Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Last Dinner of 2013

Jeannene and I have a tradition of cheese fondue for New Year's Eve dinner and chocolate fondue for dessert. However, since Boot is with us for the holiday and is not a fondue man, I booked us a reservation at the Melting Pot for our anniversary on the 30th. Their cheese fondue is not as good as mine, but it's pretty good. We had a marvelous time and a great laugh. 

When her dinner arrived, the waiter tilted her plate ever so slightly and her lobster tail slid off, as if across a glassy lake of ice, and plummeted onto her (new, white) sweater in a shower of juice and paprika. I learned later in the meal that Jeannene had decided to practice mindful eating, based on instructions I'd posted on my spiritual coaching Facebook page (Dragonfly Joy: a Spiritual Oasis in a Parched World). She said, "Before my meal, I took a few breaths. Then, I got a lobster on me. Then, I took a few more breaths." It cracked me up.

Anyway, since we'd had our seasonal fondue, it was incumbent upon me to come up with a special, but manly, meal for New Year's Eve. Jeannene frequently does the cooking when our boys are in town and makes things like wings and ribs and hulking buffalo and elk burgers. I didn't dig that idea, so I ran my planned dinner by Boot. Filet mignon, baked potatoes, and broccoli. "Sounds good!" "Do you want a bigger steak, a ribeye or something?" "No, I'm good." I dropped him off for his 3-hour workout & hit the grocery. I was worried about the availability of the green peppercorns called for in the sauce, but there they were! So, our NYE dinner consisted of filet mignon with green peppercorn sauce, beautifully fluffy baked potatoes, and simple steamed broccoli. I suspected the sauce would be too frilly for Boot, but he really liked it. Turns out his very favorite steak these days is a Delmonico (who doesn't love a good Delmonico?), so maybe next time he visits, I'll make the sauce for some of those. The recipe comes from the May 2007 issue of Country Living.

Pan-Seared Filet with Green Peppercorn Sauce
4 (4 oz. each) filets, about an inch thick
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 c. dry red wine
3/4 c. beef broth
1 tsp. freshly-ground green peppercorns (I found my trusty mortar & pestle perfect for this task. I do think it matters to have green peppercorns specifically.)
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. water
1 tsp. butter

Mix the salt and black pepper and rub into the steaks. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Grease the pan using your preferred method---oil, cooking spray, butter. Cook the steaks about 3 minutes per side or to your preferred degree of doneness. Remove from pan and keep warm. Sauté shallots about 30 seconds before adding wine. Cook wine another couple minutes, scraping the bottom of the skillet to deglaze. The wine should be almost evaporated. Add the beef broth and ground pepper. Cook another couple minutes. Mix the cornstarch with the tsp of cool water to dissolve it. Add to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cook a minute, stirring, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Serve over the steaks.

Midnight found me eating a piece of my flourless chocolate cake with my champagne, but dinner was so good as to render dessert unnecessary. This would make a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner, as well.

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