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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Tenderloin, vegetable casserole perfect picnic choices

Thursday, September 02, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

We've had numerous requests for recipes for beef tenderloin or beef filet. With Labor Day weekend upon us, Kitchen Mailbox thought this the perfect time to showcase a main course that's fit for an elegant dinner or a backyard picnic.

The tenderloin is one of two cuts (the other is top loin) that come from the short loin, according to the "Food Lover's Companion" by Sharon Tyler Herbst. The short loin lies in the middle of the back between the sirloin and the rib; the muscles in this section do little that would toughen them. Tenderloins can be sold as tenderloin roasts or tournedos or filet mignon steaks. We asked the butcher for a 4-pound beef tenderloin.

Beef tenderloin is quite expensive -- having said that, we've not had a more tender and succulent cut of beef. After the first bite, we knew we would make it again.

The directions and ingredients for the Marinated Beef Tenderloin are easy to follow. One item is vital to this recipe -- a meat thermometer. If you don't have a meat thermometer, buy one, because it's worth every penny. You'll never have to worry about serving overcooked or undercooked meat again.

We also have a recipe that puts to good use the barrage of zucchini and tomatoes that hits us this time of year. The great thing about Baked Garlic, Tomato and Zucchini Casserole is that you can prepare this casserole the night before. The next day, sprinkle on the cheese, pop it in the oven and you have a beautiful, delicious dish.

Marinated Beef Tenderloin

1 beef filet or beef tenderloin (about 4 pounds)
4 tablespoons fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons fresh thyme
4 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 to 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup water

The night before: Cut slits (have a sharp knife) through the tenderloin, insert a sliver of garlic in each slit. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper.

In a shallow roasting pan, place tenderloin fat side up. Pour olive oil, vinegar and water over filet; throw in rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley.

The next day: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake tenderloin for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake: About 25 minutes or until thermometer reads 145 degrees (medium rare) or about 35 minutes or until thermometer reads 160 degrees (medium).

Remove tenderloin from oven and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before slicing; remove herbs and cut into thin slices. Serves 8 to 10.

Note: We drizzled the cooking juice over the filet before serving.

This recipe works well for picnics or buffets.

Baked Garlic, Tomato and Zucchini Casserole

Olive oil
8 large or 16 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
6 medium zucchini, stems removed, cut on the diagonal in-to 1/2-inch pieces
12 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
10 sprigs fresh basil, leaves picked and finely shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Coat large, shallow casserole with a thin layer of olive oil. Layer the zucchini slices alternately with the tomato slices, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle the garlic slices and shredded basil on top and season to taste. Finish with a thin layer of grated cheese.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the casserole for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

This dish may be assembled the day before,

Serves 10 to 15 people, depending on serving sizes.

"The Buffet Book" by Carole Peck


Judith Olszewski of Shaler would like the recipe for the frozen alcoholic drink called Slush. Some ingredients are orange juice, vodka and sugar.

We're not through with hot dog sauces yet:

Nancy Bartholomew of Fox Chapel was a fan of the hot dog sauce at a place called Hot Diggety Dogs, Ross Park Mall. The sauce was similar to a tomato relish and it wasn't hot (spicy). If anyone has the recipe or has a similar one, please send it in.

Peg MacPherson of Speers would like a recipe for a grilled portobello mushroom sandwich. MacFherson had this sandwich at a deli in the Craig Street Shops, Oakland. This grilled sandwich was made on focaccia bread, with sliced portobellos, roasted red peppers and provolone cheese. If anyone has this sandwich recipe, please send it in. Our mouths are watering.

John Musso is looking for a recipe for rice with chicken livers. This recipe accompanied a Wearever electric frypan. Musso believes this recipe is from the '60s.

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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