Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Dinner

Tonight I will be making one of Deirdre's favorite meals: Tenderloin Deluxe. My sister Patricia shared this recipe with me a few years ago, and she got it from her mother-in-law. It is a very simple dish to make:

Tenderloin Deluxe
3lb beef tenderloin roast
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Dash of ground black pepper
1 cup cooking sherry

The meat should be left out, covered, at room temperature for 2-3 hours before roasting.

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spread the tenderloin with the softened butter. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
3. While the roast is cooking, saute the scallions in the remaining butter until tender. Add the soy sauce, mustard and pepper. Stir in the sherry and heat until just boiling.
4. After the roast has cooked for 20 minutes, pour the sauce over the roast and cook to desired doneness (125F for rare). Baste frequently.
5. Remove the roast at desired doneness and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Carve the roast into 1 inch slices and serve.

Side dishes will be tossed greens, and either rice or cous cous. I might also include a vegetable with the meal. The veggie I will prepare will be a game time decision. When Dee and I head out to pick up a few things for the meal, we will see what looks good.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Last night I shoveled my way to the grill and I fired it up for the first time in months. I used the pepper and garlic marinade that Lisa used the other day and to be honest, I was a little dubious. I was not certain that the marinade would improve the flavor of the steaks, but boy was I wrong! The steaks were nothing short of fantastic. For Sunday's dinner, we will be having leftovers. And wine. Lots of wine. And maybe some hugs.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Dee and I went to see our friend Amy at Art of the Table so we could select a bottle of wine forour upcoming New Year's Eve meal. I am making one of Deirdre's favorite recipes, Tenderloin Deluxe, which was given to my by my sister Patricia a few years ago. Amy pointed us to a bottle of 2002 Januik Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. I have never had the pleasure of tasting this wine, but Amy assured us that this would go perfectly with our meal.

We also picked up a bottle of Petite Syrah, a 2005 vintage from another winery I have never heard of, Clos Mimi Winery. We will enjoy the Syrah at some point over the course of the next few days. As Lisa directed us to do:

"Go forth and dine. Consume good food and splurge on good wine. Hug someone. Happy Weekend."

Who am I not to follow the order of the Czarina herself? Happy weekend to you all, too!

Fire up the grill!

Well, I am motivated to fire up our gas grill and cook a couple of steaks that have been sitting quietly in our freezer for a few weeks. I was checking up on the Marble and Mud blog and despite the frigid temps in the Valley of the Sun, Czarina Lisa braved the night temps to grill a couple of steaks using the Garlic and Pepper marinade listed in this group. I will need to shovel a few inches of snow from the patio to clear an access way to the grill, but that should not be an issue. At least I do not suffer from a fear of a "cauldron of invisible, flammable gases," which is something shared by more than one member of this group!

Here is the complete menu for tonight:

Garlic and Pepper Marinated NY Strip Steaks
Long Grain & Wild Rice
Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
Tossed Greens

The wine is TBD. Wife and I are heading to one of our favorite stores later today to purchase a bottle a bottle of wine for our New Year's Eve meal. Updates to follow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Dee and I enjoyed leftovers tonight. As some of you already know, we are having a minor plumbing problem, so our ability to use the dishwasher is limited. We are trying to use as few dishes as possible until we can get our plumber back to take care of the leak from dishwasher. Leftovers consisted of chuck roast, mashed potatoes, tossed greens and creamed spinach. All in all, it was a great meal!


I carefully monitored the temperature of the roast while it was, well, roasting, and I took it out of the oven when my Polder remote sensing thermometer reached 122F. In my experience, taking the roast out at 122F yields a perfect medium rare. Tonight's result was no different as the meat was warm and pink when I sliced into it, after I let it rest for about 12 minutes. While the meat was resting, I made the au jus, using a few cups of the beef stock I prepared the day before. I added about 1/2 a cup of red wine to deglaze the roasting pan, then I added the beef stock and reduced it for the au jus. I was quite pleased with the final result, as was Deirdre. Samson was quite pleased with the aromas coming from the oven because as soon as I took the roast out to rest, he immediately stood guard in front of the meat.

