Thursday, December 30, 2010

Days of Christmas: Christmas Dinner

So, this will be a shockingly picture free post...for now. My big Christmas present from my husband this year was a Canon 10D digital SLR camera. The body is an older one, but the kit that came was way worth the price he was able to get it for and I finally have what I call my big girl camera. Yay!

Down the road, my husband plans to update the body so I get more megapixels, but since Christmas, I've had the camera with me pretty much all the time. And being a new toy, I tried new settings I hadn't been able to use before with my point and shoot, like shooting in RAW. One thing I learned is that GIMP (a free open source photo editing software) doesn't like RAW. And of course, all the pictures I took on Christmas Day are in RAW. So I can't edit them quite yet. We are working on that. And I've since decided that JPEG is quite all right in most cases. RAW is keen, but the files will eat the hard drive space if that's all I shot in, so for now, only RAW on occasion.

Anyway, on to dinner.

I have three really yummy recipes to share today. One for a standing rib roast and two sides that wowed even the toughest critics in my family. I have a love for sweet potatoes AND brussels sprouts. Not everyone in the family does. I managed to find two recipes that had everyone in the family admitting they weren't half bad. I'll take that.
And honestly, who doesn't like a good roast beast?

Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Adapted from Epicurious

1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (quartered if large)
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°F.
Toss together Brussels sprouts, bacon, garlic, oil, and salt and pepper to taste in an 11- by 7-inch baking pan and spread in 1 layer.
Roast in upper third of oven, stirring once halfway through roasting, until sprouts are brown on edges and tender, about 25 minutes total.

If you want to do some prep ahead of time, you can qucikly blanch and chill the brussel sprouts and freeze them. When ready to cook, toss the frozen sprouts with the bacon, garlic and oil and roast as directed. EDIT 12/31/10: I've now made the sprouts blanched and not blanched and completely recommend blanching them before roasting. Made for much more tender, but still well roasted sprouts.

Sweet Potato Pudding 

Pretty much taken word for word from Epicurious

3/4 cup coarsely chopped gingersnaps
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

3 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 3 large), scrubbed
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 large egg yolks
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For topping:
Toss first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add butter; using fingertips, rub in until well blended. Cover; chill. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

For pudding:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast potatoes on baking sheet until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Cool. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop flesh into bowl; mash. Transfer 4 cups potatoes to large bowl. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2- inch baking dish. Add half and half and next 5 ingredients to potatoes. Using mixer, beat on low speed until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Add yolks 1 at a time, blending after each addition. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until foamy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Beat until peaks form. Fold whites into potatoes; spoon into dish. Sprinkle with topping.
Bake pudding until puffed and brown, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.

My note: I doubled the amount of topping for the same amount of sweet potatoes because I love struesally sorts of toppings. I suggest trying it with more topping as well, but you don't have to.

Pepper Crusted Standing Rib Roast

Adapted from Epicurious

a 4-rib standing rib roast (about 7 1/2 to 8 pounds trimmed)

For crust
2 teaspoons whole allspice berries, crushed
4 ounces mixed peppercorns
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons salt

For sauce
2/3 cup dry red wine
2 cups low-salt beef broth
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon water

Make crust:
In a small bowl combine crust ingredients, stirring to form a paste. You can make the crust and refridgerate it up to 2 days before.

Let rib roast stand at room temperature 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 500°F.

Pat beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a roasting pan roast beef, ribs side down, 30 minutes. Transfer beef to a platter and discard drippings.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Return beef to roasting pan, ribs side down, and spread with peppercorn paste. Roast beef 1 to 1 1/4 hours more, or until a meat thermometer inserted in fleshy section registers 135°F. for medium-rare meat.
Transfer beef to a cutting board and discard strings if necessary. Let beef stand, covered loosely, at least 20 minutes and up to 30 minutes before carving.

Make sauce:
Skim fat from drippings in roasting pan. To pan add wine and deglaze over moderately high heat, scraping up brown bits. Boil mixture until reduced by about half and transfer to a saucepan. Add broth and boil 5 minutes.
In a small bowl dissolve cornstarch in Worcestershire sauce and water and add to pan in a stream, whisking. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking, and boil 1 minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Carve rib roast and serve with sauce.

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