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Tasty Side to Life Tours Website

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Some Valentines Day Inspirations

I will be in Dublin, Ireland for Valentines Day so no cooking at home for me (maybe a glass of champagne on the plane?) but I think this recipe looks pretty tantalizing. I know chocolate, beef and rosemary sounds like a pretty odd combination but I think the flavors might create an amazing combination. If not, the richness of the soup shot and the crunchy outside and ever so soft and succulent inside of the potatoes daulphines will make up for it. If you have never had potatoes daulphines then you are in for a real treat. They are a much more seductive and fancy version of the American tadertot :)

For Valentines Day, I am definitely of the opinion that a home cooked meal is the best option b/c going out can be a little stressful and at times a tid bit too cheesy :)

Here are the recipes below:

Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary and Chocolate, Potatoes Daulphines and a Shot of Onion Soup ou le "plein couer: d'entrecote Black Angus avec Pommes Dauphines et soupe.

*Elle uses Beef Tenderloin below but I would use Filet Mignon or a nice cut if you can afford it *

This dish is based on a classic Italian recipe that calls for a touch of grated chocolate or cocoa to add complexity to a red wine sauce. The sauce doesn’t taste chocolatey; rather, it has a full-bodied, extraordinary flavor that you just can’t pin down. You can make this with any cut of roast beef or steak and the sauce can be prepared a day ahead.Serves six.

1 2-lb. beef tenderloin roast
1/4 tsp. table salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
4 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 Tbs. unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Season the meat with the salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tsp. of the oil over medium-high heat until good and hot, then add the meat and sear until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total.

Transfer the meat to a rack set on a baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 140°F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove it from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest until the sauce is nearly done before slicing.

While the meat cooks, make the sauce. Heat the remaining 2 tsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.

Add the wine and broth and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side with the sliced tenderloin.

From Book The Food You Crave, pp. 180

2 lbs.potatoes
4 T. butter
1/2 cup milk

For the choux pastry
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
6 eggs

Boil the potatoes till soft. Drain the potatoes and add the milk, butter, salt and pepper, mash till lumps are gone. Set aside.
In a pan heat the water, butter and salt till the butter melts. Bring to a boil then take off the stove. Add the flour at once, all of it and beat with a wooden spoon.
Continue beating till the flour dough starts to form a "ball". Let cool for just a minute tehn beat in two eggs, stirring to incorporate well then add the remaining eggs one at a time till it is glossy and falls from spoon. You may not need all of the eggs, so with the last egg inspect the choux first and if it is loose and shiny, don't add the last egg.
Now beat the choux into the mashed potatoes.
Heat the oil to 350*F. Drop the mixture (carefully) into the fat in small 1 1/2 inch size balls. Add only 4-6 at a time and cook, turning them as needed, till they are brown and golden. This will take about 5 minutes or less.
Drain on paper towels or brown paper bag. Keep in a warm (300*F ) oven until all are cooked. Keep them from touching each other to ensure crispness.


French Onion Soup Recipe-

*The key to this recipe is definitely the Vermouth so don't leave it out even if it might be a tid bit difficult to find*


  • 6 large red or yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups of beef stock, chicken stock, or a combination of the two (traditionally the soup is made with beef stock)
  • 1/2 cup of dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 slices of toasted French bread
  • 1 1/2 cups of grated Swiss Gruyere with a little grated Parmesan cheese


1 In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil on medium high heat until well browned, but not burned, about 30-40 minutes (or longer). Add the sugar about 10 minutes into the process to help with the carmelization.

2 Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock, vermouth or wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover partially and simmer until the flavors are well blended, about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaf.

3 To serve you can either use individual oven-proof soup bowls or one large casserole dish. Ladle the soup into the bowls or casserole dish. Cover with the toast and sprinkle with cheese. Put into the broiler for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the cheese bubbles and is slightly browned. Serve immediately. (For this step, if you are doing just shots of soup the flavor of the slow roasted onions will be enough and you don't need the cheesy crust).

Serves 4-6.


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