06.11.09: dinner (center cut roast and lentils)

Chateaubriand with Stewed Lentils
Chateaubriand with Stewed Lentils

Elizabeth and I could think of no finer meal to commemorate our 100th post than the one snapped above.  Neither of us makes any claims regarding our ability as photographers, but amateur or not, sometimes the subject matter speaks just fine for itself.

I expect I probably watch too much food-related TV.  I suspect it colors my opinions about eating and cooking and all the trappings that follow.  Food is such a massive topic, though, that maybe the only way to examine it’s many facets is the info-onslaught that is television.  If I had five or six extra lifetimes at my disposal, perhaps it’d be a different story.  My only hope, I guess for me and all the food-TV junkies out there, is that we take away the factual material, the benefits of the presenters’ experience and that we don’t get snared in the nets of faux-celebrity devotion/hatred or entertainment-for-its-own-sake.

Any reader of the site will know of my devotion to Good Eats.  They will also know that I have twice undertaken the butchery of a whole tenderloin into its constituent filets, etc.  Here we see that I reached deep into my fridge to liberate the small center-cut roast born of this process, the chateaubriand.  Prep was really a snap, all I did was dust the guy with salt, pepper and cumin, sear on all sides and cook in a relatively cool oven (250 F) until rare.  In the photo you can see how rare I’m talking about.  That’s the way we like it at TBYK, but with your trusty meat thermometer, you can leave it in until any doneness you like.  Really, elegance in simplicity.

The lentils were equally TV-inspired.  I picked up a great trick from Anne Burrell’s show.  I never thought to saute my veggies separately from my lentils and add everything together once it all was done in its own time.  It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a good cautionary tale about following cookbooks carte blanche without giving the matter any extra thought.  Still, I changed a lot of what she did: I used different vegetables and herbs, I omitted the bacon, but still, there’s no shame in following some guidance from the boobtoob so long as you’re still standing on your own afterwards.  This is always something I try to stress- a recipe is a beginning of a good meal, not the end of one (this obviously is not true in baking).  Inspiration and technical data don’t typically mesh well, yet this essentially is what a recipe is.

Some final words at the end of Post #100:  The important thing is to just keep cooking.  Repetition leads to comfort, comfort leads to confidence and confidence in the basics leads to creativity.  With a ownership of the basics and a willingness to experiment you’ll master that room of the house that’s such a cause of dread, drudgery and consternation in others.

Recipes mentioned today:

Chateaubriand and Lentils

French Green Lentils on Foodista


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary says:

    Pretty cool post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say
    that I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts. Anyway
    I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  2. michael says:

    Well thank you very much!

  3. xx Nicky says:

    those lentils look SOO good. I want to go home and make them right now. If I wasn’t a veg, I do the whole thing. But yeah, mum. love lentils.

  4. elizabeth says:

    Nicky–while the bacon is nice, it is totally not required in the least. Usually some Greek yogurt does the trick for me (espeically non-fat).

  5. michael says:

    There’s no bacon or meat of any kind in these lentils (not even stock!). I think Nicky was referring to wanting to make the entire meal, roast-included, but for her vegetarianism.

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