TRACE at The W Austin — TRACE is open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; the offerings will include selections from the restaurant's current menu as well as additional traditional holiday dishes.
A Torrid Affair — This isn't a traditional restaurant, per se, but partaking in a holiday meal prepared by A Torrid Affair, Austin's charity supper club, is a great way to spend Christmas. The dinner will be held outdoors at Springdale Farm.
Trio at The Four Seasons Austin — Trio is offering their annual Christmas Day buffet.
Tavolo — Tavolo is taking the traditional Christmas Eve "Feast of the Seven Fishes" a step further by offering 12 fish courses. The menu will be served à la carte.
The Fireplace — Nothing is cozier during the holidays than a roaring fireside meal. The Fireplace is serving a menu of New England-inspired specialties, such as lobster rolls and Cape Cod mussels, available on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Legal Harborside — This Boston hot spot is offering their version of the "Feast of the Seven Fishes" for the whole week leading up to Christmas and through the weekend. The tasting menu includes all of the fish courses.
NoMi Restaurant — Take in the majestic view of Michigan Avenue while enjoying the vast array of dishes offered at NoMi's annual Christmas brunch.
C-House — Marcus Samuelsson's Chicago restaurant is offering a three-course prix fixe menu for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, including dishes such as oyster stew, prime rib, and gingerbread torte.
Lockwood — Lockwood is offering a buffet spread on Christmas Day that's fit for royalty, with dishes such as roasted turkey, prime rib, and a host of various salads.
Founding Farmers — Farm-to-table restaurant, Founding Farmers, is offering their full menu of American classics for Christmas Eve dinner.
Corduroy — Enjoy a hearty meal of seasonal American dishes with Cordoroy's Christmas Day tasting menu. The meal will feature local produce.
Ardeo + Bardeo — The restaurant will be offering a seasonally inspired Christmas Eve prix fixe menu in addition to their regular menu.
Rao's Caesar's Palace — This Vegas outpost of the New York City supper club is serving its own version of the "Feast of the Seven Fishes." Diners will get to choose three courses from an array of dishes from the sea.
Valentino Las Vegas — Lucky diners at Valentino this holiday season will get to enjoy a five-course tasting menu, including dishes such as octopus carpaccio with uni dressing and a mini bûche de noël. Available on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Lobster ME — This all-lobster fast-casual eatery opened on the Las Vegas strip this summer. Since dining at Lobster ME may not be the most homey place to spend the holidays, the restaurant is offering a special home-delivery service for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The offerings include their signature items, such as lobster mac and cheese, lobster rolls, and lobster flatbread.
Providence — Chef Michael Cimarusti is offering his take on the "Feast of the Seven Fishes" this Christmas Eve, including dishes inspired by his grandmother and great grandmother. This meal promises to deliver a Christmas Eve dinner for the ages.
Naya Sunset — LA's ultra-trendy Indian hot spot, Naya Sunset, will serve a five-course feast this Christmas Eve, perfect for parties looking to change things up this year. Diners will delight in dishes such as black lentil stew and ginger curry.
Tavern — Chef Suzanne Goin is offering to take the burdens of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners off your hands this year with Tavern's complete take-away holiday menu. Take away the guesswork by ordering their tasting menu, or put together your own menu by choosing from their array of seasonal offerings.
DB Bistro Moderne — Daniel Boulud is offering a selection of specials for Christmas Eve dinner in addition to the regular menu. Indulge your family and loved ones this year with caviar service, foie gras terrine, and black truffle fettucine.
BLT Steak Miami — In addition to the regular menu, diners can venture to The Betsy hotel for BLT Steak's special holiday dishes, including filet mignon and roast leg of lamb.
Novecento — For those looking to party the night away this Christmas Eve, Novecento is serving an Argentine feast including three courses and a champagne toast.
Tujague's — This true French Quarter classic has been delighting New Orleans natives and beyond for more than 150 years, which means they have the holidays down to a science. Diners can expect a traditional Christmas dinner, complete with a Creole flare.
Commander's Palace — This acclaimed New Orleans family-run institution is the ideal place to spend Christmas Eve for those looking to have a more formal holiday meal. The restaurant is closed on Christmas Day.
7 on Fulton — Traditionalists need look no further, 7 on Fulton will be offering a classic Reveillion menu on Christmas Eve, including four courses, and a lunch buffet on Christmas Day.
