Image Slider

Wonderful Christmas Time

Saturday, January 6, 2018
Christmas was spent here this year, which was nice because we didn't have to pack our bags and travel. It did mean lots of family time and celebrating nightly for about two full weeks. I love my family and I love the holidays but boy, I was happy to see Jan. 2 roll around. I had toasted, feasted, partied, chatted, and drank champagne to excess. By New Year's Eve I was exhausted and felt like I wanted to crawl into a dark hole, not socialize for a month, and eat nothing but healthy food. Wow - that's not very cheery, is it? Let me start over.

The holidays were great.

They really were! So great, that yes, I was ready for a little quiet time and healthy eating....and a little less wine. Mike's sister, her husband, and their three month old son, Alex, visited from Seattle, and Mike's grandparents joined us from Florida. For Christmas Eve and Christmas my parents also joined us. So our celebrations were lively with ten people, one baby, and three dogs!

The families wanted Christmas photos outdoors for 'the light.' It was about fourteen degrees out.
This is my I'm-freezing-can-we-go-inside smile. Cheers! 

It was truly so fun to host everyone at our house for Christmas Eve, Mike and I enjoyed having everyone in our home and preparing a delicious prime rib dinner. Prime rib has become a Christmas Eve tradition in our house, which I'm totally cool with as I'd pick prime rib over ham or turkey any day. I know I was raised to say this but beef is always my favorite. #itswhatsfordinner

Mike has mastered the Christmas Eve prime rib and takes his job quite seriously. We reserve our prime rib each year from a local butcher shop that offers really amazing aged prime ribs. This year we had to purchase a larger one to feed our crowd so Mike lugged in a hefty 10 lb piece of beef that Missy May was overwhelmed by.

The prime rib was bigger than the dog! Missy was so impressed.

Chef Kuchinski at work. 

A good prime rib is all about the seasoning and the crust! 

Mike has researched lots of prime recipes and he goes by the "low and slow" followed by searing method. Some do the opposite, but Mike has had success with cooking the prime rib on low heat for about six hours (it always seems to take longer - pass the cheese tray). At the end of the six hours, the prime rib rests for about ten minutes and then you sear it at a super high temp to get that nice, crisp crust. Mike uses The Pioneer Woman's prime rib seasoning but not her cooking method.

This where I head when Mike says the prime rib is going to be another 30 minutes.
Even if the prime rib takes a little longer than expected it is always worth waiting for. I live for the end piece ( I forfeited it this year) that has all the crunchy, salty seasonings on the crust. So good!

Finally done and ready to eat! 

Our Christmas Eve menu also included cranberry and pistachio salads made by my mom, garlic mashed potatoes (another P-Dub recipe), balsamic green beans (Southern Living), kale salad and yes, plenty of Au Jus.

I just love these two! 

Christmas Day was spent at my in-laws feasting again, this time on turkey, all the traditional side dishes, and plenty of champagne. My parents were able to stick around and join us which was really great, too. My in-laws are great cooks and always have plenty of wine and champagne, so it's always a very large feast and daylong celebration.

Mike with his sister, Jess, and our new nephew, Alex!

My sister-in-law, Jess, is so fun! Here we are on one of many glasses of champs.

After 48 hours of prime rib, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, turkey, and copious amounts of bubbly, I was feeling really sluggish, so I took advantage of the slightly warmer evening on Christmas night and took a quick run outside. My in-laws live on a dirt road which I always feel at home on. Running down the road and looking at a beautiful Christmas Day sunset and feeling incredibly thankful for so much time with family was the perfect end to the holiday.

Hope that you savored and survived the holidays as well, friends!

French Onion Soup

Tuesday, January 2, 2018
For the past week we've had freezing temperatures....well, more accurately, WAY below freezing temperatures. One of the few things I do love about winter is the opportunity to cook up really delicious, satisfying soups. When it dipped down to single digits this past weekend, I knew it was the perfect time to make one of my very favorite soups - French Onion!

French Onion heaven at Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas

French Onion is such a comforting meal. What's not to love about onions, cheese, and bread? My favorite recipe for French Onion soup is from Wichita chef Bonnie Aeschliman's "Cooking with Bonnie: Farm to France." I mentioned this recipe before when we did a French Valentine's meal a couple years ago. 

French Onion is a great first course to any meal, but I think when paired with a fresh salad and served in a large enough bowl, it makes an amazing meal. Oh, and don't forget a nice glass of bubbly!

Is there anything better than the smell of onions cooking in butter? The answer is no. 

Bonnie's recipe is so simple and delicious. It does call for Sherry, which I think is a key ingredient in a good French Onion soup. So, if you don't have Sherry stocked in your bar already, you'll need to go grab a bottle. It's a good investment though, it lasts forever! I've had the same bottle of Sherry for years - I only use it for this recipe!

One place I do deviate from Bonnie's recipe is the cheese. Gruyere is fabulous but it can be difficult to find and pricey. I actually prefer a blend of three cheeses - Mozzarella, Havarti, and Parmesan. Mozzarella and Havarti melt really well and give the soup a delicious ooey, gooey cheesy topping. The Parmesan gives it a salty, savory flavor. Lots of cheeses would work - but these are my favorite. Just make sure it melts really well so you get that cheese-dripping-from-your-spoon effect. 

Pure bliss! 

The only thing I don't like about French Onion soup? Waiting to eat it. To get this beautifully browned cheese top, you must broil the soup at super high temps - like 450 degrees. Yikes! Once the soup is done, you'll have to have some patience or you'll end up with a very burnt tongue. (I speak from experience, people.) This is when you snap that photo for Instagram so your friends can be jealous of your soup, pour yourself some more wine, or munch on the side salad. It's worth the wait. Bon appetit!

Custom Post Signature

Custom Post  Signature