Christmas Day 2014

Christmas Day was lovely.  Just the two of us.

Dom attended Mass in the morning.  I didn’t go, as I wouldn’t have enjoyed it….I’d be thinking about preparations for dinner, etc.  As much as I love to cook, I work myself into a tizzy on holiday dinners.

I thought that this was a great picture.  Quite symbolic.  It was taken on Christmas afternoon.  The sun was reflecting off of Dom’s windshield, through our front door, bounced off of a mirror across the room, and illuminated this manger scene.  I loved this.  Especially on Christmas!

Dinner was great.  I cooked a 5 pound standing rib roast using a cast iron skillet.  It turned out divine.  That’s the only way that I’m going to cook them from now on.  It also made a delicious au jus, which I added mushrooms to.  As I like my beef rare, and Dom doesn’t, I overcooked it a bit for him.  He had a great idea….next time, I’ll cut it in half and throw mine in later!

Cast-Iron Skillet Prime Rib Roast and Gravy


1 (4.5 pound) beef prime rib roast at room temperature
 coarse sea salt, or as needed
 freshly ground black pepper, or as needed
 1 onion, quartered
 1/4 cup unsalted butter
 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
 1/4 cup red wine
 1 (32 ounce) carton beef stock
 4 sprigs fresh thyme


Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).

Rub beef roast with sea salt and black pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat; sear roast on all sides in the hot skillet, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Turn roast so the ribs and fat side are facing up.

Roast prime rib in the preheated oven for 45 minutes; scatter onion quarters around roast and continue cooking until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 130 degrees F (54 degrees C) for rare, about 2 more hours.

Remove roast from skillet, wrap meat in aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes to let juices reabsorb into the meat. Leave onion pieces in skillet.

Pour drippings from skillet into a bowl and skim off excess grease. Return degreased drippings to skillet with onion pieces, place over medium heat, and melt butter in the drippings. Whisk flour into mixture to make a paste, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir red wine into flour paste until smooth. Mix beef stock into pan gravy until smooth; stir thyme sprigs into gravy.

Reduce heat to low and simmer gravy until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Strain gravy, discard onion pieces and thyme, and serve with prime rib.

***Roast until the desired doneness is reached, according to the readings on your meat thermometer, inserted into the center of the beef: 125–Rare 130–Medium rare 140–Medium 145–Medium well 150–Well done

Served this with some decadent potatoes.  Absolutely delicious!  (I cut the recipe in half and didn’t bother with the bread crumbs)

Gratin Dauphinois

4 large potatoes (about three pounds), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 large cloves garlic
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 pint whipping cream
2 egg yolks
White pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and drop the potatoes into it. Cook for five minutes. Drain and cool.

2. Crush the garlic cloves, and use them to wipe the inside of a 12-by-8-inch glass baking dish. Discard what’s left of the garlic.

3. Layer the potato slices all the way across the bottom of the dish, sprinkling the cheeses and a little salt and white pepper between the layers.

4. Beat the egg yolks and mix them into the whipping cream. Pour the mixture over the potatoes. It should come up about two-third of the way to the top. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the oven for an hour.

5. Remove the foil. Combine the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle in a thin layer over the top of the potatoes. Return, uncovered, to the oven. Continue baking until the crust browns. (If you have a convection oven, set it to convect.)

6. Remove from the oven and allow to rest and cool for at least fifteen minutes before serving.

We both enjoy fresh pearl onions on the holidays….alas, I was unable to find them in this area.  Had planned on doing a cheesed onion dish.

Instead, I popped a Stouffer’s Spinach Souffle in the microwave.

Dinner was a great success and the bubbly flowed all day long!