Sorry. I know I’m late. In my defense, commercial real estate has begun its too quick jump into the upswing of the economical shift. In other words, I’ve been really really busy at work. Work that pays me a biweekly salary type of work. Not the one where I get to cook/bake in the mornings and hit the beach in the afternoon (wishful-thinking-dream-job) one.

Appetizers. Love olive bread.

This past weekend I decided to do a New Years Eve dinner for my parents and some of their friends. My menu was extensive. Huge! Probably too big for the number of people that actually came over.

Baked Sushi. Another post for another day.

Remember that one post .. a little over 2 weeks ago? The one about the problem I have with ambition? And having too much of it?

Ok. Good. We’re on the same page.

The main meat was a 14 lb prime rib roast. I don’t think I’ve ever made one before because I’m not a big fan but I already had turkey and ham over Christmas so I decided a roast was necessary. Not to say that at my ripe old age of 34 that I hadn’t attempted a roast. It is possible that I did. I might have failed. I may have blocked it. Therefore, I’ve never made a roast before. Until December 31, 2010. On this day, I made a roast. And it was fantastic!

Serious Perfection. First attempt (that counts). WIN!

First of all. I DID NOT wing-it, like I do so many other things. Mainly because I had to feed people with this 14 lb slab of beef and because I don’t like to disappoint my Mom.

I decided that I needed to do some research on how to prepare a bone-in rib roast. I found my answers here: Article on Cooking Prime Rib.

Sliced and ready

Although I did not follow the directions in its entirety (because I’m a rebel) the article did show me how and why to cut the chine bone off the meat but make sure that I attach it back with some cooking twine while I am roasting it to impart flavor. I used Hawaiian Salt and Tricolored Peppercorns lightly crushed (not powdered) in a mortar and pestal and some chopped rosemary from my jungle and then patted it on pretty thick. Then I wrapped it in plastic wrap, threw it back in the fridge and waited till it was time to take it out again and then let the meat come to room temperature.

Started it at 475 for about 20 minutes and when it got really brown and crispy I dropped the heat down to 325 for the rest of the cooking time.

USE A MEAT THERMOMETER! I had to All Caps.

You know. For emphasis.

I also made several types of salad. Including one of my favorites: An orange fennel salad.

Finished Orange Fennel Salad

Made with shaved (used one of my christmas presents from my sister) fennel, orange zest, juice from zested orange, meyer lemon olive oil (although any good quality olive oil will do nicely), a dash of kosher or sea salt and a sprinkling of chopped parsley. Serve very very cold.

New Favorite Kitchen Tool! Sisters RULE!

Fennel has a licorice/anise flavor but when paired with some orange, parsley and a dash of olive oil you mellow out the licorice flavor and bring in a shiny citrus flavor that is amazingly refreshing. I had this once at an Italian Deli in Pasadena and after tasting it I had to replicate it. I did. More or less and believe me when I say it just might end up being your new favorite summer salad.

I know its not summer. But I live in Hawaii. And since its a balmy 70 degrees out here I can call it summer if I want. 

 Made a roasted beet and goat cheese salad with some lemon, thyme and a lil something called truffle olive oil. TO DIE FOR.

Sweet and Tangy. Great Combo.

But before all this. Before all that came before, I made bacon wrapped gorgonzola stuffed dates. And holy heck that combination is pretty darn amazing.

With or without the cheese. I bought these from Walmart. They came in a box. I am sure if you go somewhere fancy (like Whole Foods) your dates won’t be squished and instead will probably look plump and round. But I was walking through Walmart and I saw these.

Dates are fruit

Gorgonzola in the fruit

Don't be scared of the bacon

 Make sure you give these guys a little space in the oven. Thats the only way the bacon will get nice and crispy. And who doesn’t love crispy bacon.

 I sure hope you all raised your hand. I got my eye on you.

Oven Ready

The final product, although not as pretty as I had hoped, was still amazing. Sweet, smokey and salty. So GOOD!

And finally. Let me take you back a ways. Back to 1994. and 1995. High school. Senior Prom.  Mine (1994) and my sister (1995). Why they gave us champagne flutes when we were obviously under age, I have no idea. But my parents have them. And I just had to break them out for this fancy occassion.

Hold on. Did you think I just broke out our Prom Champagne glasses without putting something in em? Nope. Definitely filled them. Filled them to toast the New Year.

To bring in 2011. A New Decade. A brand new year.

I wish you all a very prosperous New Year. I hope that whatever you strive for you will achieve. That you encounter little to no obstacles to reach your goals. Peace Out!

Guess which one I like more?

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