New York City
SD26 — For the week leading up to Christmas and through the weekend, SD26 will offer a special prix fixe menu, including traditional Italian dishes in celebration of the "Feast of the Seven Fishes."
Maialino — In addition to their regular brunch and dinner menus, Maialino will serve ravaiolo al uovo, a ravioli filled with ricotta, spinach, and egg yolk, and served with an optional white truffle supplement.
La Bottega at The Maritime Hotel — In keeping with the nautical theme of the location, La Bottega will offer diners their take on the "Feast of the Seven Fishes," including dishes such as baked clams and seafood salad.
10 Arts — Eric Ripert's Philadelphia hot spot will offer a tasting menu on Christmas Eve as well as a second tasting menu on Christmas Day, including specialties such as marinated Kumamoto oysters in shiso-lemon olive oil.
Brandywine Prime — The restaurant will serve a special holiday lunch menu on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, including a vast array of high-end burgers and steaks.
Mémé Restaurant — This Rittenhouse Square restaurant from chef David Katz will serve a Christmas Eve dinner of roasted goose, glazed ham, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and buttermilk biscuits with sage gravy.
McCormick & Kuleto's — This Ghiradelli Square restaurant will serve a selection of holiday specials, such as wild Coho salmon with leeks, in addition to their regular menu on Christmas Day.
Campton Place — This fine dining establishment will host Christmas Eve and Christmas Day prix fixe menus featuring dishes with their signature Mediterranean-meets-local Californian culinary style.
Michael Mina — The acclaimed Michael Mina restaurant will serve two menus on Christmas Eve: a hand-crafted meal featuring locally sourced meats and produce, and a version of the "Feast of the Seven Fishes."
Six Seven Restaurant and Lounge — This restaurant in the Edgewater Hotel will serve a special holiday five-course meal on Christmas Day, including a dessert buffet. Diners will get to enjoy fine dining featuring the seasonal offerings of the Pacific Northwest.
Hook & Plow — This modern gastropub that specializes in vegetarian fare is offering a three-course meal on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Cutters Bayhouse — Enjoy a stunning waterside view while dining on Cutters' special Christmas Day menu, featuring dishes such as tempura-battered Beecher's cheese and their house-smoked salmon chowder.
What makes these cookies The Best? Well, there’s a few reasons actually. We call for natural peanut butter so that you can dial the sugar and salt amounts exactly. Instead of just adding roasted peanuts from the can, we roast them a second time for even more peanutty flavor. And the pan of water in the oven creates a burst of steam that gives the finished cookies the perfect crunchy-chewy texture. Now you know!
A deep chocolate cake with a liquid chocolate center. Many recipes get this effect by purposely undercooking the cake, so that the middle is raw batter. Effective, but not the most delicious. Our version has a spoonful of ganache in the center, which melts as the cake bakes through.
A Spring Grafting Primer
Each of us carries snapshot memories of important and somewhat random events from our lives. In one of my memories, for example, I’m 30 feet up in a tree that I have named the Three Sisters because of its three huge trunks rising from the same spot in the ground. I grafted each of its branches over nine or 10 years, and 18 varieties grow on the tree.
In this memory, I had just climbed about 10 feet higher than my 20-foot extension ladder to finish pruning and grafting one particular section of the tree. I looked down and realized I had climbed onto one of the original grafts. I was stunned that it had grown large enough to support me. That realization and surprise stand as an exclamation point in my life, a measure of passing time and accomplishment.
What Is Grafting and Why Do It?
If you propagate some fruits by seed, i.e., by sexual propagation, they will not produce the same fruit as the parent tree instead a cross of that parent and the one(s) that pollinated it will grow.
Grafting is a type of asexual plant propagation that preserves the genetic identity of the parent plant. Taking a piece, or scion (pronounced sigh-on), of the parent plant and splicing it onto an existing plant of the same type – for example, grafting one apple variety onto another variety of apple tree – is the only way to replicate the fruit exactly.
Many types of plants can be grafted, including pears, roses, lilacs, tomatoes, potatoes, plums, peaches and apples. With tomatoes, the latest trend is to graft favored varieties onto aggressive rootstocks that thrive in greenhouse environments and impart their disease resistance to the grafted part of the plant above.
Many of the original apple orchards in this country were planted from seed, and most of the resulting fruit was used to make cider. A few trees, however, had quality fruit for eating, and scionwood of these varieties was often shared and named for the farm or county of origin or the flavor of the fruit. If a neighbor has a great apple and you want that fruit on your tree, you must propagate it by grafting.
