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Monthly Archives: March 2019

Dressing up Filet Mignon

The premier cut of beef is the Filet Mignon, translated tender fillet. This is the most tender cut of beef, due to the inactivity of the muscle. There should be little fat in and around the steak. That is the reason you often find a piece of bacon wrapped around the filet. I often find that for a medium rare filet with a piece of bacon wrapped around it, the bacon is almost never cooked enough. That’s why I prefer to have a sauce with it.

The way I often cook my filets are to turn the oven up to 375℉. I heat up an oven proof sauté pan and sear the steaks for a few minutes on each side. I then place the pan in the oven to continue cooking until the steaks are medium rare, making sure to turn them once. I then return them to the stovetop, melt 2 tablespoon butter in the pan and spoon it over the top of the filets. I love to serve them with Bérnaise Sauce.

Steak Diane is often found on many of the old school restaurant menus in New Orleans. While a Strip Steak is a great substitution, the filet is the usual cut of choice. In some restaurants, Steak Diane is prepared table side and flambéed. This favorable sauce also works well with thick cut boneless pork chops or venison.

Steak Diane

1/2 stick Butter
8 slices of Filet Mignon, about 1/2 inch thick
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 small Onion, chopped
2 stalks Celery, chopped
3 sprigs Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Lemon, juiced
3 drops Louisiana Hot Sauce

Heat oven to 175 ℉.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter starts to bubble, sauté the filets, turning once, until cooked to your desired degree of doneness. Remove the filets and keep warm in oven. Add the garlic, onion, celery, parsley, salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and hot sauce. Bring to a low boil and simmer until the sauce is thickened somewhat. Return the filets to the pan and cook in the sauce for about 30 seconds. Remove the filets to a serving platter and pour the sauce over them.

This is probably the fanciest steaks that you can eat. Steak au Poivre, in French, is translated Pepper Steak. Most often, this is done with a Filet but other cuts of steaks work well with the sauce. Some recipes have the crackers peppercorns used as a coating for the steak. I like to put them in the sauce. That way, you can have as much or as little pepper with your steak.

Steak av Poivre

4 Filet Mignons, 7 to 10 ounces each
Creole Seasoning to taste
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 teaspoon Garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Brandy or Apple Cider or Juice
1 tablespoon Cracked Black Peppercorns
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Preheat oven to 175℉.

Lightly season the filets with Creole Seasoning. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and turn the pan to distribute and melt the butter quickly. Put the steaks into the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes per side, for medium rare. If the steaks are thick, cook them on the sides as well as their faces. Remove the steaks from the pan and keep them warm in the oven. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until it is just beginning to brown. Add the brandy or apple cider to the pan and bring to a boil. (Be careful; the brandy might catch on fire, which is alright for the flavor for the dish but it can be dangerous). Use the brandy and a spoon to dislodge and dissolve the browned bits of meat in the skillet. Add the cream and the peppercorns. Bring to a light boil and cook, agitating the pan to mix the ingredients 3 to 5 minutes, or until reduces by 1/3. Place the steaks on warm plates and spoon on the sauce.

While all of these preparations are great with any cut of steak, the filet is even more impressive when served fancy.

One last cookout for great Labor Day

Labor Day is the unofficial last day of Summer. For many across the country, school starts on the Tuesday after Labor Day. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, became a federal holiday in 1894. This long weekend is a great opportunity for one last cookout. Here are a few recipes great for your Labor Day blowout.

Flank Steak is a cut of meat often eaten in Arkansas. It is most often used in Mexican restaurants for steak fajitas. This long flat cut is also known as London Broil. The key to a tender flank steak is to make sure you cut it across the grain. The grain is the direction the muscle fibers run. Look at the steak before you marinade it to determine the direction of the grain.

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

2 pound Flank Steak
1 cup Cooking Sherry or Red Wine
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 tablespoons Salt Free Creole Seasoning
2 tablespoons Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Put the flank steak in a large ziplock plastic bag. Whisk the sherry, soy sauce, brown sugar, Creole Seasoning, garlic, tomato paste, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the bag and seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 24 hours.

Preheat your gas or charcoal grill. Allow the surface to get nice and hot.

Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Grill the steak for about 6 minutes on each side for rare. Increase the cook time for other doneness. White it cooks, pour the marinade into a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

Cut the steak across the grain into thin diagonal slices, and serve with the sauce on the side.

I love to cook fish on the grill. Fish lends itself to different marinades and sauces. As I say in the recipe, make sure that the grill is hot, hot hot or the fish will stick to the grill. If you want, you can spray the grill with oil before heating to help prevent sticking. Great substitutes for redfish are Catfish, Cod, Grouper and Salmon.

