Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dinnertime - Beef, it IS what's for dinner.

I've been trying to cook more often again, especially since making nice dinners gives me cause to break out some nice wines. This week has been particularly beefy, since both grocery stores on my regular route had steaks on sale. And, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I really wanted to relive some of the great meals I've had on the road in the last month or so.
Earlier this week I found beautiful filets, and I've been craving the oven-roast method lately. Add sauteed mushrooms, roasted butternut squash polenta, and a Brussels sprout gratin, and it was a perfect meal to compliment a lovely '98 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. This wine was the next-to-last bottle from the case we bought after our first trip to Rome in 2002. Having had a bottle every year or so, it has matured beautifully, still smooth with hints of apple, and overall, a warm, drinkable wine. This went from aggressive and peppery to even and mellow over the years. Still so happy we have one bottle left.
We never made it to the other bottle. What can I say, I'm a lightweight.

Tonight was a mix of ribeyes and green beans on the grill, with horseradish mashed potatoes inspired by the accompaniment to the scallop and beef cheek dish at the Flying Fig a few weeks ago. I cracked an '04 Amancaya, a cab/malbec mix from Chile. Delicious and quite drinkable, but I think it could have benefited from a few more years in the cellar.
These were such simple meals, giving you recipes seems counter-intuitive, so I'm just going to let you drool over the photos.


calicobebop said...

Holy COW! You made all that? In a kitchen? I'm floored. We're lucky if I don't burn the frozen nuggets.

Elliott said...

In fairness, I did not make the polenta itself, I just heated it and added the butternut squash along with copious amounts of butter.

And it took me many years of practice to make an entire meal come together like that, we used to eat in courses since I hadn't learned the timing yet. But I am occasionally proud of myself when I turn out something so beautiful.

Hey, pride and gluttony! Two deadly sins in one fell swoop!

Stuart said...

Waitwaitwait ... you cheated on the polenta too, so that would give you Sloth as well. A trifecta! Awesome!

wv - reival, as in Creeance Clearater

Elliott said...

Sloth, indeed. And I suppose we could add Envy, since I'm jealous of people with the time to actually make polenta from scratch. What's left...greed, lust, and pride? I don't think I can get those in under this heading. Though I do get semi-tumescent over good that wrong?

Bev said...

YUM! I love beef. Hot beef, especially.

All kidding aside, those meals look fantastic, Elliott, as do the wines. Care to share your recipe for horseradish mashed potatoes?

Btw, I myself started out aggressive and peppery, but I've mellowed over the years as well.

Elliott said...

Russet potatoes, though not my normal choice for mashed, seemed to work nice. Three big potatoes (about 6 cups cubed) boiled until cooked, half-stick of butter, cup of half-and-half, 2-3 Tbsp of prepared horseradish to your taste and enough milk to make the potatoes rich and creamy. I used 2 Tbsp of horseradish with beets, so my potatoes were slightly pink, but I could have used a little more of the flavor.

The bite went so well with the unctuous fatty, grilly goodness of the ribeye.

Bev said...

Thanks! I'll give that a try. "Unctuous," huh? That, my friend, is a $100 word.

Gwen said...

Sweet fancy moses, those look amazing! Please to be sending the oven-roast steak recipe.

Elliott said...

Pan-roasting is a beautiful thing. I seared the tenderloin in ghee (because I have it) and olive oil, then the best thing would be a low oven for about 20 - 30 minutes to get that even dark pink that's oh-so-glorious. I did these in a high oven since I was cooking the gratin at the same time and trying to finish roasting the squash...bad idea.

I've also done larger roasts stove-top, I did a beautiful veal chuck stuffed with garlic and green olives once, and I've pan-roasted pork loins on several occasions. Again, sear and then reduce heat and cover.

If you're a pan-sauce person (and I can take them or leave them), you could add red wine, deglaze and reduce.

Be nice and share!

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