Grafting your own trees is also economical. A fruit tree from a catalog costs at least $20, while each rootstock (the root and stem onto which the scion is grafted) costs about $2, and scionwood is free or very inexpensive. You can start a 30-tree orchard for about $60 for rootstock and $12 for grafting supplies if you do the grafting and grow the trees for an extra year. If you have existing trees onto which you can graft, adding varieties involves just the cost (if any) of scionwood and grafting supplies.
The more closely related the scion and rootstock are, the more likely they can form a graft, so graft apple wood to apple rootstock or to an apple tree, European plum to European plum rootstock or trees, and pears to pear stock or trees (although pears are sometimes grafted to quince, which serves as a dwarfing rootstock, but quince rootstock is not very hardy and is susceptible to a disease called fire blight). Sometimes, fruits that are not closely related will graft, but these grafts usually do not thrive as they would if grafted onto the same species. I have grafted pear wood onto an apple to hold it until I got some pear rootstock. The pear wood grew for two years but died the third year.
If you have an existing tree, wild or cultivated, you can graft other varieties onto it using a method called top working, which often produces fruit within a few years. The tree already has a considerable trunk and root system, so the graft grows very quickly. You could have a tree with a different variety on every branch.
If you are starting from scratch, you can purchase rootstock from nurseries, such as Fedco Trees. The type of rootstock determines the ultimate size of the tree and is often available in dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard. A dwarf apple tree will often bear within two years but will rarely live beyond 10 years. Dwarf trees require staking, are often not hardy enough for Maine winters, and do not tolerate poorly drained soils.
Semi-dwarf rootstock is somewhat hardier, bears three to four years after grafting, and may produce a tree that lives for 15 or 20 years. These, too, require staking and well-drained mineral-rich soil.
Standard rootstock is very hardy, and, although the resulting grafted trees may take five to 12 years to fruit, they can live for more than 100 years. A standard tree can be pruned aggressively to maintain it as a smaller tree.
Some trees have a dwarfing “interstem” grafted between a hardier rootstock below and the desired variety above.
You can buy scions from many commercial nurseries or cut them from a tree that you know and love. Members of the Seed Savers Exchange sell scions from many types of fruiting trees, and MOFGA hosts a scionwood exchange annually in Unity, where you can donate or take scions of many types of fruit, and attend grafting workshops. (MOFGA holds other grafting workshops as well see the Calendar in this MOF&G.)
Grafting Tools and Equipment
You will need a sharp knife, grafting tape and a sealant. The knife must be able to hold an extremely sharp edge. A grafting knife is ideal dozens of models are on the market. If you prefer to dabble and to limit costs, you don’t have to invest much. I have used my pocketknife and a box cutter with great success. The disposable razor edge of a box cutter is always razor sharp.
You may also need hand clippers and a pruning saw.
Grafting tape is a worthwhile investment. I prefer PVC tape, which stretches and has enough strength to cinch a graft closed. It is ideal for top working and for large grafts that may need support for many months. PVC tape must be removed late in the season or early the next year, as it does not break down and could girdle the graft.
|Bark or rind grafting uses a scion prepared like one for a whip and tongue graft – but without the tongue. Rob Lemire photo.|
|On a freshly cut branch stub, use the tip of your knife to cut into the bark, parallel to the length of the branch. Sink the tip of the knife into the bark until it stops at hardwood. Sink the rest of the knife edge into the bark with a simple pivot action. Wiggle the knife to loosen the bark. Rob Lemire photo.|
|Slide the angle-cut end of the scion into the cut groove until the scion shows only bark all round. Rob Lemire photo.|
|A large branch can hold three or four scions. Rob Lemire photo.|
|Wrap the graft. Rob Lemire photo.|
|Tuck in the end of the wrapping and pull it snug. Rob Lemire photo.|
|Seal the ends of the scions and the end of the branch. Rob Lemire photo.|
|Label the grafted branch. Rob Lemire photo.|
You can also secure grafts with rubber or elastic strips or Parafilm tape – a more delicate yet stretchy polyethylene tape that molds nicely to a graft. It breaks down in a month or two, making it ideal for small grafts.
Rubber strips, an older technology, work well in all applications but must be removed manually as they are tight and slow to break down. In a pinch, I have cut wide rubber bands and used them. I have also used hockey tape and masking tape. All work but not as well as a good grafting tape, which is available for $2 to $3 at Agway and some mail-order suppliers such as Fedco.
