I've never been brave enough to flambe something before, so it was one of the first things I added to my list of 40 Things.
My experience with flambe is pretty much limited to eating Baked Alaska, Crepe Suzette, and Cherries Jubilee on cruise ships. They're ok (it's hard to make a dessert I don't like), but for my first experience flambeing I wanted to choose something that I'd love. I read through several dozen recipes with the goal of choosing one entree and one dessert. I settled on my recipes and got to work.
For dinner, I would be making Flaming Fajitas. I started with this recipe from About.com. I changed some things about the prep (strips of flank steak, less garlic, no peppers)....
.... but I followed the directions exactly for the flambe portion. The recipe called for brandy, which seemed like a weird choice for meat. Every other recipe for flambeing meat called for bourbon, but I stuck with the brandy.
We had this bottle in the back of a cabinet. I haven't shopped at Lucky since before I moved here in 1997. It was probably Steve's from before when we were married in 2004. Though he didn't shop at Lucky either. I'm guessing one of us inherited this from a roommate years ago.
I reviewed Flambe Tips and Cooking Hints (subtitle: How to avoid a fiery explosion from your flambé recipes) one last time, then heated my pan. Notice me biting my lip?
As I browned the steak, Steve heated the brandy in the microwave for exactly 15 seconds. He poured in the brandy and I lit it. WHOOOOOP- a small (yet awesome) blue flame. It was gone as quickly as it came and there was no time for a picture. I melted some cheese on tortillas, added the steak, and garnished with guacamole and sour cream. It was tasty! The brandy added a fruity flavor that was pretty good, though a bit strange.
Once we finished dinner, it was time to tackle the dessert flambe. I chose a recipe from Cooks.com called Strawberries Flambe.
The instructions were a bit vague for a flambe newbie like me, but I did my best. This time Steve was ready with the camera when I lit the brandy.
But no impressive blue flame this time. I'm not sure what the problem was, but either it lit and I didn't see it, or it didn't light at all. So no flaming picture this time either! Darn!
I dished up the strawberries. They smelled amazing.
It was SO good! Like, one of the best non-chocolate desserts ever. It was intensely sweet and rich, with the perfect blend of strawberry and citrus flavor. There was a subtle caramel flavor. Steve and I decided that next time (and there will definitely be a next time) we'll put this over sweet biscuits for the ultimate strawberry shortcake.