Saturday, December 31, 2011

Going Out With a Bang...

...and not the good kind. More like the gruesome, I just got someone's brains in my mouth kind. Okay, that may be a bit extreme. The meal I made for dinner tonight was bad. Really bad.

Once again, my kitchen has exploded. This time, the results were not worth it. Definitely. Not. Worth. It. Oh, Ellie, no one is going to believe me that there are good recipes in your book. This one was especially foul, despite it's delicious title: Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary and Chocolate (pg 180). I used eye round instead of tenderloin, because tenderloin was too expensive, post-Santa. I'm glad I swapped meats, because I would have been furious if I had a tenderloin and cooked it to 140, which was her recommendation for medium-rare. I removed this at 115, and it was medium. For a roast beef, I can accept that. For a tenderloin, I would have flipped out.
I didn't defile the meat with sauce. You'll have to use your imagination.
I'm straying from the point. The meat is only seasoned with salt and pepper, so the interest of this dish is in the sauce. The horrible, horrible sauce. Standard broth vegetables are cooked for a few minutes, then wine, beef broth, and tomato paste are added. It boils for 40 minutes, then is strained, at which point you stir in rosemary and cocoa powder. It tasted like dirt. Literally.

Conclusion: Hated it, obviously. 

To accompany this travesty, I made something I'd had my eye on that I didn't get around to from Perfect Vegetables: Sauteed Tender Greens with Caramelized Onions and Dried Apricots (pg 141). I picked up irresistably beautiful swiss chard at the farmer's market today, and instantly thought of this dish. I also picked up these radishes at the market, because my sense of humor is that of a 12 year old boy, and I could not stop laughing when I saw this...
In case you can't read the sticker, it says "Red Rocket Radishes." Hee. Heehee.
 Anyone know what to do with radishes? Ellie has a few salads with them, which I probably would never try if not for this impulse purchase. I don't even like radishes. What was I thinking? HA!

As far as the swiss chard goes, all I'm going to say is that dried apricots, garlic onion, and anchovy paste are not flavors that mesh. Hated it.

Fortunately, we ended the night with my not-quite-on-Christmas-Plum-Pudding. This was not all that different from my Mom's fruit cake, which is not a complaint. I love my Mom's fruit cake. Fruit cake gets a bad rap. If it's made with real dried fruit, as opposed to that citron crap, and it's brandy-soaked and moist, it's awesome. I like that the pudding is served warm, with boozy hard sauce melting all over it, but otherwise, I'm not sure it's worth the difference in effort between baking a fruit cake vs. steaming a plum pudding for four hours, and then steaming it again for 1.5 hours before serving.
I may not make this again, but I'm glad I made it once, especially because I had no clue what a plum pudding really was until now. The problem now is that there is SO much left.
A little of this stuff goes a long way. If anyone wants to hop a flight to Corpus Christi to try some, I can guarantee you it'll still be here when you arrive.

The other night, with Dorie's cauliflower, I made Ellie's Roasted Pork Loin (pg 198 of The Food You Crave). Full confession: I've made this recipe many, many times before. Make paste out of garlic and salt, then mix in olive oil, sage, rosemary, thyme, and pepper, then rub into the meat and cook. Easy and delicious. 
Conclusion: Love it, time and again.

I hope you all had a wonderful New Years, and that your 2012 is full of adventurous cooking and satisfying eating.


  1. Oh no, but at least you are keeping a sense of humor about it. Thing may not always be rainbow and butterflies in the kitchen, but as long as we can laugh at ourselves, it's not all bad :-)

    That chocolate sauce does sound a bit horrific - bad Ellie...

  2. Regarding the radish purchase - I think its pretty clear what you were thinking! Pud looks yum. Chocolate sauce sounds revolting. U am going to steal that pork rub. Easy and sounds awesome

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  3. Beef tenderloin with rosemary and chocolate? Sounds intriguing and tasty!

  4. re: radishes- try roasting them whole with olive oil and sea salt 375º for about 20 minutes.

  5. Oh dear, so sorry to hear that your meal didn't work out. I guess we all have those days in the kitchen, annoying isn't it!

    Hoping that 2012 brings you many tasty dishes to make up for this one!

  6. Wow! Someone's brains in my mouth ... not a flavor I am keen on experiencing!! As for radishes - thinly sliced, they are often used on Mexican tacos (soft corn tortillas, pulled pork or chicken, fresh guacamole, tomatoes, lime, cilantro, radish, oh god yum) or with really good sweet cream butter and sea salt. So good!!!

  7. I grew up eating radishes cut up and tossed into cottage cheese with some salt and pepper or some green onion. To date my siblings and mom are the only people I have seen do this but it's such a great healthy snack.