We had eight of our closest friends at our home to celebrate and ring in the New Year.  Cocktail and appetizer hour started at 7pm and dinner was ready to serve an hour and half later.  The twice baked potatoes were prepared the day prior and were ready to place in the oven for the final baking one hour before dinner.  The tenderloin smoked for 1 hour, grill seared for 15 minutes and then slow cooked in the oven (on and off) for the balance of the day before carving to serve at a delicious medium-rare.

Oh how I wish I were better at remembering to take pictures.  The appetizer table was adorned with so many good foods brought by our friends to share while we enjoyed each others company.  There was a splendid crudités platter.  I just learned this phrase when my friend who just returned home from living in Italy asked if she should bring crudités or humus and chips.  I had to asked what crudités was and learned that it’s vegetable tray.  Another friend brought smoked salmon served with several very tasty spreads and toasted French baguette.   We provided a cheese platter, beef and salami slices and an assortment of crackers for additional noshing.

The table was preset so that it was easier for serving buffet style and so that I was not so rushed at last-minute.  I’ve found that this makes life much easier, less stressful and then I’m able to enjoy the company of my friends without looking frazzled when they arrive.

Again, I forgot to take pictures of the food as it was set out  but did remember to snap on quick photo of my own dinner plate with the perfectly cooked beef tenderloin and twice baked potato served along with sautéed green beans seasoned with chipotle pepper and praline pecans.  The green bean dish was a quick change-up from my standard sautéed green beans with mushrooms and slivered almonds.  I’m still not sure which I prefer to serve.  The chipotle dish was a hot and sweet dish while the other is savory.

Beef Tenderloin:

Let the tenderloin set out on the counter until it comes to room temperature.  Remove all fat and sinew from the outside of the beef with a sharp knife.  Turn the small end of the tenderloin under and then tie the meat so that it cooks evenly.  Season the tenderloin liberally with a robust rub like the A1-Bold or Barbarian’s Steak Rub.  Liberally add ground salt and ground pepper.  Make sure to cover all the surface of the beef (top, bottom, side and ends).  Place in smoker uncovered at 225 degrees for 1 hour.  Remove from smoker and place on hot BBQ grill at 500 degrees and sear top and bottom for around 7-8 minutes per side.

Next, remove from grill and place in a 175 degree pre-heated oven to slow cook for 3-4 hours uncovered.  This will ensure that the tenderloin cooks to a rare – medium rare inside temperature.  If you want the meat to be rare then remove from oven at 130 degrees and let it rest for 10 minutes or so before carving.  If you want it at medium rare then remove from oven at 140 degrees.  The tender loin will continue to cook while it rests and then be perfect when carving.

Cooking Tip:  I had to keep turning my oven on and off  to make sure it didn’t over cook.  This did lead to the crust of the beef becoming a little soft instead of the normal crusty.  If this occurs (check it before serving) then place your oven on high broil and crust up the outside again before removing from the oven.

Entertaining Tips: 

  1. Set the table the day before if you will be having a large number of people.  This can take more time than you think and will cut into your cooking time if saved to the day of the party.
  2. Set up your cocktail bar the day before.  Place a plastic table cloth under any fabric cloth to protect the furniture’s surface if it could be damaged by the drinks or ice.  Set out a few bottles of tonic water, tomato juice, fruit juice and club soda for mixers.
  3. Prepare a cooler filled with soda pop and plenty of water.  Add ice the day of the party around 3 hours before the begin time.
  4. If serving the food buffet style you can set up the buffet table and serving dishes.
  5. Do any decorating and set out centerpieces and/or candles.
  6. Prepare cheese platters, meat platters and condiments for the appetizer table in their serving dishes, cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  7. Set up your appetizer table with any table clothes and decorations.  Prepare cracker platters, cover and set on appetizer table.
  8. Make sure your champagne is in the refrigerator the day before so that it is chilled to perfection.  One bottle of champagne pours 5-6 glasses.
  9. Figuring out how much meat to buy; 1/2 pound per person to ensure there is plenty.  Allows for second servings and ample leftovers.
  10. Figuring out how many pounds of fresh vegetables; 1/4 – 1/3  pound per person.
  11. Use 1 extra-large baking potato for every two people.  Add 2 extra for those that like more or especially when making twice baked.  Often, many of your guests will share a baked potato or a large twice baked.  Bake in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If making twice baked allow to cool before handling.

