Thursday, January 15, 2009

CEIMB: Beef Tenderloin with Chocolate and Rosemary


This week's CEIMB selection, Beef Tenderloin with Chocolate and Rosemary, was chosen my one of my favorite people, Amanda of Beckett Bakes it. Amanda and I work at the same law firm -- she started as a junior associate in my practice group while I was on maternity leave with my third baby. I remember having the following conversation with my friend Heather shortly before returning to work:

C: So what's the deal with the new chick?
H: She's cool. She seems on the ball, too.
C: That's a relief.

Well, let me just tell you that Amanda has FAR surpassed her hype. She is one of the most all-around talented people I know. I might have to hire her to do my children's baby books for me, because she creates masterpiece scrapbooks, while my attempts at scrapbooking usually result in physical injury and a kindergarten-caliber cut & paste job. When we co-hosted a baby shower for Heather, who was expecting triplets, Amanda taught me how to make a diaper cake.



Three diaper cakes, actually. She was the creative force behind these; I was merely the grunt labor. I recruited my hubs, and together we rolled diapers every night for a week.

David: What are we doing again?
Me: Let's just keep rolling, honey.

My hubs is a completely modern man of the aughts, and a hands-on dad who has changed diapers from the beginning. But to fully understand the point of things like manipulating and assembling diapers so that they look like cakes and can serve as baby shower centerpieces, it helps not to have that Y chromosome.

Amanda is also a great lawyer, and really normal and fun to be around (what??? It can happen!), and therefore she is in hot demand at work. Sometimes I'll get worried about her because I'll know that she's done the assigned baking/cooking for one of the blogging groups she's in, but she won't post. And then I have to go looking for her to make sure that someone hasn't kidnapped her and locked her in a room with the Code of Federal Regulations. Usually it's not something quite that horrific, thankfully.

Well, you can add cooking and baking to the list of Amanda's talents, and she picked a great recipe, Beef Tenderloin with Chocolate and Rosemary, for CEIMB this week. Beef tenderloin, Amanda? I ate Ramen Noodles when I was an associate. Anyway, I ended up going with a sirloin because I could not find a small enough beef tenderloin, didn't have time to wait on the butcher, and didn't want to take out a second mortgage. And Ellie says that any old steak will do!

The sauce is made from a base of red wine, beef broth, tomato paste, shallots, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary and unsweetened cocoa (the rosemary and cocoa get added at the end). I put the sauce on David's steak before I added the cocoa, since he doesn't eat chocolate, and he really liked it. I was worried that my cocoa-ed up version would actually taste like chocolate (because it did initially smell like chocolate), but as Ellie promised, it did not. It just had a nice, rich, bold flavor that really complemented the sirloin nicely. My only beef with the sauce (bad pun fully intended) is that it took FOREVER to reduce. Even though Ellie says to make the sauce while the beef is cooking, I would start this sauce LONG before I started cooking the beef (particularly if making steaks), unless I wanted cold or way overdone beef for some strange reason.

I served this with baked potatoes and the green beans, mushroom and shallots recipe from Ellie's book.

The green beans were super easy and really delicious - definitely a keeper green bean recipe. I used pre-trimmed "microwave in the bag" green beans, which made it all the easier.

Amanda, thank you for picking a great recipe for us! I will definitely make this again. It really jazzes up a sirloin, and I can't even imagine what it would do to a tenderloin!

37 comments:

Jen said...

Cathy! We had almost the exact same dinner! I too made the greenbeans with shallots and mushrooms and thought they were great! I thought this recipe was fabulous! I am so glad Amanda picked it!

MacDuff said...

Love it! You totally called her out on not eating ramen!

The green beans look rad. And yeah, we'll be making this one again too.

Peggy said...

I'm gonna have to try those green beans. Maybe on Saturday with my chicken cacciatore! Your beef looks delicious. I love this group and these recipes. And I feel like I am eating healthier!

Jen said...

What can I say other than that I am obsessed with mashed potatoes! Seriously. They are my absolute favorite! And the sauce made a perfect gravy for them!!

Amanda said...

Cathy, Thank you for the nice things you said in this post. Working with you has really been one of my favorite things about this job. And, reading your blogs has made it work the move to B'ham!!! I will have some funny stories for my post about your pick :-)

Amanda said...

worth the move, not work. Sorry.

Mary Ann said...

Good for you. I actually skipped this week because I don't like beef, but I still thought this recipe sounded really interesting.
Those diaper cakes are too cute!
What great friends.
Can't wait to hear about your cake!

Heather said...

wow - what a nifty and creative colleague you have there :) i'm impressed with the diaper cakes! and this recipe sounds so delicious!

n.o.e said...

So, Cathy, are you a born overachiever, or does CEIMB give extra credit for additional recipes completed? Your dinner looks delightful. There's nothing like a shot of beef every now and then, and with a fabulous (healthy) sauce, all the better. Reading about Amanda's talents makes me tired! Or is it the memories of practicing law? Either way, I'm impressed. And wouldn't a cake with berries hidden inside be a perfect dessert for a shower for someone expecting triplets??