Any open cuts on a graft must be sealed so that they don’t dry out before the graft union heals and starts to supply the scion with new sap. Traditionally grafters used a soft grafting wax, still available from Agway. I favor Treekote, a quick-drying black emulsion that is easy to apply and is available for less than $10 from Agway and Fedco.
Clip scionwood from year-old wood of a tree you want to reproduce. The year-old wood is usually darker and smoother than the older growth. You can tell where last year’s growth began by tracing back from the tip of the branch to the first wrinkled ridge, which can be very slight but is always present. Always cut shoots from a few feet up the trunk or higher, since suckers growing from the ground or base of the tree may have emerged below the graft union and so would not be the same genetically as scionwood taken from the tree above the graft union.
Cut scions while the tree is dormant. If buds on the wood are swelling (“breaking bud”) or showing any green, the graft will not take. In central Maine, I cut scionwood in early to mid-March, before the buds swell, so that it’s stored for less time than if I had cut it earlier. I have cut wood in January and stored it successfully until spring, and I have cut wood right off the tree in April and grafted it that minute – but I had to look hard for buds that were still dormant in April.
Label cut scions immediately and wrap them in a plastic bag so that they will not dry out. Store them in a refrigerator or root cellar, ideally around 35 F – but not with apples. (Apples naturally give off ethylene gas, which can affect scionwood.) I wrap at least three plastic bags around scions to protect them from any gas exposure or desiccation. Some people dip the cut scion ends in wax. This is unnecessary if scions are well wrapped. Long scions can be cut to about 6 inches for more convenient storage.
For the actual graft, a piece of scionwood with only two buds is cut. One bud will do, but two offers insurance.
When to Graft
A successful graft lines up the cambium of the rootstock stem with the cambium of the scion. The cambium is the greenish layer of stem tissue between the outer and inner bark, the layer that will be actively dividing and growing during the growing season.
The ideal time to graft onto, or top work, an established tree is when its sap is flowing, because the graft, with immediate access to flowing sap, begins to form immediately, and the scion has less time to dry out. I try to top work in late April or early May.
Plums can be more difficult to graft but take extremely well if the rootstock is already growing and the sap is flowing when the graft is made. I always graft my plums when the rootstock or tree has just begun to show green in the leaf bud. The scionwood is still dormant.
Graft onto newly purchased rootstock before planting the pencil-thick young tree (unless you opted to plant the rootstock one year and graft it in the ground the next year, or you’re trying again to graft onto a tree on which a graft did not take the previous year). Keep the roots of the unplanted, grafted rootstock moist until you plant the newly grafted tree in a nursery row – in your garden or in a nursery with rich soil where it can grow for a year or two before being dug and established in its permanent home.
Always label your trees and make a backup map. Crows and porcupines have stolen my shiny tree markers, and wind has abraded the writing on my labels until they were illegible.
You can make permanent labels by burning or carving plant names into large wooden signs. Then stake the labels at the base of the tree or hang them against the trunk.
Brass engraved labels are also permanent. Recycled slats of window blinds last for years but are not a permanent.
Whip and Tongue Grafting
Grafting is easier done than described. If you can, attend a grafting demonstration or watch a grafting video online. All your doubts will be assuaged.
Of the many types of grafts, I use two 99 percent of the time because they are relatively easy and successful.
For small diameter grafts, such as a bench graft onto a rootstock or a graft onto a pencil-sized branch on a young tree, I use a whip and tongue graft. I cut a piece of scionwood the same size or smaller than the rootstock so that it has two buds. The top cut should be just above the top bud. Do not leave more than 1/8 inch of wood above the bud, as this excess will just die back and need to be removed later. The bottom cut should be 1 or 2 inches below the bottom (second) bud.
Then make a uniform diagonal cut about an inch long on both the bottom of the scion and the top of the rootstock. NEVER touch the cut wood oils on your hands will contaminate the graft, and it will not bond. The cuts should mate perfectly with each other.
Next cut vertically into the diagonal ends of both the scionwood and the rootstock, starting just above the heartwood, to create a tongue on both pieces of wood. Slide the two together, interlocking the tongues and lining up the cambium layer on one side or, ideally, two sides of the scion and rootstock.
