Are you looking for a decadent dessert? Maybe for a dinner party, or maybe for Easter? Search no more. I have come to bring you what you are looking for. I was headed to a dinner at our friends’ house not too long ago, and my task was dessert. I am not much of a baker and I often struggle with desserts (although I sure do love to eat them!). My daughter, the baker in the house, was gone for the day, so no help there. I couldn’t decide what to make, but actually had a whole day to create, so I decided to make two desserts (it is just in my nature). I chose this Key Lime Cheesecake from Crazy for Crust as well as Churro Cupcakes (don’t worry- that will be a post for another day…)….
I’ve spent the better part of the last week in the beautiful Arizona desert (seriously, the desert is gorgeous – especially in spring when everything is blooming!) and it has definitely colored my picks for this week’s installment of Good (Food) Reads. I know St. Patrick’s day is just a few days away and I should probably be posting green cocktails, Guinness cupcakes, and corned beef recipes, but it is to think about other things when you’re surrounded by great tamales, prickly pear lemonade, and (just being honest) In-and-Out Burger. With that in mind, here are this week’s Good (Food) Reads. Enjoy!
Let’s get the shame out of the way first, shall we? I’m not much of a fast food gal, but when I’m in AZ, I always stop at In-and-Out Burger for a cheeseburger animal-style with extra crispy fries. Yum. If you’re not familiar with the not-so-secret-secret menu at In-and-Out, here’s a little cheat sheet to help you on your next visit….
Over 70 degrees here in Minneapolis yesterday, which as most of you know, is unheard of early in March here in the frozen tundra! For all of us here in the Midwest, shedding our layers, basking in the sunshine, out reconnecting with our neighbors as everyone comes into the great outdoors, we are needing to shift our menus. We find ourselves moving away from the heavy of the winter and towards the bright colors and textures of the spring. For me, one of those “welcome to spring” foods is orzo….
My Grandma Dotty, whom I call Bestemor (the Norwegian word for Grandma), is the most amazing cook. I consider many of her recipes to be the tastes of my childhood. Her brown bread with raisins is one of my favorite things in the world. This recipe for Rhubarb Muffins comes from her as well, adapted from the muffins served for years at the drugstore cafe (yes, that was a thing!) in the sweet little town where she lives….
March, to me, is somewhat of a culinary gray zone. It’s not quite spring, but the cozy comfort foods of winter are starting to feel a little old. I’m craving fresh fruits and vegetables, bright greens, and crisp outdoor dining. Thanks to el nino, we’ve had an incredibly mild winter here in the great midwest and yesterday was an absolute treasure – 70 degrees and sunny! Now we just need the produce to catch up. Bring on the asparagus, pea greens, and early strawberries! And on that (heavily optimistic) note, here are our Good (Food) Reads for your Wednesday:
Are you a radish fan? I feel like they can be a divisive vegetable. I love them – especially raw, with fresh butter and sea salt on top. My dad eats them on buttered bread. Epicurious takes on That Time a Facebook Fan Changed Our Minds About Radishes. …
I was once afraid of making fish. Very, very afraid of making fish. I was even afraid of buying fish (unless at a restaurant of course)! It seemed like such a mystery! But then my daughter, who was a super picky eater, starting ordering salmon in restaurants (She was about 6, and shunned most kid foods) I cannot count the number of strange looks we got from waitstaff. As you can imagine, this got expensive fast. At about the same time I bought a cookbook (sense a recurring theme here?) that had a salmon orzo salad in it that looked amazing. This was all happening around the time that I was just learning to cook and I have to admit, I was initially at a loss. But all roads pointed to learning to cook salmon at home, so that is what I did….
So here in snowy Minnesota, we are enjoying a crazy awesome winter. Sunny, way warmer than usual, and as of today, only a tiny bit of snow on the ground! I can’t remember a winter that has been this mild, well…ever. I have to say all of this very mild weather has kept my mood from heading to despair (although I love living in a place that has 4 seasons- there is truly nothing like watching the snow fall from a window- I have little to no interest in actually spending time out in the cold…and trust me, I’ve sure tried to be interested). At this point of the winter I frequently need rescuing. Even though this winter has has been relatively mild, I’m still ecstatic that spring is on its way. Longer days, daylight when I wake up, birds chirping outside, and egg salad….
