It's Christmas morning. It's raining, a fire is crackling and I'm enjoying the aftermath of a lovely Christmas Eve dinner. All of my life, Christmas Eve has been celebrated "Bavarian Style" with all the traditional German cold cuts, sausages salads and side dishes. When my mother passed away in 2003, I wanted to start a new tradition by creating an annual Oktoberfest for our German heritage. That opened a window of opportunity for me to indulge in a new menu. Last year, it was prime rib. This year, I wanted to make beef tenderloin--with a bernaise sauce, potatoes au gratin, roasted asparagus and a spinach salad with bacon and a sweet dressing. I knew that I was putting my recent 20 pound weight loss at risk-- but it's Christmas!
The recipe that I settled on making was found in Cook's Illustrated. I paid $18.99 a pound at my local butcher shop for a beautiful cut of beef tenderloin. I did use a mixture of peppercorns and crushed them with a mortar and pestle, and kosher salt, and I'm glad that I did. I wrapped the tenderloin in plastic wrap for several hours and let it sit at room temperature for an hour. The searing of the tenderloin, gave a beautifully seasoned crust to the meat. Our family doesn't like meat to be blood rare (125F), but closer to a medium rare so I cooked it to abou 130F and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. The very end cuts were medium well (which my husband likes) and the center cut was a perfect medium rare.
NOTE: These photos were taken in my very early years of learning how to photograph food. I've since learned that flash photography isn't idea, and I have since discovered a macro lens-- hence, these aren't my best work, but hopefully you get the idea!
My brother made the bearnaise sauce, and he still makes the BEST hollandaise sauce on the planet. I did fine a recipe online, though.
Beef tenderloin is an expensive cut of meat, but it's so worth the price. I tallied that the quality of meal I served would have, easily, cost $75.00-$100 per person. The entire meal cost about $100.00 to make. I'll post the remainder of the recipes, later on. Right now, I'm headed to the kitchen to make oatmeal and some fresh squeezed orange juice. I'm sure that my cholesterol count when through the roof, last night. But, sometimes, you just need to indulge and enjoy. Christmas Eve with my family enjoying a fabulous meal is well worth it. The gym is open tomorrow!
I doubt I'll win any "food styling" awards for this photo. Asking my family to wait for me to photograph each dish wasn't possible. We were hungry and ready!
Technique (from Cook's Illustrated):
Preparing the Simple Beef Tenderloin
Removing the Silver Skin: Slip a knife under the silver skin, angle it slightly upward, and use a gentle back and forth motion to remove the silver skin. Discard the skin.
How to Tie a Roast: Wrap a piece of butcher's twine around the roast and fasten with a double knot. Snip off the excess and repeat down the length of the roast, spacing each tie about 1 1/2 inches apart. The knots should be snug but not tight.