Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve Dinner 2011

The Menu:



Chestnut bisque-white truffle oil

Lobster-Champagne butter sauce-pappardelle

Individual Beef Wellingtons-Brussels Sprouts-Latkes

Gingerbread cake-homemade whipped cream

Kumquat Champagne cocktail
Hot Cider (Non alcoholic)

Made a day ahead:

-Gingerbread Cake
-Chestnut Bisque- combination of several recipes: one here and one here
-Beef Wellington prep- for the recipes, it was based of two combined, one here and one here

To make day-of:

The crudo
Baking the beef
Brussels Sprouts

And the pics....

Ahh, the crudo. Delicious.

Champagne cocktail- champagne, kumquat, bitters, sugar cube. Classic! Drop a sugar cube in the bottom of a glass and lightly sprinkle with bitters. We substituted Kumquat slices for lemon twist because we had it on hand.
Roasted chestnut bisque with truffle oil. This is really tasty- creamy and earthy and rich. When serving, I added too much truffle oil though :(
I looooooovvvveeee smitten kitchen, and this salad is her recipe. The spicy arugula went really well with the fennel and pomegranate seeds.
Dave's lobster with pappardelle in champagne butter sauce. But mostly the butter sauce. We only used half the butter called for in the recipe. You can cook the lobster ahead of time to keep things moving quickly.
Individual Beef Wellingtons with latkes and braised brussels sprouts

The Beef Wellington requires prep but shouldn't intimidate you if you want to try it. A couple of keys. First, making this a day ahead was a great idea. Second, make sure to do a good job searing the meat. This will protect against juices making the pastry soggy. Third, be mindful of the thickness of the steak. We had small filets and found it perfect to pull it the second the pastry was golden brown (between 20-25 minutes).

Potato Latkes were also something I'd been intimated by for no good reason. The recipe worked great although we only used green onion and skipped the other call for onion. A couple of keys. First, get the water out!. I strained and strained and even used my hands to drain the Latkes before hitting the frying pan. Second, don't make them too big and be sure to flatten them with a spatula once they hit the pan.

The brussels sprouts are our own recipe... bacon, brussels sprouts, chicken or beef stock, apple cider vinegar, rosemary. I forgot to get enough beef stock to braise the brussels sprouts, so I fried them in duck fat before I steamed them with a little water and apple cider vinegar. Because, yeah, I have spare duck fat in my fridge. Unsurprisingly, they turned out awesome. I've been trying to recreate this dish I had at the Publican once, and this got pretty damn close.
Mmmmm cake. This is another smitten kitchen recipe, but she was trying to recreate the gingerbread cake from Gramercy Tavern in NYC. This tastes freaking awesome... she is very serious about the cake sticking to the pan though. I lost half of the pretty top of mine (but that was secretly OK because then I got to eat the crumbs out of the pan while they were still warm). Served with fresh only-lightly-sweetened whipped cream.