DECEMBER 31 2011


New Year's Eve demands decadence... and we did not disappoint. Surf 'n turf, baby!

First I have to admit that I did not exactly follow the the recipe for the rib eye. Sorry Frankies, I just can't shell out $60 for a beautiful rib eye roast, cook it to perfection, then just shove the whole thing in the fridge to be served cold, hoping it is worth it. I just can't. Not even for "thoroughbred roast beef". I also did not roast it at the temperature they designated. Last year I did a super, super slow roast that was amazing so decided to do it again this time. So, instead of cooking it at 325º, it spent over 4 hours in the oven at 200º which makes it exactly medium-rare through the entire thing. I did use the fantastic herb rub from the recipe which smelled like heaven while it was cooking.

Phew.. now that I've got that off my chest, I can tell you all about our New Year's Eve feast :)
The first thing I actually made was the creme brulee because it needed to chill and was okay to sit in the fridge for a few days. My lovely assistant separated eight eggs for the yolks which were then whisked with a warm mix of cream, milk, sugar and a vanilla bean.

I was feeling nervous about this dessert, but it was actually super easy. This mix was baked in little dishes set in a water bath for 45 minutes; then chilled in the fridge overnight. They will be crusted with sugar before eating... but that happens later.

baked creme brulee

The next challenge was to finding blue crabs. I had given up on the whole idea and was just going to use dungeness or king crab legs, but last weekend I saw live blue crabs for sale at Fubon! Of course they were gone today... but we ended up at OM Seafood and found success!

blue crabs!

The little guys needed to be cleaned which turned out to be a dirty job. I found directions online and send the boys out to the backyard to make it happen. Basically, they had to pull off their backs and rinse out all the guts and gills (gross, I know).

spraying out the guts

cleaned and ready to go!

In the meantime, the roast went into the oven for a low and slow roast. Smelling good!

beef : before

Once the "big meat" was out of the oven and resting, it was time for the crab spaghetti. The clean little crabbies went into a big pot of tomato sauce to simmer for 30 minutes. As they bubbled away, potatoes were mashed, an amazing salad was tossed together and the pasta was cooked.

crabs going into the sauce. yum!

simmering crab sauce

I say again that the Frankies proportions are all out of whack because 2 pounds of pasta is waaaaaaay too much pasta. Supposedly it serves 8.... more like 28 (zing!). The beef was sliced and we sat down to eat.

slow-roasted rib eye, sliced hot

The beef was so exactly medium rare that it scared me a little (so pink!) and had a serious slab of fat running through it. But was super good! The pasta was infused with amazing crab-y flavor and the blue crab meat was sweet and delicious. But they were so damn hard to eat. So small! We all got a little frustrated but managed to make our way though at least one crab.

crab pasta. so good and yet so frustrating!

Wow. I ate so much. Like huge amounts. Along with the beef and crab pasta was a bunch of roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, fresh baked bread (yay!!) and a fantastic salad with almonds, apples and poppy seed dressing. Plus wine... lots of wine.

We all had to take a break before dessert and let things settle. But, once there was a little, tiny bit of room, out came the creme brulee! And a torch! The best part of creme brulee is the crunchy sugar topping and this requires a blow-torch.

torching the sugar... yum!

This takes so long... Why won't the sugar melt!?! Okay. Good enough... I want it now! Crack the sugar crust and eat up. And it just so happens to be fantastic with champagne. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

crack that sugary topping

In order to fulfill my own rules, I set aside a slice of beef to eat cold the next day. It tasted pretty good. But the fat had all congealed (ewww) and it was just so beefy. All the herb flavors were much more pronounced. But also the beefy flavors. A bit too much for me. I have no doubt that "hot meat is better than cold meat" and am so glad I didn't follow the Frankies advice.

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