Cook. Nourish. Heal. Celebrate.

Posts tagged as christmas 2010

The Prep Ends, Eating Begins!

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 27, 2010 at 9:56am

To me, it’s not Christmas without my mom’s fabulous 1970s appetizer platter.  I use it all the time, this time for fondue vegetables.

The smooth, tangy cheese…

…and rich beef tenderloin fondue were both amazing.  Fried beef.  Yes.

cauliflower fritters

But I think my very favorite were the crispy cauliflower fritters – ridiculously good.

I used two fondue pots – one for the cheese, the other for the oil.  We dipped bread and vegetables in the cheese fondue, then fried the beef and cauliflower in the oil and dipped them in tomato-truffle and horseradish sauces as we went along.  If you were feeling really decadent, you could dip the cauliflower fritters in the cheese.  We missed that marvelous little move.

Next time.

Any of these would be delicious fun for New Year’s Eve!

Cheese Fondue
From The Book of Fondues by Lorna Rhodes
Serves 6

1 Tbsp. butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 c. light ale (I used gluten-free beer)
4 tsp. cornstarch
5 Tbsp. half & half
4 c. (1 lb.) freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Serve with any combination of:
baguette cubes
small pickles
red bell pepper

Melt butter in a large saucepan and cook shallot until soft.  Whisk together the ale, cornstarch, and half & half.  Whisk ale mixture into the shallot butter until hot and thickened (do not boil).  Turn heat to low and gradually stir in the cheese.  Continue to stir and heat until mixture is hot and smooth (but again, do not boil).  Transfer to a warm fondue pot and serve with bread and vegetables.

Cauliflower Fritters
From The Book of Fondues by Lorna Rhodes
Serves 6

1 lb. cauliflower, cut into florets
1 c. water
2 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
3/4 c. fresh bread crumbs (I used gluten-free bread)
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
peanut oil or other high heat oil

Serve with one or more dipping sauces:
Tomato-Truffle Sauce
Cheese Fondue

Combine water and 1/2 tsp. salt in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, add cauliflower, and cook for 3-4 minutes (tender-crisp).  Drain well and spread on a baking sheet to cool.  (Can be done up to 3 hours ahead.  Cover and chill.)

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, 1 tsp. salt, and several grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl.  In a pie plate or shallow bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the remaining 1 tsp. of salt.  Dip cauliflower florets in beaten egg, coat in bread crumb mixture, placing on a serving platter as you go.  (Can be done up to 1 hour ahead.  Cover and chill.)

Heat oil in fondue pot (amount varies according to your individual pot and instructions; I use an electric Rival fondue pot, half-filled with oil) to 350 degrees F.  Spear cauliflower florets and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Serve with dipping sauces.

Beef Tenderloin Fondue
Serves 6

2-3 lbs. of beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
peanut oil or other high heat oil

Up to two hours before serving, lay the beef cubes out on a large baking sheet.  Sprinkle with coarse salt and let sit at room temperature.  Before transferring to a serving platter, blot any moisture from the cubes with paper towels.

Heat oil in fondue pot (amount varies according to your individual pot and instructions; I use an electric Rival fondue pot, half-filled with oil) to 350 degrees F.  Spear tenderloin cubes and fry to desired doneness.  Serve with warm tomato-truffle sauce, horseradish sauce, or other dipping sauces.

Tomato-Truffle Sauce
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 14-oz. can imported Italian tomatoes
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Thai fish sauce or anchovy paste (optional)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
truffle oil or truffle salt

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add oil and when it’s hot, stir in garlic and oregano.  Saute for a minute or two, then one tomato at a time, crush tomatoes with your fingers into the pan, adding all of the juices from the can as well.  Stir in sugar and fish sauce (if using) and bring sauce to a simmer, turn heat to low, and cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely thick and rich-tasting.

Remove from heat and stir in truffle oil or salt to taste (intensity varies widely, so you’ll have to taste to decide, depending on the type of oil or salt you’re using).  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Sauce should have a nice amount of saltiness to it since you’re using it as a condiment.  (Can be prepared 2 days ahead; cover and chill.  Reheat before serving.)

