I think I've told you guys the story before that my first year hosting Christmas dinner at my house I decided I was going to make the complete Martha Stewart Menu. This involved standing rib roast, yorkshire pudding, spinach salad, pear tart, and a host of other complicated things. I cooked for 2 days in preparation. It was insane. And then my mom showed up with Thanksgiving Dinner, which was what my family traditionally had for Christmas (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc), because my brother was really upset about not having what we always have.
To my credit- I only spent about 10 minutes in the bathroom having a meltdown ;) So this year, since my brother was going to be spending Christmas Dinner with his wife's family, I took advantage of being able to make all new recipes for everything. (Not that there's anything wrong with tradition, I just like new things!)
So we had some hits and some misses. I made Chocolate Chip Panettone overnight french toast, which should have been amazing but was just eh.
Have you ever had Chocolate Chip Panettone? It's amazing! There's no reason that should have happened. I also made a version with cherries in it (chocolate cherry!!) that was EVEN WORSE. So now I'm going to have to figure out how to fix this, because it's just boggling my mind.
For dinner, though, I had some serious homeruns.
1- Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin
Loosely based off the Pioneer Woman's recipe, which you can read here I swear that I watched her make it the way that I did, but I can't find a video of it anywhere. Trim all the silver skin and big chunks of fat off a beef tenderloin. I had to cut mine in half because I don't have a pan big enough to sear an entire beef tenderloin in. Salt aggressively with seasoned salt (or salt, garlic powder, etc), noting that you're only doing the outside so you need more than you think. Then sear the tenderloins on all sides in a hot pan with vegetable oil until it's nicely brown. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of crushed tri color peppercorns and place on a roasting pan (I used a cookie sheet), and dot with an entire stick of butter. Yes I did. Roast at 425 until desired doneness. I did 135, which was still red in the middle for those in my family who like that sort of thing, and tender and evenly grey for me on the ends :)
I made individual martini glasses of this because I don't have a trifle dish. Use all the syrup mixture if you do that- don't get skimpy :) I also made my red velvet madeleines in a mini muffin tin and cut them into quarters because I don't have a madeleine pan and I decided they fit the glasses better cut in quarters. My final change was that I whipped the mascarpone into the whipped cream with my kitchen aid, mainly because folding it in left lumps and I didn't like that.
You'll learn I very rarely follow a recipe just exactly as written. I did very much like this one, but I added a pinch of red pepper flakes and didn't add the cheese. I used white onion instead of shallots because I forgot to buy them :)
4- Pear Salad with Goat Cheese
This was just an easy made-up one, but it was so good my 12 year old asked for it for lunch. On a bed of mixed baby greens, layer thin slices of ripe bosc pear, dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, a sprinkle of goat cheese, crushed walnuts, and your favorite vinaigrette (I used Panera's Raspberry vinaigrette, but you can always make your own).
5- Roasted Crispy Potatoes
Thinly slice 4 large, scrubbed potatoes on a mandolin, watching out for your fingers :), along with 1/2 a white onion. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 2-3 tablespoons of the oil left from browning your beef (yes- just do it), along with a heaping tablespoon of Montreal steak seasoning (if you don't have that, it's coarse black pepper, kosher salt, dehydrated garlic, red pepper, and coriander, I think). Roast these at 425 with your beef in a double layer on a cookie sheet, turning once or twice. They will be crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. For crispier potatoes, do a single layer. Expect 20-30 minutes of bake time depending on the thickness of your potato slices.