Tonight I worked on a few "things" for an upcoming get together. Namely, I worked on the topping for bread, some so-called "fire-roasted" tomatoes, and then I also prepared a sauce for beef. The tomatoes come from a recipe that appeared in Gourmet magazine, and consequently, in the Gourmet cookbook. It's really simple. You slow-cook tomatoes in the oven. They recommend 6-8 hours for this type of procedure, at 200 degrees F. I played with the temperature a bit, but the preparation is really simple: season the cut tomatoes with salt, pepper, garlic, and EVOO. These tomatoes didn't "look" great, mind you. They were not cheap, but it's December, and they came from Florida. They'd never compare to local Hanovers in June. But wow. The garlic slices turned into chewy candy, the pepper magnified into something spicy, and the tomatoes were... divine. Still juicy, but a concentrated, rich juiciness that you simply wanted to savor. I just placed them in the refrigerator... they'll emerge again on top of bread slices, and a really good fruity olive oil. This beats other things so more complex. The sauce I made will be served "alongside" a beef tenderloin cut. The roast will be unusual: I plan on coating the beef tenderloin in coffee, cocoa, and porcini mushrooms (dried), after they've been finely ground in a spice grinder. So, the sauce should play off of some of these flavors. The approach was simple enough: take shallots, get them really soft, and add mushrooms. I added a lot of chunky portobello mushrooms and lots of red wine. Add veal or beef demi-glace. Reduce. Reduce. Reduce. The mushrooms soften, the qualities of the wine(s) intensifies... check for seasoning. I let a big stem of rosemary play along for about 40 minutes in the sauce as it reduced. I then took most of the resulting liquid and about half of the solids and buzzed them in the blender. This thickened the sauce. It now awaits reheating and service. The sauce came off just a tad tart. I'm going to round-out the flavors a bit before serving by adding a secret ingredient when it gets reheated... a thick, syrupy concoction that sweeten things up a bit... The only question--the sauce can be served a couple ways. As is, or completely smoothed and mounted with butter. I think I'll go chunky this time, to show off the still-texturiffic mushrooms.