RECIPE: Progressive Dinner for March 8

gardenladMarch 5, 2007

Hey, everyone. I'm back from Florida.

Here are this week's assignments:

Appetizer: Cindy

1st course: Wizard

Soup: Dances

Salad: Danain

Entree: VaGirl

Side 1: GardenLad

Side 2: Em

Dessert: Annie

Coffe And: Woodie

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I hope you will all enjoy this as much as my DH does! This is a very simple but flavorful recipe that pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Great for company!

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Shallots & Red Wine
Serves six.

1 (21/2- to 3-lb). beef tenderloin roast, trimmed of silverskin and at room temperature.
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper - freshly ground
4 T. cold, unsalted butter
3 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (~ 1 cup)
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus ½ tsp. chopped
3/4 cup low-salt beef broth - homemade is best :)

Position a rack in the center of a 450*F pre-heated oven.
Brush or rub beef with the oil and place in a 9x13-inch roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.
Season the beef with the salt and pepper.
Roast beef until instant-read thermometer reaches 120*F to 125*F for rare, about 25 minutes (125* to 130* for medium rare, about 30 minutes).
The temperature of the beef will rise 5* as it rests.
Wrap the beef in the foil that lines the pan and allow it to rest 10 to 15 minutes.

While the beef roasts, make the sauce:
Melt 2 T. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they soften and turn golden brown, ~ 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the wine and the rosemary sprig and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Boil until the volume of wine and shallots reduces to 1/2 cup ~ 3 minutes.
Add the broth and continue to boil until the sauce is reduced to 1 cup ~ 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low.
Remove the rosemary sprig and stir in the chopped rosemary.
Cut the remaining 2 T. cold butter into small cubes and add a few of them at a time to the sauce, stirring to melt.
Unwrap the tenderloin and stir any accumulated juices into the sauce.
Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.

Adapted from Fine Cooking: issue #75, pg.90

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 6:59PM
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This should compliment the beef (which really sounds good) nicely:

Carrots & Parsnips with Rosemary

8 carrots
8 parsnips
1 branch fresh rosemary
3 cups chicken stock
6 tbls chilled butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Cut carrots and parsnips into thin, 2-3 inch julienne strips. Chop the rosemary leaves.

Bring stock to a simmer. Blanch the carrots in the stock until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and cook the parsnips in the same stock until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove parsnips and boil the stock until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 25 minutes. Swirl in the butter. Stir in the rosemary, carrots and parsnips. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 5:59AM
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Welcome "home," gardenlad! :)
I plan to make your recipe tonight! Sure sounds delish!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 3:34PM
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Yea, good to have you back, GL!

This meal is looking good already - both dishes sound great!

Here's something that I think would be nice to start things off....

Source: adapted from

4 oz smoked or plain mozzarella, shredded
8 oz sundried tomatoes packed in oil, each cut in 2 or 3 pieces
1 puff pastry sheet (1/2 pkg)
1 egg
1 T water

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature for 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix egg and water.
Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll into 12" square and cut into 16 (3") squares. Place a generous pinch of cheese and a few tomato pieces in center of each square. Brush edges of squares with egg mixture. Fold 2 opposite corners to center over filling and pinch edges to seal. Place on baking sheet.
Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 16 appetizers.

(PS just a reminder that I have to take next week off)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 4:45PM
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This all looks good and Cindy, your Puffs look beautiful. Have you made them with basil pesto?

I have many wonderful salad recipes but I think instead of leafy greens a simple, crispy wedge of ice-burg topped with home made Thousand Island and sprinkled with toasted walnuts then garnished with chopped tomato would be great with the beef.

Thousand Island Dressing

1 cup HellmannÂs mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons finely minced sweet onion
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
a few grinds of fresh ground pepper
1 hard-boiled egg; finely chopped

Combine all ingredients and serve over ice burg lettuce salad. Refrigerate. If desired, sprinkle eggs on top of salad instead instead of stirring in.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 8:38AM
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Ooh yea, Marilyn - I bet they would be good made with pesto, I haven't tried that yet.

