Filet Mignon in Champagne Sauce

My mother developed this easy-to-make, decadently delicious recipe. I save this for special occasions, although I could gladly devour this weekly. Side with either asparagus or haricot verts to compliment this dish.

On March 24th, 2021, my latest novel, Love by Design: Book Two in The Meraki Series, was released. As many of you know, I add recipes between some of the chapters to add a sense of taste and fully immerse the reader into the characters’ world. In the story, this meal was served at what should have been a pleasant evening. Scroll past the recipe for an excerpt of Love by Design.

Filet Mignon in Champagne Sauce

4 1-inch thick filet mignon steaks

8 large stuffing mushrooms, whole. Stems off

3 shallots, sliced

5 tablespoons butter

½ cup champagne

1 cup heavy cream

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Sprinkle meat with salt & pepper. Melt four tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and pan-fry the steaks on both sides until cooked to your preference. Flip the meat to the other side. Add the shallots and mushrooms. When the steaks are done, remove from heat and set aside on a platter. Cover to keep warm. Place the cooked mushrooms on the platter with the steaks. 

Add the champagne to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the heavy cream. Lower the heat and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat and stir the last tablespoon of butter into the sauce. Add the steaks and mushrooms back into the pan. To serve, pour the sauce over steaks and garnish with two mushrooms.

Dinner was unusual, if not a little uncomfortable for Mia. The formality was a bit unsettling. Pavlos and Nicholas discussed business as though they were at a board meeting while Mia listened intently, trying to keep up. 

After a while, all she could focus on was the filet mignon in champagne sauce, baby roasted potatoes, and grilled asparagus on her plate. She would have taken a bath in the creamy gravy if she could have; it was that delicious. Instead, Mia coated each bite of steak, soaking up every last drop. She barely noticed when Pavlos turned his attention to her.

“Tell me about yourself.” Coming from Mr. Aristedis, the request sounded like an order. Under the table, Nicholas took Mia’s hand reassuringly. She had to admit, that one small gesture gave her the comfort and courage she needed to speak. 

Mia began to tell him about her father’s restaurant and what her mother did for a living. She talked about her siblings and her grandparents in Athens, who she just had the pleasure of visiting.

“Is it okay if I share your grandmother’s story and what we’ve been up to?” Nicholas asked.

Mia nodded and addressed Mr. Aristedis. “My yiayiá, my mother’s mother, lives with us. She came here when my mother was three years old.”

Mia went on to tell Nicholas’ grandfather the entire story as she knew it. Nicholas interjected with the information they’d learned during his investigation, and Pavlos contributed with his own recollections of the time. 

When Nicholas’ iPhone vibrated, he pulled it from his pocket and frowned. “I need to take this, excuse me,” he said, leaving the room.

An awkward silence ensued until Pavlos set down his fork, taking a hard look at Mia. “This a quite fortuitous,” he said to Mia. “I wanted the chance to speak to you alone.”

Mia smiled politely, hoping the elderly man didn’t pick up on her discomfort. He could intimidate with a simple glance.

“I love my grandson very much.”

The pronouncement warmed Mia’s heart. “He loves you too. Nicholas speaks of you all the time.”

Pavlos remained stoic, seemingly unmoved by Mia’s admission. “His sister and I are all Nicholas has in this world. We are both fiercely protective of him.”

“As you should be,” Mia agreed. “I feel the same toward my family.” 

“Penelope endlessly sings your praises, and her approval doesn’t come easily.” Pavlos steepled his fingers, narrowing his eyes. “Still, I’m not so quickly won over. I need to learn more.”

Mia felt internal heat rising from inside her chest, spreading up to her neck, as a flush intensified across her face. Someone must have cut her tongue out because, suddenly, she was struck mute.

“I’ll get to the point,” he said. “The women Nicholas has dated in the past came from families who were, shall we say, financially sound, for lack of a better expression.”

Mia closed her eyes, trying to keep the composure she was sure to lose. “You mean wealthy,” Mia challenged. “Let’s not mince words,” she said with false sweetness. They were only thirty seconds into this conversation, and Mia knew she would crumble to pieces before their discussion had ended if she didn’t dig way down deep to find the strength to defend herself.

“Yes, wealthy,” Pavlos agreed. “Unfortunately,” he said with a sigh, “none of these women were significant to Nicholas, but had they been, I had little concern in their motives stemming from financial gain.”

Calmly, Mia lifted her wine glass, sipping slowly as she pondered. “I don’t know if that’s an accurate statement. Some women, no matter how wealthy, want it all—the man, the money, and the empire.”

