By: Justin and Kayla Butts Photos by: Rachel Benavides
As farmers, we rarely enjoy the choicest cuts of meat at our table. Farmers keep the least expensive cuts for themselves–that is how to stay in business. But sometimes, we must sample the steaks. Call it a quality check or a plain old morale booster!
Here is what the celebrity chefs don’t want you to know: the ingredients are more important than the recipes. Mediocre ingredients make mediocre meals, and the best recipes in the world can’t save them. To prepare extraordinary meals, you must begin with extraordinary ingredients.
Beef tenderloin is succulent, lean, and flavorful, and only needs a little help to become magic on the plate. Insist upon grass-fed beef for your steaks. You can read literature all day long about the health benefits of grass-fed versus corn-fed beef, but the proof is in the flavor. Taste will convince you.
We cut our tenderloins into fillets to create more surface area on each steak for the pepper rub. Sear your filets on the stovetop for a nice crust. The filets will be ready in minutes; crispy on the outside, rare and red in the center.
This homemade horseradish sauce gives a spicy zing to the steak. The creaminess of the sauce tames the peppery rub while adding layers of beautiful flavor to the dish. Steak needs potatoes. These thinly-cut fried potatoes are crispy with soft centers, the best of both worlds. Generous dollops of sour cream and local goat cheese feta punch up the flavor with a finish of chives and parsley. These are complex and wonderful flavors for such a simple dish.
The string bean recipe could not be simpler: basically, string beans and heat. To make this work, you must use freshly-picked string beans, picked that very day from your garden or a local farm.
Squash blossoms can be difficult to find–they must be freshly-picked and painstakingly cared for by the farmer. Stuff your squash blossoms with chèvre from Thompson’s Dairy Farm, a great product from a local family farm. Gently fry the blossoms to a golden brown. The flavor of the squash flower fried with chèvre is so unique, so unusual, there is no other taste like it. These squash blossoms may be one of the best things you ever eat.
You can usually find most of these ingredients at the local farmers’ markets, or, best of all, grow these ingredients in your own garden.
If you are going to have steak and potatoes, do it right. Begin with the best ingredients. You are worth it.
Filet of Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
6 Beef Tenderloin Fillets, about 1/3 to ½ lb each, trimmed (alternately, a 2-3 lb tenderloin)
1/3 cup freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp dried rosemary
3/4 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp grapeseed or peanut oil
Garlic Horseradish Sauce
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 head garlic
1/4 cup horseradish
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp salt
Place a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Let fillets come to room temperature and pat
dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Brush each fillet with oil
and rub in spice mixture until fillets are covered. Add fillets to preheated pan. Cook for 3-4
minutes on each side (until internal temperature reaches 120°F-125°F for rare or 130°F-135°F
for medium rare). Remove fillets to a plate and let rest for 15-30 minutes.
For Horseradish Garlic Sauce: Place cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cut off
root end of head of garlic. Place cut side down in cream and let cook for about 10 minutes, to
allow skins to loosen. Remove garlic from cream. Starting from the top of your garlic head,
apply pressure with the flat side of your butcher knife to free cloves from their skins. Rotate
garlic head and repeat until all cloves have been loosened and are free of their skins. Add garlic
back to pan. Let cook an additional 15-20 minutes, until cream is reduced by about half, stirring
occasionally. Add the remaining ingredients and using your whisk or spoon, break apart any
lingering bits of garlic. Serve horseradish sauce spooned over tenderloin fillet.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
1 lb bacon
2 lb russet potatoes (about 6-8 potatoes), cut into slices about 1/8” thick
4 oz feta (recommend: Goat Feta from Thompson Farm)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup chives, chopped
Cook bacon over medium heat until crispy (about 7 minutes on each side). Transfer bacon to
lined plate and set aside, reserving bacon drippings in pan.
Reduce heat to medium-low and arrange potato slices in a single layer in the pan. Cook potatoes
about 5 minutes, or until center is beginning to appear translucent and edges are golden. Flip
potato slices over and repeat for opposite side. Remove potatoes from heat and place on a lined
plate. Repeat in batches until all slices have been cooked. Salt liberally with kosher salt. Top
with dollops of sour cream, crumbled feta, chopped bacon, parsley and chives.
Sautéed Green Beans
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
12 oz Fresh green beans, trimmed and rinsed
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add green beans and onions to hot oil and cook
for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook an additional minute until fragrant and
beans are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Chèvre-Stuffed Squash Blossoms
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 6 minutes
3 cups grapeseed oil
1 cup chèvre (recommend Thompson’s Dairy Farm Chev-Ray)
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp oregano, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
12 large squash blossoms
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp sparkling water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp parmigiana reggiano, shredded
Place oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine chèvre, herbs, and
pepper flakes. Carefully open and fill each squash blossom with a tbsp of the chèvre mixture.
In a shallow dish, combine flour, salt, and sparkling water to form a batter. Twist the end of each
filled squash blossom and holding on to the stem, immerse them into the batter. Add them to the
hot oil, using caution not to crowd the pan. Cook for about a minute, and then carefully turn your
blossoms and cook an additional minute on the opposite side. Transfer blossoms to a lined plate
and sprinkle parmesan on top prior to serving.