It was our time to celebrate. Was this warranted during one of the darkest days of the year during a pandemic? “Yes,” I say, choosing optimism, knowing that tomorrow the sun will share its light for another three minutes.
My wife, Laurie Anderson, and I procured two fine tenderloin steaks as a treat for dinner. We paired the meal with potatoes and carrots on the side, a bottle of cabernet sauvignon and a plumb tart for dessert. The meal was quick to prepare but satisfying.
We have been in love for 42 years. Like a bottle of fine wine, grace evolves. And like any preparation, some days you miss. But determination carries one forward. Bonds meld like cream and wine, reduced to a happy bubble. Loyalty, kindness and affection carry the day, the seasons and the passing years.
- Two tenderloin steaks
- 4 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of finely-diced parsley and thyme
- Cracked pepper and smoked sea salt to taste
- ½ pound of wild mushrooms
- ½ tablespoon of freshly grated garlic
- 2 ounces of blue cheese
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of red wine
- 4 tablespoons of rye whiskey or bourbon
- ½ cup of heavy cream
- A pat of butter
Wipe the two steaks with virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt, cracked pepper and a smattering of the herbs. Dried thyme will work in a pinch. Be generous with the pepper. Rub the ingredients into the meat. Rest the steaks for at least 10 minutes, then place into a hot cast-iron skillet.
Sauté the fillets until both sides color — or better yet, mark them on a grill. Place the pan with the steaks into the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit after covering the top side of the meat with the cheese and the mushrooms. Bake until the center temperature reads 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pull the steaks out of the oven, then let the steaks rest for a couple of minutes. In the skillet, reduce the pan drippings after adding a healthy splash of rye whiskey or bourbon, heavy cream and a pat of butter. Stand back when the liquor ignites. Reduce the sauce by half and pour immediately over the steaks.
The steaks pair well with potatoes and carrots. To make the side dish, par-boil potatoes, carrots and parsnips. Drain and sauté in two skillets, separating the potatoes, until golden-brown. Add a bit of olive oil and butter. Add chopped herbs to the potatoes — a 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric, salt and pepper to taste. Or finish the spuds with some basil pesto. At the last minute, toss the vegetables with a tablespoon of good virgin olive oil, then salt. A tiny bit of honey is optional but pleasant. Fine chopped parsley is a common garnish. Pesto is nice too, if you didn’t use it on the spuds.