Monday, August 27, 2012

Dinner in 30 minutes

Most of you know I work long hours and for any of you that are in the same boat, motivation sometimes is difficult to come by when dinner rolls around. Last week I decided I was sick of the quick on the fly meals and planned ahead for making dinner. I had green veggies in the fridge and I really wanted beef. A great tip at the grocery store, if you want a nice filet but for less money, is to buy tenderloin tails. The long skinny end of the tenderloin. It is hard to sell because cut individually it is too small in diameter for a full steak but perfect if you can find a way to cook it not requiring a large single serving, but perhaps a few smaller pieces per serving. So the greens, some leftover cheese souffle and the filet sauteed quickly with mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, olive oil (California Olive Ranch), butter (Plugra) and some wine(La Vieille Ferme)/sherry(whatever kind you have on hand) made one delicious meal ! Try it quick/easy and you'll remember how much you love cooking. In about 35 minutes you'll have an amazing meal instead of that dinner in a bag ! 

Green beans, broccoli and asparagus

Veggies tossed with sea salt, pepper and California Olive Ranch olive oil (use good oil !) roasted in the over for about 35 minutes at 425 degrees

the tenderloin tail

tenderloin tail cut then rubbed with California Olive Ranch olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper

My favorites Plugra and California Olive Ranch Olive oil, quick tip when sauteing meat use half oil and half butter for the flavor and the oil will keep the butter from burning at high heat !

all I had were regular white mushrooms but it would be delicious with mixed wild mushrooms, I had tomatoes in the fridge  from a friends garden which I had previously roasted with oil, salt, pepper and basil added at the end. (if you don't have this 2 or three diced canned plum tomatoes would work

Use whatever wine you have on hand La Vielle Ferme is a great drinkable white for everyday and the sherry works with just about any you have on hand, if you don't have sherry port might work as well but just a splash
after browning the meat with olive oil and butter remove and saute the mushrooms and a few of your tomatoes in the juices from the meat, adding a bit more butter

remove the veggies and quickly deglaze the pan with about 3/4 cup wine and 4 tablespoons sherry, let it simmer until reduced by half to one quarter of the original volume

finished, so yummy !

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia

Well today would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday. WOW. Many things come to mind when I think of Julia Child. Of course Meryl Streep played her beautifully in the movie Julie and Julia , the movie gave many of us a glimpse into her personal life, her love affair with Paul Child, her years struggling for acceptance in the male dominated french cooking world, and finally her triumph in the publishing world. May of us too remember with fondness the skits on Saturday Night Live where Dan Ackroyd played a lushed up version of Julia and severed at least one finger while trying to prepare his comedic meal ! Then of course the classic tv Julia with her dear friend Jacques Pepin preparing wonderful meals while sipping wine and even older footage of Julia wielding a cleaver to butcher a chicken. Fond memories. Will my children have such memories of me in the kitchen. Who knows, I hope so. In tribute to Julia I made myself a meal this evening including her classic cheese souffle. As I imagined it turned out just right due to her exacting directions. Sometime this week remember Julia and get in the kitchen to create memories of your own !
Finished product, I was out of foil so I chose a larger souffle dish for no run over.

Buttered Souffle dish

Gruyere Cheese, I also added parmesan and cheddar, save the rind for making soup !

buttered baking dish sprinkled with parmesan so souffle doesn't stick to sides of dish

Making the roux, butter, flour, salt, pepper, paprika

Roux just turning tan

roux with hot milk, egg yolks and cheese added off the flame

getting ready to add the egg whites, add 1/4 and stir in then fold the remaining whites into mixture

folding the remaining whites into  cheese mixture

Ready for the oven

diggin in !

The recipe can be found in Julia Child's Way to Cook, published by Knopf, recipe appears on pages 72 -73 my only addition was more cheese. enjoy !

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cooking with a good friend

Tomato harvest for caprese salad
You know the kind of day. The kind of lazy day in summer when the heat has been unbearable and you've been working really hard and suddenly you get a day off when even with the heat there is a breeze worth napping to on your back porch. Yesterday I had the chance to spend some way overdue quality time with my friend Laurie. She lives in a beautifully restored home on several acres with an amazing pool among other delights. You know the kind of friend where even if it's been 6 months you can pick up like you never left off. A real keeper. Anyway we planned an afternoon to cook, swim and chat at her homey, homey home ! The early evening was perfect, warm with a gentle breeze, the pool amazing, just the right temp. and of course the company the best. Such a wonderful friend, her family so easy to be with on a gorgeous sunny afternoon. Her garden gloriously overgrown with ripe fruits bursting from all the vines. Tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, melons, sunflowers and the most precious of all FIGS ! Fresh picked we set to work on dinner succulent veal saltimbocca, roasted green veggies, caprese salad and for dessert feather light homemade meringues with fresh figs and a balsamic glaze. YUMMMMMMMM. Alas I forget the camera I usually have at the ready but Lauire's cel phone captured some amazing shots. Please enjoy. And do yourself a favor, call a friend and cook together ! Thanks Laurie, Kevin, Emma, Caroline and Brendan for a wonderful evening ! 

gorgeous basil from the garden
Caprese salad - tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper

Veal saltimbocca - tender pounded veal with proscuitto and fresh sage leaves lightly dipped in flour and sauteed in butter served with a sauce of pan drippings, reduced white wine, butter and fresh lemon juice.

Homemade Meringue - 7 egg whites/2 cups confectioners sugar to stiff peaks
Meringues ready for baking with fresh figs

halfway through baking -mmmmm...

So yummy - finished meringues with figs and balsamic vinegar glaze