Wrap the entire graft tightly with grafting tape. Start at the top and wrap the loose end of the wrapping over the graft, in overlapping layers, until it’s below the graft. On your final wrap, loosely wrap the tape and tuck its end under the loose loop before pulling it tight.
Seal the open tip of the grafted scion with Treekote or grafting wax or compound.
Label the tree and plant it as soon as possible. If you have to delay planting, store the grafted tree in moist sawdust, hay or shredded newspaper. Before planting, soak the roots in a bucket of water for a few hours.
Bark or Rind Grafting
To graft onto an established tree, study the tree and choose a few branches that you want for its permanent structure. Consider cutting off a few branches that may draw sap away from the branch or branches onto which you intend to graft.
Remove most of the selected branch or branches with a saw or clippers, leaving a stub at least 6 inches long. Sometimes I leave a long branch and graft each of its smaller 2- to 3-inch branch forks.
Young branches (under 5 inches in diameter) toward the top of the tree are good because they are more vigorous. Never graft more than one-third of the entire tree in one year.
To make a bark or rind graft for top working, cut the scion as for a whip and tongue graft but make only the long slanted cut, not the tongue.
Then, on the branch that you cut back to a 6-inch stub, use the tip of your knife to cut into the bark, parallel to the length of the branch. Sink the tip of the knife into the bark until it stops at hardwood. Sink the rest of the knife edge into the bark with a simple pivot action. Wiggle the knife to loosen the bark. If the sap is flowing (as it does sometime in the spring), the bark will lift easily, exposing the cambium layer below the bark and above the hardwood center. If the bark shreds, the temperature may be too cold or the season too early for the sap to flow. Wait until the sap is flowing.
Slide the angle-cut end of the scion into the cut groove. This may be a snug fit. If so, gently tap the scion into the cut until the angle is fully in the base of the branch cut, and the scion shows only bark all round. Place another scion on the opposite side of the branch. I use three or four scions on a large branch.
Wrap the branch with grafting tape, cinching in the scions. Paint the tips of each scion and the open branch with Treekote.
Caring for Grafts
With top worked branches, rub off any shoots that start to grow below the graft throughout the summer and fall. In following years, encourage one graft and prune back the others, eventually cutting off all but the one that grows over the end of the branch.
With bench-grafted stock planted in a nursery area, rub off buds below the graft and prune the top to one branch if it starts to fork. Encourage one tall central leader. Dig and plant the tree in its final location the following spring while the tree is still dormant.
Grafts can grow a few inches to 5 feet in one year. Avoid excess fertilizer, since too much nitrogen late in the season may encourage late growth that does not harden off in time for winter and is liable to die back.
About the author: Roberta writes regularly for The MOF&G. She lives in Vassalboro.
It isn’t always easy getting Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s attention. As his editor at F&W from 1997 to 2006, my job required pleading for time with him, focused as he was on running his empire of 30-plus restaurants in distant parts of the planet. Once I even volunteered to babysit his daughter in exchange for an interview.
Witnessing his culinary genius firsthand taught me a few things. I learned that, no matter how wildly different the cooking appears at each of his ventures, underlying it are a few essentials. They include an enduring love of Asian ingredients, prepared with classical technique. Lightness, which comes from vegetable juices, flavored oils, vinaigrettes and quick broths. (“I don’t want the taste of boiled stock in a sauce,” he once told me.) A contrast of textures and temperatures. (“If there’s no contrast, we don’t do it.”) And a balance of heat, tang, vibrancy of fresh herbs and (optional) sweetness in every dish.
Ironically, after all those years of chasing Jean-Georges, these days I often bump into him when I stop for a ginger margarita at his Nougatine restaurant in Manhattan. I also feel like I’m hanging out with him when I make his recipes at home, where I’ve long since discovered that his simple dishes are as riveting as his intricate ones.—Jane Sigal
Video: Jean-Georges Vongerichten Cooking Demonstration
Step-by-Step: Perfect Prime Rib With Red Wine Jus
Step 1: Brown Shins or Oxtails
To make a rich red wine jus to serve with our prime rib, we start by browning 3 pounds of oxtails, beef shin, soup bones, or a mixture of any or all of those in a hot Dutch oven with a little bit of canola oil. Deep color is what you're going for here—it's all going to add flavor to the sauce in the end.
Step 2: Brown Mirepoix
After browning and setting aside the bones and meat, in go a large carrot, a couple of stalks of celery, and a large onion, all roughly chopped and cooked until lightly browned.
