Monday, March 26, 2007

Waking up the tastebuds...

Sometimes nothing can satisfy a craving like a simple dinner of meat and potatoes - Jeff was asking for this pair as I was doing the menu planning for the week and I eagerly accepted. While a plain grilled steak and mashed potatoes would have certainly fit the bill, we opted to heighten the flavors in a few different ways.

While there is no new earth shattering technique in these mashers, Vermont Cheddar Mashed Yukon Golds, I did use a brilliantly sharp Cheddar to pack the most punch. Our favorite everyday brand of cheese over the past few years has been Cabot, so we decided to use their "seriously sharp" version. I thought I made a mistake using such a strong cheese when I took my first bite, but it became quickly addicting with the twang from the buttermilk. I served this with a couple pats of butter on the side, but neither of us felt the need to add them - the Yukon golds had enough richness to them where we didn't even think about it. If you want to make this recipe and felt that you might not have enough time to prepare the taters, you could prepare these ahead of time and gently re-heat them in a double boiler right before serving - but you may want to add a couple tablespoons more of buttermilk to keep them creamy.

For the meaty portion of tonight's dinner, I made a recipe for Sesame-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Pineapple, Mango, and Red Pepper Relish. A zesty, sweet and spicy relish is served along side that is composed of diced golden pineapples, mangoes, red bell peppers, cilantro, fresh orange juice, orange zest and a big pinch of crushed red pepper to finish for a bit of heat. The thick steaks are simply seasoned with just salt, pepper and black sesame seeds. I've never worked with this dark version before, so I was anxious to taste them - they have that same great crunch as their lighter counterpart, but their flavor is more earthy and a touch more nutty. We like our steaks somewhat rare, so I grilled them until they were still quite pink in the center (it looks more rare in the picture than they actually were) - it took just about 3 minutes per side.

While we were busy eating the potatoes, my eye was attracted to the other plate as I spied how the the succulent juices slowly leaked from the sliced steak into the chunky savory relish on the side. Even though I was enjoying the potatoes, I had to stop and plunge my fork through the relish and into the tender steak as I just couldn't stand watching that devilish tease anymore. Yes, I'm proud to be a member of the clean plate club tonight!


  1. What a beautiful meal. This is the menu at my next get together.
    Thank you

  2. Julie - I hope you enjoy it!