Holiday Menu #2: Buffet Dinner

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Sliced Roast Beef with Two Sauces:
Sweet Red Pepper Vinaigrette
Green Benedictine Sauce with a Touch of Bourbon
Rolls
Green Beans Roasted and Tossed with Almonds
Potato Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

About the menu:
Sliced beef served with several sauces is an ideal way to start a buffet. You can cook and chill the roast ahead. Set out a beautiful platter of the sliced beef, and let guests help themselves, choosing their own sauces. Add rolls in case anyone wants to make a sandwich. Green beans tossed with almonds (consider Marcona almonds for an extra special touch) are a step above the green beans you might eat on any given day, and roasting them brings out the sweetness.

Toss the potatoes with vinaigrette while they are still warm, and garnish with extra chopped parsley or green onion to add flavor and color to the dish, which tastes great at any temperature.

Our recipes here are for the sauces. Basic instructions for roasting beef follow.

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette:
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes about 3 cups sauce
Serving size: 1 tablespoon

1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
Dash cayenne pepper or hot sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon pistachios, chopped, for garnish

Using a handheld stick blender, blend peppers with the vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add cayenne and salt, if desired. Serve in bowl with ladle and garnish with chopped pistachios.
Note: this vinaigrette is great on any meat, poultry or fish.

Green Benedictine Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes about 2 cups
Serving size: 1 tablespoon

Benedictine is a classic Kentucky sandwich, which you might see often at Derby parties. It’s cream cheese, cucumbers, a drop of green food coloring. This sauce is inspired by that recipe, so I hope purists know that it was just a jumping off point. I’ve gone green with the watercress instead of green food coloring. The bourbon is optional, too. It adds just a hint of flavor, helps the consistency of the sauce and is another nod to Kentucky.

4 ounces nonfat cream cheese, softened
2 cucumbers, washed, with seeds removed
1 cup nonfat sour cream (low fat or regular works too, we are just keeping it lean)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cup fresh watercress, washed and dried
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, squeezed dry
1 fresh red bell pepper to hold sauce

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if desired. If using horseradish, add and process until incorporated. Cut top off pepper, remove seeds and white part of the interior. Trim the bottom of the pepper just enough so the pepper stands firmly without tilting (don’t cut through to the inside, or the pepper won’t hold the sauce).

Eye of round roast instructions (3 to 4 pound roast):
1. Heat oven to 225F. Spray roast lightly with olive oil in mister. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sear roast in large cast iron skillet over medium high heat, until roast is well-browned on all sides.
2. Place roast on roasting rack in oven and cook for 70 to 90 minutes. Medium rare is when roast measures 115F; 125F for medium (remember it continues to cook after you remove it.
3. Turn oven off and let roast remain in oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cover with foil then with a dishcloth and let it stand another 20 minutes. Roast should now be 130F for medium rare and 140F for medium. If you are serving roast cold on buffet, chill it and slice it cold.

Barb Freda Cool Weather Cooking Entertaining Ideas Healthy, Delicious Recipes Holiday Cooking Memorable Meals

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