Horseradish Sauce
Makes about 1 cup

1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. creme fraiche
1/4 c. grated fresh horseradish (or more, to taste)
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. salt

Whip cream to soft peaks.  With mixer on low, add creme fraiche, horseradish, parsley, and salt.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  (Can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.)

Yet Even More In Progress…

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 24, 2010 at 11:43am

The table is set.

The Alice Medrich chocolate souffles – not too rich, nicely chocolatey – are ready for the oven.  They’re both gluten-free and do-ahead.  If they washed dishes, they’d be perfect.  (That giant one in the back is for John!)

Cauliflower is blanched.  It still needs a coating of breadcrumbs, then it will be ready for the fryer we fondly call “fondue.”  (Recipes for fondues and sauces are here.)

It’s kind of crazy how perfectly Christmas-y all this snow is!  After Christmas, it’s just…a lot of snow.  But for now, it’s lovely.


Even More In Progress…

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 24, 2010 at 9:17am

pan roasted almonds with thyme & truffle oil

Ooh, here’s another quick crowd-pleaser from the lovely blog Jenn Cuisine: Pan-Roasted Almonds with Thyme & Truffle Oil.  They take mere minutes to make and whoamygoodness, they are insanely delicious.  I’m putting these away now so there are at least a few left for my guests.


The skaters arrived!

And both sauces are now done: Softly whipped cream with freshly grated horseradish, minced scallions, and a generous pinch of salt folded in, as well as the tomato sauce from below.  (Recipes for sauce and fondues are here.)

I’m having fun – I hope you are too!  More to come…

More In Progress…

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 24, 2010 at 7:30am

chocolate coconut almond bark

If you’re scrambling today, wishing you’d made Christmas cookies, I offer this fast and delicious chocolate almond coconut bark.  It takes 10 minutes to prepare!  And just try to keep your hands off of it.  If you hate coconut, or almonds, substitute crushed toffee, or peanuts, or whatever you do like – this bark is whatever you want it to be.  Recipe at Dara & Co./Minnesota Monthly magazine.

So far this morning, the house smells of garlic and truffles after making a quick tomato dipping sauce for this evening’s beef fondue.  Here’s our whole menu, by the way, forgot to put it up yesterday.

Cheese fondue with radishes, peppers, pickles, and cubed bread

Escargot in mushroom caps with garlic cream sauce
Roasted asparagus with fresh lemon

Beef tenderloin and cauliflower fritters fondue
Dipping sauces: tomato-truffle, horseradish cream

Chocolate souffles

What are you cooking today?

Even I have to admit that the winter wonderland out my window is gorgeous.  We have a neighborhood hockey rink which one of my neighbors is kindly snow-blowing so everyone can skate today.  It’ll be a Norman Rockwell painting of skaters as soon as he’s done.  (While we enjoy this lovely view, exactly none of us skate…although we stopped feeling guilty about it years ago and now happily watch the fun.)

Merry Christmas Eve!

In Progress…

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Dec 23, 2010 at 10:40am

mushroom caps

I asked my son what he would like for Christmas Eve dinner, something out of our ordinary, something that would feel special.

He requested…escargot!

How fabulous, right?  I immediately jumped online, ordered the snails, and decided I’d rather not deal with the shells.  The dish that inspired Nathan’s request is Cave Vin’s shelless version anyhow, napped in a garlic cream sauce, topped with fried parsley.  Mon Dieu, it is every bit as delicious as it sounds.

For him, I’m going to stick to just snails and garlicky herb butter, served sizzling from the oven, with plenty of crusty baguette slices.

For the rest of us, who love mushrooms as well as escargot, I’m going to place an escargot inside a mushroom cap with garlicky herb butter, ditto the sizzling, crusty deliciousness.

Recipe forthcoming, once I (s)nail it exactly down…

(Oh look, there just happened to be one extra mushroom cap, which found itself stuffed with cheese, and then in the toaster oven, and then in my stomach.  Cook’s treat – I’m a big fan.)