Friday, December 15, 2023

Two Book Reviews, One Movie Review, A Recipe and The Weekly Menu #Movies&Munchies

Tender Beef Filet seared golden brown then roasted to a perfect medium rare and topped with a creamy brandy sauce.

Steak Diane

This recipe comes from Jacques Pepin of television fame and the Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruise Line.

Oceania Cruise Cookbook

Our friends, Steve and Sharon, took a 5-week cruise to the Nordic region on Oceania Cruise Line.  They could not say enough good things about this cruise line.  Steve took cooking classes from the chefs on board and bought me a cookbook signed by Chef Stephanie Hersh.

Signed copy of Cookbook

This cookbook is filled with all of the chefs specialties and one chapter is titled In the Kitchen with Jaques.  I made his Steak Diane and served it to our neighbors for a holiday gathering last night.  

It was hard for me to decide which of the many delicious recipes I wanted to make first from this cookbook but then I watched the movie Madagascar for our Movies and Munchies group.  


I had never seen this fun movie before. It came out in 2005 and I had no littles around so it was not on my radar.  Frank and I watched this together.  We laughed and giggled like we were little kids.  It is the story of zoo animals who make their escape from Central Park in New York and end up in Madagascar.

Marty the Zebra is celebrating his 10th birthday and feels as if life is passing him by so he plans his escape.  Alex the Lion is a main attraction at the zoo and loves the attention he gets.....he also loves his daily feedings of steak.  He is very happy at the zoo and has no desire to escape but is convinced by Gloria the hippo and Melman the giraffe to help rescue Marty and bring him home.

So foodwise, there was a birthday cake at the beginning of the movie.  Steak was thought about constantly by Alex throughout the movie.  Gloria relaxed with cucumber slices over her eyes.  And Alex learned to love sushi so he could quit imagining Marty as steaks.

That made my choice much easier when going through the Oceania Cruise Cookbook because now I could focus on steak recipes.  There is a recipe for Charred Steaks with Chimichurri that will be made as soon as winter is over.  There is a Grilled Flank Steak from Spain that sounds amazing but when I saw the recipe for Jacques Steak Diane, the search was over.

Foodies Read Bingo

Making the steaks not only fit the theme of the Movies and Munchies event but also allowed me to check off the box Starring a Chef in my Foodies Read Bingo Challenge that I have been working towards a coverall on.

The most difficult category on this bingo card, for me, is Food I Wouldn't Eat.  I am a foodie and there is very limited food that I would not try.  I thought about looking for a book about cannibalism, perhaps Soylent Green, but then I remembered a book that was still on my shelf that I had read back in 2018 called Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, a Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China.

Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper

I picked the book up again and threw it down in disgust just as angry as I was the first time that I read it.   There is plenty of food in that book that I would not eat.  Here is a portion of what I had to say in my first review of this book.....

I also believe that we have a responsibility to live our lives with truth and integrity and that there are things far more important than money and being able to look at yourself in the mirror each day.

I don't see how Ms. Dunlop can do that.  I can understand her quest to immerse herself in the culture of the food she was studying.  She had promised herself that she would eat anything if it helped her in her quest to cook and live as the Chinese do.  My question is why?  Why would eating shark's fin be that important that you would ignore the crisis created by finning?  Why would you EVER even think about eating a Bear Paw when the rest of the bear is left to rot?  Why would you continue to eat food that is suffering near extinction from overfishing and overhunting?  

I did end up making a recipe inspired by the fact that this book was Asian. I made a Broccoli Chicken .  If you go to that recipe you will be able to read the rest of my rant about this author and her book.

So two more categories are marked off my Bingo Card with this post.  I have been enjoying this challenge. Here are the recipes that I shared in the other categories.......

I also shared a recipe for Pork and Mandarin Tacos when I reviewed Little Red House during this challenge but for which I had no available category.

This Steak Diane is a wonderful recipe for entertaining.  I seared the steaks and made the sauce before the guests arrived and then needed only to put them into the oven to roast to the proper temperature and rewarm the sauce before serving.

Scroll down past the recipe if you want to see what I'm cooking up for next week.......

Entrees, Beef, Filet Mignon, Steak
Entrees, Beef
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Wendy Klik
Steak Diane

Steak Diane

Tender Beef Filet seared golden brown then roasted to a perfect medium rare and topped with a creamy brandy sauce.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 30 Min


  • 6 filet mignon steaks (about 6 oz. each)
  • 4 T. butter
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 T. brandy
  • 1 1/2 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 6 T. veal demi-glace
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Season the steaks, on both sides, with salt and pepper. Let set out to come to room temperature.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil over med-high heat in a large skillet. Sear the steaks, in batches, for about 2 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Once seared place onto a rack set over a baking sheet.
  3. Place the steaks in a preheated 400* oven for about 10 minutes, until an internal temperature of 125-130* is reached. Set aside to rest while you make the sauce.
  4. In the same skillet, cook the shallot until soft. Stir in the brandy and cook until nearly evaporated. Lower the heat to a simmer and stir in the mustard and cream until smooth.
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in the demi-glace until you have a golden brown gravy-like sauce.
  6. Place the steaks onto a platter, top with some of the sauce and pass additional sauce with the steaks.


Adapted from a recipe by Jaques Pepin.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

72.08 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

34.85 g

Carbs (grams)

2.6 g

Fiber (grams)

0.29 g

Net carbs

2.31 g

Sugar (grams)

2.13 g

Protein (grams)

35.76 g

Sodium (milligrams)

246.55 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

218.71 mg

Tomorrow all of my girls, except for Nicole, are going to Amy's for lunch and then to Elf, the Musical at our local theater.  This is a busy time of year for Nicole with Petoskey and Pine sales at craft shows.  Frank is in charge of dinner.

Sunday we have our Advent Christmas Concert and will go out for dinner afterward.  Tuesday we have friends coming for a holiday dinner.  Wednesday night is choir practice.  Thursday we are having friends over for a casual dinner/game night.  Friday night we are invited to Frank's sister's for a Holiday Open House.

So here is our Weekly Menu for the week leading up to Christmas.....this sure was a fast December.

Lunch at Amy's before Elf
Frank in charge of Dinner

Out for dinner after Concert

Meatless Monday
Poached Eggs on Toast

Tuesday-Dinner with Friends
Smoked Salmon and Watercress Cream
Blue Cheese and Walnut Puff Pastry Rolls
Lobster Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Standing Rib Roast
Root Vegetable Gratin
Braised Brussels Sprouts with Sage Butter
Figgy Pudding

French Dip Sandwiches (using leftover Prime Rib

Thursday-Game Night
Appetizers-Rose and Vicki
Fried Fish-John
Mac and Cheese-Me
Roasted Potatoes-Rose
Cabbage Salad-Me
Dinner Rolls-Vicki
Apple Pie-John

Roz's party

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