Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Inspired Week of Cooking - Day 3 - Beef Steak Filipino Style using Filet of Tenderloins

It was a surprise visit from my Tita Lydia, who arrived from the Philippines to bond with her grandchild that inspired me this day. She and I have not seen each other for years. So, a visit from her with my cousin, Olet and his son, Jio was most welcome. Why? She is a mighty good cook. And my favorite was her pancit. Before getting a haircut, free that is, she would feed us her newly cooked pancit. We were spoiled by her generosity. And the best part of getting a haircut from her, she also shared her wisdom generously, so instead of staying angry or having teenage issues, she taught us the duet of generosity and understanding.

It was ten am, and they just came from church. And we are now in Los Angeles, no longer in Manila where she fed us then her pancit. They have not yet eaten breakfast. So, I hurriedly thawed out some filet of tenderloins. It took ten minutes, soaked in water. So let me walk you through this recipe. And the best part is they stayed till dinner so we had a complete day of bonding that can last us for awhile until the next reunion.

Filet of tenderloins, Filipino Beefsteak Style

3 filets of tenderloins, seasoned with adobo seasoning, and calamansi juice ( this is Philippine lemon, which I picked from the tree growing in our backyard. )
1 onion, diced
1 garlic head, minced ( Filipinos eat a lot of garlic which is a good anti-oxidant. It just so happens that our recipes call for a lot of garlic )
Juice of six to eight kalamansi fruits
lemon zest ( zest entire lemon, that is the yellow peel of the lemon, not the bitter white pith )
Olive oil

Marinate the filets with diced onions, minced garlic, kalamansi juice and two tablespoons of low salt soy sauce for a few minutes, I did mine for fifteen minutes as folks were hungry, so I had to do this dish in less than thirty minutes, just like Rachel Ray.

Heat up the cast iron pan, with no oil yet. Turn on the stove at 375 F.

Heat the pan well on the stove, as it is important for searing the meat. After the pan is sufficiently heated, add olive oil. Add diced onions. Caramelize the onions, as if partially charred, the sweet flavor comes out. Add the minced garlic that was used for marinating. Then, sear both sides of filets, at least 3 minutes each side. Add the sauce used for marinating the filets. Add some lemon juice if needed, and season it to a balance of sweet, salty and pleasing to taste. Add a bit of water to make sure enough sauce is left for the second part of cooking, which is baking.

Put the cast iron pan inside the oven, to finish cooking the steaks. Keep an eye on the steaks, it just needs another five to seven more minutes to fully cook. Do not overcook especially for those folks who like their steaks medium rare. That is why it is important to touch the middle part of the steaks, if tender to touch, it is done! Remove from the pan, and serve with charred onions. There should still be enough sauce left to flavor the filets. Steaks should be tender to touch in the middle, and the sides are browned well. Serve with roasted potatoes and steamed rice.

Side dish of Roasted Potatoes

Quartered Potatoes
Minced Garlic
Olive Oil
Rosemary herbs, remove from stems and chopped...

Heat up cast iron pan, add olive oil and garlic. Once the whiff of garlic smell, add the quartered potatoes. Sear the potatoes. Add chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Bake at 375 F until done, about 25 minutes or more. Potatoes are cooked if you can pierce with a fork and it feels tender.

Much of my cooking is done by sensual observations, rarely by time, as potatoes and other ingredients are biological in nature, they have varying levels of moisture and therefore behave differently, but one thing I know for sure, smell of cooked ingredients is different from the smell of raw ingredients. Once your nose gets used to this kind of cooking, you seldom need to taste the sauce before serving. Your nose can be trained to have a whiff of a good balance of sour, sweet worthy of a balanced, platinum palate.


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