Perfect Prime Rib

Nothing says Christmas to me more than a standing prime rib roast with mashed potatoes and gravy. Over the past few years, my Mom and I have been tweaking the recipe slightly to make the quintessential cooked hunk of meat. For two year’s now, we’ve achieved perfection, so I’m going to share it with you.

We started this year with about 7.5 lbs of bone-in prime rib roast. We watch the sales for this prime piece of meat and wrap it well in plastic wrap and butcher’s paper before freezing it for our Christmas Eve meal. We slowly defrosted it in the fridge and then brought it to room temperature before cooking. 


As we want the taste of the meat to come through, we do not marinate the meat or coat it in herbs. We simply give it a light coating of olive oil and then a sprinkle of salt while the oven was preheated to 500° F. As soon as the roast was in the oven, the temperature was dropped to 325° F.
My Mom likes her meat to be very rare (almost blue), while Dad prefers medium rare and I’m a little in between. Therefore, we cooked it 15 minutes per pound for 2 hours and 15 minutes or until the thermometer rose to 115° F degrees. We did this because we knew we would have about 10 degrees of carry over cooking to bring it around 125° F (medium rare) – in fact, our carryover went to 123° F. By doing it this way, both ends were just right for Dad, the next layer in was wonderful for me and the bloody interior was Shangri-lah for Mom.


As you can see from the above picture, there isn’t a ring of gray, overcooked meat along the outside that you get if you pan sear prior to cooking and both the crust and interior are cooked to perfection.


The pan drippings and meat juices from while it was resting were used to make a wonderful gravy. The camellia centerpiece came from the shrubs along my Dad’s driveway.

Happy holidays from my family to yours! May you never leave the table hungry for anything but conversation!

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Rumkugeln – Rum Balls

My family gathered for a German feast last night. We dined on bratwurst, hot German potato salad and sauerkraut with brochen (hard rolls) and scharfer senf (hot mustard).

I decided to keep with the Deutch theme for dessert and made rumkuglen (rum balls). Like truffles with alcohol, these little bites are devilishly good.

Rumkugeln – Rum Balls
7 oz bittersweet chocolate


4 oz unsalted butter (room temperature)


2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, sifted


2 tablespoons Rum


7 oz pecans, ground


powdered sugar, chocolate sprinkles, cocoa, cinnamon sugar
Melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler, then let the melted
chocolate cool a bit.
Whip butter and add the sifted cocoa powder and rum a little at a time while mixing. Add the ground pecans and cooled melted chocolate to the butter rum mixture. 

Add powdered sugar by tablespoons at a time to the mixture while kneading the dough, until the mixture absorbs it well and begins to firm up.
Form small balls and roll them in an assortment of coatings – powdered sugar, chocolate sprinkles, cocoa and cinnamon sugar. Use wax paper to separate the layers. Let the balls air dry then refrigerate in an airtight container. 
 

Preserved Lemon

I am at my parents and my Dad harvested all the Meyer lemons off the tree ahead of the next freeze. Instead of just juicing everything for later use, I decided to make some preserved lemons. I’ve got a couple of Moroccan chicken recipes that call for it as well as an lemon ice cream that calls for finely chopped preserved lemon. Of course, the salty lemony brine kicks a Bloody Mary up a notch, too.

Preserved Lemons

4
 Meyer lemons, scrubbed and dried well
3/4
 cup kosher salt
1 1/2
 cups fresh lemon juice from 8 lemons
Cut each lemon lengthwise into quarters, stopping 1 inch from bottom,
so lemons stay intact at base.
Hold 1 lemon over a bowl and pour 1-3 tablespoons of salt into cavity of
lemon, depending on the size of the lemon. Gently squeeze lemon, rubbing cut surfaces together. Place lemon in 1-quart glass Mason jar. Repeat with remaining lemons and salt. Add accumulated salt from bowl to jar.
Pour lemon juice into jar so lemons are submerged. Cover jar tightly with lid, shake, and refrigerate, shaking jar once per day to redistribute salt and juice for first 4 days. Let lemons cure in refrigerator until glossy and softened, 4 to 6 weeks.
When ready to use, cut off desired amount of preserved lemon. Using knife, remove pulp and white pith from rind. Slice, chop, or mince rind as desired. (For uncooked applications, rinse lemons to remove excess salt before using.)

