Monthly Archives: January 2008

Brrrrr…Windchill of 4 degrees!

It was a perfect frigid night for a warm bowl of wintry soup! Tonight’s main attraction was Golden Winter Soup from the cover of the Jan/Feb 08 Cooking Light.  I served mine with leftover Angel Biscuits from the Sept 07 Cooking Light and some cheese (we had some smoked provolone in the fridge) instead of the Gruyere Toasts the magazine recommends. I also omitted the chives because we didn’t have any. As a final modification, I used an immersion blender right in the Dutch Oven instead of a regular blender.

Some shots of the soup pre-blending (I just had to take photos…I was way too amused that the butternut squash matched my Dutch Oven!)
golden-winter-soup.jpg    golden-winter-soup2.jpg

…and a shot of the finished product:
blended-golden-winter-soup.jpg

It was really good! We decided we might leave some chunkier pieces of potato and squash in the soup next time, just for some variety in the texture.

Romantic date night at home!

Tonight was a Saturday date night at home. Yay! There is nothing better than enjoying a special dinner at home with my husband… we can sit and talk as long as we want without feeling like someone else needs our table, we can make the food however we want it, and especially just enjoy each other’s company. Why tonight? Well…why the heck not? 🙂 Plus, we had some prime filet in the freezer that we wante to use.

Tonight’s menu: Filet Mignon with Mushroom Madeira Sauce Flambeed with Brandy, Smashed Sweet Potatoes, and Grilled Baby Eggplant. For dessert: Mocha-Chip Meringues.

So, I started with dessert: Mocha-Chip Meringues (recipe from the Jan/Feb 2008 Everyday Food  for details). Someday I’ll know how to insert a link. Maybe. 🙂

Quick little tribute to my awesome KA mixer… although a hand mixer would have made it easier to identify when the meringue’s hard peaks had formed…
meringue.jpg

Cookies on their baking sheet:
meringues-baking.jpg

…and finally some close-ups of finished meringues. They didn’t get quite as airy as I would have liked, but they’re still pretty darn tasty! Next time I think I’ll beat them a little longer, and maybe cook them a minute or 2 more.
single-meringue.jpg

meringue-side.jpg

For the steak, I made a reduction sauce combining a Wolfgang Puck recipe for Madeira Sauce that I found on the Food Network website with a dish we get at one of our fav restaurants (www.accomacinn.com)

1 package sliced baby portabella mushrooms (enough for 2 servings)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Madeira wine (this is a dessert wine found by the Sherry, Marsala, etc.)
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves
1 cup veal stock (I used beef stock)
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
2 filets (4-6 oz. each)
1/2 cup brandy

Start reduction sauce: In a saucepan, bring Madeira, shallots, and thyme to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until only 1/3 cup remains. Add the stock; continue to reduce, over medium heat, until slightly thickened. I mixed about 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water at this point and whisked it into the sauce, to aid in thickening. Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in 1 tablespoon olive oil until softened. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a pan.  Add filets, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and pan sear for 4 min. for medium doneness. Turn, season the other side, and pan sear for another 4 min. (again for medium, or to desired doneness.) Remove Madeira reduction from heat, and whisk in 2 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour reduction sauce into mushrooms and heat through. Pour reduction sauce over filet. In hot pan, add 1/2 cup brandy and light to flambee. Burn off as much alochol as desired. Serve steak with sauce and mushrooms.

Heehee, playing with fire is fun 😉
flambee-steak.jpg
Do you love how I’m smiling at the camera like I don’t even realize I have a flaming pan? HAHA. Also note the incredible mess on my counters in the background. Fancy date night at home as a price… 😉

For sides I peeled and cubed a very large sweet potato, covered with water in a pot, added some salt, covered, and simmered until fork tender. I drained the water out of the pot, then added some milk (well, ok, it was half and half, because I had some and was feeling indulgent!), a pat of butter, and about a tablespoon of light brown sugar. I used a hand masher and smashed so there were still some chunks of potato.

The baby eggplant was sliced lenghthwise in thin slices, then grilled on my grill pan with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme to tie the flavor in with the steak.  The sweet potatoes and baby eggplant got their own plate, since the steak was so saucy.
sw-potatoes-and-baby-eggplant.jpg

The dinner was accompanied with a Red Zinfandel made with organic grapes. Mmm. 🙂