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Saturday, December 27, 2014

NEW YEAR'S EVE!!!



We are getting away and going to the beach with friends (spoiler alert - it's with THESE two):

this New Year's Eve!  I'm so excited about "getting away" not only to spend time with old friends, but we are (of course) going to enjoy some outstanding food as well - - - AND of course, we'll be watching LOTS of college football all weekend!

The main course for New Year's Eve is something I prepared when my son, Ross, committed to play college football at the University of Kentucky, and the head coach at the time (Rich Brooks) came to visit us at our home.  He and Steve Brown (who became the Defensive Coordinator) came for dinner.  The "steaks" that I served thus and forevermore became known as the "Rich Brooks' steaks" in our house.  The beauty of this dish is that you prepare the steaks the night before, and then just pop them in the oven when you're ready to enjoy them.  That way, you are free from slaving in the kitchen and can mix and mingle with your guests (or thank them for offering a scholarship to your son!).

MENU:
APPETIZER: CAVIAR DIP

MAIN: RICH BROOKS' PERFECT PARTY STEAKS
PARMESAN POTATOES
BAKED PARMESAN ZUCCHINI
GREAT GREEN SALAD

DESSERT: CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE

DRINK DU JOUR: MALBEC

CAVIAR DIP
(Adapted from Silver Palate)
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
I've been preparing this caviar dip every New Year's Eve for about 15 years.  It's simple to prepare and just delicious.  Yet another gem from The Silver Palate cookbook...
6 oz whipped cream cheese, room temperature
3 oz sour cream (I use light)
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated onion
1 1/2 TBSP fresh dill, chopped
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 oz black caviar or red salmon caviar
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Mix the cream cheese with the sour cream. Stir in the lemon juice, onion, dill and pepper.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
 Gently fold in the caviar carefully.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with a sprig of dill as a garnish.  Serve with water crackers. 

(RICH BROOKS') PERFECT PARTY STEAKS
(Adapted from Pure and Simple cookbook)
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

8 filet mignon steaks (6-8 oz ea.) cut 1" thick
2 garlic cloves, crushed + 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/3 tsp seasoned pepper
1 TBSP + 1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 TBSP brandy
4 TBSP flour
2 1/2 tsp tomato paste
3/4 - 1 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup beef broth
1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 TBSP currant jelly (or a bit less)
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Place steaks on work surface.  Make a paste of the 2 garlic cloves, salt and pepper.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Rub paste on both sides of the steaks.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Heat 1 TBSP butter in a large skillet until hot.  Saute steaks over medium high heat until brown on each side, but still raw in the center.  Don't crowd.  If butter begins to burn, reduce heat.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Place steaks in a 9x13 glass dish.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Add brandy to the skillet.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cook over medium heat stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan.  Add 1/2 stick butter; when melted and foaming, stir in flour.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Reduce heat.  Cook and stir until mixture is golden.  Stir in tomato paste and 1/2 tsp garlic.  Mixture will be thick and grainy.  Remove pan from heat and whisk in wine and broths.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes until reduced by 1/3, stirring occassionally.  Stir in worcestershire and jelly.  When jelly melts, stir in mushrooms.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Adjust seasonings.  Sauce should be of coating consistency; if too thick, thin with wine.  Cool completely.  Pour over steaks.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bring to room temperature.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Pour sauce into a saucepan and heat just to boiling.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Pour sauce over steaks in the casserole.  Bake, uncovered, 15-20 minutes for med-rare and 20-25 minutes for med - med well.  When serving, spoon sauce from pan over steaks.  Serves 8.

PARMESAN POTATO GRATIN
(Adapted from bhg.com)
Photo Credit: bhg.com
1TBSP olive oil
1 pound Parmesan cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 TBSP snipped fresh chives
1 TBSP snipped fresh thyme
1 TBSP snipped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut up
4 lbs potatoes, peeled and finely sliced (about 12 cups)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup whipping cream
3 TBSP all-purpose flour
Snipped fresh rosemary and thyme
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Brush the bottom of a 3-quart rectangular or oval baking dish with the olive oil; set aside. Using a wide vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan into thin strips (about 4 cups); set aside.
In a small bowl combine bacon, green onion and chives.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In prepared baking dish, place half the potatoes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground black pepper, half of the bacon mixture, and half the herbs. Top with half the Parmesan. Dot with half the butter. Repeat layers.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
In a small bowl whisk together whole milk, whipping cream, and flour; pour evenly over potatoes.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Increase temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes more or until potatoes are tender and top is golden brown. Makes 24 1/2 -cup servings.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

BAKED PARMESAN ZUCCHINI
(Adapted from damndelicious.net)
Photo Credit: Damndelicious.net
4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until the crisp and golden brown.

GREAT GREEN SALAD
(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
Photo Credit: All Recipes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch white sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 avocados - peeled, pitted, and cubed
4 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, sugar, parsley, lemon juice and garlic.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Add the avocado, and stir to coat with the dressing.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue




Just before serving, add the salad greens, and toss to coat with dressing. Sprinkle sliced almonds and feta cheese over the top.

CHOCOLATE CHESS PIE
(Adapted from Crunchyrock.com)
Photo Credit: Crunchyrock.com
Chocolate Graham Crust:
10-11 sheets graham crackers
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add the sugar and cocoa powder. Give it another pulse. Add the butter and combine until mixed.
Press into a pie plate with the back of a spoon.
Chill for 20 minutes. Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 15-20 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.***Note: you can cheat if pressed for time (like I did) and buy a pre baked graham cracker crust.
Filling:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate (or 3 tablespoons cocoa)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Melt the butter and chocolate together.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Pour into a bowl and whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
When the crust has cooled for 20 minutes, poor the filling into the crust.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Bake in a 325 degrees F oven for about 40 minutes, until the top is set.
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Top with whipped cream if desired.


Photo Credit: coolfreeimages
A couple of old pics of past fun times together - at a high school reunion:
Before a Marc Broussard concert:

And...our view this week!