March 10, 2021

Now for something really different. From time to time we do special dinners for our friends. The occasion was Lynda had some guests from out of town and we’d just had the 4th largest snow storm in Denver’s recorded history, so we did the After the Blizzard dinner. These dinners are complicated, so two pages are needed. This is the ahead of time preps and the 2nd page is the final cooking at Lynda’s house.

These dinners require a menu with an appropriate background picture.

As Mack said during the Series finale of Agents of Shield, What We’re Fighting For, there’s a lot of moving parts. Therefor a spreadsheet is needed to keep track of everything. This spreadsheet doesn’t cover the preps before going to Lynda’s place.

We started with dessert, Key Lime Pie. We use the Coook’s Illustrated, simplest possible Key Lime Pie. The crust is just Graham crackers, sugar and butter. The filling is just 4 ingredients, lime zest, lime juice, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks. This is the pre-baked crust, cooling.

The completed pie, cooling after a quick bake.

The very beginning of the beef Wellington, Wally’s wonderful beef tenderloin, crafted into the perfect shape! We left it tied, so the dish would be much easier to prepare. In an amazing coincidence, both Cuisine at Home and Cook’s Illustrated’s December 2020 issues had Beef Wellington in them. We combined Cuisine at Home’s mushroom duxelles and use of frozen puff pastry with Cook’s Illustrated’s technique of “pull it out of the oven way too early at only 85 °F in the center and let it coast up”

Part of the Mise en Place for the mushroom duxelles. The cleaned mushrooms at the left are ready for the food processor, the shallots are minced.

The rest of the Mise en Place. The brandy is measured in the small plastic cup, the thyme and shallots are on the bench scraper and the cream goes in at the end.

Starting the cooking of the duxelles

Finishing the duxelles, yes they really do dry out!

The beginning of the assembly, carefully laying out the Prosciutto de Parma on a piece of parchment paper. We want a single layer of prosciutto with as few gaps and overlaps as possible.

The Mushroom Duxelles are now spread out into a thin layer on top of the prosciutto.

The frozen puff pastry was the first “cheat”, this is the second, we buy the truffled pâté! It’s simply too difficult to do ourselves, especially when Whole Foods does such a good job. It has to be spread thinly over the beef.

The final ahead of time prep, rolling everything up.