Sunday, February 6, 2011

"A Simple Little Valentines Dinner Party"

This is a LONG blog!
I came home from Atlanta yesterday and decided to throw a dinner party!  Well, I planned it at least a day in advance.  I wanted to do an early Valentines Dinner party for some very special friends of ours out here at the lake.  SO, get your multi-tasking skills ready because let me tell ya.  That's what a good ole dinner party takes.  Period.  I had the best time and it was fun hearing all the comments about the food!  
Especially the sprouts. (said with an echo) OH YUMMERS. (forgot to take pics of those though)
Here we go guys! WAIT (aren't you glad I'm not blogging about art?)
BUT, let me throw in, that the sale goes off tonight (right after the Commercial Bowl) so scroll down and let me know ASAP if you need want anything!!!
Anyway, let's start with the menu:

Beef Wellington
Sauteed brussels sprouts with a balsamic vinegar reduction
Fried mixed colored new potatoes
Arugula salad with berries and toasted almonds
Chocolate covered strawberries

This Beef Wellington recipe is one that I've used for years. (See how old the cookbook is?)
 Take about a 12" trimmed tenderloin and let's marinade it in 1 1/2 cups of dry red wine, a squeezed lemon and some freshly ground pepper for about 2 hours, turning once. (reserve the marinade)

 Look at these beauts.
 Now, part of Beef Wellington is, gulp, Pate de Foie Gras.  Well......out where I live, the market had none.  So, since I'm obsessive/compulsive and HAD to do it the right way, I made (sort of) my own.
Here's the recipe.
 Let me just tell you how I was gagging cooking chicken livers.  Seriously folks, I almost puked.
 In the meantime, make a few centerpieces
 and gently cook the brussels sprouts.  Don't cook em too long because you are going to saute them.
 Back to the gag,,,,,chicken livers.  After they're cooked stick em in a food processor.  Along with the other ingredients (you know the one on the recipe above?)
 with a stick of softened butter
 and all those spices, and mix away
 it was really, really, gulp,,,,,good.
 I love this part.
This is for the stuffing.
Chop up 1 1/2 cups of mushrooms in your food processor.
 Melt two tablespoons of butter
 throw in the chopped mushrooms
 and five chopped green onions.  Saute those until they become quite dry.
 Throw in 1/2 cup of Madeira wine....oh yummmmmmmmy
 then throw in 5 oz. of the Pate. and mix well
 Cover and stick in the fridge
 In the meantime drain the brussels sprouts.
 and cook the potatoes until soft
 Now we're gonna cook that beef.  Take it out of the marinade and dry it off.  Remember to reserve the marinade.
Take the trimmings that the butcher gave you.  Oops.  Forgot to tell you to tell the butcher to save the fat that he trims off.
Anyway, lay half of the suet (fat) on the dish
 then lay the tenderloin on top of the suet with the tail tucked under. (you're supposed to tie up that tail, but I didn't have any rope)  Add the other part of the suet on top of the beef.
Cook this at 350 for 30 minutes turning once.
 In the meantime, get that table ready!
 I used some velvet ribbon as napkin rings
 and brought out the fine china.
The "Tiffins" crystal was my grandmother's and my mom's.  I love it!
I decided to mix a little fancy with casual using my woven place mats and casual silverwear.
 back to the meat.  I'm I making you tired yet? wow, that looks good.
 Drain the taters.  One of our guest's said "what is this purple thing?" before he dared eat it.
 once they cool spritz them with a Misto and coat them really well with flour
 Now for the sauce for the Wellington.  Oh, this stuff is SO good,,,,period.
Drain some of the drippings off of the meat into a small sauce pan.
Add about a half a can of beef consumme.
 and about a cup of Madeira wine.
Thicken with cornstarch.
TIP:  Put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in about 1/2 cup of ICE cold water and blend it really well.
 Now for the strawberries
 Melt the chocolate using the directions (exactly like it says, trust me)

 Then just dip.  Mine didn't turn out that pretty, mainly because I'm not good at this and also, the strawberries were not that pretty.  BUT, they were good!
 On to a really yummy salad dressing.
a main ingredient.

 I use my magical "Magic Bullet" for my salad dressing.  If you are an infomercial nut like me, you have one too. If you don't have one, go now to Bed, Bath and Beyond and get one.  Seriously....
Chop 5 cloves of garlic and add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 cups of olive oil
 then a tablespoon of dijon mustard
 Mix it all up
 add a little worstershire
 and a splenda
 yummy.  TIP:  do not mix too long because the olive oil will emulsify and will become too thick.  If this happens add a little water.
 Back to the beef.  Take it out of the fridge and let it become room temp.  Also take the stuffing, (Pate and mushroom mixture) out of the fridge and let it become room temp.
Then spread it all over the beef.  I used my super clean hands
 Sit the beef on top of a ready made pie crust. Top down. 
Smooth the dough with a little water on your hands
 I added some hearts to mine!
and spread a beaten egg mixed with a little water over the entire peice.
Cook at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to 350 for 30 minutes.  
 Open your wine and let it breathe. 
 Let this beautiful dish sit for 20 minutes before serving
while thats sitting, Saute your brussels sprouts in olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.
Fry your potatoes in about a cup of olive oil until crispy.  Mix up a salad of arugula, raspberries, blueberries, and slivered almonds.
(Sorry, forgot to take pics :()
 and enjoy your friends

 HELP!!! I didn't have time to do anything with myself!  YIKESEEE~
 But it's okay, W and I had a wonderful time!
 With all of our "lovebirds" friends!!!

Whew!  my hands are tired from typing!
Have I totally blown you away?????
Have a wonderful Sunday y'all!
Go Commericals....oops, I mean Packers.


  1. I'm not surprised AT ALL that you whip up something like this, QUICKLY:) I remember the days (20 plus years ago) when you and "W" would have a cocktail party to go to and you'd go buy fabric and sew up an outfit for THAT NIGHT...all in a day! YUMMY looking meal and BEAUTIFUL table:))) And a cute Valentine couple:))

  2. Looks awesome!! We love Peju wine!

  3. That looks amazing!! I bet it was wonderful!

  4. I`m worn out I think i`m going to take a nap, & i was just reading what you DID!!! AWESOME!!! I`m not a bit surprised,it was beautiful... love to you!!! Aunt E

  5. You had me at brussel sprouts- lost me at chicken livers....
    looks yummers... xoxo

  6. Wow! Jeremiah was just talking today about how his favorite food is beef wellington...and I've never made it. Its just all seems too overwhelming! You've inspired me though. I have no idea how you took the time to not only do all that, but document it. I'm worn out just reading! Love the touch of the hearts :)

  7. Holy cow!!! I may have to go to bed after that. That's a lot of work!! :) I can't believe you did that for all of your sweet friends. Actually, I can because you're that sweet too!! I've missed your comments on my blog and loved seeing yours today! (I haven't commented at all either! oops!!) Have a good tuesday!