Foodie Blog

Friday, April 29, 2011

Picky's birthday dinner - tri tip steak, green beans with pesto, and potato cheese tart

Yesterday was Picky's birthday!  Yay!  I wanted to make him something special, something that he would like, so I didn't get too adventurous.  Picky didn't say anything in particular that he wanted, so I just started throwing out suggestions until he said sure.  Steak, or any kind of meat, is such an obvious choice.  He loves his meat a lot!  But I wanted to make it extra special, so I put my special rub on it.  Plus, at the last minute, I decided to make a red wine sauce.

For the green beans I didn't want to just toss them in olive oil and add salt and pepper like I usually do, so I looked online for some inspiration.  I found a recipe for a green bean, and potato salad with pesto and thought, well that's what I'll do.  Minus the potatoes.

The potato cheese tart was an obvious choice because it was the first thing I ever cooked for Picky and he loved it then.  I made some adjustments to the recipe, because I didn't have all the ingredients, but it turned out just as yummy.

Considering that Picky is currently in a food coma, I would say this dinner was a success!

Stay  tuned for:  Chocolate Souffle!

Note:  I am in the process of moving and will have to post the recipe for the spice rub that I used on the steak at a later date.

Red Wine Sauce for Steak

1/2 bottle of red wine
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of flour
salt to taste

Pour the wine in a sauce pan over medium high heat and then lower to a simmer when it starts to boil.  You will want to reduce it to half.  After it has reduced, turn the heat off.

In a separate sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the butter.  After it has started to brown, add the flour and whisk.  After the mixture has cooked for a couple minutes, add the reduced wine to the pan and whisk.  Whisk often for about 5 minutes.  Right before you turn off the heat, add the salt to your liking and whisk in.  It is now ready to pour over the meat of your choice.

Green beans with pesto
Please don't feel that you need to follow this recipe to a T.  I tend to wing it, every time I make pesto.
For the pesto:
One big bunch of basil (about two big handfuls) (or you can use spinach or arugula) 
About 1  cup of walnuts  or pine nuts
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Olive oil
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (or asiago) (optitonal)
Salt to taste

Toss all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil and salt in a food processor or blender.  Start the processor.  While it is processing, start pouring olive oil, slowly, and in a thin stream in the processor or blender.  When it starts to come together, stop pouring and stop the processor.  Put in a container and mix in salt to taste.  If you're not going to use it right away, you can stick it in the freezer.

I used frozen green beans and just followed the directions on the package when I put them in the microwave, except I put it for one minute less.  Then I threw the green beans in a pan with some pesto over low heat and mixed together until the green beans were hot.  Then serve!

Potato Cheese tart
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from Gourmet

I didn't follow this recipe exactly.  I didn't have small red potatoes on hand so I used the regular brown potatoes and one white sweet potato since that is what I had.  Plus, I didn't have blue cheese so I used what I had, which was Gruyere and cheddar.  It still came out very tasty!  I would probably not only slice the potatoes 1/4 inch thick, but I would also cut the slices in half to make them smaller.  The herbs that I used were fresh rosemary and fresh thyme (again, this is what I had on hand).  As long as you very finely chop them, it will be really yummy!

1 Savory Tart Shell, below, or recipe of your choice, in a 9-inch tart pan and ready to fill
1 pound any type of potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices, and then cut in half if using large potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1/4 pound Gruyere and cheddar, diced very small (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoons finely chopped herb or herbs of your choice, such as a mixture of thyme and rosemary
Fine sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, cover potato slices with water by two inches. Simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. If the potatoes don’t seem very dry, pat them dry with towels.
Arrange potato slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles around the tart pan. Sprinkle cheese over potatoes. Whisk cream and egg yolk together and pour into tart shell, then sprinkle tart with herbs of your choice and salt.
Bake tart on a baking sheet until bubbling and golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack and serve warm or cold (I prefer it warm).  The cream/egg mixture will be custardy, so it is best to let it cool a bit so when you cut it, the cream doesn't come flowing out.

Savory Tart Shell
1 1/4 (5 1/2 ounces) cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, diced
1 large egg
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix with a fork until a dough forms. If this does not happen easily, toss it out onto a counter and knead it together. This dough is rather tough but with a little elbow grease, it does come together nicely.
This dough can also be made a food processor, or in a stand mixer, though I’ve only tried it in a food processor.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan and press to remove any air bubbles. Level the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Proceed with a filling of your choice, no parbaking required.


winray said...

I am soooooooooooo jealous of anyone getting to eat this. please be my personal chef.

Joyce said...

Chef Jen,
Picky's father would love the potato cheese tart! I'm going to have to update my basic menus...I'll have to Mettimorphize my meals.