1. Roasted Beef Tenderloin
2 center-cut pieces beff tenderloin
5 whole roasted red pepper
2 cloves of garlic
handful of parsley
Salt and pepper
Crusty bread, sliced
Preheat oven as high as it goes, 500 degrees F.
Liberally coat the meat with extra-virgin olive oil and grill seasoning. Place the meat on a roasting rack or in a roasting pan and place in oven. If you are cooking in a pan with no rack, add a splash of water to the pan. Roast the meat 10 minutes on high then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and cook 30 minutes more. Do not open oven during those first 10 minutes. Remove meat from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.
Place roasted peppers in food processor and add garlic, parsley, olives, salt and pepper. Turn the processor on and stream in extra-virgin olive oil, about 3 tablespoons.
Thinly slice meat against grain and serve with crusty bread and sauce.
2. Butterflied Cornish Hens
4 Corish gamme hens
1 stick butter
1 lemon zest
Salt and ground pepper
4 bacon strips
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place hens on a sheet tray fitted with a cooling rack in the refrigerator to dry skin out for 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium heat, melt butter with sage, zest, salt and pepper. Remove hens from refrigerator. Preheat 2 large saute pans over medium heat, lightly coat with oil. Season hens with salt and pepper and sear, skin side down, in the pans. Sear until skin caramelizes and turns golden brown and crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes. Flip birds over, and baste with sage butter. Sprinkle tops with chopped bacon and place in preheated oven to finish cooking, 25 to 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
3. Christmas Pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1/4 pound pancetta, thick cut, chopped into small bits (Italian cured pork, ask at deli counter)
1/2 pound bulk hot Italian sausage
1 pound combined ground beef, pork and veal
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup good quality dry red wine
1 cup prepared beef stock, paper container or canned
2 (32-ounce) cans chunky style crushed tomatoes
A handful chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon (a couple of pinches) allspice or cinnamon
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 pounds penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Grated Pecorino Romano, as an accompaniment
Heat a deep pot over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, bay, and pancetta bits and brown for 1 minute. Add meats and brown and crumble them for 5 minutes.
Chop carrot, celery, and onions near the stove and add to the pot as you work. Cook vegetables with meat 5 minutes and add wine. Cook for 1 minute; add stock and tomatoes to the pot.
Stir in parsley, allspice, or cinnamon and season sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring sauce to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, and cook 10 to 15 minutes minimum before serving. Reheated sauce only improves.
Toss pasta (cook off only as much pasta as you need at the time: half a pound for every 3 people) with a couple of ladles of sauce to coat, then top bowl with extra sauce. Top pasta with lots of cheese and pass bread at the table
4. Thumbprint Cookies
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.
5. Gingerbread Waffles
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter, plus some to butter the iron
Preheat waffle iron.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and brown sugar until fluffy, then beat in pumpkin, milk, molasses and melted butter. Stir the wet into dry until just moist. Do not overstir the waffle batter. Brush the iron with a little melted butter and cook 4 waffles, 4 sections each. Serve with toppings of choice.
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