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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dinner, Aug. 8

In an attempt to have things to post more regularly, I think I'm going to branch into what's commonly known as "food porn." What's that? In a nutshell, pictures of food. Funny things don't happen to me every day, but I sure as heck eat every day. (It takes many calories to maintain this figure.)

So my inaugural food porn post is my dinner from last night. Behold...

Just what is that? A small beef tenderloin steak (filet mignon), seasoned with bell pepper and herb rub and pan-fried (to medium-rare, 3 minutes per side) served with steamed broccoli and some Kraft macaroni and cheese with a little freshly ground black pepper on the top. Normally, I would make potatoes to go with steak, but I didn't start dinner early enough and I had the mac and cheese. I took the pic before I added a small amount of portabella mushroom and shallot steak sauce on top of the steak. Delish!

Filet is Car Guy's and my small indulgence each week. How can we afford it? I buy whole tenderloins at Costco, where they're about $7 a pound. The catch is that they're untrimmed. So I have to cut off the silverskin, which is a nasty tendon that is inedible and will make your steaks curl up into a fetal position once they're cooked. I then cut the main portion of the tenderloin into approximately 1/2" thick steaks. That doesn't sound very large, but that size is about a 4-ounce steak, which is slightly more than a serving of red meat. I use the chain meat, which are the bits and pieces that aren't nicely shaped or from the small side of the silverskin for fajitas or steak sandwiches. I can get about 2 months worth of steaks (at one steak dinner per week) from a single tenderloin.

And then the trick is to cook carefully, so you don't waste the meat. I've found that preheating a pan for about 5 minutes, and then cooking the seasoned steaks for 3 minutes per side is just right. When I feel like making a pan sauce, I deglaze the pan with some wine or chicken stock (depending on what's open) while the meat is resting, and sometimes melt a little cream cheese in the sauce to make it creamy. Fill out the meal with a starch - mashed potatoes are lovely with pan sauce poured over the top - and a vegetable, and all's right with the world.

You can get tips on butchering your own beef tenderloin, look for the "Tender is the Loin" episode of Good Eats.

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