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Saturday night. Fire glowing in the firepit. Retro 70s and 80s music blaring all through the house and pouring through the windows onto the back deck. A slight chill in the air. Adult beverages in hand. Grill lit and ready to serve. I live for Saturday nights at the Hassienda.

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While I do enjoy quick, simple weeknight meals, my most fun cooking endeavors unequivocally come on the weekends. I get just a bit giddy planning new things to try on the grill, and recipes I’ve created that take a little more time than is available through the week.

Last Saturday was a feast fit for a king. Chilled Stone Crab with Brown Butter, Bourbon Beer Marinated Filet Mignon with Whipped Herb Butter, and of course a tray full of things to nibble. A little meat, a little cheese, a little pate…


I’ll repeat. I LIVE for Saturday nights at the Hassienda.


Bourbon Beer Marinated Filet Mignon


2 nice filet mignon

1 bottle Kentucky Bourbon Beer – You can use any beer you’d like, but this gives just a hint of sweet honey bourbon flavor

Your favorite steak seasoning – I prefer just salt & pepper on a good cut of beef, although I will use a more flavorful rub on lower quality steaks.


Marinate steaks overnight in beer. One to two hours before grilling, remove the steaks from the beer, pat dry with a paper towel and allow to dry in the fridge uncovered for 1-1 1/2 hours, then allow to sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Rub with your favorite steak seasoning. I prefer salt and cracker peppercorns.

Place on a hot grill and sear, turning ONLY ONCE. The grilling time will depend on the size of your steaks and temperature you prefer them served. Top hot steaks with a tablespoon of whipped herb butter.

I’m a medium rare to rare girl. A neat trick is to press on your steaks to determine temperature.

The Finger Test to Check the Doneness of Meat



Open the palm of your hand. Relax the hand. Take the index finger of your other hand and push on the fleshy area between the thumb and the base of the palm. Make sure your hand is relaxed. This is what raw meat feels like. (Check this out the next time you have a raw steak to cook.)


Now gently press the tip of your pinky and your thumb together. Again feel the fleshy area below the thumb. It should feel quite firm. This is what well done meat feels like when you press on it. (Check this out the next time you overcook a piece of meat.)


Press the tip of your ring finger and your thumb together. The flesh beneath the thumb should give a little more. This is what meat cooked to a medium doneness feels like.


Gently press the tip of your middle finger to the tip of your thumb. This is medium rare.


Press the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. The fleshy area below the thumb should give quite a bit. This is what meat cooked to rare feels like. Open up your palm again and compare raw to rare.

**Finger test and photos shared from Simply Recipes ***   http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/the_finger_test_to_check_the_doneness_of_meat/

Whipped Herb Butter:

You can use any of your favorite herbs for this butter. I used minced garlic and chives for this butter, but have also used paprika, cilantro, basil and roasted red peppers. Add one cup of softened (not melted) butter and 1/4 cup of your favorite fresh herbs to a mixer. Allow to whip until light and fluffy. You may use more or less herbs depending on preference.


Chilled Stone Crab and Drawn Brown Butter


2 pounds fresh Stone Crab

1 cup butter


Stone Crab is sold fully cooked. If you have stone crab by chance that is not cooked, you can easily steam the crab for 5 minutes. This is all the time it needs to be fully steamed. I prefer stone crab nicely chilled with browned butter. To brown the butter, melt one stick of butter in a skillet. Allow to cook undisturbed until the edges turn a nice golden brown. A little Sage adds a wonderful flavor to brown butter, but I prefer not to add it when using for shellfish.


That’s a happy, happy, happy Hass.

I like easy Saturday nights. Life is too short to eat ugly food y’all.