We’re Cooking: Dinner With the New Partners – Truffles, Souffle, Meat and Movies

Blue Cheese Souffle

We had the Latitude Productions  partners over for dinner last week…These are the folks that Gary and Lascaux Films are about to announce a pretty big film deal with, so I was determined to make it a memorable night with some of our favorite dishes, served beside incredible wine. 

To start, brie with truffled mushrooms in sherry…one of my go to dishes that used to take me forever to prepare…now about 20 minutes flat.  Served with a DVX 2001 bubbly from Mumm Napa.  One of our favorites with lots of citrus and toasty almond flavors with thousands of tiny bubbles. 

Our first course included stunning, individual blue cheese souffles with a heirloom tomato, nectarine and arugula salad….yes, I may have been insane to try to make individual souffles for in a high pressure situation; but that was also the fun of it…and if they didn’t work, the salad would have been just fine. 

But they did…so much so that my yelp of utter glee prompted everyone to jump from their seats in the living room and run to the kitchen to see what my fuss was all about.  Slightly embarrassed I had to explain that this was only my second time to make souffle and my first to make individual ones.  My embarrassment subsided when scrapped clean souffle dishes came back to the kitchen after the course.  We enjoyed this with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc from Cliff Lede that Gary and I had found on one of our first trips to Napa together a few years ago.  Light and elegant with just a hint of cream on the finish. 

Our main course was a rosemary and garlic tenderloin with roasted baby potatoes and steamed green beans.  Gary usually does our tenderloin, and does them quite well…but this dinner was all me, so just in case I ruined the meat I created a savory sweet cherry wine sauce.  Thankfully the beef came out just at medium rare, and the cherry wine sauce just accentuated the flavor without needing to mask it.  We paired two wines – a 2002 Cinq Cepages Cabernet blend from Chateau St. Jean with our main course.  Earthy and hearty, and though it was an 02 it could have easily aged another few years as the tannins hadn’t quite settled out yet.  But the leathery, licorice notes balanced with red berry and cherry flavors made an excellent pairing with the dish.  And a Monte Russo Cabernet Sauvignon from one of my favorite producers in Napa, Sbragia.  The 2007 was light and delicate with rich fruit flavors, but a subtle touch that we don’t often see in Cabs from the area, with true finesse and a lingering palate that made all wish for more.

To finish, a sip of Amarula on ice and a story of my African adventure, paired with excitement for the upcoming adventure between Lascaux Films and Latitude Productions.

Recipes:

Tuffled Mushroom Brie
I had published this before, but have reworked it so it literally is one of the easiest recipes that you can create…in no time.  An impressive starter with great flavor without too much effort.
Ingredients:
1 8oz package of sliced button mushrooms (or a mix of various mushrooms for added earthy flavor like shiitake, baby bellas, etc.)
1 large shallot – minced
2 garlic cloves – minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley – divided
3/4 cup of either red or white wine, or sherry…I have been using sherry lately and wow…what a beautiful punch of flavor
1/4 cup cream or fat free half and half…another recent add on, just adds an extra layer of richness
2 tablespoons truffle paste…if you can’t find truffle paste you can also use a bit of truffle oil over the top AFTER you have baked the brie.
1 wheel brie

Preparation:
Pre-heat the oven to 375.  Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and begin browning.  Cook for about 5 minutes until slightly browned and add the thyme, 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.  Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, then add the wine/sherry and 1 tablespoon parsley.  Continue until the liquid has cooked out.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Cut the top rind portion off the brie and place in an oven safe dish (we used a large ramekin for years that we then covered with foil to bake until Gary got me a brie baker…made it so much easier as you can just remove the lid when you are ready to serve.)  Spread the truffle paste over the brie and then top with the mushroom mixture.  Cover with either the brie baker lid, or with foil and place on a sheet pan, and into the oven.  Bake for about 15 minutes until the brie is bubbly and melted.  Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving so the brie can cool just slightly.  Top with remaining parsley.  Serve with a crusty baguette.

Blue Cheese Souffle
We did individual souffles, but this would be perfect for one large souffle as well.  This will make about 6 individual souffles – about 1 egg per souffle dish.
Ingredients:
1 stick + 1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cup blue cheese
1/2 cup + 2-3 tablespoons for dusting parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
1 garlic clove – peeled and sliced in half
5 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/3 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Preparation:
Pre-heat the oven to 400.  Butter and dust the souffle dishes/ramekins with parmesan cheese and set aside.  Heat the milk over low heat with the chile flakes and garlic.  In a heavy bottomed sauce pot melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a rue, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.  Strain the warm milk and whisk it into the rue.  Add in the pepper and nutmeg.  You can add a bit of salt, but the cheese is salty so use a light touch.  Add the blue cheese and parmesan cheese.  Stir until melted.  Remove from heat.  Divide the eggs, yolks into a bowl and whites into a mixer.  After all are divided add the Cream of Tartar to the egg whites and turn the mixer on to a medium speed.  Add the egg yolks one at a time to the milk, butter and flour, stirring to ensure they will not scramble.  Check the whites, as soon as they have formed stiff peaks and look like fluffy clouds stop mixing.  Slowly fold the cheese mixture into the egg whites.  Make sure they are fully incorporated, but be careful not to overly deflate your egg whites.  Scoop the mixture into the baking dishes and place on a baking sheet (in case they overflow.)  Run your finger around the rim of each dish to help ensure an even souffle top.  Place in the oven and reduce the heat to 375.  Bake for about 30 minutes (check on them though…several small, individual souffles cook a bit faster than one large souffle.)  Remove as soon as the tops are brown and the souffle has puffed.  Serve immediately. 

Beef Tenderloin with Cherry Wine Sauce
The Meat
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons rosemary oil
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper
1 tablespoon flake salt
1 1/2 pound center cut beef tenderloin

Preparation:
About 4 hours prior to cooking the meat rub it with the oil and fully coat it with the rosemary, garlic, pepper and salt.  Wrap it up tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until about 45 minutes prior to cooking.  45 minutes prior to cooking remove from the refrigerator and set on a counter, allowing the meat to come back up to room temp.  Pre-heat oven to 400.  Place the meat in a baking dish and bake just until a meat thermometer reads 135…even a hair less (in our oven it is about 20 minutes.)  Remove from the oven and place a foil tent over the meat and let rest for about 30 minutes.  The meat should be a perfect medium rare….and tasty on its own, but the cherry wine sauce just took it to the next level.

Cherry Wine Sauce
Ingredients:
2 cups red wine
1/2 cup stock – if you have beef stock that is ideal, but chicken or veggie stock will work too
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 shallot – chopped
1 garlic clove – chopped
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoons black cherry preserves
1 tablespoon chopped dried cherries
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter

Preparation:
Combine all ingredients except the butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring to keep anything from sticking.  Reduce the heat to a bit above a simmer and continue to cook until the sauce has reduced to about 1 cup.  Set aside until ready to serve.  When ready, bring back up to medium heat and stir in the butter.  Spoon into a dish and serve hot.

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