Friday, March 04, 2005

For Jeff's birthday, my parents gave him an Omaha Steaks gift certificate. So naturally, we ordered a mess of bacon wrapped filet mignon, because that's a cut of steak I'd never buy otherwise; a mess of ribeyes, because that's our favorite cut; and a mess of beef treats for the dog because we love the dog.

Friday night I tried Gourmet's recipe for filet mignon with a merlot sauce, and was sorely disappointed. I overcooked the mignons (which was my fault, not Gourmet's) and the sauce, despite my addition of the pan drippings, was flavorless. And it was a lot of work for a flavorless sauce. We're talking starting by making a caramel and then lots of reducing and straining. It was a four pan sauce. Never again.

However, the creamed spinach I made to go with it was incredible and much less labor and cream and butter intensive than my standby recipe from Mastering... Although I didn't have a steamer or a stainless colander, so I blanched the spinach in the first step instead of steaming it. It still came out wonderfully.

We also ate at Beacon Saturday night, which is very restaurant-of-the-moment but not really all that. We went with small plates, and I loved loved loved the Beacon roll, which was salmon and avocado wrapped in cucumber with ponzu gelee, and Jeff loved the tuna pizza with wasabi mayonnaise so much we ordered two, but the rest wasn't that overwhelmingly fabulous, though it was pretty good. The atmosphere was very relaxed, though, and the service was friendly, and it was right next to the Jazz Bakery, where we went to see Mose Allison. We'll definitely go back if we're in that part of town, but I'm not going to drive across town just to eat there, is my verdict.

Sunday we went to a birthday party and the birthday boy's mother asked me to bring pimento cheese, which I think she does out of politeness since and not out of a love on her part of pimento cheese. I have come to accept that my love of pimento cheese is unshared by anyone. I know my mother used to buy pimento cheese and keep it around, but she denies that now and thinks I'm disgusting for making it. But if, like me, you love pimento cheese, look no further than James Villas' recipe. If you grate one of the cheeses on the big grater and one on the small, it's even better.

For the Oscars I made spinach dip with pita crisps and buffalo wings and blue cheese dressing, all from The New Best Recipe, and they lived up to the Best part of that book's title. Nothing will impress your husband more than deep frying him some chicken wings, either.

That said, good as the spinach dip and wings were, I mainly ate leftover pimento cheese. The one benefit to loving a food no one else likes is there are always leftovers.