Nancy

What's for Supper? said...

Aawww. What a sweet post about your pal. The green beans look great. I am serving our beef tonight with cauliflower and mashed potatoes.

Audrey said...

Now, putting chocolate in a steak sauce sounds like something I would do, and then I would think, is this just too weird to post on my blog? Thank you for paving the way with a weird combination that tastes so good. I'd love the green beans, too. And I'm laughing over your diaper-cake-Y-chromosone observation. Showers and what goes on at them are (and should be) outside the realm of men, no matter how evolved they are!

(ps: thank you for being such a TRULY loyal visitor!)

Bridgett said...

I remember getting a diaper cake 10 years ago when I had my son and they are such cute gifts! You and hubby worked hard! I love Ellie and have had my eye on this dish so it was a fun surprise to see you gave it a try. Love the beef too. I always enjoy the fact that Ellie's food is good for you AND always tastes fantastic. I haven't gone wrong with her yet!

Lisa said...

Interesting recipe. The flavors sound so good and I love rosemary.

Debinhawaii said...

Your steak looks delicious! I wondered how the chocolate would be in there--I had the same fears when I saw the recipe in her book.

Having seen the occasional diaper cake at showers, I am always impressed that anyone could/would take the time and have the motor skills necessary to make just one of them... but three of them? You guys are Super Heros in my book!

Pamela said...

Thanks for the link to your friends blog. I am in awe of her three beautiful babies! Those diaper cakes were fabulous.

Nice job on the "assignment". The green beans look really great. I think I may have to try those pronto.

Matt said...

I've got the Ellie Book and have looked countless times at that recipe and was always nervous about trying it. Afterr eading yours and many of the other of the CEiMB members' reviews, I'm more willing to try it.

Diaper cakes... what will they think up next? This is the kind of thing I'm actually good at. It's something you can do with a friend, doesn't require a lot of concentration, and gives you the opportunity to talk, laugh or, after rolling hundreds of diapers, have a drink or two...

Matt said...

I've got to start proofing my comments. Ellie cookbook... "Eading"? Good grief...

Amanda said...

Cathy, Did David try the sauce post chocolate? I agree that you couldn't really taste it. Did your take FOREVER to reduce??

Joanne said...

Since David doesn't eat chocolate, did you wonder about using Carob? I was toying with it but am not too up on carob and decided to leave the recipe as is.

Cathy said...

Thanks everyone! Matt, I can no longer even read my comments after I leave them, because they are usually so full of typos that I'd spend the whole day going back and letting people know that I really DO know the difference between to/two/too.

Amanda, I only offered David the sauce pre-chocolate. It's not that he doesn't like the taste of chocolate, it's that he doesn't eat it. He just stopped eating it one day and never went back. But I agree -- it doesn't taste like chocolate; it's just really really good!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I've never put cocoa in a sauce for meat before, but I'm inspired to now! Love those diaper cakes!!

leanne said...

Wow those green beans look great! I will have to try them.

Madam Chow said...

Heck, I'm eating ramen noodles NOW! I love your posts, and I'd been wondering if you were a lawyer from the title of your blog. I'm a member of the same club!

AmyRuth said...

So..... Cathy,
Does the host post the recipe for us non-members to enjoy???? he he he
Yours truly ( a spoiled TWD'r)
AmyRuth

PS Sounds really good to me.

Natashya said...

That does look tasty! I have never used cocoa in a savoury application before either.
And I am really craving good green beans now, I wonder if I can get some here?

Proud Italian Cook said...

What a sweet hubby you have to roll diapers with you! Some day you should post how you did that.
In the meantime I'll try a little cocoa in my sauce. The bold flavor sounds great.

The Blonde Duck said...

That looks fabulous! I'm glad you tried it with sirloin--I think tenderloin's a special treat right now!

Steph said...

That looks like a delicious dinner! I wonder if David would be able to taste the chocolate if you snuck some in?

Elra said...

I am jealous, your dish look so delicious. I love that green beans, yum!
Cheers,
Elra

Laurie said...

Wow your steak looks awesome and I love the idea of cocoa. It cracks me up you made a different version for your husband. I do that for my kids all the time, but I've never had to to it for my husband.

Your diaper "cakes" are adorable!

Sara said...

This looks great, the chocolate sauce sounds very interesting. The green beans look like a good and easy side dish, I'll be trying those soon!

pinkstripes said...

Diaper cakes! and green beans. Those look good. YUM!

Maria said...

I will take a plate of the beans! The cakes are super cute!

Pam said...

Now, that's my kind of dinner! The diaper cakes are too cute.

Snooky doodle said...

wish to try this I wonder what it tastes like with chocolate !

Maris said...

Your veggies look so fresh! Next time I make green beans I'm definitely including shallots.

Love your blog!

DiaperChefMima said...

Hello! Nice work on the diaper cakes! :) Check out my creations at http://diaperchefmima.blogspot.com/

 
Blog Design By: Sherbet Blossom Designs