Monday, December 31, 2007

Spicy Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Yes, Ladies and Gents, that was the main item on our New Years' menu. I started with some Crab Rangoon, then dinner was the grilled tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cottage cheese. Dessert was mint chip ice cream cake.

The crab rangoon (sorry no picture) turned out fabulous again. We used our new deep fryer and it was MUCH MUCH easier than last time I made them.

Crab Rangoon

3 oz cream cheese
2 green onion, finely chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup minced imitation crab meat
approx 16 wonton wrappers

Mix first 4 ingredients. Spoon 1 1/2 tsp of this mixture into the center of the wonton wrapper and fold to form a triangle. Seal the seam with a bit of water on your finger. Fry at 375. You'll need to flip them, so keep a close eye on them.


The Spicy Grilled Beef Tenderloin recipe comes courtesy of the Food Network. I was searching a cookbook at Walmart while I was shopping since I couldn't find the cut of meat I wanted and I found this one. I wrote the recipe in shorthand on my list and off I went. Of course, I promptly lost the list upon checking out. I am SO glad that the Food Network posts their recipes online!! We had Adam and Kelly here for dinner tonight and this was a hit with all of us (even me!!). Tim was leary about it when he saw me preparing the tomatoes, but quickly came around when it was plated to serve. He said it reminded him of the Greek diners on Long Island. Adam said something about a "taste sensation" or something. Yea, he liked it too. Next time, I think I'll make half the amount of cheesy tomato sauce for the same size chunk of meat, but it was really good!

Spicy Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Show: Food 911
Episode: Mexican Fiesta

4 pints cherry tomatoes (I couldn't find, so I used some that were a tiny bit smaller than a golf ball and cut them in half after they were cooked and they were too big. Really do need a small tomato here)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 serrano chili, sliced thin
1/2 bunch freshly chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 pound queso fresco or feta cheese, crumbled
1 (4-pound) beef tenderloin
Heat the broiler. Put the cherry tomatoes onto baking sheets, drizzle over some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Broil until the tomatoes burst, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow them to cool a bit. In a large bowl add about 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of 2 limes, onion, chili, chopped cilantro, cheese, and the tomatoes. Mix carefully to avoid breaking up the tomatoes too much. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat the grill or a grill pan to medium. Rub the meat with some olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper. Grill the tenderloin, browning it on all sides, until it is medium rare, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the meat to a cutting board, cover it with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Slice the meat thin, place it on a platter, and spoon on the cheesy tomato dressing. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and cilantro leaves.


For dessert, we had a simple ice cream cake. I used a whole package of regular Oreo cookies, crushed them and added some melted butter. About a stick and a half is good. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Top with a quart of softened mint chocolate chip ice cream and a small tub of cool whip. Drizzle chocolate syrup over or do like we did and grate some Andes mints over it. Freeze until ready to serve. VOILA!

Alrighty, there you have our New Years Dinner. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, December 10, 2007

I guess not....

See this?

That would be what happens when you try to make the Chocolate Mint Cookies posted below using Mint 3 Musketeers. They don't melt, even when you cover the pan to avoid heat loss or bake with them on there. Still taste ok, but not as pleasing as the Andes Mint baking chips. Another notch in my "not so hot" idea belt, I guess. Ah, well. At least the mint chips work. seriously, they are GOOOOOOOD cookies!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Are you a good cook?

I'm sure Tim will agree with this....we barely ever eat the same thing twice.

You Are a Creative Cook

Your cooking is unusual, inspired, and definitely one of a kind. People love your unique style, but you've had your share of kitchen flops.
You have the makings of a cult chef. You may not cook at the Four Seasons, but you could have your own little funky cafe in San Francisco!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies

Another blog I read, A Thousand Words, had a link to her new food blog, Jen's Bistro. On there the other day was a fabulous sounding recipe, Chocolate Chip Mint Cookies. Well, I love chocolate and I love mint, so thought I'd give them a try. After Riley and I cleaned up our mess from the sugar cookies, we made these. They are super simple since they start with a mix. OMG! Can you believe it?! I used a cake mix! AGHHHH!!!! lol! Anyway,

1 package Devil's Food Cake Mix
Mint chocolate (I used Andes Mint baking chips, mint 3 Musketeers would work, too)
2 eggs
1/2 C oil
1 C chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I used Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips)

Mix the cake mix, eggs and oil together. The batter will be really thick - I had to add a tablespoon of water to get it to mix together properly. Stir in the chocolate chips. Use two spoons to scoop lumps of the batter onto cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 F for about 7-8 minutes. The cookies will be soft and puffy when you remove them from the oven. Make sure you have your mint chocolate ready.

Once cookies come out of the oven place mint chocolate on each cookie, pressing it on slightly. (I just spooned some baking chips on using the spoon to press lightly) After a few minutes the chocolate will begin to melt. Swirl the melted chocolate lightly with something (I used a toothpick) and let cool. I warn you that it will be hard to let them cool! Riley and I put them in our outdoor refrigerator (AKA our garage) to cool for a bit, then brought them in to finish cooling on the cooling racks. We had to try a warmish gooey one. They are WAYYYYYYYY yummy! I'm pretty sure it's my new favorite cookie!

EDITED TO ADD: After they cooled, the mint got hard (I figured it would), so something like a mint 3 Musketeers would be good so it stays soft and gooey. Either way, they are AWESOME!


Cafe Jessica is now open for business! Ok, not really business, but I like to post recipes and about recipes, so here's where I'll do that. Today's find: AWESOME sugar cookies with PROFESSIONAL grade icing. I'm telling you: You know those expensive cookie boutiques? I have better cookies than that with the same bright, glossy icing! Here's the cookies:

1 1/2 C butter
2 C white sugar (don't use turbinado or cane sugar as the granules don't disappear into the batter and you'll still be able to see after they are baked)
4 eggs
1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla, lemon, rum, whatever)
5 C AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Cream sugar and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and
salt. Cover and chill. Then, roll out to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Tim likes them thicker so they are nice and soft (you'd be able to stick a stick in them if you did about 1/2" thick). Bake at 400 for 6-8 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Professional Grade Sugar Cookie Icing:
Stays glossy, gets hard but not too hard. Lovely for this!!

1 C powdered sugar
2 tsp milk (plus a little extra to get to the right consistency)
2 tsp corn syrup
1/4 tsp almond extract
PASTE food coloring (unless you don't want BRIGHT, BOLD colors)

Beat sugar and milk until smooth, then beat in syrup and extract. Add more milk if needed to get to the consistency you'd like for spreading and beat until glossy. Separate into containers and stir in food coloring.

This will set quickly, so keep covered if you aren't working with it.

See, so easy TJ and Riley can do it. :) The colors stay just as bright when they are dried/set!