Initially, everything hummed along perfectly. We attended a beautiful church service in the afternoon so we could return home and start cooking before the rest of the family arrived to celebrate. Uncle Brian and I fried the pierogi. My mom baked some rolls and assembled a cheese platter while Mr. Musky warmed up the Bookbinder soup I prepared the day before. Since it was freezing, we stored the soup on the deck as we were short on refrigerator space. He placed it on some tiles outside so it wouldn't melt anything, only to have all the tiles stick together. When he brought the pot of soup inside, three or four tiles were still attached to it. He tried melting them off with a hair dryer, to no avail. So after the rolls were baked, he lowered the temperature of the oven and put the entire mess inside. Every few minutes he pulled it out, loosened a bottom tile, then placed the contraption back into the oven to further melt them off.
"OH SHIT!" I heard in his very best freakout voice.
"The glass in the oven door just shattered when I rested the pot of soup and attached tiles on it."
"No big deal, hon. I'll just run next door to bake the fifty other things that need to go in the oven tonight. And luckily, you have a lot of twenty-something cousins that always ask what they can do to help. They'll be our runners."
And that's exactly what we did. My neighbor, Lisa, was not using her oven and was heading out to her own family's Christmas party, so she graciously left her front door open and her oven on for us to use throughout the night. Problem solved.
Did you know there are actually three panes of glass in an oven door? And if you break the inside glass, it does not go all over the floor? And you can actually still use the oven, but it is not recommended to turn it up over 350 degrees? It can still keep food warm, and you can even cook a Christmas Day decadent prime rib in a broken oven.
Thank goodness, or we would have been running out to a Chinese restaurant the next day.
Once we cleaned up from Christmas morning and relaxed for a few hours, we prepared a fabulous meal that was even two-thirds Paleo. We splurged on some potatoes, though. Our meal was simple, but over-the-top delicious, and I recommend this menu anytime you want a fancy dinner, are out to impress, or just want to dine all grown-up style. This is the perfect menu for New Year's Eve. Unless you are gussied up to go out, spending hundreds of dollars while standing around with a million other people, sipping on $50 glasses of champagne. Then maybe you'd like this one on New Year's Day.
We ate our meal in the dining room. Mr. Musky commented on how beautiful just four place settings looked after the chaotic, albeit fun and family-filled previous days.
Roasted Prime Rib Stuffed with Garlic, Herbs and Onions
Loaded Mashed Truffle Potatoes with Red Wine Reduction Gravy
Crunchy Rosemary Brussels Sprouts with Proscuitto di Parma
Simple, yet achievable. Here's how we did it.
Buy a choice rib roast. Many would suggest that you have to buy prime, but I disagree. If you prepare it this way and don't over or under cook it, choice is fantastic and will save you about 40 bucks. I looked for a roast that had three ribs, as we knew we wanted leftovers. We've learned over the years that you really need just one rib for every two adults. Don't make the rookie mistake of buying a rib for every person, unless you want to break the bank and eat leftovers for two weeks.
Mr. Musky has a thing about preparing the roast. I have never done it. Ever. Here's what he does:
Meanwhile, prepare the sides.
For the loaded potatoes, you will need:
1/3 cup heavy cream at room temperature
4T butter, room temperature
Optional: leftover fried bacon and onions from Christmas Eve that were served alongside the Pierogi (or you can just fry up a couple of pieces of bacon and a few slices of onion)
1-2 garlic cloves, microplaned
1-2T chopped chives
1/2 cup shredded cheese. I had leftover sheep's milk cheese, which was mild, slightly nutty, and perfect for this. Any white meltable cheese would do. Gouda, Parmesan, White Cheddar, etc.
Dried Truffles, gifted to me from the ghost of our kitty cat, Madison, on Christmas morning
Truffle Oil, gifted to me from Miller on Christmas morning
Peel the potatoes, cut them into thirds, and place them in a saucepan of cold water. Add a couple of teaspoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, hydrate about a tablespoon of dried truffles in lukewarm water until just covered. Once they are soft and pliable, chop finely and set aside. Save the truffle infused water - it's like nectar!
Look what I found!
Finally, assemble the vegetable star of the night. Fried Brussels Sprouts with Proscuitto di Parma. Ingredients include...
2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, ends chopped off
10-12 pieces Proscuitto di Parma
1.5 to 2 cups Palm oil
3-4 sprigs of Rosemary
Remainder of chopped onions and herbs from the Rib Roast (optional)
While the potatoes were boiling, I fried about 10-12 pieces of Proscuitto di Parma in a frying pan until crisp while I sipped on our favorite December Apéritif.
I'm off to enjoy the New Year, Northwoods style, with just these three.
Happy New Year, and thanks for reading. I wish you all much health and happiness in 2014.