01 09 10

search you little tarte

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Ted

You know how in some families the birthday person gets to pick their favorite meal?  In our house, I am not aware of anyone having a favorite food, let alone a favorite meal.  The result is that I have to be creative and come up with something special without a lot of guidance.

Tomorrow is Ted's birthday.  I will spare him the public humiliation of telling you exactly which birthday it is, but it's a big number (it's more than 55 and less than 57).  I actually think he would rather forget about it, but I like the opportunity to buy him presents.  (If I can't justify buying myself something, why not get him some good stuff?)  I also like the opportunity to have birthday cake, although again, I'm not sure he's as much a fan of birthday cake as the rest of us are.

Ted likes meat so his birthday dinner is going to be a beef tenderloin, which is always a treat.  Beef tenderloin isn't something I make often.  It just seems a little "dressy" for an average Monday night.  But, since we have an occasion, I'm going for it.   The shallot and red wine sauce adds a little something extra.  With the roast, we're going to have oven roasted potatoes, which are always yummy and very easy to make.  Some sauteed haricots verts and we have a dinner fit a king.  (Don't for one moment think I am referring to Ted being a king all the time.  He can be a king tomorrow, and then it's back to normal.)

I would like to tell you I was whipping up a birthday cake, which I would be, but Kate and I were away at a tennis tournament all weekend and now it's Halloween.  Things are, shall we say, a little hectic around here.  So, I do get brownie points for ordering a cake in advance.  I'll be pulling out the "Rosenthal birthday tablecloth" as well.  We have had this tablecloth since Charlie was little and it makes exactly four appearances each year.  I'd say that it's going to be a really nice celebration.  Happy birthday Ted!

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Shallots and Red Wine
(Fine Cooking Magazine, 2005)

1 2 1/2 - 3 pound beef tenderloin roast
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped
3/4 low salt beef stock

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450. Brush or rub the beef with the oil and put the beef in a 9x13-inch roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.  Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.

Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer registers 120 - 125 for rare, about 25 minutes; 125 -130 for medium rare, about 30 minutes.  (The temperature of the beef will rise 5 degrees as it rests.)  Wrap the beef in the foil that lines the pan and let it rest on a carving board for 10 -15 minutes.

While the beef rests, make the sauce.  Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until they soften and turn golden brown, 8 - 10 minutes.  Add the wine and the rosemary sprig and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Boil until the volume of the wine and shallots reduces to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low.  Remove the rosemary sprig and stir in the chopped rosemary.  Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter into small cubes and add a few of them at a time to the sauce, stirring to melt each addition.

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.

Roasted Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 head garlic, separated into cloves
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
kosher salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Wash and dry the potatoes.  Cut the potatoes into 3/4 inch pieces, making sure they are all about the same size.  You don't have to peel the potatoes.  Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and the garlic cloves.  Roast on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer for about an hour.  Turn once or twice during the roasting time.  They will be done when they are crispy and brown on the outside and soft on the inside.  Season with more salt and pepper.

1 comment: