Traditional Herb Crusted Prime Rib with Red Wine Reduction!

A true prime rib that is labeled USDA Certified Prime, is heavily marbled with a generous amount of fat. These cuts are usually reserved for top restaurants and are hard to come by. It may be better to seek out a fine aged prime rib. Aged beef is similarly hard to find in the supermarket, but you’ll find aged prime rib and other cuts for sale online that come right to your door. But ask your butcher first!

The typical prime rib serving size is around 10 ounces per person; a roast weighing 7-7½ pounds should serve 11 or 12 people.

You’ll Need:

8 ribs – prime rib of beef. Center cut, chine bone removed. (make sure to give your butcher a friendly reminder to remove the chine bone)
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves plus 1 large bunch
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
1/8 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup fresh marjoram leaves
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and root removed
3 whole heads garlic, 1/4 cut off the top exposing cloves, skin and root left intact.
3 large shallots, cleaned roots removed
1 large onion, cleaned, cut into quarters
1 carrot, cleaned and sliced lengthwise
2 ribs of celery, cleaned cut in half
1/2 pound of unsalted butter, cut into pieces and kept cold
2 cups good quality Pinot Noir wine
Preferably Maldon salt or large flat crystal salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Here’s How:

Preheat oven to 475’F degrees. Clean and pick the leaves of the fresh herbs, reserving the stems. Except the extra bundle of parsley.

Prepare a large roasting pan with organic non-stick cooking spray. Check to make sure the roast will fit. Spray a cookie cooling rack with non-stick cooking spray, and lower into the roasting pan. Build a bed for the roast to lay on with the bundle of parsley, and all the stems left over from the herbs on top of the cookie rack. Add the carrot, onions quarters, the 3 whole heads of garlic on the side, and the celery ribs. Spritz everything with a good drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Pat the roast dry with paper towel. Season the roast generously with salt and fresh ground pepper by hand massaging it in ; on all sides. Set aside. In the bowl of your food processor, add 4 cloves of garlic, all the fresh herbs except the extra bundle of parsley, add 2 shallots and pulse to small mince.

Add salt and pepper and cold butter, pulse to combine well- make a paste.

Place roast, horizontally with the fat side up, in the roasting pan. Smother the roast with the butter mixture paying extra attention to the sides of the roast. Add 1 cup of beef stock to the bottom of the roasting and roast for 1 1/2-2 hours (20 minutes per pound), for rare –or until internal temperature reaches your desired temp ranges. ( see roasting notes below ) Bathing with juices from the bottom of the roasting pan every twenty minutes, without fail!

Start with high heat oven of 425’F Degrees and reduce temperature to 325’F Degrees after about 15 minutes of oven time.

When roast reaches your desired internal temperature, remove from the oven and allow to rest a minimum 10-20 minutes.

Keep in mind the internal portion of the roast will continue to cook, make sure to remove it from the oven ten minutes prior to your desired internal temperature. See below for important roasting notes.

Variation: To serve roast without bone, use a sharp knife and cut between the bone and the flesh. With your slightly angled knife, saw towards the bone, carving slowly–keep following the bone to the bottom where it can be completely removed.

Chef Notes: 

Use your meat thermometer about a half hour before the expected end of the roasting time. Make sure to insert it in the thickest part of the meat, not touching the fat or the bone.


When the internal temperature reaches 120° F
Degrees pull it out of the oven, and cover with foil.

Allow the roast sit for twenty minutes.

While resting the roast will continue to cook, reaching a temperature of about 125° F Degrees to 130° F Degrees. This is called the endo-thermic reaction. Cooking from the inside out.

A nice resting period allows the juices and flavors to permeate back into the roast instead of all over the cutting board!

Rare measures in at 120° to 125° with a bright red center that grows slightly pinkish towards the exterior.

Medium rare measures between 130° F Degrees to 135° F Degrees and are characterized by the extremely pink center portion that grows brown towards the exterior.

Medium meats have a light pink center, brown outer portions and readings of about 140°F Degrees to 145°F Degrees.

