“Dinner: A Love Story” by Jenny Rosenstrach is a tribute to all the stages of life hashed out over dinner. Part memoir, part cookbook, Rosenstrach explains how food plays an important role in memorable events from getting married to having a baby or working out disagreements. She also explores how having the responsibility of feeding children is a major game-changer where food is concerned. Rosenstrach reminds us that food is as much an expression of love and caring, an emotional nourishment, as it is about nutrition. Drawing from her own real life experiences with 4,000 dinners recorded in her food diary, she captures the significance of food, not just as sustenance, but as a commemorative ritual in our families and community.
Recipes contained in “Dinner: A Love Story” represent real food, not in the strict sense of organic or natural, but in that all Rosenstrach’s recipes were tried at her own table. A former editor at Real Simple magazine, her recipes represent the thirty-something’s foray into eating that is less formal and yet more sophisticated; more off-the-cuff, but healthier. Like many in her generation, too, the book evolved from her blog by the same title, which she shares with her husband, Andy Ward. Together they also write a column called The Providers for Bon Appetit magazine. Find “Dinner: A Love Story” at http://www.dinneralovestory.com.
Celebrate your own love story over dinner this week with the following recipes.
1 3/4 pound baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning with rosemary
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3-pound center-cut trimmed beef tenderloin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
1 pound frozen puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
Parchment for lining baking tray
Pulse mushrooms, shallots and rosemary in food processor until minced. Heat butter in large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add mushroom mixture. Cook, stirring, until moisture has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool.
Pat beef dry with paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add beef and cook, turning occasionally until just seared all over, including ends, approximately 5 minutes. Remove and let cool then pat dry with a paper towel. Refrigerate 1 hour.
On counter, lay out an 18x24” sheet of overlapping plastic wrap. In the middle make an 11x13 rectangle of overlapping prosciutto. Spread mushroom mixture over prosciutto, leaving about a 1” border. Place beef in the center. Using plastic wrap edges, roll prosciutto/mushroom mixture around beef. Wrap tightly and refrigerate.
Beat egg yolk with milk. On floured work surface, roll puff pastry out to about 1/8” thick. Cut and attach sheets to form a 13x15” rectangle. Remove beef from plastic wrap and place on top of pastry. Roll pastry around beef so that seam side is down. Seal with egg wash; trim ends, if needed, and seal with egg wash. Place on baking tray lined with parchment. Brush off extra flour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush pastry with egg wash all over. Score surface of pastry decoratively with sharp knife, careful not to break the pastry. Poke a few holes on top. Roast until instant-read meat thermometer registers 115 degrees at the thickest part, about 45 minutes for rare. Let rest 20 minutes before carving. This and the following recipe adapted from House and Home, Dec. 2012.
Truffled Potato Gratin
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
Sea salt to taste
4 teaspoons truffle oil
3/4 cup Parmesan, grated
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 6-8 cup gratin or shallow baking dish. Slice potatoes thinly. Place in buttered dish in overlapping layers, sprinkling each layer with salt, truffle oil, and cheese. In small pot, heat milk and cream until hot. Pour over potatoes. Season top with salt and any remaining truffle oil and cheese. Cover with foil and place on baking tray. Bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden brown and tender, about 30 more minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.
Rosa’s Mud Cake
Makes one 9x13 sheet cake or two 9-inch layers.
1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup strong black coffee (brewed, not grinds)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dump everything in a bowl, mix, pour into a sheet pan that has been buttered and lightly floured. Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Frost with Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Glaze below, also from “Dinner: A Love Story.”
Ridiculously Easy Chocolate Glaze
Dump a small bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 6 ounces) in a heatproof bowl. Meanwhile heat 1 cup of heavy cream so it’s bubbling but not boiling. Pour over chocolate chips and let sit about 2 minutes without stirring. Whisk together and pour over cake that has been set over a cooling rack on top of a cookie sheet that has been lined with foil or parchment.