I was so busy … I couldn’t even stop to eat lunch and most importantly, use the restroom. It was just one of those days. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I was going to get finished with my work before midnight. I closed my office door only to hear it open as my assistant walked in. She informed me that three people came in and asked to meet with me. I asked her if they had an appointment that I had forgotten. “No”, she replied, “they just waltzed in and asked to meet with you as they had just been to the Pennsylvanian and want to discuss your services for their wedding. I peeked through my office door and saw them sitting at a table in our café and instantly formed an opinion…. These people will never use us for their wedding – I am absolutely certain! I told my assistant this and she informed me that they were waiting for me and I that I should meet with them. Frankly, I was furious! I took a deep breath, gathered my tablet and pen and out I went.
I sat down, introduced myself and proceeded to tell them everything about my work at the Pennsylvanian. It took me about one hour and they never even asked me a question. I can honestly say, I don’t even think they were listening to me. They kept talking to each other and seemed to be ignoring me. So… I pulled out the big guns and asked if they wanted to see the china, flatware, stemware and linen samples. Well! That sparked a response and all of a sudden, they were engaged. We went into my office, and as I was showing them my ideas, once again, they seemed to be ignoring me and were laughing, as though I had told them a very funny joke. At that point, I was irritated and I asked them what was so funny. They pointed to my office door where I had a wooden plaque affixed with nails ~ “Kiawah Island ~ this property will be held in perpetuity”. I immediately told them that I didn’t steal the plaque, but that I had rescued it, as it was in the swamp for four weeks before I got up the nerve to pull it out and race it home on top of the baby’s stroller, hidden with a beach towel. They thought this was hilarious! Long story short, these three had a serious connection to Kiawah Island – like two homes and a home site! OK…. Now we had a connection. My island was their island. I turned around and told them that I just had to cater this wedding and Janet looked at me and said, “I was just waiting for you to stop talking so I could write you a deposit check. I didn’t come in here to get your sales pitch ~ I came in to write you a check!” OMG! From that moment on, Janet and George became my dearest and closest friends. I catered their daughter’s wedding and we are inseparable. There isn’t a time on Kiawah when we aren’t together. To you Janet, I dedicate this blog and this recipe:
Filet Of Beef au Poivre
6 Filets Mignon (cut 1 – ¼-inches thick)
2 Tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ Cup chopped shallots
1 cup rich beef stock
½ Cup Cognac
Place the filets on a board and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the filets with salt and then press the black pepper evenly on both sides. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place the steaks in the pan and sauté the steaks for 4 minutes on one side and then for 3 minutes on the other side, for medium rare. Remove the steaks to a serving platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Meanwhile, pour all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the sauté pan. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and cook over high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until reduced by half, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cognac for 2 more minutes. Off the heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve the steaks hot with the sauce poured on top.