Tuesday, January 4, 2011

French Dinner

South Beach and the Food Network do not mix.  Especially not YOU, Ina Garten.  Your treat for Jeffrey - I want all of it and I can only eat one part of it.  CURSE YOU.  But, Phase 1 doesn't last forever. . . . until we meet again, French pastries.

Filet of Beef au Poivre
6 filet mignon, cut 1 1/4 inches thick
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup chopped shallots (3 to 4 shallots)
1 cup canned beef broth
1/2 cup good Cognac or brandy

Place the filets on a board and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the filets with salt and then press the black pepper evenly on both sides. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until the butter almost smokes. Place the steaks in the pan and lower the heat to medium. Saute the steaks for 4 minutes on 1 side and then for 3 minutes on the other side, for medium rare. Remove the steaks to a serving platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, pour all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the saute pan. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and cook over high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until reduced by half, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the Cognac and cook for 2 more minutes. Off the heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve the steaks hot with the sauce poured on top.

Matchstick Potatoes - the crispiest fries are my favorite, so I am SUPER PUMPED to try these 
peanut or canola oil 
2 large oval Idaho potatoes, peeled 
sea salt or Kosher salt

Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, optional 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour at least 1-inch of oil into a deep pot and heat it to 350 degrees F.
Slice the potatoes into thin matchsticks (1/8-inch thick) with a vegetable slicer or mandoline, dropping them into a bowl of cold water as you cut. Drain the potatoes and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Drop the potatoes in batches into the hot oil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pot with a wire basket skimmer or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the potatoes.
Sprinkle the potatoes with parsley, if desired,(I do not desire - I'll be sprinkling with some kick ass French sea salt thanks) and serve hot.

 p.s. - I really need to pick up one of these for frying stuff

Strawberry Tarts - I fell in love with fruit tarts when I lived in Australia, and they are a favorite to this day; I love the ones with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and kiwi
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 tablespoons cold shortening (recommended: Crisco)
1/4 cup ice water
2 cups Pastry Cream, recipe follows
2 pints whole strawberries, hulled and halved
1/3 cup apricot jelly
3 tablespoons shelled pistachios, halved, optional

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put the flour mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and shortening and pulse about 10 times, or until the butter is in the size of peas. Add the ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump on a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out the dough and fit into 4 (4 1/2-inch) tart pans with removable sides. Don't stretch the dough when placing it in the pans or it will shrink during baking. Cut off the excess by rolling the pin across the top of each pan. Line the tart shells with a piece of buttered aluminum foil, butter side down, and fill them with dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and foil, prick the bottom of the shells all over with a fork, and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Before serving, fill the tart shells with the pastry cream. Arrange the berries decoratively on top of the cream. Melt the apricot jelly with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the top of the tarts. Sprinkle with pistachios, if using, and serve.

Pastry Cream:
5 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Cognac
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch.
With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't be alarmed when the custard comes to a boil and appears to curdle; switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding. Stir in the vanilla, Cognac, butter, and heavy cream. Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the custard and refrigerate until cold.
Yield: 2 cups

I think I need these too. . .


Whiskey Sours - Sidecars would be great with this meal too, and are quite similar, just a bit less tangy - simple syrup can be used in those as well instead of Triple Sec
3/4 cup whiskey (recommended: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
2/3 cup sugar syrup (see note)
Ice cubes
Maraschino cherries

Combine the whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice, and syrup. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and pour in the drink mix 2/3 full. Shake for 15 seconds and pour into glasses. Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold.

Note: To make the sugar syrup, bring 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to a boil, and simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Chill before using.

1 comment:

Quinn said...

I can't see the second thing you think you need. I am dying to know.