Keeping Those Holiday Traditions Alive 

0:00 Keeping Those Holiday Traditions Alive    By Stephanie Linehan    As 2020 comes to an end, I realize that I’ve spent most the year waiting. I’ve […]

Published December 7, 2020 8:36 PM
3 min read

0:00

Keeping Those Holiday Traditions Alive 

 

By Stephanie Linehan 

 

As 2020 comes to an end, I realize that I’ve spent most the year waiting. I’ve been anticipating what life will be like when things return to normal instead of just living it. I know we won’t have Grandma and Grandpa with us at the table this holiday season, but I am determined to make the most of what we have right nowWith that in mind, here is how I plan to set the stage for Christmas this year.  

 

What makes a holiday meal special in my house is treating everyone to foods we don’t often buyChristmas dinner for me doesn’t mean preparing a series of complicated recipes. Instead, choose few of the highest quality ingredients and cook them to perfectionFor our feast, I always splurge on a filet of beef. I order it from Crisfield’s Prime Meats, and I specify that it is tied so it cooks evenly. We don’t eat it all the time, so when we do, it makes the dining experience feel like a celebrationWhen I started cooking this cut of meat, I used to get nervous about overcooking it. The truth is all you need is a good instantread thermometer. I like to cook my filets to an internal temperature of 125 degrees (mediumrare). The thermometer takes the guessing game out of the equation, and that’s a huge relief when you are cooking a highstakes holiday dinner. 

 

For my Christmas table this year, I am inspired by all things vintage. There is so much tradition in the holidays, and I love to weave that aesthetic into my tableI have some antique pieces that have been passed down to me from my family, such as my silverware, but I also like to layer the table with unique items I have found at estate sales. (You just can’t find these pieces at Bloomingdales.) Though I bought my candlestick holders from York Antiques on Purchase Street, I found some rare Mottahedeh china and crystal coups at local estate auctions 

 

I’ll also give the table some life with classical Christmas elements and use real boxwood branches to create a charger look under the plates. While I adore flowers, I always love to find other ways to use Mother Nature’s gifts. These ilex branches gave the table a pop of red and added dramatic heightAll this may be more than you’ll ever want to do, but by just adding a few of these elements it will make your holiday table extra special 

 

 

Roast Filet of Beef 

Serves 10. 

 

  • 5-pound beef filettrimmed and tied 
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard 
  • 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1½ teaspoons cracked pepper 

 

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and place the roomtemperature filet on it. 

 

Combine the mustard, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl. Using a brush, spread the mixture on the fillet evenly over the top and sides. Sprinkle the cracked pepper evenly all over the meat. 

 

Roast the filet for 30 minutes for medium-rareCheck that the internal temperature is 125° by inserting a meat thermometer sideways into the middle of the meat. Remove the pan from the oven, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and allow the beef to rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Slice and serve hot or warm.  

 

 

Potato Gratin with Caramelized Shallots 

Serves 8 to 10. 

 

  • large organic Idaho potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandoline, soaked in cold water, drained well, and patted dry 
  • 2 cups heavy cream 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a 10-by-10-by-2-inch casserole dish, arrange some of the potatoes in an even, flat layer. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the cream, and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cream, and salt and pepper to form ten layers. Press down on the layers to completely submerge them in the cream. 

 

Immediately cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for another 30 minutes, until the cream is absorbed, the potatoes are cooked through, and the top is browned. 

 

<Caramelized Shallots> 

 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces 
  • 9 large shallots, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices 
  • Pinch of sugar 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

 

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sugar and slowly cook on medium, until golden brown and caramelized. Stir occasionally and cook for about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

 

 

Evenly distribute the caramelized shallots over the top of the potatoes and serve. 

 

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