For dinner this evening:
Filet Mignon and Grilled Artichokes with Garlic Mayonnaise
Hillstone’s has always been one of my favorite restaurants for the simplicity and consistency of their dishes. I love their grilled artichokes with remoulade and thought I’d try to replicate this lovely sauce on my own, however, I was short on a few ingredients and served them with a garlic lemon mayonnaise instead.
- 4 to 6 ounce Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic or garlic powder
- 2 large artichokes
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- Half a lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons green sweet relish
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Trim the tops and ends of leaves from the artichokes, cut in half lengthwise and remove the fuzzy choke. Squeeze a bit of lemon on immediately to prevent browning. If preparing artichokes ahead of time, place them in a bowl of lemon water until ready to boil.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat.
- Add artichokes to boiling water, and cook for about 15 minutes. Drain well.
- Squeeze the remaining lemon wedges into a medium bowl. Stir in the olive oil and garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
- Brush the artichokes with a coating of the garlic dip, and place them on the preheated grill.
- Grill the artichokes for 5 to 10 minutes, basting with dip and turning frequently, until the tips are a little charred. Serve immediately with remoulade.
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well.
- Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for several hours prior to serving.
Brie & Fig Sandwich with Rosemary Butter…
I found this delicious alternative to the classic grilled cheese sandwich on pinterest and I have to say, this is probably one the most delectable sandwiches I’ve ever had.. and so easy to prepare. I paired it with my Julia Child French Onion Soup and baked accordion potatoes.. perfection.
- 2 thin slices of white toast or whatever bread your desire
- a few slices of brie
- 1/2 tbs fig spread
- 1 small rosemary sprig - chopped
- 2 tablespoons pat of butter
- Butter your toasts and then place a few slices of brie onto one piece of toast and fig jam on the other.
- Melt butter in your skillet on medium and throw in the chopped rosemary. Keep heating the butter and rosemary for a few minutes until the leaves start to soften up and the rosemary flavor starts to infuse into the butter.
- When it’s all smooth and melted, put both pieces of pound cake in your skillet (still on medium) and let’em cook.
- After about three or four minutes you should start to see a nice crust developing on the bottom of the bread. Gently use your spatula to peek underneath. If you think it’s good to go, gently flip one piece onto the other. Don’t worry if your brie hasn’t started melting yet, when you do this step the heat from the other sandwich will instantly heat up your cheese and finish the melting process.
- Remove from skillet and enjoy!
Baked Accordion Potatoes…
- 6 potatoes, scrubbed but unpeeled
- Olive oil (or melted butter)
- Garnish: Chopped fresh herbs such as chives, Italian parsley and/or oregano
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices, crosswise, but do not cut through the bottom. (Cut to within 1/4 inch from the bottom.) Place in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil (or melted butter), making sure some gets in the potato cracks. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Roast for about 60 minutes, basting again with the accumulated oil at about the halfway mark (a turkey baster works well for this). As potatoes bake, the slices will fan out a bit further.
- Remove potatoes from oven. Using a tongs or spatula, place potatoes on plate and shower with chopped fresh herbs if you like. May also be served naked without herbs.
Poires au Vin Rouge….
(Pears Poached in Red Wine)
This savory red wine poached pear recipe is the perfect dessert. The recipe maximizes the pear’s natural sweetness, combining it with a fruit-forward red wine and highlighting both with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla. Truly decadent!
- 3 or more pears, firm and ripe, but not too ripe
- 2-3 cups red wine
- The zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla
- Peel pears and leave stem in tact.
- Cut the bottom of each pear so it stands up flat and on it’s own.
- Simmer the wine with all other ingredients for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer pears to wine mixture and bring just to a simmer. If pears aren’t covered by liquid, add more wine or water and sugar; proportions are 6 tbl sugar to 1 cup of liquid. Lower heat and maintain and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a knife. Let cool in syrup at least 20 minutes.
