It's late on Tuesday and I'm finally getting my blog posted about last Sunday's dinner. My mom was visiting my niece and me and Mom was our honored Sunday dinner guest along with the usuals. I shelved the Greek lamb menu because I can't remember Mom ever ordering or serving it. So I went with a tried and true beef menu instead. John and I took Mom home on Monday and stopped to visit my dad in the hospital on the way and his dad on the way home; hence my delay in posting.
The menu... The Entertaining Italian-style from Cuisine at Home  Cuisine Lite cookbook. The suggested menu includes antipasti of Polenta Bruschetta, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Balsamic Steak with garlicky kale, and wine poached pears for dessert. Modifications were that our friends brought cheese and crackers and a nice green salad and our niece brought gelato with fancy cookies for dessert.
The Balsamic steak recipe is really pretty easly. It is pan seared tenderloins with a balsamic and strawberry jam reduction, sliced strawberries, minced basil and blue cheese. Sounds weird, I know, but it is delicious!
The Wild Mushroom Risotto is a lower fat version of authentic risotto. The challenge of serving risotto to guests is that it requires a lot of active cooking right before serving. Fortunately our daughter took on that task. She doesn't even like mushrooms!
Garlicky kale is also a last minute dish. Our daughter helped with that as well. She is a great cook and a very a big help!
The Polenta Bruschetta just didn't turn out; again! This is one of very few failures I've had with Cuisine at Home recipes. The polenta squares stick to my pan and turn into a mess. This was my second attempt at this recipe and I have given up on it.
This menu has a lot of active cooking right before serving. I would not recommend this menu if you like to have everything ready ahead of time, unless you have a daughter/son/friend who can help to you pull it off!
Balsamic Steak with fruit and gorgonzola
Serves 6; 222 calories per serving
1.5# beef tenderloin, trimmed and cut into six 4-oz filets
1 t each, kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T strawberry jam
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
6 T crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 T minced fresh basil leaves
Bring steak to room temperature. Season steak with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add filets and sear 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan to plate and cover with foil.
Add balsamic to pan and cook to reduce to half. Whisk in jam.
Serve filets topped with balsamic reduction, strawberries and Gorgonzola. Garnish with basil.
Serves 6; 97 calories per serving
1.5 # kale
2 T extra virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t anchovy paste
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T minced lemon zest (zest of one lemon)
1/2 t kosher salt
Clean kale, remove center ribs, and tear or cut into ribbons.
Heat olive oil in a large pot (a wok works well, too) over medium high heat. Add garlic, pepper flakes, and anchovy paste and cook for 1 minute.
Add kale and turn with tongs as it wilts. Add broth and cover. Reduce heat to medium low and steam until kale is tender (5-8 minutes).
Add lemon juice, zest and salt, stir to distribute. Serve immediately.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
Makes 4 cups, Serves 6; 165 calories per serving
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 T unsalted butter
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
8 oz assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used shiitake and baby bellas)
1 T minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (I use dry vermouth)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
shredded Parmesan cheese
2 t minced fresh thyme
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
Combine dried porcini and broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove porcinis, chop and set aside. Keep broth warm.
In sauté pan, combine butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes until tender. Stir in mushrooms (fresh and porcinis) and garlic and cook until juices release and evaporate; about 5 minutes.
Add rice and stir to coat with butter and oil. Add wine and cook until liquid has absorbed, about 2 minutes.
Stir in 1 cup of the warm broth and simmer over medium low stirring often until liquid has absorbed; about 4 minutes. Continue adding broth in 1 cup increments, stirring and reducing until absorbed and rice is creamy. About 20 minutes total.
Stir in peas, parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper.
Garnish with additional parmesan and sprigs of thyme.