Step 3: Add Wine
A full bottle of wine goes into the pot. The best wine for a sauce like this is a dry red. I typically cook with Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, a relatively inexpensive Italian DOP red that is also great paired with food.
Step 4: Add Aromatics and Reduce
Bay leaves, parsley, and thyme round out the aromatics. Once they're added, bring the pot to a simmer and cook down the wine until it's reduced by about half. (Check here for some science on why you should reduce your wine before adding your other liquids.)
Step 5: Add Stock
In goes a full quart of chicken stock. If you have good homemade stock, that's the best option. If not, a high-quality store-bought low-sodium stock will do. I use Swanson or Kirkland organic if I need to go with store-bought. Dissolving a couple of packets of gelatin on the surface of the stock before adding it to the pot will improve the finished texture of the sauce if you're using store-bought.
Step 6: Season Prime Rib
Generously season a bone-in standing rib roast (a.k.a. prime rib) with plenty of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. You want to get it on all sides.
Step 7: Prepare the Roasting Pan
Place the seared bones/oxtails/shins in the bottom of a roasting pan. (There's no need for an expensive one—I explain why you don't need an expensive roasting pan here.) Then pour all of the liquid on top of them, along with the vegetables. Set a V-rack directly on top of the vegetables and liquid.
Step 8: Place Beef in Pan
Place the beef in the roasting pan with the bone facing down and the fat cap facing up.
Step 9: Roast
Place the pan in an oven set to 250°F. Slow roasting at a very low temperature is the key to meat that is perfectly evenly cooked from edge to edge, with a very tender interior texture.
Step 10: Use a Thermometer!
At this low temperature, the average prime rib roast will take 4 to 5 hours to reach medium rare (130°F internal temperature). The only way to tell when a prime rib is done is to use a thermometer. A leave-in probe is a good early warning system (set it for about 5 degrees below your target final temperature), but you should always use an accurate instant-read thermometer and test for final doneness in multiple locations to make sure there aren't any especially cool spots hiding out.
Step 11: Rest the Meat and Finish the Jus
Tent the roast lightly with aluminum foil (it may still appear quite pale on the exterior at this point—that's okay), then transfer the oxtails and/or shins to a medium saucepan.
Step 12: Strain the Liquid and Finish the Jus
Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into the saucepan. Simmer the shins/oxtails in the jus on the stovetop until the meat is tender enough to easily shred off the bones. This should take about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the meat and bones from the pot (that shredded meat makes for a great appetizer or side dish when spread onto toast), season the jus to taste with salt and pepper, and whisk in 4 tablespoons of butter off-heat.
Step 13: Brown the Beef
When you're about 10 minutes away from serving, return the beef to the cleaned-out roasting pan and blast it in an oven set at the highest possible temperature (that's 500 to 550°F for most home ovens—use convection if you've got it) until the exterior is browned and crisp. This should take between 6 and 10 minutes. Once browned, the beef is ready to carve and serve.
Step 14: Remove Bones
To carve the beef, start by removing the bones with a sharp knife, lifting the beef with one hand and following the contours of the bones with your knife.
Ready to Slice
With the bones removed, the beef should be ready to slice.
Step 15: Slice and Serve
Slice the beef thinly and serve it with the jus. I like to sprinkle each slice with a little coarse sea salt to ensure that it's seasoned throughout.
To test boiled potatoes for doneness, use a skewer or the tines of a fork rather than the tip of a knife so you know they’re truly tender (a knife slides through the flesh way too easily). To test boiled eggs for doneness—wait, you can’t! Just make sure the eggs are room temperature when you drop them in the water (otherwise they’re prone to cracking), set a timer right away, and have an ice bath at the ready.
That three-ingredient sauce can go on anything. Double batch = necessary.
Producing roast of beef to satisfy discriminating tastes is truly an art. We use an old English formula of blanketing the rib in coarse rock salt. This insures that the joint comes from our ovens with all of its fragrant natural essences sealed in.
Although Bay Area cuisine is all about the latest "foodie" craze, if you're not all that much into someone messing around with your steak, then tuck a white linen napkin into your collar at the House of Prime Rib. The iconic House of Prime Rib serves potentially the highest quality corn-fed beef in the Bay Area. Their meticulously prepared meat is aged for 21 days, making it especially tender, juicy and flavorful. Diners enjoy well-marbled prime rib, carved tableside to their exact specifications, along with sides like fluffy mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. The dessert cart offers a decadent array of sinful sweets, and assorted wines promise the perfect pairing.