Today we were planning on having left overs, but the kitchen is not cooperating. This morning the sink would not drain and we discovered a problem with the drain line from the dishwasher. We are now waiting for our favorite plumber, Dave Terpstra to pay us a visit and correct this drain issue.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


A little after 4PM this afternoon I put our prime rib roast in the oven for our Christmas dinner. The recipe is actually remarkably simple. The real key to making this dish is beef stock. I made enough stock on Christmas Eve to make 4 more prime rib dinners, so it looks like I will be cooking a few more roasts this winter! I will be making a simple tossed greens salad and mashed potatoes. By keeping the side dishes simple the meat will be the center of this meal. I will be serving a bottle of 2004 Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon with the meat. Joyeaux Noel!

Monday, December 24, 2007


This morning I was busy in the kitchen. I had to make an apple pie for tonight's dinner with Bud & Barbara Lucas, and I had to make beef stock for the prime rib meal I will be cooking tomorrow. In stead of Braeburn apples from New Zealand, I used Michigan Macintosh apples for the pie. I had not seen Macintosh apples in a while, so when I noticed them at my local D&W supermarket, I grabbed them for the pie. The finished product can be seen to the right of this text.

To make a good au jus, you simply have to have beef stock. Nothing can really be substituted for beef stock. It is not hard to make, it just takes time. I started cooking the beef stock at 9AM and it will be done simmering around 3PM. The stock can be seen simmering to the left of this text. After it is done, I will strain the liquid and then store what I do not use tomorrow into plastic containers and freeze them. The stock freezes well, and I only will use about 2 cups to make the au jus. What this means is that I will have stock to use in a future prime rib meal.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday meal plans

I have conferred with Deirdre Ann and here is the plan for our upcoming meals:

Sunday, 23 December: Bourbon Marinated Chuck Roast
Monday, 24 December: Dinner with Bud & Barbara!
Tuesday, 25 December: Prime Rib au Jus
Wednesday 26 December: Leftovers

I slipped the chuck roast into a zip-lok bag this afternoon and the meat is quietly marinating in the fridge. I am looking forward to cooking this roast. In preparation for the prime rib meal, I will need to make beef stock either tomorrow or on the 24th. Our "Grand Rapids parents," Bud and Barbara Lucas invited us to have dinner with them on Christmas Eve. We are going to bring wine (Barbara told me that she is making a beef tenderloin), and I am going to make my famous Apple Pie for dessert.

Updates to follow as conditions warrant!

Friday Night's Dinner

OK, the bathroom project is now all but done. The electrician will come back on Monday and install the vent fan and the bathroom will be complete. Now that this project is done, I have started to cook again. I had two chicken breast in the freezer, so I decided to defrost them and make Chicken Provencale. I served this dish with some Garlic Herbed Cous Cous, and tossed greens with Caesar Dressing. Dee and I toasted the completion of the bathroom project with a bottle of 2005 Oratoire Domaine St. Martin, from the Cote du Rhone region of France. We purchased the wine at one of our favorite foodie haunts, Art of the Table. Once again I was able fill the kitchen with the aroma of chicken, onions, garlic and oregano. Dee was happy that I am cooking for her again. I think that her chi is starting to become right again.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Confessions of a Blogger...

OK, I started out strong with this blog and I intend to bring it up to speed, soon. However, I have not had much time to maintain this blog with all that is going on with our bathroom remodeling project. As soon as we get this project in the can (pun intended!) I will resume updating the Cafe's blog. Much to the disappointment of Deirdre, I have not been cooking much recently. That will all change soon!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Dinner in St. Charles!

Yesterday I drove to St. Charles, Illinois, where my oldest friend, Paul Belanger, lives with his lovely bride Sara and his three girls, Sarah Ann, Kathryn and Lauren. I came to Illinois to see visit with them as I had not seen them since I left Illinois last August. Later today I will head to Milwaukee from St. Charles to attend the Change of Command and Retirement Ceremony for Lieutenant Commander Chip Lutz, who is the CO of Navy Operational Support Center Milwaukee.
Of course, I could not visit St. Charles without making a little dinner here! Sara and I made Beef Tenderloins with a Port-Balsamic Vinegar reduction. I had not made this dish in a while but it turned out just great! I will add some photos from last night's event as soon as my computer will let my upload the images. For some reason my new machine is having issues transferring the files from my SD disk to the computer.