Funny that you posted the Thousand Island recipe - for some reason I have been craving it lately and have just been mixing mayo, ketchup and lemon juice together and putting over greens. Nice to have a "real" recipe, thanks :)


    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 9:32AM
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For the soup, after looking at the other courses so far, I was tempted to go with something French Oniony. Or maybe a dark mushroom broth. But then I decided that would be too much beef at one meal LOL.

Many steakhouses around here serve awesome broccoli cheese soup. But truthfully, after a bite or two of the very thick stuff, I kind of wish it was thinner and less rich. I have come up with a "chowder" that has the thinner consistency I like, and can include any vegetables you want.

Frozen or fresh broccoli, frozen veggie mixes, leftovers from another meal. This is a chunky chowder, and it is not pureed. Both for the texture, and also for the colour. I want a milky white base with veggies, not a green slurry. I have used anything from handfuls of baby spinach leaves, to the ubiquitous "frozen cubed veggie mix". This time I used 1 1/2 cups of a fancier frozen mix that had snap peas, leaf spinach, garlic scapes, broccoli, red and yellow peppers, and asparagus - and a 1/2 cup of frozen corn. The results were spectacular!

Vegeable Chowder

1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped
1-2 tbsp flour (if you like it thicker, go for the higher amount)
2 cups good chicken stock
2 cups frozen, fresh, or leftover veggies
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter with the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, and saute until transparent. Add the garlic and stir, just until fragrant. The garlic can brown a bit but not too dark or it will be too sweet or worse - bitter.

Add the flour, and stir to combine. Heat for about a minute to make a roux, but don't brown it. Whisk in 2 cups chicken stock. Add the frozen veggies and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the veggies are cooked/heated through and tender. This will be longer for fresh veggies, and the least for the cooked leftovers. My veggie mix simmered for five minutes and was perfect.

Add evaporated milk, and simmer lightly until the chowder is hot. Stir gently to keep from breaking up any spinach(if you used it) to keep the broth as light as possible. Unless you don't mind it green ;). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about four 1 cup servings

Like all chowders I think this tastes best after it as cooled slightly but is still on the hot side of warm. For a cheesy chowder, add a handful of finely grated cheese to each bowl. You can also garnish with sliced green onions, crumbled cooked bacon, or oyster crackers.

Note that in the link, the bowl is really too large and you would only get about two servings if you did it that way. This looks better in a dark bowl or crock, if you are serving it to company. And since I already had that huge bowl ladelled out, I ate it. You know, so it wasn't wasted - tee hee!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 10:00AM
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Ok, seems like we need something green, and since the oven will already be on 450 for the tenderloin, I'd argue for...

Roasted Asparagus...
Real simple, just trim the bottoms off, drizzle a healthy amount of good olive oil on a jelly roll pan, put asparagus in one layer on pan and smoosh around to totally coat in the oil, then season with kosher salt and lots of fresh black pepper. Roast at 450 for probably the 10-15 minutes that the tenderloin is resting for, stirring once. They should have nice browned spots and be looking crinkly (showing that hey have lost some of their liquid and their flavor has intensified) when they are done. Take them out and squeeze a fresh lemon over them -- enjoy!


    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 7:01PM
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GL - thanks for saving some of that Florida sunshine for me - we're in northern Florida right now (til the end of the month) and its been quite lovely! This menu sounds really wonderful to me - thanks everybody!

There are many fancy after dinner coffee recipes but I just adore coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream, plain and simple (no cream on top for me, thanks). I thought I would put out my nice large clear glass carafe with hot coffee and make Doucanoe's Irish Cream (I made this at Christmastime this year). I guess for those who don't care for alchohol I'll make some biscotti to go with their coffee. I guess I'll need a pretty bowl of whipped cream for those who like it! Maybe a little cocoa to sprinkle on top?

Doucanoe's Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

1 (750 milliliter) bottle Irish whiskey (Linda prefers Brandy)
8 3/4 ounces milk chocolate (Linda prefers dark chocolate)
2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee

Pour a small amount of whiskey into a large bowl. In the top of a double boiler, melt chocolate, stirring constantly until smooth. Mix the melted chocolate with the whiskey in the bowl. Gradually stir in the sweetened condensed milk and the evaporated milk. Stir in the cream, instant coffee granules, and the remaining whiskey.
Pour mixture into 3 (750 ml) bottles, seal and store in refrigerator. Best if kept at least 1 month before using. To serve: shake bottle well, serve in small glasses over crushed ice.


