Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Dinner

We do our big dinner on Christmas eve and graze on leftovers all day on Christmas.  We had my husband's side of the family in town for tonight and my MIL brought a beautiful prime rib for me to cook.  As it is a special occasion, we had a lot of dishes.  The menu tonight:

Grilled Antipasto With Garlicky Bean Dip  
Grilled Romaine With Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette
Prime Rib Roast For A Small Crowd       
Horseradish Sauce
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Coconut Cream Pie     

As there are so many dishes, I figured I would write the post around them.  We started with the grilled antipasto.  It was the first time I had made it, and really loved it. It was a bit of work in that there were a bunch of veggies to be sliced, (I did the peppers and zucchini ahead of time as well as the bean dip), and the veggies took up a lot of space on the grill.  I pretty much had to do one type at a time.  Another thing that made it a bit of effort was that the cheese was a hot mess.  I loved it and it tasted good, but ugly and cooled quickly and once it didn't spread, it lost something.  I would love this as a meatless main, but it was awesome appetizers for a crowd.

Grilled Antipasto With Garlicky Bean Dip

1    nineteen-ounce can cannellini beans,drained and rinsed
2    small garlic cloves,minced
2 T  fresh lemon juice
2 T  extra-virgin olive oil,plus more for brushing
1/2 c  chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6    small Italian frying peppers or Cubanelle peppers
4    medium zucchini,sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
2    one-pound eggplants,sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
24  anchovy fillets
24  marinated bocconcini (about 3/4 pound)
2    large beefsteak tomatoes (1 pound each),sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
Grilled country bread,for serving
1.In a food processor, combine the beans with the garlic, lemon
juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until smooth, then
scrape into a bowl. Fold in the basil and season with salt and pepper.
2.Light a grill. Brush the peppers and the zucchini and eggplant slices
with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap an anchovy fillet
around each of the bocconcini and thread the balls onto six 8-inch
3.Grill the peppers and the sliced zucchini and eggplants over a medium-
hot fire until lightly charred and tender, about 2 minutes per side
for the zucchini and 4 minutes per side for the peppers and eggplant.
Transfer to a large platter and spread the bean dip on the zucchini and
eggplant slices.
4.Lightly brush the tomato slices with olive oil and season with salt
and pepper. Grill until tender, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the
tomatoes to the platter. Lightly oil the grate. Grill the skewered
bocconcini for 1 minute, turning once, or just until beginning to melt;
transfer the skewers to the platter. Serve the antipasto with the
remaining white bean dip and the grilled bread.
Make Ahead
The white bean dip can be covered and refrigerated overnight. .

You need marinaded bocconcini for the antipasto and as the bocconcini at my grocery weren't marinated, I used the following recipe.  It was originally from Martha Stewart and included lemon zest.  I had already tossed the lemon into the compost bin, so I didn't use it.  I can't say it did much for the cheese, so next time I make the lovely grilled veggies, I will skip this step.

Marinated Bocconcini

1/2 pt bocconcini (about 20 balls)
1/4 c  extra-virgin olive oil
4    small sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 t  red-pepper flakes
1/2 t  coarse salt

In a medium bowl, combine bocconcini, oil, rosemary, red-
pepper flakes, and salt. Let stand at room temperature, at least 30
minutes, tossing occasionally.
Cook's Note
Or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days, bring to room temperature and
toss before serving.

For the salad, my husband requested the last grilled romaine salad I made:

 Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette

For our entree we had a prime rib roast. I looked through one of my favorite, if not all time favorite cookbook, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and found this recipe.  It  was the perfect recipe for the beautiful piece of meat my MIL brought.  As I was making horseradish sauce, and we wanted to use the drippings for gravy for the potatoes,  I didn't follow the recipe.  What I cooked is written here, but you can follow the link on the title for the original recipe and lots of great information on cooking meat to the doneness you prefer.

Prime Rib Roast for a Small Crowd

1   (3-rib) roast,about 5 pounds, trimmed of excess but not all fat
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1    or 2 cloves garlic (optional)
1.  Bring the meat to room temperature by removing it from the
refrigerator at least an hour before cooking, preferably two. Preheat
the oven to 450F.
2.  Place the meat, bone side down, in a large roasting pan. Season it
with salt and pepper. If you like garlic, peel the cloves and cut them
into tiny slivers; use a boning or paring knife to poke small holes in
the meat and insert the garlic into them.
3.  Place the roast in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, undisturbed.
Turn the heat down to 350F and continue to roast for about 1 hour;
check in several places with a meat thermometer. When no spot checks in
at under 125F (120F if you like your meat really rare and your guests
are of the same mentality), the meat is rare; cook another 5 or 10
minutes if you like it better done, then check again, but in no case
let the temperature of the meat go above 155F.
4.  Remove the meat from the oven (cover the meat with foil to keep it

To go with the roast beast:

Horseradish Sauce
1 c  regular or low-fat sour cream
1/4 c  prepared (white) horseradish
1 T  Dijon-style mustard
1 t  white wine vinegar
1/2 t  kosher salt
1/4 t  ground white pepper
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tabasco sauce (optional)
Stir together the sour cream, horseradish, mustard, vinegar, salt,
pepper, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce, if using, in a medium-
size airtight container until well incorporated. Cover tightly and
refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight to allow the
flavors to blend.

And another request by my darling husband was this coconut cream pie.  I think it was well received;)

Coconut Cream Pie

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