- Remove the pears and most of the syrup to another container, leaving about a cup of syrup in the pan. Refrigerate the pears. Add 3 tablespoons more sugar to the syrup, bring to a boil and reduce until thick. Remove the thickened syrup to another container and refrigerate.
Sprinkle cinnamon over the pears and serve with French vanilla ice cream.
For the bœuf bourguignon in my previous recipe, you will need to prepare sautéed mushrooms in butter and brown-braised onions while the beef is in the oven bathing in red wine and beef stock.
Champignons Sautés Au Beurre…
(Sauteed Mushrooms in Butter)
These mushrooms can be served alone or as a component of other dishes such as bœuf bourguignon, or coq au vin. For this dish to be successful, make sure your mushrooms are dry and the butter is super hot, but not burning. Also, don’t crowd the mushrooms in the pan because they will steam instead of brown. Cook them in batches if you have to.
- 1 Tb butter
- 1 Tb oil
- 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, washed (or cleaned with a paper towel), dried, and sliced into quarters or halves.
- Place a skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see that the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss them around for about 4-5 minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.
Oignons Glaces a Brun…
Brown-braised onions are used whenever you wish a brown effect, such as in brown fricassees like coq au vin and bœuf bourguignon, or in a mixture with other vegetables.
- 18 to 24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter
- 1½ Tb butter
- 1½ Tb oil
- ½ cup of brown stock, canned beef bouillon, dry white wine, red wine, or water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A medium herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, ½ bay leaf, ¼ tsp thyme, tied in cheesecloth
- When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.
Then braise them as follows:
- Pour in the beef stock and season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet. Serve them as they are, or follow one of the suggestions at the end of the recipe.
For dinner this evening, Bœuf Bourguignon!
Another classic dish from my bible, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It’s a wonderful dish; quite simple to make even though there are a lot of steps. Start off by opening up a bottle of Bordeaux and pour yourself a glass.. as four hours of cooking await.
*Use a wine that you would drink — not cooking wine.
*The better the cut of beef, the better the stew. As the beef is combined with braised onions and sauteed mushrooms, all that is needed to complete your main course is a bowl of potatoes and lots of good bread for the sauce.
*Use frozen pearl onions; saves a lot of time as they come peeled already.
- 6-ounce chunk of bacon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
- 3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 sliced carrot
- 1 sliced onion
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine, preferably Burgundy or Côtes du Rhône
- 2 to 3 cups brown beef stock/broth or canned beef bouillon
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- Crumbled bay leaf
- Blanched bacon rind
- 18 to 24 small white onions, brown-braised in stock.
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered, sautéed in butter
- Parsley sprigs
- Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 cups of water. Drain and dry.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.
- Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
- In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.
- Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in the middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
- Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
- While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.
- When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.
- Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If it is too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for the seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.
- For immediate serving: Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice and decorated with parsley.
- For later serving: When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.
My 72 Hours in Paris, Part 3:
On the last day, we decided to drive to Épernay to visit France’s champagne region. Sitting below vine-covered hills and just an hour and a half outside of Paris, Épernay is definitely worth the road-trip. Home to many of the world’s most famous champagne houses, Épernay is the best town for touring cellars and sampling bubbly. Le Avenue de Champagne is where you will find the most impressive houses. We bought tickets for the Moët & Chandon tour, the world’s largest champagne house with over 28 kilometers of historic tunnels; and not to mention, the producer of our favorite, Dom Pérignon. After our one hour tour, we walked around the town exploring, and stopped for a few more glasses of rosé champagne along with a savory cheese plate which hosted the stinkiest and most mouthwatering camembert.
By 7pm, we were en route back to city of lights and were determined to stay up all night perambulating until our flight back to Miami at 6am. It was wandering the streets of Paris that filled Ernest Hemingway with the inspiration he craved for his writing.