Medium well is not pink at all, and is achieved at 150° F Degrees to 155° F Degrees.

Well done is at 160° F Degrees and above and is characterized by a uniform brown color. 

Cover any exposed bones with a little oil and foil.

Red Wine Reduction

While roast is resting, strain drippings from the pan. Defat and add the remaining juices into a medium saucepan with wine, remaining garlic cloves, remaining chopped shallot.

Bring to a boil, and cook stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced to 2/3’s of a cup, about 10 -15 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to avoid boiling over or burning.

When liquid is reduced, remove from heat and whisk in remaining cold butter, 2 or 3 pieces at a time, waiting until pieces are melted before adding more. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover to keep warm and set aside. To serve beef cut between rib bones and serve bone in.

Serve sauce at the table on the side.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Italian Sausage, Sherry and Parmesan Cheese

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First, a little “Housekeeping” regarding mushrooms:

How to purchase a brown ( Cremini ) or white ( Button) shaped mushroom.
If you know me, you know I love to forge in the wild for mushrooms. Shopping for mushrooms in a large chain grocery store can be like hunting. By the time a mushroom is picked, boxed transported and stored on display– they are not so fresh. If you don’t have the luxury to know a mushroom vendor; here are a few hints on how to ensure you are choosing the freshest mushroom from your local grocery store chain.

When hunting for your fungi in the grocery store – never purchase a package. Find the loose box and for this recipe – consistently choose two-inch sized mushroom caps. While they look bigger than bite size, mushrooms are full of liquid and they dramatically evaporate when baked, resulting in a decrease in size.

Choose mushrooms that have closed gills. Look in the area where the stem and the cap- meet. Turn the mushroom over and look under the cap. If the gills are exposed, it’s a sign the mushroom is not fresh.

Choose mushrooms without brown spots, or dents and ones that are firm–not shriveled or wrinkled. Avoid any mushrooms coated with a notable slime feel.

I like to choose the one with the least amount of soil.Mushrooms are very porous. Chefs usually don’t wash them in liquid. Brushing mushrooms is the best method. Less soil means less work!

How to Clean a Mushroom 
To clean mushrooms, wipe them gently with a damp paper towel. I reserve a very soft-bristled babies hair brush; just for this application. If they are really dirty give them a very quick rinse and a fast dry. We want the mushrooms flesh to be filled with flavor, not water.

The Recipe:

Ingredients: 
24- 2 inch cremini, or white button mushrooms, cleaned thoroughly.
3 cloves of fresh garlic, cleaned
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 shallots, cleaned
1/2 cup walnuts ( optional )
3 Tablespoons good quality olive oil
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons good quality sherry ( optional )
3/4 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage, or–removed from the casings
1 red bell pepper cut into small confetti ( cut thin matchsticks, then into very small dice pieces- chefs call this cut: “Brunoise” bro͞onˈwäz – typically 1/8 x 1/8 inch )
2/3 cup panko crumbs
5 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 375’F Degrees. Remove the stems from the caps and place the stems inside the bowl of your food processor. Add garlic, parsley, shallots, walnuts and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Pulse process until everything is the size just under a small pea shape. Set aside.

 
Slice a very small, and very thin slice of the rounded edge of the mushrooms that wobble and wont stand up straight. Add the pieces to the mixture. You will want assurance they mushroom caps will sit flat and not tip over once it is filled, baking or when you serve them. Place the prepared mushroom caps in a bowl and toss with 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil, and a good dusting with salt and pepper. Remove the mushroom caps from the bowl, and place the rounded side down on a high-sided baking sheet lined with a silicon baking mat, or parchment paper. Set aside. Keep bowl available for future use.

 
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the mushroom and herb mixture from the food processor. Sauté until the mushrooms are soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add the sausage. Stir to crumble and cook stirring to incorporate the mushroom mixture evenly throughout.

 

When sausage is cooked- about 8-10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sherry. Return to heat and cook an additional 1 minute. Place the cooked sausage mixture into the bowl you tossed the mushrooms in the oil earlier. Set aside to cool.