Pavlos leaned forward. “And what is it that you want?” he asked, glaring at Mia as though he could read her innermost thoughts. “Nicholas and Penelope stand to inherit a fortune. You’re a woman of average means from a modest family. What do you expect to gain?”

Love by Design is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Design-Meraki-Book-2-ebook/dp/B08XYSYK5M/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=love+by+design&qid=1616707715&sr=8-1

Synopsis:

Mia Andarakis just landed her dream job at a luxury magazine. And even better, her boss is the handsome and enigmatic Nicholas Aristedis, a man she has crushed on from afar. But Nicholas isn’t who she imagined. Irascible and mercurial, his instant dislike for Mia makes it almost impossible for her to work with him.

Nicholas has faced many losses and heartaches in his thirty-two years. Determined to avoid heartbreak, he has closed his heart to love. But Mia awakens feelings in him he had long since denied. And soon he discovers their connection is deeper than he realized.

Mia and Nicholas embark on an adventure across picturesque locations as they launch a new publication and uncover the mystery behind her grandfather’s disappearance. But perhaps the greatest challenge is in learning to set aside their insecurities and fears. Can the two forget the traumas of their past? And will they ever learn to trust in the possibility of love? Find out in the second novel of The Meraki Series.

Pomegranate Spinach Salad

Currently, I’m in the final editing stages of my new book, Love by Design, the second book in The Meraki Series. Love is What You Bake of it – Book One revolved around Kally, a café owner with a big, loveable, but meddling family. … Continue reading

Blueberry scones & a book cover reveal

Today I get to show the reading world the cover of my soon to be released book, Love is What You Bake of it. From the title alone, I think my food-loving audience will love this book too! As promised, here is a recipe card featuring one of the sweets from Kally’s cafe, The Coffee Klatch.

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Excerpt

Kally was stacking books on a shelf for next month’s book club selections in a cozy corner of the shop dedicated to selling novelty items when a male voice greeted her.

Turning, she came face to chest with the police officer from the day before. The very one who for some inexplicable reason was the source of her sleepless night.

“Oh, hello,” Kally said politely. “Is there something more you needed from me? Um … I mean … regarding the car plate?”

“I thought I’d give you an update,” Max answered. His eyebrows lifted in surprise. “Whoa!” He lifted his hands in surrender. “Do you choose those aprons at random or is that a warning?”

“You’ll have to wait and see,” Kally replied smugly. “The update?”

“Oh, yes.” Max brought his attention back to the matter at hand. “We tracked down the car. It was used in a drugstore robbery about twenty miles from here on the South Shore. The car has been recovered and the suspects are in custody.”

“Good to know. Thanks.” Kally resumed stacking the books.

“So, what do you recommend today?” Max asked ambling over to the glass dessert counter.

“The blueberry scones are good or the individual carrot cakes. Luis, my baking assistant, just finished a fresh batch.”

“Who made the scones?” he asked pressing his palms to the glass.

“I did.”

“Hmm. I’m not a fan of blueberries. Maybe I’ll come back another day. Thanks,” he said, pushing away from the display. But as if by afterthought, Max turned back to Kally. “You have a little something right … here,” he told her, cleaning a clump of icing from her hair. And without another word, he left.

As he walked away, Kally stood with her fists planted on her hips, her expression held in a confused scowl.

“What did Officer Hot Buns want?” Egypt asked, bouncing over as soon as Max shut the door behind him. “He was eyeing you with those smoldering eyes.” She imitated Max in a goofy exaggerated manner.

“Hardly!” Kally scoffed. “I think he just insulted me. Not a fan of blueberries,” she muttered under her breath. “Who doesn’t like blueberries?”

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Blueberry Scones

Preheat oven to 425º

2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1½ cups fresh blueberries

1 large egg

½ cup heavy cream

Zest from one small orange

1teaspoon vanilla extract

*Hint- The secret to light, flakey scones is to not over mix the dough.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Cut butter into small pieces and drop in flour mixture.

Use a pastry blender to coat the butter cutting until butter pieces are no larger than the size of peas. Stir in the blueberries. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, heavy cream, zest, and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients into the flour/butter mixture until just moistened. Gently form two balls with the dough. Place dough onto a floured surface and flatten to form a disc. Cut each disc in quarters or eighths, depending on how large you want each scone.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake until golden brown about 14 minutes. Cool on a baking rack.

 

 

 

KEFTETHES & TZATZIKI SAUCE

Keftethes, or otherwise referred to as Greek meatballs, are delicious for dinner or as a party appetizer. Alone, they are flavorful enough, but with a dollop of tzatziki sauce, they are divine. The best thing about them is that for … Continue reading