Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beef Tenderloin with Cornichon Tarragon Sauce (Page 416)


  • Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Brian
  • Dining Companions: Emilee, Sam, Matty, Teri, and Terry
  • Recipe Rating: B

I picked this beef dish to make when Emilee, Brian, Sam, and my parents were visiting a few days before the wedding. Brian really did most of the work on this dish. I seasoned a center-cut, tied, beef tenderloin, then Brian browned it. We then put it in the oven to roast. Meanwhile, we combined shallots, white wine, and minced tarragon and simmered it until it was reduced. I then beat together butter and mustard in a mixer. Brian thinly sliced some cornichons, and we added the cornichons and some cream to the reduced shallot mixture. Then I whisked in the mustard butter and seasoned the sauce. Once the beef had cooked and rested, Brian sliced it and we topped it with the cornichon sauce. This beef certainly tasted good, but I wouldn't make this recipe again. Beef tenderloin is incredibly delicious, and browning and roasting it is a lovely way to prepare it. The sauce didn't do the meat justice though. For one thing, it was too thin. The main problem was the flavor though. The cornichons were just too overpowering. The mustard tarragon sauce would have been nice without the addition of the cornichons, but as it was it had a sour flavor to it that wasn't so nice. It was also odd having the cornichons in the very thin sauce. After saucing the meat it looked like beef with pickle slices on it -- it was not terribly appealing. The dish would have been better with a simple pan sauce.

The recipe is here.

We are back at home after a fantastic honeymoon! The last few days of our trip were awesome! On Thursday we drove from Northern Utah down to Moab, Utah. That afternoon we did a 7.5 mile hike in the Canyonlands National Park. It was AMAZING. The park was really deserted -- we didn't see another person for five miles during our hike. Lizards? Yes. People? No. One thing that was spectacular about it was the silence. Very few things can live in that type of desert environment, so it was incredibly quiet. The views really made the hike though. We stopped on several occasions to just sit and enjoy.

The hike had the most difficult rating in the hiking guide to Utah we were looking at. At the start I thought, "This isn't so hard!" But it turned out that a good chunk of the hike involved scaling up and down slippery rock. I was only scared at one point, when I was climbing up a nearly vertical face of rock and didn't have a good hold with either foot or either hand. Luckily my special gentleman was behind me and caught one of my feet! Here's a picture of me climbing down some rocks:

The other thing that made the hike tricky was that it wasn't super well marked. The trail was marked with cairns (piles of rocks) that are meant to tell you where to go. On more than one occasion we found ourselves surrounded by rock, looking for piles of rocks to tell us where to go! Eventually we found our way!

After our day of hiking in Canyonlands, we returned to Moab. The next morning we hiked at Arches National Park. We hiked the longest trail in Arches, which is about 6 miles. Here's Matt at the start of our hike:

It was pretty hot that day in the desert, and eventually I needed a little break:

After our hike at Arches we drove to Colorado where we stayed at a spa in the mountains for a couple nights. It was so great to be at a spa after two weeks on the road, doing lots of active things. The spa was incredibly gorgeous, and we relaxed! We sat in the three outdoor hot tubs. We swam in the salt water pool. We got massages. We went to an aerobics class. We sat in the steam rooms. It was great -- an absolute perfect end to our trip.

On Sunday we had a lovely lunch with our friends James and Laura in Denver, then we hit the road. We made it home last night, not too late. Now it's back to real life!

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