Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Dinner

So as I wrote about in the previous post, I had little to do today so I decided to cook. On the menu today was filet mignon, shitake mushrooms, potato gratin, bordelaise sauce. I was inspired by the classic steak and potato combination that my parents enjoy a little too much. I went to my local farmer's market and got all the produce i needed, then to whole foods, because the meat vendor at the market was absent. I purchased two small tenderloin fillets and some Fage greek yogurt (Not for the dish, but I'm really into that stuff right now).

We then went to Genurdis (don't worry I don't get my stuff there) and while my mom shopped, I went to Borders and read Phoebe Damrosch's book Service Included, which is a great story about Phoebe's experience as a captain at Per Se.

When we got home I got right to work steeping some cream with sage and garlic, buttering a large baking pan, and peeling/slicing my potatoes, just like they taught me at Lacroix. I then gently overlapped each slice of potato to form a layer on the bottom of the pan. I then ladeled in a some cream, and sprinkled parmesan, mozerella, and gruyere cheese (heart attack waiting to happen). I did this with each layer until the potatoes were a bit above half the pan's height. I baked that at 315 for about an hour then put it under the broiler (under my close supervision) for about 10 minutes.

I made the Bordelaise sauce by reducing some red wine with shallots, garlic, carrots and some other fun stuff. I then poured in some veal stock and reduced it down to a sauce consistency. A topic that frequents the home cook's kitchen is the use of stock. I'm gonna be honest. I cheated today, and I feel quite guilty. I used store bought stock. Though Michael Ruhlman has done his best through his writing, to keep me away from this culinary atrocity, that container on the shelf, brand new and glistening, with no bones to blanch, no fat to skim, no time to wait, is quite tempting. Yes yes I know I should just use water instead, but I feel worse using water. I can't do it.

And that brings me back to my dish. After making the sauce, I seasoned my steaks, put them in a blazing hot pan, seared them on both sides, added and basted with a little butter, then put them in the oven for a few minutes while I sauteed the shitake mushrooms with a little butter.

I made a bed of shitakes, put the steaks on top, placed the gratin next to it, and put a little sauce on the side. Take a look!

I guess I was pretty proud of this dish. I liked that I had the steak and potatoes combination, and it tasted great, but I wasn't fully satisfied. I always have to be self critical of my dishes so that I can improve, but this one just wasn't that fulfilling. It lacked something. The ingredients didn't fully connect. Besides that, what really pissed me off was that I overcooked the steak. If my dish doesn't connect, no biggie. But when you overcook the steak, that's a problem. I knew it right when I took it out of the oven that I had left it in too long. It was more towards the medium well spectrum than the medium rare I had aimed for. Anyway, mistakes make u better, and my mom liked it anyway, but remember, she would like my food no matter what.

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