A Family Dinner Party!

Tummy loves to cook.  I'm not a very good cook but I love to cook, try new things and be challenged in the kitchen.  Today, quite unexpectedly I was somehow coerced into cooking dinner for the family, "dinner at 7:30" I heard myself saying as I waved goodbye to Mother, out the door I went from her home, 'how the heck did that happen?!' I thought.

Dinner at my quaint apartment it was, so much to do a lot of a sudden there was:

Stop by Trader Joe's and pick up ingredients - Check!
Clean apartment - Check!@
Begin cooking - Check!
Set the mood - Check!
Change my clothes - Check!

I started with hor devours, a simple white cheddar cheese & salami board along with a pile of sweet red seedless grapes.  Though putting out only one type of cheese can be risky everyone seems to love white cheddar, plus it was the only block of cheese I had in the frig.  It did well and 2nds and 3rds were asked for.

The entree of the evening was filet mignon, I decided to go with this because I find streak rather easy and fast to prepare, also I was feeding four men and all men seem to love steak, this seemed to be a straight path to their heart.

I seasoned the steaks with salt and pepper then rubbed it down with olive oil (both sides), I then brown the steaks on both sides by putting them on a WHITE HOT pan for about one minute.

In the 500 degree preheated oven are the glass oven-proof dishes that also have been heating with the oven.  I transfer over the browned steaks, note: I transfer the steaks since I don't have a pan that can be used in the oven, but if you do it's much easier to use a pan that can be used on top the stove and then popped in the oven.

The steaks cook at 500 for about 5 minutes.  The most important step to truly moist steak is, 3 minutes into oven time put a tiny piece of butter on each steak and let it cook the extra 2 minutes while the butter melts into the steak.  Yes, I know it'll be that much more fattening, but hey- it's steak and if you're going to be making steak you might as well go all out.  A little note to consider before you start piling on that butter on the steaks, a little goes a long way, you don't want the steak to TASTE like butter you just want it to be moist.

Once you've taken the steaks out of the oven allow it to sit covered with foil for 10-15 minutes, this will get the juices to set back into the steak, also important for juicy steak.

Also made a couple of veg dishes to go along with the steaks, I made the two veggie dishes that I knew I could rely on. 

First, asparagus, which I sauteed in a bit of butter and olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper and a tiny bit of dried chili flakes.  I put them in a bowl and tossed with a sauce mixture made of 2parts olive oil, 1part lemon juice and 1-2tsp of dijon mustard.  Right before serving I squeeze fresh lemon juice on it and give it a final toss for good measure.

Second, my favorite tomato salad!  I actually got this tomato recipe from Jamie as in Jamie At Home, one of my favorite cooking shows, but I change the recipe here and there a bit to suit my needs.  Today's tomato salad consisted of small heirloom tomatoes and tomatoes on the vine.  The most important step to this absolutely delish salad is chop the tomatoes, put them in a colander and liberally sprinkle with salt- this will allow all the flavors to concentrate by extracting some of that liquid from the tomatoes.  Leave salted during the extraction process for about 10-15 minutes.

Then, put in a bowl and add slices of red onion, 2 cloves of minced garlic (very important!), a heap of dried oregano (also very important!), 1 diced small avocado (I've had this 1 avocado sitting around for a week so I just decided to toss it in there), olive oil to cover, salt & pepper (naturally) and then red wine vinegar, then toss.  With the red wine vinegar I just keep tasting to make sure I get the taste right instead of using measurements.  This dish always turns out fantastic and the best part is you can add pretty much anything you'd like: avocados, fresh basil, feta or other cheese and so on.

I love the zing of the red wine vinegar and the minced garlic, and the fresh cool flavor and texture makes this a hit for the summer.  Like with any dish the fresher and flavorful the tomatoes the better this tomato salad will be.

The dinner turned out great and it seemed that everyone liked the food, everything was eaten so that was a good sign.  Oh~ how I do love dinner parties.

3 packs of filet mignon (2 in each)
2 packs of asparagus
1 pack of tomatoes on the vine
1 pack of small heirloom tomatoes
1 bag of stroopwaffles

The Damage: $54.00 +/-

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