New Years Eve – the one evening that gives everyone permission to over drink and party hardy. Our family precaution, stemming from my father, was to drink a glass of milk and have a banana before starting your reveling. Does it work? He used to say it would coat your stomach and give you something solid in your belly. He also used to say, “Everything in moderation!”
Whatever, the milk and banana are good for you. Give it a go and let me know what you think.
Happy New Year!!!
asparagus, beef fillet, beef tenderloin, Christmas Day dinner, creme fraiche, garlic, haricot verts, horseradish sauce, Idaho potatoes, Judy Rodgers, Lee Bailey, mashed potatoes with cauliflower, Melissa Clark, pancetta, roasted garlic, rosemary, The New York Times, Zuni Café
I want to tell you about our Christmas Day dinner. It was so good and some of you may want to replicate parts or all for your New Years Day dinner. I adapted Melissa Clark’s recent recipe in the New York Times and it was delicious!! Everyone raved about the meat!!
And here’s a funny story about buying the meat. I had heard a radio ad for Stew Leonard’s whole beef fillets. He was advertising them for $7.98 a pound! I thought, wow! That’s worth a drive to Yonkers. So my husband gets up at 7 am on Saturday to get this. He tried to do it Friday morning but found our car dead in our garage. We drive a Prius and the engine is so quiet, the garage guys often forget to turn it off!! This has happened twice before so we made a sign to tell them to remember to turn it off. But, the last time we drove the car, we forgot to leave the sign in the front seat!
So off he goes on Saturday morning. I tell him to ask the butcher for enough beef for 7 people plus a few leftovers. Well he comes back with this gigantic piece of meat – 6.6 pounds!! Like enough for 13 – 14 people. But then, look at the majority of people who shop at Stew’s – they’re fat! Our country is getting so obese it’s ridiculous. And he paid $11.98 a pound. The $7.98 per pound price was untrimmed with a 30 – 40% loss factor. Talk about a scam to get you in there!
But, this meat was good, so there’s a little redemption.
Here’s my menu.
Pate de campagne
Truffle duck mousse pate
Cornichons, picholine olives, lightly salted cashews
Artichoke dip – my recipe in an earlier blog post
Assorted brown rice chips, whole wheat pita and sliced French baguette
Pancetta and asparagus soup with black pepper – from Judy Rodgers and the Zuni Café cookbook, served with homemade Polish bread
Beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce– adapted from Melissa Clark and The New York Times
Mashed potatoes with cauliflower and roasted garlic – Lee Bailey – Long Weekends cookbook
Haricot Vert with walnut oil, sea salt and toasted walnuts
Oven roasted plum tomato halves with oregano (they were so good the night before and made the plate look Christmas-y next to the Haricot Vert)
Lee’s Ethiopian coffee
Christmas cookies, of course
Here is the tenderloin recipe that I have altered for our taste.
GARLICKY BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH HORSERADISH SAUCE – adapted from Melissa Clark and The New York Times
- serves 12 – 14
1 (6.6 lbs.) beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
1 1/2 tbs. kosher salt, more to taste
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper, more to taste
1 heaping tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cups crème fraîche
1/4 cup white horseradish
Several dashes of Tabasco
Season the tenderloin all over with the salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic. Cover the meat and refrigerate overnight. Let it come to room temperature for 2 hours before roasting.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Wipe off as much garlic and seasonings as possible with a paper towel. It tends to burn and the flavors have penetrated the meat overnight.
In a large roasting pan over two burners and high heat, heat the oil. Add the meat and thoroughly brown all over, 4 minutes per side. Brown all 4 sides.
Place the roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer shows 120 degrees (for rare), 10 to 20 minutes. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before carving.
In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche and horseradish plus a few dashes of Tabasco. Serve alongside the tenderloin.
Assuming your meat is a good quality cut, you will LOVE this!
Now if you want any of these other recipes, do let me know.
Baltimore, Chipotle, chipotle mayonnaise, Christmas Eve, crab, crab cakes, Dijon mustard, Dinner, entertaining, Food and Wine magazine, lemon, love, mustard, Old Bay seasoning, Polish Christmas Eve, Preston Clark
A traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner is comprised of numerous courses of fish. It was a sin, way back, to eat meat on Christmas Eve and many folks fasted all day too.
However, my brother David was born on Christmas Eve so things got all catawampus at our house. David is the second oldest, was born with no name in mind. The story goes that after attending midnight mass, my father went back to the hospital and said he had to be named David, as that was the most mentioned name in the entire service.
Then I moved to New York and every Jewish person I met was totally surprised that our Catholic family had a son named David! Oy vey!
Well David and his brood (7 kids and 10 grandchildren with 2 more on the way) still live in St. Louis. So all of us on the East coast could go back to a more traditional meal, rather than his birthday request.
Here is what I served for this year.
Taramusalata with red pepper and celery sticks
Greek cheese & aged Gouda with Breton crackers
Beautiful bunch of grapes
Crab cakes on a bed of Boston lettuce with chipotle mayonnaise and 1/2 slice of warm homemade Polish bread just out of the oven.
Steamed whole striped bass with ginger and lemon
Coarse bulgar with olive oil and parsley
Oven roasted plum tomatoes with oregano
Christmas cookies, of course!
David’s wife, Pat, requested the crab cake recipe. This is from Preston Clark at Food and Wine magazine and it is the best crab cake recipe I have found so far. Now my husband is from Baltimore, so this is a big deal. Baltimoreans know their crab and they serve up the BEST jumbo lump crab cakes. A fine restaurant there will never use a lot or maybe any breading, but then I could never figure out how they got them to hold together because every time I would try to replicate their recipes, they would taste good, but look terrible as they always fell apart.
