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Christmas Dinner 2012

Rack of Pork with Pomegranate-Mustard Glaze

Serves: 4- 6

 

1 (3 ½ lb) center cut rack of pork

½ cup pomegranate molasses

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon clover honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons canola oil

 

1. Remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes before placing in the oven.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a small bowl.

3.  Heat the oil in a large high sided sauté pan over high heat.  Season the pork on both sides with salt and pepper and cook on both sides until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.

4. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet, brush with some of the glaze and finish cooking in the oven until cooked to an internal temperature of 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 25-30 minutes, brushing with the glaze every 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, let rest loosely tented with foil for 15 minutes before slicing.

Mashed Potatoes with Cremini Mushrooms and Crème Fraiche

Serves: 4-6

 

4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 lbs cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces crème fraiche

1 stick butter

 

1. Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cold water by 2-inches and add 2 tablespoons kosher salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes

2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan over high heat until it begins to sizzle.  Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender; season with salt and pepper.

3. Drain the potatoes well in a colander.  Transfer potatoes back to the pot that you cooked in, add the crème fraiche and butter and whip with a hand mixer or a potato masher until smooth, add milk if needed, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer mashed potatoes to a large bowl and top with mushrooms.  in batches, to a food mill set over a large bowl.

 

Broccoli Rabe with Piquillo Peppers and Balsamic Glaze

Serves: 4 to 6

 

1 bottle balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 lbs broccoli rape, trimmed, blanched in salted water, shocked in ice water and drained well

6 piquillo peppers, diced?

 

1. Put the vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan and cook over high heat until thickened and reduce to about 1 cup. Stir in the honey and season with salt and pepper.  Let cool slightly.

2. Heat the oil in large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden brown.  Increase the heat; add the broccoli rape and sauté until just crisp tender, about 2 minutes.  Add the piquillo peppers and cook for 30 seconds, season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a platter and drizzle with balsamic glaze. 

Roasted Shrimp with Garlic and Red Chile (appetizer)

Serves: 4 to 6

 

Garlic Oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

¾ cup pure olive oil

Kosher salt

 

Combine garlic, oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until the garlic slices are lightly golden brown.  Remove the garlic slices with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels and season with a pinch of salt and reserve oil.

 

Shrimp

Garlic oil, recipe above

1 ½ pound large shrimp (21-24) shelled and deveined

1 ½ tablespoons ancho chile powder or pure chile powder

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

French bread, warmed in the oven and cut into slices

 

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Combine the garlic oil, shrimp, ancho powder and thyme in a large cazuela or an oven proof shallow pan and season with salt and pepper.  Roast the shrimp until pink and just cooked through, about 6 minutes, stirring once.  Serve shrimp from the cazuela or pan with bread to dip in the juices. 

 

Germans Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan-Cajeta Frosting, Chocolate Ganache and Coconut Whipped Cream

Yields: 1 9-inch Cake

 

Chocolate Cake

2 ¼ cups AP flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoons fine salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons good quality Dutch process cocoa powder (such as Valhrona or Cocoa Barry)

1 ½ cups muscavado light brown sugar

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 ½ cups strongly brewed black coffee, at room temperature

1 ½ cups buttermilk

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the sugars and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the coffee, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract and continue whisking until smooth and just combined.

4.  Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 42 minutes.  Let cool in the pans on a baking rack for 20 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto the baking rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before frosting. Slice each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a cake round or platter and spread 1/3 of the frosting evenly over the top, repeat to make 3 layers and top with the remaining cake layer, top side up. Pour the chocolate ganache over the cake, let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

 

Cajeta Filling

1 ¾ cups whole milk

1 ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk, Mount Thai brand

1 cup goats’ milk

¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon pure cane sugar

¼ cup water

½ vanilla bean,  seeds scraped

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons coconut rum, optional

1 ¼ cups sweetened coconut

1 ¼ cups toasted coarsely chopped pecans

 

1. Bring the milk, coconut milk and goat’s milk to a simmer over low heat in a small saucepan. Keep warm while you prepare the caramel

2. Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook (do not stir) until deep amber brown color.  Slowly whisk in the warm milk mixture and continue whisking until smooth; add the vanilla seeds and corn syrup.   Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is reduced by half and is the consistency of a caramel sauce, about 55 minutes.

3. Once the sauce is reduced, remove from the heat and whisk in the cold better, vanilla extract, salt and rum and whisk until combined.  Transfer the sauce to a medium bowl and stir in the pecans and coconut. Let the frosting cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally before frosting the cake.

 

Coconut Whipped Cream

1 ½ cups cold heavy cream

¼ cup Cocoa Lopez

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar

1 teaspoon coconut rum

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup lightly toasted sweetened coconut

 

Combine heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla in a mixer and mix until soft peaks form.  Slice cake, top with a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with some of the toasted coconut.

 

Ganache

8 ounces heavy cream

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

 

Bring cream to a simmer.  Place chocolate in a medium bowl, add hot cream and corn syrup and let sit for 30 seconds.  Gently whisk until smooth.  Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before pouring over the cake. 


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