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Vernalisa's Christmas

2000 Party Menu

It's never to early to plan Christmas.

Beef Rib Roast With Creamy Horseradish Sauce

One 3-rib beef rib roast (small end), about 7 pounds, with chine bone removed

3 tablespoons whole tricolor peppercorns (red, green, and black)

1 teaspoon salt

1. In medium roasting pan (about 14" by 10"), place beef rib roast, fat-side up. In mortar with pestle, crush peppercorns with salt. Rub peppercorn mixture over roast. Insert meat thermometer into center of roast, being careful that pointed end of thermometer does not touch bone.

2. Roast beef in 325 degrees F. oven until meat thermometer reaches 140 degrees F. (about 20 minutes per pound). Internal temperature of meat will rise to 145 degrees F. (medium-rare) upon standing. Or, roast to desired doneness.

3. When beef is done, place on warm large platter and let stand 15 minutes for easier carving. Meanwhile, prepare Creamy Horseradish Sauce.


In small bowl, mix one 6-ounce jar prepared white horseradish, drained, 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whip 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream; fold into horseradish mixture. Makes about 1 2/3 cups.Shrimp & Avocado in Roasted Red-Pepper Sauce

Make the roasted red-pepper sauce and clean the shrimp a day ahead. Store both in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.

3 medium-size red peppers

30 large shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds)


1/2 cup chicken broth

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small shallot, cut up

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

2 medium-size ripe avocados, thinly sliced

2 large lemons, each cut into wedges

1. Cut each pepper lengthwise in half; discard stem and seeds. Arrange peppers, cut-side down, in 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan. Place jelly-roll pan in broiler at closest position to source of heat and broil peppers 15 minutes or until charred and blistered. Turn peppers and broil 5 minutes longer.

2. Meanwhile, shell and devein shrimp, leaving tail part of shell on if you like. Rinse shrimp with running cold water. In 4-quart saucepan over high heat, heat 8 cups water to boiling. Add shrimp and 1 teaspoon salt; heat to boiling. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until shrimp turn opaque throughout. Drain shrimp well.

3. Remove peppers to clean brown paper bag; fold top of bag over to seal it and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes (keeping peppers in bag to steam makes them easier to peel). Remove peppers from bag and peel off skin.

4. Place peppers in blender; add chicken broth, olive oil, shallot, vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth.

5. Spoon pepper sauce onto 10 small plates. Arrange shrimp and avocado slices over sauce. Serve with lemon wedges

Maple Glazed Carrots with Pistachios

3 16-ounce bags baby carrots or 3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 3" by 1/2" sticks

4 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/2 stick)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped and toasted

1. In 12" skillet over high heat, heat 1" water to boiling. Add carrots; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes until carrots are tender-crisp. Drain.

2. Return carrots to skillet; add margarine or butter and salt. Over medium-high heat, cook, gently stirring carrots occasionally until they are glazed and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour maple syrup over carrot mixture; heat to boiling. Boil 2 minutes, stirring frequently until carrots are lightly coated with glaze. Remove carrot mixture to platter; sprinkle with pistachios.

Beet, Orange, and Watercress Salad

Dressing can be made up to one day ahead. Washed watercress, wrapped in damp paper towels, can be refrigerated one day ahead, as can sectioned oranges and cooked and sliced beets. Store them in separate airtight containers in refrigerator.

10 medium-size beets (about 2 pounds without tops)

4 large oranges

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

3 bunches watercress (about 12 ounces), tough stems removed

1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced

1. In 4-quart saucepan over high heat, heat beets and enough water to cover to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 30 minutes or until beets are fork-tender.

2. Meanwhile, grate enough peel from 1 orange to equal 1 teaspoon. Cut peel and white pith from all oranges. Holding oranges over large bowl to catch juice, cut out segments between membranes. Place segments in small bowl; set aside. Into juice, with wire whisk or fork, mix olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and orange peel.

3. Drain beets and cool with running cold water. Peel and cut each beet in half, then cut each half into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

4. To dressing in bowl, add beets, orange segments, watercress, and red onion; toss to coat.

Oven-Steamed Figgy Pudding

Two 8-ounce packages dried Calimyrna figs

1 3/4 cups milk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1/2 cup margarine or butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly

1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs (3 to 4 slices white bread)

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

marzipan fruit and greens for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 1/2-quart metal steamed-pudding mold or fluted tube pan.

2. With kitchen shears, cut stems from figs; cut figs into small pieces. In 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, cook figs and milk, covered, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (mixture may look curdled). Be careful not to let mixture boil.

3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.

4. In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat eggs 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; add margarine or butter, bread crumbs, orange peel, and warm fig mixture. Gradually add flour mixture; beat until just blended.

5. Spoon fig mixture into mold, smoothing top. Cover with sheet of greased foil, greased-side down. (If your mold has a lid, grease the inside and do not use foil.) Place the mold in a deep roasting pan and place on oven rack. Pour hot tap water into roasting pan to come 2 inches up side of mold.

6. Bake pudding 2 hours or until firm and it pulls away from side of mold. Remove pudding from water bath; remove foil and cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate; remove mold. Garnish with marzipan fruit and greens. Serve warm.

BRANDIED HARD SAUCE: In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup margarine or butter (1 stick), softened, 2 tablespoons brandy, and, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until creamy. Refrigerate if not serving right away. Makes about 1 cup.

Strawberry Dacquoise

A dacquoise is a dessert made with nut-flavored meringues layered with various fillings. Do not assemble this dacquoise more than four hours ahead or it will become soggy. Meringues can be made up to one week ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store in airtight container.

1 cup pecans, toasted

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

6 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

One 10-ounce package frozen quick-thaw strawberries in light syrup, thawed

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 cups heavy or whipping cream

1 pint strawberries

1. In food processor with knife blade attached, or in blender at medium speed, blend pecans, cornstarch, and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar until pecans are finely ground.

2. Line large cookie sheet with foil. With toothpick, outline three 13" by 4" rectangles on foil. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

3. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Sprinkle in 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition until sugar completely dissolves and whites stand in stiff glossy peaks.

4. With rubber spatula, carefully fold ground pecan mixture into egg-white mixture. With metal spatula, spread one-third of meringue inside each rectangle on cookie sheet. Bake meringues 1 hour. Turn oven off; leave meringues in oven 1 1/4 hours to dry.

5. Cool meringues on cookie sheet on wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully peel foil from meringues and cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature (to prevent sogginess) until ready to assemble.

6. In 2-quart saucepan with potato masher or fork, mash quick-thaw strawberries with their syrup. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over crushed strawberries; let stand 5 minutes to soften gelatin. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook strawberry mixture 2 to 3 minutes until gelatin dissolves completely, stirring constantly. Pour mixture into small bowl; chill over bowl of ice about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly to the consistency of egg whites.

7. In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy or whipping cream and remaining 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in thickened strawberry mixture.

8. On serving plate, place 1 meringue layer; spread with one-third of strawberry-cream filling. Repeat with remaining meringue layers and strawberry filling, ending with strawberry filling.

9. Refrigerate dacquoise 4 hours to soften meringue layers for easier cutting.

10. To serve, hull strawberries. Cut one-third of strawberries in half; slice remaining berries. Arrange remaining halved and sliced berries on top of dacquoise. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if you like.

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