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Old 09-21-2009, 11:45 AM   #11
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Completely agree with AndyM. Moving from Cognac to rum or scotch was a BIG mistake, as you discovered (luckily without injuring yourself or burning your apartment house down).

Next time bite the bullet & buy the Cognac. You can get very small bottles (about a pint) of decent quality for a pittance & it literally lasts forever in the pantry. You don't have to drink it. Can't believe you wouldn't be able to find more cooking uses for it - even if it was just to make this particular dish again. It's not going to go bad in your pantry. I nearly always have a pint or quart bottle in the pantry to use in French Onion Soup, Clafouti puddings, holiday fruit cake bar cookies, etc., etc.

This is definitely a case of penny-wise & pound foolish.
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:08 PM   #12
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as for the pepper, i had started using my grinder on the coarsest setting....about halfway through, i realized it wasnt nearly as course as i would have liked....so i took some whole pepper and cracked them myself using a pan....so in the end, i had about half and half....its def possibly that the more finely ground stuff contributed to the strong flavor

breezy, are you saying that cognac wouldn't have flamed up quite the same way? im pretty sure that the alcohol percentage in rum and cognac are similar, with rum tending to be even being slightly less at 35% and cognac more around 40%....i think my main issue with the fireball was how hot i left my pan get - the high heat caused all the alcohol to vaporize at once, where a lower heat may have kept the alcohol in the pan a bit longer, creating less of a flammable cloud

you guys may be right about buying a small bottle of cognac for cooking....but at the same time, it is very rare that i need it, i didnt taste any ill effect from the rum, and im feeling very poor because i will be closing on my first house this week....every penny saved helps
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:16 PM   #13
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and im feeling very poor because i will be closing on my first house this week....every penny saved helps
What are you doing eating steak then? You should be eating raman noodles and mayo sandwiches (j/k). Congrats on the house!

The flame did not ignite all of the alcohol and I would think you would have had a similar fireball from the cognac as you did from the rum. Heat causes the alcohol to vaporize and it is the vapors that light up. Quite a lot of alcohol (percentage wise) is left in the finished dish though.
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Old 09-21-2009, 02:30 PM   #14
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What are you doing eating steak then? You should be eating raman noodles and mayo sandwiches (j/k). Congrats on the house!
true, but it was our one year wedding anniversary, so we had to do something a bit fancy (does burning down the apartment count as fancy?)...cheaper than going out, at least :)

dessert was the top of our wedding cake, which had been taking up way too much room in the freezer for the last year

and thanks!


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Old 09-21-2009, 03:11 PM   #15
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Better to burn down the apartment then to burn down the house!
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:40 PM   #16
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breezy, are you saying that cognac wouldn't have flamed up quite the same way? im pretty sure that the alcohol percentage in rum and cognac are similar, with rum tending to be even being slightly less at 35% and cognac more around 40%....i think my main issue with the fireball was how hot i left my pan get - the high heat caused all the alcohol to vaporize at once, where a lower heat may have kept the alcohol in the pan a bit longer, creating less of a flammable cloud
No - with a hot pan the Cognac would most likely have flamed the same. NEVER ADD SPIRITS TO A HOT PAN; & ALWAYS STAND WELL BACK WHEN ADDING ALCOHOL TO ANY DISH ON THE STOVE. As I'm sure you are now aware.

I just can't imagine the flavor of rum (which I love) or scotch (which I hate) in a Steak au Poivre. And for a wedding anniversary at that. I would have sprung for the $10 pint of Cognac rather than take the chance of ruining a nice piece of meat.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:29 AM   #17
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how would using rum "ruin" it? yes the flavors are different, but it's a subtle difference (esp. with all the pepper), and the flavor can still work....its not like i used root beer instead....plus, it came out nice....experimentation can create some very nice results

i knew there would be flame, and wanted it to flare up....ive done it before....i just got a little over aggressive this time and got a bigger boom than planned
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