Since the Media loves to remind us that this one of the most important elections in history let's act like it is and eat well. (Note to Mr. Panero: Instead of the customary pizza pies at Fitz's, ring up Dean & Deluca and have them send around a few game pies.) I'm trusting Stephenesque to make good on his promise to become an imbedded reporter in The Hellfire Club, which is why the recipe I use for Beef Wellington is included. It serves two because Beef Wellington is alot like a committed relationship: you need a partner. (If there are more than two of you, you may not be as committed as you think but simply multiply up.)
Smoked Salmon on toast points
Caesar Salad or Chopped Salad
Roasted Root Vegetables
Le Chocolate Bomb
Beef Wellington For Two (from The Silver Palate's New Basics Cookbook)
2 6 oz. tournedos (fillets) of beef
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup Potted Mushrooms (recipe follows)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry 10 X 8 inches, thawed (Pepperidge Farms works well)
1 teaspoon milk
Preheat the oven to 425.
2.Toss the salt, pepper and dried thyme in a small bowl. Rub the tournedos on a sides with the mustard, then sprinkle the spice mixture over them.
3. Melt the butter in a small skillet, and sear the the tournedos on all sides, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature. This is to ensure a rosy-red medium rare center
4. Arrange the tournedos on a small baking sheet, and cover them with mushrooms.
5. Cut out two 4 - 5 inch circles of pastry. Drape each over one of the tournedos, and pinch the edges in four or five places to enclose the tournedos. Blend the egg and milk, and brush this glaze over the pastry. Decorate the tops with B's made from pastry trimmings.
6. Bake 15 minutes for medium-rare. Serve immediately.
5 tablepoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/3 cup minced leeks (white part only)
2 cloves garlic, minced
18 oz. cultivated mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely snipped chives
1 1/2 tablespoons fortified wine ; medium dry sherry, port or madiera
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 10 inch skillet. Stir in shallots, leeks and garlic. Cook over low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add mushrooms and the thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushroom liquid has evaporated and the mixture is just moist, 10 minutes. Add wine cook just 1 - 2 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
3. Add chives, salt and pepper and stir well. Serve at room temperature.
( These mushrooms are best the day they are made. Serve the remaining mushrooms alongside the smoked salmon with toasts)
Roasted Root Vegetables (for two)
4 carrots, peeled
4 parsnips. peeled
2 tablespoons good olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Minced flat leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 400. Slice carrots and parsnips on the diagonal into 1 1/2 inch thick slices. (they wither up quite a bit) If carrots and parsnips are thick cut in half lengthwise first. Toss the vegetables in a bowl with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay out on one layer on a cookie sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes or until some attractive carmelizing appears. Season again with salt and pepper. Toss with minced parsley.
Chocolate Bomb (from the Open House Cookbook)
2 packages of soft ladyfingers, 3 oz each
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or dark rum
3 packages of semisweet chocolate bits (12 oz each)
1 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
4 cups sifted confectioner's suga16 large egg yolks
16 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 package (12 oz) semisweet chocolate bits
2 tablespoons butter
1. Line a 2 qt mixing bowl with plastic wrap. Brush the pre-split sides of each ladyfinger with liqueur. Line the bowl with the ladyfingers,(split side up) reserving the extras for the top.
2. Melt the chocolate, stirring constantly, in the top of a double-boiler over simmering water until smooth. beat the butter, sugar, and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl at high speed until fluffy. At low speed, gradually beat in the melted chocolate and the vanilla extract.
3. Pour the chocolate mixture into the ladyfingered-lined bowl. Cover the top completely with the reserved ladyfingers. Refrigerate the bomb overnight allowing it to set.
4. The following day, invert the bomb onto a serving plate. Prepare the glaze : Melt the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan, stirring constantly, over low heat until smooth (higher heat will cause separation) Spread the glaze over the entire bomb. Serve slightly chilled in thin wedges.
Makes 20 to 24 servings.