 

If you like this recipe and entertaining ideas from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes for entertainment.

Almost a Date Dinner with KCinAZ tonight was a grilled thick cut beef tenderloin grilled slowly.  While the tenderloin was grilling; we started the gravy with sautéed onions caramelized, mushrooms, port and brown gravy stock were added.  All along, small red potatoes were simmering on the stove top.

 

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Ingredients:

 POTATOES:
8 small Red potatoes; whole
Salt; for water
MUSHROOM GRAVY:
1/2 medium Yellow onion; chopped
2 tablespoon olive Oil
12 ounces Fresh mushrooms; sliced
1 Beef Stock; Knorr Home-style concentrated stock
1/2 teaspoon Greek Spice; Cavendar’s
1 clove garlic; minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup port; make it a good one
1 cup water
1/4 cup McCormick Beef Gravy; Powdered for Thickening
MEDIUM RARE TENDERLOIN:
10 ounces Beef tenderloin; 2″ thick cut steak
1 tablespoon Steak Spice; Use a flavorful one

Preparation

Potatoes:

Place 8 very small whole red potatoes in small saucepan and cover with water.  Add a small amount of salt to the water.  Bring to slow boil and then turn down to simmer.  Continue to simmer until tender.  Cover and turn off heat but leave on stove top where the pan will remain hot.  If the sauce pan has good insulation this will be best to keep the potatoes hot.  This will allow the potatoes to continue to cook but not overcook.  Continue on with starting the gravy and steak as the potatoes cook.

Port Mushroom Gravy:

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Meanwhile, in medium size skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and chopped onions.  Cook while stirring with wooden spoon over medium heat until onions begin to brown and caramelize.  Add butter, mushrooms, Greek spice and minced garlic clove and mix in.  Turn down to medium low heat and continue to sauté until mushrooms are tender and turn golden brown.  Add 1 packet Knorr home-style Stock concentrate (if not available add 2 beef stock cubes) and blend into mushroom saucepan.  Then mix in 1/4 cup or more good Port and let reduce for a few minutes so that the Port absorbs into the mushrooms.  Add water and continue to simmer over medium low heat.  Meanwhile watch the meat that is also cooking until it reaches around 100 degrees on the thermometer.  Then, add enough McCormick’s Brown Gravy mix to thicken the gravy and then turn to low.   Cook slowly until thickened and the grilled meat is cooked to your desired temperature.

Medium Rare Beef Tenderloin:

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Season liberally with your favorite steak rub.  Place on sizzling hot grill and sear for 3-5 minutes per side.  This steak was a 2″ thick cut of tenderloin that was around 5″ long and 3″ wide.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side, do a 1/2 turn keeping on same side and cook another 2 minutes.  Then turn completely over and repeat.  If a thick cut, turn on small sides and sear those sides too for around 2 minutes each.  After searing completely on all four sides, turn down heat to medium high and continue to cook until meat thermometer reaches 120 degrees.  Since the meat will continue to cook it will end up medium rare.

These directions are for a very thick cut of meat.  If yours is say 1″ thick or less you will need to reduce the cooking time per side considerably.   If using a smaller cut of meat then make sure to reduce the cooking time proportionately.  1-2 minutes per side possibly.

Plating the Meal:

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Heat two plates in the microwave for one minute.  Using a ladle, spoon mushroom gravy onto hot plates to create a gravy layer for the meat and potatoes.  Slice the meat against the grain in about 1 – 1 1/2″ slices and place three or more slices of tenderloin on each plate.  Quarter the small potatoes and arrange nicely on top of the gravy.  Sprinkle potatoes with a little parsley garnish.

For Your Date:

Tell your darlin’ or date that dinner is served and it’s not to get cold!  If your date is like my sweet hubby he’s watching the TV waiting for the dinner bell.  Maybe yours will be in the kitchen helping and tasting as dinner is in the making.  Have ready a nice red wine or the port used for the gravy ready to serve and enjoy your date dinner.

If you like this recipe from KCinAZ, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun recipes.