This recipe uses another fish as a binding – it’s genius! Fresh and full of flavor with the jalapeños and scallions, and crispy on the outside, you will love these. And they hold together nicely. So sorry I didn’t take a picture.
Here you go!
CRISP CRAB CAKES WITH CHIPOTLE MAYONNAISE – ADAPTED FROM PRESTON CLARK
-serves 8 as a first course or 4 as a main
1/4 – 1/2 lb. skinless flounder fillet, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 scallions, thinly sliced
3 jalapeños, seeded and minced
3 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbs. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lb. lump or jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells, lay out on a paper towel and pat dry on top
1 1/4 cups panko bread crumbs
Pure olive oil, for frying (I think I might try canola or peanut next time to get it at a higher temperature.)
This makes a lot and all is not necessary for the crab cakes, but you can use leftovers for other meat sandwiches, especially turkey would be good
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle chile in adobo, seeded and minced (or leave the seeds in if you like it spicey – I did)
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
To make the cakes:
In a mini food processor, puree the fish. A small fillet is about 8 oz and my fishmonger wouldn’t sell any less so I used the whole 1/2 lb. and pureed it in two batches. Transfer the pureed fish to a large bowl and add the scallions, jalapeños, lemon juice, parsley, cayenne, salt, pepper and mayonnaise and mix thoroughly. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the crabmeat. Form the mixture into 8 cakes. Place the panko in a pie plate and gently coat the cakes with the panko and refrigerate for 30 minutes. It is important to refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes, so you can handle them and they hold their shape when frying.
To make the mayonnaise:
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, chipotle, lemon juice, Old Bay and mustard and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate.
To fry the cakes:
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderate heat until browned and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Use 2 skillets or do 2 batches as 4 at a time is enough.
I served the crab cakes on a bed of two perfect leaves of Boston lettuce with a dab of the chipotle mayonnaise. Squeeze a tiny bit of fresh lemon juice on the outside rim of the lettuce, before placing on the crab cake, then put on your dab of mayonnaise.
So pretty. So fresh. So good!!
I know that Christmas is over but you still have New Year’s coming and many parties probably await you this weekend. My mom would often make a batch or two during this week. Why not? She ran out of time before Christmas Day, so what’s the big deal, make them in the week in between! Just don’t tell anyone.
I did make these on Christmas Eve, along with another requested batch of Hello Dolly squares (they always go quick) and the 4 loaves of traditional Polish Bread that is my Grandmother’s recipe. Sorry I’m a little late in getting this to you.
Before this recipe, I was never a fan of cut-out sugar cookies. Any recipe I encountered came out too thick or too sweet or both.
Many of you know I went to Parsons School of Design, majoring in Communication Design. For many years, including my 4 years, the Chairman of the department was this wonderful, little (he was short) man named John Russo. He made sure he knew every student in his department. He loved to draw and produced these crazy drawings (I’ll have to show you later) and often converted each student into some type of bird. He made me a peacock. I could never quite figure out if that was good or bad. I have still kept in touch with him until just a few years ago. I should check in with him again. Now he lives in PA and is in his late eighties or early nineties.
So at Christmastime, he would have his wife make these cookies and instead of using cutters, he would spend time hand cutting each one of us as birds and then he made a huge display of them right by the elevators on the department floor. He would put a hole in the top of each one and hang them with a ribbon on push pins. Besides the amazing fact that he would take the time to do this, they were also delicious!!
Light and crisp – I guarantee you – this is the BEST sugar cookie you will ever eat!
ROLLED CHRISTMAS COOKIES
makes 3 1/2 dozen
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Cream butter thoroughly. Add sugar gradually and then add vanilla and egg. Beat until light. Sift together all dry ingredients and blend into batter. Remove batter from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for several hours. On a lightly floured pastry cloth, roll out 1/8” thin, cut, place on a greased or Siltpat lined cookie sheet. Decorate with colored sugars and bake at 325 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes. Or bake them plain and decorate them afterwards with colored icings. That is what Russo would do.
Store in a wax paper lined tin at room temperature.
We LOVE this cookie!!! It is work, but it is worth it! For melt in your mouth pecan heaven, this is the cookie for you. There is not much sugar in the dough, hence the double rolling in powdered sugar. Many cultures have variations of this cookie and they may change the nut to almonds or walnuts, but we love pecans. And the finger shape is a bit more elegant than a fat ball as some folks do.
My mom always made a double batch and it was never enough for all 8 of us. I make a double batch for just the 4 of us, so you can imagine. Mom would enlist my brother Mark and me to help her with the rolling in powdered sugar. Our trick was to purposely break them while rolling – so they were no good and we just had to eat them. That was believable to her, especially in the first rolling while they’re still warm. But she caught on and would just giggle under her breath, unless we started “breaking” too many!
This is the single recipe. I hope it will become your family favorite too!
¾ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup of pecan halves, ground in a food processor
2 cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter very well. Add sugar gradually and beat well. Add vanilla. Sift the flour and salt together and then stir in the ground pecans and add this mixture gradually to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix thoroughly. The dough may be crumbly but gather it together with your hands and the warmth from your palms and all the butter in the dough will enable it to hold together. Gently squeeze it. Shape dough into finger lengths. Place on greased or Siltpat lined baking sheets about 1” apart. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Then while still warm, roll in sifted powdered sugar. Cool cookies on rack and then roll again in the sugar until they have taken all that they can hold.