Friday, December 7, 2007

What's for dinner when the cook is away?

When we don't know what to eat, Paul calls it wild turkey surprise. The menu options tonight include bologna sandwich, pizza or a rice/pasta/corn/black bean and salsa combo.

Right now, a food replicator would be nice. Look for fabulous menu selections back next week!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Suddenly it is Thursday night...

I was recently chastised by a frequent reader of this blog for not keeping it current. The past two days have kept me busy, shifting my data files and applications from my old computer to my new one. Tonight, Deirdre had a photo shoot, so dinner was "10 Minute." Dee called me when she was on the way home from taking "happy snaps," so I placed an order for Hunan Beef, extra spicy with no green peppers, as well as a side order of Pot Stickers.

Tomorrow I am heading to Wisconsin, via St. Charles, Illinois. I will be spending the night with my good friends Paul and Sara, before I head to Milwaukee to attend the retirement ceremony for a friend. Dee will be on her own for a few nights, but not to worry. I stocked the fridge, so she will not starve. I will be back on Sunday. I am still thinking about that night's menu...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Monday Night's Dinner

I made a Cranberry and Pomegranate Marinated Pork Loin for dinner on Monday night. There was not much to making this dish as it came pre-marinated. I bought it at Sam's Club and it was easy to make. The pork roast is made by the kitchens of Paul Prudhomme and I highly recommend you give it a try, if you are a Sam's Club member! I cut the pork loin in half (it was a little over 3lbs!), gave the other half to Deirdre and she sealed it up and popped it in the freezer. I cooked the roast until the internal temperature was 165F, covered it with foil and allowed the meat to rest for 10 minutes or so before slicing it up. I was very impressed with how yummy and more importantly yummy the roast was. If you are a Sam's Club member, this is an easy dish to make!

Monday, December 3, 2007


I made Cilantro Chicken for dinner and I have to say that it turned out great! The first time I made this recipe, I did not use crushed tortilla chips as I forgot to buy a bag the day I made this dish. However, I used crushed chips and to be frank, they really did not add much to the dish. I will update the recipe and list the chips as an option. The crushed chips did not add anything to the meal, nor did it take anything away from it.

I served a bottle of 2007 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc with the meal and it was a perfect pairing.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I made the Pan Seared Filet with Cabernet Sauce for sinner last night and it was excellent. I buy most of my meat at Sam's Club, as there is not a traditional butcher shop here in GR. Unfortunately, the chain grocery stores drove the traditional small butcher shops out of business in this area a long time ago. I will admit that I have been quite happy with how it turned out. I served long grained wild rice and a mixed greens salad with dinner. We washed it down with a bottle of 2005 Veo Ultima Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. VEO is likely the Mondavi of Chile and is the largest private grower when measured by sheer vineyard acreage. After we finished our meal, we settled to watch the Red Wings beat the Coyotes in High Def. Life agrees with me!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Friday Night's Dinner

Dee and I woke up to our first significant snow fall on Friday morning. 3-4 inches of the fluffy white stuff was on the ground when we awoke. The roads were a little messy Friday morning, so I waited until the afternoon to go shopping for the ingredients I need for making the meals for the weekend. I had set the menus for the weekend, but by the time we approached cocktail hour Friday night, I felt like Chinese food. There is a great Chinese take out restaurant at the Breton Village Mall near our home, Grand Lakes Chinese Restaurant. This is a typical Chinese take out joint, were the man and woman who run the place speak to each other in Mandarin and then speak to you in English. Their menu is extensive and the meals we have picked up there have always been nothing short of fantastic. One recurring theme at Grand Lakes Chinese is that whenever we call or a take out order the voice on the other end of the phone tells us, "Your order will be ready in 10 minutes." Thus, Dee and I adopted the term for a meal from this restaurant as "10 Minute." Last night, we had "10 Minute" which was a euphemism for Hunan Beef, extra spicy, with Boiled Dumplings (also known as Pot Sticker) with Sesame Sauce. Dinner was great and my fortune cookie said, "You will set foot on the soils of many countries." Rather accurate, eh?

And yes, Hunan Beef goes down extremely well with Founders IPA!