Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Filet Mignon Dinner: Step 3a Bearnaise sauce

First you make an Hollandaise and then you put in tarragon, vinegar, shallots, chervil and you are done.

Here's how I do it. I melt 3/4 lb of butter in the microwave with tarragon, vinegar, shallots, chervil. Add rice wine vinegar to the mix, 1 tsp. You can clarify your butter. I don't. You may add lemon, 1 tsp, or you may use 2 tsp vinegar. I use about 1/2 a shallot, a couple of springs of fresh tarragon, and some chervil. (Using the microwave is quick and dirty but it comes out great.)

Next, I take 5 egg yolks and scramble them in a pan above a bain marie, a pot of hot water. Get the water boiling, turn it off, and whisk the yolks to warm them on the bain marie. Strain the butter. Then before you get scrambled eggs, you must start adding the butter and other liquids.

Heat the yolks above 160. My rule of thumb is I want to be able to touch the pan I am using to make the sauce. If it gets too hot, take it off the bain marie. However, if you turn the bain marie off and never turn it on again, you wont have a problem.

Slowly add the butter to the yolk while whisking. You don't have to go as slowly as when making mayonnaise but don't rush it or the emulsion will break. Don't over heat or you'll be scrambled eggs and the emulsion will break.

Finally, I season with white pepper finely ground and Fleur de Sel, sea salt from Brittany. Or you can use Sel Marin de Guerande, which is grey but only lightly grey. I try not to add something that will discolor the sauce.

Then, what I do, is put it on my stove ledge with a pot holder underneath to keep it warm. I'll thicken even more and you have to whisk it before serving. Voila, you have a sauce béarnaise. An easy to make one, to boot.


Filet Mignon Dinner: Step 3 the main course, yum

Next we need to make the steak, the asparagus and the potato. Comfort food all the way.

First wash the potatoes and wrap in foil and put in a 400 degree over for at least 1 1/2 hours. Next, we need to wash and cut the filets. If you have the precut, wash the little buggers and pat them dry. Season with black pepper and with Alder smoked sea salt.

Cut the bacon into thin slices. I highly recommend Benton's Hams for bacon and country ham. Tell Allan Benton, Mark from the Greenville Arms sent you.

I preheat the bacon for 2-3 minutes in the microwave, well wrapped in paper towels, to get it to start crisping while remaining supple enough to wrap. Take the bacon from the microwave and wrap around the circumference of the meat. Hold in place with a skewer.

Put on a barbecue and cook to desired doneness, say, medium rare.

While that is going on, boil water. Once boiling, turn off and put the pencil asparagus in. We'll cook that for 15 minutes before straining and plating.

Now we unwrap the potatoes. If they are small, you can just plate and cut a slit in top. However, because our diners don't eat a lot, when the potatoes are big, I bifurcate them the long way, cut a plus sign in the top and put the two long ends together to simulate a whole potato.

Now we plate and sauce.

Serve and eat. Yum. Yup. That's me wearing my bakers hat.

For more complicated, challenging and fun recipes, see Innsane. That link is the InnSane recipe search link. I didn't put tags on that blog. Sorry. You'll have to wade through a bunch of stuff. But it is worth it.


Filet Mignon Dinner: Step 2 Salad

Here is a great vinaigrette.

1 cup EVO
1/4 cup soy (secret ingredient, shhh, don't let Flay find out.)
1/8 cup red wine vinegar (or use rice wine vinegar.)
Lots o' minced garlic, 1/8 at least.
Smoked Sea Salt (You see a theme here?)
Black Pepper, freshly cracked

Whisk like the dickens and then put a little on mixed greens with some arugula in it. I like about 1/4 arugula to 3/4 mixed greens. You could just use torn romaine. You taste. Sure, go ahead, make some croutons. Live a little.

Toss and plate in a nice big stack. Put some plain leaves on top or maybe some tuile or croutons. Or how about a tomato?


Filet Mignon Dinner: Step 1 My Kaiser Roll Recipe

I am making another one of my comfort food dishes for tonight. It's the bacon wrapped filet with asparagus and baked potato with Bernaise. I know. It sounds pedestrian but it's very good and it is comforting. These rolls make it perfect.

Preheat the over with a pan in it to 400F.

33 oz AP flour
1 oz Carnation Malted Milk Powder (optional)
12 oz hot water, I like to microware the water for 1 minute
0.5 oz smoked sea salt. I like hickory or alder wood. See Savory Spice to buy it.
1 packet of yeast. (I used approximately 1 packet though I buy my yeast in bulk and weigh it. I thought this would be easier for everyone.)
1 oz olive oil
0.5 oz of sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten

Since I have a huge mixer, 20 quart, I just put the above into the mixer and let the dough hook mix all of it together. And add the two eggs as it mixes. Add the eggs in slowly. If you want to do this by hand, then you have to mix all the dry ingredients together and create a well in the flour and pour the hot water and olive oil into the well and stir the eggs in one at a time and then need.

Kneed for 10 minutes or until the ball of dough is smooth using a dough hook.

Let rise for 1 hour. Punch down and then let rise for 30 minutes. Punch down again and roll out just as you would do for the bao.

Next cut and weigh, adjusting. I like to cut the rolls into 3 oz and 4 oz portions.

The 3 oz portions I use white poppy seeds for and the 4 oz portions, I use blue poppy seeds. The blue poppy seeds make this look like a New York hard roll. Traditionally, I understand, Kaiser rolls are smaller than what I've instructed you to make here.

Next you must take the cut pieces, roll them into round balls, I like using the knuckle approach for this. Make your hand into a fist and then use your first finger knuckle to shape into a ball.

Next flatten with the palm of your hand. Then fold the bread inward into the center, about 1/3 of the way, and then creating 5 corners, fold each of the five corners into the center, punching down each time. Finally, on the last fold, having folded all the dough into the middle, punch down again hard, just like in the filled bao. NB: I have steal tables and done need to flour the surface. You may flour if you wish.

Put these face down onto a sheet pan with the correct poppy seed and let rise for about 30 mins. What I like to do is flip them 5 minutes before they are done rising and let them rest. This way, if the deflate a little, the roll will have time to recover. Be very careful when you flip them.

Five minutes before you put the rolls into the oven, pour a cup of water into the pan. Cook for 10 minutes. I rotate them in my oven and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the roll and where they are in the oven. Take out when evenly browned.

This was the first time I had more pictures than words in a post. Wow. Enjoy the pictures.