Monday, January 11, 2010

Love Me Tender

I'm not sure when These Roving Eyes became These Roving Tastebuds, but here we are.

I had the day off, so spent it like a housewife in mid-town: reusable shopping bags in one hand, my wallet in the other, I poked around the neighbourhood in search of dinner.

I visited a wonderful butcher just around the corner (Cumbrae's, 481 Church Street) and bought an adorable one pound tenderloin of beef, gorgeous and grass-fed.  Then I popped by Pusateri's Fruit Market (497 Church Street) - a great shop where the owners stock the shelves - and snagged a basketful of vegetables: beets and leeks, heirloom carrots and fresh dill.  Purple potatoes and white asparagus.  There's something very satisfying about this urban harvest.  Like our ancestors before us, we hunt and gather, but in decidely less hands-on way.

Let's talk beef tenderloin.  Vegetarians, avert your eyes.

I'd never made one until tonight, and at $27 a pound, I was understandably nervous.  But, fear not, it's easy and seriously high-impact.

1) Buy something worth eating.  
2) Heat an oven-friendly pan on medium-high heat and add a dash of olive oil.  Generously coat the meat with fresh-cracked peppercorns and sea-salt and sear on all sides until browned nicely.  This process is surprisingly quick.  Put the whole pan in a 425° oven for 10 minutes.
3) Add three diced shallots to the pan and continue until an internal thermometer reads 135° or so.  (Medium-rare.)
4) Remove the tenderloin from the pan and tent beneath foil while you prepare the reduction.
5) On medium heat, add half a cup of red wine (something worth drinking!) and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon, removing all the charred bits.  Add half a cup of beef broth and let simmer/reduce for a few minutes.  Add 2 teaspoons of grainy mustard, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of butter.  Continue to let reduce and simmer.  Carve the beef into half-inch slices and serve with the sauce and whatever else.  I did oven-roasted Parisienne potatoes and steamed heirloom carrots.

The wine: A 2005 Chateau de Lafaurie-Monbadon.  A rich and fruity Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend out of Bordeaux.  The LCBO site mentions its pencil lead notes, and it's true!  With its other more woody flavours, it's almost like chewing on a No. 2 pencil.  In a good way.  $15.00.


  1. i used to make this all the time but yours looks a lot better. i really miss cooking at home, so keep 'these roving tastebuds' coming.

  2. you make me proud!
    my fave days are the ones i spend out and about gathering ingredients for dinner.
    i bought a small roast on sunday night as well...from the Healthy Butcher.
    you're so right about getting something worth eating...then you have to do so much less work!

  3. A great story -very Mrs. Dalloway. Your place is really coming together!

  4. Oh, Teejers.
    You know that means the world to me.

  5. Mina!
    Your wish is my command - I can't seem to blog about anything else!!

  6. This makes me want to eat meat again.

  7. When did you stop eating meat?!
    Do I know this?!

  8. I think we talked about it. I stopped in June but I still eat fish. Sometimes I crave a hunk of nice roast beef but it passes.

  9. And you must see benefits to being meat-free. I know it's the smartest course of action, but beef calls out to me in the night.

  10. that's such an awesome shot of you closing the curtains!..
    and the food photography has been great as well

    i'm not sure why my brotherinlaw looks familiar in that photo, but you're both in canada i believe!

  11. Thanks, NW!
    Obviously obsessed with food lately.

  12. "I'm not sure when 'These Roving Eyes' became 'These Roving Tastebuds'..."

    I'm not complaining. Your recipes are in my kitchen adventures queue.