December 21, 2016

Dear friends,

My Christmas breakfast sandwich is as far from an Egg McMuffin as you can get — not that I don’t crave an Egg McMuffin on occasion, but that occassion is not Christmas. Christmas is for fancier fare.

I found a breakfast sandwich that is both fancy and fast. Store-bought raisin bread is spread with a creamy mixture of goat cheese, honey and grated lemon rind. The filling is slathered with orange marmalade before topping with a second slice of buttered raisin bread. The sandwich is griddled in a skillet until warm and melty.

You can make a bunch of these a couple at a time in a big skillet or more on a griddle, and keep them warm in the oven while finishing enough for your tribe. If you make the goat cheese filling on Christmas Eve, you can turn these out faster than flapjacks.

The original recipe is from “Cooking Light The Complete Quick Cook” by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough. I swapped orange marmalade for their fig jam and omitted their addition of basil leaves. Either version would be delicious. And quick.
GRILLED GOAT CHEESE SANDWICHES WITH MARMALADE AND HONEY
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2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. grated lemon rind
4 oz. goat cheese (chevre)
8 slices cinnamon-raisin bread
2 tbsp. orange marmalade
Softened butter
Powdered sugar

Blend together honey, lemon rind and goat cheese. Spread the mixture evenly on four slices of the bread. Top with the marmalade. Top with remaining bread slices. Spread a scant amount of butter on the outside of the bread. Grill in a hot, dry skillet or griddle until lightly toasted on both sides. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 4 servings.

TIDBIT

Just when I start wondering whether I’m losing my relevance and if anyone is reading this newsletter anymore, I get a cllutch of lovely thank-you emails totally out of the blue.

Can you folks read my mind??

If you can, you know how much I treasure your loyalty, your friendship (and you do feel like friends) and your feedback. I still enjoy writing this newsletter, which I’ve been doing for almost 10 years for See Jane Cook and another 10 or so for its precurser, Second Helpings.

Our interaction is what keeps me writing, so drop me a line now and then. And from Tony and me to you and yours, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Jolly Festivus.

THE MAILBAG

From Jonathan:
Could you help me with a menu and recipe for a dinner featuring beef tenderloin?

Dear Jonathan: Tenderloin is an easy but elegant entree. I like the flavor a grill imparts but I don’t like standing outside over a grill while the party swirls inside without me. So I developed this two-step cooking method: Smoke the whole tenderloin briefly on the grill and refrigerate. A half hour before serving, finish cooking it in the oven.

Sliced tenderloin with horseradish sauce deserves a festive, totally yummy side dish. I suggest serving it over my winter vegetable hash, which is a bit of work but worth it.

SMOKED BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH HORSERADISH CREAM SAUCE

1 whole beef tenderloin, about 1 1/2 lbs.
Vegetable oil
Salt, pepper
3/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
1 1/2 tbsp. (or to taste) prepared horseradish
Milk

Up to a day in advance: Trim and discard most of the visible fat from the meat, and remove any silverskin (the thin, filmy layer of connective tissue). Rub meat all over with oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Scatter a handful of wood chips over a hot charcoal fire. Place meat on grill positioned directly over the coals. Close lid and cook for 5 minutes, turning after 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from grill and, if prepping in advance, cool, wrap and refrigerate.

To make the sauce, beat together the sour cream or creme fraiche with the horseradish and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in enough milk to thin sauce to a thick pouring consistency. Cover and refrigerate.

About 45 minutes before serving, heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove meat from refrigerator and place in an oiled cast-iron skillet or shallow baking pan. Rub with more oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes for medium-rare meat, 150 degrees on a meat thermometer. Let stand for 10 minutes, then slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

Mound winter vegetable hash (recipe follows) in the center of 4 to 6 dinner plates. Fan tenderloin slices over the hash and drizzle with horseradish sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

WINTER VEGETABLE HASH

1 small celery root, 3/4 lbs. (2 3/4 cups diced)
1 large turnip, 1/2 lb. (1 3/4 cups diced
1 lb. parsnips (3 1/2 cups diced)
2 medium carrots (1 1/4 cups diced)
1 medium potato (1 cup diced)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup white wine vinegar

With a good-quality vegetable peeler, peel vegetables. Cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes. Combine in a large bowl with garlic and onion and mix well.

Heat olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add diced vegetables and saute for 15 minutes, turning occasionally with a spatula.

Stir in salt, thyme and rosemary. Add vinegar and toss with the vegetables, turning rapidly with a spatula until vinegar has evaporated.

Place pan of vegetables into an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Roast for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and top begins to brown. Serves 6 to 8.

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