Thursday, January 15, 2009
This week's CEIMB selection, Beef Tenderloin with Chocolate and Rosemary, was chosen my one of my favorite people, Amanda of Beckett Bakes it. Amanda and I work at the same law firm -- she started as a junior associate in my practice group while I was on maternity leave with my third baby. I remember having the following conversation with my friend Heather shortly before returning to work:
C: So what's the deal with the new chick?
H: She's cool. She seems on the ball, too.
C: That's a relief.
Well, let me just tell you that Amanda has FAR surpassed her hype. She is one of the most all-around talented people I know. I might have to hire her to do my children's baby books for me, because she creates masterpiece scrapbooks, while my attempts at scrapbooking usually result in physical injury and a kindergarten-caliber cut & paste job. When we co-hosted a baby shower for Heather, who was expecting triplets, Amanda taught me how to make a diaper cake.
Three diaper cakes, actually. She was the creative force behind these; I was merely the grunt labor. I recruited my hubs, and together we rolled diapers every night for a week.
David: What are we doing again?
Me: Let's just keep rolling, honey.
My hubs is a completely modern man of the aughts, and a hands-on dad who has changed diapers from the beginning. But to fully understand the point of things like manipulating and assembling diapers so that they look like cakes and can serve as baby shower centerpieces, it helps not to have that Y chromosome.
Amanda is also a great lawyer, and really normal and fun to be around (what??? It can happen!), and therefore she is in hot demand at work. Sometimes I'll get worried about her because I'll know that she's done the assigned baking/cooking for one of the blogging groups she's in, but she won't post. And then I have to go looking for her to make sure that someone hasn't kidnapped her and locked her in a room with the Code of Federal Regulations. Usually it's not something quite that horrific, thankfully.
Well, you can add cooking and baking to the list of Amanda's talents, and she picked a great recipe, Beef Tenderloin with Chocolate and Rosemary, for CEIMB this week. Beef tenderloin, Amanda? I ate Ramen Noodles when I was an associate. Anyway, I ended up going with a sirloin because I could not find a small enough beef tenderloin, didn't have time to wait on the butcher, and didn't want to take out a second mortgage. And Ellie says that any old steak will do!
The sauce is made from a base of red wine, beef broth, tomato paste, shallots, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary and unsweetened cocoa (the rosemary and cocoa get added at the end). I put the sauce on David's steak before I added the cocoa, since he doesn't eat chocolate, and he really liked it. I was worried that my cocoa-ed up version would actually taste like chocolate (because it did initially smell like chocolate), but as Ellie promised, it did not. It just had a nice, rich, bold flavor that really complemented the sirloin nicely. My only beef with the sauce (bad pun fully intended) is that it took FOREVER to reduce. Even though Ellie says to make the sauce while the beef is cooking, I would start this sauce LONG before I started cooking the beef (particularly if making steaks), unless I wanted cold or way overdone beef for some strange reason.
I served this with baked potatoes and the green beans, mushroom and shallots recipe from Ellie's book.
The green beans were super easy and really delicious - definitely a keeper green bean recipe. I used pre-trimmed "microwave in the bag" green beans, which made it all the easier.
Amanda, thank you for picking a great recipe for us! I will definitely make this again. It really jazzes up a sirloin, and I can't even imagine what it would do to a tenderloin!