Saturday, January 7, 2012

Life Gets in the Way

So much for posting the recipes and results of our New Year's Eve dinner the next day!  I really have no excuse - I was up early with the puppy (per usual) and had a pretty good day.  I spent some of my morning grading (what's new?), then we went to our friends' house for a New Year's Day lunch, and then I think we just relaxed at home after that.  Between Christmas day and going back to school I spent 15 hours grading essays and I only got about half of my work done.  I tried not to let that depress me.  But it did.  I picked away at my grading this week, but did not make much of a dent.  Now it is Saturday morning, I have been up since 5:30 am with the puppy (her normal wake up time - ugh.) and I have not yet started the grading.  She, of course, is sleeping again, but I am awake.  I hope I can take a nap later today.  I also need to go to the grocery store, and I just realized we are OUT of toilet paper.  Seriously?  I buy that stuff in bulk.  How did we use it all up?

New Year's Eve was great.  Our friends came over around 7:00.  Kathy brought a delicious homemade smoked whitefish dip (I have to get the recipe!), which is one of my favorites.  When the Darling Husband was the Darling Boyfriend, he lived near a restaurant in Grand Rapids called the Bluewater Grille.  It was one of our favorite spots.  It is a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright style building overlooking a small inland lake.  It has an incredible stone patio with a bar and outdoor fireplaces to sit at in warmer months and a beautiful view of the lake with fireplaces indoors for the colder months.  One of the things we always ordered there was the smoked whitefish dip, and I often crave it because we no longer go there as it is pretty far away from where we live now.  Kathy's dip was every bit as good as the Bluewater Grille's and it scratched my itch for that delicious concoction.  I was looking for a fun drink recipe to try and the Darling Husband found the perfect recipe in a back issue of Redbook magazine.  (Don't ask - I keep them in the bathroom and he is always finding little tips and articles of interest in them...)  They are called Black and Blue Mojitos and they are delicious!  I will try to get a picture to put here with the recipe.

Our New Year's Eve menu consisted of:
Beef Tenderloin Chaucer
Twice Baked Potatoes
Fresh Green Beans
Salad of Romaine with Oranges and Grapefruit

Kathy brought the salad and it was the perfect cold, crisp complement to the rich meat.  The tenderloin was perfect, and is really the ideal recipe to make for guests.  You need to start early the morning of your dinner or you can do it the night before (my preferred method).

Have your butcher cut a 2" thick beef tenderloin steak for each person.

I got the steaks from Meijer, and they were delicious.  While I was there I realized that I do not have four matching champagne flutes, so I grabbed some inexpensive ones there as well.

Then, lay the steaks on a plate and admire their beauty.

Season them with salt & pepper and rub them with fresh garlic.  (This is where Darling Husband and I were playing with my new flash he gave me for Christmas.  We don't have it figured out yet.)

Sorry, not the best picture I have ever taken, but you get the idea.

I have to apologize for the rest of my pictures.  It was dark.  It was getting late.  I was tired.  I had been up since 5:30 am and was ready to go to bed.  I didn't take pictures of every step...

Next, sear the steaks on all sides in a cast iron skillet on very high heat. (Imagine this part.)  It only takes about 10 seconds per side.  I also use tongs and sear the sides quickly.  Place the seared steaks in a baking dish.

 Next, make the sauce.  (Again, you will have to imagine the steps.  I only took a picture of the finished sauce.)

The sauce has red wine, beef broth, chicken broth, Worcestershire (my favorite!), and currant jelly.  It smells SOOOOO good.

Then, saute some mushrooms in your cast iron skillet with a little butter.  Mmmmmm....

Stir the mushrooms into the sauce and cool completely.  You are going to pour the mushroom sauce over the steaks and you don't want the hot sauce to start cooking the steaks.  It took awhile for the sauce to cool.  I got really tired.  I poured the cooled sauce over the steaks in the pan.  I forgot to take a picture.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and slide in the fridge.

A couple of hours before you are ready to eat, take the pan out of the fridge and let the steaks warm up a bit.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Take the foil off the pan and slide it in the oven.  Bake for about 21 - 22 minutes for medium rare, a little longer for medium.  Don't cook too long as the steaks will keep cooking after you take the pan out of the oven.

Serve one steak to each person, topped with some of the mushroom sauce.  Your guests will rave!

You can see one of the steaks on the plate to the right, along with the delicious salad and the twice baked potatoes.  Yum!

What a lovely night!

Happy New Year to all!

Beef Tenderloin Chaucer

(This recipe is for 8.  I cut it in half for our New Year's celebration.)

8 - 2 inch thick beef tenderloin steaks
salt, pepper, and crushed garlic to taste
2 Tbs brandy
4 Tbs butter
3 Tbs flour
2 Tbs tomato paste
3/4 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper
2 Tbs currant jelly
1/2 - 1 lb. sliced, sauteed mushrooms

Rub steaks on both sides with garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sear on all sides in a hot iron skillet, 10 seconds per side.  Place steaks in a shallow baking dish.  Drizzle steaks with 2 Tbs. brandy.

To make the sauce:
Saute the mushrooms in a little butter in the cast iron skillet you used for the steaks. Set aside. Then, melt 4 Tbs butter in a saucepan and whisk in 3 Tbs flour.  Stir in 2 Tbs tomato paste.  Add red wine, chicken broth, and beef broth, whisking well after each addition.  Whisk over med heat until sauce thickens.  Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and currant jelly.  Stir in sauteed mushrooms.  Allow sauce to cool completely.

Pour cooled sauce over steaks in pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Slide into fridge for several hours or overnight.

To cook steaks:
A couple of hours before cooking, remove steaks from refridgerator and bring to room temperature.  Place in 400 degree oven.  Cook approximately 21 - 22 minutes for medium rare, a little longer for medium.  Steaks continue to cook when you remove them from the oven so do not overcook.

Serve with the sauce.

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