And We Ate Like Kings!

Long before Jason was heading home, he told me to select a menu for Christmas day and he would do the cooking. In fact, he couldn't wait to get back into the kitchen! At first I considered asking for my favorite meal, slow-roasted pork shoulder, but then I changed my tune and had my heart set on a stuffed beef tenderloin with a bearnaise sauce...we ended up having a standing rib roast and boy was it a great decision! The day before he flew home, I went down to our "local" (and by local I mean 35 minutes away) Harris Teeter to check out the beef tenderloin selection. They were MASSIVE and cost quite a pretty penny, so I had to change my plan. Luckily a friend happened to be in the store and suggested a smaller, yet somehow still GIANT cut of beef and even sent me two recipes to choose from! (Thanks Kathleen!)

We started with a recipe from How Easy Is That? for onion and fennel soup gratin. We had made French onion soup just before Jason deployed and it was incredible, so I thought this would be a great first course. It took far less time than previous recipes, but in my humble opinion, it was just as delicious. Jason improvised the recipe a bit and reduced the onions and fennel far more than they called for and did a mix of a couple different cheeses on top.

Onion & Fennel Soup Gratin - step one

Onion & Fennel Soup Gratin - the reduction phase

Onion & Fennel Soup Gratin - the part that makes is "Gratin"...cheese & bread broiled on top!!

For the main course, we had tomatoes roasted with pesto (another recipe from the Barefoot Contessa's How Easy Was That?) and the Foolproof Prime Rib (a recipe found in this month's News & Observer). I know Jason was disappointed that I only had store-bought pesto, but I just couldn't stomach buying the amount of basil we needed to make our own! (Sidenote: we've got 7 different types of basil growing in our Aerogarden now, so that will NOT be a problem in the future!) 

As usual, Jason timed everything perfectly and the meal was a great success. Here are some pictures of the main course:

Creating a seasoned crust on the roast w/ pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, kosher salt and coriander

Seasoning and roasting the tomatoes before adding the pesto

A delightful topping of pesto & parmesan cheese!

A steak fit for a king (and three of his closest buddies!)

Because a size comparison was absolutely necessary to see just how ridiculously huge this piece of meat was

Someone was "politely" begging!

Tearing into his steak:) He doesn't really eat like this, I promise!

For dessert, I made a Creme-de-menthe cake (easiest out of the box recipe ever!). We were almost too stuffed to eat it, but somehow we managed. Oh, and we ate this meal AFTER Reagan went to sleep and actually enjoyed adult conversation without interruption! (We love you Reagan, but sometimes, eating with you is a chore:).

What did you and your family eat for Christmas?

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