Later in the evening, we settled into a table at Léon de Bruxelles in the St. Germain quarter where the focus is on one thing and one thing only: moules-frites. After dinner, we continued walking down the boulevard and found ourselves where we began our trip, Cafe de Flore. At around 2am, we ordered one of our last bottles of Château Maïme Rosé and listened to an elderly madame sing Édith Piaf songs on the sidewalk. Before I knew it, it was 5am and a part of Paris was waking up while another was going to sleep. We were on the way to Charles de Gaulle.
My 72 Hours in Paris, Part 2:
Next on the itinerary was le Musée Rodin, dedicated to the works of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. The beautiful rose gardens and courtyards make these grounds a perfect setting for Rodin’s most memorable works.
From here, more wine… I was hoping to try Frenchie, one of the eateries recommended by Anthony Bourdain in his Paris episode of No Reservations, so we made our way to the 2nd arrondissement but, alas, it was closed. We walked by Les Petis Carreaux, another lovely bistrot just around the block, and found a table. We ordered a bottle of Sancerre along with their carpaccio de bœuf which was excellent and served with the most delectable fried scalloped potatoes on top. Having left room for a late dinner, we were torn between the highly-acclaimed Drouant and the illustrious L’Atelier Saint Germain de Joël Robuchon. Without reservations, we attempted walking into L’Atelier and were graciously welcomed. We waited only a few minutes at the hotel bar and munched on addicting spicy macadamia nuts while sipping on Sancerre. After being seated at the sushi-style horseshoe bar, we watched the open kitchen work its magic. Small plates offer a window into Robuchon’s world, which lies in the simple but elegant preparation of exquisite ingredients. Robuchon has several restaurants all over the globe. This particular one has a two-star rating by the Michelin Guide and comes in 12th this year on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. For starters, we ordered L’Aubergine (eggplant) with mozzarella and a balsamic glaze alongside Le Jambon, Iberico de Bellota, Iberico ham which just melted in our mouths and was served with a side of toasted bread with tomatoes. I ordered their “Le Bœuf” specialwhich was superbly cooked and escorted by morels, divine honeycomb-like shaped mushrooms; a new obsession to say the least.
Continue on to part 3.
What you should look for every hour on the hour after the sun has set in Paris…
My 72 Hours in Paris, Part 1
I can now comfortably spend days and nights walking the streets of Paris without the guilt of having skipped the Louvre this time, or having made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower. This was my second visit to the best city in the world.
After arriving and getting settled in the hotel, the first thing on the agenda was rosé, Foie Gras, and, even Karl Lagerfeld, at Café de Flore. After a couple of hours (and bottles of wine) later, we wandered across the Seine to the 1st arrondissement just in time for the sunset at the Musée du Louvre, some lovely photo opps and more rosé. Le Saut du Loup is a wonderful restaurant option to relax and enjoy the scenery, but it is also always very busy so we opted to skip the wait and walk to the bar at Hôtel Le Meurice, just a few steps away on rue di Rivoli. Redesigned by Philippe Starck, this Paris institution is adjacent to the gorgeous Tuileries gardens and includes a bar and a three-Michelin-starred restaurant. Another highlight is the refrigerator-cooled mirror that’s frosted; inviting guests to write a quick note before exiting. Before we knew it, it was almost midnight and we still hadn’t had dinner, so we made our way to l’Entrecôte, known for it’s traditional French bistrot meal of steak-frites as its only main dish with an addicting butter-based sauce and a simple salad of lettuce topped with walnuts and a mustard vinaigrette to start.
I had planned on waking up early and making my way over to the renowned Rue Cler, a cobbled pedestrian market street lined with food stores, patisseries, butchers, delicatessens, cheese specialists, chocolate shops and cafés in the 7th arrondissement, but being jet lagged got the best of us. Luckily, across the street from the hotel on rue de Grenelle, was another lovely market that popped up overnight where I was able to get a delicious raspberry tart to accompany my cappuccino. The rue de Grenelle open air market pops up every Wednesday and Sunday morning and is located under the overhead metro bridge, right by Le Tour Eiffel.
Continue on to part 2.