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A Mid-Winter
Wine Tasting Dinner



Cheese straws or cheese biscuits                    

Mesclun Salad with Stilton and Apple

Beef Wellington
Scalloped potatoes with goat cheese and herbes de provence
Baked Stuffed Tomatoes
Baby Asparagus and haricot Vert

Individual Fruit tarts from the bakery for dessert

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Champagne with the appetizer and salad course
Cabernet Sauvignon with the main course. 
A Sauterne with Dessert


Mesclun Salad with Stilton and Apple

For vinaigrette
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon,

2 crisp apples
16 ounces mesclun (mixed baby lettuces)
1/2 cup crumbled Stilton cheese (about 3 ounces)

Make vinaigrette:
In a large bowl whisk together mustard and vinegar. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking
until emulsified. Whisk in tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.

Core apples and slice if your presenting on plates or chop if you're serving from the bowl. Add mesclun to vinaigrette and toss to coat well.

Divide greens and apple slices among 4 plates and top with grapes, cheese, and


beef_wellington.jpg (5635 bytes)Beef Wellington

Prep and cooking time approx 4 hrs

3 1/2-pound fillet of beef tied with thin sheets of larding fat at room temperature
3/4 pound mushrooms, chopped fine
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound pt de foie gras (available at specialty foods shops) at room temperature
1 pound puff paste or thawed frozen puff pastry plus additional for garnish if desired
1 large egg white beaten
an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water

1/2 cup Sercial Madeira
2 teaspoons arrowroot dissolved in 1 teaspoon cold water
1/2 cup beef broth or demiglace

watercress for garnish if desired

In a roasting pan roast the beef in the middle of a preheated 400F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the thermometer registers 120F (be careful here.  If your roast tapers to small ends then 120F will get you medium well at the ends and medium rare at the middle.  John voted for slightly shorter cooking time and more rare meat)   Let the fillet cool completely and discard the larding fat and the strings (note:   I used lean bacon and it seemed to work fine). Skim the fat from the pan juices and reserve the pan juices.

In a heavy skillet cook the mushrooms in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until all the liquid they give off is evaporated and the mixture is dry (about 20 mins), season them with salt and pepper, and let them cool completely.

Spread the fillet evenly with the pt de foie gras, covering the top and sides, and spread the mushrooms evenly over the pt de foie gras.

On a floured surface roll 1 pound of the puff paste into a rectangle about 20- by 12- inches, or large enough to enclose the fillet completely, invert the coated fillet carefully under the middle of the dough, and fold up the long sides of the dough to enclose the fillet brushing the edges of the dough with some of the egg white to seal them. Fold ends of the dough over the fillet and seal them with the remaining egg white. Transfer the fillet, seam side down to a jelly-roll
pan or shallow roasting pan (a pan that allows some air to circulate under the meat seems the best) and brush the dough with some of the egg wash.

Roll out the additional dough and cut the shapes with decorative cutters. Arrange the cutouts on the dough decoratively, brush them with the remaining egg wash, and chill the fillet for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.

Bake the fillet in the middle of a preheated 400F oven for 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 350, and bake the fillet for 5 to 10 minutes more, or until the meat thermometer registers 130F. for medium-rare meat and the pastry is cooked through. Let the fillet stand for 15 minutes.

In a saucepan boil the reserved pan juices and the Madeira until the mixture is reduced by one fourth. Add the arrowroot mixture, the broth, the truffles, and salt and pepper to taste and cook the sauce over moderate heat, stirring, being careful not to let it boil, for 5 minutes, or until it is thickened. Loosen the fillet from the jelly-roll pan, transfer it with two spatulas to a heated platter, and garnish it with watercress. Serve the fillet, cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices, with the sauce.

Serves 8.

Scalloped potatoes with goat cheese and herbes de provence

The blend of dried herbs known as herbes de Provence usually
consists of basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Sometimes lavender
is also included, which adds a flavor that is the most evocative of
Provence. An accomaniment to Herb-and Spice-roasted Beef
Tenderloin with Red Wine-Shallot Sauce.

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups canned chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 teaspoons herbes de Provence*
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 10 1/2- to 11-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced

*A dried herb mixture available at specialty foods stores and some

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Mix
first 7 ingredients in large pot. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat.
Add half of cheese; whisk until smooth. Chill remaining cheese. Add
potatoes to pot; bring to simmer.

Transfer potato mixture to prepared dish, spreading evenly. Cover
with foil; bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until potatoes are very
tender and liquid bubbles thickly, about 1 hour (maybe more).

Dot potatoes with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese softens, about
5 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Bon Apptit
December 1996

Asparagus and haricot Vert Amandine

Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less.

3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed
3/4 pound haricot vert
1/2 cup water in skillet for asparagus
1cup in skillet or pot for beans

2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted lightly
fresh lemon juice to taste

Cut asparagus diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces. In a skillet measuring
about 10 inches across top simmer asparagus in water and butter,
uncovered, until asparagus is crisp-tender and liquid is reduced to a
glaze, about

In a kettle of boiling salted water cook beans 3 minutes, or until
crisp-tender, and drain well.
3 minutes. Stir in almonds, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

4 large firm tomatoes                   
One 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach               
4 teaspoons margarine
1 tablespoon minced shallots       
1 garlic clove, chopped                   
1 tablespoon parsley chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan  cheese

More Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve tomatoes and scoop out the core and seeds. Place halves into a casserole dish and sprinkle with salt. Thaw spinach and squeeze it dry between paper towels. Mix spinach, margarine, shallots, garlic bread crumbs and parsley. Divide the
mixture among the tomatoes. Mix the bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese. Top the tomatoes with more cheese. Bake until soft (about 15 minutes). Place briefly under the
broiler to crisp the topping. Yield: 8 servings.


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