Grilled Redfish with Rosemary Lemon Sauce

2 pounds Redfish
3 Lemons
4 tablespoons fresh Rosemary, coarsely chopped
1/2 tablespoon Salt Free Creole Seasoning
2 teaspoons Cracked Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Garlic, minced
4 cups Cooking White Wine
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Zest the lemons, then juice them. In a large bowl, combine lemon zest and juice with the rosemary, Creole Seasoning, pepper, garlic, wine and olive oil. Mix together and add the fish. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the grill. Allow the cooking service to get nice and hot. This is especially important for fish. If the grill is not hot, hot, hot, the fish will stick and fall apart. If you are using a fish grilling basket, make sure the basket is hot before adding the fish. Grill fish 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from grill. Heat remaining marinade, simmer for 2 minutes, skim the top and pour over the fish before serving.

Every great meal deserves a great dessert. This parfait is perfect for a cookout. It is made to be assembled then stored in the refrigerator until serving. If you wish, you can substitute the white chocolate for dark or milk chocolate.

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Whipped Parfaits

1 cup cold Heavy Whipping Cream
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
3 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tablespoons Milk
1 block White Chocolate, grated

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Set aside. Mix cream cheese, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and milk together until fully combined. Reserve enough whipped cream for topping. Add the remaining whipped cream to cream cheese mixture and slowly mix until combined.

Spoon mixture into mini glass serving dishes. Top with whipped cream and grated white chocolate. Refrigerate until serving. For a twist, fresh strawberries or raspberries make a great topping. Put those between the cheesecake mixture and whipped cream.

Although Labor Day is the unofficial end of Summer, the weather is still warm enough for a few months to continue to have a cookout. These recipes are great any time of year.

Key Lime

Summertime is when most people take vacations. One of my favorite vacation destinations is Key West. You can not think of Key West without thinking of the Key Lime.

The Key Lime is smaller than the traditional lime. It also has a stronger acidity and aroma, which gives it the unique flavor that it has. Key limes are not often found locally. However, there is a great product you can use in its place.

Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime Juice can be found in local grocery stores. This Key Lime Juice got its start being bottled on the tiny island of Key West. It can easily pass for freshly squeezed juice. It’s a perfect ingredient to add a Key West flair to your dishes.

This is the first thing that you think of when you hear Key Lime. It is a simple dessert to make. I can’t think of a more refreshing way to end a wonderful summer meal.

Key Lime Pie

1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 cup Sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) Butter, melted
2 cans (14 ounce) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup Key Lime Juice
2 large Eggs
1 cup Sour Cream
2 tablespoons Powdered Sugar
1 tablespoon Lime Zest

Preheat oven to 375℉.

In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

Lower the oven temperature to 325℉.

In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. Sprinkle the lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled.

This is a great dessert for any dinner party. The addition of the strawberries and kiwi makes for a great presentation. This dish is a wonderful ending to any meal from a back yard cookout to a 5 course meal.

Key Lime Parfait

1 can (14 ounce) Sweetened Condensed Milk
4 Egg Yolks
4 Ounces Key Lime Juice
8 ounces Pound Cake
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Powdered Sugar
6 whole Strawberries
1 Kiwi, peeled, sliced in 6 slices

In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, combine milk and egg yolks and blend at low speed. Slowly add lime juice and continue mixing until well blended. Slice pound cake into 1-inch slices and cut to fit inside of a stemmed glass. Pour Key Lime filling over pound cake and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Whip heavy cream with powdered sugar and top each glass. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a slice of kiwi. Serve.

Cheesecake is a dessert that has always been a favorite in my family. I thought that I would combine the tart Key Lime Juice with the creaminess of cheesecake. It was a hit. I know you will enjoy it too.

Key Lime Cheesecake

2 cups Graham cracker Crumbs
1 1/2 cups Sugar, divided
1/2 cup Butter, melted
24 ounces Cream Creese, softened
6 Eggs, separated
1 cup Sour Cream
1 1/4 teaspoons Lime Zest
1/2 cup Key Lime Juice

Preheat oven to 350℉.

Combine crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter in a small bowl. Mix well. Press mixture in the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a buttered springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool in pan.

Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1 1/4 cups sugar. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in sour cream, lime zest and lime juice. In another bowl, beat egg whites into stiff peaks. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Pour batter into prepared curst. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn oven off. Partially open oven door. Let cheesecake cool in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately run knife around the edge of pan to release sides. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cover and chill for 8 hours before serving.

The next time you are planning a summer meal, thing about including Key Lime Juice in your dishes. It will bring a little part of the Keys to your home.