Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day Dad!

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And, He called it . . . Dad
"What Makes a Dad", Author Unknown

Thanks for "being there" through the (many) years, Dad, and making us an ice rink in the backyard and teaching us to skate with the help of a chair.

6:30 P.M. Update: I wanted to make Dad a special meal for Father's Day so I started with some of his favourites: steak, salad, and lemon meringue pie, improvising from there.

Years ago, I improvised on the recipe for Tenderloin Magnifique by using rib eye steaks. The delicious memory of those steaks lived on in my mind and today I finally had the opportunity (and all the ingredients) to refresh the tasty recollection of a succulent steak loaded with duxelles and topped with Bernaise sauce. Magnifique!

Setting out to make Dad's favourite lemon meringue pie I found, a little too late, that I didn't have enough lemon filling to fill the crust. If we were French, I might have passed off the skimpy pie as tarte au citron; alas, we are not French and skimpy pies are not de rigueur -- in our family the deeper the filling, the better the pie.

At this point I should also admit to using packaged mix because it's quite tasty and worry-free but a second box of lemon pie filling was not to be found on the shelf. Mom came to the rescue suggesting the addition of strawberry jello, adding it after it has begun to thicken. The result was quite successful, in taste and in presentation.

Beef Tenderloin Magnifique
Serves: 4

1 beef tenderloin (or 4 rib eye steaks)

Rub the tenderloin with salt and pepper. Place in pre-heated oven at 450F (230C) for 40 minutes (20 minutes for steaks). While still warm, cut the tenderloin into 2 inch rounds. Spread a tablespoon of duxelles on each steak. Cover with bernaise sauce and broil 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

(Make this well ahead.)

2 1/2 tbsp (40 mL) butter
1/2 tbsp (5 mL) oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) shallots or minced onion
1 lb (500 gr) fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
dash of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Saute shallots in butter and oil. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are dry (this takes 20 minutes). Remove from heat and add seasonings.

Bernaise Sauce
(If pressed for time, use packaged Bernaise sauce.)

1/4 cup (50 mL) dry white wine
1/4 cup (50 mL) wine vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced shallots or onions
1 tsp (5 mL) tarragon
1 tsp (5 mL) chevril
fresh ground pepper
3 egg yolks
1 cup (250 mL) melted butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh parsley, chopped

1. Combine wine, vinegar, shallots, tarragon, chevril and pepper in small pan and cook over low heat until the liquid has reduced to about half. Strain and cool.
2. Beat egg yolks until frothy in double boiler. Beat in vinegar mixture. Place pan over hot, but not boiling water. Do not let water touch bottom of pan.
3. Add butter slowly, about a teaspoonful at a time, beating constantly. Add additional pepper and a pinch of salt. Stir in fresh parsley.

Source: Planning an Affair by Verlie Reyner and Maggie Thompson. ISBN No. 0-920878-02-4

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