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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Lobster-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin dresses up dinner

Thursday, August 24, 2000

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

It's time to trade in the hot dogs and hamburgers for the ultimate in elegance and dining -- Lobster-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin.

Tenderloin isn't just a chunk of beef. It's the most tender cut of beef. A whole beef tenderloin can be cut into chateaubriand, filet mignon and tournedos, or left whole as in our recipe. Prepare the tenderloin by cutting and pulling away the fat and the paper-thin skin that may still be attached to the meat.

As the recipe instructs, we used frozen lobster tails. After the lobster has been cooked, remove the meat from the shell. Here's the easiest way we know: If you turn to the underside of the lobster, you'll see the tail; cut it off. Now, using kitchen shears (a knife can be used, but the safest way is with the shears), cut through the membrane that runs along the entire underside of the lobster. Once the membrane is cut, you should be able to remove the meat by taking hold of the tip of the meat and gently pulling the meat out of its shell. Cook the lobster according to the recipe directions.

How can we possibly describe Lobster-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin? It's delicious, luscious -- the meat is so tender it melts in your mouth. And the lobster turned out tender and sweet. This is expensive, but worth it. We made two changes to the recipe: We used fresh garlic instead of garlic salt and butter instead of margarine. Lobster-stuffed Beef Tenderloin is from the 1979 edition of "Three Rivers Cookbook."

We always follow the USDA guidelines when cooking or grilling beef: medium rare, 145 degrees; medium, 160 degrees; or well done, 170 degrees. As always, we used an instant-read meat thermometer.

We served this ritzy dish with a tossed salad, risotto, lightly stir-fried vegetables and fresh dinner rolls -- and red wine.

So what's for dessert? Banana bread. This recipe caught our eye because of the addition of banana yogurt and banana extract. Would these ingredients give this bread a more intense banana flavor? Yes, they did. This banana bread was dense and extremely moist. We loved it plain, but thought we'd dress it up a bit for our fancy dinner.

Here's what we did: We made simple caramel sauce, and to the sauce we added 1 large sliced banana. The caramel/banana sauce was then spooned over the banana bread. To finish, we added a spoonful of whipped cream.

We had seven responses to Linda Sachs of Hampton's request for Lobster-stuffed Beef Tenderloin: from W.W. Moore of Oakmont; Marguerite Hannon of Fox Chapel; Sue Bumer of Mt. Lebanon; Barbara Mohan of Monroeville; Phyllis R. Grine of Verona (she uses frozen lobster pieces instead of whole lobster); Eileen Fogarty of Carnegie(she garnishes with fluted whole mushrooms and watercress); and Peggy Pasco of Brentwood, (she adds 1 cup sliced mushrooms to the wine sauce).

Lobster-Stuffed Tenderloin of Beef

3-4 pounds whole beef tender-loin
2-4 ounces frozen lobster tails
1 tablespoon melted margarine or butter
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 slices bacon, partially cooked
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

Cut tenderloin lengthwise to within 1/2 inch of bottom. Place frozen lobster tails in boiling salted water; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove lobster meat from shells. Cut in half. Place lobster end to end inside beef. Combine melted butter and lemon juice. Drizzle on lobster. Close meat around and tie roast together with string. Place in roasting pan on rack. Roast at 425 degrees for 50 minutes. Place bacon on top and roast 10 minutes longer. Saute onion in butter in saucepan, add wine and garlic salt and heat. Slice roast; place on platter. Spoon on wine sauce. Tenderloin can be stuffed and tied ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to roast. Serves 8.

This recipe for banana bread has been No. 1 for the family of Linda McMinn of Brookside Farms for more than 10 years -- and after testing it we know why.

Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup banana yogurt
1 teaspoon banana extract
1 1/2 cups mashed banana
1/2 cup nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, eggs, sugar and bananas. Mix all dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternately with yogurt, extract and nuts. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.

Requests

Thelma Simon of Baldwin Borough would like a recipe for zucchini muffins.

Mary Lou Lattner of Ross (rugelach recipe from Aug. 17) gave us a call to say her cookies can be frozen for 1 to 2 months. Mary Lou uses either freezer bags or coffee cans. Place the cookies in the coffee can, cover the can with foil, attach the lid.


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, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.



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