Posts tagged ‘christmas’

December 28, 2010

Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce

As Dorothy would say, “There’s no place like home!” No need to click my sparkly red shoes and take off in an air balloon because I’m already home for the holidays with a week off of work. Good food, good times, shopping, sleep, lunch on the beach, watching movies from the Lazy Boy, Just Dance battles on the Wii, cutest 2-year old fostered cousin ever, and more sleep.

Tonight I’m going to share the main entrée recipe from my Christmas feast. I’m very glad Jesus was born because 1. He has given me eternal life and 2. He created a reason for the Christmas season when good food and wine are taken very seriously (at least in my house).

This year we had beef tenderloin with a rosemary, chocolate and wine sauce. All 12 family members glared at me when I said that that’s what we were making to top the meat with. BUT once it was finished I made them all dip their fingers into the sauce pan to taste it and that immediately shut them all up, including my father who held strong to the fact that any sauce would ruin his Christmas beef. This recipe is adapted (and adjusted) from Ellie Krieger‘s.



Finely chop celery, carrots and shallots.

  • 1 (2-pound) beef tenderloin roast
  • McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Season the meat with McCormicks Montreal Steak seasoning. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium-high heat until good and hot, then add the meat and sear until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total.

Transfer the meat to a baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 135 degrees F for medium-rare, about 30 minutes, or to your desired degree of doneness. Remove it from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest.

Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the finely chopped shallots, carrot and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the wine and broth and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan. Stir in the cocoa and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side with beef tenderloin.

Now, I know this sounds strange, my whole family confirmed it. But have no fear, you will love this sauce! The cocoa powder gives this sauce such depth of flavor and it perfectly complements your beef tenderloin. Perhaps this is a perfect dish for your NYE dinner party!

From The Little Yellow Cushing Kitchen,


Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary, Chocolate and Wine Sauce

December 25, 2010

Baked Brie Bites

Merry Christmas Eve!

Home for the holidays never felt so good! After a busy day of snowboarding and traveling home, it’s about time to kick back and relax with the family. Naturally, this means baking, cooking, and eating good food. As we are preparing our Christmas Eve feast, the crowds are getting hungry: time for appetizers. Good thing we stocked up on ready-made puff pastry sheets at TJ’s because they are perfect for a quick bite to fend off those pre-feast hunger pangs. We chose to make Strawberry Baked Brie Bites but there are many different flavor combinations, so get creative!

Don't be afraid of a little crisp!



Here is what you will need:

  • 1 Box of puff-pastry dough (it comes with 2 sheets at Trader Joe’s)
  • A hunk of Brie cheese (double cream, if you are feeling brave)
  • Jam (we used Organic Strawberry Preserves)

Here is how you make it:

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Take dough out of freezer, cut into 1 in. squares.
  • Place onto greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper) and be sure to leave some space between them.
  • Pop the dough in the oven for a few minutes to get it baking.
  • Cut a hearty slice of Brie and place in the middle of each dough square; top with preferred flavor of jam (or preserves) and put back in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and nice and crispy.


Quick and easy puff-pastry: bake until puffy and golden brown


My sister, Jen and I, looking snazzy in our aprons

From the Little Yellow Kitchen Morris Kitchen,



Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

December 9, 2010

Enoteca Adriano

Since I’ve been sick the last week and a half and Chrissy’s month long gym pass to the best gym ever expired (really Chrissy…a spa, a steam room AND a free massage?!) via a purchase, we had been feeling like slugs for the last few days. We decided that despite the 47 degree weather that exists this close to the beach in winter, it was time to break out the bicycles and cruise down the street to the CUTEST wine bar north of Little Italy.

So, we strapped a wine bottle to Chrissy’s back (free corkage Wednesday is our new favorite thing), bundled up and headed over to Enoteca Adriano, which was decorated nicely with Christmas lights. The scream-o music that was playing as we strolled up was a little unsettling but the waitress assured us that it was supposed to be Christmas music, the rest of the night the music was far more pleasant.

We love our bikes.

After we found a seat the waitress popped open our bottle of Chianti for us and brought over a delicious mozzarella panini with an herbed balsamic and oil dip as the starter. We were tempted to ask for a refill but politely refrained, also sparing ourselves quite a few calories.

Free Panini!

After much deliberation between splitting either the Gnocchi di Casa with pesto and Gorgonzola cream sauce or the nights special, Puttanesca, we went with the the latter. The perfectly spicy red sauce on penne speckled with capers, kalamata and green olives, pancetta and shavings of fresh parmesan was delicious! This just might be one we have to recreate, stay tuned. Needless to say we made the right meal choice (not that there would have been a wrong one though) and still had left overs for lunch the next day. Gotta love those hearty Italian dishes!

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,


Puttanesca & Parmesan

Puttanesca & some tasty Chianti

December 8, 2010

Bringin’ it back…Christmas style

What’s better than building a genuine gingerbread house while listening to the Transiberian Orchestra (holiday edition) station on Pandora, to get you in the mood for the Christmas season?! Nothing! It was so much fun, especially the part when I “accidentally” tossed about 200 sprinkles into the air, in a failed attempt to add some color. Needless to say, we made quite a mess but it really brought me back to my younger years. My six cousins, my brother, and I used spend a weekend at grandma and grandpa’s building gingerbread houses at this time of year, now THAT was a mess. This year, I was inspired to kick off the season by a sudden urge to buy Christmas decorations for our little home on my lunch break. Believe it or not, Rite-Aid had some awesome décor for half-off. With the lights, snowman, Santa Clause and wreath in place we set out to construct a gingerbread house.


Chris and Lauren

Confession of Christmaholics: We cheated and bought a neat little kit at Trader Joe’s – FYI, we usually refer to it as TJs, not to be confused with the town an hour south of us, Tijuana. Turns out, their gingerbread doesn’t taste that great but once it’s looking pretty, who wants to eat it anyways? After getting the best tricep workout of my life whipping the egg whites (not having a KitchenAid really forces you to break a sweat), we added the powder sugar the kit provided and a few drops of lemon juice to help with the stick factor. The kit came with little snow people and a tiny dog—adorable. The included candy décor was very limited so we added our usual zest and improvised with some chocolate chips we had on hand. Not the prettiest little house I’ve ever seen but it definitely got the Christmas spirit running through my veins! Next time, we’ll bake our own gingerbread…

Our little Christmas home

From the Little Yellow Kitchen,