My vacation officially started Monday. I had no big plans for the week, just go through all of my magic that resides in storage cubes, draws, shelves, boxes, cases and whatnot. However, a text from friend and co-worker Jeanine got my mind thinking. We generally trade off getting Dunkin’ Donuts for each other. She sent me a text informing me she almost got me an iced coffee, but remembered I had vacation. We exchanged some texts, but it wasn’t until later I saw her last one. Then it dawned on me, why don’t I invite myself, Wendi and Owney over to Jeanine’s and grill some filet mignon. (Wendi and I have not yet purchased a new grill.)
Jeanine was agreeable, but it would be a late dinner because she had a busy day at work. Wendi and I didn’t eat lunch until around 2:30, so a 7 p.m. dinner time was fine with us. But, before we could eat dinner, I had to trim a whole beef tenderloin (aka filet mignon). Buehler’s Fresh Foods had an incredible sale on beef tenderloin, so we purchased one. After trimming the meat, we cut about 10 6-ounce filets and had a couple tails that will become tenderloin tips with sauteed mushrooms (for Wendi) and a steak-and-cheese sub (for me).
I was hoping when we arrived, Owney would want to play with Jeanine’s dog, Lexi. However, Owney basically kept to himself and sniffed just about everything he could reach in Jeanine’s yard. Owney and Lexi get along fairly well, but one time Jeanine was carrying some food from the house to the table outside, and Lexi seemed to get a little protective and didn’t want Owney messing with her Mommy.
Because of Wendi’s blog, we have to remind people: Nobody eats until we get photos of the food. However, at Jeanine’s, we had to get photos of the plates before they were invaded by food. Cary and Elaine Hulin, good friends of Jeanine, are the owners of Holmes County Pottery, and they create artisan pottery. To say they are works of art is an understatement.
Jeanine got us started with some crackers and cheese. There’s an inside joke around Casa Kendle about how “Jean don’t cook.” But, I can guarantee you this: There will be some kind of cheese in her fridge. She brought out some crackers with a pimento cheese spread. Wendi had always wanted to try the spread, so she welcomed the opportunity. Jeanine said she liked this particular brand because it was not too tangy. Wendi liked it, too.
While the cheese spread was a nice addition, this meal was built around meat and potatoes. I have a friend who does not like “baked” potatoes to be cooked in the microwave. I thought that friend was Jeanine, so I started baking Idaho russet potatoes wrapped in foil about an hour early. Come to find out, Jeanine doesn’t mind potatoes “baked” in a microwave oven. Oh, well. It turned out for the best anyway, because I was able to keep the potatoes warm on the grill while the filets were char-grilled to perfection.
It is always tough for me to cook beef tenderloin properly. The cut gets its name from the fact that it is the most tender muscle there is. It doesn’t get worked like the other muscle groups. Because it is so tender, it is hard to judge whether it is cooked properly. I have a propensity of undercooking filets.
I did a pretty good job of getting Wendi’s steak rare without too much mooing.
My medium rare turned out just the way I liked it. (You see all that bread? I needed it because I was going to make a steak sandwich, much to the chagrin of Jeanine who believes you do not mess with a great steak by putting it between two slices of bread.)
Jeanine wanted medium, but her steak was probably a tad closer to medium rare than medium.
While the meal was just your basic meat-and-potatoes dinner, the steaks had a great flavor to them. Wendi had picked up a Montana steak seasoning at one of the many bulk food stores in the Wayne County area, and it added a nice touch to the filets, as did the gas grill. While we were seasoning our baked potatoes, Wendi was captivated by the salt shaker created by Cary and Elaine. It is this cavernous thing where you shake it, and the salt comes out the bottom.
The three of us enjoyed dinner outside, and Owney and Lexi were well-behaved. Little did we know, but Jeanine picked up for dessert one of our favorite brands of ice cream: Homemade Brand by United Dairy Farmers (aka UDF). UDF started in the Cincinnati area, and Wendi and I became big fans of UDFs ice cream and milkshakes (we actually went to a UDF on our first date). So, having Homemade Brand chocolate chip ice cream with some leftover blondie brownies from Easter, was a nice way to finish the meal.
If you ever find yourself in a pinch about where to grill out steaks, give Jeanine a call (or a text), and maybe, just maybe, she will wheel the grill out of the garage and fire it up. The evening of good company and good food was a great way to start my magical staycation. Thanks, Jeanine! And, Lexi!