 

Once the mixture has cooled, add the creamed cheese, parmesan cheese, panko and the red bell pepper confetti. Add about 7-8  twists of fresh ground pepper. Taste. Adjust seasoning with salt if necessary. Mix to throughly to combine. Refrigerate for a minimum 30 minutes covered air tight.

 
Fill each mushroom generously by using a 1/2 ounce portion scoop or a heaping tablespoon. Mound high. Bake for 45- 50 minutes until golden brown. Dust with a sprinkling of grated parmesan the last 2 minutes of baking.

 

Remove and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

 
Note: Mushrooms can be stuffed ahead a few hours, covered and refrigerated until guests arrive, then bake and serve.

The Best Thanksgiving Stuffing I’ve Ever Made! 

Grand Mariner Apricot and Sausage Stuffing. 

This recipe is adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook. One of the first cookbooks I ever purchased. Co-Authors, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso Miller were hot on the gourmet carry-out scene in 1980’s. They really kicked off the “Artisan” food trend!

From that birthed, The Silver Palate Cookbook in 1982. An instant success! This book helped cement America’s interest in quality cooking and helped acquaint cooks with purchasing much-needed  “gourmet” ingredients.

Pioneers, if not legends for their Manhattan, food-to-go and gourmet ingredient boutique ! One of my favs!

You’ll Need:

1 cup diced dried apricots

1 1/2 cups Grand Mariner

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups coarsely chopped celery

1 large onion, chopped small dice

1 lb bulk pork sausage

1 lb herb stuffing mix

1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

2 cups rich chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dry sage

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Here’s How:

Place the apricots and 1 cup of the Grand Marnier in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat and set aside

Melt ½ cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and saute for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

In the same skillet, cook the sausage, crumbling it with a fork, until it’s no longer pink. Remove from heat and add to the celery & onion mixture.

Add the stuffing mix, apricots with the liquid, the almonds. Stir to combine.

Heat the remaining 1/2 cup butter and chicken stock just until the butter melts. Pour over the stuffing mixture and add the remaining 1/2 cup of Grand Marnier. Stir well to moisten the stuffing, adding the thyme, ground sage, salt and pepper to taste.

Bake stuffing in a large buttered casserole at 325’F degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Note: Enough to stuff a 21-24 pound bird with a small extra casserole on the side.

Now, should you stuff the bird is the question!

Happy Holidays

The Brussel Sprout Files!

Below is a formula sure to make your Brussel sprouts are a success no matter what flavor profile you’re after. Sweet, salty, or tangy!

Brussel sprouts are aggressive in flavor. You either love them or hate them. So many ways to cook them too– from baked chips to chopped salads. At my home we love our sprouts pan-fried with crisp pancetta– caramelized with lots of butter and my homemade infused olive oil, & lots of crispy fried garlic cloves.

Brussel sprouts caramelize naturally. On special occasions we make a few variations. Addition of maple syrup, or a sprinkling of brown sugar with a handful of candied walnuts will make your family roar! Sometimes we like to add crispy bacon, a nice citrus finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and lot of lemon zest– then an good dousing of parmesan cheese. I add a fair amount of fresh cracked black peppercorns!

Here’s How : 

To properly sauté brussels sprouts, you’ll need a fair amount of fat in the skillet. While bacon is a classic pairing, use your families favorite flavor. Ground pork sausage,  Italian sausage, apple sausage, duck fat, or –If you’re a vegetarian, good quality olive oil is perfect. As mentioned, I use pancetta. So delicious and I love the little crispy, crunchy salty nuggets. How much to use is up to you- I personally like a lot of Pancetta floating around in my dish- so I use a least a pound or two ( shhhh) per stock/stem of Brussel sprout! about 40- 50 spouts.

If using something like bacon or sausage, start by browning the meat in a very large skillet  – I use two of my largest skillets, and split the recipe between them. (Brussel sprouts contain lots of water– so, if you over-crowd the Brussel spouts in the pan, they will steam not caramelize. Tragic.)  Always halve the sprouts and trim the root-end clean.

