December 3: Yum

cheesecakeWhile out holiday shopping last year I treated myself to a new springform pan. I just now got around to actually using it, when I decided to make cheesecake for Thanksgiving. I’m not a big cheesecake eater. Restaurant and store bought cheesecake does nothing for me. I find it pretty much flavorless, except for the pucker-your-lips raspberry sauce they squirt on the plate.

I am happy to report I have found the BEST recipe for cheesecake. Everyone loved it, even remarking it was the best cheesecake they’d ever eaten. It is light, flavorful and the raspberry topping is complimentary and not overpowering.

The recipe is from Ina Garten and can be found on Food Network’s website or in her Family Style cookbook if you happen to have that on your shelf. Go and print it off now – you need to make this!

I followed the recipe exactly, using red currant jelly and fresh raspberries for the topping. The problem you often encounter when using fresh berries is they sometimes get moldy quickly. I’ve bought them one day, to turn around and have to toss them the very next day. My trick is to stick them in the freezer, then move them to the refrigerator about 12 hours before you plan on using them. Mine were still a bit frosty when I started making the cake, but the warm melted jelly will finish defrosting them just fine. It’s also best to make the cake the day before, and add the raspberry topping before serving.

I also made beef tenderloin in a red wine reduction sauce. It always makes me happy when I don’t waste ingredients. The reduction sauce requires 2 tablespoons of red currant jelly. We don’t eat jelly at my house, so the rest of the jar went in the cheesecake topping. Score!

If you would like to serve a special entrée for Christmas, I highly recommend this dish!

Beef Tenderloin in a Red Wine Reduction Sauce

  • 8 filet mignon steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each cut 1 ½” thick
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp seasoned salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 5 tbs butter, divided
  • 3 tbs brandy
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs red current jelly

Preheat oven to 400º. Lay steaks out on a work surface for about 30 minutes before beginning. Dry with paper towels. Make a paste with 2 of the garlic cloves (minced), seasoned salt and pepper. Rub paste on both sides of the steaks.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large, heavy skillet on medium high heat. Sear steaks in batches until brown, only a few minutes each side. If butter begins to brown, reduce heat slightly. Place steaks in a large casserole, leaving a little space between each steak.

Add brandy to skillet, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pan. Add the remaining 4 tbs of butter, when melted and foamy stir in the flour. Reduce heat to just under medium. Stir until golden brown, then add tomato paste and remaining clove of garlic (minced). The mixture will be thick and grainy. Add wine and both broths. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes or until reduced by one-third, stirring occasionally. Add Worcestershire and jelly. Sauce should be of a coating consistency. If too thick, thin with more wine.

Pour sauce over steaks and bake uncovered for 12-18 minutes (medium rare), 20-25 minutes (medium). When serving, spoon sauce over steaks.

We are a mushroom-free home (ick), but if you’re into funk (aka mushrooms) you can add diced mushrooms as the final ingredient to the sauce.

This dish is also perfect for preparing ahead of time. Once you pour the sauce over the steaks, simply cover the dish and refrigerate. Before serving, bring to room temperature before baking. They are just as delicious when prepared ahead!

With the current price of beef tenderloin ($32/lb at Crest, ouch!) it has curtailed my cooking a bit, however I have been able to find it regularly at Sams either as whole tenderloins or cut into filet mignon steaks. It isn’t quite as good as the $32/lb stuff, but for the price it tastes just fine to me.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “December 3: Yum

  1. Yum! My husband loves cheesecake so I need to try this with organic ingredients for him. All tasty with no after effects : )

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