A month ago, I took my first significant step toward domesticity by volunteering to take care of Thanksgiving dinner, sans the turkey. The soup, three side dishes and condiment were a rousing success, which led me to declare confidently that I had “totally killed Thanksgiving.”
My Martha Stewart-esque Thanksgiving success emboldened me to volunteer to take care of Christmas Eve dinner.
This decision was noteworthy because:
- My brother and sister-in-law, whom we haven’t seen together since their wedding last November, would be returning to the 48 for the holidays. (The Navy has stationed my brother in Hawaii since the wedding.)
- We have not had a home-cooked Christmas (Eve) dinner in years. For at least six years, we’ve joined my grandparents and uncles at some fancy restaurant whose food is always overcooked. While complaining with my parents about the formality and the bad food, I impulsively suggested that our nuclear family (plus my sister-in-law) have Christmas Eve dinner on our own — and at home. Pretty major.
- I volunteered to take care of the whole thing, meaning, this would be my first time being in charge of a significant piece of meat. I left the Thanksgiving turkey up to my mother, but for Christmas Eve, I decided to go all-out. (Fortunately, my sister-in-law was on-hand to assist.)
So, the meat? I ordered a dry-aged rack of prime rib — four bones.
The price of this piece of meat directly correlated to my nervousness in prepping and cooking it right. Following many anxiously-taken temperature checks, the meat turned out to be a perfect medium rare. Unfortunately, the jus wasn’t that great, which is why I say I think I killed Christmas Eve dinner — in contrast to my confident declaration of victory over Thanksgiving.
To start out the meal, we had French onion soup. Next time, I’ll use white onions (instead of yellow)… and maybe I’ll make my own beef broth instead of using a carton from Whole Foods. And maybe I’ll choose a different wine to throw in it. The soup by itself seemed pretty sweet, although the Gruyère cheese did help balance that out.
The rest of the dinner was vegetables. We had honey-glazed carrots…
…and, finally, garlic mashed potatoes. Because of the simplicity of Alton Brown’s recipe, I had my doubts — but these were glorious potatoes.
Having commandeered the holidays (see my previous two posts for reference), I am now stepping down from my self-appointed post. I’m leaving Texas bright and early on the 26th, and boy do I need to take care of my own things now.
In the meantime — Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and I hope everyone is having a good and restful holiday season!