A Tradition

When I’m at home visiting my parent’s house, my mom and I like to try out new recipes and play around with menu ideas for dinner.  Even though we love to try new ideas, there are a few meals every year where the menu remains the same.  One of them is Christmas dinner.my flower arrangement

For Christmas dinner we do what we call “The Italian Feast.”  When my brothers and I were younger and still all living at home, it was a meal that would be made every couple  months or so for a nice family dinner.  The past few years, Christmas is the only time this menu roles around.  The menu includes: Chicken Parmesan, Garlic and Oil Pasta, Steamed Broccoli, Caesar Salad, and Garlic Bread.  The “piece de resistance” (read that with a french accent), however, is the special Christmas day Chocolate Soufflé.  That’s how we roll in our house hold.  It gets pretty fancy smancy around here on December 25th.dinner table

Nothing says Christmas like a perfectly timed delicacy served piping hot with a dab of cold ice cream or whipped cream.  You should give it a try.Dessert!

Chocolate Soufflé

An old recipe taken from the New York Times article about Cleo’s La Cuisine Catering, Published February 11, 1981

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 eggs, separated, plus 2 eggs whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate bits (my mom uses standard chocolate chips)

Method

  1. Scald milk in double boiler.
  2. Use an electric mixer to beat the six egg yolks with the sugar for about 4 minutes, until it forms a “ribbon.”  Add the flour gradually and continue to beat until smooth.
  3. Transfer the egg mixture to a double boiler and gradually add in the scalded milk.  Beat vigorously making sure to temper the eggs and not let them get cooked.  Beat for about five minutes.
  4. Add chocolate to the mixture and stir until melted.  Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  5. Beat all eight egg whites wand a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry.
  6. Fold the egg whites into cooled chocolate mixture.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350.
  8. Butter a two quart soulfe dish and sprinkle with a little sugar.  Fill the soufle dish with the batter and bake 80-90 minutes until there is about a two inch cap above the rim of the dish.right out of the oven!
  9. Enjoy it right out of the oven with colder accompaniment, but wait a sec so you don’t burn your mouth!ready to serveplating it up!

Stuffed Pork Loin

Here is a crowd pleaser for the holidays. I made it last night for my 2nd Annual Tree Trimming Party. It is deliciously tender and delightful for the tastebuds. The most difficult part of this recipe is butterflying the pork loin. Trust me, you can do it!

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Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Loin

Ingredients
olive oil
4 slices bacon
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (I used the smaller slicing blade on a food processor for this to make them really thin)
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1/2 c. chopped parsley
pork loin (desired size depending upon the company you need to feed)
zest of one lemon
baby spinach

Directions
1. Heat two tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until it is crispy. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and tender. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the breads crumbs and parsley. I like to use panko breadcrumbs. Grate in the lemon zest.
2. Butterfly the pork. Make an incision on the top of the loin about one third to the left of the top of the pork. Cut to about one inch from the bottom. Take a look at the picture below.

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Then just cut from the incision across the bottom of the pork. Now you will have a flat piece of pork.
3. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Layer spinach down on the pork leaving about a one inch border on the two longer sides. Then place mushroom mixture in the center of the pork. Fold the pork over and season the top with salt and pepper. Use butcher string to secure the pork in place while roasting. You can find a tutorial here

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Season the top of the pork with salt and pepper. Move the pork to a baking dish. Place in the oven at 450 for twenty minutes. Then, baste the pork with 1/2 cup of wine. Reduce the heat to 350 until the pork reaches 140 to 160 degrees. Baste the pork with more wine every half hour. Pull out of the oven, cover with foil, and let it rest for twenty minutes. Then the pork is ready for carving. You can pour the pan drippings over the pork before serving. Enjoy!