Dinner for the Girls
I have some girlfriends coming over for dinner and a night of cards. There will be 6 of us, thankfully I have 2 nice blow-up beds and a couple of the gals are bringing their sleeping bags to sleep on those. Needless to say, I need to invest in some linens to accommodate large groups like this. My best friend is fixing breakfast for us in the morning. I must say that the husbands of the gals are so happy that we are doing this, since many of us generally get together at parties on a regular basis...just a great group of people.
I sent out the eVite and asked about menu options (which I am glad I did, as was planning on a shrimp/crab louie type of salad...but most didn't care for fish). I am serving a Horseradish Steak Salad with Garlic Bread. Hope the recipe is similar to this same dish that I order at the Harris Ranch Restaurant (in California on Interstate 5) as it is wonderful. I have all the ingredients and have the table set. Each place setting is a matching platter and compote. I have a rather busy spring table cloth on, but the colors are muted and match the dishes...will have wine in a cooler in the middle of the table...hope that works out ok, but will just have to see. The salad will go in the compotes and bread on the platter, also have bowls on the platter to serve dressing on the side, just in case someone doesn't like it, I can supply them with a different option. I will serve red & white wine since either will work, and ice water. Cheesecake for dessert with coffee (since we will be staying up late playing cards)...LOL.
I will be back with pictures later. This is the first time I have served a full table of folks for dinner in my new home...I am excited and nervous at the same time...wish me luck...here is the recipe I am using including the original commentary by the author. I bought pre-glazed pecans and had to substitute a different but similar cheese.
Isnt it strange how sometimes you go out for dinner and you are drawn to order the same thing at one restaurant and then another. Recently, that item for me has been candied pecans. I use candied pecans often at home as well, but there is always something a little different about the ones I get while eating out. I finally asked a chef friend, what the difference was. He informed me that restaurants often first candy the nuts and then fry them. That makes sense, since I often wondered how their pecans were so much more "toasted" than mine. If you would rather not fry the nuts, just go to this previous post for candied almonds, and substitute pecans for the almonds.
You may be able to find balsamic glaze at the grocery store, I know that Trader JoeÂs carried it at one time, not sure if they still do, but it is easy to make at home and easy to store extra for use again later. I served this salad to three men last night, and in their honor, since they are "manly men", this is a now referred to as a "manly man" salad!
Steak Salad with Creamy Horseradish Dressing and Balsamic Glaze
Restaurant-Style Candied Pecans
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons bottled horseradish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
3 small filet mignon steaks, each about 2-inches thick (beef tenderloin)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups mixed salad greens
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
12 large cremini mushrooms, ends trimmed and then sliced
8 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
Pecans: Using a medium heavy pot, bring water and sugar to a boil over high-heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add pecans and lower heat to a simmer, cook about 8 minutes. Drain over a bowl. Set aside the sugar liquid in the bowl.
Wipe out the pan until dry, add oil and heat until oil is very hot, to approximately 375 degrees. Fry the nuts for 1 minute, drain over another bowl.
Place strainer with nuts over the pan the oil was in and pour the reserved sugar liquid over the nuts. Discard both the hot oil and the sugar liquid when they are cool.
Turn nuts out onto either a sheet of parchment paper or a Silpat and cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow nuts to harden and crisp.
Balsamic Glaze: Pour the balsamic vinegar and sugar into a saucepan. Heat, stirring with a heat-resistant rubber spatula constantly for about 10 to 12 minutes until the sauce reduces by about half and coats the spatula. Do not boil, as the sugar will burn. Cool and store any extra glaze in a covered container.
Dressing: In a glass bowl, whisk together the vinegar, horseradish, mustard, salt, and pepper. Slowing whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in the sour cream, set aside.
Salad: Preheat a grill to high-heat. Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper and grill until desired doneness, about 8 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove from grill and place on cutting board, allow to rest for 5 minutes before cutting into thin slices.
Divide the salad greens between four dinner plates, top with the tomatoes and mushrooms, toss each salad with 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing. Place the steak slices on the salad and top with crumbled Gorgonzola, sprinkle with pecans and drizzle with balsamic glaze.