It’s hard to believe it’s already Wednesday and time for another Good (Food) Reads, a short collection of food stories we’re loving. We had a glimpse of spring this past weekend (yes!) and while the temperatures have dipped back firmly into winter, it’s got me excited about what’s to come. I’m starting to see fresh asparagus pop up at grocery stores and I’m so ready for new fruits and vegetables to join them!
One of the very first books I got when I first started cooking was Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess. At the time, Nigella wasn’t yet a household name here in the U.S. I used to watch her first show, Nigella Bites, on Style Network (does that even exist anymore?!?). I loved the glimpses into London life and her quirky British sensibilities. She was unabashedly in love with food and it made me want to cook everything she did! One of my favorite recipes from those early days – one that I still make today – is for Molten Chocolate Babycakes. In the book, she refers to them as “the acceptable face of culinary cute” and I couldn’t agree more. They are however, also absolutely delicious….
Course number 4 of our epic dinner party featured Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin Crostini. This may be my favorite of all of the courses, although I must admit, with this particular dinner menu the competition is fierce. This is not a recipe for your vegetarian friends. This is not a recipe for your spice adverse friends. This is definitely a great crowd pleasing recipe for everyone else!
I developed this appetizer recently, based on a recipe I found in a cookbook. This cookbook was one that that I bought on a whim at Costco-Valerie Bertinelli’s “One Dish at a Time“. That title is super funny to those of us who grew up watching the sitcom “One Day at a Time” (1975-1984) which starred Valerie Bertinelli (and if you haven’t seen it, you should look it up-for the hair alone). For those of you who are a little younger than me, you may know Valerie Bertinelli as the wife (1981-2007), now ex-wife, of Van Halen frontman, Eddie Van Halen. And if you are even younger than that, you would probably remember her for her stint as a Jenny Craig spokeswoman. For all of her fame on TV, I never knew she could cook. I mostly bought the book for the pictures (does anyone else do that, or it just me?). Sometimes impulsive buys are great buys, because so far what I’ve tried out of this book, proves it…this gal can cook.
This appetizer is based off of her Peppered Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce which I have made again and again for special occasions (for instance, girls’ weekend at the cabin). It has never let me down, and is actually pretty simple. The horseradish sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The beef can actually be prepared a day in advance as well, and allowing the meat to sit in the spicy rub only makes it better! Although I surely love when I can serve this as the main course, unfortunately 8 total dinner guests makes this cost prohibitive to serve as an entree. I knew I wanted to serve it though-voila-the crostini was born! I make my horseradish sauce a little spicier and have added some peppery arugula and crunchy french bread to make it into an appetizer instead of a meal. Definitely worth trying for your next party, or your next date night in, or just because you think it looks delicious!
Try it-and then let us know what you think!
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 6 Tablespoons peppercorns (you can use mixed or just black)
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoons butter (unsalted, at room temperature)
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1-2 pound piece of beef tenderloin
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 loaves of french bread
- Combine the sour cream, mustard and horseradish in a small bowl until smooth.
- Transfer into a refrigerator safe jar or container-this can be refrigerated up to two days ahead-and it really does make the flavors better.
- Grind the peppercorns (I use a cheap coffee grinder that I have designated for spices only) until coarse.
- Combine the coarsely ground peppercorns, salt, mustard, butter and parsley until well mixed.
- Rub the tenderloin with the spiced butter, coating completely-use all of the butter mixture.
- At this point you can wrap in plastic and refrigerate-up to 1 day-or go to the next step.
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- If you have refrigerated your beef, take it out and allow it to warm to room temperature.
- Place beef in a shallow baking pan (I use a small rectangular pyrex baking pan, you can also use a rack in your pan if you have one, but I have not found this necessary).
- Roast at 450ºF for 25-30 minutes, until your meat thermometer registers 130ºF (for medium rare).
- While tenderloin is roasting, thinly slice french bread and lay flat on a baking sheet or jelly roll pain.
- When tenderloin is done, take out of oven and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes.
- Slice beef thinly with a very sharp knife.
- Turn oven to broil.
- Place bread in oven on broil for 1-2 minutes, watching very closely to ensure bread does not start to burn.
- Allow bread to cool slightly.
- Spread horseradish sauce (made previously) on bread.
- Place arugula on top of sauce
- Place a thin slice of beef tenderloin on top of arugula
- If you are like me and love your sauces, you can place an additional dollop of sauce on the top.
- Serve and enjoy