I was thinking of Filet Mignon for dinner. I tend to buy the NY Strip because it really is our favorite cut, but I thought, it has been a while since I made Filet Mignon. I was flipping through one of my Italian cookbooks (Giuliano Bugialli's) and the page just opened up to a picture of a Filet on a vegetable sauce. So I figured it was meant to be that I make this dish. I flipped through some more and I found this polenta dish that is spooned over cold Mascarpone cheese, It is topped with shaved white truffles, but I didn't have the extra $100.00 to buy a white truffle so I did some Shiitaki Mushrooms instead.
Valdeon Spanish Blue Cheese Tart with Arugula and Walnuts
The Spanish blue cheeses are so good, especially Cabrelas, which is hard to find at the local markets, Valdeon is almost as good. I bought it and instead of just serving it as is, I decided to make a savory pie tart crust and bake it off ahead of time and just before serving it I put the cheese on the tart and place it back in the oven to melt. After it came out of the oven I sprinkled on some toasted walnuts and I decided to top it with an Arugula Salad tossed with a champagne vinaigrette that I made. It was a hit. You can't eat too much of it though because of the crust with all the butter is pretty caloric.
Filet Mignon with Vegetable Sauce
This sauce is made with celery, carrots, red onion, garlic, parsley, basil, bay leaf, clove, red wine, salt and pepper. He simmers all the vegetable for 45 minutes with a "piece of boneless beef or veal". I bought Boneless short ribs to cook over the weekend and I only needed 2 oz for the sauce so I used a small piece of that. It's just used to flavor the sauce and then it is discarded. After cooking the sauce it's put through a food mill and just before serving you cook the sauce in a Tbsp of butter just to heat through and the butter adds richness. He cooks the Filet Mignon under the broiler but instead Tony cooked them to perfection on the charcoal grill. They were a nice change and I think the portion size is perfect.
Polenta with Mascarpone and Shiitaki Mushrooms
I have made polenta a few different ways, usually with cream and butter and herbs and so on... This recipe I liked because it's just stock, salt and stone-ground cornmeal. He uses homemade beef stock, but I went ahead and used chicken stock from the store. He also says that it cooks for 45-50 minutes of constantly stirring. I tried that but after about 25 minutes it was thickening up and it tasted done to me so I turned off the heat and added a splash of water and covered it. I used this time to saute some Shiitaki mushrooms in some butter until they were perfectly done and I sprinkled on some salt. When the Filets were done and we were ready to plate I turned the heat back on the polenta and mixed in the splash of water in until it came together with a nice consistency, it worked out perfectly. The cold Mascarpone cheese is placed on the individual serving dishes (about a Tbsp on each plate) and the hot polenta is spooned over the cheese to completely cover it. When you sit down to eat it, even through I put it there, the cheese was a surprise, it just oozes out and it's great. The Filet, the sauce, the mushrooms and the polenta all worked perfectly together.
Ruffled Milk Pie
I saw this on Martha Stewart's show one day a couple months back and I have wanted to make it ever since. I finally made it and it's a great recipe. I looks impressive, it tastes fantastic and its pretty easy to make. It's a two step process which is another good thing because I did the first process earlier in the day and just before we sat down to dinner I did the second part so it was fresh out of the oven, which is what the recipe says, to serve it immediately (it's delicious cold too as I found out this afternoon). After buttering a 13 inch round cake pan with clarified butter you take store bought phyllo sheets and scrunch them up and layer in the pan to make a circle inside of a circle inside of a circle until you have what looks like a rose, you end up using about 8-9 sheets of phyllo. Brush the "phyllo rose" with more clarified butter and sprinkle on cinnamon. Bake for 25 minutes. This is where I stopped and did this second part about 6 hours later. Whisk together eggs, whole milk, sugar and vanilla and pour over the "phyllo rose" and bake for another 25 minutes. You end up with a custard that's scrumptious but it's got a bit of delicious crunch from the tops of all the phyllo that peeks out from the custard. Excellent ricipe!
I actually decided to made this as the dessert but thought it needed a cookie or something to go with it and that's when I remembered the Ruffle Milk Pie. This is an Italian dessert which is simply a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream and you pour over espresso or strong coffee. I never made it before but you can bet I will do it again. I got some great tasting coffee from Whole Foods, decaf Buzz Free (It's called). I made the coffee strong and I got some Haagen Daz Vanilla Bean ice cream. One big scoop of Vanilla Bean and fill up the mug with the coffee and it quickly turns from a smoken hot coffee to a cold delicious melty shake. Affogato is pronounced (ahf-foh-GAH-toh) which is great because if I forget the name of it I just have to say... I forgot Oh, and it's sounds the same!