2 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ginger

3 1/2 oz. white chocolate, cut into pieces
1 2/3 cup toasted almond slivers
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 1 TBL. apricot brandy
2 tsp. almond extract
6 oz. dried apricots, diced

Butter and flour cookie sheet. Comine first six ingredients in food processor until fine meal. Add chocolate, chop fine, then add almonds. Beat eggs, brandy and extract in large bowl. Add flour mixture and apricots, stir until moist dough. Moisten fingers. Form into three 12" x 2" logs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake on center rack at 350* for 30 minutes. Transfer sheet to cooling rack and cool completely. Reduce heat to 300* and cut logs into 3/4" slices. Arrange on sides on cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes, then turn over and bake 10 minutes more. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 8:29AM
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Glad you got the good weather, Woodie. When we left it was in the low 50s, and they were predicting 40ish for this past Monday.

But overall it was a nice break. Got to do some fishing, and Friend Wife, who is a beach person, got to lounge out on the sand.

In fact, we stayed three days longer than originally planned. So we must have had a good time. :>)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 9:12AM
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I've had some other "issues" going on in my life and just made it here today. Just on time for dessert!

This is nice, light, fruity, and would be a good addition to something more "heavy" like the beef and the root vegetables. It's been a big hit on the Cooking Forum, posted by Dishesdone:

Lemon Custard Cakes

Unsalted butter, room temperature, for custard cups
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 to 3 teaspoons grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°. Set a kettle of water to boil. Butter six 6-ounce custard cups and place in a dish towel-lined baking dish or roasting pan.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until light; whisk in flour. Gradually whisk in lemon juice, then milk and zest.

With an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add to lemon batter and fold in gently with a whisk (batter will be quite liquid).

Divide batter among prepared custard cups; place baking dish in oven and fill with boiling water to reach halfway up sides of cups. Bake until puffed and lightly browned (but pudding is still visible in bottom), 20 to 25 minutes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners sugar.

From Everyday Food

Welcome home, GL, I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 2:28PM
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Oooh -- Annie. These sound delicious. I'm wondering -- what is the consistency of the final product? Is it straight custard? More cakey?


    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 3:25PM
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I love the lemon custard cakes!
Emily, the results are a custard on the bottom and a light lemony meringue on top. Not cakey at all.

I almost forgot to check on this dinner this week....see what happens when we take a week off..... :-P

I think that the following recipe would make a good first course for this meal. Just make them a small size and serve with a little bit of the sauce on the plate. Easy to cut the recipe in half also.
I'm already planning on making this tomorrow (Fri) night. I've made the recipe several times since running across it last summer, both as a appetizer and as an entree.

Gingered Shrimp Cakes

1 lb. large shrimp, cooked
4 scallions, sliced, green parts included
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
Grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 C fresh corn, cooked, cut off cob (frozen works)
1 lg egg
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of ground black pepper
1 1/2 C fresh bread crumbs or panko (divided)

2 Tbsp olive oil (or more, for frying)
1 Tbsp butter (with the oil, for frying)

Coarsely chop shrimp in bowl. Add scallions, ginger, lemon zest, parsley and corn. Combine mayonnaise, egg, hot sauce, salt and pepper and fold into shrimp mixture.
Add 1 Cup breadcrumbs and gently mix.
Form into 4 patties and gently dredge in remaining 1/2 C breadcrumbs, adding more if necessary.
Put on a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 min and up to 4 hours.

Heat oil and butter in large skillet over med-high heat. Saute cakes until cooked through and golden brown on both sides, adding more oil to skillet as needed, about 8 minutes.

Chile Garlic Sauce

To make Chile-garlic cream sauce, combine 2 Tbsp chile-garlic sauce ( from Asia aisle at supermarket) and juice of 1/2 lime with 1/2 cup sour cream or cream fraiche.

Spoon about 3 Tbsp of sauce on each plate and place shrimp cake on it, serve immediately.
Makes four servings as and entree or eight first course servings.


Variation: Substitute lump crab meat for the shrimp.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 4:06PM
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