Saturday, January 22, 2011

Live from SoCal: Guest blog with Phil and Kelli!

It was our last night in Southern California (and we were crying), so as a last-ditch attempt to convince us to move here, Kelli and Phil went balls-out with a fancy dinner and The Bachelor drinking game. On the menu we had:


Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Fresh Herbs

Caramelized Shallots w/ Walnuts 

Pear Upside-Down Cake


I was in charge of the shallots. Kelli found some recipes online to try. I'm not sure where, but they were so good.

Trim and peel 2lbs shallots.

In a pan, melt 1/4c butter. Add shallots and cook on med-high heat until browned; about 20 minutes. This was a lot quicker than 20 minutes for me, but I think her pans conduct heat really well.

Once the shallots are browned on the outside, add 1c chopped or halved walnuts and 1c port or dessert wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook until shallots are tender; about 5 minutes. Then, turn up the heat. Cook on high until the port is cooked down and you are drooling. Serve warm.

While I did that, Kelli was baking away...
Here's her low down:

I generously buttered a 9" cake pan and lined it with 2 Bosc pears that I peeled, cored, and sliced.

Then caramelize 1 C of sugar with 1/2 C water, simmering until it's a medium amber color.  Do NOT stir, which will make your caramel grainy; just swirl the pan around to help the sugar dissolve.

When it reaches the right color add 1/2 C chopped pecans; the directions say to cook until fragrant, however if you're also caramelizing shallots and wine in the next pan over it's a little difficult to tell.  About 30 seconds should do it.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in 1/3 C bourbon and 1/2 ts salt.  Pour over pears in the pan where it'll hang out while you make the batter.

Cream 3/4 C butter, 1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar and 1/4 C granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add 3 eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.  Then beat in 2 ts vanilla (Mexican if you have it, in which case you may want to add 2 overflowing teaspoons), 1 1/2 ts baking powder, and 1/2 ts baking soda.  Alternately beat in the flour and plain, unflavored yogurt in two batches - so, 1 C flour, 1/2 C yogurt, 1 C flour, and 1/4 C yogurt.  Add 1/2 C chopped pecans, and spread the batter over the caramel in the pan.  The batter will be a little thicker than cake batter usually is.

Pop it in the oven at 350 degrees and bake until a tester comes clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan, turn out onto a plate and wait for the ooohs and ahhhs.

Enjoy with a glass of ice cold milk or with a cup of strong coffee for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Now here's Phil with the tenderloin details, interview style...

Mandi: Tell us how you cooked your beef tenderloin.
Phil: Slow roasted on indirect heat on a gas grill.

M: Have you ever cooked it this way? What do you normally do?
P: It's the first time I have ever done anything like this. I normally would not cut into the meat in this way. Normally, I sear the meat to keep the juices on the inside. This contradicts what I normally do but decided to take the risk.

M: What is it with men and grilling?
P: It's probably just what we have done for ages..uhh, bring the meat to the fire. It's a Hunter-Gatherer thing.

M: You were smoking a cigar while you grilled. Is that part of the experience?
P: Cigars are a new hobby but yes, it did enhance the overall experience.

M: I equate it to when girls look at fashion magazines and talk about boys and paint their nails. By itself, it's fun. But put the three together and you have the ultimate girly trifecta.
P: Wait, what? I don't understand the question.

M: The smoking-a-cigar-while-grilling-a-huge-slab-of-red-meat experience.

M: What is different about the food in San Diego?
P: There's more avocado, citrus flavors and spices...overall on the healthier side. It's lighter.

M: In ten words or less, convince me to move there.
P: Beach, weather, sunset, Phil, Kelli, Hannah, now.

Here's a photo journey of the beef tenderloin deliciousness...

Believe us when we say that the photos don't do it justice. Such an amazing meal!

Quite honestly, you had us at Bachelor drinking game.


  1. wow-that looks just delicious! What was in the tenderloin besides the basil? Love the shallots idea too. Yum, yum

  2. and oh yeah...P.S. Boston is far enough!!!

  3. dijon mustard, basil, sage, garlic, thyme... am I missing anything Phil?

  4. just a little salt, pepper, and olive oil on the inside and the outside too.