"I call these the ‘backache’ cookies because I always make a double batch, sitting hunched over at the table,” says Fran Pepoon of Roseville, California. She has been baking these chocolate cookies, which have a subtle hit of orange and vanilla, every Christmas for 30 years, adapting them over time from a recipe given to her by a friend. Two tips: The cookies tend to stick and spread, so be sure to use a nonstick baking-sheet liner or parchment, and don’t bake more than 12 cookies on each sheet.
“This recipe is from my mother-in-law’s box of typed 3- by 5-in. cards, handed down from her mother,” says Beryl Schwartz of Ojai, California. “Nothing reminds us of the holidays like the aroma of molasses wafting through the house!” Schwartz adds cloves and ginger for extra spice and rolls the cook ie balls in turbinado sugar for crunch.
Krylon Dual: Repainting a Wicker Chair
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When my parents moved into their new house this summer, my mom gave me a wicker chair that used to sit on their large front porch. It was still in pretty good shape, but the brown paint needed some help.
When I found out that I would be able to test out Krylon’s new Dual spray paint, a combination primer and paint in one, I knew the chair was about to get her facelift!
When spray painting wicker, it is important to have the piece as clean as possible. Give it a good hose down and allow it time to dry. If the piece of furniture is very dirty from being outdoors, you may have to wipe it down with a soft cloth to remove dust, spiderwebs, etc.
If the previous paint job was high gloss, you may also want to take steel wool or a wire brush and LIGHTLY go over the piece. This will make sure that the new coat of paint has a surface to stick to. If you do this step, you will have to wash/wipe the piece down again before painting.
Normally, this is the point in the process where I would have to locate any trouble areas on the chair and apply primer specifically to them before applying ANOTHER coat of primer over the entire piece.
Not with Krylon’s new Dual spray paint. This stuff gives some serious coverage without priming. Good news for your budget and your spray painting hand!
This is what the chair looked like after ONE coat of Krylon Dual in Cherry Red. Remember this is without priming over the old brown paint.
Here she is after the second coat. Doesn’t she look happier?
Another really cool feature of the Krylon paint is the ability to change the direction of the paint spray. The nozzle rotates from vertical to horizontal to diagonal. This is a HUGE advantage when you are painting wicker because it helps to get in all those nooks and crannies.
With a piece of wicker furniture, it is a good idea to give the unseen parts of the piece at least a light coat of paint.
If this were a solid wood chair, I would probably skip painting the underside of the seat. With wicker, there is always a chance that the unpainted parts may show through the seat. Better to at least give it one coat.
Here she is finished and living on my front porch. I really like the saturated red color that I was able to get with two coats of paint, plus a few touch-ups.
Krylon sent me the new Dual Paint to try out. Check out their latest promotion, The Dual Duel, where Krylon is looking to find The Ultimate Restorer. To win this title, enter your spray paint restoration project and encourage friends and family to vote for your project as their favorite for their chance to win too.
TIPS FOR SPRAY PAINTING WICKER:
1. Make sure the piece is dry and clean of dust and dirt.
2. Spray paint adheres to rough surfaces better than glossy surfaces. Rough it up if necessary.
3. Spray the awkward parts of the piece (under the shelves of a bookcase, for example) first. The paint will spray upside-down easier if the can is full.
4. Spray the first coat moving your hand in a horizontal motion. Spray the second coat moving your hand in a vertical motion. Changing directions will help cover the ins and outs of the wicker in fewer coats.
5. Buy a spray paint can trigger. On the advice of a Mad in Crafts facebook fan, I bought mine for less than $3, and it revolutionized my spray painting abilities!
- 5 large Idaho baking potatoes (about 1 pound each)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 4 ounces bacon, chopped
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons snipped chives
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Rub the potatoes with the olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Put the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake until fork-tender, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let the potatoes sit until cool enough to handle.
Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp and the fat is rendered, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Peel 1 potato completely, discarding the skin. Place the pulp in a large bowl. Cut the top quarter from each of the remaining 4 potatoes and using a spoon, scoop the pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch layer of pulp on the skin. Return the potato shells to the baking sheet.
Using a handheld masher, mash the potato pulp until smooth. Add 1 cup of the cheese, the sour cream, butter, bacon, chives, and the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon of pepper and mash until smooth. Spoon the potato mixture back into the potato shells, top with the remaining cheese and bake until hot and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.