Thursday, March 12, 2009

Good-bye Party

One of Matt's friends and co-workers is moving to Rackspace's London office, so we had a little good-bye dinner for them at our house. We're sad to see them go. Their beautiful daughter is close to Ty's age, they had a fun time playing together at the party. We had some yummy food. I made beef tenderloin, salmon, duchess potatoes, salad, nutela cheesecake (already on the blog) and a double chocolate trifle.

Beef Tenderloin With Roasted Shallots

Submitted By: Christine L.

Ready In: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Servings: 6

3/4 pound shallots, halved lengthwise and
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups beef broth
3/4 cup port wine
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 pounds beef tenderloin roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 slices bacon, diced
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 sprigs watercress, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In 9 inch pie pan, toss shallots with oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until shallots are deep brown and very tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
2. In a large saucepan, combine beef broth and port. Bring to a boil. Cook over high heat until the volume is reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Whisk in tomato paste. Set aside.
3. Pat beef dry; sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. In a large roasting pan, set over medium heat on the stove top, saute bacon until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Add beef to pan; brown on all sides over medium high heat, about 7 minutes.
4. Transfer pan to oven. Roast beef until meat thermometer inserted into center registers 125 degrees F (50 degrees C) for medium rare, about 25 minutes. Transfer beef to platter. Tent loosely with foil.
5. Spoon fat off top of pan drippings in roasting pan. Place pan over high heat on stove top. Add broth mixture, and bring to boil; stir to scrape up any browned bits. Transfer to a medium saucepan, and bring to simmer. Mix 1 1/2 tablespoon butter and flour in small bowl to form smooth paste; whisk into broth mixture, and simmer until sauce thickens. Whisk in remaining butter. Stir in roasted shallots and reserved bacon. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Cut beef into 1/2 inch thick slices. Spoon some sauce over, and garnish with watercress.

(Note: I pureed all the gravy ingredients in the blender and then used a mesh colander to get all the big chunks out and it was perfect.)

Alaska Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch Coating
Submitted By: Christine L.


* 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* 3 tablespoons butter, melted
* 5 teaspoons honey
* 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
* 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
* 3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
* 6 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
* salt and pepper to taste
* 6 lemon wedges


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, butter, and honey. In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.
2. Season each salmon fillet with salt and pepper. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with mustard-honey mixture. Cover the top of each fillet with bread crumb mixture.
3. Bake for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at thickest part, or until salmon just flakes when tested with a fork. Serve garnished with lemon wedges.

Jamie's Cranberry Spinach Salad

(This is the highest rated green salad recipe on
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite
-size pieces
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons minced onion
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.


3-1/4 cups heavy cream, divided

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped

4 oz. white chocolate baking bar, chopped

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Assorted cookies and/or lady fingers

Fresh raspberries

Jam glaze

Microwave ½ cup cream at high 30 seconds until hot, but do not boil. Pour hot cream over bittersweet chocolate pieces in a large bowl. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Repeat procedure but use ¼ cup cream and white chocolate (in a separate bowl). Stir ½ tsp. vanilla into each chocolate mixture. Cool 20 minutes.

Let 2-1/2 cups cream stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Beat 1-1/2 cups cream until medium peaks form. Gently fold ¼ of whipped cream into the bittersweet chocolate. Repeat procedure with remaining whipped cream.

Beat remaining 1 cup cream and fold into white chocolate, using same procedure as above.

Crush 6-7 cookies to equal ½ cup crumbs. Sprinkle on bottom of lightly greased 9-inch springform pan. Spread half of the bittersweet chocolate over crushed cookies. Arrange other cookies around sides of the pan. Spread white chocolate mixture over bittersweet layer. Spread remaining bittersweet chocolate on top layer. Cover and chill 8-24 hours. Remove sides from pan, mound with raspberries and drizzle with glaze.

Glaze: Heat 3 Tbsp. fruit jam in microwave about 20-25 seconds. Stir til smooth, drizzle over trifle pie.
(Note: Instead of doing fresh berries and jam, I cooked a bag of frozen raspberries with about 1/2 c sugar and simmered it until it was a nice thick consistency. Then you have to cool it completely and then spread it on the top of the trifle.)

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