Cheesy Corn Dip

I have been looking for a new hot dip appetizer for most of the year. While I love my Vidalia onion dip and my artichoke dip, it was time for something new to be added to the repertoire.


This particular dip is filled with corn flavor with just a hint of spice and and plenty of cheesy goodness.


Cheesy Corn Dip
Cooking spray or butter, to grease
Two 11-ounce cans corn, drained
One 10-ounce can of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes
green chilies
3 cups grated Monterey Pepper Jack or Cheddar
cheese (or a combination thereof)
1 cup mayonnaise
Corn chips, for dipping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Grease a 9 X 13 X 2-inch casserole dish or a couple of aluminum pie pans.*
In a medium bowl, mix the corn, Ro-tel, cheeses and mayonnaise until fully combined. Spread the mixture in the prepared casserole dish and bake, uncovered, until bubbly around the edges, 40 to 60 minutes. Serve the dip warm from the oven with chips.
* Fill two pie pans and freeze the other before baking for later use.

Poppy Seed Pound Cake

I’ve been craving poppy seeds lately so I decided to go ahead and make a poppy seed pound cake. There is enough batter for two loaf pans, so I will be able to freeze one to enjoy later. This cake is killer, especially when you lightly toast a slice and enjoy it with a nice cuppa tea on a cold morning!

Sour Cream Poppy Seed Pound Cake
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 eggs, separated
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp poppy seeds, divided
Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Cream butter, sugar and egg
yolks. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture,
alternately with the sour cream (start with the flour). Add the vanilla and the 1/4 cup of poppy seeds.
Fold in the egg whites. Pour into two buttered and floured loaf pans. Sprinkle a tsp of poppy
seeds on the top of each loaf.
Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Cookies!

I was in a baking mood today, so I did two batches of cookies this afternoon. The first were pecan sandies from an Ina Garten recipe and the other were my favorite ginger cookies from Maida Heatter.

Here are the recipes:

 
Pecan sandies
by Ina Garten
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted
2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted
butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
30 whole pecan halves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the toasted pecans plus 1/4 cup of the flour in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the nuts are finely ground.
Place the mixture in a medium bowl and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups of flour, the salt and the baking powder. Stir to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla and the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together.
Using your hands, form the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter (1 ounce on a scale). Place the balls 1 inch apart on sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Press a pecan half into the center of each ball, pressing the pecan halfway down into the cookie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies turn golden brown around the edges. Cool for 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool completely.
Note: The cooled cookies may be stored in an airtight container for several days.




Ginger Snaps
by Maida Heatter


2 1/2 cups sifted, unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 stick of butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
Granulated sugar


Preheat over to 375 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.


Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.


Beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamed. Add the egg and molasses and beat until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.


Place 1 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Form the dough into small balls. The dough will be very soft so handle it gently. Roll each dough ball in the granulated sugar and place on the cookie sheet about 3 inches apard. Sprinkle additional sugar on top of each ball.


Back for 9 minutes, rotating the sheet about midway during baking. The cookies will be cracked but not look done but do not over bake. They are best if they are soft. Cool cookies on the sheets for at least a minute before moving to wire racks to cool completely.


Store the cookies in an airtight container.

Blogging Meme

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I don’t normally do this kind of thing, most likely because I never get tagged. I didn’t follow all the rules or answer all the questions, but here you go…

What do you enjoy most about blogging?
Getting to share my love of food with others.

What is the most important thing you have learned about having a blog?
A pretty picture means everything to the post

What was the worst food job you ever had?
Ice cream scooper – for some reason, I couldn’t scoop ice cream with one hand without crushing the cone in my other hand. I was fired after one day.

Name the one food you absolutely will not eat?
Liver 

What is your favorite food movie?
Fried Green Tomatoes

What is your favorite food quote?
Salad isn’t food; its what food eats!

What cooking show would you have liked to be on?
The Two Fat Ladies

What is your favorite main course?
Fried Chicken

What is your favorite dessert?
Red Velvet Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

I’m suppose to tag other people to answer the questions but, as I don’t like imposing like that, you’re all safe.