NOTE: This is about an actual event in my family and

NOT a story from an I Love Lucy episode,

although it could have been.


The setup: my mom’s mom, Nanny, was a master at many things and proof of this is she won every category she entered at the county fair, but that is a story for another time.  However, she liked to enter her creations in contest and to have more entries she would enter items under her daughters names.  One day my mom was going through the mail and found a letter telling her that her recipe was a finalist in a cooking contest.  It was not but seconds later she had called her mother about what she had done.  Yes, Nanny had entered her flambé recipe in a contest and indeed had but mom’s name on this recipe.

This was  not a recipe that mom was familiar with nor had ever made.  However, she was up for the challenge and for several weeks we had Orange Flambé for dinner.  While this may sound like an extravagant dinner I can assure you that after a few night in a row it becomes very ordinary.

One of the things that Nanny kept telling mom was that she must make sure that it really flamed.  This meant learning the right amount of alcohol to pour on it and light it before all the alcohol burned off.  Not as easy as it sounds, for a couple of times we almost had to call the fire department to come douse the kitchen.

mom cooking

A rare photo of mom cooking and no she is not making the Orange Flambé

Never the less, the big day arrived and with the competition being held in Ocala, as small town about 40 miles south of us, and once again Nanny stressed to mom the importance that it flame.  Mom was already nervous enough so this was not really all that helpful at the time.  So it starts and all the finalist had just so long to prepare their dish.  As it gets to the end and mom is finishing up she adds the alcohol but there is still time on the clock and as she wants to light it at just the right moment, so she waits.  As she is very nervous and time feels like it is slower than molasses she pours more alcohol on the dish fearing that the previous amount had already burned off.  Unfortunately, not as much as she had thought had burned off and when the last moment came and she added more and lit it, well let’s just say that it flamed alright, all the way to the ceiling.

The place did not burn down, thank goodness, but mom did not win the competition.

I have tried to find mom’s recipe for this but have not found it in her file.  I suspect she threw it out as she never made it again.  Below is a recipe for Steak Diane I found online at http://www.ifood.tv, it was probably like this but used orange juice and/or Cointreau instead of brandy, enjoy it if your dare.


Rib eye steaks - 16 Ounce  (2 X 8 Ounce Steaks)
Sliced mushrooms - 1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs) 
Chopped green onions - 1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs) 
Butter - 2 Tablespoon , melted
Brandy - 2 Tablespoon 
Worcestershire sauce - 1 Tablespoon 
Dry mustard - 1⁄2 Teaspoon 
Salt - 1⁄8 Teaspoon 
Pepper - 1⁄8 Teaspoon 


Pound steaks with a meat mallet to flatten slightly, if desired.
Saute mushrooms and green onions in butter in a large skillet until tender.
Push mushroom mixture to one side of skillet.
Add steaks, and brown on both sides.
Remove from heat.
Heat brandy in a long-handled saucepan just long enough to produce fumes 
Remove brandy from heat, ignite, and pour over steaks.
When flames die down, remove steaks from skillet.
Add last 4 ingredients to mushroom mixture in skillet; blend well.
Cook 1 minute.
Place steaks on serving platter, and spoon mushroom mixture over top.

But whatever you do remember to keep it fabulous!


2 thoughts on “Flambé

  1. This sounds like a great way to prepare a steak. I’ll remember to keep the fire extinguisher nearby, though. Just in case. My ceilings aren’t that tall. 🙂

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