Monday, May 27, 2013

Gorgonzola and Mushroom Stuffed Beef Tenderloin

It's gettin' on to be summer time - that's going to mean more steaks on the grill.  This will make Mrs. BA very happy.  So would this recipe.  Without the mushrooms.  Recipe from Betty Crocker.

Gorgonzola- and Mushroom-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Merlot Sauce
TOTAL TIME 1 Hr 20 Min 

Beef Tenderloin
  • 1 beef tenderloin (about 2 1/2 lb) 
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (3 oz) 
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs (about 1 1/2 slices bread) 
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola or Roquefort cheese 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea salt) or regular salt 

Merlot Sauce
  • 1/2 cup currant jelly 
  • 1/2 cup Merlot, Zinfandel or nonalcoholic red wine 
  • 1/4 cup Progresso® beef flavored broth (from 32-oz carton) 
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

  1. Heat oven to 425°F. To cut beef so that it can be filled and rolled, cut horizontally down length of beef, about 1/2 inch from top of beef, to within 1/2 inch of opposite side; open flat. Turn beef. Repeat with other side of beef, cutting from the inside edge to within 1/2 inch of opposite edge; open flat. 
  2. In 10-inch skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and liquid has evaporated. Cool 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, cheese and parsley; toss to combine. 
  3. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over beef to within 1 inch of edges. Tightly roll up beef, beginning with long side. Turn small end of beef under about 6 inches so it cooks evenly. Tie beef with kitchen string at about 1 1/2-inch intervals. In shallow roasting pan, place beef, seam side down, on rack. Brush with oil; sprinkle with salt. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is in center of thickest part of beef. 
  4. Bake uncovered 30 to 40 minutes or until thermometer reads at least 140°F. Cover beef loosely with foil and let stand about 15 minutes or until thermometer reads 145°F. (Temperature will continue to rise about 5°F, and beef will be easier to carve.) 
  5. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat all sauce ingredients to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; simmer uncovered 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly reduced and syrupy. Remove string from beef before carving. Serve beef with sauce.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Salted Caramel Brownies

At the launchpad - we make brownies from a box.  Mind you, it's a box of Ghiradelli Chocolate brownies and they are pretty damn good.  But in my continuing love affair with the Smitten Kitchen - I'm going work on getting Mrs. BA to make these - perhaps with last week's request for vanilla pudding.

From Smitten Kitchen.

Salted Caramel Brownies

I used my standard approach to salted caramel, but I dialed back the heavy cream so that it would be less soft, and therefore better able to hold up in the batter. The brownie is my one-bowl favorite, with less salt and sugar to compensate for the sweetness and extra salt in the caramel. The result is a soft, messy brownie that it much, much, much easier to cut neatly if placed in the freezer until semi-firm. 

Makes 1 8×8 pan of brownies which you can cut into 16 2-inch squares, 25 smaller squares, 32 2×1-inch bites or a mess of hearts from a cookie cutter.

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt) 
  • Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt, more to taste) 
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped 
  • 1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan 
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract 
  • Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt 
  • 2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour

Make caramel: Set a square of parchment paper over a medium-sized plate. Lightly butter or coat the parchment with a spray oil, just as an added security measure.

In a medium, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your sugar; this will take about 5 minutes, stirring if necessary to break up large chunks. By the time it is all melted, if should be a nice copper color; if not, cook until it is. Remove from heat and stir in butter. It may not incorporate entirely but do your best. Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melted again any sugar that solidified. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.

Pour out onto parchment-covered plate and transfer plate to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes in a decent freezer to 40 minutes in my terrible one.

Meanwhile, or when your caramel is almost firm, make your brownies: Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.

Assemble brownies: When caramel is firm, remove it from the freezer and chop it into rough 1-inch squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading until mostly even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool thoroughly — a process that can be hastened in the freezer, which will also produce cleaner cuts — and cut into squares or other desired shapes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chocolate Mousse

I've been a little busy.  I apologize for my absence.  I've got a lot going on at work and family stuff is moving into summer busyness as well - but that's no excuse for ignoring you, my dear readers.  And with Google Reader going away at the end of June - I've got a lot of stories to get out here before I lose access to them.

Here's a recipe (that was ready to go - except for some minor tweaking that I needed to make and then forgot to tweak).  I'm going to try and be more present here - though we will see what the summer brings.

Chocolate Mousse is good.  When it's made well, it's divine.  I made a batch of chocolate mousse once, but I added too much liquor and it never really set up - it was really more like an "adult yoo-hoo."  My father didn't seem to mind.

Mrs. BA has been making butterscotch pudding - a favorite of our neighbor.  A Brave Astronaut might wonder, where's my vanilla pudding?  Sorry, I'm not that exciting, I'm pretty plain vanilla.

Classic Chocolate Mousse
Bon App├ętit | February 2013
by Mary-Frances Heck
Dark chocolate and espresso add the slightly bitter notes needed to balance this dessert. Remember, the higher the cacao percentage, the less sweet the chocolate
Yield: Makes 6 servings

  • 3/4 cup chilled heavy cream, divided 
  • 4 large egg yolks 
  • 1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee, room temperature 
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided 
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (61-72% cacao), chopped 
  • 2 large egg whites 

Beat 1/2 cup cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form; cover and chill.

Combine egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large metal bowl. Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (do not allow bowl to touch water). Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is lighter in color and almost doubled in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 160°F, about 1 minute.

Remove bowl from pan. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until room temperature.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in another medium bowl on medium speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually beat in remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until firm peaks form.

Fold egg whites into chocolate in 2 additions; fold whipped cream into mixture just to blend.

Divide mousse among six teacups or 4-ounce ramekins. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Mousse can be made 1 day ahead; cover and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Before serving, whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl until soft peaks form; dollop over mousse.