Sauté the pancetta or your choice of fat, over medium-high heat. Render the fat. Once the meat is cooked, remove it with a slotted spoon set it aside for later addition. Add the halved brussels sprouts to the fat, shaking the skillet so that as many as possible landing cut side down or use tongs to ensure the sprout is positioned for optimum caramelization. Now, step away from the pan. Resist the urge to move them around. Distribution will prevent them from cooking through and becoming crispy golden brown  and delicious. They need to stay in contact directly with the surface heat. Cook until they have a nice  brown sear on one side, about 8 to 10 minutes. If a knife runs easily through, they are done.

Just before removing from the heat, add in  your favorite seasonings–like chopped garlic, sliced onions, fresh thyme, sprinkling of brown sugar, maple syrup, honey  or lemon juice  with lots of zest. Return the sautéed meat you rendered the fat from and toss to coat nicely. Cook for an additional 1- 2 minutes. If making an addition of candied nuts, now is the time to do so. Toss well and serve. (The candies nuts will remain crunchy if not added to the cooking process.)

Salt and pepper. Serve!

Steaming Method: 

Clean Brussels sprouts and slice in half lengthwise. Fill a large stock pot with about 2 inches of flavored stock and water combination– place a metal steamer basket on top. Bring the water to a simmer, add the brussels sprouts to the basket, season with salt and pepper and cover. Steam until the brussels sprouts are bright green and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the lid from pot and let them cool slightly before removing. I like to shock my sprouts in cool ice water so they retain a bright green color. Then right before serving I dunk in hot boiling water or toss quickly in a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper until warmed trough. About two minutes. See my method here for retaining color and nutrition in steamed veggies.

Baking Method:

Halve brussels sprouts (or quarter them, if they are especially large), making sure to hold on to any leaves that fall away (these get the crispest) and toss with plenty of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and scatter them onto a rimmed baking sheet, making use of every inch. Brussels sprouts contain a good bit of water, and if they’re too crowded on the tray, they’ll steam instead of brown. If you need to use two or three sheet pans, do it.

Roast in a hot pre heated 450’F degrees oven, tossing every 10 minutes or so, until the outer leaves have begun to almost char, and the innermost part of the sprout is just tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Finish growing by making sure the cut side of the sprint is face down on the baking sheets surface so they get nicely caramelized. While they caramelize well on their own, tossing the sprouts with a tablespoon or two of maple syrup, honey or light brown sugar will give them a bit of holiday flavor. Remove from oven– add your favor flavors to finish, like lemon zest and fresh thyme, or fresh rosemary, or pine nuts with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese — toss well and return to the oven for an additional five minutes. Remove, set aside to cool. You can even toss with a bit of reduced balsamic reduction –. Whatever flavors you’ve decided on — enjoy– it’s all you!

I’d love to hear about your favorite way to make Brussel sprouts. Leave me a message and tell me how.

Happy Holiday!

2016 Post Election, Red Wine and Chocolate Popsicles ! 


I know it’s 5 o’clock somewhere ! Here is a fun pick-me-up after a long stressful election year. Try my  frozen popsicle recipe strictly for adults. Cause, sometimes we need a break too! Not only will these take the edge off the 2016 Election, it will also turn your lips and tongue into a bright shade of red!

What the heck! Be a kid again– even if it’s just for a few hours!

Ingredients

1 cup good quality Cabernet wine.

1 bar of 70% or higher good quality dark chocolate, chipped into small chunks

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup winter plums, deseeded, and sliced

Method: 

In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar and the wine on medium low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just begins to simmer.

Add the plums and allow to cook for about 3-5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Process everything except the chocolate in a food processor or standing blender until smooth.

Return to the saucepan and stir in chocolate to melt and combine. Cool.

Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze for about 1½ hours, then insert popsicle sticks. Allow to freeze until solid an additional 3 – 4 hours. To remove from molds, run warm water over the molds to help release the popsicles.

Or, freeze in a shallow glass casserole pan stirring a few times during the freeze time. Serve by scooping into bowls! If you are feeling really stressed –just eat it out of the container with a giant spoon!

Yum!