Monday, April 26, 2010

Orient Express - A Little Late

From April 15 - 17, Mate and Shawn took the Orient Express through Indonesia. I think they had fun. And, this was, by far, one of the best meals I have made. I pulled a sample menu from the Orient Express, Mate and Shawn could have had this while on the train!

The night's presentation started with the Menu Cards. I made these at work letting our guests (Bob, Mom, Adrienne, Richard, Chloe, Claire and I) know what they were having for dinner. I printed out a step-by-step guide for folding napkins. Bob made some amazing Bishop's Hats. If you need to know how to do this, go to It was very impressive!

For our Amuse Bouche (which I learned is a fancy term for appetizer!), we served Reduced Fat Wheat Wafers (Wheat Thins) and Assorted Cheeses of the World (a quote from one of my favorite movies...Red Wine and Cheeses of the World!! (if you guess the movie, you earn a point)) - which included Smoked Gouda (because I love it), Jalapeno Havarti and some Tuscan Cheddar.

Also, for our starter, I served Yucca Chips. These were rated 5 out of 5 and were gobbled up and we did not get pictures.

1 lb yucca, 2 - 3 tsp Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning, 2 tsp salt (or to taste...I used too much!), 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Wash and peel yucca. Slice 1/8 inch thick.
- Slide the yucca pieces onto bamboo sticks and place across a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes to blanch.
- When steam subsides, immerse immediately in a bowl of water with lemon juice and a few ice cubes.
- When cool, pat dry on towels.
- Preheat oven to 450.
- Place yucca and spices in a bowl and mix well. Spread in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, turn and bake an additional 10 minutes. Watch them to make sure they do not burn (ours were kinda burned, but Mom likes them that way).

We started the meal with Pan Fried Sea Scallops. Another 5 out of 5.
1 1/2 lb sea scallops, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1/8 tsp paprika, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup white wine

- Mix bread crumbs, salt, pepper and paprika in a bowl. Roll scallops thoroughly in the bread crumb mixture.
- In a large skillet, heat butter until frothy. Add scallops and saute until lightly browned.
- Gently remove scallops from skillet. Add wine to butter left in skillet. Boil gently while stirring for 1 minute. Pour sauce over scallops and serve.
(My breadcrumbs did not stick to the scallops, so they kinda floated around in the serving bowl...oh well!)

Next, we had Medallion of Beef. This was kinda funny. I asked our butcher for Beef Tenderloin because I did not see it out in the case. It was kinda early in the morning and I had just showered and was not quite awake. I did not think I looked THAT bad. But, the butcher looked at me and said, "It is very expensive." I said "Ok, can I have it, please?" He then said again, "It's pretty expensive." So, I asked again, nicely, "My recipe calls for beef tenderloin. Can I have 2 pounds?" So, he went back in the back and cut me a 2 lb piece. When he handed it to me, he said, "Now, this is $25." I just smiled and said thanks. I took a picture of Jack eating the leftovers for my butcher. I totally felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she was told she could not shop.

Anyway...back to the Medallion of Beef. This was given a 5 out of 5.
1 lb beef tenderloin, 3 tbsp butter, 2 large shallots, 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/2 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/2 tbsp flour, 3/4 cup broth, 3/4 cup dry red wine

- Start by cutting the tenderloin into 6 pieces, about 1/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a medium skillet, melt a tbsp of butter. Add beef and saute until outside is brown, but inside is still very pink. After browning, remove each tenderloin from pan and keep warm.
- Add remaining butter to skillet, and, when melted, add mushrooms and shallots. Saute until tender. Sprinkle sugar over the mixture and cook until deep brown.
- Add vinegar, garlic, herbs and flour and stir for one minute, until liquid is absorbed. Add broth and wine and bring to a boil.
- Cook until liquid is thickened.
- Return beef to pan and cook through.
- Arrange beef on plate and serve sauce on the side.
We served this with Oven Roasted Green Beans. These have been a tried and true recipe in my house for awhile. We love these!
2 lbs green beans, 2 tbsp olive oil, sea salt to taste, black pepper to taste, Tony Chachere's to taste

- Preheat oven to 400.
- Wash, dry well and trim green beans.
- Put green beans on a cookie sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Use your hands to ensure all beans are coated and spread evenly on pan.
- Roast for 20 - 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until beans are fairly brown in spots and shriveled.

And, to go with those, some Pan Roasted Broccoli. Again, another staple in our house.
3 tbsp water, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 2 tbsp olive oil, broccoli florets

- Stir water, salt and pepper together in a small bowl until salt dissolves.
- In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add broccoli in an even layer. Don't stir for about 2 minutes, until broccoli starts to brown.
- Add the water mixture and cover, cooking for an additional 2 minutes.
- Uncover and cook until desired done-ness.

Linguine with Parmesan and Herbs.
1 box of Pasta Roni Pasta with Parmesan, whatever ingredients the box calls for

- Cook according to package directions. Very hard!

And, for dessert...Pineapple Tarte Tatin.
1 1/2 cups sugar, 5 tbsp butter, 4 pineapple rings, 1 puff pastry

- Preheat oven to 400.
- Put sugar into an ovenproof pan and heat gently without stirring until it carmalises, turning golden brown. (This is super sticky and almost ruined our may need Bob for this process, he is good (and patient) with cleaning tough to get out stuff!)
- Remove from heat. Add in butter and stir gently.
- Place pineapple rings in the caramel.
- Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut out a circle slightly larger than the pan. Place the pastry over the pineapple and caramel, tucking the edges of the pastry into the sides of the pan.
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the pastry is brown.
- Remove tart from oven and set aside to cool for 4 minutes.
- Place a serving plate on top of the pan and invert it, so that the tart slips out with the pastry on the base and the pineapple on top (think pineapple upside down cake).

And, when we were done, we napped. This took a lot of effort, but was well worth it to see and hear my family's delight! I hope Mate and Shawn ate this well while on the train.


  1. Wow, a very not Audrey friendly meal, but it looks like it must have been a super glamorous evening at least! Hope you had fun eating all that!

  2. fancy is this! i love it. and the broccoli looks so good! i want some. did you guys dress fancy too? the butcher story is hilarious!

  3. Thanks for including Tony Chachere's in your recipe! We are so honored...

    Cindy Adams-Ardoin
    Food Scientist
    Tony Chachere's