or two. If they consume more than three, make sure everyone has the next day off.

Making drinks doesn’t have to be scary!

A great Halloween party does need themed cocktails. But don’t worry–it doesn’t have to be scary! These Halloween cocktails have simple ingredients and are easy to make. Your party is sure to be a ghoulishly good time without ruining your night! Remember to drink responsibly. Share your favorite Halloween cocktails with us below!

 

The History of a Pumpkin: Decor, Dessert & Drinks

pumpkin: noun–a large, edible, orange-yellow fruit borne by a coarse vine. Of the gourd family.
It’s hot. The air conditioner blows day and night, and you still can’t stop sweating. And then, in one gust, fall blows in with changing leaves and shorter days. You pull out your jeans and sweatshirts. You stock up on hot chocolate and apples from the orchard.

And pumpkins spring up everywhere—on doorsteps, porch swings, front yards…and in every dessert, cocktail, and entree you can name.

The history of this popular autumn fruit dates back many years…

Decor:

The idea of putting light inside the pumpkin actually came from the tradition of Irish and Scottish of placing light inside carved turnips and potatoes and carrying them in Celtic celebrations. The English used beets!

So what did they do for light, you ask? They used to light lumps of coal on fire to put inside the vegetables. Of course, now we use tea lights and candles, which sure smell a lot nicer!

{Image of DIY pumpkin lights via RevelBlog.com}

Or, make your own glitter pumpkin!

Dessert (and the history of pumpkin pie):

{Recipe and image via browneyedbaker}

Early Native American farmers roasted pumpkin strips over campfires and used them as a food source through the long, cold winters. Pumpkin seeds were eaten and also used as medicine. Dried pumpkin could be stored and ground into flour. We see pumpkins being served by the pilgrims at the second Thanksgiving celebration in the New World, although it wasn’t a perfectly sliced piece of pumpkin pie like we see in today’s movies.

In fact, what the early Pilgrims would do is cut the top off of a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and fill the inside with cream, honey, eggs and spices. They would then place the top back on and bury the pumpkin in the hot ashes of a cooking fire. When it was finished, they brought the pumpkin to the table and scooped out the filling along with the cooked flesh of the shell, which functioned as a “crust” of sorts. (Info via)

Nowadays we buy canned pumpkin in the case load, cook pumpkin seeds, and make pumpkin-spiced everything. The good news is, pumpkins are good for you! They are low in calories and high in fiber. The seeds specifically are high in protein, iron, and B vitamins.

So get cooking! Pumpkin soup, perhaps? Or how about pumpkin coffee cake?

P.S. Don’t miss this recipe for homemade pumpkin butter.

Drinks:

{Pumpkin Pie Martini via Hostess with the Mostess}

Sure, you could buy yourself an expensive pumpkin spiced latte from Starbucks (who doesn’t love those?), but this fall season, why not try mixing up a few festive cocktails like this recipe for pumpkin pie martini? I’m sure the early Pilgrims didn’t think of that!

So as the wind changes and the geese fly south for the winter, make sure you find a way to use a pumpkin this fall. Whether for home decor, delicious cocktails, or to whip up a creamy pumpkin dessert.

What pumpkin ideas have you found lately? Have you made a pumpkin pie yet this year?